Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sean Hancock, Founder of Recycled Minds, located in Garden City, ID, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner and founder of Recycled Minds, an award-winning comedy company that uses the principles of improvisation to transform the way you do life and business through corporate training, classes, and shows. It began in 2002 as a local improv comedy troupe and has transformed into an international theatre and creative arts company that has been serving world-class companies, theaters, and individuals throughout the globe, some of which include The Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, cruise ships, universities, and Fortune 500 companies. We have worked with clients such as Celebrity Cruiselines, Albertsons, Truckstop, Simplot, Sun Valley Film Festival, and Boise State University.
Improv isn't just for actors and high school drama nerds. If that's you, you'll love it. However, 85% of our students fit a different description. They're transplants looking to find friends and a fun, creative, and supportive community. They're entrepreneurs wanting unconventional yet powerful business tools. They're empty-nesters trying to rediscover their passions. You see, the improv toolkit isn't just for the theatre. It's a toolkit for life.
In our classes, you'll learn the principles that make every scene successful, like "Yes, And," "Make Each Other Look Good," "Give Good Gifts," and "Respond to the Last Thing." These principles make up the toolkit that increases creativity, thinking on your feet, and being authentic and comfortable in your own skin. If the whole world's a stage, don't you want to be an improviser?
Tell us about yourself
I first fell in love with improv comedy as a high school drama student and started my own improv comedy troupe in 2002. I went on to pursue acting and improv in LA like many others with big dreams and was accepted into The Groundlings and UCB, where Improv Greats like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Will Ferrell was born. I also began teaching at Monkey Butler, the world's fastest-growing improv school at the time and was given the opportunity to teach and perform around the world, where I even met my wife.
I believe that improv is life-changing. It fast-tracks relationships, builds your confidence, and increases your self-awareness. I've had several people even tell me it has saved their life. This comedy business is something I take very seriously!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I believe every moment someone's life is changed for the better through what I teach is the biggest accomplishment I can have. Whether it's changing the environment and joy in a workplace or having someone rediscover their laugh after trauma, it's what I'm here on Earth to do. There is no greater accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
These past few years have been some of the hardest as a business owner. We had to close our doors for half a year and, of course, build back slowly when we were able to open up again. I find that when you face the pressure and pain of unexpected change, you discover what you're truly made of. As a true improvisers, we had to pivot and begin offering online courses. Ultimately, it was for the best and actually helped expand our business, but it definitely wasn't easy, but most good things never are.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your tribe. Surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people who are going to fight for you. If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others.
- Everything can be a gift if you treat it like one. We don't get handed the script for life or business. We're constantly improvising and responding to unforeseen forces. So, look for the gold in your situation, pivot, and make the most of it. You'll be amazed at what you discover and the doors that are opened to you.
- Dream big. If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough. You're meant for great things, so don't sell yourself short. You already have everything you need.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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