Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Wendy Alane Wright, Founder and CEO of Hollywood Winners Circle Academy, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an online business school that teaches actors the business side of show business and gets them started in their acting careers.
Tell us about yourself
I am driven by helping other people succeed. I am consumed with helping other people reach their greatest potential. I do not want to see people die with their dreams unfulfilled. I also must help people see their incredible value and believe in themselves. I started working on my business when I saw how many people were busy taking advantage of new actors and robbing them of their money, time, and dreams, and no one was doing anything about it. I was very upset to see how many actors were failing to get into the business simply because they had no idea how the business works after graduating with an MFA in theater.
I was horrified by how bad the emails that came to me were from actors who wanted me to be their manager! Horrible headshots, no idea what we need to see from them to determine if they can act, terrible acting reels. They have no idea how to package themselves and literally waste years trying to guess. No one was teaching them, and the agent's attitudes were "let them figure it out themselves." What!!! No. I will not let them figure it out themselves. I will spend every single day of my life helping them become the artist they are born to be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I help tens of thousands of artistic people follow their dreams and believe in themselves. There is nothing more important that I can do. HWC changes the trajectory of a person's life. Where once they were failing, after training at HWC, they begin to succeed in a very competitive business. They get signed to agents, start to make money booking TV, Film and Commercials, and live their dreams. That's all I can hope for. If what I do encourages people to follow their dreams with all their hearts and live the life they are meant to live, rather than hiding out in fear, then I have impacted the world in a positive way. That fulfills me.
So many people live in the safe zone or are blocked by their fears and insecurities and never attempt to reach their potential. It's too scary. We help people move beyond procrastination, self-doubt, and self-sabotage and teach them how to be their own best cheerleaders. We teach them to think better about themselves and believe they are valuable and deserving of success. Whether or not they become actors or writers, producers, directors, or casting, it doesn't matter. As long as they are honoring themselves and following their dreams, that is all that I care about.
We have 107,000 subscribers on my Youtube channel, 101,000 subscribers in my Facebook Group, "Talent Managers For Actors," and almost 4,000 students training with us at Hollywood Winners Circle Academy. I don't do any of that alone. I have an incredible team that supports the work I do. In TMFA it is run with the energy and love of Alex Collins, Rebekah Kennedy, James Dougherty, Jenn Marshall, Tony Robinette, Kenzo Lee, Patrick Ryan, James Ciccone, Jordan Woods Robinson, Aldagiza Chemoundt, Clare Lopez, Jerry Kernion, Emaie Noelle Harris, Kathy Campbell, Senta Burke, Sueanne Edan Pereira Steinacker, David Rosenblatt, Jessica Houde, Deryn Warren, Matthew Jayson Cwern, Albert Bramante, Suzanne Turner Massengil, Chris Lang and more. We are touching thousands of lives and making them better! That is my biggest accomplishment. As a business owner, I love the freedom I have created to work from anywhere in the world online. I have worked in Thailand, India, Japan, Malaysia, and Mexico, and I love the freedom a 100% online business brings me. I have a brilliant team to run the business with me. Our Vice President Jamie Doerschuck is a freaking genius! She is highly creative, organized, and wonderful at marketing strategies and building and overseeing teams. HWC is very lucky to have acquired her.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I don't feel like owning my business is hard. I am so passionate about what I do; it is really a huge honor to do it. I guess the hardest thing is finding qualified people who stick. I. have gone through a couple of different teams before landing in this phenomenal team. They have all had their merit in the past, but when any relationship dies or changes, that is painful and challenging. To be successful, you have to persevere. HWC is only four years old, and whenever it gets tough, I think of companies like Yale that have been in business for 386 years, Amazon for 27 years, and my own friends who have been in business for over 30 years, and I tell myself, you are just a baby, keep going! That seems to work for me, ha!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Pick something you are extremely passionate about, and every day will be worth it. Set goals and hit them, and then set new goals.
- Use a platform like Slack to coordinate your entire team's work and keep all your conversations in it.
- Put together a team to help you accomplish your vision. We can't do everything ourselves. Barbara Cochran gave me great advice once. She said, "business owners always worry other people won't do it like you would. If the people you hire do the job 80% as well as you would, that is good enough. You must let go and delegate." I have been doing that ever since, and that has been a blessing. It has allowed me to build a team that is focused on the success of Hollywood Winners Circle Academy and all of the people we help.
Where can people find you and your business?