January 21, 2021 6 min read
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Talent agents are some of the biggest power brokers in the entertainment industry. They dominate global markets from Hollywood to Beijing, cutting deals and finding work for actors, musicians, filmmakers, and more.
Take it from me. You can learn plenty of entrepreneurial business lessons from the most successful of these talent agents.
How do I know?
I’m Adam Jacobs, the incredibly busy managing director of Bubblegum Casting and Hunter Talent. I work with some of Australia’s biggest brands, media properties, and agencies to secure talented children work in television, film, and modeling. We’ve recently launched an office in Los Angeles, too.
Are you ready for some of the entrepreneurial lessons of booking agents? Keep reading for my expert insights into building a business and paving the way for business success.
Talent agent lessons in business
Understanding what a talent agent does provides valuable lessons that small business owners can incorporate into their entrepreneurial processes. When it’s all said and done, booking agents are shepherds of their client’s career and reputation.
They manage their client’s branding while facilitating more work. How? Through the following activities:
- Sending actors to auditions
- Setting up meetings between actors and directors or casting directors
- Negotiating employment contracts
They also conduct similar activities while representing directors, filmmakers, and writers. In some cases, talent agents are also lawyers who provide legal advice to clients and even write contracts.
Talent agents work with labor unions that represent talent in Hollywood, New York, and worldwide. These labor unions have rules in place for how talent agents should conduct themselves.
Within the entertainment industry, there are a wide variety of agents. They specialize in different niches. For example, some work only with directors while others focus on actors, writers, or musicians.
Based on each agent’s niche, they fall under the regulation of that labor union’s organization. For example, the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, or the SAG/AFTRA. These organizations define the working terms of relationships between agents and their clients.
Business Success Skills Talent Agents Swear By
What are some lessons that entrepreneurs can glean from talent agents? They include:
- Specializing in a niche
- Dedicating themselves to hard work
- Learning the ropes
- Networking, networking, networking
- Honing the art of communication etiquette
Let’s explore how talent agents use these skills to dominate their industry. Then, we’ll consider how you can use these lessons to bring tremendous success to your enterprise.
Specializing in a niche
Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of developing a business model that proves too broad. But nobody can be a master of all things. Instead, focus on a single passion, your niche, and become an expert on it.
Skilled talent agents understand their niche inside and out. This expertise allows them to recognize salable talent when they see it.
Related: How to Win the War for Talent
Like agents, narrow your focus to one niche. Learn all of this niche’s ins and outs.
That way, you can network with the right people and hone the best set of skills and connections possible. Only when you pick a specific sales niche can you identify your ideal audience and craft personalized marketing messages to this audience.
Here’s an easy five-step formula to help you find your small business niche.
Dedicating themselves to hard work
Entrepreneurs and booking agents share commonalities, including the need for a robust work ethic. Both vocations also require knowledge of the law, promotions, marketing, and public relations.
When you launch a company, you must wear many different hats, like a talent agent. You must remain dedicated to working hard and pulling long shifts.
Choose a niche that you feel passionate about. You’ll live and breathe this specialization, so make it one you won’t mind obsessing over. Passion coupled with fortitude will help you promote your vision, even when others can’t yet see it.
Learning the ropes
Talent agents learn vital lessons throughout their careers. Chief among these is learning the rules of the land. As a business owner, you need to do the same.
Entrepreneurs are mavericks. They aren’t afraid to go it alone. But no small business succeeds in a vacuum. You don’t want to step on the wrong toes or alienate the wrong people. Like an agent, learn the ropes before you start playing the game.
Booking agents understand this. That’s why they begin as assistants.
As an entrepreneur, you likely won’t have the chance to intern under another business owner. But you can still proceed, learning as you go and avoiding important toes.
Networking, networking, networking
Talent agents are networking superstars. They meet regularly with current and potential clients to learn more about the talents they bring to the table. They stay updated on each client’s upcoming projects, providing talent suggestions.
Agents network to promote their clients. They set up jobs and auditions, relying on insider information gleaned through networking. They continuously market their agency to obtain new talent. After all, the Entertainment Industry is a highly competitive one.
Honing the art of communication etiquette
Focus on improving your communication skills. Communicating from a place of power will help your brand immensely. Again, talent agents handle this with finesse by:
- Asking for audition feedback
- Asking to see their client’s audition submissions
- Confirming or declining every aspect of an agreement
- Using the best words
- Booking out and reminders
Communications will look different as an entrepreneur, but you can still learn essential lessons from the agent’s wheelhouse. These include asking for feedback from customers.
It also means communicating about products and services. Like a booking agent, use your best words in product descriptions, agreements, press releases, emails, and more.
Finally, provide customers with regular reminders via email. Newsletters and other content marketing will keep your brand top of mind.
Business lessons you can learn from talent agents
Do you have questions about how to build a business? Do you long to know more about the best way to bring guaranteed success to your company?
We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for business lessons in effective communication for entrepreneurial success.