We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyle Colucci and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
For actors, there are a lot of stereotypes that float around the industry in terms of what an artist’s life should look like. And one of those images is that of the “starving artist” that works soul-sucking jobs to pay the bills while waiting for the industry to recognize them. That we NEED that hourly job, despite the fact that we’d be immediately replaceable should we have an audition that interferes with a scheduled shift. I definitely started out that way post-college, working 3 jobs simultaneously and still struggling to make ends meet. Each individual artist’s journey will be different and we will prioritize our lives and our activities according to what’s most important to us. So, at a certain point, I rejected the notion that I needed to struggle financially in order to be a true artist. There is a damaging misconception that if an actor does anything other than acting, they’re not “fully committed” – and I call BS. You cannot live fully in a role if you cannot commit to fully living in life. And that includes doing things outside of acting that bring you joy, and bring you money. I started my marketing business, Socially Aware, in 2015. We specialize in social media marketing for businesses and creatives. Not only has running this company allowed me to meet wonderful people that I likely wouldn’t have met otherwise, it also introduced me to some real…characters. Unlikeable characters. They, in turn, helped me build my character and my confidence as a young, female business owner. I learned not just to value my work and expertise, but especially to value my time above all else. Time is finite, and wasting it is foolish. So, I built a business to ensure that my time remained my own. That I didn’t clock in for someone else’s dream. It has been incredibly empowering. Certainly, running a small business is no small feat – everything is your responsibility. And, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. One of the biggest reasons I started this business was to have the freedom to work from home and not miss an audition or shoot day because of my day job. That aspect is invaluable. In addition to that, the financial stability allows me to invest in producing my own projects with my company, Pirate Gurly Productions. We’ve had the privilege of making some award-winning films funded out of my own pocket, because of the business that I built. Each endeavor meets the other in a full circle. It’s something I am very proud of that didn’t come to fruition without sacrifice, determination, resilience, and a splash of defiance. As a side note: I reject “humble brags”. Celebrate your accomplishments often and with immense joy. You overcame huge hurdles to achieve them, and shining your light doesn’t dim anyone else’s.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business, Socially Aware (est. 2015), is a small digital marketing business that focuses on marketing and management for social media, particularly for other businesses. I love finding creative ways to highlight our client’s brands and products in a way that connects with an aspect of humanity, that meets a human need, not just a quota. I believe the most effective marketing happens when businesses and consumers communicate and operate on the same level. We’re all spinning around together on the Pale Blue Dot – so how can we make the journey more efficient and fulfilling? That’s my existential perspective on marketing! We have experienced equal parts success and setback at Socially Aware. Running a small business means your paycheck, and the paychecks of those you hire, are dependent on your ability to find clients, meet expectations, and create growth. It also requires that you roll with the punches when unexpected things happen. Which isn’t always easy, because small businesses are very personal, and it can hurt you on a deep level when your business hurts. But, you can either fold, or get up. For those that continuously choose to get up, their business thrives. There are many lessons I’ve learned along the way. On a practical level: try your damnedest to have 3-6 months of expenditures in savings at all times (the rule of thumb is 12 months, but LOL). Start investing in a retirement account as soon as you can. If there is a clause in your company contract that is important for your security, don’t compromise it for a client; if they can’t meet your needs, they’re not the right fit for you. Never work with musicians, they don’t pay on time. Haha I’m joking. (Am I?) On a personal level, the most important thing I think I could share, is to not wait for permission to start that business, or write that script, or change careers when you realize “this ain’t it”. You only get this one life on this one planet (for now), so take care of it and take care of yourself. You matter. You are seen. You can do the thing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve lived in this city for almost 13 years and I’ve still only seen a fraction of it! I know there are endless places to visit that I look forward to discovering myself, but if I were to share a few recommendations, they would include: – Cafe Gratitude (vegan eats) – SunCafe Organic (my favorite restaurant) – Donut Friend (for pure, sweet joy) – Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine – Outdoor movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Beach (I can’t reveal my favorite secluded spot to the public! That information is reserved for best friend.) – Hiking in Malibu Creek State Park – Annenberg Space for Photography Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to friends who became family. You know who you are, and you are loved beyond measure.
Other: Socially Aware Website: https://bit.ly/2THkbFS Socially Aware Client Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Pirate Gurly Productions Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pirategurlyprod/ Pirate Gurly Productions Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PirateGurlyProductions/
Justin L. Williams, Vanessa Banta