We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Gorsky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve spent my whole life juggling my artistic career with getting the bills paid, which always meant holding down multiple income streams from my arts gigs with either a full time desk job or split between several part time jobs. At the time that I took the leap to start my own business I had been working full time at a company for a number of years, but as time went on I knew that the gracious allowances that my bosses made for my artistic life were starting to grate against my position there, and I started to feel kind of trapped in my job role; I wanted to help my clients put their best foot forward in the world and to have earnest, organic and kind business relationships with my clients, but the corporate world just did not allow me to develop those kinds of working relationships. When it became clear my time at that company was over, I had this moment with myself where I was contemplating where to apply for new jobs, who to reach out to, etc…then suddenly I thought: “You know…you might be able to do this yourself. You’ve got basic industry skills, design ability and business knowledge. You should just go for it!” In retrospect it seems kind of insane, and VERY ballsy for a gal who talks herself off the imposter syndrome ledge at least once a week, but I was empowered by a couple immediate opportunities that came up out of the blue and I have the stubborn confidence of my dad; I witnessed him start his own company in our basement when I was little, and over the past few decades watched him nurture and grow from the basement office to a company of a few dozen with contracts across the country. I was also just SO EAGER to have ownership over my own time again. I didn’t want to have to ask the boss for a few hours off to go to an audition, I wanted to be my own boss and make my own schedule; I wanted to be the one who celebrated successes with my clients, and on the rare occasions where I make a big goof, I wanted to be the one to make it right again, so I took the leap!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been an actor and performer my whole life. It’s my greatest passion and I’ve trained and performed for decades, but being the fickle industry it is – I have not been able to rely on it as my sole income stream. At the beginning of my non-performance career I thought it was important to keep my artistic life separate from my professional life; I thought that I wouldn’t be respected or taken seriously if people knew about my “other half”. Once I decided to take the leap into starting my own freelance design business, though, I decided that not only was it too exhausting to try and keep them separate, but it just wasn’t the truest version of myself; I wanted to build a business that reflected ME and all my values which, above all, are clarity and honesty. It was kind of scary at first, because if someone doesn’t like who you are then you lose that potential client and when you put your truest self forward and get rejected it feels so personal. However, I’m pleased to say that the rewards that have come from that decision have FAR outweighed those initial risks and fears I had. What it has meant for me is that I now have a full production schedule without spending a dime on ad marketing; My clients love me and my work, and so all of my new business comes from their referrals. They also LOVE hearing about my latest acting gigs and are some of my biggest cheerleaders! None of this is to say that the journey has been easy. It took me about four years to grow my business from the first one or two clients to a full client roster and over-full production schedule, and those four years weren’t without challenges, stumbling blocks and flat-out mistakes. I took on clients that I knew weren’t a good fit because I needed to pay the bills, I underbid estimates because I undervalued my own skills and was desperate to close new contracts, and I was often overly-optimistic about how many hours were in the day and what could be accomplished in them so I’ve missed my fair share of deadlines. At the end of the day, though, I just always try to be upfront with my clients and acknowledge my fumbles – then move on to to make it right with the client. I think that has been the real key to building long-lasting client relationships with mutual trust. The most exciting development for me over the past year and a half has been the launch and subsequent growth of my podcast Broads You Should Know. It has been the coalescence of all my passions and skills from every corner of my life: My web design and development skills, my jovial and sassy conversation style, my unabashed feminism, my research and storytelling abilities and my deep love of patriarchy-smashing. When I was growing up, the history books we had in class always told the stories of the (mostly white) men who shaped history, and I always yearned to hear the stories of women who shaped history, too. I knew they were out out there, but I never heard about them, save for maybe Amelia Earhart. When my friend Chloe Skye reached out to me and our other friend, Sam Eggers, about this idea she had for a podcast about amazing women in history my heart just exploded – it was everything I had always wanted to do! Not only has the podcast done quite well, but since I’m a web developer I really ran with our podcast website design and created a site that not only promotes the podcast, but is a literal database of awesome, incredible women throughout time, and across the globe, who have made a remarkable impact on the world. It’s the kind of website a history teacher could point their students to when picking someone to research for a paper. You can imagine, then, how overjoyed I was when a friend from college reached out to me a few months ago telling me that her students love the podcast and they had a few suggestions for women we should look into for new episodes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This questions feels so hard to answer after almost a year of pandemic times – I’m just gonna pretend my friend is visiting after we’re all vaccinated and things are back open again… My favorite iconic spots to take a friend who’s never been here before are Griffith Observatory, the La Brea Tar Pits, and the Chinese Theatre and I’d definitely bring them to Topanga beach – that’s my very favorite beach. I’d take them down to San Pedro for some seafood, then Korean BBQ at Road to Seoul, delicious burgers at Apple Pan, and Red Bird, Clifton’s, Los Balcones, the Alcove, and Home and of course my fav bar: 4100 Bar. I’d also bring them to the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre – there’s nothing like an awesome concert under the stars on a warm LA night. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Most importantly, I want to give a huge Shoutout to ALL entrepreneurs who are building their businesses without the giant stepping stone of white privilege. The circumstances of where and to whom I was born have provided me a ton of seen and unseen benefits, both when I was first starting my business and to this day. White privilege is very real and it’s important we recognize that in our “success stories”. That being said, I do want to Shoutout a few specific folks, too: To some of my earliest clients who are still with me today – you believed in me from the very start and your referrals have (no joke) transformed my business and my life: Stacy, Sylvia & Andre, David & Alison, Wendy, Linda & Norbert. To my fellow lady entrepreneurs who slay every day and inspire me to pick myself back up off the mat when I’m feeling defeated: Moira, Jesse, Nicole (candyrevolver.com), Adrian (strangegazelle.com), Elise (eliseballard.com) and Chloe (chloejadeskye.com). To my family, Erin, and my aminos. To all the women who have come before – who faced the odds and succeed despite the challenges they faced. Shameless plug: My podcast is about these women (broadsyoushouldknow.com) and they inspire me constantly.
Rene Ashton, Rena Durham