Lead with value. The sooner you adapt this strategy the sooner you’ll reach success.
Paul Xavier is a Portsmouth, New Hampshire based entrepreneur and founder of Next Level Creators, a training and mastery program that has helped hundreds of filmmakers, video creators, production teams and other creatives to systemize the process of generating new, high paying clients through his proven business strategies. Paul is a professional commercial filmmaker who has produced worldwide campaigns in industries ranging from law firms to doctors, clothing brands to automobile manufacturers and everything in between. His work as a creative entrepreneur and mentor has called him around the world to destinations like Bali, Palma De Mallorca, Berlin, Munich, Montreal, Texas, California and New York. Paul Xavier’s mission is to continue empowering creative entrepreneurs so that they can go from struggling artists to thriving creative entrepreneurs who have complete control over their financial, time and creative freedom.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I had always felt that the Traditional Education System had failed me growing up. While I was deciding whether to get a degree at some university or go to film school like my friends were doing, I stumbled upon a Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson on how “Schools Kill Creativity”.
That Ted Talk inspired me to take a different path for my education. Instead of Film School I decided to build a “Creative Business” and hired business mentors who showed me that I could use my creativity to create massive value for my clients while earning myself an income.
Once I cracked the code for myself, other creatives started asking me for help. They wanted to know how I did it; how I was able to create a predictable system for generating clients instead of living in the typical “feast or famine” pattern that they were stuck in.
I slowly started to share my insights with my creative entrepreneur friends that I was working with and they began to get amazing results. That sparked the passion to create the Next Level Creators Program. Soon after beginning to create the foundation for the NLC program, I found the book “Creative Schools” by Sir Ken Robinson. It fired me up and pushed me to fully dedicate my life to revolutionizing how creative’s turn their passions into a reliable income by providing massive transformational value to their clients doing what they love.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wouldn’t say that I have a typical day but I do have a routine that helps me stay hyper-productive everyday. No matter what I’m doing (traveling for an event or shoot, copywriting at home, etc.) I never start my day doing reactive activities like email, social media, or checking messages.
I always start my day doing something proactive, “Eating The Frog” as some would call it. Most of the time it’s a workout, meditation, reading a chapter in a book, writing a script or spending time with my wife. Structuring my day this way ensures that I stay focused on the most important “needle movers” in my business, rather than being reactive to what everything else that is calling for my attention.
Your time is valuable and other people or things will always try to compete for your attention; choose wisely where you’re placing your attention throughout the day and set your boundaries.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The simple answer is I invest my time, money & energy into them.
One of my favorite quotes is by Tony Robbins: “It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.”
When I have an idea I believe in, you can expect to see me put a lot of time, money and energy into bringing it to life. Dreams don’t work unless you do, so I believe in the sweat equity behind bringing my visions to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
How many huge opportunities are opening up for the select filmmakers, directors and video creators who are willing to adapt their content to new technologies and use their storytelling skills to solve problems in the world.
Here are just a few that excite me today:
New ways to add value with video by offering content retainers & commercial campaigns
New ways for creating profitable micro-budget films and publishing online
New profitable channels for distributing films & videos across the web to audiences
Limitless new content distribution opportunities for creators. The world loves content!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Everyday I meditate for 20 minutes or at least do a quick handstand so that I can view the world from a different perspective. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it works! It has been my experience that the busyness of life and business can consume your every waking thought and keep you thinking narrow minded about what you need to do, if you let it.
Meditation and looking at the world upside down (even for a minute) help me clear my mind and stay focused on what is truly important. And sometimes, seeing things from a different perspective that leads to an amazing breakthrough.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Love this question. I’d tell my younger self to learn how to think long term and big picture so that I don’t get bogged down in the details of any obstacles I’m facing. I’d also advise myself to obsess over delivering massive value to people because at the end of the day, the person who provides the most value wins the market.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that getting a degree from a Film School or university is a waste of money and time for creative entrepreneurs. Those 2-4 years in school would be better spent getting real world experience, working with paying clients and learning how to deliver real value. Anything learned in school is useless until you take it out and test it in the real world anyways; feedback from the market is the only true indicator of how “qualified” you are.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen for feedback. I always ask our clients for feedback on our products and services. I want to know what works for them and what doesn’t. I ask my team if a script is strong enough ten times before I shoot it. I even ask for feedback in my marriage and prioritize strong communication with my wife.
No matter what you’re working on, feedback is the only true way to know if the actions you are taking are the right ones. Even the absence of feedback is important feedback sometimes, make sure you’re listening.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Lead with value.
That doesn’t mean working for free… Simply offering your time to figure out how to solve someone’s problems is valuable and you can charge money to do that. The idea here is that you’re not soliciting from people but instead educating and entertaining your ideal clients before offering them the opportunity to work with you closer. Leading with value ensures that you’ll never feel “salesy” or “sleezy” in a conversation with a potential client because you’ve already provided them with immensely valuable information.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started out in business I failed hundreds of sales meetings and struggled to get paying clients because I was trying to convince people to work with me. I overcame these failures by changing my approach to sales entirely. Instead of pitching or convincing clients to work with me (which made me feel uncomfortable), I reframed sales into a valuable conversation I was able to give to my clients whether they worked with us or not.
I transformed salesy calls into real, valuable conversations that give clients clarity for their life and business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The simplest business model I recommend to video experts & production teams is to start offering content retainers instead of one-off video projects. This is massively valuable to the business owners you’re working with who are passionate about their product or service but don’t have the knowledge or expertise to produce great content that engages with their target audience. Also – most business owners understand that hiring you to shoot one video that they put on their Youtube channel or website isn’t going to get them big results.
Content retainers are where you offer to create videos on an ongoing basis that lead with value for your clients audience and create predictable recurring revenue for you as the creative entrepreneur.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Definitely my wedding ring. We found it on Etsy and it’s very simple but deeply meaningful. Having a supportive and loving partner in life has not only been the best personal decision I’ve ever made but has also been invaluable for our business. My wife is not only my life partner… She is also my business partner and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Google drive business account which gives my team and I unlimited cloud storage. That is where we upload all of our video content so our team can collaborate on projects seamlessly around the world.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
This book helped me break through my struggles with “Imposter Syndrome” and the identity crisis I was having as I was trying to go from being a struggling video creator in $12,000 in debt to a successful creative entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Lead with value. The sooner you adapt this strategy the sooner you’ll reach success.
There are huge opportunities opening up for content creators & video experts.
Think long term & obsess over adding value to your clients
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.