By Dan Dinsmore, an EO Albany member and CEO of Overit Media
What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a common question. You’re asked when you’re 10 years old, and sometimes when you’re 30 years old. Usually, the answers are completely different. But not always.
I’ve always wanted three things: I wanted to be a part of a successful marketing company that produced great, creative work; I wanted a music career that had me in the recording studio and on stage, sharing entertaining and engaging songs and experiences; and I wanted to be the husband and father to a happy and healthy family.
Thankfully, today I can say I’ve done all of that. And I still am doing it. I’m learning and getting better at all three every day. Here are some things I’ve figured out along the way.
The Early Years
I began Overit in 1993 when I was in my early-20s, with a desk covered in paperwork, music at high volumes and a brain full of ideas. In my marketing company, I was a one-man band. In addition to my responsibilities at Overit, I pursued music. As a long-time drummer, I played with The Clay People; we released a self-titled album in 1998 (reaching number one on the Metal charts with our single, “Awake”). By the mid-90s, I had a few hands at Overit, a few bands and gigs outside of my workday, and I was a single father to two great kids.
Making My Mark on Marketing and Music
Whether in marketing, music or my personal relationships, I’ve come across a few key lessons over the years. All of my passions require teamwork, a willingness to lead that’s just as important as the willingness to learn, and an understanding that you’re never done growing. For me, it boils down to five key pieces of advice.
- Be proactive. One of Overit’s biggest successes comes from our motion department. With a lot of research and analysis, and a little bit of luck, we foretold how important online video would become to the marketing mix. We took the time to research, train and execute, and in the end, we helped our clients (and ourselves) stay ahead of the game. It requires being daring enough to go out on a limb with an idea you truly believe in. It’s risky, and it’s difficult, but in the end, if you do it right, that idea you’ve so proactively worked toward is going to be what makes your company stand out and succeed.
- Be patient. How cliché is that? But really, marketing companies don’t become successful overnight. Bands don’t always (or almost ever) make it with the first track they record. And I didn’t find my soul mate on the first date. Long nights, late hours, and lots of hellos and goodbyes applied to all three of my pursuits … it wasn’t all good times. The day-to-day startup of your endeavor requires a lot of grunt work that will test you, and make you lose sight of the end goal. Think long-term about the effect your company will have in the marketplace. And stay focused!
- Surround yourself with good people. This might not work for everyone, but when I met Michelle more than a decade ago, I met not only my future wife but also the best business partner I’ve ever had. Plus, we’ve built a great team around us. We don’t vacation much, but when we get away for a few days, we have colleagues who share the same vision and desire for our company to succeed. It’s the people that define your business. And all along, it’s been the same for music. If the people don’t work together, the songs aren’t that good. And worse, watching a live show of people playing together who don’t enjoy each other’s company is terrible. Just recently, my current bandmates (and friends) from OWL had a video published in Rolling Stone. It takes a lot of teamwork to make great music.
- Create an environment people enjoy being in. For Overit, 2012 was a breakout year. We acquired PR and development agencies, hired eight new employees and our scope of work changed to a point where new equipment and a whole new work setting was required. We purchased a vacant church and pursued renovations to turn the historic site into a modern, technology-laden workspace. With stained glassed windows, pews converted into desks and an open environment ideal for collaboration, the environment was inspiring from the moment our employees walked in until they left each evening.
- Have passion for what you’re doing, or you won’t do it well. Find what your passion is. It doesn’t always end up that working full-time, pursuing hobbies on the side and raising a family is feasible (or what is best for you and those around you), but you should be passionate about what you’re doing. It makes for a happier, healthier and more productive you. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing at work, do all you can to seek that inspiration outside of working hours. If your passion is your work, do everything you can to get better at your job and be the one to make your industry better. And if, like me, if your biggest passion is your family, then work hard to be the best husband, wife, son, daughter, father or mother that you can be.
For me, my passions are my family, my company and my music, and that has kept me motivated through the nights spent changing diapers, pursuing crazy client projects and refining arrangements for the next recording. Be careful what you wish for– some nights now are spent doing all three of those! There’s never enough sleep, or enough coffee. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
Dan Dinsmore is the founder of Overit, and has more than two decades of marketing and digital media experience. He has been instrumental in the perpetuating of marketing experimentation, keeping Overit on the cutting edge of trends and theory. Dan has led Overit to hundreds of awards with the creation of some of the most innovative and creative brand projects at both the regional and national levels. He serves on the board of the Albany Senior Services Group, in addition to the Capital Region’s Entrepreneur’s Organization.