Loren O’Brien is a Telly Award-winning director, comedian, creative master, and co-founder of Owt Films, a full-service production company that partners with agencies, brands, and networks to create stories that make people laugh (and cry). In her interview, she candidly shared with us her thoughts on working for herself versus working for a corporation, the challenges of running her own business, and one of her biggest failures (that taught her an important lesson!). Loren has made her business dreams come true and her interview is insightful for all the wild web women who want to get out and do their own thing too. Enjoy!
Meet Loren O’Brien!
What inspired you to launch a web-based business? I’ve never been one to lead a corporate job life. Actually, now that I think about it… everyone in my family works for themselves – so, naturally, it was what I always was destined to do. My career has mostly been spent working from home (although I had one job where I had to go into the office and I loathed it). The flexibility to have a business that reflects the life I want to lead and the opportunity to scale it however I want is incredibly important to me.
What do you love most about having your own business? The freedom to make life whatever you make it. The freedom to make your business fit around your life, not the other way around – life is too short to wait for someone else to make your dreams happen.
What is the most challenging about running a business? Loneliness for sure. It has gotten pretty bad at points that I even applied for corporate jobs. There’s no shame in saying that, and you understand that feeling when you work for yourself and things get tough. Having those thoughts of the grass being greener if you were an employee working for another company, where you don’t have to think about sales, operations, client management, quality control, marketing, the list goes on. Running a business is definitely a different lifestyle, and not for the faint hearted. But the reward for those who want to have this life, is totally worth it.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments? Instead I’ll tell you about my biggest failure: today I lost out on the opportunity for a major client (and I mean major) on a project that fit our brand perfectly… all because I felt insecure that we might not be ‘big’ enough for the job. This led me to not asking a question when I was unsure about something in the process, which ultimately led to our disqualification for this proposal. Was I upset? Absolutely. But it taught me an important lesson: don’t let insecurity drive you, ask questions, be unafraid to look like you don’t know it all, this doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it.
We also just won some Telly Awards, so that was nice too.
What are some professional risks you’ve taken that led to positive outcomes? Investing in re-branding our business. From the get-go the brand we created didn’t feel right.
I’ve always wanted to run a film production company, it’s been a trajectory I’ve been aiming towards for quite some time. But when the opportunity for it to happen finally came, I wasn’t prepared (if I’m honest I wasn’t really prepared at all). I hadn’t done any of the business work, I only had the dream. So when the chance came, we sort of threw a name together (which later became a huge confusing problem) and had some vague talking points about why you should work with us (which were not helpful in making us stand out). Simply put, our brand sucked and I was ignoring it. So last year we invested in a rebrand – and it has been the best business decision to date.
Formerly known as M-O, Momakes, Mommymadememashmym&ms (whatever you remembered us by), we are now Owt Films, a full-service production company specializing in branded entertainment for companies and original content for networks. But what the heck does ‘owt’ mean? It’s a small word that packs a big punch, just like us. Simply put, owt means ‘anything’. Because we invite you (our partners and audiences) to dream big, to think outside the box, to reach for the stars. Because at Owt Films, we believe anything is possible.
Now that we rebranded, we are realigning ourselves with companies, networks, and brands who have that same passion to shoot for the moon like we do. It’s given us roots, our team purpose, and a product that aligns with our souls.
Where’s your favorite place to get work done? Outside in my backyard. I can sit on the patio all day and work from there, feeling the sun and hearing the birds and my dogs playing outside. I’m a big nature lover. For me, being around nature puts everything into perspective on the ‘why’ of life.
What is the one book you would recommend other female entrepreneurs read? Big Magic, one of my best friends sent it to me for my birthday and I’m already hooked, every paragraph I feel inspired to be curious, brave, free, and, most of all, creative. The author (Elizabeth Gilbert) encourages us to uncover the ‘strange jewels’ that are hidden within each of us, which is integral for all entrepreneurs to discover.
Are you part of any mastermind or networking groups? If so, which ones? Launchpad2x
What does your typical day look like? Every morning my fiancé and I walk the dogs in our local park. It’s important to me to start the day outside to get a refresh of life before diving into our computers. We always end it with another walk with the dogs to decompress and reflect on the day and get excited about the next.
How do you unplug from work? I literally unplug. When I go outside I leave my phone at home or in the car. Again, for me nature is the most rejuvenating experience – it’s not for everyone and that’s for sure! Even being on the beach or a walk around the city being outside in a calm environment resets my gears.
What tips for maintaining work/life balance would you give to other businesswomen? Learn to make boundaries for yourself and your clients. I’ve begun to invest my time into creating new processes in order to keep my client informed throughout the process together. Giving parameters takes a lot of uncertainty away from both you, your employees, and your clients – leading to overall happiness.
What’s something you do every day to take care of yourself? Getting outside with my dogs and family.
What is a quote you live by? The overall saying ‘life is too short’. It can end at any point and when you see that, your perspective changes. You appreciate your loved ones more, you appreciate opportunities more, you push yourself harder than you ever imagined you could, you take more risks, you enjoy the small moments – because life is about all of those moments, not just what you are dreaming of or working towards.
What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t be quick to say always and never. Let life take you in unexpected directions, and give your full attention to each moment.