Madelaine Anderson is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Talus Films, a full-service video production company that partners with innovative brands to create emotionally compelling films that inspire their audiences. She is passionate about using video to tell stories, amplify voices and messages, and help others build their businesses. Madelaine wears many hats in the film world including actor, producer, and production designer. When she’s not in front of or behind the camera, she can be found hiking, camping, traveling, or training as an aerialist on silks. She is originally from St. Louis, MO and graduated from Truman State University with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre. She currently resides in Chicago with her husband, daughter, and pup.
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Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Madelaine Anderson: Hello, my name is Madelaine Anderson and I’m the co-founder and creative director of Talus Film – a full-service video production company based in Chicago. I have a background in theatre and project management and have always been creative at heart. After many years of working in start-up tech and working side gigs as an actor and producer, I wondered what I could do to combine my love for storytelling and my business acumen. This guided me to create a production company where I could combine my passions into my career while helping other businesses spread their messages through video marketing.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Madelaine Anderson: I believe entrepreneurs are both born and made. Some folks are born with a special drive to create something new and be the visionary of it. Others will never have this drive. For those that do, it can follow them through their lives and is always a burning twinge in the back of their minds. But an entrepreneur is made when they take action on that drive and the accompanying thoughts. They might take a class, major in business, decide to throw everything to the wind and start something brand new, or even decide to start a side hustle that becomes their livelihood. Taking action is the key here. It’s what makes an entrepreneur out of the predispositions they’re born with.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Madelaine Anderson: As an entrepreneur, I’m curious, adventurous, and passionate. I’ve always been the person asking why. I challenge the status quo and want to learn more about the world and the people around me. I love a good adventure – from backpacking a national park to training aerial silks to complete a high ropes course blindfolded. I’m hardly ever stopped by trying something new. And I’ve found that through my life when I act on and go after my passions I’m always much more satisfied and fulfilled.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Madelaine Anderson: My company uses video to bring stories to life, amplify missions and messages, and help others build their businesses. We love working with innovative brands to create emotionally compelling films that inspire their audiences. When Talus Films first began, our focus was crafting narrative short film content in the independent film space. We looked around and saw so many of our fellow artists with stories to tell and we partnered with them to bring those to life. We quickly realized that we also wanted to do the same for the amazing brands and organizations we saw all around us who also had stories to tell and were out making difference in their communities and in the lives of the folks who used their products and services. So, we expanded our focus to include both independent and branded video content.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Madelaine Anderson: Entrepreneurs must assume that the path they’ll be walking will be unconventional. They’ll be breaking with the status quo to create something no one else has before. There will be mentors and partners along the way – some with businesses that look very similar – but their creations will be all their own. This also means they are visionary. They must assume that stepping into this role will be a choice they’ll choose over and over again every time they get out of bed in the morning.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Madelaine Anderson: I felt like an imposter much of my first year. It was a hard feeling to overcome, but my confidence grew as I continued on my path and saw success. Most people think that paying dearly for something looks financial. For me, it was a mindset shift. I spent many days, weeks, months doubting myself and what I was attempting. I paid dearly for my mental health.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Madelaine Anderson: You can do it. And you are good enough. Take things day by day and keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you keep taking action, things will move. It’s easy to look down the road and ponder all the what-ifs. But more than anything enjoy the present. Revel in it. You’re creating something brand new and it deserves your attention in the here and now.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Madelaine Anderson: The worst advice I was given was to not quit my day job until my business was up and running. While this can and did work for me for a while, the more I divided my time the less I accomplished. There came a time when I needed to jump, pull the trigger, and switch my focus to my business to help it grow sustainably. When I was no longer working my day job, things looked a lot different for me and the business.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Madelaine Anderson: I think COVID-19 has reinforced the visionary nature of being an entrepreneur. It’s driven home the idea that what’s working today might not work tomorrow or next month. It’s brought into focus the art of the pivot and how entrepreneurs are predisposed to navigate many unforeseen events. I think it’s also changed the assumption that the businesses we start are the businesses we’ll always be running. Many folks have closed up shop or pivoted entirely to start something else new. Something necessary in our new COVID-19 world and beyond.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Madelaine Anderson: I think many people believe that you need to go to business school to start your own business or be an entrepreneur. I’d call this a myth. I think that anyone with the passion and drive to start their own business can do it. You won’t and don’t have to do it alone. Find mentors, talk with people, scour the internet. There are tons of resources that can be a wealth of knowledge for you, and they’re not always found in a classroom.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Madelaine Anderson: Curiosity, passion, a willingness to take risks, confidence, resiliency, resourcefulness, and a vision are the things I’d say are most important when you’re setting out to start a business. You need to love what you’re about to embark on, be full of questions and a willingness to learn, know that risks are a part of the game, believe that you can do it and get back up when you’re knocked down, accept that you don’t know everything and you’ll find the knowledge you lack along the way and always be dreaming.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Madelaine Anderson: I think one of the most powerful things you can do to prepare is to find a mentor. Someone you respect and admire who has done what you’re hoping to do. You can learn so much from their guidance and wisdom. Know that there isn’t a magic bullet, book, website, or movie that will tell you all that you need to know. Experience – yours or others – can often be the best teacher. Practice owning and stepping into leadership every chance you get. The repeated repetitions will prepare you for the challenges of entrepreneurship like nothing else can.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Madelaine Anderson: There are too many to choose from! I often think about all the things I could do with my life – so many things excite me. I’ll narrow it down to three. I’d be a national park ranger, a professional film/tv actor, or a film production designer.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Madelaine Anderson: As an artist myself, I’m going to have to say that I wouldn’t add anyone else to Mount Rushmore. It’s a complete work of art as it is. And as someone who loves the natural elements of our country, I’d have to say the natural beauty of the area doesn’t need another face carved into it. I would, however, love to see more tributes to the amazing women who have shaped our country – perhaps starting with the Lakota Sioux women since Mount Rushmore resides on their land.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Madelaine Anderson for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Madelaine Anderson or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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