Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Mickens.
Hi Sarah, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I got started in wedding videography 100% on accident. I was in college in the 2010’s so naturally, I wore skinny jeans, flannel and had swoop bangs – typical ‘hipster’. One day a friend of mine asked if I could help them film a wedding; I said, ‘Sure! But I’ve never touched a professional camera before in my life.’ To which my friend replied something to the tune of, ‘You dress like a photographer so I assumed you were one.’
Thankfully, this friend showed me the ropes and off I went to film my very first wedding. I ended up working with that team for about a year! They showed me the ropes, taught me everything I needed to know about the hands-on filming side of things, then they disbanded. So, I set off on my own into the big, scary world of small business ownership. Now, a decade later, I’ve built three branches of my business filming weddings, brands and coaching other service-based business owners through their first years to be profitable.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I don’t think anything about owning a small business is smooth or easy. Then you add in the culture of being a creative artist, and it can get pretty messy. Being creative has always been a part of me since I was a kid, but then you grow up and everyone expects you to get a ‘real job’, work a 9-5, and do creative things on your own time and only as a hobby. It’s really hard to make it as a professional creative. No one wants to pay money for something that looks like ‘fun’ or to pay someone to do a job that they enjoy. It’s almost like work has to make you miserable for the general public to deem you worthy of their hard-earned money. I get it.
In reality, creative business owners are some of the most talented businesswomen and men I’ve ever met. We’re good at sales, marketing, admin, and our trade all at once. On the flip side, you have to be good at everything all at once. Very few people actually know what it’s like to solo run a business, to be the ONE person doing the sales, marketing, support, accounting, and then actually doing the creative work. Those of us in the small business community band together in unofficial support groups to encourage one another because it would be a heck of a lot easier to work a 9-5 than to do this. We traded in the 40 hour work week to work 60 hours a week. And that’s the hardest part – the work never stops.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I own Gold + Sage which is a video production company based in NC, but we work worldwide! On the weddings side of my brand, I’m known for our rad couples and destination weddings. On the corporate side of my brand, I’m known for taking brands to the next level either through business coaching or video content – sometimes both! I don’t believe that someone has to limit themselves to one singular specialty, so I don’t limit myself to only filmmaking. I have so much knowledge that I need to share with the world, so that’s why I’ve branched into business coaching more recently, but I also flex my creative muscles through wedding and corporate filmmaking.
I’m most known for being myself – genuinely myself. There’s more than enough clients for each and every creative entrepreneur on the planet, so there’s no use in trying to be someone you’re not. Not every client is for me, and that’s totally okay because there’s people out there who want to work with my dry sense of humor and creative mind.
I’m most proud of the other business owners I’ve helped along the way. It’s amazing to see them thriving and making their dreams come true! Whether it’s a business owner who hired us to film branded content for them or another small business I’ve helped get up and running, it’s amazing to see other people succeed.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
If I had to rate myself on a scale of 0-10 from less to more risky, I’d give myself an 8. I love taking risks, but I also make sure that those risks are calculated. In my opinion, not everyone has the luxury to be a risk taker. When I was 18 and started my business, I knew I could go live with my parents again if I had to. Now, I have a supportive husband with a stable career and we’re child-free. That has opened me up to be pretty risky and so far, it’s paid off.
My perspective on risk is that you have to do what is right for you in the moment. Not everyone can quit their job and ‘go for it’, other people may have a family, no fallback options, and need their own personal, stable income for a variety of reasons. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not sexy to take stupid risks, it’s sexy to have a plan.
The biggest risk I ever took was quitting my 9-5 and it wasn’t even that risky because I still worked part-time for a while – baby steps. I never intended to be a full-time business owner. I always thought it would be a fun weekend job, but as I built out my company the time commitment was too much and the potential to replace my income on my own merit was too alluring. So I went for it and I did it. Don’t get me wrong, it took YEARS to get to that point though. I was 18 when I started my company and I was 26 when I finally got to go full time in my business. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I wish my older self could have helped my younger self shave of 7 of those years,
- Wedding Films start at $3600
- Corporate video content collections starts at $1200
- Business coaching starts at $500
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.goldandsage.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/goldandsageweddings
- Facebook: facebook.com/goldandsageweddings
Headshot: Candice Rork Photography Others: Sarah Mickens, Gold and Sage