The Business lessons I learned from Shonda Rhimes and her making of Bridgerton.

I remember with Bridgerton went live it dang near broke the internet. Timepiece fanatics were overjoyed and loyal Shonda fans were thrilled to have yet another drama to delve into. I happen to be a loyal Shonda fan and a die-hard binger fanatic of Grey’s anatomy. In college, I used to block out my calendar every Thursday night to watch TGIT. My schedule was so strict even my college boyfriend (now husband) couldn’t interrupt me. I sat in a dorm room, alone with a bag of sunflower seeds, a Pepsi, and my 20-inch screen TV fully enthralled in Shonda’s masterful ability to tell stories. When I saw Bridgerton was a timepiece which I’m a total sucker for, and I could binge it on Netflix (which I would have killed for back in my greys days) I naturally had to watch. But I gotta be honest…..

It didn’t initially stand out to me. Despite the rave reviews from everyone else, I could hardly get through the first episode. I refused to give up on Shonda’s project so I dug a little deeper. I started looking for interviews and articles on the thought process behind Bridgerton to see if I could draw a connection. I love to understand films and tv-shows. How characters prepare for a movie, what the writers were thinking of when creating a scene. I will buy a DVD just to rewatch it with the commentary or the editor’s cut. So naturally, I went down the rabbit hole with Bridgerton scouring for something that stood out to me. And lo and behold I stumbled on this article from the Hollywood reporter. I highly encourage you to read it when you have a chance but I’ll cut to the most impactful part.

Shonda was looking for a break from primetime television and began to entertain other options outside of her powerhouse shows on ABC. The article doesn’t mention all the places she was considering but I’m sure a lot of people threw their name in the hat. One of them is Netflix. She decided to meet with the CO-CEO and her opening line was just astounding.

You’re not going to get another greys anatomy…that’s just not happening”.

When I read this the words jumped out the page. I saw both power in stating her boundaries, but also exhaustion from the infamous Shondaland creation. She was stating what she wanted as if there was no other option, because for her their truly wasn’t. Netflix was either going to take it or leave it and since we here with a season of Bridgerton, it’s obvious they decided to take it.

My thoughts were “wow so this is the type of confidence being a multimillionaire gives you? Or does pure lack of creativity and frustration bring you to this point of nearly bursting at the seams? In the midst of my questions, I also had a few lessons that clearly jumped out to me that I just had to share.

You don’t have to be a one-trick pony

Shonda could have spun her wheels stuck in a constant churn of Grey’s anatomy remakes but instead, she comes out with something entirely different. Still a love story drama, yes, but she got to do it on her terms. Whenever I feel like I’m going down the copycat rabbit hole I have to realize my WHY. I created my own business so that I didn’t have to follow someone else rules, so why then would I pigeonhole my business into anything that was authentic to who I am? 

Clear your own way

Not only did she have the courage to go after it but she told the CEO her boundaries. Sometimes when it comes to business we wait until the coast is clear before we list out our demands, and what I’ve learned is sometimes we are the ones clearing the coast. It’s our job to establish healthy boundaries for our business and our clients/customers. You will not win them all but if your brand doesn’t resonate with someone it’s likely they weren’t your ideal customer anyway.

New is scary no matter how rich you get

Shonda is a multi-millionaire and she was just as nervous as any creator to put out her project. There is never a point where challenges just don’t feel scary anymore, and the fear of judgment either from peers or fans may always be there. As business owners, we keep thinking- once I’m making millions I’ll be freer with my brand, things won’t have to be so buttoned up. Another one I hear is “When I sell X amount of product then I’ll venture into that new idea I had”. There is a difference between goal setting and hiding. Growth happens when you push yourself outside your limits. The lesson: judgment will always come knocking on your door, you can either hide from it or greet it with a fearless smile.

Have you ever watched or read something and it resonated with you? If so what were the life lessons it taught you!?

Branding Tips

March 7, 2021




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