I recently met Natalie MacNeil via the internet. What a marvelous thing this is, the internet! I can remember when it was a very big deal to be able to go somewhere that had web connectivity and be able to get into a university database as a new way to do research. I lived here, the university was there but the internet allowed me access I would not otherwise have had. Same is true with meeting so many interesting and fascinating people on this globe we call home. I’ve met people from all over the world. In my art work life, last year I met a young woman who lived in an eastern European country who was complaining about the 5 p.m. gridlock in her city…and that it made getting home to her daughter a time consuming thing. I could relate as I live in a very traffic congested area of California.
Natalie MacNeil lives in Canada and wears many hats. Natalie is a media producer and consultant, specializing in online media and marketing. Her impressive roster of roles is best seen at her website here. She graciously agreed to this interview.
Q: Natalie, I love the signature in your email where you put as your title, “new media producer.” I take it by “new media” that you are referring to the internet and online experiences in the film and television industry?
Natalie: Yes, by new media I mean blogs, social communities, interactive websites, social media, and online marketing campaigns. These projects may or may not be in the film and television industry and some of the projects I work on are for other companies while others, like my blog and network for young entrepreneurs, are my own projects.
Q: You’ve mentioned to me that the website for the television show, “The Listener,” is one of your projects – how did you get involved?
Natalie: I worked with a company called My Pet Skeleton Productions and we were responsible for designing the look and feel of the interactive website. It turned out really well. I hope everyone will get a chance to check it out. I got involved with My Pet Skeleton Productions because it is owned by a good friend of mine, Vincent Marcone. He and I have been working on a lot of projects together lately because our interests are aligned and our skill sets are complimentary, which makes us a great team. The project we’ve been working on most recently is Hana’s Suitcase Online, an interactive experience that compliments the book and documentary. It’s a project our whole team is really proud of.
Q: From your unique perspective, what is the future of a marriage between the entertainment industry and the internet?
Natalie: The entertainment industry has really been affected by online distribution and the ones that will come out on top are the ones that embrace online media and discover new ways of reaching fans and consumers online. There was a time when music companies did not want to distribute music online and then they had no choice because that’s where consumers were getting their music. The big television networks are now playing television shows online and I’m sure more film companies will eventually use the internet to distribute movies as well since not many currently do. The marriage between the entertainment industry and the internet goes far beyond distribution too. These companies need to leverage social media, blogging, and creatively use interactive online marketing and build experiences around the music, show, or film. We are going to continue seeing drastic changes in the entertainment industries. My high school business teacher used to say, “Times are a-changing and companies better learn to be leaner and meaner and play harder and smarter…” and that is definitely true of the entertainment industry -and any business for that matter.
Q: What do you like best about your business?
Natalie: I have always been an entrepreneur and I started my business when I was still a student. I promised myself that I would focus on building my own company after finishing university rather than taking a corporate job. I love being my own boss and creating the future I want. I like having that freedom and knowing that the harder I work, the more successful I will be. The other thing I like about my business is that online media keeps growing as an industry and we constantly get to push the limits.
Q: You balance your business, a successful blog, social media interactions, philanthropy, not to mention travel and a personal life…how do you do it?
Natalie: I am very organized! I use my Google Calendar and BlackBerry to manage my schedule. I also work with great teams that contribute to whatever project it is that I’m working on. Surrounding yourself with the right people is a very important part of business. In the interviews I have done with entrepreneurs, many will credit the people they work with as being the most important contributing factor to their success.
Q: Why did you start your blog, “She Takes On The World?”
Natalie: I started She Takes On The World as more of a personal blog since I was traveling a lot and I was involved in some very interesting things. As I neared the completion of my university degree and my business was my main focus, the blog naturally evolved into more of a business and entrepreneurship blog. I’m motivated by the fact that women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. My goal is to inspire and empower these women business owners through She Takes On The World.
Q: Guy Kawasaki, in his book, The Art of the Start, says this about an entrepreneur:
- “…The truth is that no one really knows if he is an entrepreneur until he becomes one-and sometimes not even then. There really is only one question you should ask yourself before starting any new venture: Do I want to make meaning?…”
What’s your definition of an “entrepreneur?”
Natalie: I really like Guy’s definition about making meaning. To me, that is what entrepreneurship is all about -making meaning and creating change. I view entrepreneurs as change agents. If I had to define entrepreneurship it would be with this George Bernard Shaw quote: “Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”
Q: Why is it important to you to be involved with young entrepreneurs?
Natalie: Generation Y is a pretty entrepreneurial generation and I believe Generation Z will be even more entrepreneurial. When I was starting my first business I had a basic support system but it would have been beneficial to have access to more resources and help. I get involved with young entrepreneurs because I want to make sure they have a strong support system to make their business a success. GarageEntrepreneurs.com, launching later this month, is all about being part of that support system for young entrepreneurs.
Q: Last question: If I were a young entrepreneur and I were to ask you: should I blog or not blog? What would be your answer?
Natalie: BLOOOOG! 🙂 My blog has been a great promotional tool for my business and personal brand. I have received so many incredible opportunities through my blog. I consider blogging to be an essential part of marketing a business today.
Thank you to Natalie for her willingness to share a bit of her life with others. I hope the readers of Linda’s Business Blog will check all the sites annotated in this interview and see exactly what Natalie has going on…it’s new and exciting.