8 TV Shows That Can Teach You About Running a Business
I've watched a lot of Netflix and Hulu in my day and one thing I never realized until starting my own business was how many of them could directly relate to the world of entrepreneurship and running your own business! Seriously... The Office? Shark Tank? Parks and Recreation? They ALL have something valuable to teach us and I want to explore those themes today. Themes you ask? Entrepreneurship, leadership and business relationships stick out the most to me when I think about these TV shows and it’s something I never paid much attention to until recently.
This funny thing happens when you jump into the world of creative entrepreneurship which is that you really start to look at everything around you differently and how it can relate to what you do.
The truth is that we all need rest. One way or another, the remedy to regroup is to simply zone out and relax on the couch or bed! It’s totally okay and we all deserve to do that. Just the other night I had about 1,000,100 things I wanted to be working on but I was just done. I didn’t want to go to bed, but I didn’t want to work so I curled up and spent two blissful hours on the couch catching up on a few of my favorite shows. It was heaven because I don’t usually lay down to watch TV. It’s usually off to the side on my little screen when I’m editing or working on things that don’t require much focus. Anyway, next time you’re about to drop from the wild ride we do call entrepreneurship, enjoy some guilt-free downtime with a few of these somewhat education shows for business owners!
01. Shark Tank
This is one of my favorite shows to watch in the evening. It's a reality show that features entrepreneurs of ALL kinds pitching their business ideas to potential investors who are otherwise known as "sharks." It illustrates how a short conversation can make or break the future of a business relationship as these entrepreneurs only have a short time to stand in front of the sharks, setting the tone and feel of any sort of pitch meeting. Shark Tank is true to life and that's what I love about it. I've especially loved the "follow up" episodes where the sharks check in on their investments to see how the business is doing and what Shark Tank either did or did not do to help their business grow.
02. The Office
I don't know about you, but The Office is probably one of my favorite shows on the planet and for so many reasons. The characters truly are epic, pretty broadly drawn, but quite honestly the most REAL type of people you'll run into again and again throughout your career. They encounter problems along the way, build alliances, and showcase dysfunctionality that is everywhere in the real working world. This is the business world and at times you'll be on the brink of peeing your pants from another epic Michael Scott-ism or crying over the ever-evolving relationship of Jim and Pam. Either way, you'll learn something - I promise.
03. Breaking Bad
I get it, I get it... Walter White is a bit of a difficult character to wrap your head around but hear me out on this one... he is the CLASSIC entrepreneur. He used his prior life failures to push himself into starting a business from scratch finding the money he needed and overcoming all the insane obstacles that were thrown his way. Sure, it's a criminal enterprise, but there is so much to learn from this show!
A few big takeaways I got from Breaking Bad and how it relates to business.
Being the best in what you do. Obvi - I don't recommend getting started in this particular line of work but it is important to be the best in your profession, whatever you decide to do. Walter White's meth became known for its superior quality and blue color which made it stand out from the competition.
Building a trustworthy team. One of Walter White's biggest shortcomings was how he built his team and who he chose to trust. On the flipside, he found a lawyer, Saul, who knew what worked and did not work in the world of "the street".
If you know it's wrong, you shouldn't do it. You hear me talk again and again about instincts and trusting your gut. In a nutshell, this show is the PERFECT example of that. Walter went against every being in his body when it came to what felt wrong but did it anyway. He justified his actions along the way to convince himself that it was all for his family.
There are so many more lessons from this show but those are what stick out to me the most.
04. Sex and the City
Where are all my Sex and the City fanatics out there? I can't even count the hours I've spent binge-watching this show and yes, I have them all on DVD! This show has taught me SO much about life, and business. Watching all six seasons is an experience I can simply chalk up to "wonderful", and I truly believe that every woman needs to watch this show.
Without taking up too much of your time, I want to break down the things that this show taught me.
How to be yourself.
It's totally okay to have casual sex.
Being alone is not a bad thing.
Love is complicated.
Love is also worth it and happily-ever-afters are out there.
Retail therapy is often the best remedy.
Your friends are everything.
I recall a Christmas holiday break and my sister and I didn't leave the bedroom for about a week, totally lost in Sex and the City. I think our parents forced us out for meals, but otherwise - we were totally lost in the life of Carrie Bradshaw. We laughed, we cried, and it's a time I'll never forget!
The primary focus of Sex and the City are the relationships between four women and their various boyfriends, husbands, one-night-stands and how those relationships are played out in the context of the business world and the problems many women seem to face within that world.
05. Better Call Saul
Shaun and I started this show after watching Breaking Bad because of the character, "Saul". We just freaking love him and how ridiculous his shenanigans are and knew that we'd also love this show. Throughout this show, you see what become of Saul Goodman after he left the world of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
I took so many business lessons from this show and it primarily focuses around leads.
Not all sales leads are good sales leads. Saul quickly learns that some of his new clients are a horrible fit for his business.
Relationships matter. Just because a transaction will come from working with X, doesn't mean it's worth it. Saul fights hard for the people he works with but it doesn't help him get ahead.
Saying no is important. Sometimes saying no to the wrong client is just as important as closing a sale with the right client.
06. Parks and Recreation
But seriously - this is probably the best sitcom I've ever watched and if you haven't already started binge-watching this show, now is the time! It's been several years since I watched and just told my man the other night that I want to start it again from the beginning and rewatch!
Parks and Recreation is an American political satire TV sitcom which will have you curled over laughing because it's so damn funny. Leslie Knope is my spirit animal and if you haven't already seen Leslie (Amy Poehler), you're missing out on a life experience.
Through seven seasons you will be taken on a hilarious and witty ride through civil service and great friendships. You'll witness the milestones and career highs and lows of the members of the Pawnee Parks Department. As I reflect back on this show, there are several lessons that can be taken away from it all that I'm excited to highlight!
Working with people who have different points of view is important. If you put Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson next to each other, you won't find many similarities, but somehow their characters totally compliment each other. They bring out the best in each other and their combined strengths to make their town better.
Taking the reins of an opportunity even if you don't think it's the right time. Time and time again we see Leslie Knope planning her future (I mean... have you seen the binders?). Leslie takes any odd or difficult situation and rather than regretting NOT doing something, she does it anyway, trusting that she could handle it no matter what the outcome.
Finding potential in unexpected places. This entire series is an unfolding action plan to make something great out of nothing. It literally kicks off with one of the characters falling in an empty pit, breaking both his legs, and in turn it inspired Leslie to turn it into a park for the community to enjoy.
Dreaming big is always worth it. Did you watch that clip above? Time and time again you'll see the characters of Parks and Recreation dreaming up some big dreams and while they don't always pan out, they never stop. Tom Haverford is constantly working a side hustle throughout the series, no matter how big or small. Throughout all his missteps, Tom was undeterred in his search for the next big idea.
Finding your tribe is key. Just watch the show. The entire benchmark of this show is the fact that any of these characters will do whatever they have to do to help a friend. They have each others' backs which is the ultimate recipe for success in any endeavor of life.
07. Fixer Upper
Hello... branding! If you're a branding fanatic like myself, you know that this is the holy grail. Because I don't know about you, but I cannot get enough of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Fixer Upper has won the hearts of millions and how could they not with their adorable family, strong love, their farm and so many other elements that make them so dang popular.
Chip and Joanna run several businesses in Waco, Texas and while they no longer record new episodes of Fixer Upper, they do own and operate Magnolia which was always Joanna's dream. You can even find their stuff in Target which is my favorite little section to cruise through anytime I'm there! I buy their stuff because not only is the quality there, but I love them as people and want to support them. A brand is so much more than a beautiful logo or website... it's an experience, it's a feeling.
Chip and Joanna Gaines highlight all the incredible things about a strong brand like being timeless and classic, having solid processes, functionality, attention to detail, lifting each other up, remaining strong through times of uncertainty or hardship, living out their mission within all areas of their life, and my favorite -- trusting the process and the journey and listening to not only their hearts, but their heads when it comes to running a business. I'm sure stepping away from the HGTV hit series Fixer Upper was no easy decision to make, but it's clear that they made the right move and to see all they have done and continue to do is absolutely inspiring.
You simply cannot help but fall in love with these two and all they represent. I highly recommend not only watching the show, but following along with them via social media and through their newsletter because it's all amazing and they have so much to teach us all about running an intentional business.
08. Duck Dynasty
This show is a reality series about a Louisiana family that operates a thriving business while staying true to their modest lifestyle and close-knit family. It's a simple, witty, and hilarious show about how this family made millions off of duck calls. My Husband and I have watched every episode and when I reflect back on it with a business eye, I realize how much it has to teach us! This show teaches us that where there is great connection and chemistry, there is great success. They kept their business plan simple, stuck to what worked best and they worked well together. When you think about running a business and relationships within the business to keep it afloat (like a family focused one), you have to get along for it to be successful. I highly recommend this show!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Emma Rose is a Squarespace website designer and photographer based out of the Pacific Northwest. She helps photographers not only stand out online, but dig deep to find the why in what they do. She strives to work with like-minded entrepreneurs who want to grow an audience, start and thrive their online business and change the freakin' world. She aims to help people create not only meaningful businesses but lives. For more about Emma, click here!