We had the good fortune of connecting with Thomas Crosson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thomas, how do you think about risk?
I am a firm believer that in order to achieve anything great, risk is always involved. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to be a YouTuber or a doctor or raising capital for a startup, risk is always present and can cause a lot of people to change paths or stop pursuing their dreams. Risk comes in many shapes and sizes and looks different in various scenarios. For example if you are trying to start your own YouTube channel there is minimal financial risk. All you really need is a cell phone, good lighting, your time, and knowledge/experience/opinions on a topic that other people want to hear about. There is some risk that people might not like your opinions or they disagree with the things you say which could ultimately tarnish your reputation. However, overall risk is low. Medical students that are striving to become doctors take on some financial risk with student loans. These students often times have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt by the time they graduate and can actually earn income. The financial risk is very high. Another example is a startup raising capital so that they can take their business to the next level. The entrepreneur may have some skin in the game financially, but they most likely have invested the time they have spent building the company. Raising capital means they are now risking somebody else’s money and their own reputation as an entrepreneur. When I started my company, Full Package Media, I boot strapped it using a credit card and sweat equity. The risk was that I don’t make any money and get stuck with a credit card bill and I’ve wasted my time which I can never get back. Everything you do has risk involved but the way you think about and handle risk is extremely important. Risk is inevitable, but the way you think about it will determine how you move past it (or don’t move past it). Think of the last time you crossed a street with heavy traffic. You stood at the corner of the intersection and waited patiently for the little red hand to disappear and the little stick figure to give you the queue to walk. As soon as it changes, you step into the street and start to cross. Even if cars are still approaching the intersection, you still cross. Why? There is a lot at stake – you could die if those cars don’t stop. The reason that you are willing to cross the street is because you have done it before, many times. In your past experience, the cars have always stopped. You even know what it looks like when a car is slowing down or speeding up. You know how to judge the situation and react because this situation is not new to you. You have the knowledge and experience to understand that the risk of a car running you over while you cross the street is very low. Furthermore you have the ability to mitigate the risk of getting run over by a car because you can read the signs that indicate you might get run over – honking, tires screeching, yelling…etc. Knowledge and experience are your biggest tools when it comes to mitigating and understanding risk. These tools give you the ability to first understand your risk position (what is the risk and what is the likelihood of this risk coming true?) and second understand how to mitigate that risk further. Lastly, you need to determine your tolerance for the risk and if you cannot confidently mitigate the risk to your tolerance level, then you might choose to not take the risk. You might decide that crossing the street poses too high of a risk of getting run over and despite your ability to mitigate the risk by monitoring the speed of the approaching cars it is just too risky for your tolerance level. Instead, you hail a cab and drive the rest of the way to your destination. In our crossing the street example, you had knowledge based on a lifetime of experience crossing the street. Somebody taught you how to cross the street when you were little or you figured it out on your own. As you start your path in life, no matter what that path is, you most likely won’t have the experience and understanding of how to get where you want to go. It’s not just you, all of your peers are pretty much in the same boat. This is why experienced individuals that know a lot about something are so valued. Having a mentor or a person on your team that has been where you are going or want to get to is monumentally helpful. When I started Full Package Media, I hired a business coach and still work with that same coach after 3.5 years. My coach has started businesses that have failed and has started businesses that have been successful. He has been where I want to go and can help me mitigate the risk of getting run over by a car and failing. At the end of the day, you will have risk in all that you do. The biggest takeaway is that you need to face risk head on. Find a mentor or use your own experience/research to identify your risk position, understand possible mitigation, and know your tolerance. Do not let your impulsive emotions make decisions for you. Be calculated and approach risk like any other problem that needs to be solved.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I founded Full Package Media (FPM) in 2016 and have spent the past 4 years building, growing, and learning! Everyday poses new challenges and obstacles. FPM is a full service media creator for residential and commercial real estate. We offer pretty much all media types that are needed to market a property – 3D Tours, Photography, Videography, Aerial Photography, Aerial Videography, Virtual Staging and more. We help realtors sell homes faster and for a higher price by creating inspiring and emotion evoking media. Since 2016 we have grown tremendously. In the beginning, it was tough because we were the new guys on the block without much of a fan base. Now, we have a proven track record of providing outstanding customer service, creating beautiful media, and keeping all of it really affordable. Most of our new clients are from referrals from colleagues and friends that love what we do! Growth in any business is difficult. The biggest lesson that I have learned through building FPM is to never stop listening to your customers. Especially in the early stages of starting your company. If you have a policy or a product that your customers don’t like or needs some tweaks – they will let you know! The other biggest lesson I have learned is to be less emotional when tackling a problem. Emotions often get in the way of making decisions and I’ve found success with approaching problems more from a scientific perspective. I review data, identify patterns, make a hypothesis, test it out, and then revise as necessary. It may seem like a very basic approach, but when so many pieces are moving in your business it is easy to get caught up in the weeds. Lastly, just don’t give up. Great things take time and not everyday is going to be bright. Learn from the losses and celebrate the wins but just don’t give up!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I don’t get out as often as most people, but when I do I go to about 5 places. Uncle Julios, The Katy Trail Ice House, Pecan Lodge, and Taqueria El Si Hay. Those are my staples. If you are visiting then I’d recommend checking out Trinity Groves, Deep Ellum, and Bishop Arts. I try to support local small businesses whenever I can, because I know how much work goes into those places. From the flowers outside of the front door to the design of the menu – some entrepreneur spent time figuring it all out.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My business partner, Gretchen Mikulich, has stuck by my side through all of ups and downs of starting and growing FPM. A lot of people will run when things tough. Finding somebody that will stick by your side and persevere with you is invaluable.
Full Package Media