Successful Entrepreneurs

The Force and George Lucas

Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures

George Lucas grew up in Modesto, California and he once reflected that he had a different life planned for him. However, he took a chance on a story that he had written and the rest is history. Now, he is one of the most recognizable people in all of Hollywood and is the creator of the legendary Star Wars movies.

George Lucas did not start out successful in Hollywood.

His first film, THX-1138, was not considered a success.

However, one of his films soon afterward, Star Wars, set the course for filmmaking in the next decade.

Star Wars was an innovative film in that it presented a simple science-fiction/action storyline that was enhanced by superior special effects. That movie went on to become the first film to surpass the $200 million plateau, an unheard mark at that time.

Buoyed by his newfound success, Lucas then established LucasFilm Ltd. and produced two more movies that added to the Star Wars storyline. Those two movies were named The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. In addition, to the original Star Wars trilogy, Lucas also produced the Indiana Jones trilogy with the popular Harrison Ford.

Lucas then added to the Star Wars saga by creating another trilogy that acted as prequels. The films were entitled The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. The Star Wars Universe made George Lucas a household name, a multi-millionaire, and has helped his company, LucasFilm Ltd., expand into different aspects of the entertainment business.

Yet, in the beginning of his career, George Lucas wondered if the filmmaking business was right for him. He did not have much initial success.

What he did have was passion for making films, so he persevered and kept working his craft. "You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you," says Lucas. Otherwise, he believes "you'll stop at the first giant hurdle."

In addition, Lucas knew from early on that he was good at making films and focused on honing that craft. In making films, Lucas was well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He worked very hard to perfect his strengths while improving upon his weakness, which was dealing with technology.

Lessons for Entrepreneurs

There are three lessons to take away from reading about how George Lucas achieved success.

One, grow a thick skin and be prepared for criticism and early failures. Every time you start a business, risks will be involved and sometimes things do not go your way. The key to a successful entrepreneur is how that person responds to the situation. Does he persevere through the tribulations?

The second lesson is that every entrepreneur should know his or her strengths and weaknesses to give him or her the best chance at success. Knowing what skills need improvement will help limit potential pitfalls for you and your small business.

The third lesson...just as Mr. Lucas was innovative in bringing out-of-this-world special effects to his films, entrepreneurs should also work hard to be innovative. What special effects can you use to amaze your customers?

Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.

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