Josh Rumer | Crain's Baltimore

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Josh Rumer


Based in Austin, Texas, Josh Rumer travels the world to find and develop musical talent. Invengo Productions' roster includes Baltimore musical artist Grayson Moon, who’s known for soulful vocals and a blues- and jazz-inspired guitar style. Moon recently recorded a seven track EP with Invengo Productions, and it will be released in early 2018.

The Mistake:

Not being able to properly delegate responsibilities is a mistake I pretty much make every day.

Our business is kind of different since it’s in the arts and entertainment industry. Things aren’t logistical, there’s a lot of emotional and personal and artistic factors. But I think one of the biggest problems of all time, and this could be with anyone starting a business, is the real desire to do everything yourself. You just try to handle everything on your own so you’re certain that it gets done properly.

We have a big turnover rate in the entertainment business. People come in and they want to say they’re a producer, or a manager, or a booker. When people get into the game they don’t really understand how much work it takes. It’s up to the leader of the company to guide them through that and make them aware of what’s going on. I’ve seen at least 15 to 20 right-hand people come and go because the work load was so immense.

It’s a hard job what we do. I can do every facet of it, and I end up doing it alone from time to time when people have to move, or quit, or can’t handle it. I really don’t require the help but it’s nice to have. When it comes to booking concerts, shows, handling the ins and outs of production, dealing with scheduling and clientele and artist relations, all the way down to picking people up from the airport and lining up their arrangements, these are all things I used to do on a daily basis. Not everyone is able to keep up.

I get burned out at least once a week, but you have to step back and take a breath. It’s something I’ve failed to do probably the most. It’s almost impossible to walk away when you’ve got a bunch of artists and there’s always texts and phone calls and emails. There’s all this stuff on a daily basis, seven days a week. But you have to turn your phone off and leave it in the car, go for a walk in the woods, or be with your family, even if it’s only for an hour. It’s amazing how much that resets you. It’s like the jar of coffee beans in a candle shop—when your nose can’t take so many smells, you go smell the coffee beans and it resets your olfactory system. You have to step away, I’m a firm believer in that now.

I get burned out at least once a week, but you have to step back and take a breath.

The Lesson:

The lesson I’ve learned is no matter how much you think you know, you have to take a moment and listen to the people you hired to help you. You hired them for a reason and you can’t lose sight of that. There comes a time when you have to let go, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

About a year and a half ago, a guy moved down to Austin to work with us, and he’s been the most solid person I’ve run into in my entire life. I cast a lot of things on his shoulders and I have the faith that he can do it because he does it every single time. You just have to give somebody the reins and let them go for it. He’s the only one who’s been able to keep up, so it’s been a blessing having him around.

You have to have faith and trust yourself. If you’re smart enough and driven enough to start your own business, to make your own thing work, to not do what everyone else out there is doing, keep that in mind when you’ve made the decision to hire someone to help you. Cast it onto their shoulders and let them take care of it.

It’s your judgment that got them there, and if you’re not delegating properly, then you’re not trusting your own judgment.

Invengo Productions is on Twitter at @JoshuaRumer.

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