What La La Land Teaches us About Business & Relationships

If you haven’t seen it, La La Land is a musical about two lovers who struggle to balance their relationship with their own professional aspirations.

With a star-studded cast, snappy music, nostalgia soaked cinematography, numerous awards, and a climatic spotlight at the Academy Awards that would make even Steve Harvey blush—it’s easy to forget about the core message of Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land. And though there’s a lot to take from the 128 minute long movie, what we’re most interested in exploring are it’s commentaries on entrepreneurship. 

**Yes, this article is spoiler free**

  1. Don’t Abandon Your Core Competency

Director and Screenplay Writer Damien Chazelle sticks to what he knows, and more importantly—to what works. Previously an aspiring Jazz musician, Chazelle created his first film Whiplash around a young aspiring jazz musician. Whiplash went on to be nominated for Best Picture and win numerous Academy and Golden Globe Awards.

Does the plot sound familiar? Yeah, that’s because La La Land also featured an aspiring jazz musician, and weaves jazz in and out of its dialogue and score.

The Takeaway: 

As technology and taste evolve, so must a business—but be sure to hold on to that core competency that got you a following in a first place.

  1. Setting Expectations

The title La La Land refers to both L.A. and a state of being “out of touch with reality”—but what reality might protagonists Mia and Sebastian be out of touch with? The sacrifice required by entrepreneurship’s hand.

Business owners know, running a business is a full time job. As the saying goes, “Entrepreneurs are the only ones willing to work 80 hours in order to avoid working 40.”

The Takeaway: 

Whether you’ve got a side hustle, you and your spouse run a business together, or you’re pursuing YouTube stardom—you need to realize that being successful requires hours of blood, sweat and tears. Being an entrepreneur means sometimes choosing work over family, being physically present while your mind is absent thinking about some genius marketing campaign you’re going to make the following day. Try segmenting your life as much as you can, and set realistic boundaries and expectations with your family members.

  1.  The Power of Repurposing Content

Repurposing is a big buzzzword in marketing right now that essentially means to recycle old content (blog posts, photos, white papers, emails etc.) and present it in a new way. An example would be to take an old blog post you’ve written and turn its most salient points into a series of 140 characters that you’ll share on Twitter over the period of a few weeks.

La La Land does a masterful job of repurposing an old genre that has fallen by the wayside—the musical. Yes, Chazelle’s version has it’s originalities, but it also takes what was once an extremely popular genre, and asks how it can make it relevant for to today’s audience.

The Takeaway: 

  1. Nostalgia is a powerful tool that can immediately bring back positive memories associated with something in the past. These positive memories can be translated to revenue. (Just look at what beverage companies are doing with their retro packaging.)
  2. When repurposing old content, ask yourself how you can make it more applicable to its new medium, time period, audience, or objective. Don’t be afraid to dig into the archives of old campaigns or content that experienced a positive reception.

Austin Miller is Head of Content Marketing at the online bookkeeping service Bookly. When he’s not busy making entrepreneurs’ lives easier, he’s writing about all things pop culture.