Surviving two recessions: more robust and resilient

On today’s episode, we’re talking to Brian Milauskus, founder and owner of Kidstock! Theater.

Brian has successfully grown this business to seven figures twice over the last 28 years. A creative genius, Brain first founded Kidstock! with the intention to simply make a living for himself. The company quickly grew to a flourishing business that helps kids use their creative ability through theater to develop critical interpersonal skills and boost their confidence.

Kidstock now offers many opportunities for kids to reach their full creative expression through afterschool movie-making classes, birthday parties, summer camps, they also offer an online curriculum and more.

Under Brian’s guidance, Kidtock! survived two significant recessions – the great recession and the latest recession, which was induced by COVID.

  1. What’s your biggest lesson when it comes to surviving recessions? 

Patience – Trust – Don’t panic – release yourself from blame – accept and continue rather than deny and stop – do you want to journey or do you want to arrive?

  1. Recently, in our work together in the Up Level Program, your most profound “aha moment” was the necessity to lead yourself before leading others. Why was this such a big realization for you, and how will this help you create future business success?

Self-employed people are parents to their businesses

In the beginning you need to do everything for it, and then over time you need to let go and allow it some freedom to grow and to become independent, and eventually you need to see your business as an adult child and learn to live with it in a parallel role as opposed to a responsible role – your job is too become responsive to its needs instead of being responsible for its needs.  

It can be very difficult to let go of something you love – to stand back and watch it make mistakes on its own and learn from them.

Building a working relationship with this new entity not owning it or letting it own you

Semantics – Control as a noun rather than a verb – being, having, maintaining, managing

  1. You’ve always been interested in personal development and reaching your highest potential. How has this interest and desire helped you in growing your business over the years? 

Finding the reward in learning from missteps

Examining rather than accepting

“What if?” as opposed to “what now?”

  1. When you first created Kidstock! You did so out of the desire to “simply make a living.” – but it has grown into a huge success that completely surpassed that first intention. How do you think your focus on being creative and chasing the fun versus the money as a measure for success hindered and helped your success?

Ignorance is bliss – I would have closed if the only metric for success were financial

Theatrical producer in me knew how to present – followed the idea that live as if you have what you want

Hindsight shows me where there would have been little compromise and great growth IF I had understood myself and the dynamic of where I wanted to go better

  1. What was your biggest business challenge of 2020 and how did you overcome it?

Survival – Responding as opposed to reacting – Allowing myself to consider all the options available to me without feeling the need to decide

I involuntarily revisited the mindset I had when I started and connected again with why I started and was able to let go of the trappings I had acquired and placed value on over time

  1. What’s next for Kidstock!? And what mindset shifts/personal development or other business strategies are you currently deploying to help you to get there? 

My next step is to return to what was but redefine it for now – circumstances have challenged some of the basic controlling assumptions I had been working from – what do I “need” – both professionally and personally – has been deconstructed and examined to the point of being redefined.

In many ways the silver lining of this pandemic has been the chance to stop running the race, be the Monday morning quarterback to review the plays and the choices made in the game, and then looking ahead be able to return to the game wiser and more aware.  

After losing what I had and still being okay, the anticipation of returning to what I had in a more neutral mindset but with a larger toolbox excites me – the business concept which once upon a time was just me as a self-employed person remains intact, but the dynamic of curating a team and managing their efforts and communicating with them in my own best interests is a newly understood potential for me that I am anxious to develop into a stronger skill

Here’s what Brian said after he completed the Up Level Program:

“The most dramatic “aha moment” for me during the Up Level Program was the necessity for me to lead myself before leading others.

My business has been reignited on all levels as a result of my participation in the Up Level Program. I anticipate my team being more proactive and independent.” ~ Brian Milauskas, Founder & CEO Kidstock! Theater