When you hear the name Freddy Rodriguez, your first thought might be of the actor from Los Angeles who has appeared in television shows like “Ugly Betty” and “Six Feet Under” and in movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse.” But there’s another Freddy Rodriguez in Miami. He’s not an actor, but he has been trying to grow his award-winning film and video production company, which has been incorporated for five years. Along the way, he has been nominated for an Emmy Award 15 times, winning seven. From his new offices in the heart of the Wynwood Arts District, this Freddy Rodriguez, owner of 66 Films 66 Films, wants to make his mark as a filmmaker and as a successful entrepreneur.
“I have a problem that I think is common with many creative entrepreneurs,” Rodriguez said. “I am so busy doing the day-to-day work, I don’t have time to do much else.”
When he’s in work mode, Rodriguez retreats to his studio, which he has affectionately dubbed “The Cave.” Rodriguez admitted that he can easily find himself there for months at a time working on everything from commercials and short films to social media videos and corporate branding spots. His clients include Norwegian Cruise Line, Visit Florida, The United Way and the Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.
After a month or so ensconced in The Cave, Rodriguez has found that when he came up for air, he hadn’t attended to any other aspect of the business.
“Our main problem is really finding a way for me to hand off control of some things to others without compromising quality,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a challenge because I am a hands-on person and my goal is always to deliver top-notch, award-winning work to our clients.”
66 Films, Inc., incorporated in 2011, has three partners but no employees. Freelancers are used as needed, but Rodriguez hopes to create local jobs in Wynwood in the near future as he eyes a possible expansion of the company. The company’s annual revenue has fluctuated historically between $85K to $100K, according to Rodriguez.
“The creative part of the business is what I love,” Rodriguez said.
“Where I need help is on the operational side of things.”
Rodriguez settles the Score
To get the help he was looking for and find solutions, Rodriguez visited the counselors at the Miami-Dade office of SCORE, a national nonprofit organization comprised of retired volunteers who have built successful businesses in the past.
“I reached out to SCORE to find a way to streamline the processes involved in running my business, bring in more client business and promote the work we’re doing to build a successful brand,” Rodriguez said.
SCORE identified four advisors to help 66 Films streamline its operations by learning how to delegate, how to network both online and off to grow the company and how to use social media to build a solid brand. SCORE volunteers use their business skills and experience as successful entrepreneurs to offer mentoring services to small business owners free of charge.
The SCORE team included Sam Carson, a New Yorker who came to South Beach when he retired in 2003. He has more than 30 years of experience in sales and business management. Orlando Espinosa is a longtime SCORE counselor and owner of Emineo Media. He has experience in marketing, branding and social media. SCORE also brought in the U.S. Small Business Administration to assist 66 Films. Althea Harris, who has worked with the SBA since 1998, is the assistant district director for marketing and outreach in Area 1, which encompasses Miami. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and working with small businesses. Heather Hines is a retired Navy petty officer, specializing in communications. She also works as a public affairs specialist for the SBA. Hines has more than 20 years of experience in public relations.
After working with 66 Films for just under three weeks, the SCORE/SBA team went to work helping the company find new ways to operate the business efficiently while building a strong brand focused on creativity and client service. To accomplish the company’s long-term goals, the counselors recommended the following: