We had the good fortune of connecting with Wayne Gassmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wayne, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Life is about high risk and high reward. Being a freelancer is a huge risk that work might not be there, but you do it and never throw all your eggs in one basket. The rewards are immense.
It was a risk leaving my News/corporate life, but it would have been a bigger risk for my mental sanity if I stayed.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Homeschooled in Oklahoma by an ex-farmer and strong mother. I was taught very early the value of a dollar and how to work for what I made.
This was the bedrock for where I am, moving from homeschooling to trade school, to the recession. Then landing a job in news and staying with it for 7 years, I got a decent grasp of just how ugly the world was and how volatile and uncertain jobs can be. So my career growing up was not easy, after the recession in 2008 I applied, worked, laid off from 4 or 5 jobs over almost 2 years. I felt lost, defeated, abused. I just put my head down and kept pushing through. Landing me the news job with just the relationships I had made over the years with people in that industry and from my trade school.
I learned a lot about who I was and what I was capable of putting up with from flaky employers and worse coworkers. I learned very quickly that I could not count on others to do the right/correct job that I had to be ready to pick up the slack for many people. This was mainly to keep me from looking bad, many coworkers were just there to collect a paycheck.
I have always taken pride in what I do no matter what that entailed, from editing for ESPN to cleaning toilets and parking cars in the recession years to maintaining and caring for the tools I used every day at the news station overnight.
My brand is to always put extra effort knowing someone will eventually be running things after you move on. Giving them the best place to start is always my goal.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a transplant from Broken Arrow, OK, and moved to Kansas City, MO in 2013. I feel I can show people a better time in KC than I ever could in my hometown. From hitting up some of the amazing museums and exhibits that KC has going on all year long. From the Shakspeare in the park to fine dining there is always something to show visitors in the city I now call home. Hitting some of the local spots the creative crews hang out at like our locally-owned movie theater is one of our biggest supporters of local small film and cinema.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a few key players in making my jump to success and freedom. First, were coworkers Mitch Weber & Lucas Cohen. They were already out starting their own businesses and knew I could succeed with my work ethic outside the corporate realm.
2nd was a freelancer in KC that took me under his wing early on Scott Jolley of Scott Jolley production services. He read my Facebook post I was going freelance, took me out to lunch, and wanted to know what I could offer to get me on his next shoot.
3rd was my brothers Josh & Jeremy Gassmann, we were homeschooled in Broken Arrow, OK so our bond is pretty tight. They asked me as I was having self-doubt “What’s the worst that could happen you go get another job?”
Without these people, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to make the leap. I attribute my success to their early intervention.
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