If you haven’t watched The Chosen, I highly recommend it. It is my favorite TV series of all time. The series is about the life of Jesus Christ and while I’ve seen many different series and Media Productions about Christ, none of them have resonated with me in the way that this production does.
Here are some of today’s key takeaways:
- We should humanize our business.
- We should give value away for free, build an audience, build fans, help people know us and trust us, and then monetize in a different way.
- It can be easier to achieve a big goal than it is to achieve a small goal.
- We should do the right thing immediately and not worry about the consequences.
- We should get used to different.
- God hasn’t asked us to do everything alone. He simply asks us to do our part.
- We should forgive our partners, our employees, our teams, and ourselves.
1. Humanize Your Business
One of the things that makes the production of The Chosen so different from others is that they humanize Jesus Christ, the apostles, and all the other characters in the show. Jesus Christ is not only the savior, but a friend, brother, and mentor. As a result of this connection that comes from humanizing, the characters become relatable and the show becomes successful.
As entrepreneurs, we can learn to also humanize our business, just as The Chosen humanized their characters. When we humanize our business, we build a much stronger connection with our customers and as a result, our business will likely become more successful.
2. Give Value First
The second thing I want to look at is the show’s business model. They went a completely different direction than almost every other Hollywood production. They started with value.
Instead of asking themselves, “How do we make as much money as possible?” They asked, “What is the most important thing for us to achieve?” The answer to that question was, “We want to reach as many people as possible with this message, with the story of Jesus Christ, as we can.” They wanted their production to be seen a billion times.
The production team knew that if they followed the traditional path and they put the movie in theaters, they wouldn’t be able to reach those kinds of numbers because so many people around the world wouldn’t be able to pay for it. So, they started off by asking the right question. They decided that letting people watch this multi-series production for free was the most effective way to get it watched by as many people as possible.
This is a very important lesson for entrepreneurs as well. Woo often we start with a product and then try to find an audience to sell our product to. I think that’s the wrong order. Just like The Chosen here,we should start off with creating the thing that’s going to help us achieve our most important goal: helping our customers. They gave away the most valuable thing, being able to watch this production, for free.
Again, as business owners, we should start with the most important goal and figure out the most effective way to get there. Let’s start off by giving away value for free. After you give away value for free and you’ve built a trusting audience, then you can monetize in other ways.
For example, The Chosen did merchandise sales, a special Christmas episode that went to theaters first, asked for donations, invited guests behind the scenes, etc. Even though they gave their content away for free, they still found other ways to monetize.
In 2019, they completed their funding for season one. More than 75,000 people contributed more than $10 million. One year later, in November of 2020, they completed fundraising for season two and they raised $10 million from 125,000 people. Now, as of December of 2021, I believe they’ve raised more than $17 million already for season three.
Give something away for free that people want the most, build an audience, build fans, help people know you and trust you, and then monetize in a different way. That is the best business model that I know of.
3. Set Big, Audacious Goals
The next thing entrepreneurs can learn from The Chosen is to set a big, hairy, audacious goal. The production team didn’t just try to create a few episodes. They didn’t just try to get their show in movie theaters and break a box office record. They wanted to get a billion people to watch their series. That big goal, this enormous reach campaign, has made it more possible for them to raise more money.
I often say that it’s easier to achieve a big goal than it is a small goal because when we set a big goal, it’s easier to invest the resources. It’s easier to pay the price that’s necessary to achieve it. It’s easier to get buy-in and get support from other people. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to get people excited when the goal is small. Think big and set a big, hairy, audacious goal.
4. Do What’s Right Immediately
In the first season in episode seven, Jesus and his disciples walk past Matthew’s tax collector booth. As a tax collector, the Jews saw Matthew as disloyal because he was taxing his own people. But when Jesus catches Matthew’s eye, he turns and says, “Matthew, son of Alphaeus, follow me.”
Matthew hesitates for a moment and then he responds by simply asking, “Me?” Jesus laughs and says, “Yes, you.” Matthew immediately grabs his things and leaves to follow him.
Gaius, Matthew’s Roman escort, grabs him and says, “Have you lost your mind? You have money. . . . No Jew lives as good as you. You’re going to throw it all away.” Matthew simply responds with, “Yes,” and walks off to join Jesus.
From this, I learned that when we know what the right thing is to do, we should immediately do it and not worry about the consequences.
5. Get Used to Different
The next lesson I want to teach comes immediately after that story. Simon Peter strongly objects to Matthew coming with Jesus and he asks, “Jesus, what are you doing? Do you have any idea what this man has done? Do you even know him?” And Jesus simply responds, “Yes.” When Simon objects again, Jesus responds by saying, “You didn’t get it when I chose you either. . . . Get used to different.”
As entrepreneurs, we are part of a constantly changing business ecosystem with tectonic shifts all around us. Sometimes, we try to hold on to what our businesses have been doing for the last 20 years. But, just because they worked for us 20 years ago, that doesn’t mean they’re the right thing to do in today’s business landscape. So often we, as business owners, need to let go of the past and get used to different.
6. Do Your Part
The next lesson I think entrepreneurs can learn from The Chosen comes from the producer of the show, Dallas Jenkins. Jenkins says, “It’s not our job to feed the 5,000. It’s our job to bring the loaves and the fish.”
Jenkins is referring to the parable where a multitude of people were hungry. A young boy only had five loaves and two fishes, but Chirst used his simple offering and multiplied it to feed the 5,000. The people didn’t have to do the multiplying. They just had to bring their part and God took care of the miracle.
That saying really resonates with me. Sometimes entrepreneurs feel that they’ve got to do it all and that the weight is on their shoulders. We should remember that God hasn’t asked us to feed the 5,000. He hasn’t asked us to do everything alone. He simply asks us to do our part.
It’s just our job to do our part, to do the best we can, to metaphorically bring our loaves and fishes, and then pray and trust God to feed the 5,000.
7. Forgive Others
The last lesson I want to talk about today comes from the story of Mary Magdalene. In season one, Christ redeems Mary Magdalene and says unto her, “Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by my name. You are mine.” It’s a very precious moment as she’s converted and she follows him.
Later in season two, Mary has a relapse and she leaves to go back to some of the bad behaviors in her previous life.
Two of the disciples find Mary and they convince her to come back to the camp with Christ. There’s a very touching scene, probably the most moving scene to me so far, when Mary Magdalene walks into this tent where Christ is. Mary tells Christ how she’s so ashamed. She says, “You redeemed me and I just threw it all away. . . . I owe you everything. I just don’t think I can do it.” She continued, “I just can’t live up to it.”
Christ responds with, “Well, that’s true. But you don’t have to. I just want your heart. Give us that. . . . Did you really think you would never struggle with sin?” Christ tells her to look up and says, “I forgive you.”
As entrepreneurs, we should learn to forgive. We should forgive our partners, our employees, our teams, and ourselves. When we make a mistake, we can repent, move on, and continue to do better and try our best.