We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Meghan Shannon, Founder of Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions. She told us all about her business and her experiences as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
Small Business View: Can you tell us about your business and what you do?
Meghan Shannon: Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions is a small, boutique-style agency specializing in performance American Sign Language interpretation for concerts and music festivals. This allows music lovers in the Deaf community access to enjoy the show.
SBV: How did you get into this business?
MS: After graduation from Gallaudet University in 2003 in a special program for hearing students, I began my interpreting career in the DC Metro area. Some Deaf friends of mine were interested in seeing my other friends’ local band, so I interpreted just for fun.
Everyone loved it and I ended up traveling and interpreting with that same band for a couple of years. From there, I began work at larger agencies for big venues and festivals, falling in love with the craft and service a little bit more every day. This year, I decided to take this passion and skill set to the next level with my own agency.
SBV: What is the most enjoyable thing about this business?
MS: The performances, of course! I also love the preparation and creativity it requires to take the lyrics of a song, figure out to the best of my ability what the intent of the words were, then turn them into American Sign Language, while keeping the rhythm and musicality enough for the Deaf concertgoers to sign along (and still have them make sense in ASL!) It’s more challenging than it looks.
SBV: What are some of your greatest challenges?
MS: Between the Deaf community, the interpreting world and the music industry, there are many cultural factors that need to be navigated with sensitivity and thought. This is an important aspect of bridging the worlds, and it takes constant attention to do it as appropriately as possible.
SBV: If you could provide any advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?
Get a mentor; in fact – get several. This is my second business and this time around, I have actual accountants. Consider part of the investment into the business the learning curve – pay for the expertise you don’t have (and if you’re not sure whether you have it or not, ask World Advisory
!) It’s worth it to learn how to be an entrepreneur, even if this time around isn’t the one.
You can learn more about Meghan and Signs of Rock Interpreted Productions at SignsOfRock.com