Things I wish I'd known before starting Storm & Shelter

By Nick Patterson

Establishing Shot

4 min read

Jun 21, 2022

Hey everyone, Nick here. I’m one of the founders and Co-CEOs of Storm & Shelter, and here are some of the things that I wish I’d known before starting this wild and wonderful journey we call life.

Learn to pick your priorities

Right, so let’s start with one of the biggest things that I’ve struggled with personally. When you have loads of things chucked at you from all different angles, picking which one to do isn’t the easiest thing and can often leave you in a place where you feel like you need to get everything done…so you don’t get anything done. 

I’m still pretty guilty of this sometimes, but I’m so much better than I used to be and that’s because I now spend a couple of hours each week thinking about it properly. I dump everything that’s in my mind into one place, go through it and be super honest with myself.

Asking questions like:

  • How much can I realistically get done?
  • Although it feels urgent… is it really? Can it wait?
  • Is there someone else who could do it instead, who may be better suited for the job?

After, I delegate what I need to delegate and get on with the stuff that’s mission-critical. Simple.

Just how much spreadsheets were going to be part of my life

Like, they’re a lot of my life. It’s almost constant.

If I’d known that, then I feel like I would’ve spent more time learning Excel… or to be honest I’d probably through it all out of the window and focus my time on learning Airtable.

‘Cos oh my god. I could be doing anything else right now, and I’d still be using Airtable. I think I’ve maybe scratched like 25/30% of that app so far, but MAN it’s so good. It’s intuitive. It’s lovely to look at. The team love using it. If I was making bricks, I’d still be using Airtable.

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post, but Airtable if you’re reading this, feel free to get in touch 😘

The true cost of bad food (or no food) on set

When you start, it can be a bit like ‘Ah yeah man, no dramas, let’s pop to Tesco’. But there is only so much of your life that can be sustained by meal deals and rice crispy squares. Get fresh, healthy stuff as much as you can — just having fruit on hand is a good place to start. People will still beeline for chocolate if there is chocolate, but you can’t be doing that for days on end or long shoots. People just die off towards the end of it.

And remember that you do need food in the first place. Just triple-check that you actually emailed the caterer before the shoot, or even just thought about it. I have sent people up a mountain for an entire day with no food once, but the less said about that the better.

Take the time to figure out what energises you

As much as it would be nice for it not to be, there is only a certain amount of time in the day, and you’re only going to have a certain amount of energy to do stuff.

There will always be stuff that sucks the energy outta you, and there will be other things that get you leaving feeling energised and ready to go. If you spend too much on one side then it can leave you feeling drained and close to burnout, and who wants that?

Take a step back and work out the things that bring you that joy so that you can fill those batteries and use that energy to get through the stuff that can feel like a bit of a slog.

It doesn’t even have to be work-related. Like, for me it’s Destiny 2. Gimme an hour on that bad boy and I can see off any spreadsheet in front of me.

Acknowledge the win

I remember back when we started Storm & Shelter, everything felt like a win to us. Not to say we got jaded or anything, but as we grew we kind of fell into the trap of immediately moving onto the next project and being like "Cool. That’s done. How could we have done better?"

Taking the time for debriefs and working out what could have been improved is an important part of growing, but it’s just as important to keep on top of the wins too. Not only are there heaps of stuff you can learn from by really digging into what made a project go well so that you can replicate it for next time, but it gives you that reinforcement of reminding you of why you enjoy what you do and why you wanna do a good job in the first place.

So even if you’re super-stacked, find the time to celebrate. It’ll be worth it.


And that’s that! There are a few things I wish I had known, but if you ask me next year I’m sure there will be a buttload more stuff I wish I’d warned my previous self to worry about sooner. Until next time, keep an eye out on our socials, or drop us a line if you have any more questions.

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