Leadership

Drew Barrymore: Resist the urge to say 'yes' to everything

Drew Barrymore doesn't mind saying no.

When Flower Films first started, business development professionals suggested setting the production studio up with several projects, which Barrymore flatly refused.

"That sounds like hell," she said. Instead, she enjoyed being able to really focus on a single project.

Actress/Director Drew Barrymore arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Whip It' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on September 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California.
Jon Kopaloff | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Actress/Director Drew Barrymore arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Whip It' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on September 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California.

Sure, it's hard to turn down opportunities when you're just starting out, but saying yes to everything and getting stressed out isn't the way to go, she said.

"We want to be very prolific, but I think when you spread yourself too thin, you don't give yourself to it," she said.

While she's been in the public eye her entire life, Barrymore was deliberate in transitioning into business ventures outside of Hollywood. She launched Flower Beauty in January 2013 as an exclusive cosmetics line for Wal-Mart, manufactured by Maesa. She has since launched Flower Eyewear, and is now expanding into online retail and international markets.

"In business, when you just do too many things at once, you really water down your message," Barrymore explained.

Like any entrepreneur, Barrymore has juggled multiple roles before. Her credits for Flower Films' "Donnie Darko," for example, include both actress and executive producer. But she urges entrepreneurs to think about growth in terms of "what makes sense, what will feel like branches to that tree, rather than random categories."

Drew Barrymore poses for a portrait in promotion of the launch of her new cosmetics line "Flower" at the Maesa offices in New York. Flower products can be found at Wal-Mart.
Victoria Will | Invision | AP
Drew Barrymore poses for a portrait in promotion of the launch of her new cosmetics line "Flower" at the Maesa offices in New York. Flower products can be found at Wal-Mart.

Transitioning from acting to producing and directing made sense for Barrymore and was only possible because she was able to focus and work on one or two films at a time instead of 10. Quality of work is something that Barrymore emphasizes.

"The definition of success is employment. If you're doing well enough to have to be around the next day, that should make you very grateful," she said. After that, you should think about how to still be around the next day.


"That's where, I think, the work and discipline come in," Barrymore said, but she added that entrepreneurs need to be self-aware and shouldn't try to force themselves to stick with a business that they're not passionate about.

"I think if it's not keeping you up at night and occupying your brain space, then something's wrong," she said. "If it's the thing you can't stop, that you can't contain, then don't. Take the lid off and run with that."