I grew up on-set from a young age since my father was in film and TV production. However while my brother excelled and enjoyed the technology side of production as my father did, I was always more of a people person. Going through university I recognized my strengths; attention to detail, project management, writing, and realized that producing was a good fit for me. I took on an internship at a small corporate production company, and was able to develop my skills further in sales, directing, and producing branded video content. After a few years of working in video production and marketing I decided it was time to go out on my own. I partnered with a woman (Tatiana Rodriguez - on my right) who had complementary skills to my own, and we developed our dream jobs building up our own corporate video production company. Today we are almost four years into our journey and grateful everyday for the life we have built, and the ability to enjoy our work each and every day.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
I was inspired to start a business because I loved what I did but wanted to have the autonomy and freedom to handle projects and clients in a way that I thought best. As I had an opportunity to see how a small business worked, and be involved in most aspects of running a business, I knew I could do it for myself. Don't get me wrong, building a business from scratch is a challenging process, but I'm very happy I made the decision and continually look forward to the days and years ahead as I watch my company grow.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The most difficult part of starting a business in my field, is marketing a service that you don't have a lot to show for. In video production clients want to see work that you've produced in the past. So I quickly learned that because I didn't have the awards, staff or samples that I did when selling for the company I worked for in the past, with my own company I had to sell myself first. I told clients about past work I had produced and showed them my creativity and strategy with the ideas I pitched for their specific needs. Over time we were able to build up a library of content to showcase our range of services and expertise, and each project we work on we take it as an opportunity for another great sample, and another client that we can satisfy so they provide us with a testimonial and refer us to others.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Currently I'm reading You Are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life, by Jen Sincero. It's a self-help book that inspires you to live your best life by doing all of the things that help you put your mind in a good headspace. I think this is really important for entrepreneurs as it's easy to self-doubt as business has a lot of ups and downs, but the reality is you need to be your own biggest fan in order to attract others. Of course anything sales/marketing related is important as well because business development is something that every company needs to be successful.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
My friends and family have all been very supportive, however I have heard concerns every so often around the security of working for someone else vs. the uncertainty of working for yourself. I think it's important to remember that businesses aren't built overnight. I look at the first five years of my business as an investment in my future. I hope to continue to see my company grow and hone in on the things we're great at doing so we can find more amazing clients that we can service and help with their communication and learning initiatives.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Believing I could do it and surrounding myself with people who believed in me as well. Finding associations, networking groups, and other entrepreneurs, were all important parts of learning from others, being encouraged, and giving me the confidence that I was on the right path. Being apart of communities is shown to increase levels of happiness, and I personally believe also success.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Marketing yourself strategically by focusing on your customers pain points and your solution to their issue is so important. Focus less on you and what you have for your customer - whether it's a product or service - and instead focus on the root of what your product or service does for them.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Prepare the best you can before starting your business. My partner and I took about nine months to think, strategize, work on material and develop a business plan before we left our jobs and went out on our own. Having that foundation allowed us to land jobs and find success early on which creates a snowball effect. Also I would highly encourage you to speak to others and do your research, this will assist you when developing a business plan and those connections and information will become very useful moving forward.