Interview with James Shadrach who runs his company Video Why out of CreativeCubes.Co
1. How did the idea of the business or the entrepreneurial venture started;
After I finished University, I tried a couple of business ideas, but they all failed.
I desperately wanted to start a business. I just had a feeling that a traditional job wouldn’t work out for me. I also thought that if I could learn how to build a business, I could do it again and again. I’d always have a way to provide for myself and my family.
I knew however that I lacked the skill and knowledge to do it. After some more failed attempts at starting something, I went back to the drawing board.
At 22 years old I ultimately realized I had no idea what I was doing. I needed to learn from real business people, so I tried to spend time with founders, in the hope that I would learn how to start a business. I literally typed entrepreneur into seek.com and applied for everything. I even created a video resume and sent it out to get more engagement. I ended up getting a job as a receptionist at a co-working space (not cubes). During the 2 years I was there, I met business people, learned more generally about business and also found a mentor!
My mentor taught me everything about purpose. He helped me get my idea together, set up my business and also gave me my first client. From there, it was hustle time.
I would work from 9am to 5 pm at my receptionist job, and from 6 am to 9 am and 5 pm – 9 pm I would work on my business. During this time, there was so much self-doubt, wishing and hoping. I had a degree in psychology, a job as a receptionist, my side hustle and dream of running my own business in videography.
I devoted all my spare time to this cause. On weekends I would spend hours filming and editing to teach myself. All I thought about was being able to leave my job and start a business. I was, and am, still obsessed with videography.
Slowly I landed some clients and built just enough business to drop down from full time to part-time, and then eventually I was able to quit my job to build Video Why.
2. How you manage to put the concept/ideas into paper (Planning);
My mentor taught me everything about the purpose and starting with your Why. During the course of our conversations, we came up with idea to create video content about a business’s purpose. To video their why. This idea was instantly a hit with people in my network because other content creators don’t do this.
Each week I would meet with my mentor at 7 am, and we would go through detailed planning of the business and what it would look like. We developed a sales pitch and worked through role-play conversations. We also took a detailed look at finances and how much I’d need to earn before I could quit my job.
3. Include the steps you made before starting the business or the entrepreneurial venture;
- Found a job with business people
- Networked and found a mentor
- Behind the scenes, learned videography through tutorials and spent all my spare time practicing.
- Asked my mentor to help me start a business.
- Came up with the Video Why idea.
- Started pitching and trying to find clients
- After months of setbacks, I finally landed a couple of small clients
- Built-up just enough business to quit my job and start Video Why full time
- Met Tobi – Co-founder and CEO of CreativeCubes.Co and edited videos for him for 6 months
- Had accelerated learning from working with Tobi– Co-founder and CEO of CreativeCubes.Co and being exposed to his network.
- Was running out of money and didn’t have enough clients. Faced anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness. The conversation in my head was “am I really cut out for this?”
- Pitched at CreativeCubes.co and won 12 Month’s Rent Free at Hawthorn.
- Landed National Tiles and Startup Grind as clients
- At the start of this year had the slowest month to date
- Thought about quitting multiple times. Again anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness.
- After even more months for struggle, I land Austrade as a client with the biggest project at that time.
- They send me to Singapore and Shanghai to film. This was the first international trip I’d been on. I didn’t even have a passport.
- Hired my brother.
- Hired a contractor.
- Started paying for my desk space before the free membership ended
- From here we’ve been on the up. We have a steady flow of clients and I still work with both National Tiles and Austrade.
- From living in government-funded housing to being paid by the government for a service I built with my own two hands is incredible.
4. What are the challenges you met during your startup and how did you manage to cover-up those challenges;
Everything has been challenging. Hard work, listening to mentors and taking action.
Finding clients has also been challenging. I started creating my own content and found new clients through social media.
- Have massive, loud and outrageous belief in yourself. You need to see the future in your head and take massive action towards building it.
- Have mentors.
- Do what your mentors tell you.
- Be ready to suffer, struggle and learn more about your failures.
- Everything can be solved with communication.
- Love and embrace hard work.