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.
5. What advice or tips can share with those who would like to do the same venture as you did?
- 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.