Mike, WTF are you doing?!

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Mike, WTF are you doing?!

I've asked myself that very question a number of times recently. My current scenario is like this: I'm standing at the top of a cliff and thinking about jumping into the water below for the sheer thrill of it. However, I don't know if there's a bunch of nasty, sharp rocks just below the surface that will shatter my legs. A leap into the unknown.

The question is in relation to my new business pursuit - the opening of a video studio. It's a completely new thing for me, and it scares the bejesus out of me every-single-day. Luckily, that fear is blended with excitement, curiosity and the conviction that what I'm doing is valid.

Recognising the problem

If you're reading this and know nothing about me, I'm a marketer and have been for over 10 years. I've always created content - blogging, imagery, conference talks and personal video. I've seen the evolution of social media, content marketing and everything in-between first-hand.

In the past two years, clients started to ask me to help with their video projects. Not the actual shooting of them, but the production, writing, directing and co-editing. All-of-a-sudden, I was working on video projects at a professional level.

Clients asked me to do this as I understood their companies, their people and their customers. That knowledge, blended with my marketing experience, made them put their faith in me to deliver.

Pic - Working on-location at Carlowrie Castle with Pete Jones

I was getting a massive kick from this work, and decided, that I would launch a company that offers my services, framed as video storytelling. That company is Velocity Insight, which has actually yet to launch, as I've been too busy working on video projects for clients, a result of word-of-mouth from the earlier pieces I'd worked on. Velocity Insight may actually not progress from here - more on that coming up!

'Mike, you're only partially solving a problem we have'

A particular client, pleased with the end-result of our project, told me that while these bigger pieces are vital, they have a need for smaller, simple videos. These videos cover things like interviews, internal communications, thought-leadership and so-on, all in a 'talking head' style. The problem was that they just can't make them happen. Why?

  • No suitable space within premises to film - too much noise, nasty backdrops etc

  • No access to the required tech

  • A lack of time/ability to edit anything they do manage to shoot

I've always found it very hard not to start thinking about creating a solution to a problem that is posed to me. At times, I've been guilty of rushing-in and very publicly telling the small part of the world that listens to me that I'm going to create the ultimate solution (file Concludent in that drawer). In this instance, I slowed down and went to a number of business owners I know and asked them if they had similar problems. The answer was a resounding 'yes Mike!'

Right, I'm going to create a studio!

The standing at the top-of-the-cliff began! I'll solve that problem by creating a studio where businesses, individuals and any one that wants to can come to have their content professionally shot, with a number of flexible backdrops and styles available. We'll then edit and supply the final versions. This solves all three of the problems from above. Easy.

That was the idea, and that's what I'm currently pursuing at great speed! After a lengthy battle to find suitable premises, I was alerted via LinkedIn (thanks Miles!) to a potential space, in the little town just outside of Edinburgh that I live in, called South Queensferry. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was right.

After brief negotiations, I agreed to take-on the space. The refurb will be complete by December, and then I'll be driving hard to get the studio ready for a January launch. So much to do. Watch this to see the studio as it stands:

What's the purpose of this?

Yes, the studio will solve a commercial problem, and there are customers already signed-up to use the studio next year, but there's more to it than that. I'm going to make a certain amount of time each month available to charities, youth groups, 3rd sector orgs etc to come and use all that the studio and our service has to offer in order to create the videos they need in order to have a stronger voice. Of course, this will be a free service.

I'm also working on a plan that would allow a small group of young individuals to use the studio and my/our coaching to create a strong profile for themselves. The crux of that has to be that they have a clear message to share or are looking to motivate their peers.

Pushing it forward

There are still a number of ducks to get in a row. The name of the studio being one of them! I mentioned Velocity Insight earlier and the fact that it may not progress. The reason being that I see the services it does/will offer as being a part of wider-work that should come out of 'Studio X' (the current working-title). More on the naming issue here:

There's also the fact that the space needs to be made suitable, equipped and ready as an environment where people will be comfortable and ready to do their best work!

Being scared, and addressing the doubters

Yes, the whole thing does scare me. It's not a small task, and I'm (as I tend to do), going it alone, certainly until the point where we are open and I bring in the tech-talent to work with. I am also of course still working with a number of lovely marketing clients, so 'busy' is a fair classification for sure.

I think that fear is healthy though. It keeps me on my toes. I've had a lot of support from those around me, and also, right here on LinkedIn, so thanks very much indeed for that.

I've also had a lot of doubters here. They don't think I'm capable as I've never run a video production business before. If that was a valid rule that was universally applied, then nobody would ever undergo a change of direction and make it a success.

The naysayers don't believe there's a need. There is. They say that it will fail. Perhaps it will, but not for lack of graft, craft and perseverance. It won't though.

The negators are just out to drag people down and attempt to negatively portray those they target. Advice is one thing, and always well-accepted, but sheer destructive negativity only benefits the likely very unhappy deliver of such sentiment, as it makes them feel better about their wretched existence. 🖕

Crowdfund

In order to make the facility as effective as possible, I need a certain level of capital. While I will be personally investing, I intend to run a crowdfund in November. The benefits for those that back it will be exciting and varied, and I'm really hopeful that people will get behind it!

If you'd like to be kept up-to-date regarding the crowdfund and progress of 'Studio X', please click here.





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