Introduction to Being an Entrepreneur: An Honest Account Series

I wanted to start a series of blog posts that are an open and honest telling of what it’s like being a business owner from someone that wasn’t an overnight success or made it from rags to riches in a year (because, believe it or not, that doesn’t happen to every entrepreneur!). It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s success and how quickly they got there so if you’re anything like me, you will compare your rate of success to every Tom, Dick and Harry that own a business. This is why I want to shed some light on those journeys that take a little longer to get there or the ones that are just happy with making enough to get by. Whilst it’s a huge achievement to make millions and have a business that spans hundreds of staff members and many locations around the world (and this series is not trying to take that away from anyone or devalue that in any way) I want to talk about the small businesses that are just wanting to work on their own terms and be a part of a community that their business resides in. 

I want to focus on the highs and lows of it all and bring my own experiences to light because I feel like when I’m seeking advice or a little motivation from content made by entrepreneurs online, I’m greeted with a sea of young, rich and mostly male entrepreneurs that make your huge efforts seem miniscule in comparison to theirs. The word ‘Hustle’ was thrown around so much a few years ago which, for me personally, took its toll on my mental health because it meant you had to be working your arse off 24/7 to get anywhere in life. I love working and the feeling of self-fulfillment it gives me but I also put way too much pressure on myself to be the best I can possibly be. I constantly ask myself if I’m doing enough or if I’m failing because today was a slow day. I was feeling guilty whenever I took some time to myself or doing anything that wasn’t directly benefiting the business. If I wasn’t ‘hustling’ hard enough I blamed it on my lack of capability to run a business when in reality it’s the most unsustainable lifestyle and eventually something will give. Whether it’s physically or mentally, it will eat away at you in the end. I’m happy that the conversation around this word is starting to shift with more people saying that we need to look after ourselves first. That ‘self-care’ is becoming more and more of a priority in our lives and that it can mean different things to different people whether that’s a pamper session in the bathtub or organising your entire house. 

I have come to understand after a couple of years of doing this business that doing your best doesn’t mean working yourself into the ground each and every day. Doing your best can look completely different to your best that you did yesterday or last week. Take this particular day that I’m writing this blog post, I put off writing blog posts for so long for a mixture of reasons such as lack of inspiration and motivation. It’s a quiet day in the office today so instead of dwelling on that I’m finally getting back into writing blog posts for our website. I feel a sense of achievement as I’ve overcome those barriers and finally got round to doing something that’s been on my To Do list for so long. I used to think that doing my best was solely about making amazing videos each and every day but creativity comes and goes. I’ve been staring at this one particular video for our Youtube Channel for so long that the creative juices were starting to run dry and anything I was doing to it just wasn’t working. That super creative day I had editing this video together from scratch was nothing like today but instead of sitting there lost in my blank mind, I thought it might be best to come back to it and focus my attention on a different task. And here I am writing this. It’s not procrastinating or not putting the work in, it’s doing your best at that particular moment. We are all human, not machines that produce the same results every day.  

I’m no expert in sorting my life out by any means. This is advice and guidance I have picked up along the way and try to implement in my everyday life as well as share with people who might need it. Sometimes I’m great at it and sometimes I need a little help. I’m very lucky I share this journey with my business partner and boyfriend so it’s nice to have a different perspective and have someone to talk to who knows exactly what’s happening. If you don’t have that then try and surround yourself with people you think would be good for you. We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with so even if it’s online (due to current circumstances this is most likely) you might find it helps to surround yourself with the right people.

This blog post was inspired by a podcast I’m currently listening to called ‘The Daily Pep with Meg Kissack’. If you find one day you just need a little pick-me-up or a quick pep talk to get you going, this podcast is the one for you. I have been listening to them on my lunchtime/evening walks for when I need a little perspective and if you want to hear more about ‘Doing Your Best’ listen to Episode 5: ‘You are not a machine’. It’s targeted at women but I think there’s plenty of advice in there for any gender or age group.  

Thank you for reading what will be the first of a series of honest blogs about being an entrepreneur. If there are any questions you would like me to answer in future blog posts then please let us know on any of our social media platforms.

product videos Update

The Truth About Product Videos

We hear a lot of people become sceptical about product videos. They ask us “Why do I need product videos when product photography does the job? Plus products would be super boring to film”.

Now, yes product photography does an amazing job at marketing your products and if it’s a very creative brief then it’s very appealing to the eye which, of course, is what you want!. But imagine those really imaginative and eye catching photos were animated? Your product is flying in the air or submerged underwater with crazy transitions and fancy effects. Now THAT would catch your eye even more and keep the attention of your audience and this leads on to the other part of the question we get asked. No, filming products can be as exciting as you want it to be.

We take a theme, which is usually inspired by the brand that is selling the products we are filming, and we work from there. Colours, transitions, visual effects, camera techniques and many other parts of the video come from focusing on this theme. Most of the time we would use a plain backdrop that’s either the colours of the brand or a green screen to add any effects in post production. However, don’t feel like all product videos should be limited to this one background. You can place your product in a scenario that best describes its purpose or take your audience through the production of your product from concept to arriving at the customer. It all depends on the message you want to convey about your product and your business overall.

Did we also mention it can be very cost effective depending on your brief? Yep. If you were looking for a product video that would be shot in a studio, you’d be saving money where you would usually have to rent out a venue (if that’s what you were looking for) and paying for an on location film crew that would need time to set up. Plus, if it’s in a public location you’d have many distractions and obstructions that sometimes can’t be helped i.e. weather and noise pollution. Working in a studio gives you complete control of your surroundings and brings a more relaxed approach to the filming day with a much more collaborative feel. This is where new ideas can form and sometimes add to what has already been planned. There have been a few times we’ve planned out our shots, executed them and looked back to find out it just wasn’t working so we swap it up and, because it’s in a studio this can be done rather quickly, then before you know it, there’s the money shot.

Take our Donut video for example (link below), we planned most of the shots you see in the video except one. The split screen shot with all the donuts flying in the air was completely improvised on set. We had an idea for all of them to be bursting out of the box but we didn’t have the resources to carry that out so we improvised and came up with what we think is the money shot which actually worked better than our original idea. There’s also an important message there which is whilst you can have all these amazing ideas it’s also important to be realistic. Budgets, resources and timescales all play a huge part in video production so whilst we try to do the best we can with what is given, sometimes an idea can be a little far fetched but that doesn’t mean it has to be scrapped completely. Just come at it from a different angle and keep trying until it’s just right.

If you’re a bit tight for time and can’t be there for filming days then another option is to send your products to the filming studio with an agreed storyboard that would’ve been discussed beforehand and just let the experts take care of it. Depending on their timescale, you’d have a shiny new product video sent to you in weeks.

So what’s the truth about product videos? They can be as creative as you like, cost effective and pretty fun to work on. We are fans of it but then again we do this for a living so we’re a bit biased!

Menna Jones Update

A Year In The Making: An Open Honest Account…

You hear it all the time. If you survive the first year of business then you’re doing alright and it’s no surprise when everyone says that over half of small businesses don’t make it past their first year. This is enough to put anyone off, especially myself as an indecisive, perfection driven self-doubter but much to my crippling lack of self-confidence, I did it. I set up my own business a year ago after much deliberation over the months leading up to this huge decision, but business doesn’t come naturally to me.

Read more “A Year In The Making: An Open Honest Account Of Running My Own Business”