Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans: – I’m Bryan D. Covington, author of Between Magic and Dreams and CEO of Pompous Moon LLC. We focus our efforts on creating content and products that not only normalize people of color in heroic lead roles but exemplify the importance of controlling the narrative. Also, we shine a spotlight on independent comic creators, authors, more.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: – As a lover of most anything geeky and nerdy, I am a collector of many things including comics and video games. They’ve been a major part of my life since childhood. I’ve found that the adventures found in their pages and pixels often convey wisdom in a more palatable way than life in general. Art is my 1st language of creative expression but writing has always been a close 2nd. Both have been an outlet that I’ve used to connect and relate with people over the years.
I obtained an associates degree in computer animation and graphics from the Art Institute of Atlanta. I still dabble in animation but mostly I keep to traditional works and digital illustration when I get the chance to get into some art.
Q 3. What inspired 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?
Ans: – I had the idea for ‘Between Magic and Dreams’ over 15 years ago. Up until 2019 it only existed in my head and in the form of notes on scrap paper. At Dragon Con in Atlanta, Black Sands Entertainment (a black owned comic production company) was offering a free online course on how to self-publish a book within 90 days. I took on the challenge. I found myself in a perfect storm with the opportunity to accomplish something I’d been wanting to do for years.
In time the book was complete, but what now? With the book now out and on the market, I started prompting… sort of. I had no idea what I was doing. I picked up a few mentors and got into social media. There I found and connected with many talented individuals. That’s when it struck me. Yes, I could use social media to get exposure and build my brand like everyone else… but if I were to build bridges with other like-minded creatives that have a sincere passion about what they do, then why not grow together?
Q 4 . What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: – In all honesty, I’m still fairly new to this but I have picked up a few gems along the way. First, don’t wear too many hats. It’s easy to want to handle every aspect of your projects and productions. Unless you have the vast experience and skill to accomplish these tasks at a masterful level, you’d be better off leaving it in the hands of those skilled in those areas. Second, learn to be your biggest fan. There will be times when the only person in your corner is you. Hold tight to that spark that started you on your journey, it’ll get you through to the end. Lastly, get at least one mentor. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are others on the same journey but further ahead, They can tell you what to avoid and how to move for the best results. The best of them rarely ask for money. They just want to see you succeed.
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: – My top 3? I’d say communication, teamwork, and creative thinking.
Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: – I really love what I’m doing so I don’t necessarily see it as work, per se… but on average I put in at least 10 hours a day.
Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: – My upbringing. In fact, the 1st two books of the trilogy are dedicated to my mother and father.
Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: – Ah! Glad you asked. Well thus far I’ve only advertised in social media. I haven’t leaned so much on buying ads but instead focused on experimenting with organic growth through fans and associates. In fact, when I find works I decide to promote, they often return the favor. ‘Cross-pollination’ in a sense.
Q 9. Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: – We’re self- funded thus far. We set aside funds with the goal of starting an LLC after the 1st book was published. As our aspirations and fan base grows, we’ll turn to crowdfunding to facilitate future projects and expand our horizons.
Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: – I feel the best way to success is to stay true to your vision and honest with yourself as well as your consumers.
Q 11. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: – Considering that even three years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d own a business and how everything is in constant flux lately, it’s hard to guesstimate where we’d be as a company in that span of time… but I would like to have my story carried into film. Be it a live-action television series, anime, or a full on cinematic production; I’d love to see it in any interpretation. Between Magic and Dreams is meant to grow beyond the page. In the coming years we’ll see to it.
Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: – Black Sands Entertainment. Easily. I met the owner, Manuel Godoy, years ago and bought my first $10 comic book. It wasn’t even vintage so the cost had me shook. The conversation we had opened my eyes to the idea of supporting someone with the aim of creating something to help other creators as well as himself. Suddenly the $10 seemed worth it. Years passed and his company grew. Within a generally short span of time, he and his wife Geiszel have built a platform where other comic creators of color can present their work and tell their stories their way. Now my wife Michelle and I own a company. We’re working with amazing talents is various mediums. Our supporters are growing in number. Let’s see where this road leads.
Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: – Very important, considering the fact that we’re just starting out. More important, though, are the collaborations alliances we form. The importance of consistent follow through is paramount.
Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: – I don’t give up on ideas. If I start something, it will either get done and have it turn out great or it’ll get done and have it turn out rough… but it’ll get done. After that, I at least have the opportunity to improve on the result.
Q 15. What motivates you?
Ans: – Luckily, lots of things motivate me. The fun of creating, meeting other creatives that are holding tight to their spark, and hearing how someone enjoys my story or find the characters relatable are just a few motivators.
Q 16. What are your ideals?
Ans: – I often feel that my ideals are a bit naive, but they’re pretty simple.
- Respect. Understand that the game has changed. There’s a wealth of skill, talent, and knowledge on these platforms. It flows from people of all ages, shapes, sized, and hues. It didn’t just fall in their laps. Respect their grind and experience.
- We can all eat. The ‘crabs in a bucket’ mentality doesn’t work and hasn’t worked. There are billions of people on this planet and millions are looking for what we have to offer. I believe by working together we can all come up and by pooling our talents we can blow their minds.
- Always be YOU. One’s authentic self may not always be polished or even the most agreeable, but they’re honest. Sometimes the mask we wear for the sake of looking professional stifles the very joy we get as creatives. We, like our consumers, value top notch work. If you dress like a boss but paint like a clown, you’re out. If you dress like a clown and paint like a boss, you’re in.
Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: – Life is my greatest inspiration. I have a very active imagination and I’ll find an image or story in just about anything. Be it a distant train horn of a leaf on the wind, there’s always something there.
Q 18. How do you define success?
Ans: – Success to me is happiness, less stress, financial freedom, and options.
Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: – I believe that if you show them that you honestly value them and they’ll show up and remain loyal. Communication is key. We work to reply to every consumer’s email, text, and direct message. They want to connect, so we do.
Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: – My favorite aspect would be bringing people together to create something awesome. My go-to associates are the ones I call Aces. They love what they do and they’re great at it. Because of this, I know to always expect their best work.
Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: – The most satisfying moment in business for me wasn’t when I made my first sale or even my first interview, but when I laid hands on a copy my printed novel. It is one of the truest examples of thoughts made real.
Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: – Momentum. I feel that entrepreneurs are driven by ambition. Their ambition grows and their momentum builds until they desire more for themselves than their employer can provide. They eventually reach escape velocity. Those who work for someone else may have found contentment or fulfillment in their position. Keeping a steady pace at a comfortable speed could be their goal. Never-the-less, both are important players in business.
Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: – Our company is a combination of purpose and enjoyment cultures. Though I’m an author, I consider myself more of a storyteller. I don’t focus as much on perfecting syntax as I do on telling an interesting tale with the hopes of provoking some thought and catching some laughs.
- I chose this combination because changing minds isn’t enough. We have to change hearts for the betterment of our communities. That being said, the route I think is most effective goes right through common ground. The story is meant to many things with its many layers but aside from having this adventure I hope the takeaway is that every life has value. Whether we travel together or our paths briefly cross, if we Keep it Real and Respect one another, We can all eat.
Q 24. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: – Absolutely nothing. Any change may lead to a different result than I have now and I think this one rocks so far.
Q 25. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: – Oddly, it’s brought us closer together. My daughter loves the story and is my biggest cheerleader / promoter. My wife being my partner in life became my partner in business as well. My son, well… he’s too young to care right now
Q 26. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: – As far as business, my greatest fear is not being able to finish the story. These are uncertain times and it seems like anything can happen anytime. As an artist, I want to leave my mark. As a father, I wish to build a legacy.
Q 27. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: – Luckily I didn’t have to. I can run my business from practically anywhere.
Q 28. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: – Not really. Perhaps more so in the days of yesteryear than today. Certain elements remain steadfast. Drive and goals are a must.
Q 29. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: – My granddad. His chapter ended before I got this far in my story. I’d love to hear what he thinks of his grandson’s thoughts and ideas.
Q 30. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: – My parents. Together they showed me discipline and frivolity, might and magic.
Q 31. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans: – Darksiders: The Abomination Vault
Q 32. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: – Riding a mechanical bull. Those things need more padding.
Q 33. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: – Most mistakes can be prevented with communication.
Q 34. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: – In my free time I play video games, read comics, and watch movies. I have a serious backlog to catch up on.
Q 35. What makes you happy?
Ans: – Lots of things make me happy. For instance, rolling a natural 20, date night with the Mrs., eating junk food, tickling my kids, crushing a random gamer with Dan Hibiki in Street Fighter, etc.
Q 36. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: – The main sacrifice has been sleep and free time. Though I enjoy what I do very much, I miss gaming regularly, doing my artwork, and getting a full night’s sleep.
Q 37. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: – I’d ask, “If your book gets wildly successful and the business goes totally automated, what would you do?”