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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:    Matt of all Media Productions is a Video Production Agency providing video production services to businesses.  We specialize in creating videos that achieve specific goals:  Advertising videos that convey an impactful marketing message to prospective customers, training videos that save time and money onboarding new employees, corporate messages delivered to clients by way of video, and much more.   Our unique value is in being very clear about what a particular video is intended to accomplish, and designing all aspects of the video to achieve that goal.  We’re located in Fairfield, CT, but provide a variety of services nationwide through our extensive network.

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:    I started Matt of all Media Productions in 2009, beginning as just a freelance videographer based in New Jersey.  During this time I had the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of businesses, and build an understanding of the types of goals they’re looking to achieve through video.  When the company was re-launched in Connecticut in 2011, it took shape as a more focused video production agency for businesses – and had continued to evolve into what it is today.  Prior to beginning the company, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio, with a specific focus on Video Production.  During my time at Ithaca College (in the Park School of Communications), I produced a few seasons of 2 different shows for ICTV, broadcast to 26,000 local residents.  I completed my senior year at Ithaca College with the production of a 53 minute action film, which later played at the Queens International Film Festival.

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 always imagined that I would start my own business, being significantly motivated by the challenge of doing so (the idea that I would be ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the business).  Another important factor was the concept of designing my own schedule, and consequently, having more control over how my time in general is spent.  In practice of course, that isn’t always the case – more often than not, we end up working varying schedules to largely achieve customer deadlines.  These concepts were coupled with the economic circumstances at the time (significant reduction in companies hiring), which led me to an approach along the lines of “rather than wait for a company to hire me, I’ll hire myself / start my own job”.

Q 4.    What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:    *First would be that once you come up with a business idea, put significant effort into putting yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes.  This is inherently a difficult thing to do, because it (in many ways) requires mentally separating yourself from the idea.  Think about what information they need to make a purchasing decision, what’s important to them, why they would be interested in your offering, and what it will do for them / what value does it provide for them?  This will help you evaluate if there is indeed a market for the business, and provide additional perspective to help you better shape your product.

*Two would be to try and leave no stone unturned in building your business, in the sense that success for your business may come from unexpected channels.  The right partnership, the right introduction, etc – can have untold compounding impact for your company.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to a company or individual you feel will be the right connection for you – provided that you do it in a considerate and well thought out manner.  People generally aren’t going to respond well to an impersonal, mass request of some sort relative to your business.  But if you take the time to reach out to an individual with a specific, concise, personal message – you may be surprised by the possibilities that arise.  The point here is that your business doesn’t exist inside a bubble – how you engage with related companies may be critical to your success.

*Lastly, would be to constantly evaluate and improve how you’re doing things.  There are always new competitors, new technologies, new businesses, etc.  If you’re not constantly improving and updating how you do things, you’re often not just “standing still”, but falling behind as things around you move forward.  For that reason (among others), it’s important to always keep learning and innovating.

Q 5.    What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Dedication:  Willingness to work when others might be on vacation if needed (e.g. nights, weekend, maybe a holiday, etc).
Passion:  Desire to keep learning and improving your product or service
Willingness to take on some risk:  Whether it’s financial risk, risk of wasting time, etc – I would say that (within reason) you have to be willing to take a chance on your idea, at the risk of wasting some time, money, or similar.

Q 6.    How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans:    16 – 18 hours most days

Q 7.    To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans:    I think I would attribute any success thus far largely to dedication, in the sense of a willingness to put in whatever time is required to achieve that success (many times in lieu of other hobbies, etc).

Q 8.    How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans:    I pursue a variety of different marketing methods that ultimately comprise the entirety of the business’s marketing strategy.  For my particular business, networking has been absolutely the most valuable form of marketing for me.  Knowing the right group of people (through ongoing mutually beneficial networking) has opened doors to many extremely valuable opportunities that I would otherwise not have had.

Q 9.    Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans:    For this venture, any initial funding for equipment was done via a personal credit card.  It’s not a method of funding that I recommend; the interest rates are extremely high and very costly over the long term.  But for a limited amount of funding, if there aren’t any other applicable options that are attainable like a bank loan or similar – this sort of approach can get the job done, provided that the pros and cons have been well considered.

Q 10.    What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans:    I think long-term success is best achieved through a number of techniques, but one stands out:  Providing customers with consistent value.  That’s to say, providing a quality product or service that connects to the value customers expect to receive for the amount they’re spending.

Q 11.    Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans:    In the coming years, the expectation is to continue expanding the number of businesses we’re working with on a consistent basis.  As more and more businesses see the value in video, we expect there will be an increasing need for consultation with a professional video production to develop and fulfill video integration strategies.  We intend to be at the forefront of those developments, working directly with businesses to design and fulfill robust video strategies that reliably achieve the desired goals.  We believe it’s critical to remember that not all video (or video strategies) are equally effective – the right video strategy can revolutionize your business, and under certain conditions the wrong one can actually have a negative impact.

Q 12.    Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans:    It’s tough to name a specific business, and align directly with the entirety of a given company’s philosophy or outlook.  Rather, I think it’s more accurate to say that there are a handful of businesses I particularly admire – each for unique reasons.  Some of those reasons include:  Integrity of the company’s products and services in terms of the value they offer customers, degree to which the company values employees (and shows it through their compensation program and employee related policies), and the manner in which the company perceives itself to be interacting with its customers (and how accurate that view is, from an independent perspective) – for example, is the company there to provide its customers the best experience / best value possible, is the company there to extract the most amount of cash it can from every customer possible while perhaps only giving the appearance or promise of value (without delivering), or where does it fall in between that spectrum?

Q 13.    How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans:    Good employees (or as the case may be, contractors / consultants / vendors) have been absolutely critical to any success we’ve achieved.  In many cases, work a client receives – even when closely monitored or directly worked on by me personally – is impacted in some way by someone I’ve hired.  Depending on the unique situation, the level of impact can be seen in the quality of a voiceover artist’s voice recording, a hired animator’s illustrations, or even a videographer’s camera skills & reliability.  In all cases, a poor employee would have a directly negative impact on our ability to deliver – be it a negative impact on timeline (due to us having to re-do poorly delivered work), or similar.  While we have systems in place to ensure quality control in all cases, good employees are critical to ensuring the core work gets done every day – so that we can necessarily focus on consulting, interacting with clients, and improving the business.

Q 14.    How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans:    This is very dependent on the type of idea, and the perceived quality of the idea.  In my case, a marketing tactic might be tried for 3 months before it’s considered a success or failure.  A business idea might be pursued for anywhere from 18 – 36 months before deciding to continue pursuing it, or foregoing it for other challenges.  Other ideas might require an even longer-term evaluation by design.  The critical thing is to balance the time commitment with the duration of evaluation.  For example – it’s easier to allow a longer evaluation period / more leeway for something that requires a 2 hour daily time commitment, versus something that’s consuming 12 hours a day.  The latter needs to be evaluated more stringently, to ensure the significant amount of time dedicated to it is being well spent.

Q 15.    What motivates you?

Ans:    Certainly a number of things, and some of those change even daily.  But over the long term, it ties back to my initial goals:  Desire to put in the work up front that allows my to develop a business where I’m flexible in setting my own daily schedule in terms of time and priorities,  and simply a desire to be successful relative to the challenge of building a business.

Q 16.    How do you generate new ideas?

Ans:    New ideas come by looking at everything with a critical eye, or rather an eye for improvement.  That doesn’t mean having a negative outlook and always seeing “the bad” in a situation – but instead seeing opportunities for improvement – or even just opportunities in general.  You have a need that service doesn’t currently provide, or doesn’t provide adequately?  Maybe that’s an opportunity.  I think once you get into the mindset of generating new ideas (by constantly researching possible solutions to a need you may have (for example – what method of marketing will be best for my business this month), you start to naturally see new opportunities and generate new ideas, almost as a byproduct of having the right mindset (rather than, for example, sitting and trying to think up new ideas for an hour).

Q 17.    How do you define success?

Ans:    Personally, I define success as the ability to spend your time as you wish, with the financial freedom and ability to do so.

Q 18.    How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans:    I think building a successful customer base required providing significant value in your product or service, and particularly a unique value.  Getting a customer is one challenge, but turning them into a repeat customer that builds towards a customer base is another.  The latter requires delivery of consistent quality and value, and often even means taking the extra step to make it clear to your clients that their business is important to you.  It’s easy to assume that a customer who has worked with your two or three times before will keep coming back.  That can certainly be the case, but to ensure that it occurs reliably – you should have a process in place to stay in touch with customers and let them know they’re appreciated in a way that makes sense for your business.  It might be a simple thank you from time to time, special repeat customer discounts, a loyalty program, or similar – but again, most of these should be secondary to the actual value your product or service provides.

Q 19.    What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans:    The challenge of juggling priorities and making decisions every day that effect the direction of the business.  Each day brings new opportunity – the potential for an interesting project, a connection that can lead to an evolution of the business, etc.  As an entrepreneur, almost every decision you make related to the business will have an impact – that’s both exciting and challenging, and for me is very motivating.

Q 20.    What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans:    No one particular moment stands out, but every time we hear back from a client that the video we delivered is exactly what they wanted, or better than they imagined – particularly on projects that had loosely defined specifications – that’s a very satisfying thing.  It means that we’ve not only correctly understood their request and associated goals, but we’ve effectively translated them into video and successfully executed the production.

Q 21.    What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans:    It’s tough to say for sure, because every individual has different circumstances and priorities that they’re considering.  I think for me (and perhaps for many people), it comes down to values and how averse one is to risk.  Values in the sense that some individuals will value the perceived security a traditional job offers them, while others may value the perceived potential that something like a start-up offers them.  That’s one example of values; I suspect in many cases individuals are weighing many values against a variety of other factors – one such example being risk, or how much risk a particular person might be willing to take on,

Q 22.    How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans:    There’s definitely a time cost to being an entrepreneur.  I think it requires an awareness of that, such that you force yourself to separate time for personal / family activities without letting work bleed in.  I think this is likely less of a difference from a full time employee than it may have been in the past – with many people expected to monitor email or similar communications even when they’re outside the office or off the clock.

Q 23.    What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Ans:    Don’t really have an answer for this that applies

Q 24.    Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans:    Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Simply put – he has a very clear vision of the goals he wants to accomplish, and once he has a goal – he seems to have a very focused ability to plan and execute the steps to achieve it.

Q 25.    What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans:    I don’t really have one book that inspired me the most, but Tim Ferriss’s “4 hour work week” was an important book in reaffirming my belief that I was heading for the correct path, in terms of pursuing an entrepreneurial-based career.

Q 26.    How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Ans:    I think by being honest and clear with people who you interact with, you do a lot of damage control in advance.  That’s to say, if you have good relationships with people, and an issue arises that might require damage control – those who know you will be more understanding and willing to stick with you.  At the same time, one way to prevent mistakes is to be careful not to bite off more than you can chew – in terms of an individual project, a contract, or similar.  Sometimes an opportunity comes along that might be outside your comfort zone, but is ultimately a critically important opportunity.  There’s nothing wrong with pursuing it, provided you’ve taken the time to weigh any pros and cons.  The key is to avoid taking that sort of risk when the reward isn’t as significant as it needs to be, to make the risk worthwhile.

Q 27.    What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Ans:    Though it’s been a while, I’m a big fan of Paintball and (indoor) Rock Climbing.  I also love to read fiction and non-fiction books, as well as watch movies & documentaries.

Q 28.    What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Primarily, committing a lot of time.  Sleep is certainly the first thing to go, but then in my case, the amount of time required for the business meant reducing or temporarily eliminating other hobbies and activities – some of which I still haven’t had the opportunity to pick back up (but intend to).

 

Company       : Matt of all Media Productions
Name            : Matthew Shea
Address        : 24 Churchill Street
City              : Fairfield
State             : CT
Zip Code     : 06824
Tel No         : 203-548-7058
E-mail Id     : Sales@mattofallMedia.com

Twitter         : https://twitter.com/mattofallmedia
Facebook     : https://www.facebook.com/MattofallMediaProductions
Linkedin      : https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattofallmedia
Google        : https://plus.google.com/+MattofallMediaProductions