What’s Your Name? Jonathan Martin
Business Name? Black Sock Productions ltd.
Business Website? http://www.blacksockproductions.com
When Did You Start Your Business? 2012
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to create your business?
I have always loved movies, music videos, or any short video that was able to creatively tell a story. In my final years of college I picked up a camera and began making short skits and things with my friends. The more I made, the more I fell in love with film and video. Before I knew it my equipment had advanced, my techniques were more complex, and my films and videos were more professional and creative. A couple years ago I decided to try to make this my full time gig so I quit my job and never looked back.
Who was your very first customer and how did you find them?
My very first customer was for a nutrition store in Colorado Springs. A friend of mine from high school had continued to follow me on social media and knew that I had a video company- her parents owned a store and wanted a web commercial.
When did you know your business was going to work out?
I knew that my business was going to work out when I looked and saw how many friends and family, past clients etc. were referring me for video jobs. At the time I hadn’t spent any money on advertising and was staying busy just by word of mouth. I figured if I started to put myself out there more in addition to these referrals, I would be ok.
What has been the biggest surprise so far after starting your own business?
The biggest surprise to me after starting my own business is how often you have to stay working at it. Trying to keep a business going is a full time job in addition to whatever your business might be doing. Networking, finding clients, improving on my craft… A lot of people only see the fun things I get to do and flexibility I have with my time, when in reality I am in one way or another always working.
What has been your biggest lesson learned in pricing?
My biggest lesson is that I am more valuable than I might realize initially. When I started I was almost giving away work. At the same time though, if you are going to charge for something, you had better be able to back it up with solid work.
What does a typical day look like for you from morning until evening?
I get this question all the time but so many times no two days are the same; I might wake up and start editing today, where tomorrow I wake up and get ready to shoot a wedding. Even as I am doing this interview I have to prepare for a music video later this evening.
If you could go back in time, what’s the one thing you would do differently when you were starting your business?
If I could go back I would spend money differently. In a business there are a lot of things that you think you need… As you get older or more experienced you realize that isn’t always the case. I also would have spent more time learning about my industry before diving right in. It would have given me the opportunity to be a real authority in my industry a lot sooner.
What would you like to learn today from a community of other small business owners and self-employed professionals?
There is a lot I don’t know. I know that now. I think any and all information from other small businesses is great and valuable. Even if their views on business differ from mine, you can never have enough eyes on a situation to try and learn from.
Interview by Rocky Mountain Association of Entrepreneurs