Matt Dawson, co-founder of video producer One Day Video, talks running a business with his family, hiring his first employee and navigating disruption caused by Covid-19.
What does your business do?
One Day Video creates videos and animations in one day for corporates. We create videos in one day as it helps us and helps our clients to focus creatively on a project. We go into their offices and edit there so they can collaborate on it with us to help us.
We have people like Foodstuffs on board and have done a bit of work for Becca, but then we also have smaller companies and start-ups as clients as well. We started One Day Video about one year and eight months ago and have over 50 clients.
What was the motivation for starting it?
Me and my brother Jacob and our Dad Rodney started the business originally, and it came about when Jacob was doing a bit of freelance video work, about two years ago, and he was just finding the whole process of back and fourth feedback and editing over a week or two quite difficult and time consuming and thought "why don't we create a video in a day" and he approached me and I liked the idea and we decided to try it and see what happens.
How big is your team?
Esther, my sister, who does all of our marketing, we recently hired her to do in-bound marketing and social media work. There are technically four of us that are employed by the business, all working fulltime, and then we have six contractors ranging from videographers to animators and illustrators and script writers.
Is this your first business, and what's your background?
This is my brother and I second business together. We originally started a company called Simply Clever Toys which was basically buying and selling fun toys like remote control helicopters and brain teaser puzzles and we made videos to market those and put them on YouTube and we grew a bit of a bit following online; we ended up having a viral video that has something like 15 million views and we had 30,000 subscribers. It was a fun experience but that was started in 2010 and we finished that in 2014.
What are your long-term plans?
We have a big over-arching goal of expanding to Australia and further countries. We're hoping we can expand to Australia in the next two years, depending on what is happening with Covid-19. We're also hoping to open a different division of the business in terms of in-bound marketing, as we've noticed that a lot of our clients they have spent money on videos but a lot of them don't really know what to do after that, so we're wanting to launch an extension where we can help people get the video out on social and working.
How has Covid-19 affected business?
When the first lockdown hit, or just before that, we were quite concerned that it would have quite a negative impact on our business because you can't shoot live videos under level 4, and so we decided to pivot our business a little bit by creating the animation package, basically doing fully animated videos, which we could make anywhere. It was a really good move as we ended up getting a really good response, encouraging people to continue to make videos and not hibernate and instead innovate to capture their audiences in different ways. Now it is a big package of ours and one of our most popular.
What's it like working with close family?
It's my Dad, brother and now sister, and you have to manage the urge of talking business too much, but in terms of the way we work it's actually quite nice. It's definitely not for everyone but we've found a way where it works nicely. A lot of our skills complement each other in a good way. Jacob is like the big-picture person with the concepts and ideas, whereas I'm a bit more of a details kind of person who likes to finesse and make sure we're making the best video possible for clients. Dad is great at doing the sales and talking with clients, getting them across the board to do videos with us. There's a lot of different skill sets involved in the way we work. Esther does everything from setting up Facebook ads to posting on social and keeping the conversation with clients going.
What are you focused on for the rest of the year?
We've got a lot of videos booked in and continually advertising on Facebook to get more leads and drum up more sales. Getting towards the end of the year, it's about honing our processes a bit more so they are tighter and work better and some business development work as well as actually delivering videos to clients.
What advice do you give to others who want to start their own business?
The most important thing is to get started and not expecting to have a perfect product from the start - get your product out there and getting people to use it or use you for your services. Don't labour on something for too long before you start making sales because you never know what the response is going to be until you have clients and you're never going to quite know how to make something better without that feedback.