How It All Started - The Young Entrepreneur
Updated: Aug 18, 2018
Written By: Brayden Gingrich
This business means everything to me, plain and simple. Although there's lot's of glory in being a business owner, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
This is my OUR story.
When I was about 9 years old, I first started in the business world. It sounds super cliche, but it's true. From lemonade stands with cookies and donuts, to a finger skateboard business, I tried it all. With business partners that would have rather drank the lemonade themselves, or go for a bike ride, things fell through pretty rapidly. To this day, I have vivid memories of my Dad and I on the road for his work, visiting customers and dealing with sales. Although I personally didn't do much, other than tell him to hurry up because I was getting bored.
In 2009 I started a YouTube channel with my cousin. We uploaded some really stupid stuff from what I can recall, but luckily, the videos aren't online for your viewing anymore. I gained a lot of editing and filming experience over the years doing these shorts.
In 2012, I set out on a mission to incorporate my passion into my future. I started making videos for events and friends for free or little pay. I’ve always enjoyed using my creative abilities to help showcase other peoples passions and stories. When I started doing this, I was just 15 years old. I remember asking my parents for rides to these places so I could fulfill these jobs and hopefully, one day, work with these clients again. (Thanks Mom & Dad)
I grew up and was tired of the lemonade stands I ran in elementary school. When I was going through high school, I revisited my love for filmmaking and took many different classes associated with business, marketing, and communications. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, and I was convinced I was going to do that eventually.
Fast forward to grade 12, 2016, where I found myself skipping class at least once a day to go to the local gym, library, or home to work on videos. My teachers didn’t like this, except for one who had seen what I was doing and fully supported my actions. After graduating I knew that this was my future, and I still wanted to pursue it at a higher level.
I had so many friends tell me that it wasn't going to amount to anything, and that going to post-secondary is 100% the best choice. I personally have strong feelings about our education system and how things are run. There is a place for post-secondary, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't in that mix. I genuinely feel bad for those that were pushed into College or University and got papers they will never use, and amassed tons of student debt.
At the time, I was still making wedding and event videos, while working two other jobs fresh out of high school. I kept up with the videos and really wanted more business moving forward to replace one of the jobs I was working.
On my 19th birthday, the owner of Dynafit Listowel, (Chris Kurz) offered me a job at the local gym where I could combine my passion for film with the gym itself. He said to me "Brayden, you have one year until you're fired and you better be self-employed." It was during that time of building what was Off The Lens Productions, when I stumbled upon the social media marketing niche, and how vital social media was to video.
In the past, our clients always commented that they loved the videos but the ROI just wasn’t there. After lots of time and consideration, I knew that the social media marketing doorway was open and that it would bring tremendous value to our current and future clients. Posting a photo on social media or sharing a video isn't enough. They were missing SO MUCH opportunity and reach and didn't know how to actually use the tools in front of them.
At the time, I was still working alone and had a goal to assemble a team of young creative individuals that would accent the brand and have similar goals in mind. I started with one client managing their social media, taking pictures, video and online ads. Yielding great results, I used this as leverage to gain more clients. Within a few months, I quickly realized that this would be the next big step for myself and Off The Lens. Talking to my mentor Chris Kurz, we agreed that a rebrand to Off The Lens Media would be the most beneficial move at the time. Specializing in managing social media accounts, and implementing video, to ACTUALLY get businesses to grow.
With half a dozen reputable clients on board, I set out to assemble a team. I have always been a fan of talking to new people and dealing with customer service so I knew I still wanted to take care of that and represent the business, which started from a first hire (part-time photographer) and quickly grew into a team of 5. Fast forward two months and we’re at the present day.
I know what your thinking... "Where are the downfalls?" or "How was that hard?"...
Let me tell you... What isn't hard is going to school and partying every other night. Or writing an exam and passing by 5%. Whats hard is having no capital to start, and working away at something for years and years just to see a dollar. It's the pain of hearing "no" every time and trying to get past that. There are many doors that slammed shut in my face, and I am so happy they did.
The stress that comes with being a business owner, has to be my biggest struggle. I'll be honest, if I knew how stressful it would be at these starting years of business, I likely would have been too scared to do it. Although looking back it has been the absolute best decision of my young life and I don't regret any of it. Even though I have learned a lot over the years, I have so much learning to do.
My wish is for anyone reading this, that you, right now, no matter your current state, will chase your goals. That's all that matters. Whatever you love doing, keep doing it. It only brings happiness.
Even though I’ve completed this at a young age, I’m looking for more and really hope to keep our momentum moving forward and one day, being recognized as an ass-kicking, young team that builds businesses for others online. We strive for excellence in our work and always want to do better each and every time.
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