Follow your gut
Name of business: Motion Graphics and Editing Studio
Creator: Angela Makepeace
Years in business: 2
Location: Colchester, Essex
Reach: UK & USA
Specialty: Explainer videos
Key to success: Play to your strengths
Greatest asset: How much we love what we do
If you were to imagine a person that is very content with where they are and what they are doing, getting optimistically excited by every new assignment and always (always!) smiling when talking about their work, you would be thinking of Angela Makepeace. We spoke over the phone and I could hear her smiling. When I think about this conversation, one word comes to mind: bright.
You probably have heard this type of story before. You work for someone, get experience, learn a thing or two. Then you notice the limitations of your position. The fact that in some cases you work for your manager more than you do for the actual client. Once you notice that the spectrum of the decision making process you are involved in is smaller than you had hoped for you cannot un-notice it. Some are comfortable with that safety net of filters diluting responsibility. Others choose a different way. Angela did just that. Only better.
This is why.
1. She trusts herself
The business may be relatively young, but Angela is not a newbie in the industry. She’s spent years working as an animator, developing videos for agencies, learning from her bosses. That, of course, gave her experience in the day-to-day of animation, but also taught her how to recognise trends, deal (or not to deal) with clients, managements, expectations. That understanding is crucial to developing her brand. It strengthens her core abilities and means that she can build a better business.
2. She does not get distracted
“It scares me to death that I would ever have to get back to a ‘proper’ job.” For making videos, according to Angela, is not a proper job – she enjoys it too much. So she does nothing that would cause that. Lucky for her, she never had a problem with discipline. Even working from home, there was never a problem with daytime tv. When she’s at work, she works. At the same time she enjoys the freedom and the balance of the on-off time. I have to admit, I envy her that (note to self: focus & balance).
3. She gets excited
About every single project. Even when she speaks about what’s in the pipeline she lights up. That’s not naiveté, she’s far too experienced for that. It’s a sign of someone who’s in the right place: they have the knowledge, are not afraid to share it (via blogs and instructive videos) and experience to enjoy developing new scripts with confidence. That’s joy. This enthusiasm is infectious. …no wonder her clients are happy (see point no 5).
4. She never stops learning
Listening to experiences of others is “a bottomless pit of information” on managing finances, contracts, branding, social media. This ability allows her to keep on top of things, and generate fresh ideas, which is handy, as video is the future of communication. The lesson here is: stick to what you know but never get stuck, keep adding on (and yes, I am playing with the other meaning of the verb ‘to stick’, but I explained what I meant, so it was worth it).
5. She’s never going to be churning scripts
Angela has a clear definition of her business. Her studio produces short videos, but it’s not a factory and is not going to become one, if she can help it. Each client receives full attention of her team. Even if her studio evolves into the next Pixar, it is going to stay that way. It’s a nurturing relationship and both sides enjoy it. “Having happy clients is a great experience” – she says. “But nothing was spoon-fed to us. Finding our own clients is one of our biggest successes. It’s even better when they find us.” Angela credits her style of cooperating with clients for that.
And that is why she is my brand hero.
– for keeping their staff happy which boosts customer service
– for the way they develop their brand, what atmosphere they create around themselves, whether it’s a finance product or a space travel venture
Elements of a good brand:
making clients happy by keeping your team happy
Motto: You are your choices – you can do what you feel is right
Find out more about Angela and her studio: