Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tuan Lam, Owner of Atomic Pixel, located in London, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At the heart of it, I'm a digital creative that loves creating video content. With a background in digital marketing, I've always freelanced in web design and photo/video, and that's what I led with when creating Atomic Pixel. Now, one side is helping local businesses with their online presence and visual content, but the other side is wedding films which gained a lot of traction in 2022, where I capture wedding memories in a modern home video vibe.
Tell us about yourself
I've just always loved documenting life, capturing memories, and creating with a camera. I've done all sorts of jobs, but primarily digital marketing and a stint in health initiatives before I finally made the leap into my own creative business.
It was a scary move as we just had a baby last year, but it's been the best decision. It's not easy, but the freedom of running my own business allows me to spend the majority of my days with my little girl, which is so important to me. Now, the next step is to continue to scale so I can find that ideal space between making money and having enough family time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Within the first year, I was making more than what I had made at my previous jobs, so it felt like creating my own business was viable and a real entity. Freelancing all those years was a nice extra income, but going full-time feels so different, and I'm proud that I can take care of my family based on my own efforts. Again, it also means an equal amount of stress and fear, but that's the fun of the game.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Discipline and time management. I know that's two, but they go together since no one is going push you but yourself. You have to be accountable to yourself and your clients.
Get the thing done. The project, the marketing, the taxes. At first, you're wearing all hats until you can afford to get help, but it's this self-discipline and juggling all the tasks that make entrepreneurship so interesting.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't quit your job and chase your passion. Test and run your business on the side while you have an income that pays the bills. Otherwise, you'll be too stressed to even enjoy the process or think properly in order to grow your business. Now, the thing about this is to make sure you still push to grow the business and not lean on your day job as your backup, so you've got to mash the gas and get going!
- If your business is creative, build up your portfolio. Free work is ok if it's worthwhile. Create the type of work you want more of. Be honest with yourself about your skill level and the product you deliver. For example, when starting on the wedding side, I charged $1,500 for all-day coverage (10-12 hrs). Once I got a handful of weddings under my belt, and people started to like my home video style (finding your niche and style is important, too), then I increased my prices. Now I charge $4k for 8 hours, and I feel like I'm maxed out in my city. Knowing what your market can bear is key. All this to say, I didn't start out and start charging $4k because that's what I saw others charging. You have to build your skills and body of work before you can charge what you're worth. But DO charge what you're worth. As creatives, we tend to second-guess ourselves.
- Find the fun in your business and your high-ticket items. When we start, we may offer too many products or do everything. As time goes on, ask yourself, which types of clients do I like working with? What projects are fun to me? What are people paying the most for? Narrow it down from there to simplify for yourself and also your clients. Being the local hero known for one thing will help you market your business easier. And connect with other small business owners. Always nice to chat with others that get it, and even if you're in different industries, you can share experiences that can apply to your own business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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