Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eddy Adams, an augmented reality designer based in Santa Monica, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is based in the weird and exciting world of augmented reality. I build interactive filters on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat for millions of people around the world to play with. The filters range from turning you into a plump bumblebee to sending you through space as lasers whiz by—the more unexpected, the better.
With a decade of 3D motion design experience, I was able to quickly jump into AR and work with amazing clients right away. Since starting, I have worked with Balenciaga, Coachella, Griz, Steve Aoki, Alok, Elvis, Willie Nelson, Icona Pop, Tove Lo, Lil Dicky, Sony Music, Ultra Music, Warner Music, Apple, Netflix, BMW, TikTok, Meta, Amazon, The Game Awards, Museum of Natural History, McDonald's, Dr. Seuss, Seattle Seahawks, IMDB, GoDaddy, Square Enix, Naughty Dog, Bethesda Softworks + id Software, Sucker Punch Productions, Supergiant Games, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Tell us about yourself
Since I was a child, I have had a deep passion for 3D. My dad introduced me to 3D when I was still in diapers, way back in the early 90s. As I grew, my passion grew into a career in 3D motion design. I made tv commercials for a decade until one fateful day when an agency reached out asking if I wanted to work on "face filters." Not knowing what that meant exactly, I said yes! During the course of that gig, I learned how to make filters on Instagram and subsequently started working on direct-to-client jobs.
Knowing that the work I'm doing will be interacted with by millions of people is a constant motivator. I can dream up a concept, build it in a day or two, then release it to the world. Some flop, while others get billions of views. The numbers are staggering.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments is when my TikTok effect Tiny Bee went viral. It got paired with a trendy soundbite and blew up! Everyone from Ed Sheeran to Cara Delevingne, Ninja, Creed Bratton, Shaun White, Alice Cooper, and Gronk used it. It was a crowning achievement, to be sure.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The biggest challenge that comes with being self-employed is the business side of things. Without the support of an agency, every responsibility is on your shoulders. Gaining new clients, drafting estimates and, proposals and contracts, dealing with taxes, building a website, posting content. It's all up to you, and it's a ton of work. But with the chaos of being self-employed comes an unmatched freedom. You can take as much time off as you need between jobs. Take a whole year if you need it! Or push yourself and earn a ton of money. Your fate is in your hands.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
If you're looking to start a business of one like mine, here are three things that will help.
- Start by working at an advertising agency for a year or two. Agency experience will teach you how to attract and deal with clients, handle timelines and deadlines, and work with other creatives.
- Take control of your finances and taxes early. Find a CPA or tax platform that can help you navigate the scary world of owning a business, even if you're the only employee! There's a complex tax structure that can save you tens of thousands of dollars every year, but you absolutely need someone to help you set it up.
- Be nice. Be helpful. Help others do the same thing you're doing. Build relationships with your competition. If you can build a network of like-minded people around you, your business will flourish. By giving back to your community, you'll have someone to fall back on when you need it the most.
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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