I would like to get in a habit of doing an internal review of how my company did at the end of each year. It will be my opportunity to see what I have been able to accomplish in the last year, or not accomplish. Things can get pretty busy while running the day to day of a business, and it is easy to loose track of where you are, and where you are going. By looking at where you have gone in a year’s time you can get a better idea of how things are progressing, and see if you are heading in the right direction.
If I go back a year from now things were very different for me. My wife and I recently moved into our first house, and were in the process of trying to get settled in. At the same time my wife was 8 months pregnant with our son and on bed rest due to some complications. There was a fear that our son might come early, and we were hoping we would at least stay where he was at until 2014. I was still working at DreamWorks Animation as a production supervisor on the movie Home!. At the same time I had been planning my exit to start my own company, but it was 1/2 a year away before I would actually set off on that voyage.
On April 9th was when I posted my first blog entry “Start Here“, and thus began my blogging journey. Although I started writing it, and rewriting it before then it was on that date it became public. Sure, I had no readers and you could barely find it with a Google search if you knew what to search for, but I still consider it a big step forward. It was the first time my plan to start my own company was out there for others to know about. Writing a blog was also a new challenge for me. I was well aware that I was not the best writer, but I was determined to share my story. I hopped that by keeping at it that I would improve my writing. I can’t say that my writing is any better then when I started(I will let you be the judge of that), but my speed of writing has increased. When I started it would take me days just to write one post. I would often start it one day, work on it a second day, start over on the third day, and eventually get it to a point I was not embarrassed to posting it. Then after it was posted I would often find errors, and go back and fix them, or rewrite it again. I don’t know if I have more confidence now, or if I just don’t worry as much about what people will think if it is not perfect. After all I think that is what people like about blogs, is that they are raw, and unedited. I have gained more readers then that first day I posted. I now get on average around 100 views per post, and have 26 subscribers to my blog. My last post had 160 views, so hopefully I can get more of those 160 readers to subscribe to my blog. The day that I got the most traffic was the day I announced on Facebook my departure from DreamWorks and my plan to start my own animation company. In a single day I got around 900 views.
As many of you know it was July 3 when I ended my 7 year career at DreamWorks to venture off on my own. It seems much longer ago then only 6 months, since I feel I made a lot of progress. Not only was I able to get one project in this time, but I was able to also get a second project. I have lined up several possible projects for the new year, but nothing set in stone. I have a lot of work to do internally next year to help get the company in a better position to find new clients, and avenues that I had not had the time to explore fully yet.
I have been able to make a lot of great contacts that I feel will help me move my business forward. I have also learned a great deal from the experiences I have had so far. These first two projects helped me iron out the kinks in many of my administrative processes, and I am better prepared to start up new projects.
If I was on the TV show Shark Tank they would not care about all of the above, and they would be asking me how the business did financially? Well, in the first 6 months in business I’m happy to say that the company had a total revenue of a quarter of a million dollars. It seems crazy to me that I had that much money come into the business. I would love to say that I got to keep all of that, but the majority of it went to pay the amazingly talented team of artists I work with. Some of it then went to pay for other business expenses including accountants, attorney fees, and equipment. And now Uncle Sam wants 40-50% of what is left for self employment taxes. I will still end the year with a profit, but my wife won’t be quitting her job anytime soon. I also don’t have any projects locked in for next year, so I don’t know how long the remaining money will need to last.
I got to finish the year with a brand new look for my business with the new logo and concept art piece done by Jason Scheier. I’m very excited about this, and hope to get other work like this done for the business. I will be personally updating my website soon with a new look, and putting together a demo reel to showcase the work we have done so far. All in all, it has been an amazing first 6 months, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for the company.
Whether you have been reading my blog from the very beginning, or just joining my journey, I want to thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope that this year was everything that you hopped for, and that 2015 will be the happiest, healthiest, and most fortunate year for you to-date.
If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog. Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.