As this will be my last post this year I thought I should do a 2015 Year-End Review of how the year went. This year was the first full year in business, since 2014 I was only in business for half the year. I would like to take a look at where I was at this time last year, and compare it to where I’m at now to see what I have accomplished.
At this time last year the business was still setup as a Sole Proprietorship, but as of July 24 my business is now an S-Corp. This was a big change for me, and the business. It has been a slow process transitioning everything over, especially all of the accounting and bank accounts, but now the company is setup and ready to go.
Financially speaking 2015 was a loss simply because we did not work on enough client projects to counter what I’m paying to have the animated short produced. I expected this year to be a loss financially since I wanted to work on building our portfolio, and spent less time marketing and looking for service work. The company still has money in the bank from last year, so the business is still in good shape and I’m not worried yet. Next year my focus will be on finding more client projects to work on. It is a balance between working on our own IP, and doing service work to bring in money. I will also be looking into how we can make money off our own projects we are working on.
Bink – Animated Short:
Although the short is the main reason we are in the red for this year I’m really excited we are working on it. I have learned a great deal from the process, and what we have learned will only my make company stronger. Plus when we finish we will have a really awesome animation to show off for the hard work, and financial investment.
This was a big year for networking for me, and I have made a lot of new connections with people in my industry. I have attended several industry conferences, and Producer Guild events. I still have stacks of business cards sitting on my desk I’m hoping to reach out to. If only I had more time in the day to get things done.
I have also been reaching out to other animation studio founders, and comparing notes. It is really great to hear about what others in a similar position as me are doing, and what advice they might have. While we may be considered competitors I have found we are all willing to help each other out.
The company had a lot of growth this year in our social media, and while I might not have all the numbers for how much growth I know it was a decent amount. I will be putting a lot of information down here partly so I have someplace to look to each year for comparison. Not all the social networks have tools for seeing what your numbers where a year ago.
Facebook is by far my largest network, and also the network I put the most effort into. I will bring on someone to help with social media and marketing for next year, so hopefully I will see growth in all areas in 2016. At the beginning of the year I had 1,659 Likes, and currently we have 4,425 Likes.
In July of this year I started a company Instagram account, and we now have 235 Followers.
I can’t tell how many Followers I had at the beginning of the year, but I think it was around 200. We currently have 522 Followers, and hoping to double this number in 2016.
While I have not been doing anything with YouTube other then posting my Demo Reels I hope to see my 5 Subscribers I currently have grow significantly in 2016 as I begin to post Bink animated webisodes.
In 2015 on Vimeo I had 1,439 plays, 1,725 Loads, and 3 likes, and currently have only 4 followers. Similar to YouTube I have not been posting much on here, but will be when we finish with Bink.
This year we had a marketing consultant do some market research and develop a marketing strategy for the company. I’m now in the process of interviewing applicants for a part-time Social Media Marketing Coordinator position. They will help in implementing the marketing strategy, and hopefully bring in more client projects. At the beginning of this year we had no solid marketing plan, so I feel this is a big step forward.
This year I started the Society of Creative Professionals(Temp Name), and so far it has been going great. We have had a monthly mixer since July, and I have met a lot of really great people. I have a lot of big plans for the society, and hope to accomplish many of these goals in 2016.
At the beginning of last year my wife and I had an almost 1 year old son, and were trying to do our best to keep on top of our personal lives. This year I feel like we did not do the best job of keeping in touch with all of our friends, and wish we could have seen them more. It is challenging with the little one, and with both of us working full time. This year we also announced we were expecting a baby girl in May of 2016. I’m sure this will make having a social life even more challenging, but we are very excited to be growing our family.
Our growing family will not only make our personal life more challenging, but will also impact the business. I will be getting less sleep again(after we finally got our son to sleep through the night), and it will add more financial pressure to succeed. I would imagine starting a business with less responsibilities would be less stressful, but I feel my responsibilities motivate me to succeed.
I feel 2015 was a year of learning and growing. While I don’t have a lot of work or profit to show the success we had I still feel it was a very successful first full year. I have set things up for a very positive 2016, and can’t wait to see how the year goes.
Have a great New Year everyone, and I hope 2016 will be the best year of your life so far.
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.