How one man left a job he loved to focus on his future
Like monsters under the bed, fears aren’ t real when you are starting up yourownfirm, sayspetercraven, owner of a video production company
Peter Craven had a wellpaid job he loved but he gave it all up to start his own business.while most people wouldn’t dream of walking away from such stability, Peter is now the creative director of Blue Sky Video Marketing and is relishing the challenge that comes with being his own boss.
The company, based in Belfast city centre, specialises in helping companies use video in their marketing campaigns.
Peter (44) has drawn upon his two decades of working in marketing and his passion for video to launch the business, which provides services to other companies.
“Essentially, we are a marketing agency that specialises in video, rather than just being your typical production company,” he says.
“I spent about 20 years working in marketing roles and videos have become increasingly a part of the marketing process.
“However, frequently the videos didn’t fit into the overall marketing campaign, the video was the beginning and end of the process whereas we work with companies to establish what it is they want to achieve and make sure the video is part of an overall strategy.
“We focus on integrating video into the ongoing communication plan.”
Blue Sky Video Marketing not only helps companies develop video marketing strategies and produce videos, it also provides training in how to put together a professional video.
Peter explains: “It’s simply not possible or necessary to outsource a lot of videos. They can do that themselves and we help them build the capability to do that. For example, if they are doing a product launch at a show, they might want a video to put on social media showing their stand and telling people where they are and to come and see them. That can be done very simply by yourself, it isn’t necessary to get out a production company that has to set up a lot of equipment and then might spend three days editing the video.
“You need the video quickly, but at the same time if you want to market a high-end item on a global scale, doing a quick video in your car and uploading it onto the internet isn’t going to work, either.
“If I have someone who has spent four years in R&D and they are trying to secure £1m investment, I’m not going to advise them to do a selfie video in their car. It’s about knowing the message is, who your audience is and how best to connect with them and that’s where we come in.”
Peter graduated from the University of Ulster with a humanities degree before going on to complete a Master’s in European Business, in which marketing was a module.
His most recent position before setting up Blue Sky Video Marketing was as head of marketing and sales support at CDE Global, a manufacturer of quarry and mining equipment. He left in June last year, a day short of a decade at the business.
He started on the Ulster Bank Entrepreneur programme in February last year while he was working out his notice at CDE Global, and Blue Sky Video Marketing has been up and running for almost 18 months.
“Usually when you start up a business it is because of some big life event, there’s been a redundancy or something has happened in their personal or professional life, but that didn’t happen with me... Of course, there was that safety net of being paid every month and then all of a sudden it’s gone.
“But when you break it down to ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’, I thought no-one was going to die, I realised I could try it and give it everything I had and if it didn’t work out I knew I was still employable. At the very worst I would have blown some savings but at least I would be able to go on and do something else knowing I had given it a go.”
Peter says the Ulster Bank programme has been crucial in helping him overcome any fears about setting up his own business.
“You’re working with a lot of other people who have the same mindset,” he says. “Sometimes you think ‘Am I mad?’ but when you’re in a room full of other entrepreneurs it makes you feel a lot less mad. One of the things that stood out to me was a talk by someone who told us that when you are born you are only afraid of two things: falling and loud noise. Everything else is monsters under the bed. If a child wakes up and can’t go back to sleep because they think there’s monsters under the bed, you show them under the bed and they realise there are no monsters and go back to sleep. Once you realise the fears are created by yourself, you realise there is nothing you should be afraid of.”
Peter has spent the majority of this year creating a strong portfolio which he can use to build his customer base. He currently has three people working at the company and plans to increase this by another four in the coming year.
So, does he regret his decision to leave his job at CDE Global?
“I loved it there but I can’t see myself ever working for someone again,” he says.
I can manufacture and deliver and there is a value attached to it