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Audiovisual Communications Talk with Robert Belland
Robert Belland graduated from MacEwan University with a diploma in Audiovisual Communications. With over 20 years experience in media production, Robert Belland is the owner and operator of Seminar Techs, a company that manages, directs and produces live events. An entrepreneur at heart and a self professed tech nerd with social skills, Rob talks about his experiences running his own business.
Audio and video recording technicians operate equipment to record, mix and edit sound, music and videotape, for motion pictures, television and radio programs, videos, recordings and live events. They are employed by multimedia companies, film, video and concert production companies, sound recording firms, theatre and dance companies, educational establishments, clubs, hotels, bands, radio stations, television networks and video production and editing companies.
The employment outlook will be fair for Audio and video recording technicians for the 2021-2023 period. Employment growth will lead to a few new positions. A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.
Completion of a college or other program in recording engineering, audiovisual technology or a related field or Experience as a recording studio assistant is usually required. Senior occupations in this unit group, such as recording and sound engineers, require experience.
Audio and video recording technicians usually earn between $17.00/hour and $41.56/hour in Canada. People working as an “audiovisual (AV) technician” are part of this group. There are several unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation.
(Visit the jobbank.gc.ca Canadian Website For Most Recent Numbers)
Full Length Episode:
Complete Episode Transcript
Today’s guest is Robert Belland.
Here’s our Job Talk about Audiovisual Communications.
Welcome to the Job Talk Podcast.
Where we talk to people who love their jobs.
Our guests open up about their challenges surprises and secrets to success in their industries.
Through conversation we explore their careers past work experiences and the education that got them to where they are now.
I want to jump right into this podcast, taking you back in time to when you were in grade twelve and you were graduating from high school.
What kind of student were you and did you have any idea of what you were going to do in life after you left high school in Grade 9 and 10 I thought I was going to be an architect.
I was pretty set on drawing, buildings and designing houses.
I looked at magazines that had houses I used to draw houses.
I a little bit of an artist and I really liked the idea of designing people’s homes.
And then by Grade 11, I started working at Real Canadian Superstore in the photo department, which was a crazy, amazing job developing photos when when we still used a film to take pictures and girl I worked with had a dad that was an architect and she kind of like, I just picked her brain about architecture, and she said that, you know, it doesn’t pay that well.
Her dad makes like an average income and he works really hard.
She said the only way to make really good money as an architect is to make enormous buildings and make a lot of them like to be the head of a really big construction firm or something.
And it had no, I had no interest in that.
By the time I graduated Grade twelve, I kind of got the sense that architecture wasn’t for me, but maybe something creative, like something to do with video, something to do with computers, or maybe something artistic, like just being an artist.
So to answer your question, when I graduated, I thought I was going to maybe just be an artist somehow.
And I had I had already mapped out going to college.
Red Deer has I grew up and.
It has an amazing college.
Red Deer College is an amazing art school and.
And yeah, and as a high school student, I was average.
You know, if I liked a course, I’d get an A.
If I had no interest, I would just barely pass.
We had a class called this.
Vis Com, I think, which was just drawing and taking photos and video editing, and I aced that course.
I was fantastic at it.
And then I barely passed like Social Studies and English.
You know, the important humanities skills, human skills.
But they are skills I did great at.
So I don’t know how you’d how you’d rate me as a student.
When you were graduating from high school.
How are you feeling were you panicking about I need to decide what I’m going to be doing right away because I kind of have that personality where I just immediately panicked.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but how were you feeling were you excited?
Yeah, I had fallen in love with a girl from Superstore.
Her name was Veronica, and she had her whole life mapped out like meticulously.
It made me feel completely unprepared.
And so I tried to get it.
I actually tried to get into a college in Vancouver called Emily Carr, which is a super like, fancy, well known art school.
I think at least it seemed like it was back then and they were having none of me.
I went, I even went there and did an interview, and they’re like, yeah, like, I didn’t have any art portfolio at all.
So of course they didn’t take me.
And so my backup plan was Red Deer College.
And instead of just going to college like I should have, I took a full year to just upgrade my classes because all my my grades were average, you know, because I just didn’t care at all in school.
I just really like doing the things I like doing.
So I took a year to just upgrade my math.
Just all of my grades, I take a full year of just taking it, it was like basically an extended high school year because I was.
I don’t remember being scared to go to college, but that was I was making an excuse to not go to college.
But no, I didn’t really once I decided to go to a your college, I was 100% excited, had no more worries or fears.
It was just I was just excited because it was just play time, a full two year.
I think it was a degree I can’t remember.
I only did one year anyways.
I did a full year and read your college of painting art history, drawing ceramics, three dimensional design.
It was great.
I had no.
I woke up every day.
to go to school it was great, I guess completely opposite of you.
That’s that’s healthier.
That’s a healthier approach.
You know, I have a question about your upgrading.
So what is it like when you you’ve you’re a little bit older and you go back to upgrade?
Or are you taking it more seriously?
I did two things.
first of all, I went to a Catholic school when I went to high school in right there, and when I graduated and upgraded, I went to a non-Catholic school to upgrade.
So I nobody knew me and I, so I fit right in.
It was just I was just a nobody.
I made no friends there, somehow.
I didn’t really try that much harder because I all I did was take all the same courses everyday took like Chem 30.
I must have had like a 70 going in when I upgraded, I came out with like an 85.
I basically just got eighties and above in everything after that because that’s why I went in there.
But as long as I got 80, I didn’t care.
Like I wasn’t trying to get nineties.
So, yeah, I didn’t need to do any of the upgrading art school doesn’t care.
Anyways, I think it was stupid.
OK, is a waste.
So we’ll fast forward to you now because I know you.
I know you went to MacEwan University in Edmonton, so you got into the Audiovisual Communications program there.
Could you tell me a little bit about your time at MacEwan and how that kind of added to your interest in media work?
I’m going to give you one side story from my art school.
I don’t even know how I managed this.
I didn’t have a car or anything, but my mom did.
And so I bused to college all the time.
It’s no big deal, but one of our projects was this really.
They wanted you to go home and make a three dimensional thing.
So I had spent like a four day weekend building this beautiful three dimensional inside of a three dimensional building.
It was just basically architecture with stairs and walls and light and lighting and stuff, and it was meticulously made and it was about, you know, like three feet by three feet cubed.
It was pretty big.
And instead of just getting my mom to drive me to school, I took this thing on the bus.
So try to imagine middle of winter like this the most delicate building, and no one knows why I have this thing right?
Like, I looked ridiculous and I got on the bus.
I had no concern about it and thinking about it today.
I would be all like nervous and embarrassed or whatever.
But in college, I didn’t give a crap.
I just took up two seats, had this building with me, bused it to college, and I just remember thinking about it recently, laughing at how hard that must have been.
Did you get it there safely?
Yeah, it was fine.
I just I must have did that all the time.
I had no problem with it.
Sorry, what was your question about?
So, yeah, tell us a little bit about your experience taking Audiovisual Communications at MacEwan University.
So somewhere along the lines, I realized I’m not going to make any money as an artist either.
So I sidestepped.
Also, the girl I was in love with had moved was moving to Edmonton to go to university.
So this is why I went to Edmonton, Grant MacEwan.
And so I decided I always liked in high school.
I always liked video production.
Maybe the video production course at Grant MacEwan is going to be up my alley and it was it was perfect.
So the two year program Graham MacEwen was called Audio Visual Communications.
So when you took obviously some kind of telling you everything you already know and we learned video production, audio production, photography, advanced photography, um.
Gosh, I don’t know.
The web was really new back then, so we learned some web development.
Print was really good.
We learned print production and it was it was like being in my favorite class in high school where I liked almost every class.
I never worried about my grades because you said to get the projects done, you didn’t have to be a genius.
And I just was really I had an aptitude for all the things in the class.
So I found it really fun and it was funny to me when I would see students that were stressed out about everything .
I also this is back like, gosh, 96, 97 So what it was and I didn’t have a computer at home, so we had to use the computer labs at school and they had really good Apples back then and had to reserve one hour blocks in the computer lab.
I think you got two hours a day or something.
I can’t remember what the limit was in room 266.
And and the people that were rich enough to have computers just could work at home on their projects all the time.
And I was so jealous of that and I didn’t have a computer at home, so I would have to book these two hour slots.
And if you didn’t get your project done in the two hours of that day, you’re just screwed.
And the library had also computers you could book.
So yeah, most of my time at Grant MacEwan was scheduling was making friends with enough people that had their own computers that I could then sign in their name at the computer lab and then use their two hour period.
So people, when it was hilarious, was people liked me enough that they weren’t upset.
So a student would be coming into the 266 lab at 9:00 a.
I’d be in there working, and then they would swing by at lunch to pick up their friend.
And I’d still be in the lab and they’d be confused how I could still be in there.
But because I helped enough people with their computer projects, no one kicked me out.
I was able to slide under the radar, whereas other people who overstayed their welcome would get narked and then tossed.
I can’t remember anyone whose name would do that, but I always remember seeing someone get kicked out of the lab and I would pull my hoodie over my head and slink in the back because I’d always have a computer in the farthest back.
Anyways, my time at Grant MacEwan was fantastic.
I really liked it.
It was really my cup of tea.
Turns out you took it too.
So yeah, I was one of the I was one of the stressed out students that, you know, shocking as I tried to put my plan together.
So you graduate from MacEwan?
What happens when you graduate from MacEwen?
Where do you go?
So I was still trying to figure out what my career was going to be.
I wasn’t stressed hard about what I wanted to do for work.
I just figured since I like doing when I graduated, I ended up being really good at CD-ROM programing, so CDROMs were kind of the thing back then.
This is before we had like real easy mobile media like hard drives, external drives, stuff.
We had Zip drives and Jaz drive a Jaz disk fit in a Jaz drive.
It fit a whole gig.
It was the biggest drive imaginable.
They really expensive, but mostly people use Zip drives and they had like 200mb and we would copy files to it and it would take like 40 minutes to copy the 200mb.
It was a stressful time.
We had to burn CDs at one times, burned two times burn and God what a memory Remembering how media has come the technology.
Anyways, I really did well with CD-ROM programing, so as soon as we graduated, I said I didn’t really look.
I don’t remember looking for a job.
I was networking already, though, so I had made friends with the instructors Bob Lysay and he he worked at a place downtown called Digital North and Digital North was like a conglomeration of little independent companies who were sharing a space.
The expenses of a rental space.
So I think there was like six companies and they were just sharing on the pricing and Bob was in there and he was a CDROM programmer and he he worked in a program called Macromedia Director heavily.
Back then, Macromedia made Flash.
And I’m not sure what they’re doing these days.
And so I could.
I was really getting programing, so I ended up right after graduating.
There was a posting on the wall in the hallway at Grant MacEwen from a accounting instructor who wanted to do a CD-ROM for his accounting course to help promote his accounting course.
Now, accounting is boring, and you either know that you want to be an accountant or you don’t, so making a CD-ROM is not going to suddenly get him students.
However, they had like a budget to pay for a student that was graduated me for like a summer like four months, and I can’t remember what the pay was.
It was great, though.
And so for the whole summer?
I worked I continued to work at the college for the accounting program, building the CD-ROM.
And it was I wasn’t a designer.
It turns out like I didn’t have the graphical design skills to make it something that was technically useful.
So I just made it kind of like artsy and fancy, and it was not that functional.
And then I had to show it with this instructor to his his board to help promote this CD-ROM to students.
But when I I just remember leaving the meeting after showing it to everybody realizing they have, they’re going to have no need for what they need to make.
That was not very fulfilling, fulfilling feeling.
Hey, yeah, it’s really sucked because it wasn’t that great.
And I felt bad for the instructor because he had spent all this money on me.
But I ended up getting more little jobs like that with Bob at Digital North.
He hired me to come in and help him with some stuff like 15 bucks an hour.
And I did that for two or three months and it was fine.
I liked going downtown and programing and stuff, but it didn’t like the 15 bucks an hour was kind of fine, but it was low end like he was making 60.
I met a bunch of guys that were making $100 an hour as programmers and.
And coincidentally, right as I had a conversation because I said I sat Bob down, I’m like, you know, the $15 an hour is not quite cutting it.
Can we renegotiate?
It’s like, No, that’s the most I’m ever going to pay.
Yeah, because he’s like, You’re just doing the work I don’t want to do.
But if you want to do heavier programing stuff, I could pay you more.
But it would have to be project dependent.
And right at the exact same time, NAIT – Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, I think they’re just called NAIT now.
I don’t know if they there are.
They used to be a tech institute or they still tech institute.
I can’t remember.
I think the department was digital media production, and they they were just kind of a new department, learning resources or something.
It was part of they.
They had a small department that was managing the the I don’t know what to call it at the institute.
They had projectors and slide projectors and stuff like that that was being managed, but they were trying to develop a multimedia arm of it, digital media.
So I kind of got right in there, right when they started the department.
So I got lucky and soon after they hired you as well.
So it’s nice coincidence this was around 1999.
And it was exciting to get a real job for, like a real place.
Yeah, that makes sense.
Yeah, because I had been doing like Subway.
And then the Bay Christmas department.
And then like, you know, I had 100 different jobs long before I got to NAIT.
But when I when I did that first stint at Grant MacEwan doing the CD-ROM programing, I felt like a real my first real kind of adult job, which felt great.
And then working with Bob, a Digital North felt like a real adult job and then getting an actual salary position at NAIT was amazing.
And so I didn’t even plan any of that.
I was just working.
I was just doing the kind of work I really like doing, and I was lucky enough to have networked with other people in the industry so that when they needed someone with my skills, they called me up.
So I kind of it kind of all fell together without a lot of forethought.
So I guess I was lucky that way.
I’ll kind of gloss over your long career at NAIT, but what was your what did your role end up being for the majority of your time at NAIT and will get into what you’re doing now?
And maybe we can talk about, you know, what you learn from your time at NAIT going into your new venture?
So at NAIT I started as like an everyman, like I had all these kind of A/V skills, so I was kind of filling in all the needs of the new department.
So there were some, some easy web stuff that needed to be done.
I do it.
If there were some easy video stuff, I would do it video graphics.
And when you came in, you were the you were video you were the video department all by yourself?
Pretty much so.
I was pretty much became your support guy.
If you needed some after some motion graphics, I would give you a hand or, you know, whatever.
I was kind of supporting different things.
My focus at the very start was programing and programing Director.
So Director was the software back then, so programing CD-ROM stuff that we were doing at NAIT, programing some animation stuff for the website and NAIT had a full web team, so they didn’t really need web development outside of like videos and animations and motion graphics.
So that’s kind of stuff I was doing.
And just slowly, as the department grew, there was a need for a supervisor position, which I I applied for.
I stepped into.
And then my role kind of changed from being specific to CD-ROM programing kind of phased out anyways.
So that was kind of a benefit to me.
So then I just kind of became a supervisor slash support to the different team members.
And I did that for like, I think, 14 years.
I’d have to look at the numbers, but a long time.
And it was great.
I mean, the work, the what I liked the most about the work was I like doing different things all the time.
I like doing some web development and I like doing some animations and then I like doing CD-ROM.
And then I like doing video animations for you.
I like doing all the different creative things.
Some of the stuff was stressful, like you and I would do the sport the NAIT Athletic Award show in the Shaw Theater.
That was stressful to me.
The life stuff always kind of stressing me out because we did it so irregularly and it seems like such a high.
Chance of failure that that kind of stuff always made me nervous.
I think what I liked the most about was the people working with people, the coffee breaks the like, the the socializing and the and because the work I did was was wasn’t that stressful, it was a pretty good job.
Yeah, it was good, really.
I was completely stressed out the whole time, at NAIT.
So there you see the difference in our personalities.
It is a personality thing.
I want to.
So we have the career at NAIT.
You’re an entrepreneur.
You leave NAIT.
And why don’t you tell us a little bit about the company you’re running right now?
And then we’ll get into that a little bit.
So when I neared my end of time at NAIT, I was living with a woman who had her own kind of career.
She started working at NAIT as well, and then she left, was doing her own thing and we had double income.
We had our own house, no kids.
And so I could afford to kind of.
To leave, NAIT, to do some side projects I was working on and the side projects didn’t pay that well at first, but because I didn’t need the money as well, I was in a safe place to kind of to leave and I always wanted to leave.
I always wanted to do my own thing because I didn’t like the one thing.
I didn’t like it.
NAIT, and I think this is everywhere that, like institutions, is the multi layer of management over me making decisions.
That I didn’t always agree with, and I hated not having that kind of control, so the entrepreneur in me wanted the control of running my own business, so I ended up taking the chance to leave NAIT and running .
At that time, I was running web sites for a property management company in Vancouver, and they had a lot of them.
So yeah, financially, it paid well.
And I’m trying to remember even when I did, because I left NAIT.
Like how many years ago now?
Ten, yeah, something like that.
Was it yeah, yeah, right.
So probably ten years ago, the first five years was easy because I had a client I didn’t have to find.
I already had them and they were paying all my bills and I just made them kept them happy.
And it wasn’t a lot of work.
It was like a couple of hours a day at the most easy, simple life.
And then then and then my business.
Oh, I got divorced.
I got like, two things happen at once.
I got divorced and my big clients said, Oh, we don’t want to use you anymore, so we’re going to phase you out over the next.
Oh, that’s great timing.
It was so stressful.
So like I.
I had to afford suddenly to buy my own house, which I did.
And then I had to replace all of my income because my current income was disappearing.
Yeah, so that was a stressful transitional period where I had to figure out what other work I could do because the web stuff I was doing, I just lucked upon.
I didn’t really earn it like I didn’t develop a foundation and then build of his client.
It was just one client.
So like as an entrepreneur, having one source of income is real risky, which, you know, just bad.
It’s not a world I want to occupy, but it’s stressful.
And so at that very same time, I had a friend who was running like a small A/V service for one big client.
He was providing them with the audio video support for their seminars.
They were doing like 80 seminars a year.
And he went and bought all the equipment as just running their AV equipment, the speakers, the microphones, the projectors, the PowerPoints.
And he just ran all their shows for a bunch of years, and he was the stress of running live shows for someone was whittling him down.
And he wanted to buy a house so he didn’t like.
He felt too uncomfortable, so he offered to sell it to me.
So I I’d say, sure, OK.
So I ended up taking out a bunch of business debt to buy the equipment and then take over as a client.
And I had all the skills.
Thankfully, for my years at NAIT, you know, running projectors, running a PowerPoint, managing, you know, managing the A/V is pretty simple.
And my business kind of I started to expand my business services, so I was going from my web.
Stuff was dropping dramatically, and then this live event service was growing.
And so I built a website.
I built a new company name called Seminar Tech Services, which just means I provide tech services for your seminars, basically.
And I had one client.
That was it.
And I did the same thing where all my income was one client and it was paying my bills great.
And it was work that I was stressed was going to be hard.
But after, like five live shows, it wasn’t stressful anymore because everything became kind of predictable.
And I did that for like two years.
And then so 2019 started 2020.
COVID hit, yet all live events stop.
What is the worst?
I was going to ask.
I was going to ask, actually, we were going to go into how the pandemic affected you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And it’s, you know, it affects different companies, different ways.
And my company was so heavily reliant on live events that all my business completely failed, like just disappeared.
My clients, you know, my my 60 shows a year became zero.
So I was.
Like, I saw that as a problem I had to solve right away, so what I did was, I assume the pandemic would probably take two years.
So I I saw I immediately sold my house.
I sold my extra vehicle, sold half the stuff out of my house.
I didn’t really need because I was downsizing and I just found a really cheap, affordable apartment with and I took my three elderly immortal cats and all of all of the stuff that fits in a house.
I squeezed it into a two bedroom apartment and I’d just been living as cheap as possible for two years off of just savings, basically.
And it immediately needed to diversify.
And so I have all these A/V skills.
So what I did was I immediately expanded my services to live streaming because I just assumed live streaming was going to be this huge.
People were going to need it.
And so I built I built a website.
Well, I already had like Seminar Techs, but I built a whole new web page for live streaming and then I paid an SEO expert.
I have a friend that happens to be one through a bunch of money at SEO because I knew I needed to rank well in town because it was I was brand new to it and I didn’t know how long it would take, but it took a month.
That was it, and I was immediately the first result in live streaming because people just weren’t taking livestreaming that seriously in the in town.
So it was easy to outrank people really fast in Edmonton.
Now I can outrank people in Canada because there’s a lot of really big companies.
But that was probably the best thing I did was rank fast because it usually takes months to kind of slowly rank up, and it’s expensive.
And, you know, live streaming didn’t take off for me right away.
It took like a year somehow before I started to get traction on it.
And I know why.
I think because I reached out to every church and funeral home, that was the first groups I thought would need livestreaming.
I reached out to every one of them.
I made a Excel Doc.
and I just emailed them.
I didn’t call them.
I think that was the first mistake and only like two people got back to me.
Yeah, like 100 companies and the first guy, he said three words.
Our needs are met.
That was his response.
Yes, he spelled it a r e.
Yeah, ‘are’ needs ‘our’ met.
And I’m like, Oh man.
And it’s like, why even reply if you get a misspell it?
But anyways, what was funny about that guy is like four weeks later, a family found me online thanks to my SEO and hired me to do a funeral at that guy’s funeral home because the live streaming that they were doing with such poor quality.
The client refused to use it.
So did you meet him?
Did you literally meet this guy?
I never met this guy now.
I emailed him again after that, but he didn’t need me.
And yeah, so I had a real bad pandemic year and a half.
So all I did was kind of like tread water, yeah, for like 15 months.
And then this year, September, things started open up again here in Edmonton.
And and once I started to do actual like, what would happen is over the last year and a half, people would slowly find me through the website, but it was very irregular.
So people that were planning their weddings, people that were planning their funerals, those were the two big livestreaming things that that I was getting asked to quote on.
And and so I got work over the last year kind of like doing weddings and funerals, but erraticaly, you know, a couple two, three four a month .
And that’s not really enough to pay the bills.
It’s close, but it stopped me from just hemorrhaging savings, you know?
Yeah, but what really helped me out was a couple of things.
one, I I know that word of mouth is really big when it comes to business.
You know your business and people recommending you to other people.
So I knew that customer service with every project I got was like the most important aspect of my business.
I needed people to leave the event or whatever was going on, really happy with my services that they recommend me to their friends and family.
And that then made it that helped a little bit with word of mouth.
But once I started meeting funeral homes because I would be called, I’d be hired by someone to go to a funeral home and write There service.
The funeral home liked me enough to start recommending me, and that’s when my business really started to recover in September.
I had been to enough funeral homes that they were starting to.
What I discovered was so I did two things.
one was I started getting referrals from funeral homes who really liked me.
So my people skills played a big role.
And number two, I networked.
Last year, I reached out to other videographers in other companies that were live streaming and tried to network with them so that if they needed support, they would think of me.
And so that they knew existed.
So I needed them to not see me as competition, but as a support.
And and because of those two things, I started getting referrals from other live streaming companies.
There’s a couple here in town who are getting all of the funerals, which I didn’t realize.
And what would happen is the new The Funeral Home would then meet me and realize, Oh, there’s options.
I don’t have to just use this one company.
Rob represents the second company, and I like Rob more than I like this other guy like quality of service.
Obviously, matters like I give the best quality I can, but the other guy’s great too, right?
So we’re both good at live streaming.
Yeah, the only thing that’s going to leave an impact is how the interaction of the family with me, the the funeral home with me.
And so, yeah, so when September happened, things opened up and I started getting referrals, and I’ve been really busy ever since, thankfully mostly with funerals, to be honest with you.
But, you know, two or three a week and that for me, that’s a lot.
What do you like best about your job, do you think?
Because it’s not just the technical skills that you have running these events, like you said, you have to have a certain amount of social skills to do it as well.
What do you like best about what you’re doing right now?
You know, meeting other live streaming companies are AV companies.
It’s a there’s a real particular personality type.
I’ve discovered they’re either really good with people and they manage a company and then they outsource all the tech work to tech nerds, or they’re a tech nerd that slowly developed people skills.
Yeah, if that makes sense.
So those are just seems to be the AV companies really draw tech nerds, people who really get into the minutia of audio video tech.
It’s all nerds.
Yeah, it kind of takes a nerd because, you know, you have to be able to problem solve tech things all the time.
And I happen to be right in the middle of not being nerdy enough to know the difference between a dynamic mic.
I don’t even know the name of the other one.
That’s how bad I am.
But I can tell you what mics.
to buy because I do.
What happens is the research is online, so I don’t have to know it.
I can just go, look it up, but I have the skill to use it, and I have the skill to work with people.
So yeah, I managed to get by not being as nerdy as the rest, but being a nerd really helps.
I already forgot what your question was.
Well, you know, I was talking about the likes with what you’re doing right now, but maybe we’ll transition.
Is there something that you don’t like about what you’re doing right now?
Well, live streaming is stressful like anything that’s live.
You know, it’s your job to make it work.
And when it doesn’t work, it’s your fault.
Like, it’s your responsibility.
So there’s that.
But being able to do it?
And like, I really like helping, like when you shoot a live stream for a wedding or a funeral, there’s people at home who couldn’t get to go who you’re helping.
I’m experience it.
And so I get a real feeling of satisfaction helping, you know, people in P.
who couldn’t travel all this way for a funeral.
They really appreciate being able to hear and see the funeral clearly.
And it’s exact same thing with the wedding.
The difference between the wedding, the funerals, the wedding is more stressful because the bride and groom need it to look good because that’s their expectations and Grandma at home needs to hear it.
And then funerals, there’s just way less pressure.
For some reason, it’s just as hard as a wedding, but everyone is so grateful that it worked.
Of course, so many people have experienced really bad livestreaming or Zoom calls and stuff, so the bar is so low that I can almost do nothing wrong.
You mentioned that you noticed that when you were first starting to reach out to people, to potential clients, that you sent out emails and you felt that maybe that wasn’t the best approach.
Is there anything else that you wish you knew, then that you do know now after running a business for the past three years and you ran a business during a pandemic?
So, yeah, good questions.
Like number one, I would have diversified my income better, probably three years in advance.
So I was not aggressive at all at trying to find new clients because I had a big fat client paying all my bills for years.
So, yeah, I would have diversified where my money was coming from.
first second, I would have networked more right up front like my networking only kicked in last year.
Probably, and I probably should have been networking five years ago with other AV companies so that for a couple of reasons.
one, when I have a project I can’t do, I could give it to them.
And when they have a project they can’t do that could have been given it to me.
That’s kind of how it’s been going recently, where we’ll be trading projects like I can’t do two funerals at once, so I give all the extra funerals that I get requests four to five other guys in my list.
So, yeah, I would have network more.
I think a lot of guys think a lot of people in business will sometimes see other businesses that do the same thing they do is competition.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that.
I feel like there’s enough work for everyone.
And the more you are willing to share the work, the more others are going to want to share it with you and can help you when you need it.
Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think you could offer some information to somebody interested in getting into what you’re doing?
Or maybe not necessarily streaming video and running media, but somebody starting a business?
Is there anything that I, you know, missed?
Ask asking you?
Yeah, I mean, running a business definitely takes a personality type that is not risk averse, so you have to be pretty comfortable balancing risk.
And like, there was a lot of months where I had one month of savings in my bank account, where if I made no money, I would be out of money in 30 days.
I happened a lot.
but I survived it fine.
So I think, yeah, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you kind of have to be.
And if you have, if you’re not risk averse, then you have to map it out better than I did.
I just plan it out, diversify everything all at once, have a support structure like a partner that you live with that makes money, you know, find all the ways you can to give you that safety net you need and then pick it, pick the type of work that you enjoy getting up and doing when it’s when you normally wouldn’t want to like.
I do the live streaming stuff and the A/V stuff because I really enjoy that kind of work, it turns out, and I really enjoy helping the kind of people that I help when I livestream.
So it’s not like, like, I don’t do it a lot, a lot of livestreaming of really boring accounting courses or anything like that, like everything I’m doing keeps me really interested every time.
Like every funeral is different.
Every wedding is different.
And so I have a personality that enjoys that stuff.
So if you’re going to start your own business, if your goal is just to make money, you’re probably going to be a good manager, but you probably won’t be good at doing the work.
You’re going to want to hire someone that that has a passion for that kind of work.
But some people have manager managerial personality types, and that’s perfect for them.
Yeah, I don’t know if that really answers your question, but it does.
I think you’ve given great advice.
I don’t see the service that you offer going away.
Any time soon, so I think you’re going to continue to see it grow and be successful with it.
So Rob, you know what?
I’d like to thank you for joining us today.
And thanks for having me.
Yeah, this has been great.
Thanks a lot.
Doesn’t like talking about themselves.
I love it.