Creativity is the Key to Success – Motion Sickness Studios

In the image above Sam Stuchbury (Left) Jonathan De Alwis (Middle) and Alex McManus (Right)

Establishing a solid playing field is difficult for entrepreneurs these days. Thanks to the tech boom in Silicon Valley, the traditional prerequisites for building a start-up include

a). having a great idea,
b). assuming a slightly unusual personality, and
c). asking investors for a whole lot of money.

Although Sam Stuchbury and Jon Thom had the great idea, their whole approach is far from the norm, and that is reflected all the way down to their company culture. They wanted to start a creative agency that does “everything under one roof, be it art, design, video, or web development.” They’re both amiable, charming, and friendly. And neither of them has asked for a single Rutherford when starting Motion Sickness Studio.

Motion Sickness Studio started in Dunedin with $1000 to its name – $500 from each founder. The original funds were used mostly in admin costs like registering the company name.

“The first few projects were done using equipment we hired or borrowed,” Sam told us, “and as the jobs started rolling in, we started buying our own equipment and we were able to build the company that way.”

As things developed it became apparent that the video side of the company took off a lot quicker. Sam and Jon were able to make some money and a name for themselves through video, and decided to go down that direction.

In this day and age, creativity is absolutely vital in order to achieve any kind of success. Why? Because it is ever so easy to do everything yourself, from websites to videos.

“What people don’t understand is that its a process,” Sam said.

Motion Sickness Studio doesn’t just see jobs as problems they have to go in and fix.

“We approach every project with a fresh slate, and think ‘How can we make this something different or something new?’ Yes you can very easily build a website yourself, but will it be effective? Will it be inspiring? You can make a video within minutes, but it is much harder to get it to be different, engaging, and possessing a human element. Will it be something that people can remember? People are thinking they can produce something themselves, and we’re going in and producing something a little bit different. We’re not just a factory that knocks out websites off the shelf constantly.”

Every project is undertaken with a creative agency approach, and that is a major factor that has added to Motion Sickness Studio’s flourishing growth.

With that mindset, video production soon became a full time job for three people, and Motion Sickness Studio decided it was time to zoom out a little and capture the bigger picture.

“Over the last couple months, we have stepped up the strategy side,” Sam explains, “and Jonny has taken over that aspect, doing web development and branding, and I’m doing the video.”

Bringing new people on board, hiring employees, is a stage in business development that invokes uncertainty for a lot of entrepreneurs, and is something Sam warns about.

“People can fall into the trap of having massive overheads by employing people right off the bat. You’ll know when you need more people when you’re doing work that you can’t complete.”

Motion Sickness Studio’s employees are mostly people they have worked with in the past who have had their employment situation change. The positive chemistry allows everyone to be comfortable with each other and promotes an efficient work environment.

From home-based geeks to full-scale operations, getting your name out there and recognized is a major obstacle that many creative agencies and web development start-ups face. Sam, on the other hand, found it to be simple and easy.

“Your products are your biggest asset. That’s what’s going to get you noticed and get you more work.”

When you have good work, people talk about you. Word-of-mouth is especially important when it comes to operating in a niche field.

“People don’t see our videos as advertisements. They see them as a short film that they enjoy watching, which also gets the brand noticed.”

Motion Sickness Studio has an engaged social media audience to create a medium through which people can express their appreciation. With over 1150 fans, their engagement is above average with most of their artwork getting consistent likes and shares.

Do you think 2013 is a good year to be an entrepreneur in New Zealand?

Yes definitely. Lots of things are changing at the moment, and some people see that as a negative, but it’s really not. Things change so quickly now, but there’s so many opportunities and big markets opening up that if you’re onto it and have a creative mind, you can tackle it and make something out of it. Don’t hesitate to make something out of your situation.

Before I had the business, I would look at these ad agencies and video production companies and think, “How do you get to that point,” and “those people must be incredible to have these companies.” When you start doing it though, you realize that these people are just like you, and they just work really hard and that’s how they have gotten to where they are.

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