It's been a year since we setup CuspConcepts. A year filled with countless memories, experiences, learnings, ups and downs.
It all started 14 months back, June 2010, when I had made up my mind to start something of my own before I turn 30 (3 -oh)! I was still working in MindTree, I went to the food court where I used to meet my office buddies for lunch and shared my idea. At first, they thought I'm joining another company and I'd kept the whole thing under the blanket, but when I explained to them they were pretty excited. Especially, Remya. Since her wedding was coming up. Yup! She was my first ever client! By the time I finished my notice period I had around 4 confirmed assignments. Honestly, that gave me the confidence that it would be a fun journey.
I still remember my mom's reaction when I told her that I want to shoot weddings :). Her first reaction was "WHAT! How about Medical Insurance!?" But now she is CuspConcepts' biggest fan! (FYI – just got insurance for mom and myself a couple of weeks back)
My wife surprisingly took it well. When I shared the idea with her and what we could do, she was so thrilled, I remember that we sat up the whole night and discussed so many things. My sister, my in-laws everybody were very supportive.
The biggest challenge was not getting the money or setting up the processes or setting up the studio. The challenge was to put together a "Kick-ass Serivce Offering". That's when I sketched out a mindmap to atleast map out all the ideas. Mind-Maps are very useful to find a relationship among the million ideas.
It's a creative service and was wondering how many people would actually find our work interesting (Can you think of one movie which everybody loves, none right!). Part of the challenge was to spread the awareness of documentary style of capturing a wedding (meaning, no major post-processing, try to keep it as realistic as possible).
I wish somebody had told me:
- To expect the worst – There was a time when our house got burgled and luckily the thief hadn't touched the cameras or the computers. And I had a wedding to shoot the next day.
- To make mistakes – Even if you don't expect to make any mistakes, they happen! We have to be strong enough to learn and move on.
- That working from home is not as rosy as it sounds – I have a Home office/studio and there have been weeks when I didn't step out of the room, totally engrossed into the work. The office chair costs a freakin' 7k. (No wonder startups need VC funding :P). I had leftover food for lunch most of the time, had to chuck most of my formal wear and fill the closet with shorts and t-shirts. The only beings that i interact with were the toy astronauts, a toy frog which croaks when squeezed, a Bart Simpson toy and some HotWheels cars which are on my desk.
- That running a business is 80% Marketing and 20% Operations. If not for the marketing I dont think I could've survived. (Thank you Facebook) – I spent a huge chunk of the time marketing, not just putting up a FB ad, but social media marketing. Now, there is so much of content that was created in the past one year on the site, I am sometimes surprised that all that is actually there. I love to pull up an old post and read it. There has been so much of evolution in the style.
- To forget about buying anything for yourself. Yup! Whatever little money was made was reinvested into the business. That also implies to forget about getting any gifts for your better half :P
It took me atleast 8-9 months to stand on my own feet. Nobody said it's going to be easy!
We have captured so many varieties of weddings, each wedding was a different experience and a new learning (technically, culturally).
It was impossible to choose one picture for this post. I have so many favorites, so here goes, I made a collage using Picasa.
I want to end this post by thanking all of you for choosing us, supporting us and for providing valuable feedback to continuously improve our services. You guys rock! m/
Happy Monday, 1st of August 2011!