Helping Companies Grow Using Videos
JC Bougle - VideoBlast
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How would you describe yourself and what you do?
My name is Jean-Christophe Bougle, but people call me JC, which makes it simpler. I have built several businesses. With these businesses, we provide various services and technology to help other businesses grow by using videos. It can range from fully custom videos by our corporate video agency in Singapore (fewStones) to creating videos yourself based on templates optimised for video ads (Veeroll). And in between is our new service to handcraft videos for social media (Videoblast.io).
It is all about helping other businesses benefit and leverage from videos to grow their business. A lot of people are intimidated by videos. So it’s about making it simple and easy for them to do that with a different range of services and technology. In each case, we are able to bring creativity to meet our clients marketing objectives and budget constraints with professional videos.
What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
I think that I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I started working in a big corporate for many years before becoming a real entrepreneur ten years ago. I was in banking, and I was also in business development. But actually, it’s a good point, because other people I can see succeed quite fast. Usually, there’s a continuity between what they do in a corporate world and what they do as an entrepreneur, which was not the case for me or for my business partners who cannot learn new skills from scratch. It takes longer to make it succeed.
What inspired me was that being an entrepreneur implies a lot of freedom to create something from scratch and, at the same time to take full responsibility for what you do. What I learned along the way is that entrepreneurship is also an incredible school for personal growth. It’s 100% on yourself; if it doesn’t work because you didn’t go for the right concept or the right type of clients and types of things like this. So my question was really about the skills you develop as an entrepreneur and the benefits you get from being an entrepreneur?
What does ‘grit” mean to you, and what lessons have you learnt as a result?
To me, grit means being able to learn from failures. As an entrepreneur, you often fail. Domino happens all the time. There is no shortcut to this learning process, which is almost the only way to success. Even entrepreneurs who seem instant successes have often spent years learning the skills that contribute to their success. Entrepreneurship is an apprenticeship. But you will learn from these failures only if you are willing to do so. So grit to me is seeing these failures as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
What has been the most rewarding experience of your entrepreneurship journey thus far?
The most rewarding experience is building teams with the same company culture and make them work well together. You will see the real power of complementary skills, and you can achieve a lot more than just one person. Our ambition is to have a team working on each business and that the founders do not need to be involved much anymore.
When you are building the right team, you will see the dynamic happen and the growth. That is the most rewarding for me.
How did your business get its initial clients?
Most of our initial clients were from networking and word of mouth. I started with talking directly to people and see whether there’s a business opportunity or not. It’s a good way to validate a business as when you discuss it in a real conversation, and you can get some immediate feedback and also the FAQs.
After that, we started a real digital marketing strategy as well as a branding strategy on the marketing, leading to a consistent flow of leads from various sources. I still consider that repeat customers and referrals from clients is a great validation that the business is doing good work.
What is work-life balance to you?
My work-life balance has evolved over time. During the first few years, my business was all-consuming because there was so much to learn, like new skills, and keep thinking about the business. After that, I started to consider that getting some rest and time for other activities is very important.
Running a business is a marathon; every day seems like a sprint. So much happens in one day or one week compared to when working in a big corporate. But you also need to find a way to recharge your batteries. I try to get more time with family activities. I have a young daughter. The company is now more structured, and there are more people to do different tasks. With that, I enjoy having this moment of this work-life balance because I can rely on good team members to do their work.
How would you describe your company culture?
Our company culture is based on the value we believe in and that each team member embodies. These values are respect and integrity in particular. When you respect the other team members and customers, then you are ready to listen and learn. You are also committed to your work, as not doing your part would be not respecting the other team members or our customers. Respect and integrity go hand in hand, in my opinion.
For us, this is a key criterion. For instance, if a customer is rude or not respecting us as being a business partner, then we might tell them, “Okay, sorry, we cannot work with you. There are other people or other companies who can serve you better.” So I think you need to have this respect in every aspect of internal and external.
What career advice would you give someone who is 20 years old?
If you would like to become an entrepreneur, the best way to do it could be to spend a few years in a new startup or a bigger company and learn there. You will learn a lot: both things you can do or do not want to do as an entrepreneur. Ideally, you become an entrepreneur by launching a business that builds on the skills, expertise and network that you have developed as an employee. It’s a great way to succeed and identify pain points to solve in a given industry.