Season 3 – epiBLOG 25:
As always, I’m super excited about each time I get the opportunity to interview featured artists for my blog. It allows me to share a different perspective with all of my readers and subscribers.
This is the first time, however, where I get to feature two artists simultaneously! I didn’t choose this so that I can be efficient, but rather because these artists are two sides of the same coin. They are serious business partners who know how to have fun and know how to breathe life into what they create for their clients.
I met the both of them a couple years back through my fiancé. She works in marketing and technology, and she introduced me to Sean Bollinger and Kelley Howard who, at the time, had recently started their own unique marketing company DigiVid360™.
You may be scratching your head, thinking, “How are they ‘artists’ in the traditional sense of the word?”
The magical response to that question is that artists create.
They create an end product using tools at their disposal that allows others to see an aspect of life from a different point of view.
More specifically, “DigiVid360™ is a digital video marketing company that combines premier video production and strategic video marketing to amplify a businesses’ video content across all platforms,” and Kelley and Sean are spearheading this endeavor.
Today’s topic is on my interview with the amazing entrepreneurs Kelley Howard and Sean Bollinger.
Nitara O: So, let’s get down to it. I had the pleasure of working with you both to help me with the promotional video for my production company a few months back, and working with you guys felt like I was working with film producers, so I see you as artists. Do you guys consider yourselves artists at what you do?
Kelley H: Definitely. We bring our clients’ vision to life while telling their stories in a way that will connect with their audience.
Sean B: Right. We are a part of the team of artists that help bring the message to life.
Nitara O: And how would you say you do that, Sean?
Sean B: We provide strategic guidance to the brand and understand their needs so that we can help them achieve the ROI they are seeking.
Nitara O: There it is… the money and the story. Both equally important, wouldn’t you say?
Sean B: Absolutely. We want these videos to be an effective investment while getting our client’s message out there.
Kelley H: And there are a lot of ways to tell a story, and it’s vital that we understand the audience, as well as the goal of the video in order to make the video in a way that resonates.
Nitara O: How is it that you both started to work together? How did you meet?
Kelley H: Sean and I first met while working together at Ethology, a Scottsdale digital marketing agency. We quickly learned we had similar views on how to run a business. When I left Ethology to scale sales for what was a video production company at the time, I noticed the company needed major operations and client delivery infrastructure. I recruited Sean for this role while I was leaving Ethology. Three months after I started with the new company, Sean came over to lead Operations and Client Delivery.
Nitara O: And the rest is history…
Kelley H: Pretty much. The more we worked together at the video production company, it became clear that we worked well together. We had a great balance in our strengths and weaknesses. It wasn’t long afterwards when we started to discuss and develop our own vision for an improved approach to the video marketing business, which we later launched as DigiVid360™.
Nitara O: And, Sean, Kelley just established how you guys met – and you have a solid and wonderful foundation. However, my question for you is why would people want to work with you more than any other company?
Sean B: (chuckling) Why on earth would people want to work with us, huh? (getting serious) Well, at the end of the day, it’s about the people. It’s about having fun and making people smile. We love having fun on set, making people comfortable, sharing stories, and making friends. This is why people come back.
Nitara O: Knowing how to treat people is a very important skill to have in business.
Sean B: It is. The hard part to all of this is getting them to open the door the first time. Once they do, they get it.
Nitara O: That makes sense. I want to switch gears for a moment. My next question is one that I believe all artists think about – or at least have dancing around in the back of their minds constantly.
Kelley H: (chuckling) Uh-oh, I feel pressure with this next question.
Sean B: (smiling) You’re great at handling pressure, Kelley.
Nitara O: I promise the question isn’t scary at all. I’m sure you’ve experienced the ebbs and flow of business. How do you remain positive in the face of adversity and to simply choose not to walk away when it does get tough?
Kelley H: Sean and I have been business partners for just about two years now. Interestingly, neither of us have had thoughts of quitting to go to work for someone else. (looks to Sean)
Sean B: Right. I have never thought of getting another job. I’ve thought of doing something on the side to make ends meet, but even then – it’s something on my own, not working for someone else.
Kelley H: I mean, we have had thoughts about making major pivots to our business model. This can be dangerous for startups who can’t stay focused and who make pivots often and that are not well-thought out. These constant pivots can be seen as knee-jerk reactions to short term adversity. Our pivots are calculated and minimal.
Sean B: We believe in what we are doing. We know there is a demand for what we are offering, so there really isn’t a question in our minds about stopping.
Nitara O: I love that drive and determination.
Sean B: We do too. When we hit a difficult time, we take an objective look at what might have happened and we even take an outside perspective in order to adjust where we can to keep things moving forward.
Nitara O: This is one of the reasons I felt it was so important to interview you both. You’re very business-minded. This is important for every entrepreneurial artists if they are wanting to make a living. Simply being positive and talented isn’t enough to be successful. I just really appreciate your perspectives.
Kelley H: Aww, thank you.
Sean B: Thanks. That means a lot.
Nitara O: If you can change anything about your business right now with the snap of your fingers, what would that be? And why?
Kelley H: (chuckling, but dead serious) I would have a rich uncle who wanted to invest money into our company.
Nitara O: Elaborate.
Kelley H: One of the biggest challenges all startups face – us included – is the ability to quickly grow your business organically. It quickly becomes the chicken or the egg challenge. We need to hire additional people to grow our company, but we need more capital than our company is currently generating.
Nitara O: Sean, would you like to respond? What would you change about your business?
Sean B: (thinking) Well, I would have an efficient way to have brands “raise their hand,” so to speak, when they want to tell their story. This way we could connect so much quicker and help them through the strategy and creative process to get their message out there.
Nitara O: What is it that keeps you both grounded and focused within business?
Kelley H: Hearing great comments from our clients about our work.
Sean B: For me, it’s the smiles on people’s faces. The smile of the client, the smiles of the artists doing what they love, and the smiles of those we have helped because of the message that was delivered.
Nitara O: In other words, you both care about people. That’s awesome. I believe that is a quality that every entrepreneur must have to some degree.
Kelley H: Agreed. What also keeps me grounded are having a high repeat business occurrence and seeing how hard our team works to exceed our clients’ expectations.
Nitara O: Yeah, that must be humbling. Transitioning a bit here. I know you guys are super busy with all that you have going on. However, what books do you read that allow you to get lost in another world? And what books do you refer to in order to move yourself forward in business or in your personal life?
Sean B: When looking for another world, I love movies and series. I love Melissa McCarthy movies. There is something about her humor that tickles me.
Nitara O: I know, right? Don’t you just love her? She’s the best. What about you, Kelley?
Kelley H: When I’m looking for an escape, I love to watch movies. My favorites usually involve humor or are based on important historical events. Bridesmaids, Inglourious Basterds, Beginners, MILK, The Birdcage—I could go on.
Nitara O: Beginners and The Birdcage have definitely made my “favorites” list.
Kelley H: I love those films! But I also read or listen to a lot of marketing and business books. I’m currently listening to the Complex Sale, but one of many audio books that I’ve listened to over the past year is Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead.
Nitara O: That sounds thought-provoking.
Kelley H: It was. I definitely recommend that book to female entrepreneurs.
Nitara O: And, Sean, I don’t want to leave out your list. What series’ inspires you?
Sean B: Revenge, How to Get Away with Murder, Billions… the strategy captured in these inspires me and the writing is brilliant. I usually read a business book to get inspiration and guidance. Some of my ongoing favorites are The E Myth, The Goal, and Good to Great. I also listen to the podcast Mixergy. Andrew Warner interviews successful entrepreneurs on there.
Nitara O: I so wish that I had more time to ask so many more questions. I love that I’ve had this opportunity to be able to speak with you both. Nevertheless, I want to leave my readers with something powerful as always. What advice would you like to share with both upcoming and professional artists alike?
Kelley H: My words of advice are for female artists. Believe in yourself and let yourself be authentic. Don’t be afraid to let people see who you really are. Trust your gut and don’t let fear control your life or your career. Take chances and try as many new things as possible because that is when you will truly start to learn.
Sean B: I’m going to piggy-back off of Kelley’s response just a tad. My advice to all artists is to simply believe in yourself. One of the hardest things for me is understanding what my talent is. Like, what do I bring to the table? I’m still discovering that. But if you have something that makes you light up inside, do more of it. Your life will be more fulfilled.
Nitara O: I’m speechless. I don’t even know how to respond to those answers. I just know that people needed to hear it – or read it in this case.
Sean B: But wait… there’s more. (chuckling) My next piece of advice is to meet as many people as you can. This is also difficult for me. You just never know who might be sitting next to you at a restaurant or at the airport. They might provide that next piece of inspiration or encouragement you need. You might even provide it for them. You just never know. Life is about people. Enjoy it.
Nitara O: Amazing. Thank you both for doing this interview. It’s been a pleasure and it’s been informative.
Sean B: Absolutely. You’re welcome. And thank you for having us.
Kelley H: Yeah, thank you for this interview, Nitara. We had a blast being able to share our experience.
Today’s LESSON is to connect with people with every opportunity that you’re given or to create opportunities for connections.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Research, find, join, and consistently attend a group with similar artistic interests as yours. I’ve been attending a Writer’s Group called Shut Up and Write (San Diego) for the past year and a half. Due to a surgery that I’ve had nearly a month ago, I haven’t been able to attend, but will be returning within the next few weeks. The purpose of belonging to a group with like-minded people is that you get to connect with others and possibly learn from them as well.
Kelley Howard and Sean Bollinger live in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. They are the masterminds behind DigiVid360™, a successful digital video marketing company located in Scottsdale, Arizona that does business nationwide. Please feel free to contact DigiVid360™ for all of your video marketing and video production needs.