RUPERT Rixon started his own company with just £50 two years ago – and next year his video production business is expecting to turn over more than £1million.
The 23-year-old entrepreneur from Hertfordshire, who now lives in north London, began thinking of ways to make extra cash after his parents lost £150,000 in the Northern Rock crisis in 2007.
Now his digital-first production company Perspective Pictures says it’s on track for an annual turnover of £700,000 this year and has forecasted a turnover of more than £1million next year.
Rupert started thinking up business plans when his parents – who want to remain anonymous – lost money in the Northern Rock collapse.
Just two weeks before the bank went into meltdown, they had bought a bigger house in need of renovations.
His mum and dad, who work as a property business owner and police officer, planned to finance the works with the sale of their old home.
But as the bank collapsed, the value of the their old house dropped substantially and they lost the £150,000 they needed to cover the cost of the renovations.
This meant that the family of five was forced to live in a house with faulty electronics and all of them slept in the same room.
For Rupert, who was 13 at the time and had a comfortable lifestyle growing up, this came as a shock.
He told The Sun: “I’d become accustomed to this relatively nice, middle-class life and I suddenly felt guilty asking them for a PlayStation game or whatever but I still wanted it.
“This sparked something in me and I wanted to help them by raising money.”
So Rupert started coming up with different ways of making money.
While still in his teens, he pretended to be Santa and wrote letters for £2.50 each for parents who wanted to surprise their little ones.
He also made bags of popcorn and sold it to the kids in the playground. He even tried to launch his own makeup brand.
Rupert said: “But they were really small things and were never going to go anywhere other than teaching me huge amounts.”
His break came at the age of 16 when he discovered Nerf guns, and spotted an opportunity to buy and rent them out for children’s parties which he did with his mum.
To boost sales, he created action videos that took off on YouTube, with some getting millions of views.
Rupert, who always loved creating videos, started making films on a freelance basis around the world, and that’s when the idea of Perspective Pictures was born.
He decided to pursue his passion and set up his own video business in the spring of 2016.
He also asked a friend of his, Oliver Spain, if he’d like to partner up in the return for a daily salary of £15 as the first member of the team.
Oliver agreed and resigned from his day job as a mechanic.
They started with £50 in a business account and used a shed in Rupert’s parents’ garden as their first office.
They had a laptop, a camera and a phone – but it was all they really needed, Rupert said.
Yet about £20 of the initial “investment” went on Rupert taking Oliver for lunch as he wanted to show that he was a good boss, he remembered.
Learning from success
KEEN to start your own business? Here are Rupert’s main tips for others who are keen to start a business:
- Get stuck in: It depends on the age you’re at, but the first idea you have is unlikely to be the one you’re going to carry through for a very long time. But the thing of starting it and just going for it will help you learn huge amounts. So rather than waiting for the right idea that’s going to make you millions, it’s best to start with the little things and you’ll learn more and more and eventually you’ll come up with an idea that you’ll stick with
- Find something you enjoy doing: If you find something you enjoy, which is vaguely useful to wider society, and work hard to become good at it, then sooner or later people will probably pay you for it
- Choose a specific market: Pick one market and focus on doing the best possible job in that arena. For example, if you’re a video company and make it your niche to produce stuff for the telecoms market, you can build a base from there then expand, rather than trying to cover all areas at once, Rupert told Business Matters earlier this year
- Make your narrative clear and accessible: Stories are impactful, so make sure the narrative behind what it is you’re doing is clear and accessible to those people you’re telling. Most of the time the people you’re initally pitching to for work aren’t the decision-makers, so they need to be drawn in by your story and be able to relay that to those above them, he also told the business magazine
With no money in the business, Rupert relied on attending events where he could meet people and start spreading the word about the company.
In the early days, they’d hire the full equipment they needed to make any production, which meant they didn’t have to pay for kit unless they got a booking.
Within six months, they’d made enough money to move into a studio space in London.
Now, Perspective Pictures is predicted to turn over £1million next year and it has created video content for brands including Rolls Royce, Google, Sony, UFC, Red Bull, HSBC and Brewdog all over the world.
And its success is not that surprising – a report on content marketing from Cisco earlier this year predicted that online video will be responsible for 80 per cent of global online traffic by 2019.
Earlier this year, Perspective Pictures raised £150,000 – £30,000 above their target – in about two weeks on crowdfunding platform Seedrs for further investment.
“It made sense for us to crowdfund because I don’t have a huge number of contacts that I keep in touch with and can ask for money,” Rupert said.
“I also much prefer the idea of having 150ish investors giving us advice rather than having just two or three people,” he added.
Since the business was founded, the team has also grown from just Rupert and Oliver, who is now the firm’s digital content manager, to 10 staff members in total.
The average age of staff is 23, with the eldest staff member being 36 years old, and this is a deliberate decision, according to Rupert.
“Naturally it has made sense to hire young people given the industry we’re in.
“It’s definitely seen as an advantage working in social media and video and being a young person.
“Because a lot of the time these companies are big companies that are not reaching out to young people at all.
“If I worked in a lot of other industries… I might not have been taken seriously
“But turning up to a meeting on a skateboard and telling them about social media kind of works somehow,” he said.
And going forward they’re planning to open up more offices around the world.
“Ultimately we want to become the best providers for social media video.”