“Destiny is no excuse for failure. I believe success isn’t limited by how small your hometown is. It’s as big as the world you take on.”
These are the wordings from a new Star Sports advertisement uttered by M.S Dhoni, Captain, Indian Cricket team, a man as tall as his dreams (And by tall, I am not really referring to his stature!). M.S Dhoni is a befitting choice for this advertisement, considering that he hails from a small city of Ranchi in Jharkhand (formerly the state of Bihar). He is an apt example of the boy from a small town who made it big. Hence, it is of no surprise that the media went gaga over him and so did the whole nation. This is the story of just one man. What about thousands of other small town dreams? Can the choice of location make or break aspirations? Is it feasible to create and run a global business from a small town? This is a subject which is as interesting as it is important.
The advertisement caught my attention not because Dhoni said those words but because it actually resonated with the humble beginnings of Mypromovideos. In a way, it hit close to home. And perhaps, that is why I feel the compulsion to tell the story of Mypromovideos. Again, but my way!
Mypromovideos could easily have been a childhood dream – a nameless, formless dream trying to find its roots. Strangely, it was a dream I shared with my really close friends. Who thought it could become a reality some day? It did. And we have only gratitude to feel for it.
All four of us – Santhosh, Gopal, Udhay and myself included– were active contributors at the local Rotaract Club where we got an opportunity to lead an inter-school cultural and literal event. We received an overwhelming response with over 1500 kids participating from various schools. We nailed it right on the head and however small that achievement may sound at this juncture – it had a huge effect on the way we started to see ourselves. That incident gave us an unbeatable confidence boost that we could do anything if we put our minds and heart to it! However, we weren’t really sure what to do with that confidence then! So, we continued with our Engineering degrees without fuss, hoping to get decent white-collared jobs with fat bank balances and suitable brides waiting for us. Okay, I admit we weren’t really thinking brides or anything that long term! But of course, we had no idea where our lives would take us then.
After graduating, things did not work out as beautifully as we had envisaged. We weren’t really making a lot of difference in the world! Yeah, there were jobs too but the bank balances weren’t as fat as we had dreamt. (Psst! Psst! We were practical about the fact that brides were going to take more time.) Jokes apart, it wasn’t an ideal life and we realized it soon enough that it wasn’t going to be the life that we had allowed ourselves to secretly desire for so long. We had so much thirst for so much more. I guess that it was from those moments of frustrations mixed with ambitions of seeing ourselves do better than we were doing that Mypromovideos was born.
It all started in Gopal’s and Santhosh’s bedroom (They are brothers by the way!) somewhere around 2009. While discussing business ideas, Gopal suggested that we could sell our animation skills via internet. We had already done animation videos for our projects before so it sounded like a sane idea. But most importantly, it sounded like fun! We were immediately sold on the idea! With a strong backing and support from our families, we decided to take the jump. Mypromovideos came into existence.
We sure wanted to have our own business and stand apart in the milling crowd. But since we weren’t sure about how much of the world we were ready to take on yet, we decided to take baby steps and start small. Within an impressive time frame of six months, Mypromovideos moved into a small 300 square feet office space. In a way, that step clinched the future.
When we started, we were doing templated videos for less than $50, to keep the income stream flowing in. The idea right then was to just thrive. We did not have any financial backing so we decided that the basics needed to be taken care of right away! Fortunately for us, it worked. The projects poured in. For a while, we were content. We had survived.
With the financial worries taken care of, ambitions came home to roost. It didn’t take us long to realize that the market for templated videos wasn’t big enough to accommodate our aspirations. Fortunately, it was around this time that the idea of creating explainer videos started taking root. We pulled in some talented
people to work for us and boy, didn’t it pay?
Workflowy was our first client. We sent in a cold mail to Workflowy, proposing that the team would be glad to create a free explainer video for them. In exchange, Workflowy agreed to promote Mypromovideos in their blog. It worked! With a client like Workflowy and tons of newly found confidence in the kitty, our portfolio had to be good! Next, we approached Freshdesk who were impressed with our work and gave us a chance to prove ourselves again. We delivered on it and beautifully! Rest, as they say, is history!
Mypromovideos has, as of present, created more than 100 videos for clients around the world. Our client list is impressive too! It includes e-commerce firm Flipkart, virtual customer support venture Freshdesk and US-based organising tool provider Workflowy, software giant HCL among others. Most of the clients hail from but are not restricted to Silicon Valley. Our aim has always been to create magic for our clients! We continue to create some of the most interesting explainer videos for various businesses. Our videos are colourful, bright, fun, bubbling with enthusiasm and very importantly, a little crazy. In fact, one of our earliest videos, a video for Freshdesk was featured in Startupplays and adjudged as one of the top five videos in the international start-up community. That recognition gave us two feet to stand on. We have, since then, worked with some of the most famous brands.
But has setting up a company at Coimbatore while start-ups prefer bigger cities like Bangalore, Mumbai etc. affected Mypromovideos adversely? Partly yes and partly no. When the company started out, other places weren’t even an option. Setting up our office in our small town meant we could always be near to people we loved! It also meant more peaceful environment, less crowd, less traffic, low costs, no cramped rented apartments and having the additional benefits of hot, tasty, homemade meals for lunch every day. In a sense, we created our own freedom and we would have never wanted to compromise on that! Looking back, it feels like the best decision we ever took. This month, our turnover crosses a crore. Life cannot get better than this. Or perhaps, there is still time to prove ourselves wrong!
Our meteoric rise took us approximately four years and five months to build. Had the company relocated to any major city, the turnovers might have been more impressive. Do we regret any of it? No, of course not! Except for the power cuts that one has to invariably go through every summer!
All this has been undoubtedly achieved because of the strong backing and support of families and friends. It would be unfair to not mention the wonderful team at Mypromovideos who had been together through thick and thin. The passion we share is humbling and the energy in the office is contagious. The entire team is as zealous and as animated as the wonderful videos that we create every day. You must check out this video of a typical day at Mypromovideos office to understand the “energy” that we cannot stop talking about.
More than four and a half years back, we were a bunch of twenty-somethings who wanted to live our lives in our terms. Today we are bigger, better and ready for more. If you still think that a successful business could be run only from a big city, think again! You have already been proved wrong. Sometimes, making compromises is not even necessary.
In the Star Sports advertisement, Dhoni goes on to say, “It’s not runs but how you run the game that wins it! Believe and the world is yours!” We completely agree with him. Don’t you too?