For this issue of Let’s TOC, we were happy to catch up with the fun and dynamic Jeremiah from the CVP Group. The Group’s Chief Cheerleader opened up about the challenges of starting his own business, why labels don’t matter to him, and erm, his most attractive trait.
TOC: Hey Jeremiah! You were working as a freelance videographer before setting up CVP Group in 2014. What was the turning point that made you start CVP Group?
J: I wanted to create a legacy for myself and I didn’t want to keep working day to day, month to month to make money. I am lazy, and I wanted to find the fastest and easiest way to make money.
As a freelance videographer, I was making $15,000 per month. But I had to spend resources sourcing for jobs the following month. When more people started asking me to do stuff for them, I decided to start my own company. It was a natural progression to have a proper outfit and brand to ride on. Oh, and did I mention that I’m really lazy?
TOC: Why did you choose to set up a content producing agency instead of a video production house?
J: I won’t say we chose to be an agency, a video production house, or whatnot. These labels are secondary to me. We create content for our clients, as simple as that. I believe in providing value to our clients and helping them achieve their business objectives. The rest is just noise.
CVP Group started doing videos. When clients requested for creative ideation and conceptualisation, we offered that. When clients asked for photography, we provided that too. They then wanted photos to be animated, gifs to be created, and videos to be enhanced. We pivoted and offered them. What the client wants, we do our best to meet their requests. If there is a high demand for a certain thing, we supply that.
Did we choose to be where we are now? No. We evolved. Change is the only constant. If a company still claims to do Dreamweaver and Flash very well, then they are in the wrong era.
TOC: What is the greatest challenge of starting your own business?
J: Discipline. As a sole proprietor, I would do a six-figure job in January, play Skyrim till June, and then realise that I need to make money again. I hated that. So I pushed myself to hire interns, then part-timers and eventually, CPF-contributing staff.
When I had people’s livelihood in my hands, it became a motivator for me to push harder, build bigger, dream further, and expand CVP Group regionally. It was no longer just about me, but my business and the people behind it. Many would say that money was a challenge, but I was rolling in the dough and not apologetic about it! ?
TOC: Something you’ve learnt about yourself that you never knew after starting CVP Group?
J: I was a shitty camera person. Jack Ma once said to hire people who are better than you and that advice has served me well. I hired people who were very good at what they did — be it editing, producing or executing. I realised that my knowledge paled in comparison to my hires.
THEN I found out that I was actually pretty good at client-facing activities, sales and business development. Basically being a glorified cheerleader for my company, minus the mini skirts and pom poms.
I also realised that I was building something bigger than myself and that CVP Group was not just my dream, but the dream of every person in it. CVP Group is a collective of individual inspirations, cultures and motivations.
Also, a wise person once told me that the “legacy” I was building was just another way to say that I’m a narcissistic egomaniac. That comment got me thinking and really put a lot of what I do and why I do it in perspective. But that didn’t change my initial sentiments of being a lazy business person. Lazy people are clever because they will find the most efficient way to execute something.
TOC: CVP Group weekly event rundown It’s A Wrap is an interesting concept. How did the idea come about?
When we moved into our new office at Media Circle, we created a studio area in the hope of getting studio jobs. However no studio jobs were coming in so we decided to do proof of concepts to sell to clients. Our first target was Linkedin because they have daily rundowns. We created a video version of that and sent it to them. They replied that what we were doing was “cute” and they would keep us in mind for future stuff, which was just another way of saying no, they won’t work with us.
We then decided to create more awareness about ourselves by creating inhouse contents in line with our content marketing directives. This idea was born out of an objective to earn revenue, but it ended up as a way for my gang to have fun creating and producing stuff for ourselves without client perimeters.
And boy did we have fun! Believe it or not, we began receiving enquiries and jobs with clients saying, “I saw your It’s a Wrap video and I loved it. I want to do something like that”. Fun times!
Credits: The Outsiders Co.
TOC: Where do you see yourself or CVP Group in five years?
J: I’m not a fortune teller, but in an ideal world, CVP Group will have sales offices set up regionally. We will have more global clients, and we will become a hub of content creation for both client commissions and internal native content.
Brands can plan with a roadmap, but I dare say that plans NEVER go as planned. I have benchmarks and targets of what I want to hit, but the CVP gang will dictate the course of where we end up because the company is in their hands. They are the lifeblood of the company. If five years down the road, my CVP gang wants to do adult videos and there’s a market for that, why not? Then I gotta plan on buying a nice casting couch.
TOC: Most embarrassing or funniest episode that has happened to you while working?
J: Everything we do is embarrassing and funny! That’s the beauty of not taking ourselves seriously. We take our clients seriously though. Don’t believe me? Engage us and experience it for yourself. ?
TOC: What’s your favourite show on Netflix?
J: I appreciate everything I watch on Netflix because I know what goes behind creating the contents for long-form series. It’s never easy. Currently I’m watching Lovesick, Altered Carbon and a French spy comedy.
TOC: Favourite actor/ actress? Why?
J: Leonardo DiCaprio. Loved him in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and have loved him ever since. He’s so f**king intense. It’s crazy! Those eyes, those expressions. I mean if it takes a bear to almost kill him to win an award, then shit, he deserved it!
TOC: What do you think is your most attractive trait?
J: My charisma. I’m an introvert, but people always assume that I’m an extrovert who drinks, clubs, does one-night stands, and still has my shit together. I am none of that, other than having my shit together. I just know how to talk to people and make them feel at ease. If they were honest about how I made them feel, then I guess being able to connect with them on deeper levels is my most attractive trait. People are also generally drawn to winners. Does that mean I’m a winner? Yay!
TOC: We love your confidence. Tell us how you do it – fake it till you make it? Or are you naturally a very self-assured person?
J: More like self-obsessed, hahaha. No, I’m just very comfortable with who I am and what I’m capable of. Also, as the law of attraction goes, if you give out positive vibes, positive things will eventually go to you. So far this new age bs has worked very well in my favour. To quote my good friend, Megan Yulga, from Circles.Life, “fake the hype” and it will eventually be real hype.
Another good thing I do is to live by the lines in one of Shakespeare’s plays, As You Like It — “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players…” So just pretend you’re in a mega movie production and that every situation is a scene. Own the scene, own the script, and tailor the outcome that suits you. Everything else is noise.
TOC: Any advice for people who want to start their own business?
J: Business is not sentimental. Don’t treat it like your baby. If you do, you will be disappointed. Treat any venture as a vehicle to achieve what you want, and be emotionless when it comes to business.
People have killed themselves over failed businesses. Do you want to die? Be lazy like me. You’ll work your butt off and slog it out so that eventually you can be lazy.
Read more articles by The Outsiders Co. Singapore here!
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