Craven Image Studios
Alumnus Danny Hardaker returned to Leeds Trinity University in November 2015 to give an inspirational talk to students during Enterprise & Employability Week on how he set up his own business after graduating. After graduating with a first class honours degree in 2011 he became self employed and hasn't looked back since. Danny runs his own video production company as well as the corporate video company, Craven Image Studios.
He was happy to share his journey and offer advice for current students.
When did you first start about launching your own business?During my second year I began thinking about my future and what career I really wanted. My passion was film making and I really wanted a hands on role behind the camera.
I was very well supported and advised by the Careers Team, I needed to learn how to generate a substantial income. It was also at this point that I realised I needed to learn more about business.
How did your career progress after graduating?Initially I produced spray paint canvases and used this as a small business model. After this I entered in to a Video Production Business partnership but this didn't work out, although I did realise during this time that my future would be about producing videos. I was self-reflective on the partnership and why it hadn't worked out and came to the conclusion I was actually authoritarian – I was a leader. I used this experience to move forwards and utilised the contacts I had made during my early career. I started up on my own as a freelance camera operator and videographer.
I forged a reputation for myself through my work and my hard work paid off after I was invited to buy Craven Image Studios.
How do you advertise your services?I do all my own marketing – and this is a lot! I'm constantly utilising social media channels and placing adverts. I also go to as many events as possible, the networking events take me out of my comfort zone but they are worth their weight in gold.
What advice would you give to current students?
Use your time at Leeds Trinity wisely; get as much experience as you can when you are there. Also, learn from your mistakes – use all your experiences as a learning curve.
If you run your own business, always look at ways to improve it. Make sure you set boundaries too, it is important to look after yourself and make sure you aren't taken advantage of. Also, don't be afraid to charge what you are worth – have confidence in your own ability.
I soon learnt that you need to have an effective work-life-balance. This inspired me to get a puppy, helping me to ensure I got out the house and fresh air – as well as having a business partner!
My most valuable piece of advice, however, is find something you are enthusiastic about and pursue it. Try new things.You can view Danny's website here
and his partner video business Craven Image Studios here
.Follow Danny on twitter @dannyhardaker