The norm is for customers to read an ‘about us’ page that shows the achievements of the business they plan to work with. If you want to see our achievements please do check out our portfolio and review pages. However, our customers always want to know what makes us tick on a personal level. Well, if you want to know what make us, us, keep reading.
Starting a business during a recession doesn’t seem like the best way to do business yet here we are, 10 years later and still growing. Recession aside, in 2009 video production was still for the production houses and not really a thing for freelancers. In 2019 it’s kind of swung the other way; there are more freelancers than there is work. This is smoothing out as a lot of companies are now seeing the value in video production to enhance their business.
So, 2009. Companies don’t see the full value yet and there is a recession. What can you do? oDesk. Today, oDesk are called Upwork and they specialise in connecting freelancers with companies. Need content creation? Upwork. Need a virtual assistant? Upwork. Need a bookkeeper? Upwork. They really do have it all. We worked via Upwork 2009 - 2014 until word got out that we were an explainer video company to be trusted. Even today I occasionally dip my toe on Upwork.
We moved to our dream location; the Isle of Skye. It didn’t make business sense as the broadband speeds in the local area were (and still are) 0.47mb down and 0.17mb up. Luckily, we invested in satellite broadband, bought a spare laptop and a 4Kw generator to ensure the downsides of living in a remote location no longer affected us.
Myself and my partner had twin boys so cut our hours to spend more time with our children in the early years. Which, again isn’t the best way to do business but we did it anyway. At the time is was a big gamble but looking back it was the best decision we made. Out of the ten years in business it’s probably the only piece of advice I would pass on to couples in a similar situation.
After renting for the past 2 years we felt we were ready to try and buy a home in our dream location. Unfortunately there were not many local properties within our budget which meant we had to just sit and wait patiently. When we heard that a sale was cancelled on a house two doors up we jumped at the chance. We were very lucky to have parents who support us no matter what we do. So we put down our tax bill and some money from both our parents for a deposit on a house (which we eagerly paid back).
On April 28th we moved in to our family home.
One of our issues up here was the incredibly slow and inconsistent broadband speeds. 0.47mb or 15mb with a poor ping speed really were beginning to cap our ability to upload 4K videos/animations. Luckily, on an island 14 miles away they built a community broadband scheme which provided their users with city speeds. I decided to speak very kindly to the director and they agreed to give me a connection over in Elgol. Finally, we had 20mb down and up. Now I could have a call and upload a file at the same time. What a time to be alive!
In the true interest of community spirit and the blind view that it wouldn’t be that big a job, I decided to ask the team at Hebnet if it were possible to provide the rest of the 45 homes in Elgol with this broadband connection. After a bit of planning, myself, and c couple of very helpful locals embarked on a 2 month long installation of 45 connections and running fibre and power cables across the village. It was a long haul and probably, again, a poor business decision as I had to dedicate quite a bit of time to this. On the plus side I now know everyone’s wifi password. Our speeds are now sitting at between 40-60mb down and 50-60mb up.
For the past 10 years we’ve always dedicated the largest room of our home and made it into an office. Our 10th year was the year we were going to buy a custom built office for the garden. In March 2019 we bought a Shepherd’s hut and in April we moved in. This is the first post I’ve written in our new office and it feels good. Although it’s always been a proper job, it now feels like a proper job.
Things have changed a lot in the past few years. I'm in the process of installing fibre optic broadband throughout the village which can provide up to 500mb directly into each home. Myself and a neighbour, Charlie, are doing the bulk of the work. We are on year two of the project (it's a spare time project). So far, we have buried around 5km of fibre optic.
The biggest change is that I now work on my own in the office and I have found a wonderful illustrator online. Both illustrators that worked with me have since moved on to different things. Instead of re-hiring and training on the island I decided to find a freelancer online that ticked all of the boxes. I still do all of the writing and animation of course as that will always be a passion for me. Having Akriti on board with me has made a massive difference in my work.
We’ve had 14 amazing years building our business into what it is today. From here at The Cuillin Collective we want to say a massive thank you to all of our customers past and present for supporting us through our journey. We’re privileged to be able to do what we do and where we do it. Without you we wouldn’t be here.