Nick Lavery - Take5 Digital

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in London, Ontario and have lived here my whole life. I grew up attending the London Waldorf School, St. Mary’s Choir School, Catholic Central High, and finally King’s College. I studied international business at King’s for two years before putting my education on hold to pursue my business, and other opportunities, with more vigor.

Both of my parents have experience in the car sales business, so the aspect of self-promotion, and knocking on doors to get my business started came naturally to me. Also, having the cold calling sales experience from four years of Junior Achievement helped quite a bit.

Tell us about your business

Take5 Digital is a full service video production company. Clients may come to us with just the notion that they want to have a video to promote their business, or as much as a full-fledged storyboard, detailing exactly what they want.

It was in the summer after grade 12 that I started my business, so I have been operating for just over five years now. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and when I heard about the Summer Company program, I knew that it was the perfect opportunity. In my time at CCH, I had been helping a lot of friends on various sports teams create highlight tapes in their pursuit of athletic scholarships. Having identified this demand, with the help of the Summer Company program, I created a video production company with the aim of helping high school students obtain athletic scholarships. As my business grew and developed, I shifted to serve more business clients, as well as non-profit organizations, primarily in SW Ontario. Still a sole-proprietorship, I often hire additional camera operators and editors on a per-project, contract basis, as needed.

Was there something that drew (or pushed) you into being an entrepreneur?

I’ve always been interested in ways to make money that didn’t involve working directly for someone else. I started my first business after learning how to make a simple bird feeder at cub scouts. My dad helped me “mass produce” the feeders and I would sell them to neighbours and family friends with a subscription to the bird seed (which I would buy in bulk and repackage).

Another aspect which drew me to entrepreneurship was the flexibility, and possibility to make my own hours. I volunteer a lot (coaching basketball at my elementary school, and working with a youth organization called CISV), so being able to create time for these things is significant.

As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?

Downtime is important to me, because at the same time as restoring my energy, it gives me time to be creative. It is during my time away from work that I usually come up with the best ideas for videos, or solutions to problems I may be facing in my business. I like to work out and play basketball, so I spend a lot of time at the Western Rec Centre and the YMCA. When I really need to relax, I’ll play some video games (NBA) or catch up on some Netflix (I love the cinematography in Better Call Saul)!

What's in the future for your business? 

In the short term, I am focusing on being more selective with the projects that we take on. This means that I get to build a closer relationship with clients, and spend more time on each project. This results in even better videos at the end, as well as more referrals and repeat business. Having an opportunity to be creative and put our own touch on projects is important. My mantra is to only do the kind of work that you want to do more of!

In the mid-long term, I am hoping to bring on a full time editor. We have had some excellent interns in the past months, although many of them are returning to school in September, so we’re still searching for the perfect fit.

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