Last month I wrote about our start up Slap Stuff Together and my husband's transition from office job to full time maker. I told you I would follow up with our progress and what we're currently working on. So, here's what we've been doing with our time this month.
As fans of many makers already making their dreams happen, we've been studying how they make things work and are trying to emulate a similar model. There are so many online and community resources - and if you are an artist - you know the importance of community. Most of the makers we follow have a really cool business model. They use youtube to gain audience traction and potential customers, drive those customers to their products and to their sponsors, then engage with them online and some even travel collaborating with other makers they are inspired by. So it's wins from a lot of angles to establish a channel, even if the goal isn't necessarily to have 1 million subscribers and make some cash at it. (generally speaking, most people don't even get close to rich with YouTube alone)
So, we sat down and brainstormed what we could do for our channel, what's our message, what are our goals. Our message was simple, "We're Ben and Heidi Jacobs and we are a husband and wife team who make stuff" With that idea established, goal number one was as simple as figuring out how to make a video and post it. I had edited a few videos before and I had some very basic knowledge about the tools. My husband had the style and vision and really understood the landscape. He was inspired by guys like Jimmy Diresta and David Picciuto who are masters at telling the story of how they create their works. They are great at taking you through the brain work and also tell a visually compelling story about how they worked through challenges.
Our first two videos were just learning how the tools worked and it was kind of fun editing them. I used some old go pro footage I had previously edited and hired an artist to create an intro for video 1. For video 2 we just wanted to put a quick and fun video together to celebrate pi day - just to test out how quickly we could do a simple video and to wish everyone the best Pi Day. The Happy Pi Day video was all completed using my android nexus phone and apps I found on the android market. Our third video was our first larger foray into the platform.
My husband had spent a lot of time working on a complicated build and documenting his steps with our older digital camera that we purchased for our honeymoon in 2010. With anything your first time around it's not going to be as great as what you imagined, but regardless, it did what we wanted it to do. Plus, we gained a new found respect for those YouTubers who make it appear so effortless and are posting the same amount of content DAILY. YouTube itself can be a little confusing when figuring out what information goes where if you don't speak the tech language. It can also feel frustrating if you haven't unlocked certain features like being able to upload a longer video when you have 4 hours of content to pair down. For a complex build like the bandsaw skull box, there were so many steps and I didn't want to edit out how much elbow grease it took but as Ben reminded me - it may have taken him a long time to do it, but our viewers didn't need to sit too long to recognize that. So, I felt a lot better about cutting out big snippets of him carving and sanding away. After looking at the analytics I can see that it could have even been shorter than what I got it down to, but we'll save that discussion for another time.
The Bandsaw Box video was definitely a challenge in a few ways, but it gave us one of our first opportunities to really engage with the folks we admired and they gave us some of their attention. (see the capture above - yeah, Mr. Piccuito and Mr. Diresta) This was absolutely rewarding to get comments back from two of our favorite channels - they watched our video! We learned a lot with that post. And that's where it begins. Taking a chance and seeing what you can make and through making you learn how to use your tools better. We won't delete our initial attempts even if they aren't polished because they serve a greater purpose at showing the process. The point of us having a maker channel is to show how we problem solve through a build so other people can learn how to do something better or maybe just get inspired to pick up a pencil.
For the moment, we'll spend time refining our videos so that they are where we want them to be and are really looking forward to our next project build. Ben has a lot of woodworking in the works and we've got a lot of work to do to get ready for our upcoming events. If you like what we're doing and want to stay updated until my next article, Subscribe/Follow us on YouTube, Twitter, on Instagram or on Facebook.
Heidi Jacobs is the Co-Founder of Slap Stuff Together, a maker's studio. She is also a Project Manager by day and part time professional photographer. If you would like to learn more about SST's adventures as a new start up you can follow them on Instagram or on Facebook. If you would like to learn more about their startup you can drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Business owner and Artist, committed to growing as a maker as well as sharing her and her husband's experience with owning a small maker studio.
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