We are trying to approach building DULO in a very financially pragmatic way. The fact that we are bootstrapping, means that we want, and have to respect what it takes to create a profitable business and spend only on what will yield the highest Return on Investment (ROI) to push a process forward.
In this post I want to share an experience that illustrates how we go about investing operational resources, in this case buying some video/sound production equipment. Even though, the sum is not substantial, I think it’s a good example of how we want to go about making investments (not necessarily only financial, but time, effort etc.) and create a framework that we can use for the future.
The purchase in questions is a bundle, of about ten pieces of audio and video recording equipment for the total sum of about €450. You can see the pieces in question and us unpacking them in one of our previous vlogs.
We have been creating content, both audio and video, for about 4 months now, only with our phones. Even though it works and is definitely a good enough setup that shouldn’t stop anyone from starting to create content, there were a few issues that we were encountering continuously and wanted to address with hopefully a smart investment.
As we want to build a brand that is synonymous with value and quality, increasing the quality of production should always be one of our top priorities.
Being in Amsterdam, the chances of having a windless day are quite slim. Therefore, any segment that we record outside, results in crackling audio that costs us, in time, many fold to edit in post production, compared to the actual shooting. Time being an extremely valuable asset, buying external microphones with muffs and audio recorders, would fix that issue and give us more flexibility to create content outside, as well as save us time in post production that we can invest elsewhere. We invested in preventing the issue, rather than having to keep fixing it.
Limited slightly by the fact that we still have day jobs, most of the work that we do is usually during the evenings or weekends. When the days are longer we are able to use the daylight for better picture, but as the days get shorter, or we need to record something later in the day, the room lights are not enough and makes the image “laggy”, making the video and audio out of sync, again an issue that will require extra time to patch up afterwards.
We tried all the phone case stands, candles, books etc., at the end it just didn’t make sense to create video without a proper tripod. I think we splashed around €10 on it!
The current video quality we are getting, only with our phones seems to be quite OK for now. If we go through enough pain points in the future, we might think of getting a new camera or even only an external SD card (whichever ones has the bigger ROI) to enable longer recordings, such as live podcasts etc.
*Edit: SD card purchased ;) we have a live podcast coming up so -> calculated investment. We got it for around €25. €525 saved from a new camera ;)
The way I think about it, it’s always better to do and struggle a bit, in order to have a clear understanding of the actual issues and address them a bit later on, when there is a clear indication that they are indeed a permanent blocker, rather than a temporary one that can be worked around.
In that way, the return on investment can be disproportionately higher, having a deeper understanding of the difficulties, but still not having wasted time in not doing and not pushing the needle forward, with the excuse that we don’t have the proper equipment/resources.
It’s similar to the approach we took by starting this whole project without a website or name for the company. We started with doing and let the other things naturally fall into place. A lesson we learned from trying to start a few ventures in the past with only an idea, domain and a website, which gave us the false feeling that we actually had something.
So going forward, I think it makes sense to embrace obstacles, go through them, see if we can figure them out with the resources that we have, if not, look for the biggest ROI positive action we can take and go for it. But, I definitely see merit in the struggle, it creates calluses and gives you perspective and clarity.
Embracing those pain points for a little bit, we will either find a way to get through it, or a CLEAR indication that an alternative approach is necessary.
It seems practical to train and embrace the worst possible conditions before a competition and hope for sun on race day.