Name: Vishnu Dev
Company: Reel Studio Sdn Bhd
Vishnu’s journey started at the young age of 23 as a freelancer and 10 years down the road, he is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the local and international Photography, Videography and Corporate Events industry. Vishnu has been awarded and recognised for his milestones whereby he has proved that the business of photography, videography and corporate events can be done in a big scale professionally with the right attitude and passion. Vishnu has also ventured into the IT world now by providing basic web solutions and detailed software building in his journey of establishing his business empire.
Tell us about your startup journey
When I started off at the age of 23 in Kuala Lumpur, I was very much into multimedia and doing design works. It was a hobby that I really enjoyed. I moved to Johor Bahru at that age and had a few photographer friends who sought my assistance to edit photos for them and they all encouraged me to take up photography as well since I already mastered the editing bit. So I took their suggestions and ventured into the interesting world of photography.
How long till you set up your own business entity and what were among the challenges faced?
I created Reel Studio back then but it actually took me 7 years to set up and operate as a company right to hiring my first employee (laughs)! Some might think that’s a long time to even start off but in that 7 years, I learned and mastered my skills, built my PR, earned my network, and also convinced myself that this is a sustainable and lucrative form of income for me and my dependants.
The industry I’m in is very competitive and it comes with its own set of challenges but after 7 years of building my brand, the relationships I made along the way has proven to be fruitful as most of my clients come to me based on word of mouth or by referral.
Tell us something unforeseen that happened that you can’t forget
I actually started off my sound system services through an unforeseen circumstance (laughs). I had a job for sound system services but passed it over to a friend of mine but at the eleventh hour, he pulled out and I was stuck in a situation of either spoiling my hard earned reputation or to fix the problem myself. So I obviously chose the latter and quickly brought the equipment and with my basic knowledge in sound system operating, I managed to pull off the job.
I must say that it was a blessing in disguise as it led me to getting more corporate events and expanding my corporate events arm.
So how did all this lead to IT services?
Since young, I have been fascinated by computers’ hardware and software. I used to repair computers on my own and I have a diploma in network studies. I was always interested in programming and web development. I used to assist some friends to set up their network and other basic stuff but upon doing that, I realised that they don’t have a company website or other software and it was a no brainer to startup a mini tech solutions company. VS IT Trading is currently growing and we have hired some personnel from India to help clients develop programmes.
What sets you apart from your competition?
The services I provide for my customers are what set me apart. I agree that my industry is quite dense and that’s why I emphasise on quality, prompt delivery of albums or prompt execution of events, after service and relationship management. With my experience and with the manpower I currently have, we ensure that all our clients walk away happy.
Relationship is very important. I have handled photography and videography for a wedded couple from their pre wedding photos till their first born turned 1, turned 5 and so on. We have become the ‘family photographer’ to many families and I personally feel that I am an extended family member to all of them.
How many staffs have you currently hired?
For events, we hire additional freelancers based on the job requirement but we currently have about 15 full time staff. I strongly believe in grooming talent so apart from my full time staff, I also source out some of my projects to other photographers. I have also introduced and guided many photographers who have gone to set up their own brand and even win international awards. The satisfaction one gets from seeing his fellow comrades succeed is unparalleled.
What’s your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Most importantly be true to yourself and be honest to your clients. Be sincere and passionate about what you’re doing and don’t do things just for monetary rewards or for fame. Pursue your dreams wholeheartedly and I’m sure success will be yours.
What is next for you and Reel Studio?
I’m actually planning to open more branches but have also been approached to explore the possibilities of franchising our brand so let’s see. I also want to set up our own academy so we can train more youngsters and introduce them to the industry. Apart from that, I am still constantly expanding our current portfolios and benchmarking our brand to suit international standards.