Don’t try and think of 10 ideas…Think of 1 you can implement TOMORROW. Baby steps here, baby steps.
Trevor Rappleye is the CEO and Founder of CorporateFilming.net, a national video production firm that drives profit to businesses through story and emotion. CorporateFilming.net loves the customer experience and making people smile through memorable experiences. Trevor started his business at age 13 and has been in love with story and emotion ever since. He is passionate about being different, standing out and being memorable in business, marketing and sales. He was converting VHS to DVDs, filming family weddings and became a soccer referee at age 13. As a kid who used to stutter and was labeled a “nerd” in school, he wants to inspire people of all ages to follow their dreams, be their true authentic selves and to take risks to achieve their goals. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. CorporateFilming is obsessed with storytelling and how that drives business growth and prospects to convert to customers.
Where did the idea for CorporateFilming.net come from?
CorporateFilming came from an idea to me as a kid. It actually started as Dvds2Remember.net (converting VHS to DVD’s) at age 13. I reffed soccer as a kid (by the way, parents are mean!) and mowed lawns (was a ride lawn mower…work smarter, not harder!) – I just loved working and having savings as a kid. I then became EventFilming at around age 16 and I was filming family weddings, special events and things on the side. Right after college in 2012, I made EventFilming my full-time job. It was scary, risky and I loved the rollercoaster of working for myself. At the peak, we did over 100 weddings in one year! Wow, what a blast to capture those emotions, those raw stories and create videos for couples to keep for a lifetime. I had a lightbulb moment one day looking out a plane window traveling to one of our first corporate clients…How can we service the corporate world more? What is missing? What need can we fill? EventFilming then transitioned to CorporateFilming.net as we saw such a need for authentic and emotional marketing videos in the corporate world. We are bringing customer service, customer experience, and STORY back to the corporate world.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day in my life at CorporateFilming.net is honestly- a 10-12 hour work day. Work ethic is one of the most underrated things in the life of an entrepreneur and a scaling business. I wake up at a 5 or 6 am- have some coffee and read a business book for at least 30 minutes. I’ve learned to not jump to my phone- let your body wake up a bit- look out the window…be grateful for what you have and be grateful for the journey you are going on. My goal each day is by the time 9 am rolls around – I have already worked at least 2-3 hours- making sales calls, working on invoices or calling my warm prospects around the globe. Each day I feel accomplished by 9:30 am and I already got SO much done. I recommend this to anyone wanting to advance in their career or start a business, time spent and work ethic is the only thing that separates someone good from someone GREAT. 9 to 5? What is that? My life is 6am-6pm and I live for it. I never want to retire – I am truly doing what I love. After I get to work at CorporateFilming, I say hi to my team – we have a daily catch up and we all get to work. I always tell people – what are 3 things you NEED to get done today? Do all those things by noon! Don’t let email run your life – it’s okay if your inbox is not at 0 all the time. I make at least 50 sales calls a day and really focus on the top line revenue and growth steps we need to take to scale. After work, I hit the gym until about 8:30. The gym is my sanctuary and where I truly can just run out all my stress, emotions and just work on ME.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love this question. Ideas come to life when you turn off your phone, stop checking email and just THINK. Ponder. Go to the beach and look at the water, go to a local park and sit outside- just mix it up! You’ll be surprised how creative you can be if you don’t sit at your same desk, with your same coffee and the same people around you. Our biggest business decisions have been me laying on the beach working with my hotspot or reading a book. If you do the same thing every single day…how can you plan for next year? 3 years from now? 10 years from now?
Ideas really come when you take 50 steps back and entrepreneurs work ON their business, not just IN it! What big moves do you have to make to grow year after year? My idea for CorporateFilming came on a plane looking out the window, my idea of hiring a full-time customer experience manager (handling bdays, thank you’s, just making our clients SMILE) came from me laying on the beach. People need to set aside time to bring ideas to life. My last piece of advice is don’t try and think of 10 ideas….think of 1 you can implement TOMORROW. Baby steps here, baby steps.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend that excites me is how authentic and real social media has made everyone. Big companies can no longer hide behind their walls or their website- consumers want to see authentic and behind the scenes videos and pictures of the staff, products and the life inside of companies. I also love the trend of how funny and quirky videos always get more engaged and have more views than a serious promotional video. My favorite thing is to go into a company and just say hi- put the script away and be YOURSELF on video. Authenticity sells.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Habits are the only thing that can truly move you as an entrepreneur. The one habit I got into was (going to say it again) not just working IN my business (always checking email)- but working ON the business. I set aside at least 3 hours a week to step back and look at what is working vs not working. I also read almost every day and I try and learn something new every day. I am self-taught (never took a marketing, business or sales course) by reading books, leadership books, sales podcasts- anything to put more knowledge in my brain. I also get advice from my father and mother and from my business coach (shoutout Vaughn Sigmon and The Advisory Board)
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I’d give my younger self is stop trying to be someone you’re not. Stop trying to “be cool” in school. It’s okay to be different. I was made fun of a lot in school, stuttered really bad and was the nerd at my high school. I had friends- but I definitely was so obsessed with filming…I even filmed my own prom (yep, you heard that right!). The advice I can give to anyone younger is just STOP worrying about what the world thinks of you. Do you, do what you want and be who you want. I didn’t go to parties in high school – I was always filming and working.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The one thing that people don’t agree with me on is how much I value authenticity, vulnerability and just being yourself in business. Whether I am talking to a mom and pop flower shop that wants a video or a Fortune 100 company (which we do!), I am the same me in every meeting. I make them laugh, I hear their story, we bring donuts and coffee and ask them for their birthday so we can surprise them…business is so much more than just the product you are selling. It is about the EXPERIENCE you give someone. In my opinion, this sometimes trumps the actual product you are selling. What can you do that makes your client want to COME BACK, refer you and become a client for life?
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one thing I recommend for entrepreneurs to do over and over is learn. You can NEVER learn enough. This sounds cliche- but the most successful people are reading and learning and growing every…single…day. I am constantly reading a new book ( I recommend Entreleadership and blueprint to a billion), reading magazines (Inc., Entrepreneur magazine and the Foundr app on iPhone) and watching sales videos on YouTube (Grant Cardone, Gary Vee) and going to conferences. We all have time to learn and grow. If you don’t think you do, you will never move from where you are TODAY. That’s just the truth and I am just being honest and real. Challenge yourself, do something scary- it will pay off more than you can imagine.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The one strategy that has helped us grow CorporateFilming.net is focusing on the EXPERIENCE. I can’t hit on this enough. The only thing clients remember is the VERY last thing you did. Was your last interaction a simple thank you? Or..was it a phone call, was it a handwritten card, or better yet, was it a drop by to their office with donuts and balloons? Entrepreneurs, give your clients and prospects a reason to remember you and a reason to smile. Make them want to tell their friends and social media. We also ask for everyone’s birthdays and send them a coffee mug with their favorite candy. Every week when they go to their cabinet to have their morning coffee – they see our company coffee cup. That kind of ROI over a 5-10 year period is INSANE. We have had people call me and say “Hi, I have been drinking from your mug for 3 years. We have another project for you.” WOW. I can count at least $200,000 in revenue that came DIRECTLY from us sending a prospect or client a coffee mug. People, it’s all about staying top of mind. Do what your competition won’t.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I love telling this story. I lost my business partner back in 2014 and I had two options- I could cry and close the business down (really I thought about it). Or, I could pick myself up, LEARN and not complain. I used this to FUEL me to work harder, learn and to prove everyone wrong that said I couldn’t do this. I was even told by someone “You really think you can do this without him?” Man, that was a punch to the gut. You know what? They were right! I had to challenge myself, learn and grow as a person. 5 years later we have 5x our revenue and on track to 10x it in by 2020.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Advice for a business someone could start would be a way to automatically order you a new iPhone cord when one breaks. Man, that is annoying! How many half broken iPhone cords do we all have? They are so cheap too!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on a Google Adwords campaign. We just raised our PPC budget and it already brought us a new client. You have to spend money to make money! I spent over $25,000 on Google PPC our first year in business and people thought we were crazy. We found our largest clients that are still with us by doing that.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The one piece of software I love that helps me be more productive is Monday.com and my Notes on my iMac. Everything I need to is written down. I had a daily to do, a weekly to do, a monthly to do and a yearly to do. Really.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Hands down- Entreleadership. It teaches everything you need to know about leadership, growing a team and the most important thing of all- empathy. Trying to understand why an employee does something and to see things from their POV is so important.
What is your favorite quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou – This quote is related to leadership, business growth and sales. Make people feel something and they’ll be with you for a long time.
- Authenticity is key for growing your business.
• Storytelling is the trend and always will be. This is how you connect with prospects in 2019 and beyond.
• Never change for anyone – be your true self. The world will love you for who you are.
• Don’t just work IN the business, work ON the business. Work on growth, partnerships and big-ticket customers.
• Don’t expect to work 8-hour work days EVER when working for yourself. Yes, you set your own schedule but that schedule should be 10 plus hours.