The short version? I’m Shanice Linton and I create every type of content you can think of.
The long version - My name is Shanice Linton, I’m a British-born, Jamaican-raised immigrant who launched her first business, a Caribbean model agency when I was a teenager and that’s when I discovered my ultimate dream to become a full-time business owner for the rest of my life.
After earning a scholarship to study film and video production at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus Ohio, I moved to the United States to complete my BFA. Shortly after that, I found myself freelancing as a videographer while earning multiple internships in marketing.
As soon as I graduated, I was hired as a videographer at a virtual reality video production and digital advertising company in Atlanta, Georgia. I quickly discovered a new passion for content marketing and was promoted to lead the company’s content marketing efforts.
Even though I always believed that my video production degree and background would lead to working in the film industry, the unexpected shift in my career and the opportunities that came with it, opened doors to a different dream. A dream I had no idea I wanted.
I took my knowledge of video and my experience in marketing to launch my own video production and marketing agency for plastic surgeons, Visual Vybz Studios. This is the company of my dreams; my passion for video and marketing collided and created a full-time opportunity for me to be my own boss. Visual Vybz Studios is now 5+ years old and our creative team is expanding as we continue to experience more and more growth.
I mean, the audience may have changed throughout the years but my passion for telling stories hasn’t. Ever since I was a little girl I’d find and tell the story in literally everything! In fact, I received my first video camera when I was 8 years old - I used it to film mini-movies with my stuffed animals and created imaginary narratives for each character. CLEARLY, a lot has changed since then, primarily the shift from fictional video storytelling to commercial video storytelling.
My first video marketing job was at a company called Mettler Toldeo in Columbus, Ohio. There, I had the opportunity to use my video production skills for the first time in a marketing capacity. That was when I realized that I didn’t have to become a movie director to be successful with a creative video production degree.
My favorite thing about storytelling is the ability to pull on viewers' emotions. Marketing uses video storytelling in a slightly different way that challenges me. I still get to tell stories that evoke emotions, but now I have to do so in a significantly shorter span of time. For instance, movies have hours to get their message across but in advertising and marketing you have minutes if not seconds to do so. I love how this among other things has challenged me as a creative video storyteller. This challenge prompted me to make the switch to commercial video storytelling.
I started my second business Visual Vybz Studios because creatives like myself are very often undervalued and unappreciated for their skills in the corporate world. As a result, we are significantly underpaid because of this. So I wanted to create a business that showed my target audience that not only is creative storytelling a necessity for business growth but a very valuable skill that is worth investing in.
I am driven by my dream of expanding and hiring other creatives like me who have struggled similarly in the corporate world. Creatives in my opinion are extremely valuable because of our ability to think differently, and when this skill set is nurtured it can be very profitable.
I took this passion and found a target market that needed video storytelling, but more importantly, I found a target market that I would come to love working in. Healthcare has always been a pretty secure industry regardless of what is taking place in the economy, but more specifically, the cosmetic healthcare industry has always intrigued me because of my love for health, wellness, and beauty.
After working with my first plastic surgery client, I fell in love with the work that I produced and decided that this was in fact the type of customer I enjoyed the most. As a result, I tailored my entire business model to attract this target market.
I get inspiration from other content creators.
Competitive research is essential. A lot of artists look down on seeking inspiration from others, but I’ve learned not to copy them, but to stay ahead of trends and acknowledge strategies that work for them to make me more effective at what I do.
I wouldn’t say I have a brainstorming technique, but I try to use things that I have access to so that ideas start flowing. Usually, I’ll go for walks to clear my head, take deep breaths or go to social media to get ideas.
I use tons of different tools to run my business, from content planning and project management apps like Monday.com to appointment scheduling apps like vCita. This was one of the most important investments that I had to make starting out because I didn’t have a large team. So finding the right tools to streamline my process and serve as a virtual assistant was very important for me. I became obsessed with automation, I mean why send an email every month when you could schedule recurring email automation to go out for you on a platform like Mailchimp?
As for documentation, I’m old school and love handwritten checklists but I do log them digitally so that my team can access them as well. Clarity, communication, and collaboration are important so you always want to ensure that you have clearly documented notes stored somewhere. My recommendation is to use cloud-based software so that you can access them from virtually anywhere.
Everyone knows that artists have an unfortunate stereotype of always being broke. I quickly realized that we feed that horrible statement so much that we breathe it into existence. I had to tell myself that my skills are valuable and necessary. I mean can you picture a successful brand like Apple without those enticing video ads that make you storm the Apple store the day of a new product release that only has one feature upgrade? Right. We can’t because video storytelling is what convinced you to make that purchase.
Video storytelling is what drives most of the world’s sales. You watch a video on YouTube with an influencer reviewing her favorite makeup product and then you go and buy it because she tells you a story that makes you believe it’s great - even if it isn’t. I had to tell myself that my skill is necessary and if I believe that it is then I can charge higher prices for it.
I built my brand by keeping my operational costs low and my motivation high. Business is an emotional roller coaster and if you don’t motivate yourself then find something or someone who will.
I found an industry I loved, and people who came to value what I had to offer – now I just had to keep my cost low and my profits high. I did this by having low operational costs that came from working from home and using a lot of tools that eliminated my need to hire in the early stages of my business growth.
Working from home worked out well because most marketing takes place on the internet anyway so I almost didn’t need a physical place of work. Not to mention COVID followed shortly after that which normalized working from home for the majority of the world.
Every business is different but ultimately, you want to keep your costs low and your profits high. You also want to think of new ways to grow and expand your business while keeping a quality product or service to retain your existing customers.
For anyone who wants to get into content creation I would just say, find something you love and share it with the world. For me, that’s educating my audience on video storytelling. Now the difficult part is committing to sharing content on it frequently. Consistently creating and sharing valuable content online is how you will grow as an industry expert and thrive online, but you have to commit.
I committed to launching my business when I resigned from my previous position but offered to work for the same company as an independent contractor. This worked well for me because I was able to get my first client this way and it worked well for them because they got to pay me less.
Every situation is different, maybe you prefer to save a certain amount of money first or gather enough clients before making the switch but personally, I don’t think you’ll ever know until you get out there and try.
So commit to doing something you love and you will find a way to make it work.