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Motion Hatch: Helping Motion Designers Do Better Business

Feb 2, 2021

Many motion designers dream of starting an animation studio one day - but how do you know if it’s really the right decision for you?

Are you willing to give up the creativity of actually doing motion design work to become a strategist, manager and entrepreneur? 

Our latest guest will help you to decide if aspiring to own a studio is right for you and how to make it a success.

About Mack Garrison

Mack started Dash Studio in 2015 from a desire to create beautiful, bespoke work for clients and champion the creative talent of motion designers in the process. 

Before starting Dash he had a diverse and varied career in different specialisms of design, before settling on motion design and in time, co-founding his own studio.

Making the move from freelancer to motion design studio owner

Mack started freelancing after he graduated as, like many new graduates, he struggled to find a job. This led him to try lots of different design specialisms, eventually niching down into motion design.

He then joined a local agency where he worked his way up to become an Art Director but ultimately, he knew he wanted more creative control over his day-to-day and the freedom to be able to create really bespoke, personalised work for his clients.

The pivotal moment for Mack was when he and his colleague (and now business partner) Corey were offered a huge, 15 video project. To take on the project they would need to quit their jobs at the agency.

Hiring a great team is vital to your success

A large factor in the success of Dash Studio are Mack and Corey’s complementary skill sets - where Mack struggles, Corey is able to help and vice versa. 

Many people believe that you can’t succeed in certain areas if you lack certain skills, but by hiring people in-house or remotely you can build a multi-skilled, talented workforce.

Dash now has a team of 8 members of in-house staff and 20-25 contractors working on anything from 8-16 projects at any one given time.

The combination of full-time employed staff and freelancers allows Mack to be flexible to the needs of different clients and projects.

Everyone has different skills and one of the best things you can do for yourself is to work out what your individual strengths are and your weaknesses - that way you can recruit the skills that you don’t have into your team.

You can then collectively use everyone’s talents to make amazing work that is beyond what you’d be able to make on your own.

They created a pitch deck, won the work, and planned to start freelancing full-time once they finished. But a bigger conversation arose, they decided to pool their talent, skills and resources and that’s how Dash Studio was born.

Understanding what you want your career path to be

Mack suggests that if you like the idea of creating something special yourself, growing a business and managing people, then starting a studio could be incredibly rewarding for you.

However, if your passion lies in actually doing the motion design work yourself, then becoming a studio owner may not be the most satisfying career path for you because as your studio grows, you’ll find yourself doing the work less and less.

It’s important that you don’t try to do it all and that you work out a defined role within your studio.

If you want to start a studio with a business partner but you have no idea how to find one, it’s important to look to your community and network to find someone who has a similar mindset, outlook and work ethic as yourself.

Do you dream of starting your own studio? Is it something you would tackle alone, or with a partner? Has this podcast made you think differently about your goals? Leave a comment on the episode page and let us know!

Read the full show notes.

Links & resources

Download the Portfolio Checklist

The E-Myth: Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it by Michael E. Gerber

Rocket Fuel: The one essential combination that will get you more of what you want by Gino Wickman

Check out Dash Studio

Check out the Dash Bash festival

Follow Dash Studio Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Vimeo

Podcast music licensed by Big Waves

Podcast production by the team at BE MORE Media