Online and on their way: startup studies

START-UP STORIES: two businesses mentored to an online future

The would-be sports writer winning on the web

Ethan Maddison: took the plunge

Ethan Maddison, 23, launched Branded Camera, a London-based content creation agency providing short videos for recruitment companies wanting to advertise online and on social media.

Only three months after his November launch, he recalls why he started his own business, and the important role his website is already playing.

“The past year has been pretty tough work-wise. I graduated from University with the hopes of becoming a sports journalist but, given how tough the job market is right now, I ended up taking a customer service role for a sportswear company.

“It wasn’t my dream job but it paid the bills. Sadly, as a result of the pandemic I was made redundant in September 2020.

“I considered applying for similar roles again, but after my difficult experience applying for jobs earlier in the year I decided to take the plunge and start my own business. I’ve always been creative, and passionate about media, so that’s where my idea came from.

“In all honestly, I hadn’t really considered the importance of having an online presence when I first came up with the idea. Now I realise how important it really is. With everyone working from home and everyday life being so virtual, it’s crucial that I have a website to act as an online shop-window for potential clients – like an online scrapbook of my work for people to peruse.

“Since launching two months ago, I already have four regular clients, and I’m confident my client base will grow with time. I’m planning to continue working on the website and my online visibility, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2021 brings.”

The caterer who added the e-ingredient

Cleo Morris: inundated with orders

Cleo Morris launched MyDinea Birmingham-based catering company and at-home meal delivery service, when she was just 23.

She cites her adoption of e-commerce as being key to her success since the start of the pandemic.

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, so when I left university I very quickly made the decision to take matters into my own hands and set up my own business.

“I love being my own boss but it comes with its challenges. When the UK went into Lockdown in March last year, the corporate catering side of the business took a serious hit. Fortunately, we were soon inundated with online orders for the at-home delivery service and were able to cater to a nation of home-dwellers, thanks to being set up online.

“If we didn’t have an e-commerce site, we genuinely wouldn’t be able to function, and wouldn’t have made it through last year.

Before lockdown, our revenue was split 50/50 between the corporate and at-home offerings. Now we get 90 per cent of our sales from online orders for the at-home service and have actually been able to increase our revenue over the past year.

“We were fortunate to have the online site set up, but worked hard to revamp our e-commerce offer, working through the night to meet increased demand for the at-home meal delivery service.”

Both business enlisted the support of GoDaddy