Renece Brewster knows this better than most. As the CEO and co-founder of Australia’s largest video production agency Visual Domain, she and her team of 100 in-house creatives have worked with big name brands like REA Group, SEEK, NAB, Jetstar, Bupa and Deliveroo. On average the business produces more that 300 video reels a week.
In the past 12 months, Visual Domain has more than doubled in size and scope and is now focusing on plans to expand internationally.
Renece is the latest woman to be featured in our series, ‘The Link’– shining a light on the household names of tomorrow. We sat down with her recently to get the low-down on her plans for the future and the advice that shaped her pathway.
What are you working on right now that’s got you really excited?
We’ve had a phenomenal year, growing 60% in the past 12 months. We’re working on plans to double our team of creatives. With crews now working Australia-wide, we are focusing on plans to open our first international very soon.
What one issue is making you really angry right now?
I get really frustrated when I hear that companies are paying too much for video or that its taking weeks or months to reach a final product. Last year we worked with 614 clients on 11,946 projects and the average cost per video was only $1,500. The demand for video has grown dramatically and it’s important that brands understand that they don’t need to pay astronomical prices for a professional quality result. We frequently produce videos in 48 hours.
Best piece of career advice you ever received?
Stick with your passion – running a business is a roller coaster that is all consuming and for all the ups there are so many downs. You’ve got to believe and be passionate about what you’re doing, or you just won’t last! Someone told me once that everyone who is successful has failed at something, reminding ourselves it’s all part of the process often helps soften the journey.
What would you go back and tell yourself ten years ago?
To trust my instincts more. When I’ve made a mistake, it’s because I haven’t listened to my gut. The other thing I would tell myself is to never get comfortable, never get complacent, things change so fast, sometimes from week to week.
Biggest hurdle you’ve faced (or are still facing) in your career?
At the risk of repeating myself, it is the confidence to trust my gut when making decisions. In business we’re taught to steer away from emotions and make decisions with our heads, but I believe as an entrepreneur we have a certain ingrained appetite for risk and making good decisions that we should learn to trust.
How did/are you push through/work around it?
I started the business a decade ago when I was 26 years old, pregnant and with a toddler at home. I was the main breadwinner as my husband was studying his carpentry apprenticeship when the business I was working for suddenly went insolvent. I met my business partner Daniel Goldstein and we discussed my vision for the potential of YouTube. Daniel and I bootstrapped the business, starting work around my dining room table and in the beginning struggled to afford cameras and computers. I delivered pizzas and sold what I could at that time on eBay to help fund our vision – I trusted my gut, that this could work. There were no start-up programs, and we had no insight into the challenges back then. We leveraged one job at a time and grew organically. We felt certain, that demand for video would dramatically increase as a marketing/communications tool. We struggled because we didn’t have a technology platform and there were no processes in place. So I set about building our cloud platform to streamline every aspect of video production so that we could produce at scale and make the process fast, easy and affordable for our clients.
How have mentors or sponsors (or both) aided your career?
I haven’t had any mentors, but I’ve been fortunate that people have come into my life at the right time to help me get through to the next stage. Having Daniel Goldstein as my co-founder at Visual Domain has been vital to our success. We both have strengths and weaknesses and understanding these with the trust we have in one another makes the journey
What’s your favourite piece of tech?
The Visual Domain Video Management System (VMS) which enables our customers to book and have videos delivered in as little as 48 hours. You can find more information here: VMS Hype video.
What daily publications do you read or follow?
I start my day listening to audio books on the drive into the office. I’m currently listening to Abraham Hicks – ‘You are your beliefs’. It’s a great way to focus myself for the day.
What apps or tools do you use to help manage your day?
We use Slack for all our team communication. I rely on Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Keep. Google Keep has been invaluable to save my thoughts on the go, monitor my action list and be across the key priorities of the team.
Any industry associations you’re a part of or that you’d recommend to other women?
I am an Australian Board member of Girls in Tech and advisor to female-lead startups with She Starts. When I started out as a female founder a decade ago there wasn’t vibrant and accessible networking events like there are now. I recommend getting involved in your local tech/startup community and meeting likeminded people. You’ll discover that many others are tackling similar issues and challenges as well and happy to share their tips and insights.
What book do you most recommend to other women when it comes to their career?
Mel Robbins, ‘The 5 Second Rule’ has been enormously helpful. It encourages me to have confidence, trust my gut and importantly the conviction to take actions that will make my vision become reality.
And what are you reading/watching/listening to right now?
I’m currently watching the Dirty Money documentary series on Netflix.
Where can people find out more about your work? (social media etc?)
Got a woman to suggest who you’d like to next read about on Women’s Agenda?
Kate Dillion, She Lion / lawyer / mother.