Lights, camera, action for creative studio business

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Giving it a go

After years of freelancing in the media and production industry, the co-founder of creative production business Sparklebop, Dolly Course, set up shop with her business partner Mali because they simply wanted to do it for themselves.

“We’d worked for other people for long enough!” Dolly said. “We wanted the flexibility and the autonomy that comes from working for yourself. If you’ve got that inclination, you’re never going to quite be at rest until you’ve tried it. There’s a bit more potential when you do your own thing.”

Set up over three years ago, Sparklebop has quietly built up a rather nice portfolio of clients, such as Rimmel, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Vodafone, and us! We liked them so much, we got them to make this campaign!

“£75K? We’d probably spend the money on some sort of studio space of our own, so we can offer our clients even better value for money.”

Controlling the cash flow

For Dolly, one of the hardest things about going it alone is managing cash flow.

“Not knowing when you’re going to get paid can be quite scary – it’s definitely not for everyone. Even when you’ve got lots of work on, you never know quite what’s coming next. It can be stressful.”

Dolly has never borrowed money for the company, saying that they are lucky to be in a business with relatively low overheads.

However, what does interest her is the possibility of speaking to someone for broader advice about the business.

“You can become quite insular running your own business, so I definitely see the value in speaking to an advisor who could bring an outside perspective on ways to grow the business and manage cash flow,” she says.

Balancing the future

Balancing work and life can be a big challenge for anyone, and Dolly splits her time between the studio and bringing up her young children.

“I’ve learned to be good at detaching,” Dolly says. “When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m with the kids, I’m with the kids. Of course, there’s always more to do and you often feel like you never quite get there. You can feel some guilt. But you’ve got to learn to be kind to yourself.”

Looking ahead, Dolly is looking to foster more long-term relationships with clients, and more mass production work, which can involve producing as many as 100 pieces of content from a single campaign. From what we’ve experienced with Sparklebop, they should be able to do whatever they put their mind to.

More about Anja ‘Dolly’ Course

It’s been media all the way for Anja ‘Dolly’ Course – ever since she got her first job as a puppet co-ordinator for the legendary Spitting Image programme in the mid-nineties. A spell as Production Manager at Channel 4 was followed by a string of freelance production roles, before setting up Sparklebop with Mali Abili in 2014.

visit the Sparklebop website

Good Funding for Sparklebop

Dolly will love our Ultimate Loan. She can have the money whenever she wants for her new Sparklebop studio, or anything else she decides. As soon as she needs it, we’ll have the money to her the next working day- with no hidden fees or surprises. So simple and flexible, it spreads her costs over a longer time frame.

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