Business Downsizing Pros and Cons

Adrian Video Image has posted a new item, 'Business Downsizing Pros and Cons'


This is the day. The day I reverse my dream. The dream to create a big business.

The big business dream was to have at least 10 staff busily serving clients for their videography and video production needs.

I had only two staff. They seem rather busy everyday, yet there is not enough assignments coming in to feed the three of us.

I earn twice the current revenue when I was working alone. We have three people, but we are earning less.

I analyzed the situation and concluded the following observation.

1. When I was working alone, I work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. Staff work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

2. When I was working alone, I deliver fast by working overnight and over the weekends. Staff take a break at night and weekends.

3. I can charge higher when I was the only specialist with a highly honed skill. Staff skill level is not on par with mine yet hence cannot justify premium pricing.

So you may think… What am I doing anyway in the organization? Am I contributing my skills, after all I am still inside?

The reason I hire staff is for them to take over my role as a videographer, so I can move on to a higher role, especially in training, speaking and writing.

So I did go into training, speaking and writing. A new kind of business which I find exciting. (a side note, I never stayed in one career for more than seven years)

So I left videography for a while and focused on the “information” business, which never took off.

Although there were little videography business coming in, they were sufficient to cover staff salary (not mine). I was happy with that…

Then one day… One staff fell sick… And had to rest at home for two to three weeks.

At first, we hired freelancers to cover the assignments. Then it hit me that it does not make sense… I had to pay the freelancers… AS WELL AS pay the salary of my staff laying in bed!

So instead of hiring freelancers, I took over the camera (reluctantly) and did the assignments. It was like nostalgic… It felt great… I was like ME again… BUT WAIT…

Another thought hit me…

I was doing all the assignments, which collectively generate enough profit to cover the salary of my staff resting at home… While I earn zero cent…

What’s more… When I am in the field shooting, I cannot focus on my training, speaking and writing… And therefore I am earning nothing!


At first I thought… Let’s have compassion because we do not fall sick all the time. However this is not the first time. Staff are entitled leave, off days and are protected by law to work certain number of hours.

I finally admitted to myself that I have made the wrong decision to expand the videography business.

I realized that (to the ignorance of many gurus) my skill is a valuable asset that is not immediately transferable… Just like an artist… Can you imagine an artist hiring freelancers to do his art? Can you imagine Lady GaGa getting someone else to sing for her?

My staff are dedicated and responsible people. It is my duty to let them know the company situation, my dream and my ultimate decision.

So this is the day I asked all my staff to return the keys to the studio and find new jobs, so that I can revert to the one-man-show business it used to be.

Adrian Lee

My office is in a mess now while I make the transition to working alone.


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