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Freelancer to Studio Owner: A Creativepreneur's Journey | MMCB Episode 4
Episode 429th January 2024 • Minding My Creative Business Podcast • Ron "Ironic" Lee Jr. and ShySpeaks
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Introduction

In this captivating episode, we dive deep into the world of creative entrepreneurship with Frank Cage, a remarkable individual who transformed himself from a humble self-taught artist in Lima to the proud owner of Cage Design Studios. Frank's journey is an inspiring testament to what's possible when passion, determination, and a touch of creativity collide.

Why This Episode Matters

Frank's story is a testament to the resilience of creative entrepreneurs. His journey from freelancing to owning a thriving studio is a treasure trove of insights for anyone looking to embark on a similar path. As someone deeply entrenched in the creative industry, I believe that sharing this episode is invaluable for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Creator Bio

Frank Cage is not just an entrepreneur; he's a visionary artist with a flair for design. His journey began as a self-taught artist in Lima, where his passion for art and design ignited. With dedication and an unwavering commitment to his craft, he ventured into higher education to refine his skills. Frank honed his expertise while working for a sign shop, gaining hands-on experience that would later prove indispensable.

Frank's story is a testament to the boundless possibilities that open up when you combine creativity with an entrepreneurial spirit. Today, he is the proud owner of Cage Design Studios, a creative hub that offers a spectrum of services including photography, videography, and graphic design.

Connect with Frank Cage and Cage Design Studios:

Key Takeaways

  • The Beginnings:
  • Frank's early life and discovery of his passion for art.
  • The pivotal decision to attend college and the practical experience gained while working for a sign shop.
  • How a job loss became the catalyst for Frank's entrepreneurial journey.
  • Starting Cage Design Studios:
  • Frank's motivation to establish Cage Design Studios and the role of fatherhood in this decision.
  • Overcoming the initial challenges, including financial hurdles and client acquisition.
  • The importance of personal branding and reputation-building in the world of freelancing.
  • Collaborations and Business Model:
  • Frank's approach to collaborations and nurturing B2B relationships within the creative industry.
  • The significance of mentorship in helping fellow creatives build their businesses.
  • Insights into contractual agreements and clauses that protect the interests of a growing creative studio.

Frank's Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: The Beginnings Frank's journey began with his early passion for art and design. He decided to further his skills by attending college and gained practical experience while working for a sign shop. The pivotal moment that pushed him into entrepreneurship was when he lost his job, leading him to take the leap into starting his own business.

Step 2: Starting Cage Design Studios Frank's motivation to start Cage Design Studios was deeply rooted in fatherhood. He encountered numerous challenges in the early days, including financial struggles and the need to secure clients. During this phase, he realized the vital importance of personal branding and building a strong reputation as a freelancer.

Step 3: Collaborations and Business Model Frank's approach to collaborations with other creatives and establishing B2B relationships added a new dimension to his studio's growth. He also emphasized the significance of mentorship and coaching for emerging entrepreneurs. Within the business, Frank implemented carefully crafted contractual agreements and clauses to protect his interests while staying true to his creative identity.

Resources Mentioned

  • Cage Design Studios: Frank's creative hub offers a range of services, from photography to videography and graphic design. Explore Cage Design Studios

Our Personal Advice

As someone passionate about creativity and entrepreneurship, I'd like to share a piece of advice. Frank's journey teaches us that success in the creative field requires authenticity and unwavering dedication. Stay true to your creative identity, and create from a space that reflects your true self. Combine this authenticity with solid business acumen, and you'll be on a path to entrepreneurial success.

FAQs

1. What inspired Frank Cage to start his creative journey?

  • Frank's journey began with a deep passion for art and design, which he discovered in his early years.

2. How did Frank overcome the challenges of transitioning from a freelancer to a studio owner?

  • Frank faced financial struggles and client acquisition challenges but overcame them through dedication and personal branding.

3. What services does Cage Design Studios offer?

  • Cage Design Studios provides a wide array of services, including photography, videography, and graphic design.

4. How does Frank approach collaborations within the creative industry?

  • Frank believes in nurturing B2B relationships and emphasizes the role of mentorship.

5. What is the key takeaway from Frank's journey?

  • Authenticity, dedication, and combining creative passion with business acumen are the keys to success in the creative field.

Timestamped Overview:

00:02:47 Passionate about art, pursued graphic design.

00:04:12 Limited small-town life led to creative transformation.

00:08:34 Having faith, tested it, recorded experiences.

00:13:22 "Transitioning from passion to financial stability"

00:15:44 Sign shop owner inspires shift to corporate work.

00:21:06 Balancing art and corporate work is challenging.

00:24:03 Organic opportunities led to unexpected community impact.

00:25:19 Taking on bigger clients means increased expenses.

00:30:24 Helping people in their graphics journey efficiently.

00:32:08 Supply and demand led to diverse services.

00:36:32 Contract clause limits collaboration to six months.

00:40:46 Contract agreement, subcontract, individual freedom, B to B model.

00:44:57 From knucklehead to successful entrepreneur with responsibilities.

00:46:17 Achieving artistic success and creating opportunities.

Transcripts

ShySpeaks [:

What's up? Welcome. Welcome to the mind of my creative business podcast. I am your host. Sha speaks.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

And I am your host, Ron Ironic Lee Jr. And this is the number one podcast for creativepreneurs to gain strategy, structure, and self development. And we have a special guest with us. This is the CEO and founder of Cage Design Studios. Longtime friend, longtime brother, longtime colleague as well. So Frank Cage is in the building.

ShySpeaks [:

Yeah.

Frank Cage [:

Glad to be here.

ShySpeaks [:

Frank is in the building. How you feeling, Frank?

Frank Cage [:

I'm doing good. How about you?

ShySpeaks [:

I'm well. I am excited because today we are going to be tapping into the mindset of Frank Cage again, the owner of Cage Design Studios, who is very qualified to be having this conversation because he went to SAA, which is the School of Arts for advertising. Also, he know some other credentials as well. Got to go ahead and drop your associate's degree of Science and graphic art. So he took those skills and that education and then took it from there and went wild with it. So we're going to be unpacking all of.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

This. That's us. Introducing yourself. But how do you introduce yourself to everybody?

Frank Cage [:

Man, that's a good question right off the back, bro. I consider myself a Scotty piffin. If you, you know, many individuals kind of press and like to be in the forefront of things, I take pride in being at number two. So if I had to introduce myself as anything, man, I'm a meek type of guy. I love being in the background. That's where you gain the best perspective of things. And then from there, that's when you can put in.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

That I love. So like Sajis mentioned, you got some credentials. You're a creative, but you're educated creative.

Frank Cage [:

Yes, sir.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

So let's just talk about that a little bit. Like, what made you decide to go to SAA and then transfer to Kaplan and and especially with getting a degree in the science of graphic arts. So kind of talk about art and advertisement and then the science of graphic arts just for a little bit, and then we're going to get into some other stuff.

Frank Cage [:

Yeah. So right after high school graduation, I really didn't have no idea what I wanted to do, but I was passionate about one thing, is doing something that I was passionate about and that I love. So my background is fine art. So throughout high school, man, I love to paint, I love to draw, but I was a knucklehead, right? So we actually had a graphic design program in high school that I wasn't even aware of, but I love to paint and I love to draw. Didn't even know that it existed. I didn't even know what graphic design was. But just kind of following my heart, man, I just decided, let's go to art school. It just seemed like that was a thing to do, right? It was kind of bred with that form of thinking, like, go to high school, go to college, get a gig. So I was done with high school. So I'm like, okay, I got to go to college. That's what they're telling me. So let me do something that I enjoy and that I like, which was art, and that kind of was the step of faith in that area.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Okay, so you go to the art schools, right? You went to two separate art schools. So then you graduate. So then what's your next move after graduation?

Frank Cage [:

So I'm from a small town, Lime, Ohio. Man, we are very what do I want to say? We're not as innovative and progressive as most, but it's a tight knit community. It's very home felt, you know what I mean? So after I graduated, I came back home and I started working for a local news shop, a sign shop, different things of that nature, just to kind of use my skill set. But they were really limited creative wise. During the time in my course of college, man, I had a complete life transformation during that where I acquired an appetite just for not only the things of God, because that is a strong foundation of what kind of got me into this space, but just the liberation that I felt and creativity. So moving back home in this small town city, small town, thinking I was very limited, creatively, and man, it was just a matter of time before I had to do something about it, man. And my last job, I end up getting fired, man. And I still have a great relationship with the cat to this day. I actually have a working relationship. But he came to me and said, frank, I can tell that your heart is somewhere else. I'm glad to let you go. And I feel like that was kind of the know, kicking me out the nest a little bit, you know what I mean? And that's when I kind of got into that entrepreneur space a little bit more.

ShySpeaks [:

Okay, hold on. I see what you did there. Kicked out the nest, cage Design, frank, not only does he paint and draw, he got bars, man. That's okay. I like it. Okay, so I got a question, because eventually you established Cage Design Studios, right? So before we, I'm going to ask you a question about how you got there. But first, give me what does Cage Design Studios consist of currently, right now, just for people who are listening, they just heard your story. You got fired, you got kicked out of the cage. Now you became cage design. What is Cage Design like, what all does it consist of? Studios?

Frank Cage [:

So if I had to sum it up in a nutshell, man, it's visual communication, right? And you can take that as broad and as deep. Specifically, services that we use is definitely the art of graphic design, video production, web development, content creation, we're all in this space, right? But it's really taking the stories of individuals, knowing how to communicate those. But more importantly, I think what kind of set me apart from everyone else is I believe every person is a creative every person is creative. And my job is just to find that thing that's inside them and kind of highlight it. So opposed to me always kind of pulling from my ideas, I really like to dig, provoke, irritate the individual that I'm working with to stimulate something that's already in them, and then I just highlight it. And then usually that's when you get that AHA moment. So we have a process where I believe I'll summar up this way. I believe you make beautiful art. You can bring conflicting elements into harmony. So I look for those moments, those things of conflict with individuals that I'm working with, then try to hone in on that and make art with it.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Okay. You said something as far as communications, right? I heard this and then the art, but then the art of storytelling and use of communication. So is that something that came natural to you, or is this something that you learned while you were in school? Because once again, you went to a school of advertisement and art, and then you went to a school for science and graphic arts. So is that something that was learned or taught, or was that something that's more nature to you?

Frank Cage [:

Definitely something that happened organic in nature. So part of my process, like I said, with my foundation being faith based, I was really looking to get to know God for myself. I grew up in the church, and all of that was cool, but I got to a space where I was like, God, I need you to be real for me. So I put him to the test in that within his time of going to school. And I used to just record and journal everything. I literally would be praying about something, and I write it in a note and archive it, videos, different things of that nature, my entire prayer. And then when different things will manifest, I will be able to go back to it. So literally, from the time that I've started, I've been just recording my own story, and I've been able to see the benefit of that. So naturally, that's why I look for those moments and individuals to help tell their story so they see the value for whatever their journey is.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Go ahead.

ShySpeaks [:

Okay, so we got you pretty much you're documenting your story. So it's like, let me help other people document theirs, which is very clever, and I love that. All right, so, Cage Design Studios, you told me what it does. Tell me just a few of the things that you're proud of, that some of the projects that you've worked on that are noteworthy for you.

Frank Cage [:

Man, that's a good question. I would say probably like, one of the most things that I'm proud of right now is, like I said, I originally moved back to my city right now because of the things that I have done. I'm really help leading in innovation and community development. There's a lot of things that were stagnant in the city that, through my work, has kind of pushed the envelope and pushed things forward. So if I had to say one thing that I'm most proud about right now, it's the work that's going on behind the scenes in the community. Really, I feel like establishing a level of hope for individuals. It's one of those deals, like, if you've been in Lima, then you know. So it's good just kind of ride around the city and see billboards that we've created, hear individuals in the shopping market talk about things that they don't even know that we're behind the scenes working on or have done, and just kind of see the life that comes from that, because.

ShySpeaks [:

So tell me those things. I know you. Tell me what those projects are. What's the ViewBoard? Just give me a couple of them.

Frank Cage [:

All right, so the specifics for the last three years, let me take y'all back to COVID for a minute, because that kind of shifted some things, right? So I've been able to connect with you guys online and do numerous different projects. COVID kind of put us in a standstill and how we move travel and different things of that nature. So my focus shifted here local, and one of the projects that I helped develop was Central District project here in Lima, Ohio. So with that project, man, we've been able to get a grant for over $1.2 million that has come specifically in the Lima area to help develop small businesses, minority businesses, different things of that nature. So really creating opportunities for those that don't have for me, it's dope to create pretty pictures and different things of that nature. But when you're actually making something to make impact in people's lives as a creative, that's what stimulates that's what stimulates me. So those type things are really pulling on me right now.

ShySpeaks [:

Got you. Okay, so we got things that's going on behind the scenes. You got billboards, you work with cities, districts, 1.21 millions of dollars, grants being attached to projects that you're working on. But now this is six and seven figure things that are happening with Page Design Studios. But we know that when you first got kicked out of the then you were freelancing first. You didn't actually have page Design Studios is an LLC, right?

Frank Cage [:

Correct.

ShySpeaks [:

Right. Why not keep taking jobs as a freelancer, right? Why did you actually say, I want.

Frank Cage [:

To make this Cage Design Studios just to be real? It was the bag, right? It was the bag. Man, it's such a journey. I'm trying to see which to go to, what really to pull on. But everything changed for me when I had my son. So when I first started off, you're just creating from pure passion, pure love of the art and that's still very much there. But after I had my seed, it got to a place where it's like, no, you need money bro. You know what I'm saying? You need money, you got to make some transitions. So with that, that's when it got more serious on the business side because now it wasn't about me, you know what I mean? It was about another responsibility that I have. So that kind of transition from the studio aspect literally at that time when I was freelancing, I had no life insurance, I had no retirement plan, I wasn't thinking about none of that. I'm loving to create and connect with people and I'm in that space. But I had my son real life responsibilities hitting. So I had a choice to make at that time. Do I want to continue to do this or not? And if so, I got to find it has to be more financially stable. It has to be more financially focused to some degree. That's been almost eleven years now from that thought and I'm going to be honest, it's still a strength, still a challenge even on the business side of things. Just because I'm so much of a creator. I have a heart there. But at the end of the day I have responsibility. So I believe that was a God or dang thing for me, you know what I mean? To kind of help me in that area. If not, I don't know, I probably won't be here. I did a factory somewhere.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Okay, now question that job that you got kicked out of the nest on, what were you actually doing? What was that job?

Frank Cage [:

It was a sign shop, which was great. It was great in two parts because the owner, he had quit his job and started the sign shop. So I was coming into a family owned business so kind of seeing his son come to the shop and we will work on just different projects for businesses. I believe I was there for a time to kind of soak in that information and really get inspired for that. So it was cool design different signs and brands for corporate businesses and different things of that nature. But I believe that that was key to trying to shift my focus in some of the business aspect because at the time when I was doing my freelance work, I was doing a lot of hip hop covers, I was doing a lot of flyers. Those are cool. I still love doing those things. But being in that business or that business environment, it kind of shifted my mind towards corporate opportunities and different things of that nature and that's where the bag at.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Okay, so you working with a small business, kind of planted a seed to way, oh, I could possibly do this as well.

Frank Cage [:

Absolutely. I won't necessarily say it planted the seed. It gave me the confirmation. It gave me more the confirmation of my next move. And I think as I began to kind of grow in that, I think he seen it as an employer. He was well aware of my talents and different things of that nature, but he seen that I had a different type of appetite for something, and he kind of gave me the okay to go ahead and do that.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Okay. Now, if he would not have let you go, probably not to this day, but I'm saying, do you think you would have stayed on there a lot longer than you ended up staying?

Frank Cage [:

No, it was just a matter of time. It was a matter of time.

ShySpeaks [:

Okay, so you keep saying something that's really interesting. You're saying, well, it was just a matter of the bag. So we said a matter of the bag. We're talking about making sure things are financially lucrative and financially stable. Right. Okay. So when you were freelancing, how would you say what's the number of clients you had on a monthly basis? Just like as a freelancer.

Frank Cage [:

I probably was juggling, on average, probably about 15 to 20 at a time.

ShySpeaks [:

15 to 20 at a time?

Frank Cage [:

Yeah. 15 to 20 clients at a time.

ShySpeaks [:

At a time, right.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

And this was prior to K's Design, this is when you did solely a freelancer?

Frank Cage [:

Correct. Okay. Yes.

ShySpeaks [:

Okay, and then after you became K Design, what would you say? What is the number of projects you're working on, number of clients you're working on per month?

Frank Cage [:

It probably reduced to more like ten. I like to stay around that ten range right about now. Okay.

ShySpeaks [:

Now here's the question. There's a decrease in the number of clients, but what is the difference financially between when you were freelancing with multiple projects where you're now a business and you're serving clients, fewer clients? What are those figures? What percentage of increase happened when you did it like that?

Frank Cage [:

Man, I want to say probably double, because it's a difference between when I send an invoice and I still do from some people just because I have day one individuals that's been with me this entire journey. So it's a difference between when I send you an invoice as you know, opposed to cage design studios. Usually when you get academia's, eye studios, and that's going to a corporate client, they got totally different budgets. They already expected to pay a certain number.

ShySpeaks [:

So for me, that was something that.

Frank Cage [:

I had to learn early on in my process. And I'll be honest, when I got my first check, if you will, from a corporate company, I kind of felt bad. Like, I felt like I was getting over, you know what I'm saying, until I got more up on game in that area. But they just have bigger budgets, different expectations. They understand that you have actual firm. You're paying for light, you're paying employees, you're paying for insurance and different things of that nature. So they already have a different anticipation of a higher amount. For me, it was just nothing more than adding some zeros because the work inequality has been there, but it was just more so. Okay, working in this corporate relationship is different than working with your homeboy. So that was something I had to learn within the process. Okay.

ShySpeaks [:

Go ahead, Ron.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Well, no, it sounds like, okay, I have these corporate clients, okay, I can add a couple more zeros than me doing this other work, but it sounds like you still do that other work. It's like you still value some of those relationships that you had when you were smaller, and you still do that. So how, as a business do you.

Frank Cage [:

Make that work, man, that's the challenge. I'm going to be honest with that, just because, like I said from the beginning, my heart has always been fine art. So for me, it's the art of it. So I really look at some of those projects. For me, that's how I establish health for myself, right. That's how I keep my creative edge going, is working with those. It's a totally different type of art, too. I'm having more fun with those type of projects, you know what I mean? So it's not more so the monetary exchange. It's more what I'm getting in the process. And then when I go and work into this corporate field where things are really X's and O, things are bland. Now I'm able to take some of that innovation that I got over here and add over there to set me apart from everybody else that's just stuck in that box. So it ends up balancing out for me, it's just making sure that we're managing the project, if you will, which is a challenge, but just kind of keeping that healthy balance.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Yeah. And that's key, listeners. I'm hoping that you all got that because I think that's key. As creatives who are entrepreneurs. You said it's still a struggle. It's a battle. Don't get me wrong. It's still a struggle. However, though, I understand from a business standpoint that I have to do this for my business because I have all these responsibilities as a CEO, but I still do these other projects because that is fun for me. That is like, almost therapeutic. That is a release for me to where I'm in this box, that I got to be in this box working with these corporate clients. But I'm able to still do something where I can be free, right. Create freely. I can create freely doing these passion projects and things like that. I don't shut that off totally, right?

ShySpeaks [:

Okay. All right. So earlier I asked you the number of clients. That was another thing that was key. You were serving more people but making half the money. Right. Just freelancing. Did you realize that, hey, when I go official with my business, I'll be able to get bigger clients, not bigger clients. All clients are created equal. Clients with bigger budgets. Right? All people are people. But did you realize that, like, hey, man, if I actually just go this way, then I can pursue the you know what I'm saying? Because it doubled. And I'm sure that that was like, hey, and I'm taking less work, making more money. Did you do this on purpose so that you could go after more prestigious things? Like you said, it's a difference in saying it, frank, you as an individual versus tell us about that. About that before we take a break. But I need to get that piece right there.

Frank Cage [:

Yeah, it happened organically. It really wasn't nothing that I planned for. As a creative, I'm always following my heart. I'm very sensitive about everything. So for me, it was one of those deals. When those opportunities came about, they usually were, well, let me go back a little bit. So kind of leading up to that, it's like, I will work with individuals that were kind of in this non corporate space or in the church. Then when you think about the church, it's like a gumbo. You got everybody in there. So now that I'm establishing these relationships with individual in the church, they also have businesses and different things, but they're like minded in mixing. They're like minded in community impact. And that's kind of how I transition, getting to some of those corporate spaces just by the desire and connection to kind of make certain community impact. So that's kind of how it spilled over. It got to the point where, okay, now I have a contract over here, contract over there, and I'm still working with these individuals. Something has to break. Something has to transition. And that's kind of how it came about.

ShySpeaks [:

Right? Got you. Okay. All right. So at some point, you are taking on bigger clients. You're making clients with bigger budgets. You're making more money double. And at some point, you say something has to break because not only is the project bigger, and a lot of times the expectations are different, right? So in order for you to meet those expectations, you have to start having more camera equipment or something has to beef up your software that you're using, probably has to change or more add ons. I'm sure what you have internally to make these projects happen increase. You probably had to start collaborating more. You probably had to start contracting people and delegating it. You probably had to develop some type of system about yourself. And I want to get in all of that after these messages. Let us pay these bills.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

What's the irony?

ShySpeaks [:

It's because it's us in different color clothing. I mean, listen, we've been doing a lot of talking, and we want to make sure that you have an opportunity to make a statement as well, because.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

We'Ve seen people make statements with their athletic apparel. We've even seen people make statements as entrepreneurs. But one thing I haven't seen is.

Frank Cage [:

Somebody make a statement as a creative entrepreneur.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

So what we have done is we.

Frank Cage [:

Have given you an opportunity to make.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

A statement as a creative entrepreneur.

ShySpeaks [:

Okay? So if they want to make sure that they're rocking that creativepreneur gear, where can they go get that?

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

You can go get that gear from what'stheirny.

Frank Cage [:

Com. Good.

ShySpeaks [:

Hey, just like that, we are back. We right here at the Mind of my Creative Business podcast are the ones that are the sponsors. Well, you're going to be the sponsors once you get that here because you're going to help support this channel. Also, you're going to be rocking the gear that helps you create freely back to Mr. Create freely himself. Frank Page. Tell us a little bit more about how you had to expand your tools and your systems and all that kind of stuff. What kind of software had to change when you decided to go from just freelancing to like, hey, I'm bigger clients? What had to change?

Frank Cage [:

The biggest thing that had to change on my end was the cameras that I was shooting with. Right. So that probably was our most expensive purchase and kind of the transition of upgrading. As far as the software, of course, we use Adobe, Photoshop, different things of that nature. But my perspective on the software is that's just the paintbrush in the artist's hand. I know individuals that use corel, and everybody has their personal preference and what they use. But the software for me is irrelevant. It's the paintbrush in the artist hand, what you going to do with it. Right, but part of my process has been, even when I started, I believe I always kind of had foreseen firms, studio, different things of that nature. So it was wild because I was purchasing little things before I even needed it.

ShySpeaks [:

Wow.

Frank Cage [:

Microphones, podcast, equipment before this even became a thing, you know what I mean? Kind of excited about that space.

ShySpeaks [:

Real quick, you said you're purchasing equipment. You mentioned a while ago cameras initially as a freelancer versus a studio. As a freelancer, you had, what, one camera, two cameras?

Frank Cage [:

Well, you can have as many cameras.

ShySpeaks [:

You want, but what did you have at the time?

Frank Cage [:

How many did I have?

ShySpeaks [:

Only had one. You only had one. You like studios and you're taking on more clients. You said you had to invest in more cameras. How many did you get at that point? What if somebody needs it? I'm a studio. They need to go from one to three. I mean, they can have as many as they want, but what would you say? What did you do?

Frank Cage [:

I jumped up immediately from one to three, because once we started to grow, I immediately brought an individual in. So I'm going to take for instance, like the first wedding that we shot, we had three angle perspectives. I had a camera right in the middle. He worked the left, and I worked the right. And that's kind of how we worked along to try to cover everything. So I would say when you're looking to kind of elevate in that area, at least three, just so you can get all angles that you need, right?

ShySpeaks [:

And the reason why I wanted to help right there because people are like, hey, I'm graphics now. They're like you. They're in their journey like you. And they're like, I got one camera. I'll help you do some video stuff if you need it. But then at some point, you don't have time to waste time shooting the camera angle from this way. Then we got to shoot a side angle, and we got to come back and do another angle. The reason why you wind up buying multiple cameras is so that you can get capture multiple angles one time, right? It's an efficiency increase. Right? And it also changes the quality of the outlook. So it's just not one field now. It has more movement. Am I along the right line?

Frank Cage [:

Yeah, you're right on it. In my perspective, especially when you're shooting video, is I love to overshoot. So my thing is, right now we're operating about four cameras. I wouldn't mind getting to, like, six or seven. I feel like you can never have not enough footage. The more perspective, more angles that you have, more different jump cuts that you can make. It really helps adding the details to the story that you're telling. So when it comes down to the camera, it's all about just gaining those details, and that's why you need multiple.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Now, when it came to you adding these additional services that you added as a result of being from the freelancer to Cage Design Studios, was that something that you was like, okay, I'm getting a lot of requests for this stuff, or was it like a foresight thing? Like, okay, well, I know if they ask for this, they're going to need this? How did you come to that? Where, okay, these are the services that I'm going to offer?

Frank Cage [:

ests, of course, almost being:

ShySpeaks [:

Towards got you other question. You said you talked about having another person involved that was helping you do something. So at some point when you take on projects that are bigger because you're saying, hey, studios, we provide this, this and third right. You then have to begin to contract other people or collaborate with other people. So tell me how you do your collaboration. Of course you reach out to them. Is there invoicing what's the back end systems of how to make sure that person is contracted into studios of the sort that you have as far as.

Frank Cage [:

On a client base or someone that I'm working with towards a project?

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Someone you're working with.

Frank Cage [:

Okay. So right now it's been all development from ground level. And I'll explain that when I first started. I will reach out to individuals that already may have had a degree that already was skilled in the area. Right. And those didn't work out as well in the sense of people jacking, the client going behind your back, different things of that nature.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Hold on, wait a minute. Stop right there. I don't want you to brush over that. So you just said that you were trying to hire a certain person or a certain type of person in regards to okay, I'm bringing you on to work with Cage Studios. But in doing that, you were saying that they were still in clients. Can you just touch on that a little bit? Because I want to know the matriculation from, okay, that was then, this is now. How did you mitigate that? Or does that still go on? So, yeah, talk.

ShySpeaks [:

That's a good question. We know how it happens. You don't even have to explain how it happens. What we need to know is and what other people want to know is how do you mitigate that when I'm contracting you to work with this, how do I help solve that? So that's a really great question.

Frank Cage [:

Yeah. From that experience, we learned the importance of contractual agreements and just putting in those fine tuned letters of documentation of the nature of the agreement. So it's like, if I hire you for a logo, I'm going to pay you for it, I own it. And that's that. You know what I mean? You just want to have those things in place prior to before I will reach out to individual, see that they were dope we'll be like minded in ideas. I hit him up or hit her up or whatever the case may be, and we'll get to working just to find out that client Jacking Cold will.

ShySpeaks [:

Wow.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

In that contract. What do you put in that contract to prevent that from happening, just the.

Frank Cage [:

Specifics, the specifics of the agreement. So I have some individuals that outsource certain things to me and in that contract or agreement, you'll have some lingo in there that speaks, like I said, kind of the nature of the relationship. They differ depending on who you're working with. They vary.

ShySpeaks [:

Right, so I've heard it like a six month clause. Right? So basically if I contract you in to work on this, you're working with me on it. And then even if you meet that person, you all have a relationship. You cannot begin to do any type of work, any type of collaboration beyond six months or beyond a year. And they say that because the scope of project that you're on maybe probably lasts a month. If there's any loose end that needs to be tied up, then you can tie those up. And once you and the client is no longer working together anymore and they decided to hit them back up, then at least they could have hit back up as opposed to so I've heard about stuff like that being put in the contract. So you talk about, first of all, ownership so they know what they own.

Frank Cage [:

Yeah.

ShySpeaks [:

So it's kind of not like the collaboration is not arguing of who owns what, but then also the scope of work and then also the flaws between how work with somebody else. It's not like still in a client two years later, you know what I'm saying? You and that person don't work anymore. But some people will say, hey, within this time frame, you all would have to wait to work because everything probably is going to be falling under the business that I brought in here.

Frank Cage [:

Right now. I have a contract with one of our photographers. The specifics of our agreement is she works within a 30 miles radius of where we're currently located. Anything outside of that, she can do whatever she wants to do. But anybody within that range when it comes to photography services, if we pull in, then we own that. So it really just depends on the specifics of how you want to work. Okay, got you.

ShySpeaks [:

Yeah, that's helpful. Right? So there's a time clause, but then there's a radius clause that you could put in there. Cool. Okay, so this is me, I'm all into the systems and how you structure stuff. So you got contracts in there, you got some structure in place. Do you send them like a contract via email? Do you use a particular contract sending software now or tool? How do you send that now?

Frank Cage [:

Yeah, we use Jot form if something needs to be sent electronic. But most of the individuals that I'm working with are here local, so it's hands on. So we do use your slack as far as software, communication software. Of course, all Google suite dropbox different things of that nature for file transfer. But for me, when it came the best of developing the firm. I know I needed to have somebody hand on that I could sit right across the table with and make that type of business transaction.

ShySpeaks [:

Got you. And then with the contract, first of all, shout out to all those tools you just dropped JotForm right. For sending contracts, dropbox transferring files, slack for communication. So in your company, when they're working with Page Design Studios, you add them into your Slack's work channel and you guys are able to talk about the projects that you're working on.

Frank Cage [:

Right?

ShySpeaks [:

And then real quick, how many people would you say that you're currently collaborating with that's working with Cage Design Studio?

Frank Cage [:

Four.

ShySpeaks [:

Nice. Okay. And with those people there in this contract, there is the scope of work. The clause is radius or time that's there. But then also there is a monetary amount that they're going to get. Are you at a point like, how are you handling payment? Because you've got to think for a listener, they are an individual possibly who's freelance, and they want to start working with people. But it's like, how do I pay people? Do I just cash app them? Or how do I keep track of that? How do you take care of yes, you're going to get paid $1,000, but how you pay them? What's that process look like for studios?

Frank Cage [:

Yes. So right now we have the contract agreement in place. And then when it comes to the payment itself, it's all subcontract. And we went about it that way because we tried to employ you out. Quick story on that where I started from the ground level up, kind of groomed the individual in the space, put him up on game, and he's like, okay, I can do this myself. You know what I'm saying? So this fell the shambles, and I had to respect it because if you go back to my story, I did the same thing at the sign shop, you know what I mean? So understanding that in this space, a lot of creators, they kind of want their own thing. They want that freedom to themselves. They really don't want to be tied down. So part of the business model that we put in place to help grow is, like I said, start from the foundational level. Like the photographer that I spoke with, establishing her LLC, giving her own personal entity, kind of walking her through that space. So it's almost like they're working with us, but it's more like a B to B. So a business to business model opposed to employee model. So when we're making our payments, I'm signing my payment over to their company opposed to their individual, and then they can filter their system how they want to.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Right now you just said you helped them to establish their LLC. So it was kind of like a mentorship type thing taking place, a coaching thing.

Frank Cage [:

Okay.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

So it wasn't like, okay, here I'm just going to hire you as a freelance photographer. I'm hiring as a freelance photographer, but I'm helping you to establish your business as well. So it can be that B to.

Frank Cage [:

B. Yeah, early on, it works in the nature of the partnership. You know what I mean? So it's like, I look at them, we're partners opposed to this hierarchy model. I feel like that hierarchy model and mindset is dead. It's more collaboration and partnership. So, yeah, that's the direction we went.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

No, and honestly, that's what I do with the artists I work with. I was seeing that. It's like, okay, like you said, it's easier to have this partnership mindset if I help you establish a business as well. So no, that's b to b.

ShySpeaks [:

You all b to b. We're going business to business, which means you have to have an established business. So when you're setting up your studios, think about that. Hey, I'm going to be working with other people who also have businesses, so they work with me. Not necessarily working for me. Yes, I may have got this contract from the city of Whoever llama District. I'm the one that got the contract, but you're working with me as a subcontractor. All right? So we're getting ready to get out of here for people who are like, okay, well, again, how do I pay these people? Are we paying them via like I know you say you're not employee, but are you using a certain you're just paying an invoice or are you using Gusto? Are you using a software or a system or anything like that?

Frank Cage [:

Straight check? Yeah, straight check.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

All right, now hold on. Before we get out of here, is there anything that you just like you said, because once again, this is geared towards creatives that are in a pursuit of entrepreneurship or that desire to be entrepreneurs. So is there just like a takeaway one gem if you can just drop on them before we leave today?

Frank Cage [:

Man, I'm going to say stay authentically. You it's so easy to get on social media and see the trends and different things of that nature. Establish who you are as a person and allow that to facilitate your work. That's what's going to separate you from everybody else. That's what individuals are going to connect with. So find that authenticity of who you are and create from that space opposed to looking to your left and right and saying, oh, that's dope over there. I'm going to try to kill all of that. Invest in the authenticity of yourself, create from that space and build your networking platform around.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Love it. I love it. So no, thank you. Listen, this has been good just to hear your story about how you was this knucklehead from Lima, right? Your words, not mine. You know what I'm saying? You were this knucklehead from Lima, but look at you now, right? You've gone through from being this knucklehead okay, I know I got to go to school. You went to school. You were able to get some information and things from there. Then from there, you were able to work for somebody who had a business and do some freelance work and all these other things, and then they fired you and kicked you out of the nest for you to be like, okay, let me go ahead and do my own thing. And then we didn't really touch on it. But you mentioned that the birth of your child kind of was that why as to like, okay, no, I can't just have fun no more. I got to be about this bag.

Frank Cage [:

Right.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

And now you have this phenomenal studio that you're able to now employ people that are creatives as well. And, yeah, you just kind of learned to put certain things in place to protect you and your brand and what you're doing, but still have these B to B relationships. This is great, man.

ShySpeaks [:

It's dope. And to be able to get to the point of going from a person who just loves to draw and paint to having a six, seven figure company in your hands right. That is amazing. And as you say, you're very faith based. I have to say that that is a blessing. So thank you for continuing to be a good steward over your gift and then offering it to the world and then now creating opportunities for others. I love it. I love it. Thank you for being on with us and chopping it up with my pleasure.

Frank Cage [:

Thanks for having me.

ShySpeaks [:

Absolutely. And while I'm here thanking, I want to also thank you, those of you who are listening in right now to the podcast, I want you to go ahead and show us some love by leaving us a review on Apple or Spotify or wherever it is that is your favorite podcast listening or viewing platform. Drop us a review, and it's going to help push us up so that we can keep this going for other creatives. Also, if you have not, head over to Mmcbpodcast.com and join the Creatives Corner community. Man again, Frank. Thank you.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

You got to do it.

ShySpeaks [:

I got to get y'all to say this mantra. All it takes all it takes is intention.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Is intention.

ShySpeaks [:

Consistency.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

Consistency.

ShySpeaks [:

And laser focus.

Ron "iRonic" Lee Jr. [:

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