Jeremy Kanne

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Jeremy Kanne is an American entrepreneur. Jeremy started Smart Yeti Creative Agency in 2015 and is based in Chicago.[1]

Jeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative AgencyJeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency


Smart Yeti Creative Agency


@SmartYetiCreative (201 followers)


Early Career

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Smart Yeti Creative Agency

Jeremy started Smart Yeti Creative Agency in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: [1]

Q: How did you get started on Smart Yeti Creative Agency?

I started my professional career out as a civil engineer. Six years into a lucrative career path, I was bored. I’ve always had a creative streak that balanced my analytical side - I started training in comedy improv at the same time I started my engineering major.

Most of how I developed the business is a synthesis of lots and lots of hard work across freelancing, working in teams, and gaining knowledge across lots of different services. Our service model is born from this experience and empirical knowledge rather than a traditional agency background.

Most people ask me how I made the switch from Engineering to Creative and I don’t have much to say other than “sheer willpower”. I could’ve stayed in engineering and had a financially stable career that I was good at. Would’ve I been truly happy? No. Would I have been fine? Sure. But around 3 years into my 6 year tenure as an engineer I decided to make the shift.

I wanted to do two really hard things at the same time: be my own boss and work in the creative arts. Both I had no formal education in. But I committed myself to it and set a path forward, originally working essentially two careers at the same time - civil engineering and freelance designing on the side. I did this until I had a modicum of a portfolio, at least one stable client, and then I jumped ship - knowing I’d take a severe pay cut for a good while.

I cut my teeth servicing clients in design, then teaching myself photography and servicing clients there, and then video. I started Smart Yeti as a video production house first - providing professional video at affordable rates by working to communicate where scope could be reduced and do only what needed to be done. It was my first product design of what’s now central to our mission - most technical companies don’t need to be super creative, they just need to be able to explain what they do simply and effectively.

After Smart Yeti the production agency grew slowly for the next few years, so did my freelance design clients I was still maintaining. Seeing an opportunity to serve both markets, I combined all my clients under one brand and that’s when we started calling Smart Yeti a creative agency.

After trying to market to everybody and taking a few business workshops, I realized our best clients were the ones who were very technical - clients in Fintech, Medtech, Manufacturing, etc. They appreciated my technical background and that I could understand more readily what they do and why it’s valuable.

With this realization, I chose to focus on only technical clients and structure our services as retainer. These were the two most important decisions I’ve made as an entrepreneur to date.

Source [1]