We Built A $1M/Year Business Creating Explainer Videos

Aaron Connolly
$85K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
20
Employees
Animation Explainers
from Douglas, Isle of Man
started May 2018
$85,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
20
Employees
353K
alexa rank
820
followers
37
followers
market size
$37.4B
avg revenue (monthly)
$63K
starting costs
$11.7K
gross margin
93%
time to build
210 days
average product price
$4500
growth channels
SEO
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Twitter, Instagram, Canva
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
tips
11 Tips
Discover what tools Aaron reccommends to grow your business!
social media
other
Discover what books Aaron reccommends to grow your business!
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Start An Explainer Video Business

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi guys! Our names are Aaron Connolly and Dylan Healy co-founders of Animation Explainers, an animation video production company specializing in explaining complex products, services, and messages for organizations worldwide.

We aim to get tricky concepts across to people without turning off the modern consumer/end-user. We offer unique, eye-catching explainer video content tailored to the specific needs of the client’s target audience. We explain your ideas, products, and businesses in simple new ways that reach the right audiences, intending to make things instantly understandable in every video.

AE consists of like-minded and passionate professionals whose creative enthusiasm for each project shows up clearly in the result. You can turn to us at every stage of the project for consultation and, more importantly, for a video that captures the essence of your vision from the outset.

We conduct thorough research to identify your brand's core message and convey it effectively, with you as our guide along the way in our bespoke creative process.

we-built-a-960k-year-business-creating-explainer-videos

What's your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?

Back in 2018, AE co-founders Aaron Connolly and Dylan Healy saw a gap in the market to put their passion for animation and concept visualization into action. Three and a half years later, AE has accumulated over 350 amazing clients, created over 750 videos, and built up a great team of sales agents, marketers, animators & illustrators all around the world.

Dylan and Aaron bootstrapped the company as sales development research interns, working together in a SaaS company called Marketo EMEA in Dublin. Their day-to-day consisted of laborious office tasks until a project arose in which they had to research current marketing trends. Aaron stumbled upon the explainer video during this project and how much this form of content has rapidly increased in popularity in recent years. Once Dylan and Aaron realized they had a product offering that met the market’s demands, the pair quit their call center graduate jobs and took Animation Explainers to the next level.

From here, Animation Explainers as it is today started as a hobby whenever they had any spare time, as Aaron returned to college and Dylan found himself a full-time job. They produced AE’s first website and found local animators in the area to get on board. The pair first found that LinkedIn was a great source for seeking out potential clients, though as time went on, the business didn’t gain much traction, accumulating only fleeting clients on a sporadic basis.

Always look for ways to increase website traffic and publish your products to the world. The more you put yourself out there, the more you will reap the benefits.

One day during his college tutorial, Aaron received a phone call from a previously satisfied client for the repeat business of three more videos. In his own words, Aaron insisted that from that day on, he and Dylan “jumped out of an airplane and figured things out on the way down.”

In terms of funding, it wasn’t until Animation Explainers started amassing a stream of return clients that Aaron and Dylan decided to reinvest the money earned back into the company. From here, they could invest more money and time into improving their website traffic and SEO via Google and LinkedIn ads. The business then took off. The next step was to register AE as a company. Aaron and Dylan have since found colossal success building the business one step at a time, making sure to be savvy with early expenses and not overpay themselves and suppliers.

Take us through the process of designing your services

We pride ourselves on being the animation industry’s most talented and skilled professionals, with an acute eye for authentic storytelling. Our team has developed a world-class process that we stand by for clients such as DHL, AIG, Mattel, T-Mobile, and Munich RE, no matter the industry or project at hand.

Our process is simple but effective. We are proud of its ability to unlock a unique way to portray clarity, ease of use and deliver compelling and straightforward messages.

We fill a creative gap using our client’s own branded content, remixing it, adding animation, a bespoke voiceover, and high-quality music to get every message across effectively!

Our secret recipe for success is as follows:

1) Kick-off requirements call

This is the beginning of the magic. We gather all of the information necessary to bring your story to life via our initial requirements call. On the call, you will meet with our creative team, who will work hard to nail your brief, researching your company and brand to ensure that we are in the best position possible to convey your message.

2) Script

The script is the foundational building block: centered around the client’s message, intended audience, and any additional information discussed in the requirements call.

3) Storyboard & style

We’ve worked on different animation styles and have an extensive portfolio to choose your style.

4) Animation

The real magic happens here: your video concept becomes a reality!

5) Video delivery

Upon completion, you will receive a beautifully crafted final product that you are 100% satisfied with.

On-time and on a budget!

The cost of an explainer video can range anywhere between $5000 and $35,000, and even beyond! There are many variables to consider, such as quality; animation company; video duration, video complexity.

In our experience, a compelling explainer video should be between 60-90 seconds. Unfortunately, the human attention span of today is at an all-time low (even lower than a goldfish! ), so it has never been more crucial to grab the viewer’s attention and encourage engagement even in the first few seconds—every second counts.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Research has shown us that the animation industry has always been substantially competitive. We are more than aware that it is only set to become even more saturated as the modern digital world expands rapidly.

Many more established players do not take advantage of the explainer project's consulting and storytelling components. We view Animation Explainers as having the edge in this regard. We follow an industry-standard process, working closely with our clients to create standout content and stories with maximum impact. There is a multitude of animation companies out there. Still, you are unlikely to get the personalized experience of thorough consultation that we offer at AE.

We have an active presence on social media, in particular LinkedIn, through which we get a lot of interest related to the services we offer. We have become increasingly aware of the importance of leveraging online channels to get our message out to the public. Our online platform has grown organically as we have evolved as a company.

In the early days, we tended to think relatively small, focusing solely on the Irish market. As time went on and with some fantastic mentorship along the way, we gained confidence (in ourselves and our business), and we started to think bigger.

We published our brand new website in the summertime, and it has been well received and our website has jumped up 30% as a result. As an animation company, we feel that our online aesthetic is essential to the cutting edge, and we are proud of our new website’s capture of this.

we-built-a-960k-year-business-creating-explainer-videos

We have subsequently made more moves to focus more on writing and publishing more blog content to boost our SEO through our hire of a content writer for the company. The blogs have been well received, and we have seen a considerable increase in traffic to our website and the benefits of posting content regularly. It is something that we will continue to do week-in-week-out.

we-built-a-960k-year-business-creating-explainer-videos

How are you doing today, and what does the future look like?

Our industry is frenzied with the competition; it always has been. We are looking forward to scaling up our operations into the USA, EU & APAC next year. Our plans for 2022 include hiring ten new agents in regions around the globe.

We want to keep building a great culture in our organization that stands out from the pack & looks after all our team at AE around the world.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

One of the biggest lessons we have learned is to have an abundance mentality when doing business. We offer an extremely flexible approach and cater to a variety of industries. In the early days of Animation Explainers, we tended to think relatively small, focusing solely on the Irish market. That's where we started, working with many SMEs in Dublin. As time went on and with some fantastic mentorship along the way, we gained confidence (in ourselves and our business), and we started to think bigger.

We now have a mindset through which we look for opportunities over obstacles day-to-day, which has helped take the business from a small startup to an industry leader in the animation space. Having a young team means that we constantly look at things with a fresh perspective and can offer truly innovative and outside-the-box solutions.

We have also considerably developed in remaining resilient, which has naturally translated into the business’s operations. We know that things may not always be plain sailing, but it's having an inspiring team around you that gets you through. We continue to strive together even in the face of adversity and approach obstacles that come our way with grace as a collective force. There is always a shoulder to lean on at AE.

One thing is sure: we never give up. By focusing on our clients' needs, our passionate team ensures that we achieve results, whatever the weather.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Hubspot is a trusted friend of our sales agents at AE. It is a beneficial tool to organize individual sales pipelines and potential deals from clients.

Since we have staff working remotely from all over the world, we mainly use Skype to communicate with each other - it is a quick, easy and casual platform that we love due to its relaxed nature.

When it comes to client calls, we generally rely on Zoom.

In terms of content, we keep everything stored on Google Drive. It is user-friendly and allows collaborative edits, which comes in handy when clients complete requirements documents or suggest amendments to video scripts.

We believe that the client should collaborate on the animation project from beginning to end, as much or as little as they wish. Our adopted use of Wipster enables a video review and approval proofing process, through which both our animation team and clients can add time-stamped comments to the animated video to allow for any final edits.

Hannah, our content writer, swears by Grammarly Pro.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The E-myth Revisited, from my perspective, showed us the importance of working on the business instead of within it. Creating a business that doesn't require you for it to function (which is still a work in progress) but this will help us with scaling further into 2022”

Also, The David McWilliams Podcast and Give & Take by Adam Grant.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

We have learned so much over the past three and a half years, but our top tips from Aaron and Dylan would be:

Try to make as much noise about product/service.

Always look for ways to increase website traffic and publish your products to the world. The more you put yourself out there, the more you will reap the benefits.

Make sure you have the right people around you.

This naturally starts with whoever (if anyone) you decide to go into business with. As co-founders, Aaron and Dylan are so different that it balances out perfectly. While Aaron has always overseen the business and logistics side of things, Dylan is the ultimate creative director.

We then look to our amazing team of people. Our vision and crew are as equally strong as one another. We have learned that having a reliable team around us is crucial to the business’ success. Aaron and Dylan always look for a solid work ethic and self-confidence in our new hires and having done this means that our current team is mightier than ever.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

Aaron says it can be difficult not to let people take advantage of you when you’re new to the game. Don’t ever lower your price: make sure to set it, believe in it, and stick to it, because there will always be clients who try to work it down unfairly and you will end up significantly losing out.

Step out of your comfort zone.

As we have mentioned, AE initially had relatively small operations based on only Irish clients. Having taken a brave leap of faith, the team is now communicating with leads from all over the world daily.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

AE is currently looking for the following roles:

  • Project Manager
  • Sales Agents

To find out more about the roles, visit animationexplainers.com.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Aaron Connolly, Founder of Animation Explainers
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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