This week on FEW Members' Corner, we would like to introduce you to Mikyung Kim, producer and founder of MKIM & CO., producing TV commercials and online content in partnership with advertising agencies and brands.
Hello Mikyung, can you tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey?
Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to make films. Having grown up in Hong Kong, the influence of the city as a global financial hub directed my career into commercials, a visual crossover of commerce and creativity. I started out in Hollywood working with Academy Award winning directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and Michel Gondry, which I look back on fondly as the “Producer Bootcamp” phase of my early career. This laid the foundation for me to take on the high speed, competitive and rewarding world of advertising and commercial production. I was the Head of TV at Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong running the film production department for many years before deciding to start MKIM & CO with the vision to continue producing great creative work. Since then I’ve produced campaigns for Samsung, Toyota, SK-II, Lululemon and most recently for the Hong Kong Ballet.
The response to the Hong Kong Ballet campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, with even The Washington Post dedicating a full page feature in their Sunday Arts & Style paper. So how did we pull off this shot? We had permission from the police department but we weren’t allowed to shut the intersection or close off the traffic. So every 15 seconds when the pedestrian light was green, we ran out onto the road, our director sat in front of double decker buses to get the shot, then we ran back to the sidewalk, and repeat.
Producing, like entrepreneurship is about doing whatever it takes to make things happen. To see the full video and photography campaign for the Hong Kong Ballet and my other work, check it out on my website.
What inspired you to start your company?
I wanted to continue producing great creative work with talented people and have more choice in selecting the projects I produce.
So far, what's the most challenging part of your journey?
Having your own business is a hustle! Hustle to build relationships, hustle to get the work, and hustle to deliver above and beyond expectations. It’s challenging but rewarding which keeps me motivated. Right now another challenge on my table is how to scale the business as there are more opportunities on the table than my capacity allows. If there are any fellow entrepreneurs who have experienced similar challenges, give me a shout - I’ll take you for a coffee!
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
My advice for anyone starting their own business is to make sure they have enough of their own personal savings in place first. When I started MKIM & CO, I made zero income for the first three months which was nerve-racking at the time, but I had prepared for that and lived off my savings. I knew this was temporary and that with hard work and time, things would change - and they did.
On growing teams
Focus on making your business better instead of bigger.
On running a business
Be open to constructive feedback, constantly think about what you can do to improve, do that, and repeat.
On building credibility and trust
Be solutions oriented, take the initiative, have a positive attitude and focus on good communication. Simply put just give a sh*t.
On the top three things to consider before starting your own business…
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you ready to work harder than you are now?
Why do you want to start your own business? Have you considered the pros and cons?
Does your business involve an intersection of:
- What you love
- What you’re good at
- What other people will pay you for?
And do the research! Read books or listen to podcasts on entrepreneurship, and talk to other business owners to learn from their experiences.