Edmund Ward on Transformative Decisions in Business and Life
Edmund Ward, Managing Director and Owner of Analogue Image Ltd T/A On8mil
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey as a leader in your industry?
I come from a background in the creative sector working predominantly (earlier in my professional life) as an animator and graphic designer. Throughout my education and early professional life I was consistently drawn to multimedia platforms and as a resultgravitated more and more towards film and the moving image.
I started Analogue Image / On8mil as a secondary business to an already successful creative agency I was managing - Egglab Media. On8mil was originally founded as a high resolution scanning service for 8mm and 16mm film archives. It soon became apparent however, that there was a significant niche market in selling, processing and scanning of small gauge motion picture film. The decision was taken to expand the company's on-line offering, creating an ecosystem from which filmmakers could place on-line orders for film, processing and scanning, with transparency in pricing whilst offering a diversity of services.
What specific experiences or decisions in your journey do you believe have shaped your approach to business and leadership?
The most significant moment in my professional life was early on in the early nineties when working as a technical artist for a scientific publication in Cambridge, UK. The work was dull and easy in equal measure. I couldn't wait until the end of the day, when everyone had left - I'd stay on to teach myself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on the company computers. I was too poor at the time to have a computer powerful enough for those programmes from my bedsit - so I valued the opportunity to do so after hours.
Can you share a story of a pivotal moment in your career that led to a significant transformation in your business or personal life?
Starting On8mil / Analogue Image in 2014.
What factors did you consider when making that critical decision, and how did you weigh the potential risks and rewards?
Similar to how I stayed back after work in the early nineties to learn and get creative with Photoshop, starting Analogue Image / On8mil gave me that same drive, energy and joy. The calculation was 'If I love what I do - then all else will follow'.
What challenges did you face during this transformative period, and how did you overcome them?
Moving from the graphic design business to Analogue Image / On8mil was pretty tough financially. I gave up an office I was leasing in Kentish Town and moved all the kit to a posh shed in my garden.
Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self at that time, or to entrepreneurs and business leaders who might find themselves in a similar situation?
As an old boss said to me early in my professional life 'Follow your moon beam'. His name was Sean Malone. He was a good man. That and show people respect at all times.
How has that pivotal moment influenced the way you make decisions today, and what lasting impact has it had on your business?
I trust my gut and emotive response to business situations implicitly.
In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs and business leaders to have these transformative moments, and how can they best prepare for and learn from them?
Very important. It doesn't matter at what stage of your professional career you're at - if your creative mind is working overtime and your frustrated that you don't have enough hours in the day, then you probably should start 'following those moonbeams' and work out how you can make a living from them.