As 2014 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect upon myself, my goals, and the growth of the Dojo at it’s current point in time. This year has been a huge year for me, both personally, academically, and professionally. I relocated to Austin, Texas and surrounded myself with a lot of very business oriented, startup hungry coding monkeys and entrepreneurs. This had a huge effect on the way I thought of the Dojo and my future career.
Not the Dojo I Envisioned
Let me start off by saying that I am not satisfied with the Dojo, and have never been satisfied. This is not to say I do not think it’s a success and I am forever grateful for all the support and help I’ve received from many talented people and supporters throughout the Dojo’s life. I’m not satisfied with the Dojo because this is not how I envisioned it 6 years after recording the first tutorial.
CreativeDojo has always been a passion project of mine, it was never and will never be about the money. The Dojo was started as a way to grow as a community, by the community, and it hasn’t been this way at all. I produce 99% of the content on this site, with the 1% being freebies from other companies/individuals. After creating almost 100 tutorials, your ideas start to get bland and the style stays somewhat persistent. I only teach AE and C4D as they are the only two programs I know well enough to teach (or want to teach as of right now). I would love to expand on different areas of designs and software, and collaborate more with the community.
The Dojo is a financial mess, partly because it was always a side project of mine and was never really financially profitable. I never kept track of its little revenue from ad sponsors and AdSense except during tax season, and never kept track of its expenses. Whatever the Dojo needed, I gave it and gave very little thought to how much money I was losing and how much I was going to gain from that investment. The cost of running the Dojo is more than some may believe, including web server hosting, CreativeCloud subscription, Vimeo Plus subscription, costs of AE plugins and website plugins, audio equipment, and more. This is quite costly considering I am not doing anything design related for a living.
What’s Going to Happen in 2015
There’s going to be a huge overhaul as to how the Dojo is going to operate. First off, a stronger focus on the community. I would love to have guest bloggers, guest tutorial creators, community members contributing to products, etc. I want the Dojo to cover more topics such as vfx, 3D outside of Cinema 4D, tracking, video/audio editing, game montages, filmmaking, etc. I want the community to participate and contribute their experiences and skills. We will definitely push on this idea significantly next year to bring you more diversity to the table.
Financially, the Dojo will be in a better position because I will be budgeting everything, tracking every expense and income stream that contributes to the Dojo. This will open up more possibilities of what we can do financially.
I also want to push out content very regularly, about every other day. This could range from articles, reviews, blog posts, tutorials, products, anything. I’ve never really put too much thought into marketing, but this upcoming year you can bet that marketing efforts will increase to push the Dojo brand and products out there.
Lastly, I want to push for a more collaborative environment, an area where everyone can share their thoughts, critique works, design and learn together, and have a say as to what the Dojo will become in the future. This isn’t my Dojo, it’s our Dojo.
The Dojo Ain’t No Blog Anymore
I almost view CreativeDojo as a company, rather than some online blog like I used to. Being surrounded by coding wizards, I was able to venture into the world of programming and pushed out 12 After Effects scripts. While these don’t generate a ton of profit, they are still the Dojo’s primary products and I would love to exercise my skills and push more out.
Not only do we have products now, but the Dojo is actually sponsored by Squarespace, an awesome company that shares creativity like we do. The Dojo also works with a lot of software companies to bring you the latest reviews, products, news, etc. The affiliation with lots of larger companies, being sponsored by a company, and selling product like a company makes me consider the Dojo more of a business company now, which is something I ought to start thinking like.
All This Greed
As I said earlier, the Dojo will never be about the money. Nobody is getting rich here. To be productive, efficient, and capable of pushing out new content and products, the Dojo needs to start thinking like and operating like a business. To do great things and build a brand, you’re going to need some money. This is why the Dojo will strive to be more financially sustainable from here on out, making sure we are able to deliver the best content and experience to its community.
Cheers to the New Year
With all that being said, I want to clarify how the Dojo was a success during the 2014 year. I grew a lot, along with the Dojo, and we definitely explored new territories and ideas. I’ve been slacking with the enormous potential of the Dojo, but I believe we can change that together in 2015 to deliver a quality place where artists can grow. I want to thank all the individual people who have reached out to give a hand, including many gracious companies. I also want to thank the thousands of supporters and viewers that have made the Dojo possible. With all of your continuous support, we can make the Dojo a better learning and growing experience for everyone. Happy Holidays and Happy New Years to every single one of you!