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INFLUENCER: Independent studios should stand up and take pride in their status, writes Blutui CEO Graeme Blake

It’s the most natural thing in the world - birth. It occurs after much planning, provisioning, hoping and praying. It’s a painful process of that there is no doubt and it’s hard work but the experience is invariably worthwhile.

Birth comes with a vision for the future. Much passion and idealistic endeavour, the intensity of which often surprises even the most stoic among us.

Birthing a business is equally intense and the parties endure many of the same emotions; joy and hope for the future. A new beginning, a new breed forging ahead with the hopes of a generation riding on their newfound abilities and vision for a better life.

As a veteran of the creative industry I wonder more and more about the legacy we are leaving. I wonder if the vision, expectation and planned destiny for new businesses born into this industry is to be absorbed by a global group, with the founders taking early retirement. Their spawn becoming a pawn in a global chess game, the very same game that frustrated the hell out of the founder, as either competition or corporate interloper. Each to their own I guess, but what was the reason for starting an indie, in the first place?... thought so.

Competition crushing antics may seem like the accepted way the world is going, but why? Surely it’s not the allure of even more money, not when there is so much more than just cash to be gained from building your own empire. 

For creative entrepreneurs an indie empire is surely where it’s at. How else do you influence ideas, behaviours and creative pathways than by staying close to the studio floor, close to a creative team and far, far away from the boardroom. To give that up must feel counter-intuitive to any indie owner who has worked so hard for that dedicated audience of friends, both clients and creatives and then pass it all in to a group regime. That would be the toughest call of all.

There must be a time when, as an indie owner, you either sign the sale and purchase papers or you strip down to your kilt, paint your face and cry ‘freedom!’.

For me it was when we decided to birth our own web platform from within our indie digital studio. I’d seen indies everywhere finding the transition to digital tough and losing margin, losing clients and losing the will to live by trying to manage digital projects using unsuitable tech.

We’d been screwing around with our own style of web development for a few years when we had our own ‘freedom’ moment. Taking our refined tech to an industry that’s been so good to us; to provide a strategic advantage for indie agencies felt right. To think that indies struggle with pivoting to digital profitability made the drive to provide a sensible, workable industry platform a no brainer. We’d done it for ourselves, we knew it can be done so we decided to recreate what we had again for the wider creative industry. We had our critics of course who thought it was madness to allow our natural competition in on our strategic advantage but empowering agencies to get more of a grasp on their digital client work has only been good for us.

The core belief that through technology indies and freelancers can establish a greater creative footprint and take greater control of their clients' digital work, timelines, efficiency, profitability and outcomes was all the vision we needed.

There is no better satisfaction than delivering a world class piece of work to a grateful human being. That’s why we all got into this industry in the first place right? The creativity, the endeavour, the humanity and the glory of seeing a client shine.

We all love to build empires, so why stop? Our industry is littered with corporate competition crushers because we let it happen for fear of it happening to us, fuelling the vortex by default. Yet stopping the madness is as simple as, well, stopping the madness. Stand up and take pride in your indie status. Stay lean, stay focused and deliver smarter ideas faster to a more engaged audience through smarter technology.

Graeme Blake is CEO of Blutui 

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