From parting ways with Google to being the maker of his own destiny, Jonas V. Schürmann shares his experience of going it alone in the video games industry.
Tell us about your business!
Valgard Media Ltd. are a UK-based marketing and community management agency specialised in the video games industry. Our clients are based globally and usually want to strengthen their position in the UK & Nordics as well as the US markets, seeking our expert advice and counsel on how to manage their social media, events, communities and PR activities.
What prompted you to go self-employed?
When I left my job as a Community Manager and Marketing Director at Google for their hardware products (Google Pixel, Chromecast, Home etc.) due to health reasons, I needed to return to the UK and have the flexibility of working from home and on my own time. Hence why I turned my expertise into a business where I have control over my work hours.
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome when starting out?
Getting new clients, definitely! The games industry is rather small, everyone knows everyone and there’s a ton of different agencies out there, that provide similar/the same services that I do. Standing out and making your expertise known is hard, even when you have multiple awards for public speaking under your belt.
What do you like most about working for yourself? And what do you dislike?
I work from home most of the time and I can decide when and with whom I work. I’ve always been a gamer and a night owl so whenever possible; I tend to work on a nighttime schedule. So far it never failed me and many clients quite like the fact that they do their daily business and then at night I’m there to manage the community, marketing plans etc. and have finished strategies/work in their inbox by the time they get into the office the next morning.
What I dislike? Nothing really, unless we’re counting plane delays when I’m travelling for business. I’m very punctual and like my schedule to be perfect as planned. But as with everything in life, we can’t have it all, right? ;D
How has Crunch helped you during your self-employed journey so far?
Oh my, that’s a good one. Crunch are absolutely amazing. When I got back to the UK and set up my company, I did it via Crunch. It was easy, uncomplicated and straight forward. Then when the time came for tax returns, P11Ds and all those other things, I never had to worry about anything. It was handled on time, I was reminded of what I had to do in order for things to go well and any questions I ever had, were answered perfectly. And on top of all of that, I even got a nice tax return because Crunch did an amazing job on that one.
What’s your biggest success story from your time being self-employed?
As I mentioned before, I went back to the UK due to personal health reasons. When I came back, I had no clients, not a whole lot of money and certainly wasn’t in a good state of mind or health. But I pulled through, got treatment, secured clients, financially stabilised my situation and continued loving my life and my job. Crunch played a big role in that, by making sure that I never had to worry about anything tax/payment related at all. And we all know how financial security helps with your mental health as well. I guess that all together definitely plays into my biggest success story.
What would be your top tip to anyone thinking about going self-employed?
You’ll have rough weeks, maybe months. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, you might win a client or you might lose a client. It’s nothing you can really plan for, only something you can expect to happen and then just deal with it. Life ain’t easy, and it certainly ain’t fair. But in the end, you’re the maker of your own destiny. Keeping a positive attitude and working hard for what you want to achieve, will eventually get you places. That’s at least how I did it.
Oh, and of course, luck always plays a big role. The right client needs to have the right needs at the right time. That’s nothing you can influence, but it’s something you can look for and then go for it.