Daniel Tan — A Rocket Sketched by a Pencil

Meet Daniel Tan, Production Manager and Co-Founder of Pencil Rocket. A full-service content creator founded in Melbourne, with a focus on marketing and branding for clients across corporates, SMEs and start-ups.
We recently sat down with Daniel to learn more about his exciting entrepreneurial journey.
What is your business?
Pencil Rocket – if you have a unique story, we want to be the people to tell that story through videos and social media management.
What makes Pencil Rocket different?
When we started we were a video production house, soon we realised clients didn’t just want the video – they want things that come with the video. They wanted brand awareness and conversion, so we pivoted to providing social media management. We become your social media marketing team – you outsource all of it to us, the only thing we need the client to do is to reply to direct messages. The thing that makes us different is that we provide a lot of video content, as opposed to just images. These videos are really optimised for social media, we play around with 3D effects, borders, and shapes so that we can attract their customer’s attention.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
Demand – we didn’t plan on it. We love filmmaking and we were doing a project of ours where we went around interviewing successful entrepreneurs. They really liked what we were doing and they wanted to pay us for another video. We hired two more people, a graphic designer, and marketing manager, Nathan my co-founder does the videos. People came to us for videos and we would upsell our social media management, and tackle the true problem.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
For a long time, we couldn’t find good people that were able to do videos at the quality we wanted, that was a big problem, as a result, Nathan had to work full-time on Pencil Rocket to do all the videos. Another issue we had was time management because when you are just starting out you don’t know how much of your time is spent effectively. So often much time on something and we didn’t get the results we wanted.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Don’t be afraid to provide value first. Because if you provide value to someone there is almost no possible way they will not want to compensate you for that value if you help them they want to help you. Life has a way of paying it back to you!
Top 3 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  1. Do. Don’t think too much.
  2. Surround yourself with people you admire.
  3. Look for mentors that you look up to!
What made you want to join Activator?
We are so young, we need the support to make sure we are on the right path. We want to surround ourselves with people who are passionate and have big dreams and the kind of guidance Activator provides is so much that I feel sometimes feel guilty! I’ve ask myself why are these people helping us because you’re just so giving. The people here are just honest, good, genuine people.
What has been the best part of your Activator experience so far?
I love Dave, I don’t think we’ve met any person who has understood our business as well as Dave. He himself started a video production house, so he knew exactly what we were going through. We’ve gotten a lot of great advice and it’s given us clarity on a lot of problems and different ways to look at stuff.
Who is your biggest business inspiration?
Gary Vaynerchuk, he is an entrepreneur that started a media company and he’s basically mine Nathan’s biggest inspiration. He preaches all these good values around what it means to be a really good business person and how being patient, working hard and giving more value than you receive can make you a better person and business person.
What does 2019 look like for you?
We are doing a YouTube series with a former MasterChef contestant Jess, which we will be releasing that by end of the month, thinking of moving into a co-working space and they are going to give us an office.
Learn more: Pencilrocket.com.au