Jonathan Fluevog: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Jonathan Fluevog, who officially started Vogville Recording in 1998 and later started a record label, a lifestyles marketing company, Vogville’s Day & Night Festival, and the television series Vogville Presents. His newest company, FineVog Films, just launched as well…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
I own two businesses – Vogville Recording and FineVog Films. For the purpose of this question, I will just stick to one elevator pitch.

FineVog Films is my newest business. Through FineVog, I use video to clearly depict what a brand is about, who the people are behind this brand, why they are doing what they’re doing, and where they are going in the future. We help clients create a connection with their audience that will lead to brand clarity, loyalty, and increased awareness.

If you’re wondering why I chose FineVog for the name, I kept getting mail addressed to “Jay Finevog” and quickly realized that the universe was trying to tell me something. You can’t say no to the universe, so my next company name was picked out before it ever started. It’s totally appropriate.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I was interested in business from a young age. I recall saving my money and buying 200 boxes of Hot Tamales to sell at school. I figured that if kids had to walk to 7-11 in the snow, I would bring the store to them via my locker. It was an early lesson in commerce and building consumer relationships.

On a more serious note, I have been inspired by my dad, John Fluevog. He put everything he had into his business, but was always true to himself and his art. Everything he creates is a part of him and as I grew up, I realized that I needed to answer the question, “What inspires me and what do I really want in life?”

Ultimately, I am inspired by people. I started Vogville Recording to bring out the best in my clients’ music and be part of a collaborative process with them. Now with my new company, FineVog Films, I do the same thing on a visual platform, but the inspiration remains the same. People inspire me and I look to clearly and effectively share who they are.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is that I get to do what I love, whether it’s recording a song or shooting a video. Work for me is fun, it’s a part of who I am. There’s no getting around that.

The most challenging part is learning when to let go and embrace change. The music industry has changed significantly from when I first embarked on my journey. At a key point, I followed my heart to go into video and have embraced it as a new creative and entrepreneurial side of me. Music will always be part of my life, but the shift to video was a challenge that ultimately impacted my life for the better in so many ways and the lives of others.

Where do you see your business going in five years?
For FineVog Films, I see it continuing to branch out into a number of television projects to go along with a corporate video focus as well. Video is such an essential part of the web these days. I think the short attention spans of today will only become shorter tomorrow!

So if all goes according to plan, FineVog Films will be engulfed in video projects and I will have a team of people working with me to balance the workload and keep the creative ideas flowing. That way I also won’t feel guilty for taking a weekend road trip – with a camera, of course.

As for Vogville Recording, it will continue to give musicians a place to develop their craft and produce great music.

What does success look like to you?
I like to encourage people to be brave, be bold, be you, and make a statement. To me, success is when you can find a path in business that builds sustainability for you, leaves a positive impact on others, and creates repeatable actions and results. With each new accomplishment, your confidence builds, and that creates a pattern for success.

Success is also about hard work and proving yourself. Some people have a pre-conceived idea that I receive extra opportunities because my dad built a successful company. That assumption is wrong. Like any entrepreneur, I’ve had to consistently work to prove myself on my own terms without relying on others.

So success to me is about building your core elements and having the chops to prove that you can deliver.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Opening Vogville Recording allowed me to branch out into other areas of the entertainment business, all of which had their own milestones. I never have been just a studio owner, so I also owned a record company, got involved in lifestyles marketing, and created a successful music festival, Vogville’s Day & Night Festival.

If I had to pick one specific milestone, it would be creating Vogville Presents, a documentary series that started on the web and then landed on Shaw TV and Novus TV. Vogville Presents: Destineak.

Creating a product that I believed in and sharing it with a television audience gave me the confidence that I had the skills and the desire to make videos at a professional level and pursue it as a new path. It inspired me to keep going and continue to get better with every project.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Just start. Don’t let “no” stop you. I’m a realist, no doubt, but when you are just starting out, it’s very easy to let the opinions of others talk you out of moving forward with your professional goals and talk you into failure and self-defeat.

To make it in entertainment, you need a mix of talent, charisma, and a little bit of business savvy. The same thing applies to business. If people like you, they will help you. If you are good at what you do, people will come to you for work. If you understand the fundamentals of how to run a business, you’ve got a competitive advantage over your peers. If you have all of those things together, you have every reason to succeed, no matter what the peanut gallery says. 

So when you’re starting out, you should set clear goals, be ready to change your strategies on the fly, but never lose sight of where you want to land. Take advice and knowledge, but seek out professional guidance from those who are more successful than you, rather than get too caught up in the opinions of everyone else who may be only on the same level as you. Sometimes, the only difference is that you’re actually trying to make something happen. You will feel better by succeeding or failing on your own terms.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I do! I really enjoy bringing my video work into the non-profit sector because I can use my skills to bring awareness to the great work that these organizations do. I support The Ugly Sweater Run, which benefits The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Another one I have supported is Urban Promise. Children’s charities are especially important to me. As a parent, I want children to have as many opportunities for success as possible as they grow older. So if sharing their stories will help to make that happen, I’m all for it.

What is Notable to you?
What’s especially notable to me are professionals who are making a lasting impact together. No business is an island and when I see people using their collective strengths and goals in an ethical way, it resonates with me. Our network is our net worth and the more that people apply that philosophy, the better we will all be.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I like my iPhone, but you’ll never believe this – I’ve never had a data plan on my phone. I’m holding out until the bitter end!

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
In video land, I am always on my feet. It’s a big difference from music, where you can be in the studio for hours at a time without getting up.

My daily walks and photos add a healthy side to the beginning of the day, but also an artistic side. As for vibrancy, my kids remind me of the simple wonders in the world that we forget along the way.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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