WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

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In a world that is changing rapidly, those who identify what is to come in the future and seize every opportunity that comes their way will inevitably have the advantage, and that is all the more evident as Teen Inc spoke with Rezin David, a pilot in-training and photographer who has made his passion for creating content into a successful enterprise.

However, content creation wasn’t something Rezin set out to do from the get go. “I certainly had my social media accounts where I occasionally post stuff, but that was about it,” he shared. What truly set things in motion was a camera that was gifted to him by his family.After experimenting and teaching himself how to operate the camera at home, he decided to enrol in a programme to help polish his skills as a photographer.  “At the end of it there was a workshop where we had to go camping, into the wild on a two-day trip. That was my first practical experience really putting the camera into play, and it was also there that I realised my passion for wildlife photography.”

Predicting the future

It wasn’t long before Rezin started taking his work to social media, in which he continued to post his work and eventually, a following started to build. “People also started reaching out to me and asking me to take pictures at their wedding and other events, which I also did,” he added.

During this time, Rezin received a valuable piece of advice from a friend. “He showed me the Explore page on Instagram, pointing out how videos had a bigger emphasis,” Rezin recounted. “This was the time when photos were still the main focus on Instagram. He pointed out that the space for videos on were given more prominence, and he predicted that videos will soon take up the entire screen and that we need to get into making videos very soon.”

Taking this to heart, Rezin shared a video clip he captured during a following wildlife photography excursion. “The amount of traction I got from that video was crazy,” he shared. “For me anyway. I was getting about 100-200 likes for the photos I was posting and suddenly I was getting about 1,000 views, and this was just the first video.”

Don’t blink

In a quest to try new things, Don’t Blink was another project which Rezin started to work on, producing content as a business. However, starting from zero with little to no connections and nothing to differentiate themselves from the competition made taking the business forward an uphill struggle.

“Nothing really worked out,” he said. “It was frustrating for me. I tried working with brands, and but no one wanted to get on board, which I’m assuming was because my work wasn’t that great at the time. But eventually it was my friend who got me into making videos that helped me land my first client. He ended up speaking with the higher ups and getting me on board as a freelancer to do a couple of videos a month and take a few photos. It wasn’t a lot of money but I took it anyway, because at that point I was ready to take up whatever came my way.”

Fast forward a year later, and while balancing his training to be a pilot, Rezin was able to build quality content for the company and eventually negotiate a better price for his work. He was even able to hire an editor for him to speed up production.

“But then everything came crashing down when COVID happened.”

A new beginning

Rezin was back to square one after the lockdowns happened. A major setback it might have been at the time, this event ultimately set him on the path to the massive success he achieved today. And TikTok had a large role to play in making this happen.

“Out of sheer boredom, I signed up on TikTok and started by posting a video, because as an 18-19-year-old, the only thing you could do while stuck at home was spend time on social media,” he chuckled.

“With no followers, that video got about 1,500 views, which is amazing. My Instagram account has about 3,000 followers and I get about 1,000 views from what I post, but here I got around 1,500.”

“From there on I started to create content on TikTok. It was mostly cringe content, obviously out of boredom, but I would post consistently. Everyday my goal was to make three TikTok videos a day, and I ended up growing to about 3,000 followers.”

Once lockdown lifted, Rezin once again took a trip to Yala, which he documented and posted on YouTube, which had a lukewarm reach, but reposted on TikTok, made the video become extremely successful.

Opportunity knocks

But opportunity came knocking with a chance encounter at a coffee shop, a simple hello leading to Rezin landing his very first TikTok client, which led him to find even more clients as his skill with creating vertical content continued to be recognised.

“I realised that we knew how to do one thing really well, and that was vertical video. Right now my company has helped brands like Spa Ceylon, Capital Maharajah Group, Department of Coffee build mobile first content, and I’ve also been able to build my personal brand in the process as well.”

Of course, this isn’t the end for Rezin, who has already achieved so much in a relatively very short period of time. He still continues to pursue his passion to become a commercial pilot, while balancing his other ventures.

“I see myself over the next few years joining an airline at least for a couple of years or so. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I want to make it happen, even if I might not continue it for a long time. But apart from that I have a lot of big plans for my business.”

Rezin plans to expand his business overseas to new regions, and continue scaling what he has doing and improving, building more skills and creative concepts for the future.

Doing what you love

Being consistent and becoming extremely proficient in a particular skill that he enjoys has certainly treated Rezin well, and is a mantra he strongly believes all who wish to achieve success in any form or field should exercise as well.

“Focus on what you love, in getting good at it, and it will eventually transition into something you can monetise, scaling up and building something amazing.”

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage