Interview: I See Media
Continuing our interview series profiling Croydon's digital businesses, we caught up with Indy Chatwal, founder and owner of thriving social media agency I See Media.
More than a million people join social media platforms every single day, and brands who post daily content (especially on Fridays) stand a higher chance of landing new sales to the 40% of users who use social networks to research brands and products.
Those are just a few of the free tips Croydon-based social media gurus I See Media regularly dish out on their own social media accounts to help their followers and attract new clients – and it’s working.
With a growing roster of brands entrusting their social media management to the firm, a 100% client retention rate to date and having been shortlisted in 2 categories for this year’s Croydon Business Awards, I See Media are having a good 2019.
We caught up with founder and owner Indy Chatwal to find out more.
Hi Indy. In your own words, what is I See Media?
I See Media is a Social Media Management Agency based in Croydon. We work with businesses and influencers, helping them grow their online presence by running bespoke and targeted social media campaigns. We currently have a team of 5 staff, all living locally in Croydon and we do a lot to give back to the community too.
We’re proud to be shortlisted in 2 categories for this year’s business awards – here’s a quick video we made to support our nomination.
How did you get started?
I started I See Media 2 years ago, but before that my background was in restaurants. I owned a restaurant in Fulham which I sold and expanded a restaurant chain in Malaysia. Three things I learned from the restaurant sector were management, how to run a business, and how to keep overheads low.
I loved using social media to attract customers and did all the marketing for my restaurant businesses, I felt I was in my element when I was allowed to be creative. I also know the challenges of being a business owner and having stress of posting on social media, so I decided to set up I See Media.
What are you proudest of ?
60% of our business comes from client referrals! Our clients are our advocates and recommend us to their clients. Its a fantastic feeling. Since launch we’ve had 100% client retention rate and its something we’re so proud of.
Was it hard getting started?
It took me 6 months to generate my first income. I had £16K saved up, which my mum advised I should put into property, but I went against her wishes. I thought it would take me 3 months but it actually took me 6 months to generate income. I had no clients so it was difficult to provide case studies and provide proof of concept.
I was born in Croydon and have lived here all my life. The people are so diverse and there’s such a friendly community. The area is growing with major investment in construction. I spend the most of my time in Croydon as the majority of my clients are here, and I never got bored as there are so many cool things to do.
What should happen next to keep growing our tech scene?
We need to attract a big tech company to have their head office in the area, which will attract more large tech companies. Also, I think as well as the great spaces we already have like TMRW we need popular established co-working spaces like WeWork in Croydon to attract more up and coming tech start ups.
Where will I See Media be in 5 years?
We’ve just introduced a new service to offer our clients animated videos. We plan to more than double the size of the team to 12 employees next year.
Long term, I See Media will have business interests beyond social media. In the early days some businesses that wanted to work with me were start ups that couldn’t afford to pay for our services. I could see they had potential to grow and I believed in the founders enough that I decided that I still wanted to be apart of their entrepreneurial journey. I reached an agreement with them that I See Media would become their marketing departments in return for equity.
Some of these companies are now flying and I hope they will be acquired, which will give me a healthy cash injection boost to pursue starting new businesses!
Any tips for aspiring start-ups and entrepreneurs?
Being friendly, happy, and having a positive attitude has really helped me build relationships during business networking, and I never would have learned these attributes if it wasn’t for my hospitality experience. This approach has helped me win new business, especially at one of my favourite networking groups Fore Business where I get to work while playing golf.
Also, I’d encourage them to focus on adding value and making a contribution with no expectation. For example, I’ve always tried to add value first to all my clients by helping them learn to do their social media without me, and if they really can’t do it then I’ll do it. Surprisingly, this approach has worked really well for me in acquiring new clients.
Check out I See Media’s website for more on what they do and you can connect with Indy on LinkedIn and Twitter. Indy’s a great networker offline as well as on, and a regular at our Croydon Digital Eats & Drinks socials – check out our events page and sign up for email alerts and we hope to see you at our next one!