Jason Cherubini

Focus On Getting The First Customer With Jason Cherubini

Last Updated on September 3, 2020

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Tell Us About Yourself And Your Background!

Jason Cherubini is a business professor, an advisor to emerging technology startups, and the co-founder of a film and media production company called Dawn’s Light Media. After graduating from Tulane University with an MBA, he spent most of his career as a management consultant working with startups and small businesses trying to raise capital to begin operations, eventually starting his firm, Seraphim Associates International. During his time as a consultant, he also began lecturing in graduate business programs in the United States and Europe, publishing academic papers on the methodologies he developed for the teaching of accounting.

Tell Us About Your Company! How Did You Start It? Why Did You Start It?

Dawn’s Light is a media production and financing company focused primarily on feature films. Dawn’s Light was founded by partners Jason Cherubini, Richard Switzer and Alexander Ferguson. Since its inception in 2015, Dawn’s Light has produced and distributed over twenty feature films including Black Water starring action stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, and Money Plane starring Adam “Edge” Copeland, Kelsey Grammer, and Thomas Jane.

How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?

Landing our first large client was a matter of being agile and accommodating. By working with them and adjusting our process to maximize their satisfaction, we were able to convert them into a long-term repeat customer. We have continued with this mindset as we have expanded, being humble and accommodating to what our customers want or need initially and then improving as partners.

How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?

Our business model is very project based, so one project can be very popular and have a large number of customers and the next can perform nowhere near as well. What we’ve done to try and continue an organic growth is a modified Pareto approach, focusing on the few large customers who will consistently and continually buy our projects on large-scale. By focusing on these customers, we have created and grow our Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), that gives us the freedom to expand in other areas.

What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?

The first few steps of anything are the hardest. So don’t focus on how to get the first thousand, but on how do you get the first, and then the next one and then the next one. As time goes on, exponential growth will happen and it will be easier and faster, but you have to get through those tough early acquisitions first.

So, I think the advice I would give to a new founder who is looking at getting their first users or sales is to “embrace the suck” and muscle through those early acquisitions. Accept that every “no” from a potential customer, gets you one step closer to a customer who says “yes”, and that every customer that you fight hard for today makes future customers easier to get.

What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?

Something I’ve learned and now stress when meeting with young filmmakers is that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it is going to be popular or successful.

In the modern world, customers (of almost any product) have so many options that bringing a new product to market must involve a marketing strategy to get noticed.
In our industry of films, a lower quality movie with a bigger name star and some press coverage will do much better financially then a high quality film that nobody hears about. A great film is only known to be great after someone has seen and talks about it, but you need to get those first viewers to choose to watch it.

What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?

It’s something that I feel most entrepreneurs have experienced, but I still find it “crazy”, and that is see-sawing from feeling that everything is going wrong and the company will fail to feeling that the everything is great and you are building a unicorn.
With the economic insecurities of the current pandemic, most of our operations were shut down and we were unsure of if and when we would be able to go back to work. This had us concerned with our larger long-term contracts and what we would do if we lost them. A day later, we received news that our latest film release had hit the top 10 and one of our largest clients wanted to increase their order.

What Are Your Favorite Books?

The book that has been most impactful for me, and that I read regularly is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I find that it helps ground me to hear how the most powerful man in the world faced and dealt with the same types of problems that we still face today.
The best technical book for productivity would be The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. I never read the book with the intention of cutting my work week down to only four hours, but a lot of the methodology that was used and explained has helped me be more productive and happy in my day-to-day life.

And finally, when I’m looking to unwind I enjoy reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels such as those by Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson. The world building and creativity that goes in to these books is always a delight.

Anything You’d Like To Plug?

Watch our latest release, Money Plane, available on demand and digital.

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