David Matias is the Founder and CEO of DWorks. It became clear to David Matias Virginia that, among all the customer relationship platforms and project management systems on the market – there was nothing suited for creatives. David recognized that there was a significant need to assist creative entrepreneurs and photographers in business success and even growth without adding any more work or hassle for them.
DWorks was formed out of necessity for both David and many of his coworkers and competitors in the photography business. DWorks is now recognized for being the most dependable and simple-to-use studio management system, having served hundreds of photographers.
David doesn’t believe he would ever be able to make a living as a professional photographer, but he works hard to stay at the forefront of the industry. His desire to improve the photographer’s community and make it more efficient has driven him to expand DWorks into the workhorse it is now. Despite his company’s increased yearly growth, David is dedicated to keeping his small-business mentality.
David is a philanthropist and the founder of DWorks, which runs drug rehabilitation programs. He also works to assist less fortunate people throughout the world as a social entrepreneur.
How did you get started in this business?
I was working as a professional photographer who loves taking pictures. My job was fun, and providing my clients with lasting memories was so satisfying. But managing the customers, pictures, editing, contracts, and invoices was bogging me down. After I failed to deliver on time to a customer, I discovered I required a system in place.
I created DWorks to solve my problem – which I later realized was a considerable problem in the photography industry. Professional photographers are fantastic at delivering quality pictures, but often they fail to deliver a quality customer experience just because they don’t have the right organizational tools to expedite their job. That’s why I started DWorks to solve this problem.
How do you make money?
DWorks operates as a subscription-based business model. Our recurring revenue model allows clients to access the management and organizational platform for photographers after paying the subscription fees. We usually charge our customers monthly or annually.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took at least 3 years for DWorks to become fully profitable. Year one was full of financial struggle as I was trying to get my startup off the ground. It was full of small successes as well as rewarding experiences. We celebrated all the hallmarks of starting our new business like incorporating, launching a website, or getting some media attention. Growing our client list and realizing we can pay company bills was a big achievement in the first year.
Year two was about hitting growth milestones—even small ones. We could see our business was growing, we were on the road to building a viable company. And from year three onwards we became profitable in a real sense.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I am often seen as a confident, successful person who never has doubts. I am decisive, know what to do, and never have regrets. All of which isn’t true for me. Doubt is a natural part of being human — and I am not immune to it. In my efforts to be better, create better products, and deliver as much value as possible to my customers, I feel there’s always something missing. I too was worried about the path not taken or the what-if of every situation when I was starting off.
To handle all that I thought I am not alone, and that I should ignore what others think. I reminded myself of my past successes to encourage myself.
How did you get your first customer?
I was at an industry conference, prepared with key marketing materials such as my business cards, etc., and meeting with people. I was not trying to pitch people with a hard sell; instead, focusing on building connections with people who could be helpful in my new business. There I met a couple of photographers who seemed interested in DWorks and we exchanged our contact info. When I returned to my office, I contacted all of them and eventually bagged my first customer.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I have tried almost all types of marketing strategies for DWorks and for me, content marketing is the winner. It encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, all types of content. We distribute the content online and the results are impressive. Within the content marketing domain, writing high-quality blogs is perhaps the most effective way to generate new business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I recently had to deal with a very tough and unprofessional client and it was quite difficult to voluntarily say goodbye to him. Although we are a small company, I had to understand the pros and cons and how it will cost my business on a financial level to keep that difficult client around for the long run.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My dedication and hard work. I am driven, focused, goal-oriented, and have strong attention to detail and this is what makes me successful. I am also highly organized and have seemingly boundless energy to work for long hours.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moment for me was when an outsider complimented the cohesiveness of my team.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We are working on developing a mobile app for DWorks and I am really excited about it.
What business books have inspired you?
Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson. It is an inspiring read with great practical advice and knowledge. I read it for the first time when I started DWorks, and I have revisited it many times since then.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would advise myself to take a break before starting college and really think about what I want to do. And if I could tell my younger self anything as a budding entrepreneur, I would tell myself to dream bigger and be confident in myself.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Definitely, I would love to mentor any tech enthusiasts. Please contact me through my company website.