Updated: May 9, 2021
Kriti: [00:00:00] Hey guys, welcome to WhyFI Matters!
I'm super excited for today's episode with film producer, virtual storyteller and entrepreneur Nina Froriep. I really wanted to learn more about innovation and Nina definitely embodies this word. She identified that video was the best and most innovative way of marketing at the time.
And because of this, she's been able to create her own production company called Clockwise productions. Nina has over 30 years of experience in the film making industry. She understands how video is the marketing medium of today. And through her company, she is enabling mission driven entrepreneurs to grow their ventures and businesses through consistent and real and truthful video content.
So I'm super excited to learn more about her career, why innovation is so important and also about her life as an entrepreneur. I hope you enjoyed the interview.
Hi, Nina. Thank you so much for coming on WhyFI Matters today. I'm super excited to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation, especially, but also some of your work at Clockwise productions, which is really interesting. So thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Nina: [00:01:36] Well, thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to speak with you because it's something I normally don't do because it's always business people to business people. So it's really refreshing and nice to have a different kind of audience for a change.
Kriti: [00:01:50] Yeah. Thank you so much. As being of the audience who are mainly teenagers. Can you tell us about yourself when you were a teenager and were you always interested in (A) telling stories, but (B) also helping other people tell their own stories.
Nina: [00:02:08] Okay. So there's a lot of questions here. So number one, me as a teenager, uh, Oh my God. Um, I was one of those teenagers. So I didn't get it.
I just kinda fumbled myself through my teenage years. I would say I survived them. And I mean, I survived them in style. I went to very nice boarding school. An all girls boarding school from age 13 to 17 and lots of sports, lots of group activities, lots of creative stuff.
Cause you know, imagine I'm in the Swiss Alps. I'm originally from Switzerland. Swiss Alps in a, in a girls, all girls boarding school. So they have to keep us busy. So the two things they kept us busy with was art and was sports. So I always loved anything that had to do with storytelling.
Anything that to do with communicating? I think back then , being in survival mode, it was most mostly me. Speaking at other people. More than me, maybe having learned to also stop for a hot second and listen. I think that skill set came a little later in life. I always loved storytelling.
I always loved, sort of a bit of an unconventional, angled to things. Like I didn't like conforming not then and not today. And I definitely was always somebody who came up with the next Coca mania idea and and ways of doing something differently. I I've wrote a lot. I loved arts in general. In terms of helping others, I think that is really something that didn't even occur to me as a teenager to be even an option. And I don't think I was in tune with that at all. Maybe I did, but if I did it, wasn't purposeful, purposeful. Yeah. There was no purpose behind it. If it happened, it was, it was a sheer accident.
Kriti: [00:04:05] I think there's, I feel like there's a lot of similarities between like me, like I'm very creative entrepreneurial. But doing the podcast is definitely, I've always loved to speak. Like I love talking to people, but doing this is also allowed me to listen more and practice my listening skills more.
But you're from Switzerland to have a quick question. Do you like Roger Federer, the tennis player?
Nina: [00:04:28] Of course is our international treasure.
Kriti: [00:04:31] Yeah. I played tennis. And he's amazing. He's the goat, so, yeah.
So do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Obviously you've created Clockwise productions. You've created this media company, but would you consider yourself entrepreneur in the sense that you've, this is something that you wanted to do your whole life. Like, did you have the spirit within you or was this just a path that you sort of stumbled upon?
Nina: [00:05:01] That's such a great question. So I would say I stumbled upon it. I'm an accidental entrepreneur and why I started Clockwise, which I started in 97. So that's a while ago. It was because I ran out of options for visa to stay in America. So there were two options that the immigration lawyer gave me. It was either get married or start a company. And basically, and so I thought about it for a hot second, second fraction of a hot second. I said, I'm starting a company!
Kriti: [00:05:39] I love that!
Nina: [00:05:41] First of all, the company creating a company and creating again, for me, it was not about the being an entrepreneur in the sense of creating wealth. It was for me being an entrepreneur in the sense of creating something from scratch, creating something exciting. Being able to not be conventional.
So for me, the idea of a nine to five job for the rest of my life was like, shoot me. Yeah, not going to happen. And, so I was a freelancer at the time. Freelancing is extraordinarily exhausting.
Kriti: [00:06:14] We've had a freelance writer come on the podcast like last year. And it's really tough what she does every day.
Nina: [00:06:21] Yeah. Yeah. The funny thing is, I didn't know that as an entrepreneur, it's the same thing. Just times 20. I just felt you're always, you're always hustling. You're hustling to do the best job possible because there's no such thing as a sick day. When you are a freelancer, you don't have.
The sick day are the leeway because you've been a staff member and you've done a great job. So, if you're having a tough month, everybody's going to be like, Oh, she's having a tough month. If you were hustling being a freelancer you're always on your A Game.
Yeah, there is no B game. And as an entrepreneur, unfortunately it's the same thing. But as an entrepreneur, if you're lucky, you get to move from people, hiring Nina to people, hiring clockwise productions. And then you are removing yourself , a step away. From the day-to-day and now, yes, if you're having a month off, you hopefully have a phenomenal team in place that will support you and catch you.
So again, to back to your original question, for me, the entrepreneurial was always in me, but from a creator perspective, not from a wealth or business.
Kriti: [00:07:31] Right. Just the feeling of doing something, creating something out of nothing yeah.
Um, so your career is extremely interesting. You said you worked as a freelancer. You've obviously started your own company. So what sort of propelled you specifically into the video industry. And why did you drift towards this niche?
Nina: [00:07:55] Hmm. Okay. So, the first part is a question why video? So for me, it really is a question why film?
So, I went to school again in the eighties. So, I sound like an old geezer, but you know, we were shooting still with actual film, 16 millimeter film. We were editing on these ancient machines where you had an actual razor blade that you were cutting film with, and I even have to scars on my right arm for you. I got done myself cut a couple of times, not the film, but my arm. But for me really was , I loved film making. And I discovered it when I came to New York, because in Switzerland, the idea was I was good at writing. You know, how your parents peg, she's to creative one, she used to business one.
Kriti: [00:08:39] Label you !
Nina: [00:08:40] Know, the labeling you're the pretty one. You're the dumb one. So, I was the annoying because I was always super curious about everything. So I was the annoying creative one. That was my label. Right. My mom called me, um, intensive. I should think I was just a number too intense for my family. So they were like, bye, bye.
You know, you go to New York to school, good written and creative over there. And I was like, shoo, I'm out of here. I went to school here in New York and I was supposed to study journalism and advertising. And I went to the new school and the new school, new school also had a film department.
So I was like, why not? So I transferred over into the film department and it was, it's just love at first bite or love it. First shed, whatever you want to call it. I just loved it because. I was multidisciplinary and I was good at many things, but I never felt I was good enough at one thing to make a career of it.
And here was film, which demanded everything from you. There was the writing aspect. There was the acting aspect, the music aspect, the set direction, creation of worlds. There was a, but there was also a technical and a the financial and the organizational and the leadership, right. Leading a team as a producer, all of this came into with one solid package. And I was like, Oh my God, this is so perfect. And I just never looked back from there. So, worked on , no budget, no name, feature films. My first job, I made 175 bucks six days a week and we worked like 20 hours, but it was the best time of my life. Now in hindsight, I was probably pretty tired, but it was a lot of fun. And then I started working on commercials and from there working on documentaries and from there working on corporate videos. And then documentary and corporate was a really nice balance and I stayed that route for over 20 years. As a corporate video producer, I got to do a lot of creative stuff that I would never been able to do as let's say a commercial producer. And once I moved over into corporate, there were much smaller teams. And now all of a sudden there was like, Oh, can you direct us? Oh, can you put the creative team together? And I'm like, Whoa, I'm liking this. I get to do a lot more. And again, being a person, who's always been somebody who's. Not wanting to conform. It was, to me, it fit me well that I was able to fill many different shoes and do many different things.
Kriti: [00:11:15] This is super interesting, to be honest. I personally don't like reading long blog posts . I'm a visual learning learner, so I also love video, but I also love auditory listening too. So I do think podcasts is pretty universal. You can listen to it when you're working out or doing the dishes, whatever. So I think that's why it's a really good medium, but how did like video become the new thing? Like why is it so innovative and why is a video so attractive to us as humans?
Nina: [00:11:46] Let me take it to the business world, because that's where my expertise is. Having worked in the on the big productions, there was never a question as to why we were doing video. We were just hired asset people who knew how to do video. And then in 2010, nine, eight, something like that internet is getting really strong. And first and foremost the phones that we're carrying in our back pockets. I mean, especially today, but even back then, they became really, affordable, accessible. You know, little mini film studios and I remember when I was finishing a documentary that I wrote and directed and produced in 2009, 10 ish. And I remember going like, Holy crap. When I go back to doing what I normally do, which is corporate video, do I still have clients because the differentiator between what I had to offer and what people needed, it, that was melting because before then people had to come to us because we were the experts. We had the cameras, we had the lights, we had the audio equipment, we do everything now. Exactly. And now a differentiator. So I really had to educate myself. I never got a degree in anything, but I had to educate myself in or I, where can I still bring value?
And what I realized is that anybody with a freaking camera in their back pocket can create a video. Is it going to be a great video? Is the a video going to do what it is supposed to do? And big fat NO. So where I learned was that I, if I put myself into the marketplace as a video marketing person that shows people how they can use video to grow their companies, to.
Not only grow their companies, but also attract the people they want to be working with into their ecosystem, into their companies. That is where I'm going to be of help because the shooting and the editing pretty much anybody can now do themselves. Only three years earlier, if somebody had asked me to do XYZ video, I would have quoted them 20,000, $50,000. For those kinds of videos, they exact same quote hit me three or four years later. And people wanted to pay two or $3,000 for it.
Kriti: [00:14:09] Right.
Nina: [00:14:10] And that's when I realized, okay, I'm not going to do something different. I'm not getting out of bed for $3,000. Right. So I need to reinvent myself.
So to answer your question, the beauty of video is, and this is sort of my key selling proposition today. What video can do what no other medium can do is create familiarity where there was none before. So, I worked for instance, with business coaches, mostly. There's a gazillion business coaches out there in the world. How can somebody who's looking for a business coach to help with problem X, Y, Z, and they go online, they Google, whatever they're looking for. Let's say, you know, how can I maximize my return on investment with, you know, whatever. Um, I need a coach for that. So 20 coaches come up, I'm going to look at these. Maybe I'll choose, tend to look at the one that has going to have is going to have video. I'm going to be able to look at that coach and say, Like don't like. So, it's first of all, you're gonna be top of mind. You're going to bubble up to the top of the fray if you do have video. Because so many people still do not use video (A) and (B) if I, if somebody looks at me and goes like, yeah, I don't really find her very simpatico. They're not going to want to work with me. So I'm saving myself the aggravation and the time loss of getting on the phone call or on a zoom call with somebody. Well, then goes like now I have to really didn't much like her. I get the people I get on the phone with today. They all feel like they know me already, because they've seen me on a gazillion videos on LinkedIn.
And, I at least know that they're going to like me, whether I'm going to like them. But at least it has been a self-selection process where I know that the people who've seen me, they're most likely going to like me and the importance around that obviously has said, I need to show up on my videos as I actually am. So I'm not like a bad date that looked really fabulous on Tinder or on match.com. And they're like 20 years older and heavier.
Kriti: [00:16:17] This is interesting. It reminds me of there's different forms of rhetoric. You have Pathos, Logos and Ethos. And then Ethos as the one where you trust the person versus, Pathos those I think is persuasion and Logos is just giving them a bunch of facts.
If you have Ethos, it's the most powerful one. Like in school, I did this experiment and everyone who was at the Ethos group, everyone wanted to choose those people because they trust in them. You know, there's a human connection. So I do see like how video is just so important nowadays, if you want to market your business, if you want to grow your business.
Even for me, I did a very small thing where on Instagram, I put the audio like a sound clip of the, my, at my episode. And before I was just doing graphics and I made my own graphics. And now what I'm doing is I'm asking every guest to send me their picture. I'll put their face on the graphics and then it it's better because people. They see the face and they're like, Oh, what's this about, you know.
Nina: [00:17:21] Now imagine if you were to video this video, this, and I mean you are, but I mean, use the video and put just a clip of us that, you know, 96 or if it's Instagram, it's a 62nd clip. Um, you would have been thinking about, yeah, I wouldn't take about it.
I would just do it. Yeah.
Kriti: [00:17:45] I love this mindset.
So can you just tell us a little bit about what your company Clockwise productions does and I guess where they're able to gain a competitive advantage over other video marketing companies.
Nina: [00:17:59] So, what we do is we take business coaches that are doing video badly or are doing a video with way too much effort, energy, and time commitment and money commitment.
And we make sure that they streamline it. That they have a. I call it a playbook, so they focus on what they need to focus. So this is all very conceptual. A lot of people do video already, right? And they do it sort of, they don't have a system in place or they're not doing it consistently or when they do it, they're they using all this old equipment or a lot of equipment, or they don't even know how to really use the equipment. So what I do is I kind of take all of that as strip it away and say, okay, we are going to focus on your strategy and on your content because you can create amazing videos that look really cool. But if at the end, You're not asking of people what you want them to do. You might as well just throw your time out the window in the video with it. So, we make sure that the focus is on what it needs to be. And we do it with the least technical Ooyala possible. I'm not a shooter. I never was a shooter myself. I'm not an editor. I know how to shoot an edit to create videos for myself. But for me, my approach is to make. Make sure that my clients focus on what it really is they want to do. And it's mostly one of two things. They either want to grow their company with the help of video. So why waste your time with extract extravagant stuff that they don't need? Because the story is much more believable and better told. When it's focused on the story rather than fancy editing this, that and the other. And, number two is, and I actually have more of those clients. Thankfully I find is people will want to establish themselves as thought leaders. Or as experts in their field and want to use video to sort of raise above the fray and be heard and be established.
What I've learned over the years of doing this with my clients, like putting them through the paces of how, you know, how am I thinking about video? What is my video marketing, even looking like, how does it fit into my overall marketing? How do I fill myself up? How do we solve the editing? And then who does the posting hosting? What are best practices? When I started, as I'm like, Oh my God, I'm never going to get people to film themselves. It's going to be a nightmare. And then you kind of take that hurdle and you find ways to easily show people how to do it and know nowadays it's all over zoom.
And then the next step was like, Oh my God, how am I going to teach people how to edit. Editing is, you have to like premier pro and all these professional softwares. And then you go, you find out there's like this little nifty app on your phone call InShot or even iMovie. Anybody with a thumb and edit a fricking video today. Right?
What it really all boils down to is that you are consistent. So if you are a business and you want to grow your business or your thought leadership With the help of video. If you're putting out a video here and a video there, and there's no strategy around it and there's no consistency around it, you might as well. Just not.
So what, where we help people is that we actually have a lot, we have like a mastermind, we've put people into groups and we say, okay. How often a week are you going to post? What is the promise you're making to the group and the group will you hold them accountable? Right. And we have regular calls and we make sure that if Mary says she's going to post twice a week on Tuesdays on Thursdays, we will make her accountable to that.
And if she doesn't do it. That's my job then to find out what it is that is holding them back do. They need to batch produce? Are they are they afraid to show up on camera? I can not tell you how many clients have shot videos, edited videos, and then they just never posted them. Right. I never thought that was there.
And, but it is because some people are afraid to have their face on there. Yeah. Yeah. Or they're afraid they're going to look dumb or great that people might heckle them or they are not the youngest anymore. So they're like, Oh my God, I hate the way I look and sound. I had that problem. I started doing these kinds of videos, where I had to put myself in front of the camera when I was 50.
And I'm like, heck , I wish I was 30 years younger, but at some point you get over yourself. Cause people are not going to work with me because I'm young and pretty. They're going to work with me because I'm older and I have a ton of experience and the knowledge, not only off the subject matter, but also the experience and the knowledge of how to move them from point a to point B. Yeah. And so we have group courses. We have a lot of one-on-one, especially with the higher earning coaches whose biggest thing is time. And so they don't want to be sitting in a group and listen to other people, talk about their problems. And then coaches that are sort of more at the beginning of their career, they actually can benefit greatly from hearing from other people's mistakes. They might hear other people ask questions that they never thought of even asking. So, it can be really beneficial to be in when you're more at the beginning of your book. Yeah.
Kriti: [00:23:25] So where, where do you see the future of this industry, this video marketing. Do you think there's any other forms of marketing that are gonna overtake this in the coming years? Or where do you see this going?
Nina: [00:23:38] Excellent question. So I think we have to differentiate between anybody who's sort of in the six figure range, maybe even low up to 10 million range. I think for them it's going to stay pretty similar for a while to come. But I think for bigger companies there's AI, that is going to impact us more and more and more. There's virtual reality. There's 360, Immersive. So , there's so many tools. I know a lot of coaches, they don't even bother anymore with creating videos. The way I teach it, which is pre-produced content, which I love as a filmmaker. Because it gives you total control over what goes out, but they just go live. I know a couple of really successful coaches. Now they are not on LinkedIn. They're all on Facebook. We all have our orbits. Like I get all my, all my clients come from LinkedIn. I do Facebook as an afterthought. But I know a lot of coaches that are super successful that sit on Facebook.
They just drive straight into just lives every single day. And they say, I just think about, for a hot second about what I want to say. I go on, I talk now, if you have a dedicated following and you already have a bit of a name that works really well. If you don't yet, I find it to be a fallacy to think that that's going to work because if videos that are longer than 60 seconds and with a live, you want to be longer than at least five minutes, because it takes a moment for people to find that and get in. It just, you better be extraordinarily talented and entertaining to make that work.
Kriti: [00:25:16] To not bore them
Nina: [00:25:17] And to keep them in the audience, keep them coming back. So in a way, I like to pre produced content. We creating snackable content. It's like content that gets people interested in you. So they're going to come in for more. You're not giving away the kitchen sink and everything in it with a video. The idea is just, it's a teaser, basically a trailer your business.
Kriti: [00:25:39] That's interesting. I like usually just associate trailers with movies, but I feel like business in a way is kind of like the movies. You are creating something and it's the feedback you get is really impactful. It's going to impact your sales. It's going to impact your whole business similar to a movie.
Nina: [00:25:57] You know I do want to make the distinction really clear that, you know, trailer, movie. Yes. But for me, that is all put on or it's very stylized or it's acted. And where I agree very clear with my clients is you want to be truly genuine because people smell BS.
Yeah. I'll against the wind I just had a client and who starting her own coaching business. She's extremely put together. She's a speaker. And the first couple of videos she put out were in the group that I put her into. There were two perfect.
And we were like, you know, you need to dumb it down a bit. You're not relatable. She coaches early and mid career young women to ask for what they want to need in the, in the workplace. And, she's a phenomenal coach. And I said to her, I said, you want to attract a young person into your orbit and not scare them away. They're being so perfect. Right. And I mean, she has a corporate background. So in corporate it's different, right. If you stay corporate, you want to be
Kriti: [00:27:02] perfect.
Nina: [00:27:02] So supposed to be perfect. Right. This is something I asked every client I ever come across. No matter whether it was big, big features or mega pharmaceutical shows in Las Vegas or my coach who's surviving two blocks away from me on 50,000 a year.
It's always the same question. Who's your audience? And that determines everything else. That's like the single most important question. And it is for any story you're telling whether it's a book or a blog or a post or a video or a podcast. Right? I mean, who is your audience? And the more you're dialed in into who your audience is and the, and to not be afraid to really niche or niche down, the more successful you're going to be.
Kriti: [00:27:51] Yeah. This is really interesting. Um, so like what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Nina: [00:27:59] Um, I mean there's, 25 years worth of advice in me.
It sort of sounds so cliche is to follow your passion and I don't even want to use the word passionate as much as follow your intuition or instinct. It is hard work. You know, if you want to have security and you want to have a nine to five lifestyle and you have amazing hobbies outside of what you are working on, then it's not going to be for you.
It is pretty all consuming. Although there are ways of setting boundaries and setting them early. And maybe that will be one of my advises is just set boundaries and set them from the get-go. And rules are always there to be broken. Right. So, uh, sure. I have boundaries when I work and when I don't work, especially, I mean, I've been working from home since 2009.
And so I really have to learn when is my off time, when is my on-time. But, and at the same time, Extraordinary circumstances, your rules go out the window. You just have to make sure that the don't go out of the window for 365 days of the year. I would say get a partner. So I say that because I've never had a partner and I just got a partner three years ago. And having a partner in my business, it just made it so helpful, joyful, joyful, cause. Cause if you always making all the decisions by yourself, um, it very quickly gets, gets A lonely and B you can run into for months, even for years in a direction that doesn't serve you.
And if you have a partner that is it's much less likely to happen
Kriti: [00:29:34] They balance to out when have different opinions. Finally, what would be your advice to your 16 year old self?
Nina: [00:29:44] Get an MBA!
Kriti: [00:29:48] Really? I've never had that one before. No one has said that!
Nina: [00:29:54] I would say it's twofold. Get an MBA. Or just don't even go to university, just become a, I, I think I would've made a fabulous carpenter
Kriti: [00:30:05] or going to trade
Nina: [00:30:08] Because I love creating with my hands. And again, as I told you, I survived my teenage years. I know I'm not the only one I've read. I've read accounts of other people who feel the same way. When I was in it, I didn't feel like I was surviving, but in hindsight I was not. I grew up very protected and never had my curiosity go beyond the safe confines of where I grew up. And knowing everything I know now, I just follow the path that kind of nilly Willy opened up in front of me. I was not intentional. So I think it's more like, be intentional about what you want to be and where you want to be and not just let it happen to you. I think that would be my advice. Be it be intentional and all good. You know, if you say I want to be a doctor and your health and about being a doctor and the 22 year relies on, you know, I'm fainting at this first drop of blood, or it's fine to pivot, but I think you want to make sure that you are, um, that you are intentional about what it is that you set out to, to change and to do in the world.
Kriti: [00:31:12] Well, I do think that even though you say that you're an accidental entrepreneur, I do think what you've been able to do is really amazing. And I think it's this sort of niche that you're in is very, very interesting. And I haven't really thought about marketing in this way before. Maybe it's because I'm a gen Z and I've always had video around and I just take this marketing for granted. It's always with me, but I do see how effective it is. And thank you so much . It was really great to talk to you.
Well, thank you so much for having me. I loved your questions and I hope that this gives a little insight into, you know, how, yeah.
Nina: [00:31:50] Again, I think the generational question that you're bringing up is really interesting because I don't take it for granted and the clients I work with don't take it. I focus on people who like me are in the older geezers state of their careers. So on purpose, because I feel like a Gen Z or even the millennial. They might need help with the content and the strategy part, but they certainly don't need the video part.
Yeah. The video part or even posting, you know, so
Kriti: [00:32:19] yeah. I this is really, um, really interesting. It was great to talk to you today.
Nina: [00:32:24] Thank you for having me so much.
Kriti: [00:32:27] So that's the end of the interview and it was really fun to talk to Nina and learn more about her career path and how it's led her to, as she puts it become an accidental entrepreneur.
And also no matter what you do, I think. Big takeaway is how important innovation is and how finding new ways to do things and saying what can become your competitive advantage is really important. If you want to sort of last and have an impact. And we see this through things such as Netflix versus blockbuster Or Garmin GPS versus now we use Google maps and see how some of these companies failed to innovate. And that's why they're no longer mainstream. For more information on Nina and what she's doing. I have her company website in the episode description, as well as her LinkedIn account. Also an honor of financial literacy month make sure to share this episode with three of your friends or follow us on our social media. Our handle is at WhyFI Matters. Thanks for listening. And I can't wait to talk to you next time.
Other links: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nina-froriep/