by Marlon Madden
He has always been successful at getting jobs since he graduated from college, but he has never been successful at keeping them.
This was not because he was bad at what he did or because he was being fired. Instead, Matthew Holder knew deep down he wanted to control his own time. So, he would be the one to leave those jobs only after a few days or weeks.
“I always knew that I wanted to work for myself in some way or another . . . deep down I knew I did not want to work for anyone,” Holder told Today’s BUSINESS.
“They would say I am a good candidate and they like my personality and I am good at the job, but I could not keep the job.
I would go the first few days and then just stop going because I realised it was not what I wanted to do. I just never enjoyed having to report to people in terms of a set time to start work,” he said.
“I knew the more time I spent working at a place I did not want to work there would be less time for me to develop myself. So one day I took the jump and I stayed home,” he recalled.
Three years ago, Holder decided he needed to start his own business, and so Shyfox Studios was born, a graphic and logo design firm. The company also offers services in web and app design and animation.
The 30-year-old who describes himself as a
free-spirited individual, told Today’s BUSINESS while he always had a love for the arts, he had no idea what path he would take until he went to study at the Barbados Community College where he pursued an associate degree in graphic design.
After learning the basics at college, he was able to teach himself a lot more, expanding into animation, app design and web development.
Holder recalled that when he first started Shyfox Studios it was very difficult for him and some days the most he would earn was about $50.
“I made nothing, but I kept pushing and pushing. Obviously when you first start working no one knows you so you don’t get a lot of jobs. So I spent a lot of time learning things,” he recalled.
Stating that a lot of his drive came from his belief in God, Holder said he also received a lot of support from his girlfriend and family members, which helped him to persevere.
Just over a year ago, the Christ Church resident managed to get some overseas clients after he placed some of his handy work on the creative work social media platform Behance.
“That started to propel me. I think it is a place a lot more Bajans should get on . . . that is where I got my first celebrity job, it is where I worked with my first studio in the UK. A lot of the bigger jobs came through there,” he said.
One of his greatest joys about working for himself to date is being able to earn a satisfactory wage and being able to have more time to do things he wanted to pursue.
Holder, who currently operates from home, said his plan was to set up a studio with a lot more equipment as his operation expands into video editing and other areas.He said based on his limited experience working with some companies he realised they were comfortable with what they already have in place and they were not willing to take new and innovative ideas onboard.
Insisting that Barbadians have a lot of talent and were able to provide products and services that could rival others anywhere in the world, Holder said he believed more entrepreneurs needed to take pride in what they do and value their products and services.
Urging small business owners to not skim on their branding and marketing, the former Lester Vaughan student also advised other small business operators to manage their time effectively and use the internet to offer their products and services to the world.
Holder, who also does part-time teaching in animation, stressed the importance of constantly improving one’s skills and learning new ones to be ready “for the next big job”. “The key to being successful and going on that path to becoming what you want to be is to have a mindset that you can never stop learning. Once you think that you don’t know everything you will get far,” said Holder.
He also advised “now is the time to start working for yourself. It used to be harder but now literally anybody could start a business and make money because everything is online. When the COVID-19 started it was the small business owners that were able to help. All of the bigger businesses had to shut down”.
“You have to put yourself out there. It is a lot of work. Yes, you will make next to nothing in the beginning but the reality is that a lot of the work is outside Barbados.
There is work here but people are often not willing to pay and things have gotten a lot harder now so people really don’t have,” he said.