You all know him by the guy who sits in front of the tv in the HQ Raleigh, everyone meetMike Doyle! Mike is the owner of Drive80 Studios. Drive 80 Studios is a forward- thinking animation company that believes marketing should break outside of the “norm” and take risks. People don’t pay attention to safe and comfortable marketing. They want excitement and edginess. People remember things that make them take a step back and think. They want to be challenged, laugh, and have a fire set under their butts to take action. That is what they create! Want to know more? Click here.
What was the original seed of the idea that led you to launch your company?

I worked at companies right out of school and realized very quickly that I was 100% unemployable.

What inspired you to go “all in” on making this vision a reality?

In 2012, I was freelancing on-site for a company and they cut the budgeting for this. I decided this was the kick in the butt I needed to form my own LLC and see what I was made of.

What were some early challenges you faced?

I started as an all in one agency. My background is graphic design, web design, web coding, photography, videography, animation, etc. I felt I should do it all at the same time but that became a headache from the start. One week I would be working on a brochure, web banners, and photo shoots. The next would be coding a large website, animating video titles and pulling my hair out. Then I read “Built to Sell” and that made me focus on being great at one thing instead of good at everything.

Name one person or resource that really made a difference in your early growth.

Two come to mind. My business coach, who was the original COO of Babies R Us, and my Sandler Sales Coach. Both taught me the ins and outs of building a business and selling my product. Without them, I would have been screwed.

Who is your most significant client/customer & why are they important to your company?

One of my all time favorite clients is WISS, for a couple of reasons. 1. They always like to fit a couple animations into their yearly budget. I like money. 2. I talk to my contacts there on a personal level. I’ve had phone calls where they just wanted to vent or ask me what places in Raleigh would be great to visit.

What do you feel makes the Triangle a great place to grow a company?

It’s a mix of chillness and hustle. I’m surrounded by people looking to work for themselves and create a career based on their own sweat equity. That’s something I need to be surrounded by. The laid back life style is something I need to have rubbed off on me some more so I can de-stress and just enjoy the moment.

Tell us a favorite client/customer success story.

Recently we sent an animation for review. My contact at the company sent me a text saying the CEO cried when they saw the video, hugged her, and then kept apologizing for hugging her. It turns out that we nailed the messaging, which was something they struggled with for years.

What is one piece of advice would you give to emerging entrepreneurs?

Get someone to pay you before making a website or business cards to validate that your idea isn’t crap. After that, niche down a lot and work towards one goal each year.

What is your favorite thing to do to help blow off steam?

Crossfit, yoga, running or beers at Tasty.

Any memorable [funny or otherwise] stories from your early fundraising or sales activities?

Went into my first sales call after 2 months of sales training. Started the meeting off with what I had learned and the guy across from me started laughing. He said, “Wait, do you take Sandler?” I basically froze, said yes, and then kept going. Walked out of the meeting with a signed contract and he ended up joining my training class a year later.