“Find what you’re passionate about, work hard and be unafraid to learn from the experts, and you’ll be just fine.”
This is Owen Walter’s advice to young people who feel they don’t fit the mould of traditional schooling.
At 21 years old, Owen is the director of Oculo Digital. The Canberra-based video production and marketing agency has just been named a state finalist in Telstra’s 2024 Best of Business awards after only five years of operation.
When his family migrated to Australia from Wales, Owen was 10 years old. He could speak English, but since his first few years of school were almost exclusively taught in Welsh, he was unable to read or write beyond the basics.
This led to Owen leaving school at just 14 – a young age, but his approach to learning was anything but. Owen spent the next two years immersing himself in the foundations of business and developing diverse skills in video production, marketing, copywriting and sales.
“In hindsight, although it was difficult, having to leave school so early was a blessing in disguise,” Owen says.
“I sought out chances to learn wherever I could. We live in an era abundant in information and to not take advantage of it just doesn’t make sense to me.
“I’m very fortunate to have found what I’m good at and passionate about at such a young age. I was 16 when Oculo Digital was born and I haven’t looked back.”
Owen and his team combine video, audience intelligence and targeted advertising to generate new leads and build credibility for clients in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
“Telling a story is one of the best ways to market yourself and the best way to tell a story, in my opinion, is with good video,” he says.
“For those who geek out over data like I do, using tools like natural language processing and social monitoring to forecast trends and behaviours across audiences is the coolest job in the world.”
As a young person owning a young business, Owen says it’s not uncommon to be passed over, especially when age equals experience in the minds of many.
This is where industry partnerships come in. In Owen’s case, meeting business manager Louise Wakefield was a step in the right direction.
“When I met Louise, she went out of her way to give me practical advice on working with the public sector,” he says,
“I’m pretty fortunate. A blend of mentorship, others’ belief in me, honest advice and feedback, trial and error, and consistent action has shaped my growth.”
Louise represents the ACT for Industry Capability Network (ICN), a network of procurement and supply chain specialists that have connected businesses with projects for over 40 years. She saw true potential in Owen and says that, for a quiet achiever, he’s having a serious impact.
“Owen’s business is succeeding thanks to his dedication, persistence and commitment to improvement,” Louise says.
“His experience with ICN is similar to a lot of small businesses – many just need someone genuinely invested in their success to start making their mark.”
Louise explains some businesses also need practical assistance preparing ‘quad’ charts or capability statements or guidance on project bids using the network’s online platform, ICN Gateway.
“Personally, I’m a big ideas person. I get excited about other people’s success,” she says.
“I love that my role allows me to connect people like Owen with big ideas and growth opportunities. Seeing his team build their skills and capability makes me proud.”
Owen is keen to continue experimenting, learning and creating. To others who find their eyes drawn to business at a young age, he says, get ready for an adventure.
“If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, I say, just go for it.
“The most gratifying part of my journey has been seeing our impact. We generate multiple six-figure revenues for some of our clients on a monthly basis, but it’s not just about the numbers.
“Have confidence in your abilities, and if things don’t initially work out, remember that persistence is key. When you keep your eyes on the goal and trust your instincts, you can go as far as you like.”
Original Article published by Morgan Kenyon on Riotact.