When Andrew Follett '06 decided to major in business and economics at Wheaton, he didn’t have a plan for starting his own business. He says he just knew it would “give me a broad foundation to do the things that I wanted to do.”
After graduating he worked as the marketing director for a small company, where he was able to learn the ins and outs of running a business. “I was involved in accounting, purchasing, marketing, and I think that is where I started to get this itch that I wanted to do my own thing. I got to spend a lot of time with the CEO at the time and got to understand what it takes to run a business, and it developed this interest in me.”
Three years later, Andrew decided he was ready to start his own business. His first company, Concept Feedback, helped businesses to obtain feedback on their websites. “It wasn’t that successful,” Andrew says, “so I was developing the business model, but on the side I was creating video. Not the cool videos we make today, but very basic videos on how to work on a website.” As his side business became more profitable, he decided to pursue the video business full time and started Demo Duck.
“We create explainer videos, promotional videos, and instructional videos. We take complex topics—in our case mostly businesses, products, and services—and we try to explain them in a way your grandma could understand, using animation or live action.” Since its inception Demo Duck has created explainer videos for companies such as Lowes, Trulia, and Panasonic.
Andrew says Wheaton provided the foundation that he needed to start Demo Duck. “[My education] wasn’t focused on video, but what I developed at Wheaton is a big factor in my success now. My greatest challenge was having the confidence to go out and start things on my own.” Confidence, he says, he was able to gain from the support of his friends and family.
Now Andrew serves as an advisor on Wheaton in Network and tells students who want to become entrepreneurs, “Do it! This is the best time in your life to take a risk on starting a business. When you are first out of school it’s a very unique time, and you can do whatever you want to do.”
Andrew advises students to talk to people that are doing the things they are interested in. “If it’s video, find people in the industry and do what it takes to find out what it takes to be successful in the industry.” Andrew recalls speaking with a freshman who reached out to him through Wheaton in Network. “That alone was impressive to me—that a freshman was already interested in his career. We had a great conversation, and I was impressed by the initiative he was taking.”
When looking back on his time at Wheaton, Andrew says his favorite memory was a summer he spent at HoneyRock, Wheaton’s Outdoor Center for Leadership Development. “To this day it has been one of the best experiences of my life. It was one of the most spiritually challenging and growing times, and it was a really formational summer for me.”