Justin Luk, the owner of Mad Capacity Studios, provides front-end web development (and valuable know-how and assistance) to Calgary ad agencies.
After graduating from the New Media Production and Design program at SAIT in 2005, Justin began his career at an advertising agency in Calgary. He was enjoying his work with the company when the 2008 economic slowdown reared its ugly head. “After they laid a bunch of people off I just realized that my full time job wasn’t as secure as I thought it would be.”
So what’s a guy to do in this situation? Well, go out on his own of course!
Getting started as a freelancer wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. “For the first 6 months, I was like ‘Oh man, what are you doing?’” he remembers. Then larger jobs started to come in and things started to smooth out a little bit. As most business owners can attest, sometimes the most important thing is just staying in the game long enough.
When asked what the driving force was behind going independent, Justin looks back on his childhood with his entrepreneurial parents and the kind of independent thinking they instilled in him. “I guess I’ve just always been around that sort of entrepreneurial spirit,” he says. “You start to understand that you don’t have to stay loyal to a company for 30 years just for a pension.” Justin also credits a lot of his success to barriers that have been broken down by the Internet. “Because of the internet, you’re so connected to everything, the possibilities are endless,” he says. “You can be in touch with as little or as much of a market as you want to be.”
Justin Luk – Front-End Web Designer in Calgary
Justin now receives the majority of his business through word of mouth from his growing list of happy clients. “The more contracts I get, the more of a network I build,” he explains. When asked what the most difficult part of running his own business has been so far, Justin concedes that it can be stressful sometimes not knowing where your next paycheque is coming from. “It’s obviously important that you budget well and have some savings so you have something to fall back on,” he says “And then just knowing that the work will come.” On the flip side, Justin really enjoys the variety of work that he’s able to do as an independent contractor with so many different companies. He also gets a much broader sampling of how different companies operate and the cultures they establish. “I think it’s really interesting,” he says, “I think it gives me a lot of really good experience for the future.”
Like many Origami clients, Justin’s prior history with accounting was not exactly one of his favorite aspects of owning a business. “When you start a business, you don’t really think about how much time you’ll actually spend just administering that business,” he says. Justin chose Origami so he could spend more time doing what he loves to do. It’s also fitting that Justin receives most of his business through word of mouth, as that’s how he found out about Origami. “Other friends who run their own companies told me to go with Origami,” he explains. “It’s very much a forward, web 2.0, ‘the new way to do your accounting’ kind of company.”