Like many 18-year-olds, Mike Clum set off to college three years ago to earn a degree. While attending Miami University as a freshman, Clum and a friend started a radio program called The Mike Clum Show, which they produced and hosted.
“We gained much popularity on campus by creating original video content, marketing it on our show and social media,” he recalls. “Eventually everywhere I went, people would talk about the show, ask to talk with me, and after setting the record for listeners at the station, I knew that I could take that to the real world.”
The success Clum experienced in his radio show and videos prompted him to see if he could make it on his own. After just one semester, he left Miami and started Clum Creative Media
, a full-service media production company. That didn't go over so well with his parents, but he left school anyway. “I sort of taught myself,” he recalls.
Clum Creative Media specializes in corporate media production services, including corporate video production
, web design and development, app development and digital branding. “My specialty is in visualizing the future, strategizing how to get there, and ruthlessly competing to achieve success,” says Clum confidently.
Cleveland Video Production - Clum - Customer Testimonials from Clum Creative Media on Vimeo.
Now 21, Clum has grown his company into a competitive corporate media production company, boasting clients such as Universal Windows Direct, Group Management Services (GMS) and King Nut. He has three employees and plenty of creative space on the top floor of Hyacinth Lofts in Slavic Village.
Things didn’t start off that easy. The decision to leave college was very controversial, but he knew in his gut it was what he had to do. “I think school is largely overrated, and encouraging kids to get out and start doing things without being prompted is something we should somehow focus on," he says.
Determined to make his production dream work, Clum took odd jobs and provided his services on the cheap. “I funded myself by selling,” he recalls of the early days, noting that his business has been self-funded from the start. “I would approach companies with prices so low they couldn't turn it down, then I would take that project and turn it into a portfolio item that I would sell for more. I continued to do that until I could slowly raise my prices equal to any company.”
Clum also used the traditional marketing vehicles – cold calling, direct mail and email. With his success, he hasn’t eased up. “I still consider it the beginning, and probably always will, so I'm always trying crazy and innovative ways to generate leads,” he says. “If there is a way to market my company, I'm going to try it.”
Clum sees Cleveland as the perfect networking town to grow a business. “When I was 19 I would call CEOs and get meetings,” he says. “It’s amazing here. People take my calls, let me come in, coach me, teach me things. It’s a very warm and supportive community. I don’t know if I would have found that elsewhere.”
While Clum says many people view his generation as entitled, his obsession with learning and hard work is what has made him successful. “I think it’s in our generation to do great things and figure it out along the way,” he says. “I’ve gotten in situations where I didn’t know how to do stuff and I learned it [by doing it].”