A Start-up Story: Cosmic Anvil
22nd February 2016
We’re continuing our Start-up Story blog this week as intern Abi interviews Huw Williams from Cosmic Anvil.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I wanted to be a vet but then slowly realised that science wasn’t for me (because it’s hard). I had always wanted to write. At first I wanted to write books before changing my mind to video games. Although the medium changed over time, I always wanted to create stories.
Is this reflected in your business?
Yes, I think so. I’m writing a comic book, a comic book strip and also teaching others how to write stories and come up with ideas. I’m doing my passion; comic books, writing, even going in to schools to teach kids. It’s something I really enjoy.
Does your business reflect you as a person?
Yes! Your business has to or it’s not really yours anymore. My business totally reflects me. We do creative stuff, we’re fun and try not to be too serious. The workshops in schools are great as well, as I will forever be a kid at heart. Working with kids will always be natural to me.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I left Lancaster University with a film degree so I thought I’d just rock up to the BBC and get a job as a runner and then work my way to the top but that didn’t happen. I was looking for jobs and stumbled across ICE, meeting Gareth who essentially said “you’re struggling to do this, why don’t you do your own thing?” And it made sense to do it myself. I started off doing video production but, found it too expensive and didn’t have much capital to put in to the business. Writing and creating comics is much cheaper because you don’t have to pay for special effects.
What do you find most rewarding about running Cosmic Anvil?
The most rewarding thing is the feeling of self -achievement. When you get paid for something that you’ve done, you feel pretty good about it. It’s completely different to working for someone else as when pay day comes it’s just like “yes, pay day!” but when it’s something you’ve accomplished yourself, it’s more special. You’re also getting the chance to do something that your good at doing.
What have you found most challenging about running Cosmic Anvil?
The business side in general is probably the hardest thing! I see myself as a ‘creative’ and I’m good at writing but when it comes to selling it and doing the business stuff, it’s tricky. I’ve wanted to get better but it’s probably been the biggest learning curve of my life.
Have you got any tips for starting a business?
Search for help! Look online and find courses and boot camps and book yourself on! Take as many opportunities as possible to learn and to meet people. Jump on it. Don’t try and do it on your own. Don’t just sit in a room and say “I’m going to start a business”.
What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given?
Make sure you’re happy doing the work you’re doing. Never make compromises, if you find yourself making compromises in your business in terms of what you do, you might find yourself not being happy. Gareth’s advice is pretty good in that the ethos of ICE is that success can mean something different to different people. Learning that was really good as I’m now much less concerned about trying to make a million pounds every day, and more concerned with doing what I love and getting a little back for it.
How did you find your niche in the comic book world?
It’s hard to find a niche in the comic book industry as a lot of it has been covered already. You never start writing something thinking “this is going to fit this gap and criteria”. What I noticed was that me and Hannah were making something quite Eastern Influenced so the art style is influenced by that. At the time there was a cartoon series called ‘Avatar: The Last Air Bender’ and then ‘Legend of Kora’ and they’re very East meets West too. We fitted that niche. A lot of Western comic books are made with Eastern influences and use them sparingly, just sprinkling them on top. The art is very manga but Age of Revolution was always planned to be Eastern inspired.
Where do you see Cosmic Anvil in 5-10 years?
I’d like to see us do more video production and have a Youtube channel and just generally have the business still going along. I’ve also got lots of other projects going that I want to see grow and develop such as blogs and other Youtube channels and see them become more than ideas.
If you could, would you do anything differently?
No. Every mistake I’ve made has brought me to where I am today.