Luna Light Productions
Sonia Massessi is the Managing Director of Luna Light Productions UK; a team of experienced freelance videographers, producers and photographers who use and collaborate their skills to provide clients with the best media content fitted to their business needs.
I met Sonia at a #LinkedInLocalXWinchester. It was Sonia’s first networking event and I was bowled over by her confidence and passion for the work she does. I wanted to have this opportunity to share Sonia’s story of setting up her own company.
Tell me about your career journey to date
I practically started my career journey when I was at school and selected my options. It was only art that I completed but it allowed me to then go to college where I originally wanted to study magazine design which would allow me to leave college with a portfolio of work. I got introduced to creative media which included lots of aspects of media such as TV, radio, journalism as well as magazine design. During these 2 years I found my love of film, and in my final year I actually got to see my film at the local cinema on the big screen which was really cool.
I then went to uni and I left as a film production graduate with a 2:1. The course unfortunately didn’t offer a placement or work experience; to get a job in media they are looking for experience as well, and that wasn’t something I could offer. I became a full time receptionist and continued to look for media positions. Luna Light Productions UK was originally a university idea for me to explore learning more about social media marketing and I decided after 7 months of working full time in a job I hated that I was going to go self employed and do something with my degree instead.
In March this year, I packed my bags and went back to Eastbourne but things didn’t go to the original plan. I ended up having to take a part time job as a source of income so I wasn’t able to give my business all of my attention. I realised then that I wasn’t where I needed to be to do what I really wanted to do so I came back to Winchester and since September made the decision that I wasn’t going to work partly on the business, but rather that I was going to go completely outside my comfort zone, realising this is what I really wanted to do and that I would give it 110%!
Within the first 2 weeks of being back in Winchester, I was getting noticed - my social media presence was growing and business picked up. It is now December and I have 13 clients; it is almost overwhelming! With the people I work with I get to build a relationship and they get to see that I love what I do. They may think social media marketing is hard or challenging but I get the chance to take that pressure away from them and deliver something that is fun and enjoyable for them. They then recommend me to other people and I get to grow this massive community. I love helping small local businesses grow. It is amazing!
That is incredible! You have achieved so much in a relatively short period of time.
The self belief wasn’t always there though - I definitely have had self doubts. I do try to surround myself with the right types of people. I was bullied throughout school, college and uni. Before my final year at uni I was almost going to quit but decided that I needed to just keep going. I am so proud that I did graduate and of what I have achieved since. It is a cliché but never give up - you just don’t know what is waiting for you. Even now, as a film producer, if something comes up that I’m a bit unsure of, I say yes and I give it 100%. I learn and I give it everything. Afterwards I can then decide if this is something I enjoyed doing and if I would want to do again. But I need to experience it, to look back and say I did that and then know if it is something I would then choose to do again. I sometimes wonder if I am any good at my job but then need to remind myself that I do know what I’m doing!
When you say about the self belief how do you rebuild it when it gets knocked?
I remember I once face-timed my mum, tears streaming, telling her it was all a mistake, and she was like, “Hold up. You have cried about this. Now what are the positives?” She really encouraged me to think about other, more positive, solutions and thoughts. I was quite isolated at the time and she suggested I go to the library to work for a few hours (which I now refer to as my office!) or to go out for a coffee. Even just little steps made me realise I was making progress. My mum has her own business, as does my aunty. My grandma has had some amazing roles in her career and I only wish to be as strong headed as she is. These women are inspirational to me and help me think outside of the box. When I get down I know that they are just a phone call away and they help me step outside and see things in a different light which really helps me.
One of the tips my mum gives me is to step outside of where I am and to look back at everything I’ve achieved - projects, studies, travel, the kind of person I’ve become, my business. She always finishes every face-time telling me that I am awesome! That really helps! I can’t give her enough credit of reminding me that I am a whole person.
Do you have any other resources that help you?
Whilst working at the library, I did decide to do some reading to help with my entrepreneurial mindset and I came across The Pocket Guru, which I absolutely love! It is so easy to read and it gives me different perspectives. It has nice pictures, bullet points, humour - it has helped me so much in so many ways!
I sometimes also just need to give myself a kick up the ass! I know I need to get out there. Where I met you was my first networking event and I was so shy when I went in, but the organiser came and introduced himself and I found once I had spoken to one person I was more than happy to talk to everyone else in the room! But if I hadn’t have been confident and talked to you, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity today. I believe in myself and my product and I think this means it is more likely that others will as well.
Do you have an inner voice or mantra that helps you if things get difficult?
It is my mum’s voice! Mum is a small business owner and I really look up to her. I want what my mum has and what I’ve learnt from her is to be myself. I do stumble and sometimes talk too much, but I then hear my mum’s voice in my head saying ‘get to the point, get to the point!’
My mum has always been my emotional support and there is no way I can ever thank her enough for what she has given me. She is everyone I need her to be in one person. She’s there, in the back of my head, talking to me whenever I’m mucking things up - she somehow always comes through to me and switches my light bulb on! She is my angel on my shoulder!
What does success mean to you?
I think success is quite a broad word. It can mean a lot of things. Success is different for all of us. Success to me though is being able to finish my day, think of something I’m proud of and have a good night's sleep. Being able to survive through a day and say something positive - small or big - I’m successful.
From a business perspective, it is recognition from clients, colleagues and friends. It is also having the freedom to do what I want. I feel I am very lucky that when I wake up I have the freedom and opportunity to do something I love each and every day. Success is having gone through everything I’ve been through, the bullying, the ups and the downs, and coming out of it and believing in myself, and realising that I am capable of being a high achiever.
Success is being surrounded by the right people, helping to grow other people’s businesses because this helps me grow my business as well, and even when a job is done, I stay in contact with my clients because I have built trust and a relationship with them.
What are your words of advice if someone was in a similar position to you and was thinking of starting their own business?
When building a business, you need to build yourself, as without you, there is no business or product. You need to be able to sell yourself, show the public who you are because people are buying ‘you’; they want to know who they are getting. Show this is what you do, what you love and what you are good at. Eventually it’d be nice to be recognised as Sonia the entrepreneurial business woman!
If an opportunity ever arises say yes and figure it out, to the best of your ability and then decide if you want to do this again in the future - but you have to try it first!
Always look at feedback positively. It is always there to help.
Trust the people around you, go to networking events and build that community - you never know who you may end up collaborating with.
Self belief is key also.
Thank you so much for sharing all of this with me Sonia. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you!