On the way to success

With a heart thirsty for experience of communication and undertaking a business, Zhuowei Zhou gradually went from an intern staff of a studio to a successful boss of his own Internet company.

Zhuowei Zhou, who has just finished his bachelor degree in Guangzhou Sport University last summer, had started his own business 2 years ago. Up to now, he has already successfully held several vacation camps for children aged from 6 to 15 as well as has become the partner of Golden Butterfly Art Training School in South China.

Studio Intern

It was the third year of Zhou’s college life. And a year later, Zhou had to find a company in Guangzhou and started to make a living in this modern and fast-paced city.

“My major is Bachelor of Sport Journalism. I am familiar with ‘camera stuff’ and I think I have the ability to talk and negotiate with others as I studied how to interview others in my college time.” Zhou said with confidence.

It was also the time that the college asked the students to start their internship from outside world and finished the graduate internship report and assignment. Thus, Zhou began to find a company or studio to get his first internship in his school life.

“I was a lucky guy. My classmate Yuanlin Chen gave me a wonderful internship chance with his high school mate. His high school friend had opened a tiny studio and at that time, they were looking for college students to become a member of them.” Zhou recalled, “This internship opened my gates and opportunities to many senior photographers and video shooting staff in the coterie.” During his third winter vacation in college, he started to work as an intern in the studio.

Zhou’s first job was to shoot a documentary for an English training institution in Shenzhen. In addition, the studio was planning to make a video for a children military training camp. Zhou was with the team to follow the entire process including the shooting plan and communication with the camp directors as well as the video’s post-production and distribution on the video website.

Everything went so well, however, the studio suddenly announced that they were not going to make videos for the children military training camp any more because the studio was losing money at that time and they didn’t have enough money to support this project. Zhou wasn’t in a shock but in contrast, he thought maybe he could try and reconnected with the children military training camp and told them he would take over the video shooting and making project during next summer holiday.

“That was my first time to have an official business negotiation like a real business man.” It was obvious that Zhou felt nervous and stressful during the pre-planning period,” I was losing customers because they didn’t believe in me. I was too young to trust. But, yea, I understand that if I were father, I wouldn’t trust a teenager who was not even 22 years old.” He tried to persuade his friends and teachers who have children to join the children military training camp by telling them the advantages and significance of being one part of the camp as well as what would the children learn from the training and etc. It was not until the last minute that Zhou had signed all the 20 students to the training camp.

“This was not the most tough part of the whole project.” Zhou can still remember the first day he went to the training base with the parents and children and his shooting team. As Zhou is the single child of the family, he really has not many ideas to take care of kids. “I do know the kids’ parents had made up their mind and struggled for a long time whether they can trust me or not, so I think I have to look after the kids carefully and I do have great responsibility to take care the kids.”

On the first night of the training camp, Zhou was insomnia. It was difficult for him to fall asleep and the he suffered nightmare that night,” I dreamt a boy in the training camp suddenly caught a fever and I was the one who should take responsibility to this situation. His parents came to me and censured me in my dream.” The nightmare in the next day was even worse and Zhou wasn’t willing to say it.

Along with pressure and struggling, Zhou got through those 10 days. It was really a tough experience to get through. But fortunately not only Zhou himself but also his team has learnt experience from these 10 days. What was more surprise for them was that those parents who sent their children to the camp expressed their gratefulness to Zhou and his team.

Description: The Last Day of the Children Military Training Camp. (Provided and permitted by Zhuowei Zhou)

“All the effort was worth it. I improve my communication skills and enrich my experience as the leader of a team. What’s more important, I finally gain trust from the parents.” Zhou added.

Link: children military training camp promotion video(If the link doesn’t work, please copy the URL and refresh the web because it is a Chinese website.)

Internet company and iClub APP

“Frankly, I didn’t thought about undertake my own business at first, it was an occasional chance to start my business.” Zhou has continued taken over the business of the children training camp from 2014 and the children training camp has become the ace project of his company from that time on.

Zhou finally started his own business with his friends in April 2015. Creating an app was popular at that time. Thus the first idea came up in their mind was to create an app which can update the information and news of the entertainment industry. The app was called ‘iClub’.

Different from the children training camp, this project needed to find investors. And before finding the investors, Zhou and his team needed to pre-plan the project and make PowerPoint to explain their project. However, Zhou was not major in Finance or Business, he had no idea how to perfect the project proposal, project PowerPoint, investors attraction plan and so on. What’s worse, if Zhou were not well prepared, his app would be eliminated by the investors.

Description: Zhou is introducing himself and his ream to the investors. (Provided and permitted by Zhuowei Zhou)

“We have our own ideas and technique but no fund to support us. I have to go to financial classes in the education institution to learn how to make the project proposal and how to communicate with the investors and how to attract the investors and so on.” Zhou and his team did ‘road shows’ in different invest companies. At the same time, they rewrote the PowerPoint again and again to satisfy the investors. During that tough period, Zhou and his team were kind of lost and under too much pressure. Their idea was ignored and sometimes even being disapproved. They experienced from over confident to confuse about whether they were doing the right thing to insist their ideas. Finally 9 months later, an investor named Jingjie Su showed interest in their project.

“Su is a famous entrepreneur around the South China. After I gave my presentation, Su found me and said he had interest in my project. Finally, we got someone who appreciates our idea! I was so excited at that time!” Zhou recalled that he received 1 million to start his project from Su. That was the time Zhou began to enlarge his team and actually run the company.

Running a company with larger and larger team, Zhou gradually found himself too challenging to handle the whole team’s routine. “I still have a long way to go. I am not ready to become the leader of the team though I do improve myself in the last 2 year. How to manage a company is the next lesson I should learn.”

Golden Butterfly Art Training School

During the Spring Festival this year, Zhou decided to take a break and figured out another way to survive his company during his trip to Thailand.

During the vacation, Zhou’s college teacher, li Li, who sent her child to the children training camp one year ago, gave a call to Zhou. “I saw his ability during the children training camp time period. I would love to help him to start his own business. My husband is a staff in Guangzhou Culture Bureau. I think my husband could build a communication bridge for the art training school and Zhou…I trust him could make his business better.” Li Li recalled, “He would success in a few years, he is learning and experiencing. Most importantly, he grows faster and matures than the other students who have graduation at the same time.”

Description: Zhou signed the contract with the Golden Butterfly Art Training School. (Provided and permitted by Zhuowei Zhou)

When Zhou came back from the spring vacation, he connected the art school under the help of li Li. Zhou is now the director of Golden Butterfly Art Training School in South China. “This is where I want to show my ability.” Zhou said, “I want to undertake the effort to create the TOP art training school around China with Golden Butterfly Art Training School.” Zhuowei Zhou, 24, is on his way to success.