From Zero to Hero - A Vietnamese Entrepreneur's Journey to Success
Iola Nguyen's real name is Nguyen Kim Nga. This Vietnamese-French artist has been living and working in London (UK) for more than 10 years. In 2012, she decided to leave her whole life in France behind to pursue her artistic dream. Once she arrived in London, Iola worked hard to make a living so that she could one day enter the entertainment industry.
For many years, she worked as a photographer, videographer, and freelance editor for many fashion shows and film festivals. From these experiences, she realized her passion for creating digital content and directing and writing music videos.
|Iola Nguyen was one of the finalists for the AWA (Asian Women of Achievers) Awards 2022 (Photo: Phu nu Viet Nam)
In 2017, this independent artist wrote, directed, and produced her first-ever comedy web series called It's All I Am. The first episode achieved 20,000 views on YouTube in just 1 day. In 2019, she won the Cameroon Academy Arts Film Awards (CAAFAS) for Self-Produced and Directed Music Video thanks to the success of the web series.
Besides the fulfillment from making this breakthrough, Iola also learned a lot of valuable lessons from the challenges she encountered. There were times she stumbled on the path of pursuing her passion when it was hard to find like-minded people.
"You can work endless hours every day on your idea (on top of your current job to pay the bills) without seeing any result for many years. As well as facing negative comments from all the people who think you're just a dreamer who is going to fail but anyway, you have to remember to move forward no matter what and stay motivated," said Iola Nguyen.
According to Iola, independent Asian female artists face certain obstacles when working in the Western entertainment industry. Because of the unconscious bias of investors, women entrepreneurs also tend to receive less capital when calling for funds. Many women entrepreneurs can feel discouraged when building their careers, especially at the beginning.
In 2021, Iola officially launched her own creative and digital media company called Meetkeypeople. This is where she shares her experience with beginners like she once was in 2012. Meekeypeople is also a platform for independent creators, and artists to form a community. Those who share the same passion, and are working towards the same goals, can find each other and create quality products.
"I believe in the quote that says “Alone, we can do so little, we can do so much”. Indeed, all together, we can make the world a better place. We don't have to be in competition all the time, expecting the others to fail. We can all succeed together. This goal is what I want to achieve with my company" Iola said.
|Iola is the founder of Meetkeypeople - a UK-based creative and digital media company (Photo: Phu nu Viet Nam)
On the Meetkeypeople platform, people from all over the world who are interested in working on a project or want to collaborate can apply. Iola and her colleagues also help clients with planning, strategy, supporting materials (videos, photos), and fundraising without receiving commission from creators.
"Instead of us taking a commission on creators, a commission is charged on the freelancers or artists who are going to work on the project like any freelance marketplace or casting platform," said Iola Nguyen.
Sharing a unique characteristic about Meetkeypeople, the 32-year-old founder revealed a special offer for entrepreneurs/creators from the underrepresented group.
"MeetKeypeople reinvests 5% of the crowdfunding net profits of entrepreneurs/creators from the underrepresented group into their active MeetKeyPeople campaigns. As well as giving the opportunity for one investor for each campaign funded to receive a monetary incentive, equal to 5% of the money raised via a random draw," said the female entrepreneur.
This digital media company has a customer base across many countries like the UK and the US after 2 years of operating. Iola revealed that in the post-pandemic era, the entrepreneurial spirit is exploding in the markets where Meetkeypeople operates. She is happy to have the golden opportunity to develop Meetkeypeople and connect with potential projects in many more countries.
The Vietnamese-French entrepreneur's hard work was recognized in 2022. Surpassing more than thousands of candidates at the Stevie Awards - the world's leading business award, she won the bronze title for "Creative Executive of the Year " at The Stevie Awards 2022. Sharing about future plans, Iola said she is optimistic and always tells herself "You never fail until you give up" to remind herself to be focused on her chosen path.
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