Anthony Wells, owner of Mendocino Drone

Meet Anthony Wells — creative founder, e-commerce entrepreneur, and Mendocino local. One of the amazing 13 members of the 2022 StartUp Mendocino cohort, we talked with him about his progress and the challenges he’s tackling during the business management program. 

What does your business offer and what are you most known for?

I offer video production, photography and web design services with an emphasis on high quality media for real estate. As a video producer living in Southern California (Newport Beach) it was very easy to find drone videographers to work on my various projects. When I moved back to the Mendocino coast in 2019, and couldn’t find a drone pilot, I decided to get my drone license and start this business. Even though I do a lot more than just drone work, I decided to name the business Mendocino Drone because I knew that would be something people would search Google for.

What’s a recent topic in StartUp Mendocino that you can describe? 

So far, one of the most foundational lessons from the program was the diagram representing the seven different dynamics of business. Our instructor Rachel presented it as a wheel, with each spoke relating to its neighbors, while also warranting its own slice of the pie. (See image at right.)

For example, marketing is right next to sales… they are indeed very related, but they deserve their own attention as separate disciplines. And at first I thought management and leadership sounded like the same thing, but they’re not. Managing is about people and processes, while leadership is paying attention to the business as a whole, knowing the current state of each dynamic, and maintaining at least some activity on each spoke is important. Normally I’m hyper focused on delivery. In other words, I’m concentrating on servicing my clients … actually making videos, websites etc. Having a visual diagram and diving deep into each of these dynamics has allowed me to see areas of my business I’ve been neglecting.

What’s starting to change for you as a result of the StartUp Mendocino program?

I see my business with different eyes. It’s been great having the leaders and other participants to share the business owner experience with. Being an open book and somewhat vulnerable in the program has allowed me to get some really good feedback and uncover some of my blindspots in business. As an owner/operator/sole proprietor, I was so busy working in the business, I couldn’t really see the forest for the trees. 

It’s great to be an open book because that’s when others can learn the most from you. What is your single biggest challenge or your next step in building your business?

The StartUp Mendocino program is pushing me to think bigger. Rachel is encouraging me to not spend as much time being the business technician, and instead be more of a business leader. So I don’t always have to be the one out shooting on location, or spending day after day editing video. Those jobs can be hired out. She’s pushing me to expand, and train others how to do my style of high quality service, so I am more available to build out other areas of the business that are lacking. Working on the business rather than in it.

Is there a role for creativity in your process?

Oh yes! During last week’s session we worked on branding, and “creative” was the first word of my brand statement. That’s me to the core. I am an artist. I treat every video and every website as a work of art. In addition to design, photography and video, I also play music and make pottery. So I can’t help it. Business itself is an art… being mentally agile, having an eye for opportunities, constructing mutually beneficial deals. 

It’s a creative discipline in itself being a business owner. When it comes to decision making, pitching an idea, or even negotiating … it’s creating a business, and it’s very creative. 

What’s something interesting we wouldn’t otherwise know about you?

I’m a father of a wonderful three year old daughter and we’re having another baby daughter any day now!

What’s a question we should ask you? 

Well, in addition to Mendocino Drone, I own a few other businesses…

Since you’re reading this, I’d like to invite you to follow Mendocino Drone on Facebook and Instagram and learn more on my website  — get in touch! 

We’d like to thank one of our sponsors, Peter Lopez, owner of Café Beaujolais in Mendocino. “As a business owner dedicated to honoring and showcasing local  growers and producers, we are proud to invest in emerging entrepreneurs and contribute to the economic vitality of Mendocino County.”

Cafe Beaujolais logo
Anthony Wells, owner of Mendocino Drone