There are plenty of tools out there to help aspiring young filmmakers become the next Steven Spielberg. But how many tools are there to help aspiring entrepreneurs become the next Ron Popeil?
An early experience selling audio and video products on QVC, the home-shopping network, whet Matt Singer's appetite for video sales entrepreneurship. "It was incredibly powerful," Singer recalled of his QVC experience. "You can sell thousands of units in minutes. I ended up selling 500,000 units over seven years."
The entrepreneurial spirit has been with Singer since childhood. When he was 12 years old and growing up in Kensington, N.H., Singer and his older brother, Dan, formed a T-shirt sales partnership and sold shirts that Dan designed. The T-shirts were for a summer program at a local high school, and Singer would sit right inside the door of the cafeteria to pitch incoming students on the "great deals" they could get on merchandise. "Selling things has always been a natural thing for me," said Singer, now 36.
Singer also grew up with a strong musical background, playing the violin for more than 14 years. Phillips Exeter Academy, a local high school, allowed Singer to start playing in its orchestra when he was in the fourth grade. Singer eventually became the concert master when he was a senior at Phillips Exeter and won the concerto competition, performing the Bruch Violin Concerto 2nd Movement.
It was at Yale, where he studied music technology, that Singer began to see the link between his two passions. He started exploring ways music and multimedia could benefit business.
"Websites are great, social media is great," Singer said. "But, in general, pictures and text are pretty flat. If I see a video about somebody and their story really affects me emotionally, that's a whole different game-changer."
After graduating, Singer started his own company making audio and video products and used the QVC home shopping network as a sales platform. His experience on QVC changed the way he thought about video. "That is what's great about video," he said. "You can tell your story, you can emotionally connect with the audience, you can demonstrate things that have a visual component. I started asking the question, 'Why doesn't everyone use video to sell more?'"
The answer was that quality videos are difficult to make, and professionally produced videos are too expensive for many small businesses on a budget. In response, Singer developed a platform that would allow people to create high-quality videos on their own.
The result was Videolicious, a simple, powerful, and user-friendly video editing platform available to individual entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.
"We realized that if we could create a technological solution that would allow people to create videos faster and easier, then more people could start businesses, market their products, and get customers with the power of video. That's the vision of Videolicious," Singer said.
Videolicious now employs eight people at its New York and New Jersey offices. The company recently had almost one million downloads of the Videolicious 1.0 test version. Version 2.0 launched in July of 2012, and Singer expects continued growth going forward.
One of the keys to Videolicious is its universal appeal, Singer said. "We don't want to just stop at small businesses and large businesses," he noted. "We feel like every knowledge worker in the world has uses for video." Another key is the product's accessibility. Singer kept own experiences of diving into the entrepreneurial game in mind when designing Videolicious, and he hopes the product can help people who are just getting started with their business. "It's a skill that pretty much anybody can acquire. That's what is so appealing with video: You can market yourself and create more business because people say, 'Hey, you seem like a nice person, I want to support you.' People like supporting someone they know."
Singer's advice to young job creators? "Take advantage of the many online tools that are available now. If you take advantage of all these tools -- that are low cost and really help you get the word out there -- then you have a chance of really making income on your own power."
This profile is part of a series featuring innovative small-business owners taking part in The Huffington Post's Entrepreneurship Expo in Tampa and Charlotte, in conjunction with the 2012 political conventions and HuffPost's "Opportunity: What Is Working" initiative.