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Fourteen months after married couple Hope Daley and Matthew Dykes weredownsized from their executive-level media jobs in 2009, they had two choices: Use their last bit of savings for one month of bills and be left penniless, or invest that money into a company of their own.

Daley and Dykes chose the latter, confident in their abilities but wary of the new territory. Then a friend, who had known Daley from her previous position with Naples-based Sky Angel Faith & Family Television, asked her to film his conference series in Orlando.

It was “a pretty big sign” they had made the right choice, Daley says. After nailing their first gig, the couple established a company, Guerilla Media, and did complimentary work for local nonprofits to help get the word out.

Soon, they got hits from agencies in New York, Canada and beyond, and secured production jobs with names like Sony and Green Mountain Coffee. They also grew a more local client base, which drives much of their business today.

Within their first year in business, the duo turned that initial $6,300 into $58,000 in revenue. Guerilla Media has grown every year since, Dykes says, with the exception of last year, but business has reportedly already doubled the previous undisclosed figures.

Increased sales can be traced to more content- marketing jobs. As social media continues to connect many businesses with customers, smaller companies are seeking novel ways to promote themselves through the web. An  sometimes that means putting themselves in front of the camera to talk about products, events and more.

Guerilla Media has produced web episodes for various companies, including a series for Naples-based Rocco’s Tailor Shop called Jackets Required, in which head designer and tailor Dominic Lacquaniti talks fashion. They’ve also produced a video blog for Automated Shading and Lighting Control, which does business in Florida, California, New York and the Caribbean. Both companies have since seen a spike in business, Daley says.

But that’s not Guerilla Media’s only offering. Dykes and Daley, who are the firm’s only fulltime employees (a number of subcontractors vary from job to job), also open their studio for à-la-carte video production, and create documentaries, commercials, and TV shows and specials. Many services come with an upfront price and past work examples so clients new to video can avoid unclear fees.

For one package, a client can come to Southwest Florida to film a 13-episode TV show in four days. The client is picked up from the airport, taken on a sunset cruise to get acquainted with the film crew. Once filming has wrapped, Guerilla takes them to dinner.

It’s part of Dykes’ and Daley’s plan to draw more attention to the area’s film industry.

“There’s so much talent in this town, and we’ve all worked on some big projects, but so many times even the people in this city go to Miami, Tampa or Orlando to hire a film crew instead of looking in their local area to help local businesses,” Dykes says.

The pair also plan to create demo reels for show ideas and pitch them to conferences where major players— such as MGM Studios and 20th Century Fox— hunt for original concepts. With a number of plans in the works, the couple seems optimistic about the future. But at the end of the day, if they can continue to tell people’s stories, they are fulfilled.

“We put our hearts into everything we do,” Daley says. “And if we can make somebody’s life better, that’s fantastic.”

Melanie Pagan

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