How I Got a $20,000 USD Cheque from Microsoft

Someone just rang my buzzer. I let him in without asking. It is probably the mail guy.
Moments later I see him approaching my door. It’s a FedEx guy.
He hands me a thin FedEx envelope. I sign on his digital device, his job is done, off he goes.

I am curious, this envelope is so light it seems empty.
FedEx envelopes are great, I don’t need scissors to open it. I just pull the thin stripe across the top and the contents are exposed.

Mmm.. I think to myself. It looks like a plain sheet of paper inside.
I pull it out still wondering who would go through the trouble of FedExing me just a plain sheet of paper.

I pull it out from the envelope, the top says “Microsoft Corporation”, my heart starts racing a little when I realize it is a cheque. I scroll down to the bottom, yes it is a cheque for $20,000 US from Microsoft. This is good news!

Here is the cheque:

$20,000 USD Cheque from Microsoft - oh yeah

This makes me happy in so many levels, it is not just because the money, it is more a feeling of accomplishment.
This represents another milestone in my life and in the story of this little animation studio I started just over a year ago.

It seems hard to believe that I produced my first demo video for free, it seems hard to believe it was so difficult to get clients to pay even $2.5K for a 2 minute animation.
And today someone has been very happy to send me a $20,000 cheque over the mail.

Things have changed, one of the most reputable companies in the world has trusted me to tell the story of one of their flagship products.

So how did this happen?

A year ago I was willing to work for free just to get some exposure.
It worked. Having your work recognized by people you admire is one of the best forms of payments you can dream of.

Free work can help you get started but it cannot help you build a lasting company.
Learning to charge for your art feels weird, are people really willing to pay me to have fun doing what I love? The only way to know is to charge for your work, if they pay.. the answer is yes and you may just have created a business opportunity for yourself.

So do what you love and charge for it, eventually you may get a $20,000 cheque on the mail and that may just make your day..

Thanks Microsoft 😉

Related Posts:
Thank you message from Grumo CEO
Grumo turns 1 year old
How to create an Awesome demo video
The Story behind the name Grumo
Running an animation studio – Behind the scenes of Grumo Media

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13 thoughts on “How I Got a $20,000 USD Cheque from Microsoft

  1. Ivan Paramonau Reply

    Congrats Miguel, well deserved!

    And wise approach on doing some work for free. Counter-intuitive, but it actually cuts your sales costs a lot (provided you get almost to 100% conversion rate). Not that you’d need to worry about conversion rates so much longer if you do an amazing things (and you do!).

      • Remington McElhaney Reply

        Oh, is it already finished? I sure hope they let you! I’m sure we’ll get to see it eventually regardless. 

        Congratulations though! That’s extremely exciting. Your going to have a fun trip to the bank 😉 

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Congrats man! I’m really happy for you. Can’t want to see this video! 

    Cheers 🙂

  3. Charlie Reply

    Congratulations Miguel. You deserve it very well. Can’t wait to see this video. 

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