Today we’d like to introduce you to Dmitriy Hanuka.
Hi Dmitriy, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
In 2017, my wife was pregnant with our second child, while I was the director of product management for a memory card manufacturer. I had many great achievements at my job at the time: I directed the launch of dozens of innovative products, served as the products’ champion, traveled the country organizing tradeshows and visiting key clients, and collaborated with sales and marketing teams to get more business and brand awareness. All the hard work paid off as we were selling to Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and even landed one of our products into Apple stores. Although I was able to find success in this corporate environment, I was not happy with the corporate culture. Often the hard work of core employees was unrecognized, some undeserving individuals overstepped others to advance in the ladder, and worst of all, in the name of “maximum profits” many were victims to unfair layoffs. It was clear to me that this company was not motivated by moral values, and I was not in the position to steer it in the right direction.
One day I said to myself that life is too short to waste on other people’s visions, it’s time to take matters into my own hands and do something profound in the business world. It’s time to create a for-profit corporation that has elements of a non-profit. I desired to create a corporate culture with the motto of “don’t do to others, that which you dislike for yourself.” A company that will create value where it did not exist before and facilitates collaborations instead of rivalry. An organization that is truly inclusive: allowing women and men of all backgrounds, ages, religions, and political affiliations to excel in their skillset and improve their quality of life without prejudice or discrimination. A business venture that will be equally good to its team members, customers, and even competitors.
The more I thought of it, the more it made sense. I wanted to employ an honest business practice that can make a profit while striving for divine values and altruism. In fact, I wanted G-d to be my first and only business partner. Hence, I registered my corporation under the name Kiddush HaShem, Inc. – which literally means in Hebrew “sanctify the Name” or in other words – conducting morally driven actions that cause others to bless G-d. For everyone to realize that we are all one family, under one G-d that fills the entire universe with the energy of pure good. For practical reasons, however, I chose to do business as Three D Realty and later rebranding as Three D Media.
Not long after, I came across a Facebook ad that displayed a new way to convert physical space into virtual reality. Although this was still 3 years before the pandemic, and virtual tours were not yet commonplace, I was captivated with its potential instantly. You can call it an advanced Facebook algorithm that promoted me to see this ad at the perfect time or simply divine providence, but me being a man of faith, I choose to believe the latter. This perfect “coincidence” made me jump at the opportunity headfirst and tap into our humble savings account. I quickly ordered the necessary equipment to start my new venture and created a business plan that would introduce this new technology to the local real estate agents and small businesses alike, as they can benefit greatly from being able to display homes or retail spaces virtually.
As soon as I received the equipment, I wanted to put it to good use. I remembered that my brother-in-law in Vienna just finished building a beautiful apartment building, and this might be a great opportunity for him to market his freshly built work virtually. After a phone call with him, he agreed to cover my cost of flying me out there and be the ginny pig of my new venture. I realized that he is motivated with generosity in his heart, but I still felt that I will bring great value to his business. My business trip to Europe was a success: it gave me an opportunity to use the equipment, to add a great project to my new portfolio, and validated that the service is indeed doable and needed in the marketplace.
After coming home, I was pumped to do my first cold call to get my first real client. However, before I picked the phone, I had a talk with my business partner, G-d himself. In what could be called a prayer, I reiterated my mission one more time, and set off into action. To my absolute disbelief, the very first call was a complete triumph! As soon I made my offer, the person on the other line hired me to do a virtual tour of a small but luxurious real estate listing in Laguna Beach. I felt exhilarated, “this will work!” I said to my trusting wife. I’m sure it must have been hard for her emotionally too, as I was and still am the sole provider in the family, and she was few months away from delivering our second child. She believed in me despite it being a big gamble. Without her council and endless support, I would never have been this daring.
While I was building up my company, I realized that I might need to upgrade my education. At that time, it has been eight years since I got my bachelor’s degree in communication and advertising. I realized that getting an MBA degree from a modern school will enable me to excel the business even further. Having no disposable money left me with a couple of options, getting a loan (which I hate doing) or trying to get into the Quantic School of Business – the only business school in the world that offered one of kind, fast-paced, all-online MBA program that was completely free. Because of that, they had a huge number of applicants and one of the lowest acceptance rates in the industry. Most people that got accepted were Ivy league graduates (many with master’s degrees in STEM) or worked one that had prestigious jobs at the top companies such as Google. I had none of that except for my vision to change the business world for the good. I sent them a letter that expressed my ambitious goals and talked about my new business. To my pleasant surprise, they believed in me and accepted into their MBA program! It was very intense, by day I was working on the business and at night I was endlessly studying, sometimes doing my reading while putting our daughter to sleep. From 2017 to 2018 I practically had no personal life or much sleep, but by next year I got shiny MBA diploma. Not long after I also completed an online Entrepreneurship program in Harvard.
By the end of 2018, I was armed with new knowledge, experience, and free time to scale my business. Every single day, my company got new clients, expanded its services, and grew its team exponentially. We became the fastest-growing media company in Southern California. The customers and employees appreciated my vision, and even former competitors became members of the team that still loyally participates in spreading good in the business world.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Getting my first real sale and fulfilling it was an absolute breeze, once again I felt like I was being assisted from above. However, getting and fulfilling my second and third orders were totally opposite experiences. On my second appointment, upon completing the job, I backed up from the steep driveway of this house in Laguna Beach and I hit the neighbor’s car that just happen to pull up behind me. There was no chance for me to see them behind me as the angle of both my backup camera and line sight was pointing to the sky, but I still took full responsibility for it. This accident was not only embarrassing as it happened in front of my second client but also undid all my profits and put me in a huge minus.
My third job was even more stressful. It took me several days and over a hundred calls of rejection before I finally reached someone that was somewhat interested in my services. However, this potential customer said that she will only hire me for a virtual tour if I can also take drone pictures and create a video for her. Out of desperation, I reluctantly said yes and booked it for at least a week out, as I needed some time to prepare. I promised her that I would not charge her unless she liked the work because in my heart I felt I might not be able to deliver the service that was worth paying for. When I started, I had no drone, no flying experience, no pilot’s license, and no video equipment… I literally needed a miracle to pull this job off. However, I was not deterred and did not waste a minute. I ran to buy a drone, learned to use it on the fly (pun intended), and spent 24 hours learning and preparing for a pilot license exam. Due to a lack of budget for dedicated video equipment, I decided to use the drone for the interior footage as well (in hindsight, a terrible idea). Finally, I took and passed the remote pilot license exam on the first try. It began to seem like this might just work.
I arrived at this job eager to perform my duties with a sense of confidence. However, as soon as I started flying the drone around this gorgeous house that was surrounded with tall trees and neighbors in every direction, my palms were squeezing the life out of the controller and covering it with sweat… I was filled with regret and panic. Once again, I called out to my business partner (G-d) and asked for protection from crashing the drone while allowing me to legitimately provide beneficial service to our new client. Somehow, someway, I managed to wrap up the shoot without an incident and headed home. Upon arriving and checking the video footage, I broke into tears as I realized that even though I was able to fly the drone and film the house, it was not worthy of this luxury home that it was meant to sell. I thought there and then that I am done, enough is enough, time to wake up and look for a normal job. My wife, on the other hand (being an amateur video editor and a kind soul), asked me to give her one undisturbed day to work on the video while I watched our one and half-year-old baby. Spending that time with my firstborn daughter might have been the most blissful thing that I’ve had to do those past few months. It relieved me of all the stress and helped me refocus on the most important things in life. It didn’t matter anymore whether I succeed or fail, as long as they are next to me. The next day, my wife called me to the computer to show what she was able to do. Once again, I broke into tears, but this time of joy and amazement. Somehow, she took my shoddy work and turned into a work of art. The music gave the footage and the house its soul, the surgical cuts hid imperfections and flowed perfectly to the beat, she made something out of nothing! I sent it to the client, and she happily paid the bill and even left one of our first great reviews. Going forward, nothing else seemed impossible.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Kiddush HaShem, Inc DBA Three D Media?
Three D Media is the highest-rated media company in So Cal. We are distinguished for our real estate photography, video promotions, drone services, website development, and Yelp advertising. In just over 5 years, we have attracted over 2000 satisfied customers, over 20 of extremely dedicated and talented team members, over a dozen of prestigious awards and nominations, hundreds of 5-star reviews across multiple platforms, and a growing nationwide network of contractors. However, our greatest achievement is nurturing a new kind of business culture where everyone is treated the way we want to be treated ourselves – that is Kiddush HaShem, Inc.
Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
While being inspired, my two-week notice seemed like the natural course of action, as I trusted that G-d will assist in my mission of spreading good in the business world while feeding my own family. Although it was a major risk, I felt as if the universe guided me all along. I will admit that it was scary to leave the comfort of a guaranteed paycheck that fed my growing family to start a business, but as our history taught us, even the sea will split for you if you are ready to take the first steps in the right direction.
- Website: https://www.threedmedia.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/three.d.media/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThreeDMedia1/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNMn0aohwGaNUXwPrtWJ3uQ/videos
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/three-d-media-irvine-3
- Other: https://vimeo.com/threedmedia