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Taking Care of Business
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Old November 8th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #1
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Business of Business - Am I a Freelancer or my own Company

I have a question to all those in my shoes, or have been there. This all came about when I was designing a business card for myself.

Some background info:

By day I work at a TV station doing Videography and Editing and such.

On the side I have been dabbling with some freelance projects, weddings, and events.

My questions is, as I pursue this Freelance/extra work, should I sell myself as Alden Miller, video freelancer? Or build a small production company name for myself?

So far I have a company name and a website being built. Nothing legal or paperwork done yet. I do have a separate bank account for this work though.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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I'm a freelance videographer who is also a small production house and has produced and directed events.

Iam self employed but have contracted to a-v houses, tv companies, private companies (large and small) to do social events as well as seminars, conferences and trade shows.

So the final jepordy question is: What are we?

Well I'm a freelance video cameraman, editor, production house, producer and director. (I think).

I have always run under my own name and it has never been a problem. This way I'm not infringing on anyone elses company name. A seperate bank account is a good thing, keep business money seperate from personal money including paycheck from your fulltime job paycheck although that's probably where the money comes from to start your business including gear, printing, developing the website etc.

I suppose it's a matter of personal preference whether you go with your own name as your company name OR pick another name to run under. In the case of using something other than your own name make sure you check to make sure that name isn't being used by anyone else somewhere in the country.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I guess one of the things that I was trying to ask, that I am not sure I got across was;

Which do people have more success at selling themselves? As an individual or as part of a "company".
Also, am I just over-thinking this aspect of the business?
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Old November 8th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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Which do people have more success at selling themselves? As an individual or as part of a "company".
Personally, I don't think it matters much in your area of business (weddings and events.) Mostly people care if you have the references and demo reel. They don't care if they're writing a check to Alden Miller or "Lemon Jello Productions". In fact, with your day job as a videographer at a tv station, it might be better to sell yourself as a professional individual, especially if you have some letters after your name (certifications.)

If you were aiming at larger businesses as clientele , they might want to think they're dealing with a "real" company, not just a guy.

You may want to check with your state's small business center and see that you are doing things legal. Where I live, anyone can hang out a shingle and start doing business without any sort of license or permit (as long as you don't have employees and are not handling hazardous materials.) But your locale may be different. You also may want to check on the legality of operating under an assumed name - there may be local or state restrictions on that.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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AH yes, but you folks have easy to say, easy to spell names - hence I started trading as Gearhead Visual!

In Canada at least, the separate bank account thing is even questionable - as a sole proprietor (instead of a corporation) EVERYTHING I make from whatever stream goes into the same coffers and accrues as total income. Then the accountant does her magic and strangely income disappears...
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Old November 8th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #6
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Shaun said "Then the accountant does her magic and strangely income disappears"

This year I don't have to wait for my accountant-the income seems to have dissapeared all on it's own. ;-)
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Old November 8th, 2009, 08:26 PM   #7
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the income seems to have dissapeared all on it's own. ;-)
I get that... so I up and moved! I'll let you know how THAT goes...
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Old November 9th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #8
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Personally, I don't think it matters much in your area of business (weddings and events.) Mostly people care if you have the references and demo reel. They don't care if they're writing a check to Alden Miller or "Lemon Jello Productions". In fact, with your day job as a videographer at a tv station, it might be better to sell yourself as a professional individual, especially if you have some letters after your name (certifications.)
If you were aiming at larger businesses as clientele , they might want to think they're dealing with a "real" company, not just a guy.
I was thinking of also helping smaller businesses with commercials as well. But as this would be like a privately owned "Mom and Pop" place and not McDonalds or the like, I may be able to get away with the individual route.

I would like to hear from anyone else that debated this choice if you're out there.

Thanks
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Old November 9th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #9
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Like Shaun said in his post, a name for a business needs to be easy to remember and easy to spell. My name is neither easy to spell, isn't pronounced the way it's spelled, nor is it easy to remember. So, I named my company True View LLC. The domain name for my web site is trueviewfilms.com, both of which are easy to spell, pronounce, find in the phone book, and hopefully remember. I feel very fortunate to have gotten a dot com domain name. So many of the good names have already been taken.

Starting out is really hard. Especially if your potential customers can't get in contact with you. And I strongly urge you to seek out a good attorney, a good CPA, and a good financial planner when you start your company. My butt would have been toast already without them.

Roger

Oh yeah, the last name is pronounced "van dine"
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