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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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Spreading the Word

So I formed my LLC and got my first gig doing a Colonel's Retirement video (a lot of After Effects work), it went extremely well. We got that gig through a friend of a friend, otherwise I wouldn't have even gotten that.

However now I am standstill as far as work, any general suggestions for what do to next as far as marketing or websites to register as an after effects/video editing/filming company?
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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Jarred,

We are all out looking for work. If we knew the answer, either we would not tell you to keep it for ourselves :) or you would not need our input as it would be easy enough everybody could do it.

The only way is to know your craft, have a good website, talk to people and pound the pavement.

These things will never go out of style and only one of them can be purchased.

Good luck and stay positive.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thanks, I figured that's what the answer would be. I guess I will ramp up my website a bit more (I have a client login that the last client loved) and then start researching the Baltimore area for possible gigs.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM   #4
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I think finding your service niche is vital. You can't offer to do everything, it is just too broad to market around.

The website is a great tool especially for people to see examples of your work. It is the place to show your "reel" today.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 12:14 PM   #5
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That's a good point, I'll have to really assess what I enjoy doing/what I am good at and focus on that in conjunction with the 2 contractors I had on the last project. After that rework the site to incorporate those elements.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 09:51 AM   #6
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Start networking, get involved in your local chamber of commerce, start meeting people. Volunteer to lead some workshops or be on some committees. A nice website is good, but don't count on a website doing all the work for you.

As you get your name out there more work will start coming your way. Right now we're swamped, but it's taken about 4 years for us to become known as the "experts" in our area.
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 04:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
I think finding your service niche is vital. You can't offer to do everything, it is just too broad to market around.
I am finding the opposite to be true Tim. With budgets tightening, a diverse range of skill sets could mean the difference between survival and closing your doors. While there are companies that specialize in say Motion Graphics, they are the rarity now days from my experience. Most one man operations like what Jarred is starting will need a "breadth" of skills, not a "depth" in one area. Now, once you have established yourself and things are rolling, it might make more sense to narrow things down. But IMO, starting out in a niche market when you've only done one gig, and a retirement video at that, would not be the way I would go personally. When I started my business I brought to the table a very diverse range of skills from IMAG production to broadcast to photography. I really do believe the reason I've been as successful as I am is because of that diversity. Besides, it's a heck of a lot of fun doing something different every day!! That could just be the ADD talkin though...
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 05:30 PM   #8
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I agree Mick.

Sometimes the entire point is not translated over the internet.

I am a "one man band type" and I do everthing from audio to video to photography to duplication. Skills are great and diversity helps spread the work around.

But what I meant was you need to find a market niche to really focus on. Something you enjoy and is a long term money maker. Otherwise you will be knocking on a new door for every job which will wear you down over time.

In a way I am saying both, but over the years I have noticed finding a market niche is a lot more fruitful. But to find that niche you do need to turn over a lot of rocks!
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Old March 4th, 2010, 04:10 AM   #9
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I agree Mick.
Sometimes the entire point is not translated over the internet.
But what I meant was you need to find a market niche to really focus on. Something you enjoy and is a long term money maker.
Agreed. Mine is non profits. While I do corporate and commercial as well, that is where I find my most satisfaction.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #10
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It's a fine line to walk. I have found that it's hard to market yourself as an expert in too many areas at once, especially if you're a one-man show. New clients are skeptical of someone who claims to be good at more than a handful of skills.

The flip side of that is that once you get the client, they expect you to be able to do EVERYTHING well. : ) That's when the broad skill set really pays off.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 06:02 PM   #11
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ooo ooo ooo I have an idea!

Hi Jarred,

First of all, congrats on your first job. I remember how nervous I was for my first paid gig, so I'm glad yours went so well.

Secondly, I know people are going to laugh at this, but when I started, I got back-to-back work using nothing but craigslist. I know other people have had different experiences with craigslist, but honestly, I've never found anything better for getting started.

And with the economy the way it is, a lot more people are looking for videographers on craigslist. I booked a job last May on craigslist (a small $500 shoot), and that one client has now re-hired me about 20 times (each shoot was about $1000 on average).... and next month he's paying me to shoot on a cruise to Cabo.

I think, when used the right way, craigslist makes miracles =P

On my blog, I go through step-by-step how I get clients on craigslist... and it works really well for me.

But, if you're not down with craigslist, that's cool. My advise would just be to market, market, market, market... and if you don't know much about marketing... find someone who does.

Hope this helps =)
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Old March 10th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #12
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TJ,

I watched your marketing video and its walking a fine line between helping and selling.

4 hour wedding or event:
$25 per hour - $100
$100 per hour - $400

Still cheap Craigslist pricing.

We can all have more shoots than we can do if we give our services away, with or without a video camera.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 07:13 PM   #13
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Hi Tim

First of all, thanks for checking out my video and my blog.

Just to clear up any misunderstanding. That blog isn't made for professional videographers, it's a blog for amateur videographers who want to start making money.

If you don't like the advice, that's fine, I'm just sharing how I got started out.

And I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm selling... but really, I have nothing to sell, it's just a blog.

And as far as getting $100 - $400 for a wedding.. I assume you do some post work for a wedding... so, of course, you'd make more than that. And no, I would never encourage anyone to charge less than $1000 for a wedding.

Most of my subscribers are still working their day jobs, and just want to learn how to quit their job and do what they love for a living, and that's the purpose of the blog.

So far, all my subscribers have loved the content, and the feedback has been great. But it's nice to hear from the other side as well, so thanks for the response =)
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Old March 11th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #14
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Hey TJ!

I checked your site out. Watched the two videos, and printed out the documentation. Thanks! Some of it I'd figured out on my own in a round about way. Other ideas I hadn't even thought about. It will at the very least save me some time, but I expect it will actually bring results.

I started my business last year after working thirty years of laboratory work, so I'm somewhat procedure oriented. The way you organized the information is very helpful to someone like me.

What you say agrees with the limited formal marketing training and what was taught in the few business, psychology and communications courses I received long, long, ago in a university far, far away studying laboratory sciences. It also agrees with what basic sales and marketing books I've been reading lately say. It also agrees with what I picked up in retailing just before and during college.

Thanks a lot. It's not the be all and end all of running a business, but it is helpful information to a career switcher like me.

Oh yeah, what Tim said in his post is true. The 1st video is too much of a sales pitch. It almost scared me off. I'm glad it didn't. A more subdued approach would probably work better. People get uncomfortable sometimes if you seem too enthusiastic about sharing something. That's something I've been guilty of, on both ends of the equation.

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Old March 11th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #15
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Thank you so much Roger, that means a lot!

And ya, I think I'll change that opening video when I get a chance. I can see what you guys mean.

I'm really glad you liked the video.... I'll be making the next one soon =)

Thanks again,
TJ
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