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Old June 30th, 2010, 12:56 AM   #1
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does having an actual office or "store front" help business?

Im like many people in the video production world still trying to make a living doing video. doing any thing but weddings

im 28 and started doing it when i was about 20, Im still editing out of my parents house,

does having an office or a store front help business at all? i prob make 3,500 a year doing video work. and just need something.

Thanks!
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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Wow, I don't know what to say. Maybe I'm missing part of this picture.

To answer your question... An office along with any utilities and insurance is an expense.

So lets say for example that the office rent is $400 a month, and your sewer & water run you $30 a month, your electricity is oh $100 a month, your alarm system is $35 a month, and your insurance runs $75 a month. So you now have expenses totaling $640 a month not including the gas and travel time now to commute to the office. So lets say your overall expenses are now $700 a month. Which gives you a yearly office expense of $8400. So you will need to do more than double the work you do now just to pay your office expenses.

Now comes the free advice, take it or leave it, and I mean this in the best way...
Maybe you should consider a different field. Working out of your parents house at 28 earning $3500 a year doing video work is not the ideal situation, at least for the parents. I'm sure you enjoy doing video work, but after 8 years at it something hasn't gelled. Have you thought about going back to school to learn something viable, or maybe even getting a job at a commercial production house where you could up your skill set and meet valuable connections?
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Old June 30th, 2010, 07:30 AM   #3
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Aside from the above wisdom, an office is only handy if you have clients coming to visit you. Mind you, the psychological separation from "home" can be helpful.

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Old June 30th, 2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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I can't speak to your situation in particular, but I can tell you that for me, it is well worth the money to have a real office. All of my work is B2B (corporate video, duplication services, etc.) with virtualy no consumer services, like weddings.

Now I do not have a "store front", but rather office space in a well-respected technology park. My location says a lot about my business, at least to business owners and managers in this area.

In fact, I left my previous office space (which was larger) for this space, even though it costs about $600 more per month than I was paying. It has been well worth it. Much of my work comes from other tenants of the technology park.

Many years ago I worked out of my house. I found it very hard to keep my home life and work life separate and I'm sure I was earning 50% of what I would have with an outside office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
an office is only handy if you have clients coming to visit you.
I do disagree with that. As I mentioned, I don't have a store front. It will be weeks, if not months between client visits to my office. However it is worth the expense for several reasons:

1. I get more work done out of the house.
2. My personal life stays separate from my work life.
3. My personal "stuff" stays separate from my work "stuff".
4. Telling clients "I'm located in the _______ bulding/center/mall/park" gives your business credibility and gravitas.
5. I've since hired four employees. If I were working in my house, I wouldn't even have considered hiring a single employee.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #5
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I have the exact opposite problem. I can't work at my office because I'm constantly being interrupted by my employees asking questions for clarification, confirmation, check signing, or just plain chit chat. So I leave someone in charge, and then go home to work in peace!

So much for being the "boss", sometimes you can't win for trying ...
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Old June 30th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #6
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IMO there are a lot of variables as to whether an office space outside of the home is right for someone.
For instance Chris does all corporate style work and since he had a hard time seperating home from work a seperate office works for him but keep in mind having a seperate office space does mean more expenses and is no guarantee of sucess.
I on the other hand have never had an office outsied of my home office and in 38 years in the industry including 12 years as a still photographer, if it has hindered my business it has been minimal. I like working from home for any number of reasons but there are times I do pine for an outside office. Since I rarely have clients in my office it has worked out fine for me, but I know any number of people in the business that have seperate offices wheter store front or tech park type settings.

Dave, as for your particular situation I can only say that if in fact you are only earning what you stated from the video business, I think you need to reconsider what you are doing and asking. By going into an outside office your expenses will be about double of what you earn and one thing I can tell you is the reason most businesses fail in the first 3 years is overhead and expenses will eat your lunch. It's my opinion that the first thing you need to do if you desire to stay in the business is get out, meet as many people as possible, join some civic organizations, network, network, network some more, let EVERYONE know what you you and try to increase your workload. More work means more income with expenses that you are already familiar with. Do that for 2 or 3 years THEN decide whether or not you need an outsied office space. The work has to justify the move. I'm afraid that you might think an office will automatically bring the work in. Not so, you'd still need to get out and let people know what you do.

In closing, I know it's a tough decision and we here don't really know your personal situation so it's really up to you but just based on the info you gave us, if it were me, I wouldn't make the move. I would get out and talk to everyone, drop cards everywhere, go visit some companies, big and small and get your name out there. They can't hire you if they don't know who you are and what you do.

Just my thoughts. Good luck.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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You've got some great advice on here already - let me add my experience.

I used to have a store front with a light duty studio in the back that I co-ran with my mentor's widow after my mentor passed away. It was great for having clients in (once a month or so) and did increase the perception of me as a legitimate business. In the long run though, we decided it was a money pit as we SELDOM did any shooting IN STUDIO and more often met with clients at their workplaces or offices.

So in transition, I told everyone that I was moving my part of the office into my home for the tax benefits and to lower overhead so that I could focus spending on what made a difference to my clients. Worked for ME. Continued meeting clients at their locations and remembered to bring coffee or other "treats" in "compensation". No one ever complained.

BUT - I don't have a family. I lived alone and had no "distractions" when working from home. I also did work that didn't require clients sitting over my shoulder in edit.

Your mileage may vary - for me, I still work out of my home, in a new city. Perception is EVERYTHING. I refer to my condo as my home office in EVERY conversation. Out in Vancouver, MANY folks work from home so it's not a surprise. My office occupies most of the "common space" in my condo so IF I have clients in, they see very little "personal" stuff. This is how I have chosen to live - trust me, it doesn't work for everyone.

And yes, at $3500 a year, you can't afford an office space but you CAN afford to get out more and "press the flesh".

Good luck - we ALL need it right now...
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Old June 30th, 2010, 06:41 PM   #8
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On a minor note, the traffic in Brisbane is horrendous. I stopped having an office about 9 months ago and have shrunk in to an area an office quarter of the size ... not easy. (No staff.)

I definitely don't miss the traffic and all the major roadworks that are being done to fix it.

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Old July 1st, 2010, 08:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
For instance Chris does all corporate style work and since he had a hard time seperating home from work
In the interests of full disclosure - we do have eight children living at home, so imagine how hard it would be to get any work done with nine other people in close proximity! ;)
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Old July 1st, 2010, 11:53 AM   #10
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With 8 kids in the house it's no wonder you moved to a seperate office. Yikes! ;-)
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Old July 1st, 2010, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
In the interests of full disclosure - we do have eight children living at home, so imagine how hard it would be to get any work done with nine other people in close proximity! ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
With 8 kids in the house it's no wonder you moved to a seperate office. Yikes! ;-)
Yes, but Chris has HIRED one or two of them now so he still hasn't completely "escaped"! ;)
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Old July 1st, 2010, 03:27 PM   #12
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Yeah but when you hire 'em you can fire 'em. Of course that can lead to other "challenges" but those are for Dr. Phil. ;-)
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #13
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My parents owned there own business and I use to work in it when I was growing up. I think I got fired once a month, and that rated increased during the summer :D

Great advice and a great question. I too find myself in a similar situation and wonder if an office space would benefit the business. But if I make it a home office, I can apply that to rent and live in a nice part of town.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #14
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The fact you haven't made money is in no way a reflection of your ability to create moving pictures. However, sounds like your marketing and publicity strategies need re-evaluation. Frankly, I've seen some really crummy filmmakers working successfully for one reason only: they know how to promote themselves. Personally I think the web is powerful enough that, at least for video production, that bricks and mortar aren't essential. I started spending $30 a month on google adwords and got a huge spike in paying clients. But on the other hand, a storefront can have advantages.

So, get a calling card a website, a niche and start directing traffic to it. And sell yourself any chance you get. Or find yourself a partner who knows marketing. Doesn't matter if he or she knows much about video, I think you need a front man, and if you aren't suited to it, find someone that is. P&A works.

I like a piece of advice read here once, to paraphrase, "The best piece of a gear an aspiring video guy can purchase, in fact the only piece of gear he needs, is a land line".
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