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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 04:18 PM   #1
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Starting a digital solutions business with a friend...

Me and my friend are looking into starting a business. We are going to be covering web design, digital graphics, stock footage, commercials, and other video production. We have everything planned out, but we are having trouble on how to advertise our business. We would go around and talk to businesses and see if they need anything done (ex: A computer store down the street doesnt have a website and I am thinking about going down there to talk with them) The problem is that we are young, (me being 15, and my friend being 18) so we don't know if they will take us seriously. I have printed out a couple of his sites he is working on for our portfolio and transfered some clips I have filmed of city skylines downtown Chicago onto my camera. Do you guys have any suggestions on how to approach this, or anywhere I can advertise that someone will actually look at?

Thanks guys,
Ryan Krga
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 04:44 PM   #2
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The biggest problem you will have is that you are not old enough to even sign a contract, which would exclude you from actually forming a company or even buying advertising. There are also laws regarding how much a "minor" can work legally. So the best you could hope for is to work part time for your friend. Now, if you have a nice portfolio and really pound the streets you might be able to find something to do but keep in mind, there are a TON of people out there with more years of experience in this field than you even have in life, that have recently lost their jobs and will be going after the same customers.
Right now you are a kid, I would just work on your personal ideas (which would most likely be much better than anything you would be likely to get as a job) and really hone your skills in creative perfection and the craft, while you can still enjoy it. Believe me, most companies are not willing to give you as much creative license as you can give yourself. So take this time to really produce some stellar work with no holds barred and you will get a lot further.

This isn't meant to discourage you but give you a reality check. For every obstacle there is a solution, you have to find that solution.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 06:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
a digital solutions business....
I'll start off by saying that my post isn't to discourage you either, just my opinion based on experience.

I used the above quote, because that's going to be your first problem. "Digital solutions business" is extremely vague, even if it's just trying to categorize your business. Be more specific right from the get-go, which leads me to the second thing.

Quote:
We are going to be covering web design, digital graphics, stock footage, commercials, and other video production
As passionate as you and your partner might be about your work, given your limited experience and trying to put out a quality, professional level website, commercial, company logo, etc. I do not see it happening. Out of all those, I would recommend focusing on 1 or 2 of those fields. Any one of those fields takes years to master and have the principals and elements of that particular field become second nature to you. Don't think because you might have a good eye doing graphic design work, you can design a professional level website, it's a whole other ball of wax. I've known a few people that thought that way, they didn't get too far. To make money and/or a living off of your work, you need a complete understanding of everything that it involves, so for the reasons I stated above, I don't think it would be wise. The whole game changes when you want to put a price tag on your work and expect people to pay for it. Now if you had a group of people that had a passion and talent for each, then it might be doable.

I agree with Rhett as well. I'm not sure about your partner's situation (whether he's in high school still? College?). But for you, trying to make money should be the last thing on your mind right now. There will be plenty of time in the future to do so. Think about what makes you happy, what makes you feel good. Focus on that, excel at it and build a great portfolio. You might get a project from going door to door, but that's being generous. Most companies will look at you the same way as a door to door insurance, vacuum, flower salesman... a solicitor!
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 06:47 PM   #4
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I visited your Web site at www.visital.com and I would like to lean more about your company and your work.

Only trouble is the site navigation buttons don't seem to work with IE 5.2 for Mac, or there is something wrong with the Flash swf. I push the buttons and nothing happens.

I don't think you are ready advertise if your site can't support the common platforms.
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Old February 2nd, 2003, 07:54 PM   #5
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That was just a preview of the site, the newer site will hopefully be up by March. Sorry for the inconvenience. Feel free to email me at ryan@visital.com if you would like to talk about the site.

Ryan Krga
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 01:07 PM   #6
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I tried to access your site but was denied.
I'd like to see examples of your work before I make a judgement, but I have to say this, the odds are really stacked against you. When I was your age I thought I could do the same thing (different circumstances, but...) Now as an adult (snicker), having operated several businesses, and knowing what I know about teenagers, I would 99.9% not hire you based on your age, unless your portfolio/demo reel was MIND BOGGLINGLY good. I might pay an 18 year old a bit of cash to do a website for me if his other stuff was really good, but the the reality is I wouldn't trust a teenager with my money. Plus there are enough other older experienced people out there trying to get work, that you will not likely get much, if any.
Man I hate being a downer.

You do have another option if you really want to do this... You could find a 3rd partner, someone older (in their 20's) who would act as a figurehead for the business, and handle all the sales. He could explain that the two of you are on a school work co-op program, and he will be supervising you all the time. You will have to keep your rates pretty low as well. I'd get a good demo reel by doing several projects for free for friends of the family or something. Then go from there.

If I was you, I'd spend the next 3 years learning the skills of shooting, lighting, sound, and editing, and then get a part time job at a production company to learn hands on. Then start out on my own. Plus go to college and study there.


Let's see some demo footage and then give you some more feedback.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 01:47 PM   #7
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The web site, although not really working, does look nice but there are a variety of styles you will need to cater to besides the "generation-y-edgy-techno-MTV-playstation" crowd that your website feels like. (I personally like the look so far) but to reinforce Dylan's idea of getting someone older may help.
When I was in my early 20's I went to work for a company doing industrial/architectural design, the owner was in his 50's. He was an attractive athletic man (kinda Tom Skerritt looking) with a decent business sense and great personality who realized I knew more about the technical parts of the business than he did. I, being "still a kid" realized that most people buying the type of work I did weren't to quick to hand over a large sum of money to this youngster (however capable). The solution ended up being a partnership where he would meet the clients and establish a relationship and then introduce me to the equation when it was time. After a few years of this (and a bunch of long stories) my reputation overcame my age discrimination and I ended up taking over the company. We are still friend today but I have since moved on and left that industry.
So you see, even at 24 (how old I was at the time) it was hard to get into certain markets because of my age, imagine how hard it would be at 15-18.
Perfect your skills while you aren't limited by budget or client and enjoy being a kid while you can.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 02:41 PM   #8
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Much of what is being said here is referring to the "Grey Hair" Syndrome. 30 years ago I was going to dye my hair grey so people would take me seriously, now, well I guess I don't have that problem anymore. The hair that is, they still don't take me seriously. (actually they do but I'm still a kid a heart) Take to heart what is being said, not to demean or knock you,your partner, your work or your ideas...life is reality and the reality of it is that MOST folks won't entrust their money or their companys' money to someone who is so young, use the ideas given here to launch from and NEVER QUIT DREAMING! Everything of importance in the world today was somebody's dream yesterday!
Good Luck
Don
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