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I have worked in TV/video production for a few years, and I have also done several freelance/side jobs. I am really wanting to open up an official video production business of my own and generate many more business opportunities. It seems that projects usually come to me through family or word-of-mouth, but I really want to expand my reach. Ultimately, I would like to make this my full-time endeavor.

I guess my problem is just knowing where to begin in terms of marketing myself and knowing how to sell my business to potential clients and partners. I really would like to focus on opportunities dealing with corporate projects, marketing productions, training videos, internet video, photo montage pieces, church features, and basically anything having to do with telling a story. I don't mind doing some event video projects as well, but I don't want this to be my main emphasis.

What tips would you have for anyone really just trying to start up a business in terms of marketing? Where do you even begin? For a video production company, how do you approach businesses or clients? Do you cold call and try to set up an appointment, or what approach do you find works best for you? In addition, I am introverted by nature, and obviously cold calling and marketing in general isn't my favorite thing in the world. I know I can provide valuable services to those who need them. The problem is just discovering who needs them.

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I will tell you what I did. 1st I made a demo reel. Your work is your business card. People want to know that you can do the work. try doing some projects pro bono just to build your library up. You can go to Elance.com where there is freelance work. This will enable you to start showing your skills.
Hi Chris, your post caught my eye as I too am starting a video production company. I'll tell you something about my journey so far and maybe that will help.
My intent in moving to Colorado was to make and produce corporate videos. After spending much time buying the equipment and software and even more time learning how to use all of it I began creating videos pro bono for non-profit organizations. This helped me learn the craft and get my name out there. At the same time I did as much research online as I could, reading and commenting on forums with experts in the field.

Almost all the advice I found said that I had to call 20 companies I had never contacted before every day without fail if I even wanted a chance at making a living at it. Well, like you, I HATE cold calling and even though I can be an outgoing person just the thought of spending most of my time doing that made me shudder. Doing something I hate sure doesn't sound like a good match to me and in my research for marketing and internet business I began to notice another business model that is the 48 days business model. Creating your own material and selling it online.

I read and heard about so many people with successful businesses online and a residual type of business fit me to a "T" that I've restructured my entire business model and instead of making videos for/of other companies I'm making my own videos and selling them online myself. My first video will be an instructional video about home theaters (what is hi-def and surround sound, how to use them and how much you need to spend). Since I used to be a custom home theater installer that was an area of expertise I already had so that was an obvious choice for my first video. I also have a children's video series in the works and a hunting video series as well. I have lots of other ideas but I'm forcing myself to focus on those first.

Of course I'm still having to learn how to market my videos and how to sell them online as letting people know that my videos are available for them is the biggest part of the business.

If you still want to focus on corporate videos then I would suggest taking Dan's ideas described in "48 days to the work you love" on how to find a job and applying them to gain clients—first locating companies that you think could really use a corporate video, sending a letter (perhaps with a demo reel) explaining the video you would like to make for them, calling them to set up an appointment, then going to the face to face appointment.

Another way that incorporates both models is to find other people with areas of expertise that would benefit from having an instructional video and team up with them. They write the script and do the acting while you produce the video. There are more questions of who's going to market the video and/or website and how you would be paid (either up front or share in the profits) but that could be determined on a project-by-project basis. I'm also exploring ideas with other people. Since I'm always in the "video mode" when I meet someone with a passion about a certain subject (and everyone is passionate about something) I'm always asking myself if that would make a good video?

I hope this helps, let me know how you're progressing—Gary
Chris

Any business is going to require marketing. Avoiding the calling and prospecting is going to be difficult if, as you described, are introverted. All of us are in sales of some kind. Either we are selling someone on using us or they are selling us on why they won't. If you can not afford to hire or outsource the selling part, then you will have to do that yourself. That is going to be a challenge but not impossible.

As far as marketing, here is what I would do and have done many times myself...

1. Pick a niche
2. Identify their pains and create a unique selling proposition ( that is what you say when someone ask you what you do ) Here is an example" "Hi my name is Chris and I work with churches who are struggling with growing their congregation and are frustrated by technical work such as video production and are searching for a way to tell their story to attract and grow their congregation. I offer a solution that helps them attract more visitors, retain their existing congregation, and reach their community."

That was off the cuff to give you an idea..

3. With your product I would then identify your very best prospects, make a demo video of you presenting the features and benefits and then you have to get their attention.

One of my best attention getting responses is to send my offer in an unusual packet. I have been now to send helium balloons inside of boxes that float out when opened. It is an attention grabber for sure.

I hope this helps get you started. You can learn more at www.11gospeltruthsofmarketing.com

Thanks!

Tim Davis
The marketing evangelist
Gary,

Thank you for taking the time to reply so thoroughly. I have been thinking along similar lines based upon the concept of residual income that Dan teaches. I'm curious as to how this has been working for you as far as selling content online. Do you actually sell the video products as DVDs or downloadable content? Do you promote through your own website or look to sell your products through retailers?

I have a similar idea that I want to do. Eventually, I would like to produce missions documentaries and market those to retailers, churches, etc. I don't have clue yet how I'm going to produce those, but it's an idea that would combine my passions and hopefully produce the residual income.

That's also a great idea regarding Dan's techniques in "48 Days..." I'll give it a shot and see what happens.

Chris
Brad,

Thanks for your ideas. Currently, I have a demo reel, and I feel that I've produced and edited enough videos/features that have aired to show what I can do. Where I get stuck is just knowing how to consistently pull in the freelance work and how to find work when building your own business.

Chris
Go to Elance.com. I have started doing freelance work there and have a church I am working with now. It is a great place to sign up and you can bid on work and send to buyers your work.

Chris said:
Brad,

Thanks for your ideas. Currently, I have a demo reel, and I feel that I've produced and edited enough videos/features that have aired to show what I can do. Where I get stuck is just knowing how to consistently pull in the freelance work and how to find work when building your own business.

Chris
Hello, I first was able to get "freelance" work when in college (years ago) because I had an import truck that I would volunteer to pick up equipment, drop off film to the lab.......that was a long time ago. I would ask if anyone needed a ride to the shoot. I had always "picked up" purchased equipment when I could afford it and even when it was a stretch, sometimes doing a trade for future production work for the person selling the equipment (Labor Banking (TM, DCT). I call it). I would then be the person who had a truck and some lights, power cables, tripod, grip equipment, carpentry tools to build sets and rig things, even if I could not afford a 100,000. camera at that time. I sold my self as "smart muscle" and a loyal person who wanted to "get the job done, not get done with the job"!

If I had to drive a bit further to pick up or drop off people and equipment I was always talking to new people and asking them about their business and how they got to where they were. I would get paid a bit more and even get millage out of it and as a film student that added up to a tank of gas and food money that other "whiners" were not making on the same job. That was the work ethic I was raised with and that is the attitude that got me work and helps other people get hired on my productions. I want to work with the guy who wants to get the job done for me and the production, the end goal and is always thinking of my needs not just how much money they are going make off of me. I have always (mostly) reaped the rewards of going the extra mile (sounds kinda biblical).

Just yesterday; I sold and old tripod on eBay and needed to call the buyer in San Diego, CA. I am in Spokane, WA. we hit it off talking about our work, video and film equipment and what we each do. I asked if he knew a producer who is living here in Spokane and has employed me to produce, shoot and edit shows for the Outdoor Channel, who had lived in San Diego, near my new "business contact", in CA. He knew this producer and had rented him studio space and had worked for him on many jobs.

Just by asking about him, his work and telling him that I am going to begin traveling back down to LA to do some more production work this year we ended up talking about "working together" I did not ask him for a job but told him I may be able to find some work where his skills could be put to work, his equipment could supplement my equipment (rental income for him) and we both could make some money. Rather than be blunt and have the person on the other side feel they are being asked for spare change, I find it works well for me to offer them help making money after all that is what I offer "solutions" and "work-a rounds".

If you want to produce marketing video, try to understand what their needs are and how you can offer more value than another video guy with a camcorder!!!! A guy who sells a lot of work said this to me, "people don't want lawn mowers....they want fresh cut green lawns to make their house a better home and to BBQ on". So what I am saying is don't just tell people you sell lawn mowers. Tell your customers (now your business partner) that you can help them have successful garden parties, improve curb appeal and you are a specialist in increasing home values!!!!

WOW, this was instructive and motivational even to me the "author" if I do say so myself. Thank you for helping to focus my thoughts on this subject. Don



Brad Williams said:
Go to Elance.com. I have started doing freelance work there and have a church I am working with now. It is a great place to sign up and you can bid on work and send to buyers your work.

Chris said:
Brad,

Thanks for your ideas. Currently, I have a demo reel, and I feel that I've produced and edited enough videos/features that have aired to show what I can do. Where I get stuck is just knowing how to consistently pull in the freelance work and how to find work when building your own business.

Chris
Dan, you need a thumbs up button we can click on! This is great!

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