Video Production Business Tip – Managing A More Profitable Video Production Work Flow

If you want to be productive on how you spend your time as a video production business owner, you ought to have programs in place that allow you to monitor every step of your video project work flow on a daily basis. You can literally make changes every single day that will improve profitability. Once you figure out which work flows are best, document them and make sure everyone in your studio follows the processes exactly as they are written.

A few quick tips related to project profitability include:

1. Document how many hours you spend on every project. Writing down the time you spend on each project helps you determine the timeline you have for specific projects.

2. Create a spreadsheet that includes the hours you originally budgeted for the video project. This will help you see if you are still within range of how you initially planned to finish the project.

3. Put the hours you actually spend into a spread sheet that is divided into functional categories (planning, scripting, shooting, editing, etc.) Categorizing each task in your project will let you see which among these consumes the most time in a specific project.

4. Literally watch the numbers at the end of each day to see how you are comparing to the original budget. This is a great way to monitor your progress each day.

5. Make creative or management decisions that will help you get back on track if the numbers show you are on your way to being over budget. If you see that something’s not right, it’s time to take action.

6. At the end of the project, see whether you were under/over budget and discuss with your team (or think about it to yourself if you fly solo) why the budget was/wasn’t met and what can be done to improve/duplicate results in the future.

The spreadsheet you created was necessary to see an overview of how efficient you were with your time and your tasks. I use this technique every day in my studio and it allows me to effectively manage several projects that are being worked on simultaneously by multiple designers, editors, etc. It’s a great tool! If you feel that you don’t have any system in place that will help you manage your time wisely, I recommend this strategy. The video production business entails a lot of hard work, time and energy. It’s best that you how and where you put your efforts into so that you can easily identify what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Information Products Business – 9 Success Elements in an Information Products Business

An information products business is where you sell ebooks that are related to a particular market. If you’re in the self help niche, you’ll be creating and selling your own ebooks on handling stress, self-confidence, law of attraction and negotiation skills regularly. However, take note that there’s a lot more to selling online than writing an ebook. Here are 9 elements to an information products business which make it a success.

1. The ebook

As well the content for the ebook, you also need to place a link to your main website where readers can purchase other products, a link to sign up to your newsletter and a recommendation of one of your other products.

Customers quickly forget where they bought an eBook from and with links to your website as a reminder plus a recommendation of your other products, they may buy from you again.

Don’t forget that your eBook could be passed on to the buyer’s friends. When the latter reads your eBook and likes the information, they would know where to purchase more products from you and sign up to your list.

2. The website design

The design of your website needs to by eye-catching and professional. This is your first impression to your prospects and first impressions can give you sales.

3. Sales letter

Visitors to your website don’t know how good or valuable your eBook is, so they have to make their decision based on your sales letter. You need to write a sales letter to explain the benefits of your product and give them reasons why they should buy now.

Writing a good sales letter is an art. Top copywriters charge from $10,000 – $15,000 per copy.

4. Squeeze page

You need to create a squeeze page to capture your prospects’ emails so that you can remind them of your products and ask them to buy. Building a list is the life line of an online business.

You need to create a squeeze page with a compelling free offer so that people are willing to give you their email address to sign up to your list.

5. Tell a friend script

After people sign up to your list, you should direct them to a web page offering them something free if they tell 3 of their friends about your squeeze page offer. This tell a friend script can virally build your list which means more customers for you.

6. Autoresponder emails

As well as a good autoresponder account to capture your subscribers’ emails with, you need to write several good emails which are sent to your subscribers on a regular basis.

The emails should provide the subscribers good useful information with a reminder that they can purchase the eBook at your website. You need to send at least 7 of these autoresponder emails at 2 day intervals to follow up with your list.

7. Articles

Write and distribute a lot of good articles with a link to your information product website. Article marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract interested prospects to visit your website and it also helps your website’s search engine rankings. Learn as much as you can on article marketing and distribute each of your articles to several directories to generate targeted traffic.

8. Press Release

A press release is an excellent way to announce the launch of your information product. People seeing your press release will have the impression that your company is important and successful.

It will also help your search engine rankings for your website since press release websites are authority websites that are favoured by the search engines.

9. An Affiliate Center

To make your information product sell, you need to have an affiliate center to attract affiliates to promote your product. Affiliates can see what promotion material and tools you have in your affiliate center and will use them to promote your ebook. With ready-made promotion material, you can attract super affiliates who are able to give you hundreds of sales over night.

As you can see, there’s a lot of work that goes into creating an information products business. Writing the eBook is a small part of the process. When you have a complete information product developed, you can duplicate everything for every new product you launch later on. The hard work is in creating everything for the first time.

Video Production Business Tip – How Much to Charge As a Freelance Videographer

When setting up your video production business for the first time, you may need to do some freelance work to make up for the times when you don’t have any major projects to do. As a freelance videographer, how much should you charge for your services?

I’ve always believed that you should never leave money on the table when negotiating a deal with a customer. In other words, if a customer expects to pay $1,000 for you to shoot for a day, you shouldn’t offer to do it for $700. On the other hand, if a customer only wants to pay $700 for your services, you shouldn’t turn it down just because you ordinarily like to make $1,000 for a day’s worth of work.

Regarding my pricing strategy, I try to charge somewhere close to industry standard rates so that I make as much money as possible while remaining competitive when compared to other videographers in my market.

For a one-person camera crew, my day rate is $1,200. This includes my camcorder, tripod, wireless microphone, light kit and up to 10 hours of time working on the shoot.

My half day rate for a one-person crew is $800 and includes the same equipment package and up to 5 hours in the field.

For most customers, this rate is acceptable. For others, it’s more than they have in their budget for the project. When a customer indicates that my rates are higher than they want to pay, I simply ask them what they have in their budget for these services. Then, if what they are comfortable paying is within range of what I’m willing to accept, I’ll book the gig.

I typically won’t accept anything less than $700 for a full day of shooting and $500 for a half day but I rarely have to go that low. Most customers who have experience hiring freelance videographers are familiar with industry standard rates and fully expect to pay them. Then, when they call you again in the future, they’ll pay the same rates again and again.

The best strategy is to set your rates according to industry standards so you have something to go by when people ask what you charge. Then, be willing to negotiate from there so you can book the gig.

In my mind, a guaranteed $700 for a day’s worth of work is far better than getting nothing because you refused to accept less than what is on your rate sheet.

A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. $700 in your checking account is better than $700 in your competitor’s account. Plus, when that customer needs to hire a videographer for another shoot, who do you think will get the call? The other guy will… every time. Think hard about the lifetime value of a new customer before you turn down a freelance gig because they didn’t want to pay you full rate.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your rates are too low, a customer might perceive you as not qualified compared to other videographers in your area. If their rates average $800 to $1200 for a full day of shooting and your rate is $500, odds are good they’ll hire one of them instead of you.

Having rates that are too low can make you look like an amateur regardless of how long you’ve been working as a professional videographer.

There will also be opportunities when you are asked to work using someone else’s equipment instead of your own. For these cases, you’ll need rates for just your time that doesn’t include the use of your gear.

I prefer not to work without my own equipment because I like to make the extra money but freelance beggars can’t always be choosers. Again, guaranteed money is better than no money.

My full day rate without equipment is $500 and my half-day rate is $350. These are pretty standard in the industry for experienced videographers so your rates may vary. If you are in a position where you are still trying to make a name for yourself, you may want to charge closer to $300 for a full day and $150 for a half day.

The same rules apply here as they did above when it came to negotiating rates. When asked if what your rate is for shooting with someone else’s equipment, tell them but be open to charging less if their budget requires it.

Always remember that guaranteed money is better than no money. If someone is willing to book you today for $300 but you have a deal that has a 50% chance of going through that will pay you $500 to shoot on the same day, take the guaranteed money. You can always try to convince the other customer to shoot on a different day by offering them a discount.

Or, if they can’t shoot on a different day, you can book the gig anyway at the higher amount and call one of your trusted videographer friends to cover the shoot for you. The customer pays you $500. You pay the other videographer $300.

The net result is that you made $300 on your shoot and $200 from the other shoot all in the same day. Then, when you get paid for the other shoot, you cut the videographer a check and off you go. Plus, you have two satisfied customers who will call you for future work.

If your goal is to make more than six-figures with your freelance videography business, you’ll have to book multiple gigs at the same time on a regular basis. It’s possible to do this if done correctly. The more trusted partners you have in your network, the more money you can make on a given day, week or month.

One final thought about setting your freelance videography rates. Even though there are industry standard rates for these services, it’s up to you to manage your finances so that your rates will cover business expenses and your personal salary each month.

When you are first getting started, it’s vitally important that you run your household and business as lean as possible. Get rid of all unnecessary expenses and restructure your debt if possible so you can reduce monthly payments.

In this business, there will be great months followed by terrible months regarding sales. Keeping your monthly expenses as low as possible will put you in the best position to achieve success. It is possible to support your family and to even provide a luxurious lifestyle with your freelance income but many families find that having a second income from a spouse’s job makes things a lot easier.

If you have two incomes in your household, you have the option to charge less than your competitors for your services. Just keep in mind that you’ll run the risk of customers not taking you as serious as your competitors because your rates aren’t in line with theirs. Tread carefully.

I suggest you quote industry standard rates but that be willing to negotiate down as far as you are comfortable doing so in order to get the gig. Then, when it comes time to invoice the customer, put the industry standard rate first followed by the amount you chose to discount the rate in order to help the customer meet their budgetary requirements. This way, they’ll understand the true value of your service and you did them a favor by discounting the rate to meet their needs. This will go a long way in building good will with that customer and will greatly increase the odds they will only want to work with you should they have the need for any freelance work in the future.

Video Production Business Tips – Mistakes That Can Cause You to Lose Video Production Clients

In our video production business, we all make mistakes. It’s inevitable! However, some mistakes carry more weight than others and the heavy ones can ruin your video business. Finding and retaining clients is hard enough. This article identifies and discusses a few simple mistakes you should avoid making in the everyday process of running your video business.

1. Never write something in an email that you wouldn’t want forwarded in viral fashion to the entire world.

This might sound extreme but there are just several ways your emails can get in the wrong hands.

Interoffice emails get accidentally forwarded to clients. When you are managing several projects with hundreds or even thousands of emails between you and your clients, it’s very easy to accidentally forward the wrong emails to the wrong people. In my office, I have a zero tolerance rule when it comes to talking badly about a client via email. In fact, I fired an employee earlier this year for doing just that. Everyone gets frustrated at times with clients but you can’t let something as stupid as a rogue email be the reason you lose a client relationship forever.

Viruses can get into your email box and forward random messages to random people in your address book. THIS SUCKS! Mainly because you don’t want clients or competitors to see information they have no business seeing. However, the only way to make this worse is if these other people read emails that bash other people. You will lose credibility with clients and your competitors may try to figure out ways to use that information against you.

2. Be very careful what you talk about when cameras are rolling and microphones are hot.

It’s easy to get lost in conversation with your production assistant when you are out on a shoot but be careful what you talk about. We all have a way of speaking our mind when the client isn’t around and sometimes those thoughts get captured on tape. 99% of the time, we control all the editing and can edit the off-color comments out. However, the other 1% of the time can be what causes us to lose a client or to be majorly embarrassed. If a client requests a copy of the raw footage, everything you said on camera while the microphone was hot will be revealed when they watch the DVD. This is not good. Force yourself to hold your tongue when cameras are rolling.

The same goes for when you are working in a studio setting. Before and after takes, your talent (or client in many cases) may take a break to speak with people in the green room or control room. When you are tidying up the set, keep your mouth shut, unless it’s to talk about how wonderful the talent/client just performed. You never know where the audio is patched and you could very well cut your own throat if the microphones are hot and patched into the room where the client is.

3. Be cautious when renaming photo files when preparing them for a project.

When clients give you photo files that originated from a digital camera, a common practice is to rename the files in a fashion that makes them easily identifiable so you can save time when trying to locate material in the editing process. Early in my career, I used to name them all kinds of crazy things like “fat dude,” “short lady with bug eyes,” etc. just for fun. Well, it’s all fun and games until someone requests a disc with all the pictures on it after you have renamed them! Yes, that happened to me once and only once in my video production business career. Thankfully, the client who received the disc had a sense of humor and instead of firing me, asked me to rename the files again and burn to another disc. I gladly obliged.