7 Profitable Video Business Models with Little Competition

Man shooting empty living room with digital camera


Good article, but harder than it appears.....

Mark -

Great insight and certainly something that most must think about when deciding to take on videography as a line of work.

Briefly about me, in 2012 I set out to start my own local video production outfit. Deciding to focus on small family events, speaking engagements, etc. As a one-person show, it would be hard to make those huge Michael Bay inspired wedding videos, so I chose practical and professional video for a modest budget.

Early on I got some decent work, putting it out there to friends and family that this is my new business. Within a few months I was doing weddings, lectures, and even a police academy graduation that came out amazing for the family that hired me. I even became a fixture at my kids school recording school performances and selling copies of the DVD's directly to parents. I was becoming the "video guy" in my area. Truthfully, that's all I wanted. To be known in my area as the guy that can shoot video and hand over a finished product that is not the same old, one wide-angle shot for 90 minutes.

I use professional equipment including a Panasonic AG-AC90 camera, I have lights, lav and shotgun mics, mini digital recorders and tascam 4 ch recorders, tripods, and sliders. I edit exclusively on FCPX, and with a lifetime subscription to effects, graphics, music and stock footage via Digital Juice, I have an incredible set-up for one person.

I charged modestly, and turned over finished projects pretty fast. Marketed heavily to people in my circle, joined networking groups and even joined a local chamber of commerce.

While all that sounds glamorous, but truthfully the jobs did not come at a steady pace, but they did manage to come in at a rate that allowed me to constantly re-invest in equipment, and also give me time to learn from others in the field. However losing jobs to kids that record on ipads or the thought that "Uncle Johnny" with his camcorder can do this, gets tiring. I have given bids to people only to see them get low-balled by someone else.

In your article, I tried just about all of those options, and I have done a video or two for just about all of them, but nothing ever stuck. I even took to the family history videos that I really wanted to monetize. I gave a quote to someone almost 2 years ago, they thought my price was too high and now her father recently passed. I did another one that was fully realized as something that could play on the history channel, and I never even got as much as a thank you from the person.

My wife allowed this to continue for almost four years. There is a lot of pluses and minuses with freelance work. I was there to pick up my kids from school and the schedule allowed me to film my own documentary last year, but the pay was something else.

So after four years my wife and I had a heart to heart about freelance work and the need for a steady 2nd income.

Just recently I took a job for a publication that wants to increase their presence on the web, I was hired and just started this week. It's exciting and frustrating at the same time, because now with a commute and work, 12 hours of my day is spoken for. Personal projects and other video has now been pushed to more of a hobby.

The nature of this line of work is not steady and certainly not something that is easy to budget, especially when you are getting started.

So as a warning to readers, it's awesome and rewarding and fun if you can get steady work, but this particular service is the first to get cut when a wedding or event goes over budget, or people will try to get you to work for me.

Most people outside of this line of work do not understand the value of what we can do with the skills many of us have. There is no guarantee that money will just come pouring in.

I approached several businesses over the past 4 years and most declined because they had no budget for it.

Lastly, NEVER work for the promise of more exposure or future paying gigs, they never happen. With weddings setting the down payment and security deposit early, so when things run over budget your video services are already secure.

Just keep shooting!

Inability of Customers to see value

I completely agree.

I did one Quinceanera (for free) and the mother thought I worked for her. She was telling my wife to photograph this and that (my wife was there for B-roll filler) even though she had a paid Photographer (not me). After the delivery, which the husband loved, she posted NOTHING. Net results, NOTHING. I will never do "free" work again. There is one person here in my location (El Paso, TX) that does Quinceaneras (with photos) for about $200. He pays college kids $20 to film, edits and gives the customer what they paid for. Not what they expected. But they use his pricing level as average.

I have offered most of the services and very few takers. Usually requires death in family or someone to be diagnosed with Cancer to get them to decide it is important NOW not later.

Working into third year and maybe last.... Need job/steady income....

Just my $0.02

I feel you

completely understand your point Mark DiNatale - it has to be the case in many industries getting hammered with the expansion of either cheap technology, wide spread supply, or DIY capabilities.

I'd also say that this article is about as bland as you can get. My swing on this is to be as outlandish as you can think of when pursuing "your niche". Hell real estate, family history, even training videos can be produced with a bunch of stills and iMovie or even Splice on a mobile application. No, we've gone way over the edge and to get noticed, it's got to be different, wild, shocking, artistic, complex, goofy, add your own description here but you get where I'm going. To your point DiNatle as a freelancer there are not enough of those gigs to both conceive, create, and service to cash flow and/or build your empire on, it takes a group, luck, network and timing. Keep shooting brother.