New to the Freelance Business. Advice, help, comments, all appreciated!

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Videomaker Tips and Suggestions New to the Freelance Business. Advice, help, comments, all appreciated!

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    • #48215

      Hey guys, I’m new to the whole freelance business. I am 20 years old, going to be a sophomore at Salisbury University in Maryland and I have a few questions that I’m hoping you more experienced business savvy folk would know.

      I am experienced with a wide variety of programs, including the adobe suite (premiere, photoshop, after effects) I also am beginning to become very proficient with Final Cut Studio (Final Cut X holds 50/50 approval in my opinion) I also have good tech skills when it comes to HTML, web design, and computer repair.

      Enough about me and unto the questions.

      I recently completed a video for the university ( if you want to check it out and get a feel for what I can do or need to work on. I also have 3 other videos in production. 2 more for the university and another for a Physical Therapist who is making training videos.

      My question is how to I gage pricing? where do I start? I charged the university $1000 for the 7 min vid, I way undercut myself. I want to charge a competitive rate but under charge a little due to my lack of “accredited” experience. what do I do here?

      Should I open up my own business and apply for a fictitious name? I want to ride of taxes and save some bucks! I have the name and I also own my own equipment. Sony FX-7 and a T2I canon. I have 2 editing computers one a PC tower the other a MacPro laptop. I have all the tools but am unsure if I should wait?

      I have got a ton of offers and can take them if I am willing to expand. I am just afraid that school, work, and my social life will seriously all fail if I try to take on to much? I am very driven and LOVE, I mean love this industry but I want to keep above a 3.0.

      last question is, should I transfer to an art school? My university is a 5/10 when it comes to providing what I’m looking for. It has a fully working HD studio but the kids are not talented to make use of it. as a freshman I took control and quickly realized the lack of skill that was available. I am not knocking these students because we were ALL there once but to move ahead I need skilled co-workers/partners/students.

      I really want to keep making great strides with this and any help you folks can add would make my day! If any of you are in the Maryland area or up in PA near Harrisburg let me know because I’ll take anyone who helps me and wants to go, out to eat. knowledge isn’t free, I greatly appreciate any that you’ll share πŸ™‚

      Thanks guys!

      Shane Yeager

    • #198202
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      Hello Shane

      First you need to take one thing at a time, you practically ask us to advise you on every aspect of your life.

      I am just afraid that school, work, and my social life will seriously all fail if I try to take on to much?

      No one can advise you on that, it really depends on your efforts. One thing is for sure, all those are things you will need to deal (and turn down a few) if you want to have your own business. Having a business is hard work and it takes a lot of time out of your life. Studying and having a business is harder because you have schools responsibilities and clients on the top of your head asking for their videos (believe me I been there many times).

      Should I transfer to an art school?

      Just study something that you really REALLY like and in a place you love to be in. In school you learn from others and it prepares you (at least a bit) to life situation. So if you have the opportunity to study, don’t turn it down.

    • #198203

      Thanks Sargehero

    • #198204

      Shane, as Luis (Sargehero) indicates, you have a lot of answers to life you’re seeking, but on the other hand, speaking from some years of experience in the field of video production and business …

      There are multiple directions to pick from in how you pursue a video business, or production career.

      You can seek to be an independent, working as a shooter or editor, etc. for others;

      You can seek to be an independent, working as the shooter, producer, editor, packager and shipper, etc.;

      Or, you can seek to be part of a larger operation, either working for another major company, or developing your own huge enterprise, developing a HOUSE, or boutique shop, with either paid employees to shoot, edit, market, etc. or bringing in independents to work for you doing many of the same things but saving on some of the costs of maintaining employees in a company.

      You can elect to get big, GROW HUGE, expand, or keep the amount of business you seek and accept down to a level that you, given your pursuit of education and other elements of daily life, you can handle. It is in poor professional taste IMHO to bite off MORE than you can chew, so-to-speak, taking in all the business you can get just because you can, then offering up a bounty of excuses for the delays in production or product delivery or poor quality, causing further grief to an industry that has a LOT of hard-working, dedicated professionals who take quality production, reasonable turnarounds, affordable products and service prices, integrity and support of a valid and wonderful industry seriously.

      YOU DO have control over it all, and can juggle/balance your life pursuits from business success to eduction to hiking, skiing, rowing, swimming, camping or partying all night, AND enjoy a wonderful business experience on the individual level or a broader approach.

      Base you decisions on what is not only good for you financially, but also what is good for the industry you choose to pursue; leave a good taste in the mouths of people with whom you deal and go out of your way to avoid creating situations that get out of hand because you’re overbooked, overworked or simply burn out and don’t feel like “doing this” anymore.

    • #198205
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      You’ll know how much to charge when you are closer to being ready to go freelance. That’s several years away so baby steps first. Intern until you get a staff gig, give yourself 5 figure raises every other year by moving onward and upward in different comanies and markets, then freelance when you’ve gained the experience and clientele needed.

    • #198206

      Exactly what facet of the video production business YOU want to pursue now or over time dictates the amount of dues you’ll need to pay. Some have had formal training and years of internship. etc. before entering into their own operations.

      Others have continued an ongoing education while simultaneously pursuing work in the field and experience.

      Others have self-trained, learned from experience (and many mistakes) and pulled off a bootstrap business environment.

      It also depends on whether you want to get into the same league as the BIG HOUSES, work for ENG, develop your own boutique or simply become an event video producer providing product and services for individuals and small businesses.

      As in most businesses a lot is based on who you know, with WHAT you know catching up to you if you don’t KNOW it πŸ˜‰

    • #198207
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      well said. Skip the proper educational steps to become a successful freelancer and you’re just unemployed while trying to convince your bride otherwise.

    • #198208


      Since you’re already halfway through school, finish it. Move your major into Film & TV Production or Communications with a TV emphasis come your Junior year. During semester breaks, instead of sitting on your butt do some interning with your local TV station, Video Production House or Studio. They are always looking for folks to do freebies and it will give you an opportunity to both network and gain some insight into how things work.

      Whether you go to school for production or not, you’re not getting out of ‘paying dues’. The main thing school does for you is give you a ‘safe’ environment to learn and explore a field where your mistakes don’t necessarily count. You’ll also have a slight advantage over someone who’s going the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ path from scratch, but it will still come down to how hard you hustle, the quality of your work and how well others can work with you.

      I completely agree with the other posters, you are far and away not ready for freelancing yet. Way too many people who have significant experience and know-how get their butts handed to them when they leave the stable environment of working for a station, production house or studio to go out on their own. Right now, everybody and their grandparents think all it takes to make ‘great videos and movies is a camera.’ With so many people out of work pouring into the photography and video biz thinking they’ll make ‘easy money’ you can’t find the ‘wheat for all the frickin’ chaff!’

      You’re going to have enough to learn concerning the craft, not to mention you seem unclear as to what you want to do concerning production anyway. Freelancing also entails learning the business side which is an entire profession in itself! Right now, stick to learning your craft. Yeah, you might want to do some side gigs but be very careful! All it takes is one misstep, dissatisfied customer or accident on the job and you’ll be in deep, deep Kim Chee without a flotation device or a pair of chopsticks to eat your way out!

      So keep that enthusiasm while you’re taking those ‘baby steps’. You’ll want to start running right off the bat but you have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run and run before you can fly.

    • #209606

      It will always be good that what ever business you might have, it must have applicable website, ask for anyone that can develop your site even just a simple one to at least your business be grown fast and easi using web search pertaining to your niche or business type. One of the service that I have kown so far in providing better result is the try this one, for sure as freelancer it will help you a lot.

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