Starting a business

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    • #49538

      Hello all once again.

      I am starting this video business here in Texas, I have a college degree, and have made 3 videos. I am fortunate enough to have my family support me 100 percent and they really want to see me succeed. What I am getting at is, I know that making a profit from a video business takes time, and I feel like I should go get a job waiting tables just to have some money in my pocket. Although, I also feel like getting a job serving may distract me from my bigger endeavors. My family doesn’t support me getting another serving job, but being broke is killing me. Suggestions?

    • #202783
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez


      This is a really tough business. You need to be constantly on the move, learn new things, invest in new equipment (which are not cheap) and learn how to become a better business person as time pass. Since your starting out and probably have no idea what to do first, I stronglyrecommendto invest in Videomaker “How to Start your Own Video Business”. This will be good enough to get your feet wet and give you an idea of what to do.

      Another suggestion is to build your portfolio, 3 videos are not enough. You can build your portfolio by doing a couple of free gigs for friends and family (events, birthdays, weddings). For this free gigs don’t charge for the recording and editing, but make sure you can sell DVD of the activity. By selling DVD you can at least break even. Don’t overdue this free gigs because people could mark you as the free guy who makes video. Make sure to tell your potential clients that you are doing it for free to build your portfolio and gain more experience.

      Another resource you can check is Earlc blog:

      Also check this forumregularlyand feel free to ask anything. Videomakercommunityis awesome and you can gain a lot of usefulinsights just by reading this forum.

      Keep on going and don’t give up.

    • #202784


      Regardless of what business you endeavor to start you have to have a plan. Your plan can be as simple as a few pages or as detailed as several hundred pages (not recommended). The point is, it is easy to say I am starting a business but starting a business and actually being in a business you start and make money at are two different things. Some very simple things to consider before jumping in:

      Ask yourself these questions:

      a. Am I being honest with myself about starting a business?

      b. Do I really like people?

      c. Am I willing to learn and in most cases learn and adapt very quickly?

      d. Am I willing to work – not just work but really work hard?

      e. Am I capable of being my own boss?

      f. Do I have what it takes to be a good videotographer and salesman?

      g. Is video a product I believe in and believe I can sell as a service?

      h. Do I risk financial loss by starting a business – all in?

      If you get past those questions then you need to consider the following?

      1. Do you have a business plan?

      2. Do you have a marketing plan?

      3. Do you have the capital to purchase your equipment and enough to carry you through the lean times? What will you do to generate a cash flow to support your business costs?

      4. Where will your customer come from – where will you look for customers and how do you plan to convert them to your being your customer?

      5. Are you a sole proprietor, LLC or corporation?

      6. What are the local and state rules on forming a business in the location you live in?

      7. Who will buy your services? What are their needs and how will you meet them?

      8. Why will potential customers be attracted to your business?

      I hope the above is enough to get your business juices flowing. At a minimum you need to consider the above questions before jumping in feet first without a plan – regardless of what business you plan to start.

      Good luck – I hope it all works out for you.

    • #202785

      thanks guys, I have done research about starting this video business, it is certainly passed some of the beginning phases. But I have made the decision to have a job on the side waiting tables, to have extra money. My profession is videography, my side job is waiting tables, instead of vice versa. I will business cards in a week or two.

      @mediafish, i will write these questions down and answer them all on paper to have myself a clear outline and plan of action. Thanks again

    • #202786


      I just wrote an article for VM called Starting a Production Company: What You Need to Know that’s online now and can be read if you have a plus membership. Otherwise, it will be up within the next 2 or 3 weeks. At your stage, it covers a good deal of the questions you have and will no doubt give you new ones to consider. Sarge and Media have given you some good points and info to look into.

      Up front, I’ve been known to refer starting your own business to being similar to jumping into a shark tank. Once you’re in, you either swim or get eaten. That’s the long and short of it. If you have any doubts or concerns, you better address them before you ‘get wet’. Once you start-up, it’s on. Should you fail, you’ll be walking away with a significant loss of time, money and resources. You’ll also most likely be carrying a serious amount of debt as well. Success will never be permanent as there will be times which are better or worse than others. And you will quickly find that you are working to support the business, not the other way around.

      If you aren’t ready for all that, you might want to hone your skills with an established outfit until you are.

      Good Luck.

    • #202787

      Starting a business, eh? Why? . . . . no, really, why? Are you intrigued by, or passionate about, or obsessed with, or have an innate talent for videography? Whichever drives you, be aware that you will be competing with folks in these other categories who may not be thinking about their Video Jones in terms of making money with it. They could be serious competition for someone trying to make a living at it.

      Good business sense doesn’t always accompany artistic temperament, therefore I would say that one needs more focus on business plan and structure than the creative side; at least in the beginning. I have an old friend in Louisville, KY, who started a small storefront business called “Video Kitchen “, which focussed on helping individuals edit and dupe their little masterpieces for a reasonable hourlyfee. Not everyone who wants to wave around acheap consumer camcorder is capable of mastering even the most rudimentary NLE. A number of their clients are repeatcustomers and appreciate the suggestions as to how they could improve theirvideos.Some would like to have better videos than they could produce on their own and hire the resident videographer to give them a professional product. The store also gives my friend an opportunity to sell accessories and media to walk-in clients.

      Here in Maine, there’s a fella who found a ( presumably minimum-paying ) job as the custodian of the local-access cable channel. He honed his skills as a videographer and editor to the point he is producing a local-interest half hour show every couple weeks; and his community visability has established him as the go-to guy for the usual mundane ( but paying )private affairs.

      I began my sound recording career in the early 60’s by buying the best gear I could possibly afford ( purchased with income from a ” day ” job ) and then pestering groups to let me record them ( for free ). Within maybe a year and a half I was getting phone calls from folks who wanted to know what I charged ( which was never enough, by the way ). Wthin a few years I became the local ” sound guy ” and as such was tapped from time to time to do sound work for small film companies in the area . . . . which led eventually to being the production sound mixer on a low-budget feature . . . . which led eventually to a career in post production sound in Hollywood; which resulted in a decent retirement with good benefits! Now I dabble in video, making some use of the shooting experience I was exposed to as being a sound guy on small commercial, industrial, documentary projects.

      Rick Crampton

    • #202788

      Well, I started a video business recently (six months ago) and would agree that it is a tough business to get started in, but one thing that has helped is what people you contact. I got lucky because some one introduced my to a very skilled website developer that I was introduced to. we hit it off quickly and tried me out to do a video for one of his websites which was for a new product he was introducing. We made a video with an attractive model standing in front of the website (green screen) making a pitch for the new point of sale software he had developed. He was so happy with the video that he has been recommending me to all of his clients.

      I’m also happy that he is very conscience of the importance of videos giving a voice to his clients so that the can more effectively get recognition of a new product and I’m getting more work and building my own companies reputation. The variety of work is continuing to expand. I also volunteer in the video department of my church and operate one of the two human controlled cameras for the live webcast we do of our service. A local christian TV station has picked up our video and broadcasts them in the state. This helps build the credibility of my services and led to me being called on to shoot so children’s ministry events which are fun to do because a talented director of these events. I mentioned that New Blue has a cartooner plugin which would be very helpful for some of these events and they liked the idea.

      making contact about your services will be very important if you bring it up with every one you meet.

    • #202789

      Hey Wolf –

      Along the lines of this topic – The time is approaching for me to go from a sole proprietorship (simple DBA, registered with the state) to corporation (haven’t decided if I want sub s or full c yet or what state to go with but Delaware is always a favorite) but have an interesting question.

      I have had an EIN for the biz for about 7 years, linked to my personal SSN. I like the number (it’s easy to remember) but can I convert it for corporate use or do I need to apply for a new one once I go Inc?

    • #202790


      Yes you will. Truthfully, you probably should have started out as a S-corp. It’s also best to incorporate in your state as it comes in handy for litigation purposes. That and by law you are required to have an office in your state of incorporation. Here’s a link to confirm the info:

    • #202791

      Hey Wolf –

      Not to say that I will be rolling in the dough, but Delaware has a special arrangement, in that they have companies that act as your agent and fulfill the requirement of being represented by an office in that state – These companies also do a lot of the paperwork for you and just send you a quarterly bill for taxes (corporate, not payroll) and their services.

      Delaware offers a big tax break to corporations which is why so many business incorporate there (or at least that’s how it was about 15 years ago – my company printed the tax notices for one of those companies).

      Back in the glorious 80’s, I had a full C corp – The money was great in those days for us IT folks, but the cash flow sucked (I was billing on a 90 day net but sub-contracting out work on a 30 day net – just how everyone played the game at the time – I had six figure months where I had to loan the company $$$ to pay me after paying all the bills). In the end, I closed the company after ten years – it just wasn’t worth it any more – all that work (about 80 hours/week), HR issues, the aforementioned cash flow, office space rent going up and up and a market that started to dry up for my specialties. Makes me wonder why I’m doing it all again when there are clowns on Craig’s List willing to work for $10/hour, $150/project…

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