how to get the first couple clients
I was wondering if you guys had any opinions about how to get the first couple of free lance clients. I have an AVID Xpress Pro HD and have been editing on it for about 5 years now (school included) and I'm looking to start using it for freelance work. Ive heard sometimes you have to offer to do jobs for little or nothing, but as far as getting those jobs, do you rely soley on networking and finding work, do you offer your services to businesses owned by people you know? I feel I could make some money with my skills, but I'm not sure where to start- Thanks for any info I appreciate it!
If your work is going to be a business rather than a hobby, my suggestion is that you need to think business-like about it.
Identify the service(s?) you want to offer. Identify possible paying customers for those services in your area. Identify other people offering the service you want to offer, and try to find out the rates they charge.
If you are able to, look at some of the work your competitors have done ; can you compete? If you are a little slower, less experienced, less talented, what can you offer to customers to compensate, to get them to choose you anyway?
If your work is good enough to face the competition, how will you demonstrate that to your customers? Most likely you need a showreel - as good and varied as you can manage. This is your trade sample - make sure you are proud of it.
Then you need to develop a pitch you can make to prospective customers - to let them know you exist, what you offer, why what you have to offer is compelling (quality? service? price? "we try harder"?).
Remember, though, price is only part of why people choose - if you agree to work for nothing, that's what you'll likely be offered on any second or subsequent job. Work out fair rates you can live with early on, and establish and stick with those. Learning to negotiate firmly, but with a smile, is going to be a key business skill for you.
If you major as an editor, then probably your customers will be - who? Many local video companies will shoot and edit "in house" - what can you offer to get them to use you instead / as well? Are there shooters locally who don't like to edit? Are there pr, advertising, marketing or new media agencies who might shoot off some stuff on a camcorder, but get bogged down with an edit - could you help them? At a higher end, are there local TV stations or spot producers who might need extra freelance help from time to time? Unless your contacts are fabulous, you may want to look more widely at people or businesses who might benefit from what you have to offer.
Once you've identified your target market (customers), what you have to offer them (your well defined services), created a compelling pitch - a reason to choose, use and pay you - then you're ready to roll.
You "just" have to find a way to get your pitch in front of the prospects, and watch how they react to it. If you find people all choke on what part of the pitch / offer, you'll need to work on that to make it stronger !