How to gain clients?
I've been a staff editor/motion graphic designner for 3 years now. Every client that comes through my employer raves about my work and how well I treat them. The only problem is it is a very narrow field of clients that does not include any known companies.
So, I have been thinking about starting my own Motion Graphic Design/Editing studio (since I feel I am way underpaid since I am creating projects from concept to completion. Actin as producer and editor and feel I could be making a whole lot more money having all of the profit from jobs. Also from client reviews I feel I can deal with clients in a way that makes them want to come back for more work since clients are always happy with my work and treatment of them.)
I just don't know how to go about gaining a client list of my own. I can't go after the current clients because my employer would know and the company's are pretty loyal to my employer (it's very tight nit.)
I'd like get tips from everyone on how to start gaining clients to start my own studio out? I'd like to start small and work my way up to quitting my current job. I don't want to jump ship now and cross my fingers but would like to eventually gain enough clients to do so.
So what has everyone done to gain clients and earn business?
Thanks for your help!
Motion Graphics Artist and Non-Linear Editor
Software expertise include: After Effects, Avid Xpress Pro, Final Cut Pro, Dvd Studio Pro, Photoshop, and more.
Hopefully you have a good relationship with your current boss/coworkers. Here's what I did, successfully.
I set up a meeting with the owner and let him know that I wanted to go out and freelance. I appreciated all the great work I could do with his company and learned a great deal. I said I could still be an asset to his company and would sincerely be willing to give him a preferred freelance rate for any work he needed me to do with his company as a freelancer. We did not commit to any particular amount, but agreed it could work for both of us. He could still call on his ace editor/designer, and I could make a freelance rate and control my destiny.
We made a gentleman's agreement that I had no intention to go after any of his clients, in fact i was really planning to be a fill-in at all the post houses and in-house corporate gigs. i just felt I had enough foundation to do this and it was something I always wanted to do.
He agreed it would be a good move for me.
I set up my company as an S-Corp (the book called Inc. Yourself - on Amazon helped me get started, along with some tips from peers). I set up my home office for doing design work etc from home.
In the first year of business my (former) employer was my biggest client.
I grossed $30,000 in sales...and had two kids! But i kept my determination and things were looking better.
Up until the 5th year of my business my former employer remained in the top 5, and in my top 10 clients I had 5 other production companies as loyal customers. The rest were corporate direct.
Seven years later I own a half million dollar production company with three employees and continued growth.
If you are as good as you say you are, and you have already and will play nice within your community, you might try this approach. Again, validating your proposal by showing that paying you as a freelancer might even be cheaper because he won't have to pay benefits and healthcare etc, and only when you are working on a project. It really can work two ways here!
Let us know what you do...