problem is finding the clients.
Great post! My biggest problem is finding the clients. I am a shooter, director and editor. Where are you guys advertising, networking, etc. I'm in Miami Florida, just not having any luck with marketing myself. How do you guys get your clients and market yourself or business. It seems it use to be easier to find gigs before. Now everything I post online, buy leads, etc. isn’t getting me anywhere. Please share some wisdom.
where do you find the clients ? That is the #1 problem of every business in the world. Where does Creative Cow find advertisers. Where does Chrysler and General Motors find people to buy their cars. If you are in business, your LIFE is doing nothing but finding clients. You do this forever. Michael Horton of LAFCPUG said at the last user meeting that freelancers are immune to the current recession in the United States. They are not worried about losing their jobs, because EVERY JOB is their last job, and they are used to this.
People on these forums often worry about how to use a camera, how to use Final Cut Pro, how to use a graphics problem. This is not the issue - the issue if FINDING NEW CLIENTS. So, how do you find them - you CALL EVERYONE, you stalk everyone, you hound everyone. If you hear about a job, you call them. You keep doing this over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, until you think they are going to call the police on you. You get the Florida Film and Video directory, and you call everyone. You are in Miami - correct - do you speak Spanish? Because I work in Miami sometimes, and I barely speak Spanish, and I know that if I lived there, and relied on business there, I would HAVE to learn fluent spanish. Learning Spanish would be much more important than learing a new camera or graphics program.
So, how do you get these clients? You solicit all the agencies, all the production companies, and most of them will hang up the phone on you. But the ones that don't - you meet with them. You take them to lunch. You show them your reel (you do have a reel - don't you?).
You give them a great introductory rate. Maybe you even do a job for free. You meet their friends. You keep doing this. Do you know when you can relax - NEVER - you NEVER relax. You always have this pain in your stomach that you will be unemployed soon. You get used to that pain.
If this is all too much for you, you just get a job somewhere. And after a few years, you become friendly with your bosses clients, and you STEAL his clients, and start your own business. But when you do this, you just don't sit on your ass, because your ex boss will try to get them back. You use your new clients as a lever to get NEW clients. You NEVER stop solictiing. Even when you become rich and successful, you HIRE SALES PEOPLE to solicit for you. It's NEVER over.
Do you have a certain area of expertise? I don't meant videography versus editing or graphics or audio expertise, I mean what can you offer to a certain type of customer that puts you above their other potential choices?
For instance, having worked at NASA for the last decade or so, I bring a bit of "institutional knowledge" to the table when working with clients that are in highly technical fields, especially when it comes to working with government organizations. I understand their environment and some of the typical constraints and motivations they have with their communication needs. I make it easier for them to work with me than it would be for them to work with someone who, for instance, only had experience producing entertainment pieces or commercials. In short, they don't have to spend a lot of time explaining the state of the aerospace industry to me... or what "EVA", "COTS" or "GMT" stands for - or why the guys in the labs have to be wearing safety goggles during every shot. I can help save them grief by making sure they check all the typical boxes required for government video work, such as 508 compliance.
On the other hand, if someone wanted to hire me to work on live sports, I'd send them over to someone like Tim Duncan instead. Why? He knows the sports industry better than I do, especially live events work. Being immersed in a particular environment for a few years gives you an edge when working with clients in that area.
Smart business people don't just hire a videographer because the guy knows the video production side of things (although that's a given)- they hire him because he breaths the same air as his clients... and his client's customers.
You do want to work with smart clients, don't you?
My advice is to target those clients who need the kind of expertise that only you can bring. Follow your passion, then go to the places where your clients in that field already are. Participate in the industry that you are targeting - not just the video side of it, but also in other conversations. IMHO, if you can have the expertise in a specific industry, develop deep and real relationships with the players in that arena, AND offer your video production expertise, you won't have to search far for customers.
[Bob Zelin] "Do you know when you can relax - NEVER - you NEVER relax. You always have this pain in your stomach that you will be unemployed soon. You get used to that pain."
OK, Bob. Time to up the dosage on your meds. Not necessarily un-true but a rather severe take on business.
Personally I direct my efforts more towards what Tim was describing. Our business comes, for the most part, from working inside a niche industry where we are well known and even have the industry associations themselves as clients. When I take a step back and look at the past twenty years I can see how 80% or more of our business has come from referrals and/or people we've worked with before at different companies. Lately we've begun a small amount of advertising, but it's only for the purpose of reminding people who already know us that we're still around and doing well.
And, for what it's worth, and speaking of referrals, I've heard nothing but great things about the quality of Bob Zelin's work and depth of his knowledge. People for whom I have a lot of respect call his installations those of a professional's professional. Just don't give him any more coffee because I also hear that he NEVER, NEVER relaxes.
Thank yous Bob, Timothy and Nick, very well put. I do have regular work 2-3 times a week that makes up most of my income. I guess I’m just missing those days before the economy when down the hill. I used to be over booked. I guess I just need to keep marketing myself the way I’m doing and better. And enjoy my down time learning, writing, reading etc.. Again thanks all of you for your dosage of wisdom. Also I will be putting up some AE and other tutorials that I’m working on hope you enjoy.
[Nick Griffin] "Not necessarily un-true but a rather severe take on business."
I have to agree with Nick. I started my present company about 12 years ago.
Prior to that, when working for other people... I was always stressed, tense, and generally unhappy.
Since becoming my own boss, I'd say it's pretty much 180°. I'm generally pretty relaxed (some might say too much so), happy, and always glad to come to work every day. I've had some tense, unrelaxed moments, sure... but relatively few and far between. I never go home and say "Wow, that was a bad day." Maybe a bad hour here or there... but never a day.
I fully realize that we are very blessed, especially in that we have never really had to go look for business or clients. But even if we did, it sure would beat being a cog in someone else's machine.
It's all what you make of it for yourself.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Be everywhere. Make sure you are present and engaged on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, all the usual avenues. Marketing has changed, you are the brand now to the public. Position yourself as an expert on the various social networks. There are so many paths these days to easily market yourself at no cost.
Years ago I started a Yahoo Group, Portland Media Artists http://www.portlandmediaartists.com - it was just to help fellow create types post projects, but I get a lot of leads from that.
I do sub-domains for all my networks
Facebook - http://facebook.franklinmcmahon.com/
Linkedin - http://linkedin.franklinmcmahon.com/
Twitter - http://twitter.franklinmcmahon.com/
Very easy to do.
Use the Share Bookmarklet on Facebook..share all your stuff with your followers
My website has buttons to all my networks right on the front page
These networks have been a tremendous source of revenue and contacts for years for me, and to be honest, I don't even work them that hard.
You basically have to go back to caveman times, there are leaders and there are tribes. You expand your tribe, your audience, your followers...you always keep on their radar. Yes it is personal and yes its not like traditional marketing of years past. Those days are over.
But you have to be IN IT to WIN IT. You can't just join twitter and wait. You can't start a Facebook Group page and hope it's discovered. It takes some focus, but its free and over time gains you access to a global audience.
Yes its new, and its often hard to figure out. But its a high speed train, don't let it whiz by, jump on board and you will find yourself gaining contacts/jobs you never dreamed of, instead of wringing your hands worrying about the "down economy" like so many producers. The old economy is down, the new economy is booming.
Franklin McMahon / Host
Creative Cow Podcast Page /
Creative Cow Podcast in iTunes /
Fantastic post Franklin, and dead on. The participation and leveraging of these 'marketing 2.0' assets like Facebook, and the diligent linking and bridging between them are so critical. Presecient author, Corey Doctorow, called this intangible factor "whoofie"... Sort of the aggregate up-to-the-second barometer/presence/rep/buzz that resulted from your online fossil record.
Working these avenues has to be fundamental.
Great post. Thanks for the reminder :)
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC
[Bob Zelin] "It's NEVER over."
Well said, Bob.
It's a dry heat!
Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .
Fisherman don't need to know where the fish are. They just need multiple lines in the river and a full basket of sammiches.
[grinner hester] "sammiches. "
Manwiches are even better. Mmmmmm, Manwich.
Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.
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[walter biscardi] "Manwiches are even better. Mmmmmm, Manwich."
I dunno, Walter. I think it's hard to beat an Old McDonald's pulled pork "sammich" and a bowl of brunswick stew. Gonna get me some this coming 4th of July week :)
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC
Brunswick stew? Aint that chili from the bowlin' alley?