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Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?

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Chris Ratledge
Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 5:50:11 pm

Since the new year just rolled over, I'm prepping a mass communique to try to solicit more business, put myself in the minds of people I haven't contacted in a while, and introduce myself to some new prospective clients who may be in need of my freelance crew services, in several markets within say 300 miles of me.

I did this last year with simple introduction email, and while not overwhelmed with responses, the ones I did get ALL asked for my rates. So this time around, I plan on including those rates from the get-go, but I feel like I may be putting too much information in this, so I'm opening this up to those here to humbly askā€¦.

When receiving such emails like this from freelance crewpersons, what kind information is VITAL, and what do you NOT want to see?

Thanks!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 6:03:22 pm

Rates, a list of what you're qualified to work with, maybe a list of your actual toys, and some references, at least a link to an online portfolio site.


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:26:04 pm

[Mark Suszko] " a list of what you're qualified to work with"

This has come up in conversations and correspondence of mine before, but in my particular situation, I don't know what kind of governing body could verify my 'qualifications' other than my body of work experience.

In this regard, I can always submit a resume, and in my experience, many people I've worked for in the past in a different capacity appear to not grasp what a DIT is or does, and why it's important. So, I feel I'm already trying to legitimize my purpose in the crew as a DAT/DIT in my targeted markets, and the amount of information is getting laborious, no matter how much I try to simplify it.

Also, since you mentioned references, how do you want these submitted: Immediately or stated they are available upon request? Again, this just adds more and more info, to which some may see and put in the round file just from the shear length of it, or at least that is my concern.


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Mike Tomei
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:03:38 pm

Rates right off the bat are always great. I also like it when freelancers have a public view Google calendar so I can quickly see if they're even available when I need them. You don't have to get specific with it, just blocks of time when you're already booked.

Mike Tomei

Intel i7-930 2.8GHz
12 GB RAM
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http://www.miketomei.com


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Mick Haensler
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:21:37 pm

I will respectfully disagree with putting the rates on there. Reason is, the folks who contacted you didn't have a problem doing so and ASKING for your rates which gives you opportunity for one on one conversation. I find I get a lot more business from a conversation than an advertisement. By having them call you, they can gauge pretty quickly if you're someone they want to work with....er no....

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:11:56 pm

That's an interesting departure, but I can see your concern, and I share it to a degree, cause I don't just want to bombard people with what feels like an advertisement.

I do feel that the people that bothered to respond to my past efforts all requested rate information, primarily for "just so I have it" concerns, not because I immediately fitted a role they were looking to fill. I can't speak for those that never responded as to why. This leads me to try to provide as much info as possible from the get go, but try to be sensitive and not make it so much a boardwalk pitch.


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:14:02 pm

Thanks for outlining a feature I never thought to add in a booking calendar. I'll see if I can add that to my website as well.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 7:43:01 pm

Offer something more than just "hey, here we area, hire me :)", give them a reason to engage with you, maybe talk about a recent project and have links to some video, talk about how hiring you will make them money, improve their workflow, etc.

Guess what I am suggesting is more of a newsletter rather than just an e-mail, here's a recent one I did.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=7ef632153bd221ce286bb643a&id=4de10bf03f...

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:45:05 pm

[Scott Carnegie] "talk about how hiring you will make them money, improve their workflow, etc."

Thanks, this is both on my website, and in the past, was part of a series of emails I sent out. So that leads me to ask, whats better, one contact with a lot of information, or more than one message tailored to each task? I have to admit my materials are no where near as complex or slick as your example, but I'm a freelance crewperson, not a content creator, and my work doesn't vary as much or have as many projects

I have incorporated what I feel to be a great money-saving and streamlining process into my DAT/DIT service into the draft of this email I plan to send, but as I mention elsewhere in this thread, there's also a matter of educating potential clients and justifying my expense on productions, and I just want to try to be complete without overbearing.

Thank you for the tips.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 21, 2011 at 9:04:06 pm

Perhaps a bit of everything?

"Hi, this is Chris your friendly neighborhood production guy..."

"I have incorporated a great money-saving and streamlining process into my DAT/DIT service so if you want to save some money this is a great time to get in touch with me..."

"Check out my demo reel and I hope to hear from you..."

End with a call to action of some sort without being overbearing. I started my newsletter a few months ago and have only had a few people remove themselves from the list so I guess the content is working out okay so far.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Mick Haensler
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 22, 2011 at 2:52:45 pm

PS
This is a great thread with a lot of good ideas. As someone constantly trying to improve the way I reach clients and potential clients, I really appreciate threads like this.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 22, 2011 at 11:16:19 pm

To give a little more specificity to what I'm preposing, here are some more details.

As of now I have a single-page's worth of material. I plan to create a PDF of this and attach it to the email, as opposed to it being the body of the email itself. The materials contain the following:

- Name & Contact information
- Brief introduction stating DIT and DAT service available, including locations available and my money-saving "hook" in boldface.

- Following section is divided into my Day rates w/kit fees, and pricing for above mentioned money-saver.
- Another section just below with ancillary services also listed.

...This is where it can get potentially hairy. In the next section I detail a great many things. As I said my experience has been that a lot of producers and production co's don't really understand the difference between a DIT, a DAT, when you need one and why, and what I include per my stated rates reflective to these, so it is outlined in my contact as "Service Details"

- Brief Explanation of DAT services performed.
- Brief explanation of DIT services performed.
- Brief description of typical included equipment and items used under each scenario.
- Brief mention of other higher-end equipment available upon request but not included in rates
- Details of my "hook's" technical specifications in contrast to common practices.

Final section is "footnote" area, where I detail what stated day rates represent, (number of hours, etc.) details on my product's pricing, and other details for ancillary products and services mentioned.

So hopefully my concern for this all feeling a bit too verbose can be understood. Based on this, what would you say I could eliminate? It feels like I could leave some of the footnote details off this one, but there's not much I see in the way of repetitive information whatsoever.

I agree this has been a pretty good thread, thanks for your participation.


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grinner hester
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:33:10 pm

I like to see capabilities and rates. I also like to see personality in the email. Templated resumes get deleted here. If someone wastes my time telling me their objective, I lose all intrest. I know their objective. They sent me an email looking for a gig.



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Patrick Ortman
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Jan 25, 2011 at 8:46:25 pm

As someone who gets about 10-12 of these kinds of emails every week from prospective freelancers, I would not rely on a PDF to sell you. I'd make sure the email itself had the meat of what you're selling (you!), and a call to action and link to your portfolio site. Sure, include the PDF if you want to, but don't rely on it. I rarely click on PDFs, but I'll read some text and click to watch a reel or something on the web.

I'm also of the opinion that it's not so bad to have prospective clients asking you for your rates. I do believe that doing this gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with these prospects. Plus, unless you're really specialized, there's different rates for different types of jobs- for instance, my favorite sound guy in LA charges me one rate for a very small local TV spot, and another to a primetime cable network show that shall remain unnamed.

Patrick

---------------------
http://www.patrickortman.com
Web and Video Design


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Chris Ratledge
Re: Soliciting work, do's and don'ts?
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:19:27 pm

Thanks to all who participated in this thread. Here's what I eventually decided to do.

I felt there was just TOO MUCH text and info to send as an email or attachment, so Instead of attaching a PDF to an email, I simply stated a bullet-point list in the body of the email what kind of info is available on my website, and invited the reader to visit and bookmark. (I modified my site to include the info from the PDF I created but never sent, it seemed better on display there)

I specifically mentioned in the very brief email that my site has a link to my online availability calendar I created, taking a suggestion from this thread, and also highlighted my money-saving feature, hopefully giving at least SOME incentive to visit the site.

I settled on not listing my rates directly in the email based on the mixed responses from this thread and through my own personal research, but they are only 2 clicks away at my website.

Thanks again everyone, hopefully others can get some good info from this thread over time.


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