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From one-man-band to... something else?

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Jason JenkinsFrom one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 22, 2011 at 6:20:01 pm

OK, so I'm a one-man-band and my business has gradually grown over the last 11 years. I started on this journey 13 years ago, with a Sony VX-1000, knowing absolutely nothing except that I liked making videos. This year was my best year yet, having broken the 6 figure barrier for the first time. I have even more work lined up for 2012. For the record, I feel incredibly blessed; particularly at this time when so many don't have work at all. What I have lacked (pretty much everything) in business and marketing acumen, I have tried to make up for with prayer. I've been pondering on the potential of becoming something more than a one-man-band and I thought I would ask the advice of those who have made that transition. I know Todd Terry has done it; and I'm sure there are others here.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Steve MartinRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 23, 2011 at 12:53:40 am

Jason,

First of all, congrats on your success. It's nice to hear that you're doing well when many talented folks are not. For a reference point, my advice/comments are from a "small" production company with 7 people working out of a 4500 sq ft production facility including an insert stage in a Top-25 TV market.

When you say that you are "pondering on the potential of becoming something more than a one-man-band" you might want to define what you mean.

For example, if it means hiring staff and/or real estate (either leased or purchased) or significant equipment purchases, I'd encourage you to be very careful. Adding automatic recurring expenses is a big step and represents significant risk for any small business. Especially in a difficult economy.

You need to make sure you have the cash flow and reserve capital (i.e cash on hand) to survive the inevitable slow periods. As a one-man-band, you have much more financial flexibility than a larger enterprise. Of course a larger enterprise may have more capacity to do larger projects.

There's no right or wrong answer, and in the end you have to make decisions based on how much risk you're comfortable with.

I'd advise you to start by asking yourself a few key questions:

  • 1) What measurable improvements (financial, creative, operational) will an expansion likely bring to my business?
  • 2) How much will the expansion cost over the period of time that I'm committed to it (i.e lease payment, loan payment, etc...)?
  • 3) How certain am I that I will not only recoup those expenses, but contribute additional profit to the bottom line?
  • 4) How will the expansion change my responsibilities? For example, if it means hiring people, that brings with it a whole new set of tasks (not all of the pleasant) that may take you away from the reason you started your business 11 years ago (you like making videos).
  • 5) Are there other people in your life (Spouse, kids, family) who could be affected by your decisions? If so, what do they think?


Clearly, these are not video industry questions, but questions that can apply to almost any kind of small business. They are deceptively simple but I think you have to take off any rose colored glasses and answer them as objectively and as thoroughly as you possibly can. A good exercise is to play the role of a banker in your mind. Would you loan yourself the money for an expansion?

As you delve into these questions as well as the others that will be posted here in the coming days, the answers for your particular situation will slowly start to become into focus for you.

I hope this helps & Merry Christmas!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Rich RubaschRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 23, 2011 at 1:53:20 am

Buy the book "Inc Yourself" on Amazon and see what your options are to growing the business....even for a small shop I recommend becoming an S-Corp, although it might vary by state.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Jason JenkinsRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:39:22 pm

[Rich Rubasch] "Buy the book "Inc Yourself" on Amazon and see what your options are to growing the business....even for a small shop I recommend becoming an S-Corp, although it might vary by state."

Thanks, Rich. I did incorporate, but I'll check out that book.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Jason JenkinsRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:36:03 pm

[Steve Martin] "1) What measurable improvements (financial, creative, operational) will an expansion likely bring to my business?
2) How much will the expansion cost over the period of time that I'm committed to it (i.e lease payment, loan payment, etc...)?
3) How certain am I that I will not only recoup those expenses, but contribute additional profit to the bottom line?
4) How will the expansion change my responsibilities? For example, if it means hiring people, that brings with it a whole new set of tasks (not all of the pleasant) that may take you away from the reason you started your business 11 years ago (you like making videos).
5) Are there other people in your life (Spouse, kids, family) who could be affected by your decisions? If so, what do they think?"


Great questions to ponder, Steve. Thanks!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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walter biscardiRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 23, 2011 at 12:51:23 pm

I have a three part series here on the Cow about starting and running your own business. Some good info to get you started. Also a follow up article about Thinking Big.

Hopefully that will help you get started, feel free to ask more questions those article might generate.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Jason JenkinsRe: From one-man-band to... something else?
by on Dec 27, 2011 at 8:37:47 pm

[walter biscardi] " I have a three part series here on the Cow about starting and running your own business. Some good info to get you started. Also a follow up article about Thinking Big.

Hopefully that will help you get started, feel free to ask more questions those article might generate."


Thanks, Walter. I have read your articles, but it has been a while. I'll go back and refresh my memory.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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