Okay. At this stage you've hopefully gotten a business license, an accounting system, a website, a phone number, and a business card. What are we missing? Clients!
The next five posts will delve into the process of getting clients, including how I landed my first few. Finding new clients is one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of starting any business, and in truth what works when you're first starting doesn't necessarily work once you've got your sea legs. Client acquisition evolves. The dream is that eventually the clients come in on their own, but frankly I'm not convinced that's true for the vast majority of successful media companies. For most of us, it's a chess game with an invisible and illusive partner.
My first move may be controversial to some. But it's what I did, so I'm sharing. Beacuse this blog can't be very useful if I withhold information.
Through my work (which has me creating two videos), I have a subscription to Videoblocks, a stock footage company. There are pluses and minuses to the service and their collection, which can feel a bit limit... something I suspect is true of all stock companies. I noticed they had an abundance of stock footage from Africa. So I researched a non-profit, Schools for Africa, who's work I admired, and I created a promotional/fundraising video for them using the footage from my subscription. Why is this controversial? Well, they didn't hire me to do this (and I don't explicitly state that), and I didn't shoot the footage myself. The service I provided (and I do provide this service), was to develop the concept, write the script, edit the available footage, and add music. In one sense, it's precisely the services I offer-- creating compelling video stories from footage they own; in another it doesn't distinguish between footage I shot and footage someone else shot. And, of course, I would never distinguish this footage under any circumstance. Nor would anyone else. A TV show doesn't flash a disclaimer saying "this clip of the White House was supplied by Getty's." That would destroy the story. But because I wasn't actually hired to create this video, I feel the slight of hand more acutely. Does the use of stock footage change the quality of story-telling and editing Hurricane Images provides? No. Does it change their perception of how accomplished Hurricane Images is? Well, maybe yes.
Next Post: Using a Pro Bono gig to get to the next level
Just discovered our blog? Our Going Pro series documents the 40 weeks leading up to launching our media company, a journey from part-time photographer to full time video/still production. You can find the beginning of the series here.