Sunday, May 30, 2010

So, You Want to Make Money Doing Video


Get a camera, any camera. You’ll need lights, mics and a tripod. And it wouldn’t hurt to have an editing system you feel you can be comfortable with. When you DO get a computer platform and operating system/editing software you’re comfortable with - work diligently to become as proficient with it as you can.


Study, work hard, pay your dues and learn as you go. By no means do you have to wait until you, or others (those pesky mentors ;-) think or decide you’re ready to work for money. This business and pretty much everything that goes with it will always be a work-in-progress.

Looking at doing business as an independent video services provider any other way will make you a frustrated artist at best, a quitter at worst.


Dress appropriately for every meeting every gig, every session spent with other persons. The way you look and present yourself truly does make a serious difference. At minimum a nice skirt and blouse with sleeves, or women’s business suit for the businesswoman and slacks, shirt, tie, and POLISHED SHOES for the guys. (If you have NO idea what “appropriate” might be, do a search on Google for “business attire”)

Learn to listen to what people are saying, what they want, then learn to be honest with them about what it costs to create their vision, and what you can create using their budget instead.

Deliver quickly, with quality and affordably - people no longer have to settle for two out of three.

Move as quickly as possible from a price-based competitive structure to a quality-based, or turnaround-based or some combination that mostly includes price as an incidental.

Do your research - the competition, the current trends, your demographics, packaging and marketing.


Focus next on having something to show when your most important “next step” takes hold - a demo reel, or sample clips.

What's this about my "most important next step" - uh, that would be direct mail and whatever other marketing strategies you need to gain eyeballs, visitors, callers, potential clients and people who use your services or help you develop video product.

Of course if you build it they will come - but ONLY if you let them know you built it.

The single, most important element of getting business is not advertising.


It is not running 30-second radio spots or cable or broadcast ads. It is not building a website and doing all the things you've read about search engine or social site optimization, posting videos on YouTube, or blogging in the hopes that people will FIND you.

Identify the market, and demographic, that interests you most. Find good addresses and design an eye-catching 5 1/2” by 8 1/2” page postcard - not too dense, good basic information and complementary graphics - and start mailing. This is the most affordable, effective and rewarding (if you’re consistent and persistent) strategy for gaining eyeballs to your website, blog or business location.

Yes, you want to develop a solid referral base business, but first you need people who use you and hopefully become referrals. You are NOT going to get that by print ads, radio and/or TV ads, spots ads, phone book ads, or even your website - tell me again, what's your URL?

People do not (on average) find YOU. There are exceptions, but not enough to make your new video business take off. YOU have to take the necessary steps to HELP them find you. YOU have to FIND them FIRST! How? Direct mail. Direct mail focused on a specific area of service or production. Do it constantly and often. Repeat as needed.

THIS drives traffic to your blog, to your social sites, to your websites, to your business.

Oh, and don't forget business cards. Also, return your inquiries in LESS than 24-hours (folks won't wait THAT long anymore - in fact, as soon as they hung up from leaving YOU a message, they're dialing the next number in line) trust me on this.

Most have already waited until the last minute to try and find you, and now that they're convinced they actually DO want video services for tonight's event, they're going to dial or e-mail and chances are the first responder gets the gig.

This concludes your "Make Money Doing Video" mini-seminar.

Any questions?

Remember: If you market, you will make it! ©Earl Chessher

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello - thanks for this write up - it gave me great ideas to followup as I have been a print journalist turned videographer since 2001 and have a dirth of digital/HD video to prove it ... Since then I produced a made-for-TV one hour film "MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Sikhs in America" winner of three(3) first prize awards at American Film Festivals ... and have been videographing ... always keeping in mind on story content ...

I really enjoyed reading your stuff on EC Come, EC Go

Vinanti via New York, New Delhi through Europe