Video Production Business Tips – Mistakes That Can Cause You to Lose Video Production Clients

In our video production business, we all make mistakes. It’s inevitable! However, some mistakes carry more weight than others and the heavy ones can ruin your video business. Finding and retaining clients is hard enough. This article identifies and discusses a few simple mistakes you should avoid making in the everyday process of running your video business.

1. Never write something in an email that you wouldn’t want forwarded in viral fashion to the entire world.

This might sound extreme but there are just several ways your emails can get in the wrong hands.

Interoffice emails get accidentally forwarded to clients. When you are managing several projects with hundreds or even thousands of emails between you and your clients, it’s very easy to accidentally forward the wrong emails to the wrong people. In my office, I have a zero tolerance rule when it comes to talking badly about a client via email. In fact, I fired an employee earlier this year for doing just that. Everyone gets frustrated at times with clients but you can’t let something as stupid as a rogue email be the reason you lose a client relationship forever.

Viruses can get into your email box and forward random messages to random people in your address book. THIS SUCKS! Mainly because you don’t want clients or competitors to see information they have no business seeing. However, the only way to make this worse is if these other people read emails that bash other people. You will lose credibility with clients and your competitors may try to figure out ways to use that information against you.

2. Be very careful what you talk about when cameras are rolling and microphones are hot.

It’s easy to get lost in conversation with your production assistant when you are out on a shoot but be careful what you talk about. We all have a way of speaking our mind when the client isn’t around and sometimes those thoughts get captured on tape. 99% of the time, we control all the editing and can edit the off-color comments out. However, the other 1% of the time can be what causes us to lose a client or to be majorly embarrassed. If a client requests a copy of the raw footage, everything you said on camera while the microphone was hot will be revealed when they watch the DVD. This is not good. Force yourself to hold your tongue when cameras are rolling.

The same goes for when you are working in a studio setting. Before and after takes, your talent (or client in many cases) may take a break to speak with people in the green room or control room. When you are tidying up the set, keep your mouth shut, unless it’s to talk about how wonderful the talent/client just performed. You never know where the audio is patched and you could very well cut your own throat if the microphones are hot and patched into the room where the client is.

3. Be cautious when renaming photo files when preparing them for a project.

When clients give you photo files that originated from a digital camera, a common practice is to rename the files in a fashion that makes them easily identifiable so you can save time when trying to locate material in the editing process. Early in my career, I used to name them all kinds of crazy things like “fat dude,” “short lady with bug eyes,” etc. just for fun. Well, it’s all fun and games until someone requests a disc with all the pictures on it after you have renamed them! Yes, that happened to me once and only once in my video production business career. Thankfully, the client who received the disc had a sense of humor and instead of firing me, asked me to rename the files again and burn to another disc. I gladly obliged.

Video Production Business Tips – How Much Does It Cost to Run Your Video Business?

How Much Does It Cost to Run Your Video Production Business? Knowing the answer to this question is crucial to your success. It is almost impossible to know what strategy to pursue until you fully understand what it takes for you to break- even each and every day.

Here’s a basic formula.

1. List all fixed (including your salary) and variable expenses that you incur on average each month. Leave out what you pay freelancers or other project related costs such as voiceovers, music licenses, etc. What is that number? Let’s say that your cost per month is $5000.

2. Divide this number by the average number of workdays per month. Let’s assume you have 20 workdays that would cost you $250 per day to run your video business. This is your break- even point.

Knowing this information allows you to focus your efforts on a daily basis. What video production services can you offer that will help you meet or exceed the $250 per day cost? Can you think of something that would give you consistent work each week that will contribute heavily to covering your costs?

Here’s what I used to do back then to help guarantee that I would meet or beat my daily cost.

• Looked and secured freelance camera operator gigs with sports networks. I worked for several companies in this fashion but what ended up really helping was a contract to videotape approximately 90 sporting events for $350 per day. On average, I worked 3-4 days a week on this gig, which gave me 3 days to capitalize on other opportunities.

• I searched and found a weekly television show that needed an editor. The show was a local access show produced in Atlanta and I called a “help wanted” ad posted on an industry forum. This deal ended up bringing me between $500 to $800 each week.

• Lastly, I was able to fill the rest of my open time by editing weddings for several videographers across the country. Needless to say, I worked my tail off to keep all of this going but I hardly ever had problems meeting or beating my costs. The key was in diversifying the types of projects and to hunt for something that would last longer than just one project.

I searched for and found residual project opportunities. I would now argue that I wasn’t paid nearly enough for any of the work I did back then but at least I had the volume of work needed to cover my expenses and to make a nice profit.

What does it cost you per day to run your video production business? Are you selling enough to cover this expense? Are you charging enough per hour? Do you need to look for residual opportunities that will bring in money on a regular basis?

Make a list of all the possible opportunities you’d like to pursue and go for it. If you aren’t charging enough, adjust your rates accordingly. If your rates are too high which are resulting in less bookings, consider lowering them so that you can sell more. If your projects are typically one offs, seek out jobs that you can contribute to for a long period of time, even if the per hour rate is a bit less than your normal projects.

The Health Products Business

With a large portion of Americans reaching retirement age, the health products business is larger than ever before. The people of the Babyboom generation are strongly concerned about their health and don’t mind paying extra money for vitamins and natural supplements as long as they are confident in the products’ ability to make them healthier. The advent of the internet has magnified the availability of these products and has made it easy for anyone to get into the business for themselves.

There are countless business out there that offer affiliate programs and franchises that allow you to get into the business immediately by selling their products for them. When starting your health products business, carefully look at all your options and go with the company that has been in business the longest and has the most credibility. There are new health products businesses springing up everyday and some are simply fly-by-night operations meant to take as much money as possible from you and then disappear.

Perhaps you’re not looking to start your own health products business, but are simply trying to buy these products wholesale and save money. Most of the businesses out there offer discount programs where you can get the products you need for less money just as long as you purchase a certain amount each month. You may even enjoy the products so much that you find yourself telling other people about them and trying to convince them to buy. If this is the case, why not take the next step and inquire about the affiliate programs that the company offers, you might as well make money for it if you going to do it anyway!

If you have never taken health products such as vitamins and supplements before, you should definitely check them out. The food we eat contains fewer nutrients that it did in previous years because the soil is being used so much that it doesn’t have enough time to regain the nutrients that are absorbed into the crops. Therefore, while it wasn’t necessary to take these products in past, it’s becoming increasingly important. Do yourself a favor and check out a health products business and see if there’s a product that can help you with your current needs.

Video Production Business Tip – Managing A More Profitable Video Production Work Flow

If you want to be productive on how you spend your time as a video production business owner, you ought to have programs in place that allow you to monitor every step of your video project work flow on a daily basis. You can literally make changes every single day that will improve profitability. Once you figure out which work flows are best, document them and make sure everyone in your studio follows the processes exactly as they are written.

A few quick tips related to project profitability include:

1. Document how many hours you spend on every project. Writing down the time you spend on each project helps you determine the timeline you have for specific projects.

2. Create a spreadsheet that includes the hours you originally budgeted for the video project. This will help you see if you are still within range of how you initially planned to finish the project.

3. Put the hours you actually spend into a spread sheet that is divided into functional categories (planning, scripting, shooting, editing, etc.) Categorizing each task in your project will let you see which among these consumes the most time in a specific project.

4. Literally watch the numbers at the end of each day to see how you are comparing to the original budget. This is a great way to monitor your progress each day.

5. Make creative or management decisions that will help you get back on track if the numbers show you are on your way to being over budget. If you see that something’s not right, it’s time to take action.

6. At the end of the project, see whether you were under/over budget and discuss with your team (or think about it to yourself if you fly solo) why the budget was/wasn’t met and what can be done to improve/duplicate results in the future.

The spreadsheet you created was necessary to see an overview of how efficient you were with your time and your tasks. I use this technique every day in my studio and it allows me to effectively manage several projects that are being worked on simultaneously by multiple designers, editors, etc. It’s a great tool! If you feel that you don’t have any system in place that will help you manage your time wisely, I recommend this strategy. The video production business entails a lot of hard work, time and energy. It’s best that you how and where you put your efforts into so that you can easily identify what your strengths and weaknesses are.