Video production and marketing is a booming industry with the potential for new businesses to thrive.
A 2021 report revealed that consumers are watching more videos from businesses, relying on them to explain products and services remotely.
Many videographers are tempted to turn their passion for visual content into a full-fledged business given the soaring market.
Whether you have a growing YouTube channel or have been making videos for B2B clients on the side, you may eventually want to take the plunge and make video creation/marketing your primary source of income.
If you’re in this stage right now, it can be pretty confusing when you’re starting out. So we’ve listed a 9-step process to give you a helping hand.
How to turn your side hustle into a successful business
1. Understand your niche
Video has become an essential marketing tool. In a 2021 report, 93% of marketers agreed that video was a major marketing channel.
The prevalence of video marketing and new technologies has led to a constantly evolving industry.
You’ve probably done a deep dive into your niche from the perspective of a content creator. Now, it’s time to do the same from the perspective of a business owner.
As a content creator, you’re likely analyzing topics and competitors to see how you can beat them in terms of views and engagement.
When you’re a business owner, the focus changes to providing better services than your competitors and attracting more clients.
Essentially, you’re doing market research, but for your specific business. Every video production business isn’t the same. You must analyze the specific service you aim to provide, along with its prospects, competitors, and how you can succeed.
For example, if you’re starting a video coaching business, you can use this guide to understand the specifics, challenges, and potential solutions.
2. Register an LLC
Once you’ve done your market research, the next step is registering your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
If you’re running your videography business by yourself (as a sole proprietor), then an LLC is an excellent option because:
- It limits your legal liability
- It’s arguably the easiest business entity to form
- One or more partners can form an LLC
- There’s no need for stakeholders and board members
- You choose your taxation method
- You can run an LLC on your own or hire managers
When you form an LLC, it gives you credibility. Your clients or potential clients know that they’re doing business with a legitimate company rather than a part-time creator.
3. Create a business plan
Once you’ve established your business, it’s time to decide how it will function and grow.
To do this, you need a business plan. It should include:
- Company name
- Company goals
- How to achieve those goals
- Overall work processes
- Financial planning
- A tentative timeline
A comprehensive business proposal is the foundation of a successful company. It’s a guideline for what you’re going to do in the upcoming months and early years.
Most creators also understand their own processes better when creating a business plan.
For example, if you’re laying out basic workflows, you might realize that what works for you might not work for a team of other videographers. You’ll then need to develop a plan to streamline your video production that encompasses multiple directors, editors, etc.
4. Decide how to grow
Only you can understand your vision for company growth. That means you need to outline the goals you want to hit as you grow.
The milestones you want to achieve have a significant impact on your business plan.
Let’s say you’re a video marketer who is ready to form their own company.
A growth plan for this organization would include:
- Establishing a dynamic client base
- Hiring new content creators (both videographers and scriptwriters)
- Hiring editors
- Getting the right software
That’s just a small list of the factors involved in bringing your business plan to life. While your ambitions might be high, it’s crucial to start reasonably.
Set achievable goals and expectations by creating a list of elements you need to scale. Arrange these by priority and focus on high-priority factors first.
Again, only you can decide that priority. You can choose to hire new editors or scriptwriters before you hire new videographers, based on your business plan and requirements.
5. Hire the right people
To put your business plan into action, you need two key elements — funding and employees.
You can secure funding by reaching out to investors with your detailed business plan, but hiring employees is a whole other ball game.
You need to convince creators, managers, IT staff, and more to work for your company. More importantly, you need to find people who believe in your company’s goals and align with them.
With so much on your plate, it might be better to outsource your hiring and HR. Outsourcing can help you save overhead costs, hire employees efficiently, and streamline your entire HR process.
Outsourcing your HR also means you don’t have to judge or hire candidates for teams and positions that you’re not familiar with. A video creator is unlikely to have experience in hiring multiple sales reps or accountants.
Now that you have funding and a team to work with, it’s time to attract customers.
When you’re already a part-time videographer or video marketer, you probably have a list of clients. When you go from an individual to an organizational level, this client list needs to grow.
The first step in scaling your existing client list is increasing your email list with a cold outreach. While your sales rep(s) are calling potential clients, you can help out by doing the same via email.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to spend hours or days on this. You can always use sales email templates and customize them to suit your needs.
Here’s an example template:
Templates save you time. But, more importantly, they increase the number of people/companies you can reach out to in a certain period. Consequently, this faster process helps you generate more leads and land potential clients.
Of course, email outreach isn’t the only factor in a business’s growth.
You need search engine optimization (SEO), so users can find your business in search engine ranking pages (SERPs) amongst hundreds of other results.
Depending on the platform you create for and the types of videos you make, your SEO strategy will vary. If YouTube is your primary platform, for example, here’s a guide to help you get started with SEO.
YouTube SEO is how companies like Food Insider rank high in search results for most topics related to food.
Google reports that relating to users’ passions for YouTube content is three times more important than whether the content features famous actors and 1.6 times more important than whether it has high production quality.
If YouTube isn’t your primary platform and you create other types of videos for clients, your main SEO focus will be on Google search rankings for keywords related to your business.
Since SEO is a complex process dependent on many factors, you’ll need to develop a detailed strategy that could take hours, days, or weeks.
Alternatively, you can hire SEO agencies to get the job done for you. Here’s a list of the best SEO agencies for you to check out.
8. Be ready to change
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that businesses must always be ready to adapt to changing industry trends and circumstances. The sooner you adapt to new trends or unforeseen events, the easier it is to maintain a successful business.
Let’s say you were a wedding videographer in 2020. Once the pandemic hit, you could either choose to do nothing and acquire losses and debts or venture into other forms of video creation to maintain a regular income.
With active risk management, pivoting to a more sustainable business model becomes easier.
Risk management helps companies avoid legal liabilities, navigate work-related errors, work through unforeseen circumstances, and alleviate financial uncertainty.
9. Take a break
Becoming a new business owner can be overwhelming. You can have so many tasks on your plate, and you need to deal with them while under pressure.
All of this stress and pressure can lead to you burning out and scrapping the entire plan. This is why it’s essential to take a break occasionally and reset your mind.
You can use that break to figure out why you fell in love with videography in the first place. This might lead to new valuable insights. You could also completely block out everything related to your business and give your mind a much-needed break.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it doesn’t add to your stress or make you want to go back to work.
Apart from breaks, a strong work-life balance is also a must.
Videographers have tons of options when it comes to business ideas. While forming an idea is easy, fleshing it out and turning it into a reality is a lot harder.
The key to a successful video-related business is research, commitment, and perseverance. If you’re going to give up at the first hurdle, or even the 10th, then you’re better off with a side hustle than your own company.
About the author
Susanne Klepsch is the CEO & Co-Founder of MeetFox, an all-in-one solution for professionals to efficiently manage client meetings with scheduling, video calls, and payments.
With the vision to make expertise accessible at a push of a button, MeetFox is currently used by over 15,000 professionals worldwide. MeetFox recently graduated from Techstars NYC and is rapidly growing to support independent professionals transition into the future of work.
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