It’s important to strengthen that foundation with a solid mindset. Like anything in life that allows great reward, business requires a strong approach.
Once we get our mind right, success can follow. So we need to know what mental edge and thinking patterns we need to best enable us to produce great work, crush the competition and have clients banging on our doors wanting to work with us (that comes in a little bit!)
1. Control Your Emotions Or They Will Control You
Let’s get it out there – owning a video business is a wild ride. But a fun one. There will be times when you risk letting your emotions get the better of you.
When I was a kid, I started martial arts. I was only six when I began and it was (and still is) one of the most important and positive influences on my life.
My Sensei was a very soft spoken and respected man, who had clearly mastered the art of serenity and moving through the world with grace and flow.
I know, he sounds like the classic martial arts master stereotype, but he really was a great man and that’s the best way I can paint a picture of him.
He told me something very important and it’s stuck with me for a long time. He told us to, “Control your emotions, or they will control you.”
Even at that young age, I knew on some level what it meant. I’d be having a temper tantrum, throwing things around and suddenly something would just click in my head and my Sensei’s words would come back to me: “Control your emotions, or they will control you.”
I’d imagine getting shouted at by a drill-sergeant is a good test of emotional control.
It’s such a powerful statement and something that I’ve used as a mantra in so many areas of my life – not just business – having given up temper tantrums a long time ago!
This is something that I’ve told myself…no, urged myself with at some of the lowest points in my business life. It’s more than just a statement. It’s a command to yourself to get your act together and start living how you should be living.
2. Holding Yourself Accountable
A powerful and effective way to get yourself to start taking action and pushing in the right direction is to hold yourself accountable to your goals and what you want out of life.
When you hold yourself accountable, you maintain that you won’t accept excuses from yourself.
A great way of holding yourself accountable is to tell someone exactly what you’re doing:
1. Tell a friend or acquaintance that you’re going to be embarking on some changes in your life.
2. Tell them exactly what you’re doing – that you plan on starting and maintaining a successful video business.
3. Instruct this person as to roughly what you’re going to be doing – the more detailed and specific, the better.
4. Now ask them to hold you accountable to following through.
They can do this in a number of ways, including allowing you to file daily, weekly or monthly reports with them about your progress (could be email, phone, in-person, etc), getting them to ask you regularly if you’re following through on what your said you would, or even something as dramatic as arranging a forfeit or punishment if you don’t take the action you said you would.
By asking friends to hold you accountable, you’re leveraging some powerful social conventions that should keep you on the straight and narrow, as falling off the wagon equals potential embarrassment and breaking social contracts.
You’ll find little psychology tricks like this to be increasingly effective as you grow your video business.
3. There’s No Such Thing As Failure…Only Feedback.
You don’t fail, you just get feedback.
There’s the classic story about Thomas Edison and his failing lightbulb, but I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. But many other prominent historical figures had failing problems that they overcame in order to make successes of themselves.
Store mogul R.H Macy started and promptly failed seven businesses before he finally succeeded with his world famous store in New York City.
Soichiro Honda, creator of Honda cars, began his business career with a string of failures and was even turned down for a job at the Toyota Motor Corporation before, ultimately, founding the Honda company.
From understanding that failure isn’t the end of the world and is merely feedback as to what we can do to improve our present situation, we can introduce a concrete method of converting that feedback into snippets of more efficient information to help us move forward.
Reframing is another useful psychology tool that you can use to help you succeed with your video business.
To reframe something is to take a concept and flip it on its head – most often spinning a negative context into its positive counterpart.
For instance: A person comes back from an interaction with a prospective client after a particularly discouraging “rejection.” He feels dejected and pathetic and pronounces, “I’ll never get anywhere with this business thing! I’m just not cut out for it!”
A useful reframe of this situation would, instead, be: “I’m still cool. I just met a client who doesn’t fit into my business. I’m vetting these clients to find the best ones to work with. I just met one who isn’t cool. It’s better to work it out now than waste my time down the road.”
Here is a practical exercise that will help you reframe your day to day living experiences.
The purpose of this exercise is to get you to understand why you think you “can’t” do something, work out that it’s really a “won’t” and then work out how to make it a “can.”
Further, you might also find a way to change “won’t” into “would” and finally into “will”.
Decide on a day coming up in which you’re going to do this exercise. Your mission for the day is to reframe the word can’t into the word won’t for the entire day.
Throughout the day, notice whenever you say or think the word “can’t.”
In your mind, change the word can’t to the word won’t. For example, if you say something to yourself like, “I can’t talk to clients,” change it to “I won’t talk to clients.”
Can’t is definite. It makes you feel like it’s not possible to talk to that person. Won’t allows for the question “why wont I?”
Now that you’ve reframed can’t into won’t, ask you yourself “Why won’t I?”
Get to the core of why you won’t.
Ask yourself “Well, on the other hand, why would I?”
If the reasons why you would want to do something are stronger than the reasons why you won’t, ask yourself one final question:
“Will I do this thing now?” … “YES!”
Write about your experiences. It’s interesting, isn’t it? This is a very powerful technique that will give a tonne of value to your business and life.
1. Write down 5 negative beliefs that you think you currently possess.
2. Now write 5 positive reframes.
3. Tear up the negative ones and roll them into a ball, then throw them in the trash.
4. The positive ones are your new mantra. Read them twice per day – once in the morning, once before bed.
This exercise will really get you rocking!
4. These Boots Are Made For Filmmaking
Bootstrapping is the idea of doing things with little money. “On the cheap,” as it were.
As I discussed in the introduction, equipment costs are incredibly cheap these days, especially compared to what they were 10 years, even 5 years, ago.
So what are the Absolute Essentials that you need?
We already discussed this in detail in the Quick Start Guide. To reiterate, here’s my Recommended Starter Kit Guide:
- HDDSLR camera x1.
- Tripod (go for the Manfrotto 755XB.)
- Lenses (the 24-70mm 2.8 Canon lens is good for starting out.)
- MacBook Pro laptop (or equivalent.)
- Final Cut Pro X (or equivalent.)
- Zoom H4N recorder and/or RODE VideoMic.
That’s it. That’s really it for a basic starter kit. Sure, having a shiny $2000 lighting setup would be nice.
However, the above is all you need equipment wise to start making money with video now.
You don’t need the latest fancy new gadget, and we certainly don’t need to have ‘Equipment Envy‘ (I should copyright that phrase!)
As an example, take a look at this video and see what the awesome cinematographer Philip Bloom does with a “Barbie Camera.” Yes, it’s literally a 240p video camera inside a barbie doll! Of course, I highly recommend that you don’t shoot professionally with a 240p camera, but this is a perfect example of how you don’t necessarily need crazy kit to produce great storytelling:
I should probably mention here that I’m something of an Apple fanboy.
You can most definitely invest in non-Apple products. Adobe Premiere is a solid alternative. iMovie comes bundled with a lot of Macs. Sony Vegas and Pinnacle Studio are still out there. But that’s enough about equipment.
Get yourself the above six tools and you’re ready to start your video business.
If and when big projects start coming your way with specific client needs, then you can always rent equipment on-the-fly as needed.
An example of this is when my business started growing and I was getting a big demand for motion graphics work in promotional videos for clients. It made sense for me to have a good motion graphics program on hand, so I went out and spent my money on Adobe’s awesome After Affects.
First rule of video business: (Beyond the absolute essential basics) Don’t spend money unless you’re making money.
We covered this rule in the Quick Start Guide, right at the beginning of STEP 2: Spend as little as possible until you need to.
Bootstrapping is better. It’s better to pull yourself up on your own time, energy and money than to borrow or raise a bunch of money for an untested video business idea.
Get out there and test it yourself, start making money and scale your video business from there.
5. Make It Work Small, Then Go Big
This works for a lot of things in life.
Try to sell your services to one client. If they buy it, try to sell your services to another and refine your strategy. I touched on this at the end of the last point – scale your business.
Refine your strategy and keep making it better.
We’ll come to specific marketing advice later, and we’ll address how you can best sell your services as someone starting out in a little while. For now, consider this a strong mindset to have moving forward.
You know, a lot of people just getting into business, any business, are struck by this urgent need to spend countless hours designing their business cards.
It’s like they feel mastering their business card will resolve all of their business or marketing problems.
I’m here to tell you that having a sublime business card will not put money in your pocket. Even if it’s…really sublime.
Sure, it looks pleasant, and it might be a contributing factor if everything else in your marketing and sales system is in place. But I’ve seen too many people obsessing over the font and color scheme of their business card when they could be doing more dynamic work such as meeting clients.
6. The 80/20 Rule Of Video Business
Here’s one you might have come across before.
80% of what you try won’t work.
Over the long term, you’ll have success, but pessimism short term is helpful since you should focus on the long term.
Positive thinking has almost become a well-worn cliché these days, and it’s certainly a useful attitude.
However, as the inspirational self-help guru Tony Robbins is apt to say:
“Sitting in your garden surrounded by weeds and shouting, ‘There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds!’ isn’t a useful attitude.”
We come wired to think about success as something we want as soon as possible. We certainly live in an instant gratification society, where everything we want is within finger tip reach and at the flick of a button.
Video business success isn’t an overnight occurrence. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re going to need to think long term.
A useful attitude is to approach your initial forays into marketing yourself with “80% of what I try won’t work.” This makes things more realistic and it gives you permission to abandon what doesn’t work and try something else.
I know, I know – not what you want to hear. But it’s what you need to hear.
This really isn’t a popular phrase that will catch on with mainstream society. But you’re not mainstream society – you’re a video business owner who’s going to make it big!
Whilst 80% won’t work, the 20% that does work will come up trumps. This is the Pareto Principle of business – 20% of your efforts will deliver 80% of your results.
I’ll hand over to the very esteemable Tim Ferriss to explain this concept in more depth:
7. Your Business Isn’t A Job
You’re not working for Mr. Jones – the guy who works in the gigantic corner office, who you’re required to address as “Sir” when you bump into him on your lunch break.
Business is a different paradigm.
It’s not about “doing work to get a pay-check.” This is one of the most difficult things to get through to people when they first start out with their own video business.
Your business is you – it’s what you do and the value you can create. It’s about creating value and getting results.
Everything in life works on a value spectrum. We naturally move towards people who offer value.
Etch that into your mind now. If you only take one thing away from these guides, it should be: offer value and people will want to work with you.
8. You Get Paid In Proportion To The Value You Create For Other People
You offer a video production service and the value is in the service.
The way you get paid is in proportion to the value your service has to other people, not in proportion to the work you do or effort you put in.
There’s some connection, but it’s not like a job. You’re not clocking into the office and woking your 9 to 5 in cubicle-ville.
You could work 25/7 and make no money if you do not provide value to others.
The value you create for other people is the driver of your income. Not work. It’s about value, results and the outcomes you create for others.