One of the best parts about working for yourself is getting paid. In fact, one of the best parts of doing any kind of work is getting paid. We all appreciate getting money for putting our time and effort into a task.
Let it be known that money isn’t the be-all-end-all, and sometimes doing projects for free when we don’t have to (like charity projects when we’re well established, for example) is sometimes the right decision.
Still, this is a business guide for capitalists. Whilst I’ll address other types of project and how you can give back to your local community and further afield, this guide will focus on the kind of work that involves you cashing cheques, swiping cards, or otherwise having money appear in your bank account.
STEP 4: GETTING PAID AND GROWING
If we want to continue as business-people, we need to be earning a regular income. People reading this guide usually fit into one of three kinds of people:
- People who want to make this a business that earns them a full-time income.
- People who intend their video business to be a side project and have a full-time job as their main bread earner.
- People who read the guide but ultimately have no intention (for whatever reason) of taking action on what they read.
I make no judgement of what angle you’re coming at this from and your reasons for that being the case, I only give the best advice I can about making video production work in the best way for you as a business.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TESTIMONIALS AND REFERRALS
For every job that you do with a client, you should get a testimonial.
For every job that you do with a client, you should ask for a referral. Referrals are clients who have been sent to your from other clients. “Referred” to you by clients.
Testimonials. Referrals. Every job. Got it?
You need to get testimonials as soon as possible after a project has wrapped. This way, the client is still in an upbeat mood (because you did great work, right?) and will say awesomely positive and flowery things about you.
Here’s what you say:
“Hi [client name]
Just want to say again what a pleasure it was to work with you on [project name]. You really were a cool bunch of people to work around and it seems like everyone had a blast.
I was wondering if I could ask you for little summing up of everything that we’ve done together. It only needs to be a few sentences max. We’ll use it in our marketing materials and on our website, if that’s cool with you?
We look forward to working with you again.
And if you ever come across anyone needing our services, just drop them our details. We’d be delighted!
[your name] on behalf of [your video business company]”
A few things that happen when you do this (some might be unexpected):
- You nearly always get a reply back. If you don’t within a week, give them a polite nudge.
- If you’ve done good work (you have, haven’t you?), you’ll often get more than “a few sentences max.” It’s not unusual to get a page of A4 or more, depending on the project and its impact.
- If you’ve done a good job, you’ll nearly always get a referral. It might be a week after the project, it might be 2 weeks, 2 months or a year, but you nearly always get one. People like to promote people they like.
If you do good work then good things will come. It’s like a cycle and you’ll soon start finding the majority of your clients refer other people to you. It’s a beautiful cycle when it works.
Your clients will be more friendly than this.
1. Upon the completion of a project, send an email (like the example above) to your client asking for a Testimonial.
2. Don’t call it a Testimonial, call it a “summing up.”
3. If the client is too busy to write a testimonial, ask them if it’s okay for you to write something and get them to ‘sign-off’ on it. Just shoot them an email with your proposed testimonial and get them to okay it.
4. Keep politely following up if you don’t hear from them. Strike while the iron is hot and the client is still bathing in the good feelings generated by your awesome work (and its impact).
5. Ask for a referral from the client you just completed work for (like we did in the example above).
How do you want to be payed?
There are many different ways you can be payed for your services. Here are just a few:
1. Payed by bank transfer.
Give clients the details of your bank account (be it personal banking or business banking) and have them pay you directly from their bank to yours. This can all be done online and it’s quick and easy.
2. Payed by cheque.
This one is obvious and a little outdated now. Get a cheque from your client and pay it into your bank. It’s not as easy as paying by bank transfer, as you’ll need to venture to your local bank in order to cash the cheque.
3. Accept credit cards.
When you get more advanced and you’re providing your services to more clients, you can start to consider offering a credit card service. This sets you up with a merchant account that will enable you to swipe the credit cards of clients.
You can use a service like Paypal’s Chip and PIN Card Reader.
Once you decide on a payment methods (or methods), you should make sure it’s displayed prominently on all invoices that you send out to clients after a project has been completed. This way, they’ll know how to pay you, and that’s important, right?
1. Research the different payment methods and what works for you.
2. Determine how you want to be payed.
3. Make sure this important information is displayed prominently on all invoices.
First Castle, Then Country
It’s great to think big when you’re starting out, but you should footnote it with some perspective.
First think about conquering your local area. Focus on becoming the video business in your local area. Become an authority for the service you provide to the market you provide a service for.
From there, you can scale your business up and start looking at “conquering” other areas.
Eventually, you can start looking at branching out around your region, or even your country.
Don’t forget – your website knows no geographic bounds. Once you work is online, you could be fielding offers from absolutely anywhere!
Exciting, isn’t it?
What’s next? World domination? Not so fast – get good at doing what you do. Then get great at doing what you do. You can always improve your service and what you’re offering. You can streamline your service and raise your prices.
From there, you can also consider going into other markets and targeting your services at different audiences.
The world really is your oyster!
Before we carry on with some ACTION STEPS, I want to pass it over to one of the top modern day entrepreneurs, Gary Vaynerchuk. In the video below, Vaynerchuk explains why you should live your life doing something you love, and why today we live in the best possible times to be able to do that.
This should get you pumped:
1. Now that you’re having success in your market, think about other markets that you could enter. For instance, if you’re doing well with wedding videography, consider entering other event videography markets like live seminar/training recording, etc.
2. Take the first steps towards entering your new market.
3. Ensure that you keep your feet on the ground and don’t spread yourself too thin.
4. Remember, “first castle then country!”
So this concludes the Quick Start Guide. Let’s look at the flowchart again to refresh our memory and see where we’ve got to in the model:
Now that the table is set, let’s discuss some mindsets to get in order. Everything starts first from the way you think, so you should think well…