My main focus in the video production business is to figure out how I can use my talents as a video producer to make the most money with the least amount of effort…all while building a business asset that will someday allow me to retire and travel the world while I’m still young enough to actually enjoy it!
My personal income has increased by about 750% since I started my video production business back in 2000 and the gross sales revenue for the company has grown by over 1200% in the same period of time.
I’m not anywhere close to my definition of wealthy but I’m a heck of a lot closer now than I was 9 years ago when i started this journey as a video business owner. The point I’m trying to make in this article is that the turning point for my wealth and the success of my video business was when I decided to stop pursuing wedding video business and to focus 100% of my efforts on selling, producing and delivering corporate video presentations.
The fact of the matter is that when you sell a wedding video, you are asking a family to give you money out of their personal checking account. When you sell a corporate video, you are asking someone to write you a check out of their business checking account.
The difference is that businesses typically have thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions or even billions of dollars they can tap into in order to purchase your services whereas a family (wedding client) usually has to go into debt to purchase your services.
Which group of people do you think provides the most opportunity for your video business?
Based on my experience, I’d vote corporate every time. Assuming you agree or at least that you are interested in exploring it further, here’s some insight on making the transition from wedding videography to corporate video production.
Please keep in mind that I have nothing against wedding videography and I know that many of you choose to produce wedding videos because you do not enjoy corporate video production. This article isn’t for you.
My uncle Grayson, also an entrepreneur, told me when I first started my video production business that I should always try to sell services that would enable me to make the most money possible with the equipment/software I had invested in.
He added that to sell services that were any less than the most your equipment could produce was not good business and would someday lead to trouble. I must admit that at the time I didn’t really understand what he meant. However, after all the lessons I’ve learned by having my feet in the fire, I know without a shadow of doubt that he was and is absolutely right!
Your $5,000 video camera can be used to produce a $2,000 wedding video. It can also be used to produce a $20,000 training video. The same goes for your editing system, software, etc. Assuming you are a fairly competent editor, you can probably edit the wedding video in about 40-60 hours which means if you work a normal work week of say 50 hours, you’ll be able to produce about $10,000 per month in revenue for your business.
And that’s humping it…not leaving you much time to do anything else to build or run your video production business.
You can plan, shoot and edit the training video in the same one month period of time and due to the nature of the training video market segment, you can command anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 in fees per video. See where I’m going?
Producing corporate videos will generate you anywhere from twice to five times the income in one month than wedding videos will produce and you can do all or most of it with the same production equipment and software you have now.
So, you can dispel the myth that you have to have more gear to produce corporate videos. It simply isn’t true. You can rent what you don’t own and pass the costs through to the client.
Assuming that you are on the same page with what I’ve mentioned above, doesn’t it make sense to start to gradually shift your thinking to figure out how to get any or a lot of the corporate video business in your area? Yes it does!
Even a small share of the corporate market will dramatically increase your revenue and therefore result in a fatter wallet.
I could write a book on moving from weddings to corporate (and some day I probably will!) but for the sake of my time and yours, I’ll limit this article to a small handful of tips.
1. Pay attention to what the families of the bride and groom do for a living.
Expensive weddings usually mean there is someone on either the bride or groom’s side that has money. Many of these people are either executives for major companies or entrepreneurs of some sort. Target the father’s of the bride and groom to chat with when you are standing in line at the buffet and simply ask them what they do.
(The mother of the bride and groom will still be crazy over the details of the wedding/reception so approach them after the dust has settled on the event.)
If they work for a business or own a business, briefly pitch your corporate services and ask if they mind if you contact them after you have delivered the wedding video to further discuss potential opportunities with their business. Don’t think for a second that they will be offended by talking business at their son or daughter’s wedding.
Trust me, they will be dying for a conversation that doesn’t involve decisions related to the wedding. Plus, if they are affluent, odds are good that many of their clients or executive co-workers are at the wedding anyway and you know that they have already been talking shop because that’s what like minded people do…..even at their own son or daughter’s wedding!
CAUTION: I don’t suggest this tactic if the target in this case is the groom. As you know, his mind is scrambled and he won’t remember any conversation he has at the wedding. Call him after you deliver the wedding video and set up the meeting to discuss your corporate services then.
2. When the wedding season is over, look for opportunities to cover important civic events in the community that are sponsored by major businesses.
You simply call the organization and offer to produce a short highlight video of the event or gavel-to-gavel coverage (whatever makes sense for the event) in exchange for a high-level sponsorship package. This will put your logo and exposure on the same level as other major businesses. I’ve done this at about 50 events which has resulted in my video production business being exposed to thousands of corporate prospects.
Not every person in the room or who will watch the video are legitimate prospects for you, but the mass exposure will dramatically increase your corporate video production opportunities and it won’t cost you anything other than your time and the cost of distribution (blank media, hosting, etc). I set up a website that has since been taken down that I used to post the community videos we produced. You can always use a free service like YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo if you don’t want to pay anything to host the videos.
This was a great way to keep our brand top of mind. Be careful though, it will be tempting to think you can make more money by monetizing this event coverage service you are providing. Although you can make a little money charging for this service, keep your eye on the prize.
You want to use this free community service to open the door for larger, high paying projects.
3. Promote yourself as a freelance camera operator or production assistant to local/regional corporate video production companies.
This will help you make extra money in the off-season and will also help you learn the dynamics of corporate video production. Be willing to do anything no matter what the pay is to get your foot in the door. Then, as you build your reputation, you’ll be able to steadily increase your rates over time.
Do your best to present yourself as an ally and not as a person trying to compete with them. You don’t want other producers or videographers to think that you will contact their clients once you’ve left the set of their project.
And, no matter how tempting it will be for you to do so. DON’T! It’s unethical and will damage your reputation. It’s not worth it.
There’s plenty of business for you to get without sharking someone else’s waters. What you’ll find by doing great work and by being an ethical freelance videographer, they’ll start throwing scraps your way….the projects that aren’t worth their time but they still want to handle in order to maintain a positive client relationship.
You’ll get the call to produce it under their umbrella. This not only is an outstanding source of revenue, it’s a great way to slowly and profitably break your way into the corporate video production business.
When run properly and when focused on the right target market, wedding videography can be profitable. However, my experience has shown that much more money can be made with less effort in corporate video production.
I hope you’ll consider making the transition in your own video business or at least that you’ll find ways to expand your service offering to represent business video services. Your success rides on it!
Kris Simmons is a successful video business entrepreneur and coach whose purpose is to help videographers around the world learn how to grow, manage and sustain highly profitable video production companies. To date, thousands of videographers internationally have taken advantage of the business-building resources found at http://www.mindyourvideobusiness.com.