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An Idea for a Small Business You Can Start

Start-up costs range $50 to $500,000+, earnings $5,000 to $2,000,000++, skills from knowing nothing to running an airline. Bon appetit!

Video Productions

Submitted by Denise Washington

Start-up cost: $1000 to $5000

Potential earnings: up to $100,000 depending on size of client's budget

How to Find Clients: Small businesses and non profit organizations usually lack the marketing staff. And, they are more open to hearing your ideas especially if they have never used video before. Use yellow pages. Call local chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau for business directory. Local business newspaper has directory of local business. Call and find out who makes their marketing decisions. Send a winning letter selling your services and show them how a video will increase sales. Or if a non profit, how the video would increase funding if accompanying a grant proposal. 

Equipment needed: Computer for email, internet access, keeping accounting records, etc. Business cards and stationery. Phone. You don't need video equipment. As a producer, you will hire freelance camera people, sound people, editors, and other crew members.

Qualifications: Knowledgeable of basic video production. Take some classes at local community college. Volunteer to work on productions to learn how it works from start to finish. Read about the industry (magazines like Videomaker). Study commercials, movies, and documentaries about how to tell a visual story that is engaging and compelling.

WHAT YOU DO
As a video production with no equipment, you are the producer/writer. In this role, you find the clients who want a video either to market their services, present an aspect of their company to the public, or make a low budget commercial to increase sales. Once you have gotten the concept they want to convey, you have to write a script. If the script is agreed upon and a budget has been given to spend, the producer then hires the crew. Based on the budget, the producer decides on how many crew members he or she can afford. Then, the video is shot and sent to an editor to add music, graphics, etc. When the video is completed, duplications are made and a decision to air it will be made.

In this business, make sure you have the client sign a contract that agrees to pay in three installments - once the project begins, during the middle, and final product. If they don't, do not do business with them. Also, you have to have a visual eye and that is only learned through practice and study. Getting a camcorder and shooting video does not make you a producer. You have to be able to juggle many things at once, keep your client happy, work with different personalities from the crew, and make sure that you keep the budget and the deadline. If you are a person who loves creativity, challenge, and variety, video production is for you. I suggest taking classes at a local community college if you never have done any video except your uncle's wedding. Learn the art of visual storytelling. You may not become Steven Speilberg. But, you will bring to life a business or a non profit that no one knew existed, therefore you will be building into your community.

About You:
This year I decided to take the plunge and start a video production business after seven years of unfulfilling jobs. Graduating with a BA in Communication, my dream was to work in video production full time. Yet, with competition being so stiff, I had to go in another direction - advertising. Even though, I didn't enjoy the industry, I learned how to sell and market a product or service which is a valuable tool in making a business successful. Four years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This summer, he went into his final stage. After being burned out and disatisfied with my ad job, I quit in order to spend the final days with him. I didn't regret the decision. He died August 8th. It made me realize that life is too short to defer dreams. I didn't want to look back on my life with any regret. So, I am beginning to live my dream of entrepreneurship that blossomed in me in sixth grade when a Junior Achievement volunteer showed me this exciting and creative way of life. I've been hooked ever since. Been fearful in pursuing but never wanting to do anything else. So since no full time job has opened up for me recently, I have created my own opportunities. The next big goal is to produce a documentary. Plus, teach at risk youth about entrepreneurship and mentor them.

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