Hi Mr. Landen,
There are three things that interested me in your course:
#1 is Marketing
In your description of the course, I had read that it would show me how to generate business, how to let people know about what I do. That has been my most difficult challenge in running a video business.
Before going full-time, I had thought “Hey, I really do my best to deliver quality work. Every project I’ve ever done has exceeded client expectations. So if I continue to do the very best work I can, people will hire me.” I may have mentioned, but I tried door-to-door talking to businesses & handing out cards. I hate cold-calling and can’t do that very well, but tried on a few occasions. Some people were very nice, but this act generated no paying work. I tried emailing businesses. No results.
And yet, I saw TV spot after TV spot on local channels that were poorly produced. Wide shots of empty restaurants and stores. Irrelevant zooms on bland images. The owner of the store with his family and pet St. Bernard stiffly posed around him, unblinkingly delivering an awkward monologue (and of course, the camera is mid-zoom).
I wondered why I was not getting this work, why people were consistently paying for sloppy work. And my portfolio was stagnating, because I wasn’t getting jobs to update it with. I ended up forging some connections through doing free work for them, and in turn these excellent businesses gave me some great referrals, but that has been too slow of a growth model to rely on alone for the coming years. I truly had no idea how to generate enough work to achieve a desirable income.
The marketing section of your course was the first section I turned to from the table of contents. What I had really been wondering most of all for the last couple of years was, “How do I get clients?”. From what you have outlined about your direct mail campaigns, it sounds like my best bet. I have been re-working the materials to fit my business, and will be printing up these sales letters in the next couple of weeks and sending them out.
In short, anything about marketing a video business and finding clients is what I have sought-after most in the last year and ultimately the primary thing that cinched the deal for buying Professional Video Producer.
#2. Video Business Sense
I feel confident that I can make a good video, but I was truly clueless regarding how to successfully run a video business. Before I started, I read a lot of books about self-employment, budgeting etc. – but I always felt that the case of running a video business was quite different in many ways than other categories of businesses. And although I could acquire plenty of material on producing corporate videos, none of the books I found answered the question of “how do I make a living at this?” (not to mention, “how do I get clients?”)
This is kind of a broad category as it includes everything from taxes & accounting to whether it would really be worth it to join BNI. To me it was a major value to be getting any of this practical information about running a business from someone who had successfully worked independently as a corporate video producer.
Probably the biggest immediate benefit in this category for me was proposal-writing. I knew nothing about doing that, and it adds a touch of professionalism I didn’t have before as well as setting the stage for the next major concept I needed help with –
#3. Setting Rates
I can’t count the hours I have spent spinning my wheels trying to come up with a good pricing system. I had read about the tendency of self-employed people to undercut themselves, but I was still locked in that way of thinking and working.
I didn’t want to bill hourly, because my perception was that however many hours I work, when I bill it, the client will suspect me of fudging them or of not doing my best to work as fast as I could. And any hourly rates I came up with that were actually profitable, I would feel guilty and think, “No one would pay that amount per hour!”.
Your lesson on this revolutionized my thinking and was a major help. Before I ordered Professional Video Producer, I had met with a potential client, a titanium manufacturer, about a corporate video they were interested in doing. I took a tour of their facility and discussed what they wanted to capture & how. I thankfully did not give a price estimate as I wanted to see what your course would say about it.
I knew the job would be less than a week’s worth of work, it would simply be a 1 to 2 minute video showing the steps of the manufacturing process for a couple of their most popular products, with an interview with the owner as a narrative. I was going to quote them $700, but stopped myself. In the couple days it took for PVP to arrive (the prompt shipping was very impressive and much appreciated) I thought, “maybe I could charge $1000 for the job…that would be great.”
It arrived, I studied the section, I reset my rates using your examples as a guide, calculated a new price and wrote a proposal. I was able to make more than triple my initial estimate, $2200 on this job, and the client was perfectly happy with this price. Not only that, but the proposal, which included a recap of their marketing goals from our initial meeting, so impressed them that they have adopted it as their official marketing policy and are using it as material for an ad agency doing some of their print ads.
To sum it up, Professional Video Producer. taught me how to stop undercutting myself and allowed me to charge triple what I would have before the course – professionally and guilt-free! And the client is as satisfied with my work as ever.
(Feel free to arrange and use that or any parts of this as a testimonial blurb)
Effective budget & proposal-writing is a huge help, you explained it very well and the examples in your resource guide make everything crystal clear.
Many thanks for the very beneficial tool that this course is!
What a great insight into the value you got from Hal’s PVD course. I loved the specifics you gave as I gain value from those sorts of details. Like you I am working to put the lessons learned to work to turn my business around. I just had a client for whom I had done a sales video a year or so ago call because they wanted a couple small changes based on new branding they were doing. Where I would have normally charged a few hundred dollars, when I used the lessons in PVD I priced it out at $1000.00 and they quickly accepted. Now nobody gets an off-the cuff estimate anymore!