Demand for excellent video content is growing rapidly, and with it comes a rise in demand for contractors who know how to create that excellent video content. If you’ve been thinking about specializing in freelance video production, maybe now is the time to take the plunge.
Consider this: According to a new report on internet traffic by networking hardware company Cisco, over 5 million years worth of video content will cross global IP networks in 2021 — per month.
That’s a lot of video — and somebody needs to produce it.
Like any freelance business, building a successful video production business requires a strong foundation. But if you have the passion, the skill set and the drive, well, the demand is there. Are you ready to help meet it?
Get the inside scoop on the 1099 life from freelance video producer Andy Tiu in our Meet the Indi series.
What kind of freelance video production work is out there?
Because video is such a popular medium right now, plenty of companies are looking for ways to incorporate it into their marketing.
This could include shooting product explainers, how-to videos, advertising campaigns, crowdfunding spots, and other promotional videos (like BlendTec’s hilarious “Will it Blend?” series, which has been running for over a decade).
Event videography is another huge market for freelance video production work. From weddings to conferences, businesses and individuals will pay good money to have their events memorialized. Not to mention needing someone to put together the video presentations that are often shown at these events.
As a freelance video producer, you could do anything from contracting your services as a video editor or camera operator to running your own video production studio. With so many options, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a niche that works well with your abilities and existing resources.
Getting started: Set up a great online presence
Since you’re working in visual medium, setting up a strong online presence to showcase your skills is critical.
Along with a professional website, you can also build up an online portfolio on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Behance. Potential clients are scouring those sites for their next freelance video production contractor.
Building a following requires you to be proactive and productive. Post your work on video sites like Vimeo and YouTube, and share it widely on social media. Nearly every social media platform now offers video display, so it pays to connect widely.
Build up your client list
When you’re first starting out, take a look at the specialty online marketplaces for freelance video production work. Sites like:
But to grow your business, you’ll need to go beyond the online job boards. Start networking locally through Meetup.com groups related to your industry, your local business association, industry conferences and anywhere else a potential client might be lurking.
Even leisure-focused groups like hiking clubs can be a great place to meet clients. You never know where a potential gig could come from, and people are more likely to hire someone they enjoy spending time with.
Get paid what you’re worth
When you’re first starting out in freelance video production, you may not know exactly what to charge. Don’t let yourself get strong-armed into taking low-ball offers just because you’re new to the business, though.
Understand how to price your value from the beginning, and network with other freelancers to understand the going rates and get feedback on your proposals.
Stay committed to raising your rates as your portfolio increases and skill set improves. Learning to negotiate payment terms is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a freelance video producer.
Write good contracts
If you want to run a professional business, you need professional contracts. A good contract serves as a reference for the responsibilities and expectations on both sides of the agreement, and the process of creating one often raises important questions and answers. And, in extreme situations, a good contract gives you something to show in court in case of a legal dispute.
For starters, learn how to write a statement of work to define the project scope, deliverables, timeline and responsibilities of both parties. It should also include details about pay rate and upfront payment terms.
In the freelance video production business, you may run into some fairly extensive projects involving multiple stakeholders within the company. Protect yourself from a multiple rounds of revisions and out-of-the-blue requests with a client sign-off agreement.
Establish digital safety nets
You can never be too paranoid when it comes to protecting your files. Hard drive crashes and corrupted files are painful reality. If you don’t have a proper backup system in place a data loss disaster could send weeks of time — and money — up in a puff of smoke. Plus, footage of once-in-a-lifetime events — covering a wedding, for example — can be literally irreplaceable.
Along with backing up your own files, make sure that your clients have proper backups, too. Especially if you’re sharing files back and forth on a physical hard drive. Of course, cloud-based storage options are a great way to speed up this process and keep your peace of mind.
You should also create an organized system for storing past project files, so you can reference them if you have repeat clients.
Future-proofing your freelance video production business
One final note: As you begin to develop your freelance video production niche, be careful not to pigeonhole yourself based on a specific software or skill set.
The field of freelance video production changes quickly as new gear, software and trends are constantly introduced. Build a business and reputation around your craft, something that’s flexible enough to pivot as your clients’ needs shift.
Keep your skills sharp by constantly pushing yourself to learn, and keeping up with the latest industry trends. All this helps you establish yourself as an industry expert, rather than a low-value commodity worker. That means you can charge higher rates, take on more interesting projects and future-proof your business.
Jessie Kwak author bio
Jessie Kwak is a freelance writer and novelist living in Portland, Oregon. She writes for B2B brands in educational technology, SaaS and related industries. You can learn more about her work at www.jlkwak.com.