How to save your failing videography business?
I was recently on FB, having subscribed to the Maxon C4D page, 3DSMax and Maya pages, and I see this “sponsored” post. Its from this guy (Not a company), who tells a very true story. Well done to the FB ads targeting system.
5 years ago a videographer could make $35,000, selling a high quality video to a website in a month. These days, with the flood of “videographers” in the market, it’s getting hard to scrape by. Solution, click the dude’s link for his free course. What happens when you do that is that you need to sign up with email. Next step, you hear a generic story about “competitive advantage”, and then the next stage in the “funnel”.. A paid course. There are disclaimers though. This may or may not work..
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll recognise this as a trend that happens in sectors that are burning to the ground. We’ve had the John Woo’s get rich quick course funnels.. Which are blatantly about this. We’ve seen the Forex teachers.. who offer courses that will enable you to make $1000 in a day. And lower down the “pyramid” you have the MLM scheme’s from Doterra etc. Their target market is desperate people who have run out of options.
The videographer get rich guy is ahead of his time.. He’s probably seen what any freelance creative now knows all too well. The creative markets have hit saturations due to a few reasons:
1. Cheap equipment (10 years ago a HD or RED camera was a somewhat significant investment)
2. As this technology has proliferated more and more ppl, are learning photography, some may even take up courses.. And they want a return on that investment. So they start a photography business. Low capital required, and you hit social media or the freelancer platforms (That are generally a race to the bottom).
3. A few years ago there was a wave of meme’s on facebook. To the tune of, the world has enough accountants, managers and dentists.. What it needs more of are creative people, magicians, lovers.. This may sound cheesy, but it lays bear the level of unhappiness people face in a regular 9-5, doing the same routine tasks over and over. So more people want to be “artists”. What no one told them, is it’s all about supply and demand. And what is in demand is more C# programmers, more financial analysts, and more doctors.
4. As a direct consequence of the above, “freelancer” sites have sprung up globally. Fiverr being the most famous. Where you can get anything creative done for $5. The best selling items being SEO, virtual assistants and website builders etc. Thrown in this mix you have logo creators, graphic designers etc. The people who benefit the most from this, are people in developing countries, who now have access to Western markets. They use templates and quick online tools to throw things together, and base their income on volume. Often getting paid well below minimum wage by Western standards.. The sweatshops of the creative world.
With all the macroeconomic and social factors in play above what can someone who is a SME creative actually do, to survive? To quote the videography sales funnel guy: “Find your competitive advantage”
His trick is probably to teach people a little youtube advertising, and then get people to create a funnel that takes their customers from 1 purchase to multiple purchases. Sensible.
How do I see this playing out?
Well, the simple harsh truth in all this, is that when a market matures, prices fall. And with globalisation, as has happened above, the only options are to possibly, move into a niche, or differentiate your brand. Hard to do where people have become used to paying $5 for a creative piece.
If you doggedly stick with it though you can:
- Stop competing on price and start competing on value.
- Focus on building relationships. With quality customers. Remember 20% of your customers bring in 80% of your business.
- Learn, learn and keep learning. The creative and tech industries are now interlinked. And the rate of change is phenomenal. Markets will rise and fall to the ashes very fast, as saturation occurs. If you gain the first mover advantage, consistently, then you survive
- Always deliver quality work, don’t work with people who want you to do a piece of work at “Indian” rates. Say no. If you fail to do this you will become frustrated, and ultimately end up failing to build any sort of relationship. It’ll also destroy your morale. No customer who paid £300 for a website, will ever agree to pay £3000, for a subsequent equivalent piece of work. It’s always easier to start high, then go low. Never the other way.
- Get a job as an accountant. :P