This article breaks down a step by step playbook on starting a videography business and all the tools you’ll need to get up and running. Let’s get started:
It’s helpful to take a step back and spend some time thinking about what you will be building.
Taking the time to think about these questions as well as your business will really benefit in the long run.
Now that you have a better idea of what your business and core offerings will be, it’s time to come up with a name that embodies what you are trying to be.
If you are creative and good at coming up with a name, fantastic! For those that need some help, you can get a branding package for a very reasonable price on Fiverr from anywhere between $10 to $80.
For the majority of videographers, the decision will be between an LLC vs S Corporation. The S Corp and LLC corporate structures are both quite popular among small businesses.
A large majority of videography studios will choose the simplicity of an LLC to protect personal assets and to streamline bookkeeping. Both of these types of corporations provide one level of tax and also provide that layer of protection from personal liability.
LegalZoom is a great service to incorporate your business accurately and reasonably in price for $79 + state filing fees.
You will receive an Employer Identification Number (EIN) number from LegalZoom. Keep this number safe and accessible as you’ll need it when trying to set up business accounts, taxes, accounting, etc.
A Videography Services Agreement is needed to ensure that all necessary details of your services are covered, including who owns the intellectual property and how payment is expected to be made. It also contains standard contractual provisions: things like a limitation on liability and intellectual property protection clause, as well as termination and governing law.
Once again LegalZoom is great and can help put together your videography services contract for free (you just need to sign up).
If you jumble together personal and business finances this could pose a lot of trouble if you undergo an audit by the IRS for your taxes.
It would be your responsibility to show proof in the form of receipts or invoices that can support your claims. If you cannot, then I have seen people who have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars - so not worth the risk.
Here are banks with their respective benefits of each:
When you’re starting a company it might seem ok to use your personal phone number for your business. You can do this, but from our experience using your personal phone becomes a nightmare as your business grows.
Here’s what you can expect when using your personal phone for business:
What we recommend is setting up a business phone. It's a pain to carry 2 phones around all the time, but what’s great is there are services out there that allow you to have a business phone on your existing cell phone.
Riser is a great service to separate work and personal calls easily with two numbers on the same phone.
Nowadays consumers looking for videographers have so many options at their fingertips, it becomes table stakes for your video production business to have an online presence. It establishes trust and confidence with the customer.
Vimeo is a great platform to build out your portfolio. One key point is to keep the portfolio consistent. A portfolio that is all over the place will hurt you rather than help.
Now you are ready to get customers and start getting paid! Getting customers is a huge topic and we’ve put together another article focused on this.
At a high level, there is Free vs Paid customer acquisition. Investing in strategies to get you more free customers is ideal, but takes time and effort.
If you can get good conversions through Paid marketing channels this can also be very lucrative. Here’s our breakdown of the strategies involved and how you can lower your customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Setting up accounting earlier can save you so much time and money in the long run.
Bench.co is a service that is slightly cheaper in price ($149 / mo) to CPA’s ($365 / mo) where you can also get taxes done as well for additional fees.
This seems steep especially in the beginning, so if you want to hold off on this expense you can. However as soon as you have good cash flow you should set this up.
There you go! Follow these steps and you have a solid foundation to your business. With this playbook in place you can focus on video production and growing the business. Good luck!