So, being one year old again is pretty exciting to be honest. Although fortunately my business has been steadily walking in it’s first year; something I couldn’t do ‘steadily’ until I realised how to open the fridge, and the opportune moments that arose when I could make a dash for the leftover quiche.
On August 5 2011, RedScar became official. A label no more. A trading name that I could use to begin the journey of running a business. Although by the time you read this it’ll actually be 1 year and 1 day old. Forgive the discrepancy – unless it’s a meeting or shoot day, I’m late arriving at everything (well, almost).
The past year has been an interesting and exciting journey; a journey that I have learnt an exceptional amount from that I can take on to year 2. I was dubious about going in during what is labelled as a recession, but quickly found out that in reality, it has not much real bearing on the small folk. Has the big R affected my business in it’s first year trading? Yes and no. I’ve come to realise that I can slot most people into one of three groups when I talk about video to them – those that ‘get’ it, those that don’t, and those that won’t. I’ll save that for another blog another time – but in a nutshell my business hasn’t struggled the way I thought it would due to, I hope, people buying into my passion for why video is great and why everybody should be looking at using it in their own business. And I don’t mean ‘buy into’ in the conning way – I am exceptionally passionate about what I do, and believe that every business owner can benefit from video in some way, no matter how small or large. Most of my work has come from word of mouth in the first year, from positive feedback and verbal spread of what RedScar is, and does.
I trebled my predicted turnover for the first 12 months, which isn’t actually a lot by many peoples standards in business terms, but having never been in business prior to RedScar I set myself an achievable goal and smashed it. Am I content with that? Nope. I’m happy that I did it, but that alone isn’t enough to survive long term. There are various quotes along the lines of ‘don’t chase the money, chase the dream’, and this is absolutely right. I’ve heard numerous times that we’re all in business to make money which is absolutely true, but learning to create and offer value to potential clients and make your product desirable is what will set you apart.
I am still learning this, and will do for the rest of my trading life. I’ve learned that in this new year I need to do the following in order to grow, in every aspect -
- Create a structured price list; still competitive, but I ran the risk of selling myself way too short numerous times last year from ‘guessing’ figures.
- Produce a mind-blowing showreel. THIS is my selling point, and up until now I have only used completed projects and testimonials to showcase.
- Create packages that appeal to certain sectors. Understanding how a particular client can benefit from video varies greatly. A 2min promo isn’t for everybody.
One thing that I have been doing for the last six months is using FaceBook ads. For anyone that doesn’t, you’re running the risk of getting left behind. When researched and used in the right way FB ads create incredible brand awareness. In the 6 months I’ve been using them, both my FB pages, RedScar, and Jamie Rae Storyboard Artist have more than doubled in new likes with enquiries worth up to 6 times the amount I’ve spent on the ads, and up to 4 times the amount in confirmed bookings. Social media merged with video is the monster of promotional and viral marketing.
Having also joined The Business Club Northants and The Entrepreneurs Circle in the latter half of my first trading year I know I’m set for an explosive second year – providing I continue to apply what I learn, and apply in the right places. Networking is a great and useful tool, but not for everybody. I was surprised at the amount of businesses on the networking scene that don’t use video in their everyday marketing, or even for special one off events that can be filmed and promoted. But the surprise soon turned to opportunity.
Overall, the first year hasn’t been an easy ride at all, and forgive me if any of the above makes it sound like it has! Working for yourself requires determination, motivation and a passion for what it is you do. Passion creates sales, determination creates goals, and motivation creates growth. I’m steadily finding my feet and I know that this time next year I’ll be back ready for year 3, with even more knowledge, understanding, and passion.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to another year! See you all soon.