Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneurship’

It Takes a Village to Build a Successful Career

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Have you ever been faced with a particular challenge or difficulty and felt as though you were all alone? That feeling of isolation can be incredibly overwhelming, which is why I believe that there is something within the human race that causes us to crave a sense of community. Whether that community is a church, co-working environment, club, online user group, etc. we all want to be a part of something where we can voice our concerns and receive valuable feedback and encouragement. That impulse to be involved with other like-minded individuals is (I believe) embedded into everyone, regardless of the profession.

As a business owner, I enjoy meeting and talking with other entrepreneurs. I enjoy discussing the challenges we face and the successes we’ve achieved. I enjoy listening to others talk about how they solve problems and how they’ve grown their businesses. As a video production professional, I value the time I spend talking with others in the industry about the tools they use for their productions. I enjoy learning new tips and tricks that help me to become a better video professional. Getting plugged into a community is extremely valuable and therapeutic. It’s a wonderful cure for discouragement and it’s an excellent way to remind each of us that we are not alone.

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Free Video Production Work

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

It’s a catch-22. You need the video work so you can organize a demo reel, but you often need a demo reel so you can get the video work. It’s unavoidable. People want to see work samples before making the decision to hire a video professional or video production company. So, what if you are trying to get started in the video production industry and need something on your reel? How do you get hired? One of the tactics I used when I first started my business was to give away some video production work for free – no strings attached. This approach might not suit everyone’s circumstances, but there may come a time early in your career when you need to work for free in order to beef up your reel. However, before you give away the farm, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you should know that I only worked for free once. That’s it. Granted, I have done other pro-bono work in my career, but those jobs were done in exchange for some other goods or services or they were done for causes I support. So, be careful if you decide to offer up your services for free. You don’t want to build a reputation as someone who does video work on the cheap. Know what you are worth.

Second, know who to approach. You might think that businesses would be knocking down your door if they heard you were giving away your video services for free. However, the truth is, people can be pretty hesitant to accept something for free. They are always looking for the catch – the fine print. They don’t want to get caught up in something they didn’t anticipate. So, if you feel that your reel needs some commercial work, or some long-format work, try talking with family members first. You may have a great uncle, an aunt, a cousin, etc. who runs a small business. You could approach them, discuss your situation, and see if they would allow you to produce some videos for them at no charge.

Third, be honest about why you are offering your services for free. Whether it’s a family member, or a close friend, or a new contact, let him/her know that you are starting a new video business and you need some content for your reel. If that individual is a small business owner him/herself, he/she will certainly understand. It’s important to be up front about your motivations, because (as I mentioned in point #1) you don’t want to gain a reputation as someone who will work for little-to-no-money. You simply want to include some additional work on your reel so you can charge other clients fair market price for your services.

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Take a Long, Hard Look in the Mirror

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I’ve been doing some self-evaluation recently in an effort to better define my company and our mission. If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments here, we will soon be Red Fox Media. I know, you have questions:

  • Has Parc Entertainment been bought out?
  • Will Clint be moving on to work for someone else?
  • Is this the end?

The answer to all of the above is, “no.” Our business is growing and so we are expanding our services. Therefore, we have decided to change our name, to more accurately reflect the company identity. Here’s a brief synopsis of who and what Red Fox Media is (this will appear on our new website – www.redfoxmediainc.com):

Red Fox Media, formerly Parc Entertainment, is a digital production company in Birmingham, Alabama. As today’s media becomes increasingly integrated and pervasive, clients need dynamic and visually stunning content. That’s where we come in. Through HD video production and website design, we create compelling multimedia solutions that engage, inspire, and entertain. As media and technology continue to evolve, we readily adapt. That’s why we’re relentless. It’s why we hold ourselves to a higher standard. And it’s why we work everyday to provide our clients with visual excellence.

As we work toward the launch of this new brand, I’ve been thinking about our core values.  I’ve compiled them into a list. This list isn’t meant to be all-inclusive, but it will certainly give you an idea of what motivates us throughout every stage of every project:

  • We believe in challenging ourselves to create the best content for our clients.
  • We believe in having a passion for what we do.
  • We believe in creating content that stands apart from the others
  • We believe in high-production standards
  • We believe in constant improvement.
  • We believe in adapting to meet the needs of our clients and the marketplace.
  • We believe in greatness, not mediocrity
  • We believe in treating everyone with respect
  • We believe in prompt, courteous communication with all clients.
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It’s Okay to Make a Bad Video

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
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DishyMix is a podcast in which host Susan Bratton interviews well-known media, internet, and marketing executives. The goal is to provide listeners with insights on how to better market themselves and their brands by taking advantage of the philosophies and tools provided by Susan and her guests.

I was listening to episode 137 recently (follow the link to listen or to read the full transcript) and heard a comment that caught my attention. In the episode, Susan interviews Jim Kukral, a speaker, author, consultant, coach on all things business and marketing. He was on the show to promote his book, Attention, This Book Will Make You Money. Read the following segment of the transcript where Jim talks about the topic of motivation (emphasis added):

Jim Kukral: Motivation; well, you know, I’m kind of a different perspective guy. I know that there’s a lot of people who will tell you to go out and do step by step by step stuff, and I’m a big believer in you just have to go out and try and really fail. You really got to go out and fail. And it’s more important than ever in the internet business, is going out and failing as many times as you possibly can.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, fail and optimize, right?

Jim Kukral: Yeah. I mean there’s so much forgiveness out there right now, you know, in the internet marketing space. YouTube, I’ll give you YouTube for example. I mean YouTube has transformed the way that we are okay with videos now. Before YouTube came along everyone had, you thought you had to have this really nice pre-produced, you know, post production video that was very beautiful. Now it’s kind of like, you look at videos like that you’re kind of like “Ugh.”

Susan Bratton: It’s inauthentic now.

Jim Kukral: It is. And, you know, so it’s okay to make poor quality video now. It’s okay to go out and build a website or a blog or do something that’s not completely perfect, and this economy and everything that we’re, the technology that’s coming out is allowing people to be able to go out there and put stuff out there. So if you want to get motivated you got to go out there and actually just really try it.

In its full context, Jim is advocating that entrepreneurs, inventors, small business owners, etc. not be afraid to step out and take risks; that it’s important to try, even if it doesn’t come out quite right; even if it isn’t perfect. He then goes on to say that it’s acceptable to create a poor quality video in today’s market, because it translates into “authenticity.”

So, I’m going to leave this one open for discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you agree or disagree with Jim’s assessment?
  • Do you feel that it’s okay for a business to create a poor quality marketing video?
  • When you see a brand with a poor quality video, what is your immediate reaction?
  • Should companies start creating lesser quality videos because it makes them look more authentic?
  • What does this mean long-term for video producers?
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When a Recession Hits – Spend, Spend, Spend

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Knowing how much to spend on advertising is a struggle all businesses deal with – especially during a recession. When economic times are lean, the gut reaction is to jettison all the weight you deem “unnecessary,” batten down the hatches, huddle together with your staff, and pray for daylight. In the long run, however, how will that strategy help your business? Sure, you may weather the storm, but when you come out safe on the other side, you may find that your competitors have taken a huge lead in the marketplace. How come? Because while you were hiding in your office, they were still out there in front of the public, maintaining their visibility.

A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, said, “I think it’s more essential to innovate through a recession, and certainly what we are trying to do at P&G is to continue to bring sustaining and even disruptive new brands and products for our consumers, to make their lives better, to offer them a little more value.”

Professor Andrew J. Razeghi of Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University said, “Moments of economic turbulence provide the unique opportunity to start new businesses, launch disruptive new products, and strengthen customer loyalty – often at a discount.” Razeghi has a great presentation entitled, “Innovating Through Recession.” You can read it in its entirety here.

Or consider this statistic from a McGraw Hill study that surveyed over 600 businesses: In the 1981-1982 recession, businesses that cut advertising spending, increased their sales 19%. Businesses that continued to spend on advertising increased their sales 275%.

The key difference between those who continued to spend money on advertising and those who didn’t is visibility. Businesses who continued to advertise were in a better position once the recession ended. They were in the forefront of the customer’s mind when he/she was ready to buy. Make the word “visibility” your motto this year. Get out in front of your customers. Advertise. Market your business. Strive to be the first company people think of when they are ready to buy.

Related Article:

Grab the Market While the Competition Makes Cuts

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