Imagine yourself to be a ‘media entrepreneur’. What would your project/start-up company be, and how would you get it off the ground?’
My start-up company would be a ‘freelance photographer and documentary maker’. Running your own business is seen to be extremely challenging, there’s a lot to remember, a lot to organise and a huge amount of responsibility. In this blog post I am going to explore what it means to run your own business, specifically focusing on ways to get your business off the ground. With every blogger giving their opinion on becoming a freelancer and focusing on all the negative aspects that you may face, it may seem overpowering at first. However, if you are willing to be dedicated, hard working and positive then there are essential steps you should take to launch your business. Below I have created a mind map of all the potential things that would assist you in getting your business up and running:
Finding a niche:
After you’ve come up with a great idea for your business the next step is to identify who your market is. Distinguishing a niche in the media industry and having the capability to fill in that gap with appropriate and advanced products has always been the secret to publishing success (Knight and Cook, 2013). The more narrowly you can define your target audience, the better (Entrepreneur Media,2014). A niche market involves targeting a very specific, well defined segment of the market. It is focused, and aims at providing a service that focuses on a specific clients needs, which cannot be addressed in as much detail by a mainstream provider (Patricia N.A).
The internet: Once you have established the type of freelance business you wish to start, the most important step is to research people, publications, institutions and organisations that are movers in your niche audience, it will allow you to learn from them (Black,2016). Having connections is vital, as stated earlier the web is a place to find a solution to whatever problem you are facing as a freelancer. It allows you to connect with people in the same situation to discuss uncertainty, apprehension or doubt you may face. Follow blogs in your niche; join forums in your niche; subscribe to newsletters in your niche and lastly follow social media accounts of those in your niche.
Marketing: How to reach you clients
One question that needs to be answered to make you more successful is, are your clients online or offline? Social media plays a key role in gathering attention and clients. If you know they are potential business opportunity’s on twitter then become activate and participate. There are multiple marketing techniques that you should use to reach your target audience:
Mail out some business cards– make them exciting and colour to catch people’s eye.
Participate in social media– Linked in, Twitter, Facebook.
Make cold calls and emails.
Word of mouth – simple and effective
According to The Ultimate Freelancers Guidebook, marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Do it first thing on the morning because without it, there will be no clients, and no clients means no business (Black, 2016).
Set future goals: Setting goals is key, whether your business is 10 days old or 3 years by examining your competition, peers and employers it will help you create new goals to decide what needs to happen next to be successful.
Be picky about your projects: When first starting out as a freelancer you may have to accept jobs you may not find interesting, to keep a good income and to get your business up and running. However, when people become freelancers it is because they have a passion for the work that they create. Once you have established yourself and your niche, becoming picky about what projects you take on is allowed. ‘’Every project you say “yes” to means you have less room to say “yes” to another project. So make sure everything on your plate is something you really want and can handle’’ (Gurnett, 2013).
A freelancer is a self-employed person offering services, it’s flexible, you can set your own hours and work on projects of your choice (Duermyer, 2017). Freelancers are the majority of the time lone workers, shooting and editing themselves. However, being a freelancer can open doors to working within a team at times. By connecting with other freelancers or companies it will give you time to take on bigger projects that you would have otherwise moved on from. It is very rare for one person to have all the skills needed to manage a big project themselves, for example if you had a project filming a documentary it would be very difficult and time consuming to take on all roles yourself; camera, sound, director, editor, graphic designer. Therefore, at times you will need support from a team.
In figure 12.2 above it gives details of the people you may need in your team. A lot of these won’t apply if you are running a freelance business, because you may not be a part of a bigger company. Although, if you are thinking of running a company it is possible for all these members to help you during your career. You may for example be really busy with more than one client project, therefore get in touch with a web designer to create an online portfolio for you. So even though you may not need them at all times throughout your career, you will have to generate key relationships with people in a similar industry.
Numerous research has taken place examining what makes an effective team. When asking someone to join your project even if it is a friend, always make sure they are trusted and committed. Isaksen and Tidd say (2006)‘’ focus on building high trust, choose competent team members, harness a collaborative climate, and make sure everyone has a unified commitment and common goals’’ (cited in: Knight and Cook, 2013). This is essential because when things go wrong with a contract relationship, it’s all your responsibilty, there’s usually no one else to blame but yourself. After all, it’s your project that you and the client have scoped, agreed to deliverables and set a timeframe for. Therefore, it is your job to live up to promises that you have made if you want to maintain your good name within the freelancing industry (Hickey and Moskovitz, n.d.).
Black, Y. (2016). The ultimate freelancer’s guidebook. 1st ed. “F+W Media, Inc.
Duermyer, R. (2017). What is a Freelancer and How Can I Work At Home Freelancing?. [online] The Balance. Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-freelancing-1794415 [Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].
Entrepreneur Media, Inc.. 2014. 7 Steps to Defining Your Niche Market. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240163. [Accessed 16 March 2017].
Gurnett. K (2013)The Write Life. How to Handle Being a Full-Time Freelancer (Without Going Nuts). [ONLINE] Available at: https://thewritelife.com/how-to-handle-being-a-full-time-freelancer-without-going-nuts/. [Accessed 16 March 2017].
Hickey, K. and Moskovitz, D. (n.d.). 3 things freelancing can teach you about teamwork. [online] Wavelength by Asana. Available at: https://wavelength.asana.com/workstyle-freelancer-skills/ [Accessed 17 Mar. 2017].
Patricia (N.A). What is niche marketing? And 8 good reasons why you should bother and not worry about losing out – The Design Trust. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/what-is-niche-marketing/. [Accessed 16 March 2017].
Knight, M. and Cook, C. (2013). Social Media for Journalists. 1st ed. London: SAGE Publications.