There are lots of ways to make money with video, but one of the most appealing may be freelance work. Freelance work consists of filming weddings, parties, corporate events, music videos, commercial spots, legal depositions, real estate or behind-the-scenes videos. All of this is done on your own time and schedule.
There may be other freelance gigs available, but these are some of the most reliable work opportunities to pursue in freelance to make some money.
The way to make money as a freelance videographer is to hustle and find your niche market while establishing relationships to build your business on.
You can not be picky when it comes to jobs as a freelancer because it is hard enough as it is to generate the necessary income to keep afloat while doing this sort of work.
Take anything and everything that comes your way. Saying yes to everything helps grow your revenue stream. Get paid and move on.
If you can do something you enjoy, it will help you avoid burnout and also let you maximize your value while building your portfolio.
Let’s look at some topics that can help you generate the most money as a freelance videographer.
Relationships create opportunity
Who you know is what’s most important.
Your relationships with people and businesses in your community will be paramount in creating opportunities to land gigs.
These connections will be the source of your freelance gigs, and without a vast network of people to communicate with, it will be hard to find enough freelance work to survive.
Building a solid client base that has recurring events and a need for freelance videography will help you build enough savings to fall back on in slow months and make busy months highly profitable.
Finding gigs outside of your network
Word of mouth will always be one of the most effective marketing tools when building a steady client base. Always deliver professional work. This means turn the work in by the deadline, be nice and deliver the best quality videos possible.
Most of your work will come via recommendations, so your reputation will help determine how much money you make as a freelancer.
Use your social media as well to let people know you are a freelance videographer. People want to be able to easily access you, so having your proper contact info and link to your portfolio available will be important.
Social media is everything and easily accessible having a strong presence can help you win over a client.
Linked In, Craigslist and other similar sites are also a cheap way to advertise you are available for freelance work.
Your portfolio is your resume.
This tells people who you are and what you do, but more importantly it gives you the ability to attract the clients you want.
When you solicit businesses, potential clients want to see what you’ve done rather than hear about it.
Having a strong portfolio on your website or social media presence of your work will land your more gigs, and higher paying gigs.
As your portfolio grows, you will be able to showcase your work by creating a reel.
The reel is a compilation of your best work and will help you market your freelance business and keep growing.
Types of gigs
If you are just starting out in wedding videography work and can land even just one gig a month, you can expect to average around a few hundred dollars a month.
As an established wedding videographer, you can command fees of up to $5000 per wedding for a five minute highlight video.
People spare no expense when it comes to weddings and often times will pay the best rate for a freelancer looking to make a living from just doing videos. You can check out our course on wedding videography here.
Corporate work is typically a great place to start out if you are just getting into freelance videography.
These videos will typically be shot and produced for employees in the company to view, therefore will require less production value and editing time therefore maximizing profit.
Establishing a rapport with a company can grow into a long-term relationship as companies often have long-term needs for freelance videography and content delivery for their social media sites.
Find a seller who sells luxury homes, 750k or up.
Most likely, they earn a commission on the home, and the higher the commission on the home, the more you are able to charge for the video of each property.
Anything below 750k tends to have a smaller budget and also less work available overall. The agent has to have a commission that justifies the price of the video.
Establish a retainer agreement with real estate agent, as they will continue to have more listings each month.
This will allow you to establish constant cash flow as a freelancer, making it easier to keep pursuing other freelance gigs. This also helps you establish multiple retainer agreements with different agents and maximize your revenue streams.
The real estate videographer work can sustain your freelance work almost by itself and it creates a snowball effect, generating thousands of dollars of income per month.
In house vs freelance
Freelance gives you the creative freedom to go after the gigs you want and set the rate you offer. In house work, or agency work, can be a more reliable source of paid gigs but the agency holds the cards on what will work will come your way.
As a freelancer, you don’t need to hire other people to help you produce high-quality videos because in this day in age, it’s easier than ever to do it yourself.
Passive income means money generated with little or no effort.
Stock footage sites are great for generating a passive income revenue stream to help fill in the gaps.
How it works is quite simple.
You shoot footage and upload it to a site where users pay a licensing fee for the footage to use in their own projects. This can be footage from prior freelance gigs you didn’t use in the edit or random b-roll footage you pick up on your own time.
Revenue from your stock footage can generate anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per month.
Freelance videography can be lucrative because you set your rates and negotiate your pay based on the value you bring to the table for the gig. As a freelance videographer, you control contracts, fee negotiations, budget and value.
$2500 per three minute video is a solid number to shoot for when working in freelance.
Maximizing revenue streams
Try to maximize revenue streams as much as possible when working a freelance videographer. If you have ten revenue streams that all bring in a couple of hundred dollars a month, then you are making a little bit of money.
Track your expenses and liabilities so you can figure out places to cut back. With a little bit of simple accounting, you can know how much you need to make each month to be profitable.
If your rates aren’t high enough to be profitable you either have to charge more or search for higher paying clients.
Price vs work
Set your price and negotiate your workload.
What that means is don’t lower your price just to win a job. Instead, offer to do less work if they want to pay a lower fee. Turn over elements of the project to the client in order to help them save and stand firm on your price.
Most clients will want their videos to be three things; fast, well done and cheap.
You have to find some common ground with the client on these aspects. It is realistic to let them know they can maybe have one or two of these aspects negotiated but not all three.
Educating your clients will get you better pay. If they want videos done faster, you can ask them to pay more money for a faster turn around. If they more production value, you also upcharge for that.
A key thing to remember here is don’t get paid for your time, but get paid for your value.
As your video production skills get better, and your turn around time gets faster, you should not be penalized by selling your service at an hourly rate.
Make sure you find a client that will pay an appropriate price for your work. If they cannot afford your fee, maybe you are searching for the wrong clients.
Surviving as a freelancer
Freelance comes in waves so be prepared for that. Have a savings account for the slow months and be prepared to deliver your work on time. Remember to be professional and do quality work as the referrals will help you succeed long term.