How many here work for themselves?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Brother Michael, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004
    Hello everyone.

    I was curious, how many people here are in business for themselves? Primarily, how many people are in the Visual (and audio) Communication Field? I am curious because well Mac is designed for people in that industry and so I was wondering how many are in this industry. Also what is your story, how did you get to where you wanted today?

    The other reason I asked is, I tried to start a small business last year, and it fell through due to lack of money. That is really how I ended up owning this Mac. At anyrate I want to try again, and I am looking for some tips. Perhaps, trying to start a video company isn't feasible right now, perhaps I could start smaller, maybe making websites and logos, or maybe brochures/posters.

    I was thinking that my niche could doing advertising for local bands here in my city and the next city over...See I live in Bowling Green Ohio, we not only have my school, but then 20 minutes up the road is Toledo. Also I live in Columbus and my schedule is different from Ohio State, so in any case, there are plenty of student bands that I can work with.

    Which now brings me to another problem, I have no money to work with right now, hence why I am trying to go into business. So, what is some advice for this situation? I mean I could get another job (but I think I will try to get one in this field as opposed to going back to McDonald's), I don't really want a loan, and my parents with helping with College aren't in a position to help me a whole lot.

    The goal of this is, I want my part time job in school to be working for me. I am a Visual Communication Technology Major and an Entrepreneurship minor, and one day I want to own a serious Advertising Company or even better be one of the big boys in Hollywood, to do that I need to do something to make myself competitive, because based on my class projects, I need practice...

    Any help/tips/ideas?

  2. beatle888 macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002
    get a listing of agencys in your area that do the type of work your interested in and cold call them, direct them to your website so they can see your work and ask if they have any projects they need help with. generally this is called freelancing. its a great way to get your feet wet and build a client base. you can either work at their studio or off site at your home office. but dont stop looking for need to constantly give your business card out and make yourself known to the industry. cold call as much as you can...people will eventually respond.

    good luck. and dont IS scary at times. not everyone has the stomach for it, i love it (but my stomach frowns at me).
  3. wrc fan macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

    Jan 19, 2003
    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    Like beatle888 said, this business is far more about marketing yourself than actually doing the work. If you're not prepared to market yourself, something better would be to try to get an internship (hopefully a paid one), with another company. And then while you are there start working on building contacts.

    If you really suck at marketing, then perhaps you can find someone else you know to market for you while you do the work, then split the profits however you see fit.
  4. Brother Michael thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004
    Well, I have no issues with marketting myself or being a salesman. Actually that is one of the things I am trying to be. I figure I can get my contacts by checking out the local bar scene's and addressing the bands merchandise.

    As for hiring myself out freelance, I want to do that too, problem is I have no quams with marketting myself, but I don't have the equipment. I dont even have a full version of Adobe CS...I have a "trial" version. I don't want to do shady business, I have no quams with it while I am not making money, but if I am in business it will be legit.

    What I am looking for is an answer/tips to help to my startup funding problem.

  5. Brother Michael thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004
    hmm...maybe I have more of an issue than I thought I did...I can't even spell the dang word :p

    No seriously, this business idea of mine is about two things:

    1. Making a part-time job for myself while I am in school.
    2. To learn from. To learn about Marketing, Sales, Production, Accounting, etc. The goal is to set myself apart from my peers through means of business since my talent is somewhat less than theirs.

  6. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    I am not sure if a personal anecdote will help you Michael, but here is my personal (and somewhat comparable) story. It also involves my First Mac (since the IIe).

    I lived in a big college town, and both of my regular jobs dealt with either the college crowd or the otherwise youthful set. I met a lot of people, and a good number were in bands that played frequently around town. Concurrently to all this, I and a friend were trying our hands at Video Editing/Presentation in our free time because we were interested in it. After a while, we made a choice and bought ourselves a couple of LCD projectors, a couple video mixers and a couple of fairly nice digital camcorders, plus a variety of misc. tech odds and ends. We put this all on our credit cards, and spent several years paying back this investment.

    Yet a wise investment it was. Armed with this new equipment we began asking around to people we knew in bands we enjoyed if they were interested in having video projection at their shows. We lived in a big house at the time (with several other roomates) and threw large partys with bands to help hone our skills in a less-stressful environment than a club. We experimented, and since not too many people were doing what we were, people were fairly easy to please.

    Due to the success of these parties, we became fairly well-known in certain social-circles and many of the bands who began playing at our parties asked us to continue to do work for them as they got gigs at venues. New bands came up to us at shows, or contacted us through friends. We printed out business cards. People asked if we did web-sites, and we figured "why not?" and began to learn how to make those. MTV came to one of our parties, to film. We met and talked to people in the local film scene, to get ideas, or to collaborate on projects.

    It was all kind of an organic outgrowth. In the beginning we did not charge anything for our time, as it was a growing experience for us, and in many cases, we were being done a favor as much as we were granting one. All the time, however, we built up a steady portfolio of diversified material and gained word-of-mouth recognition through an accumulation of efforts. Even after a while, we were not really interested in the financial nature of the enterprise, but only of the experience and potential we might have later. We did it because we loved doing it. And slowly we became good at it, or at least professional from experience. That, at the very least, is good resume material.

    The whole time, I might add, I worked a regular job from 8-4 five days a week, and often another part-time job at night, not so much for money, but because it was in the bar scene and afforded me networking opportunities, not to mention social ones. My partner was a full-time student at the time, and was lucky enough to have financial support from his family during his collegiate life. For both of us, however, we sacrificed much of our free-time to the pursuit of this endeavor, which paid dividends.

    In the end, for us, however, we chose not to continue on full-bore, and chose to slow down after a while and accept only the invitations for work that suited us, to have some breathing room. We were both young, and ultimately decided to explore other things. I still do some web-design work from time-to-time.

    So, I hope you can find something in this story to help you Micheal. It is really about motivation. We were primarily motivated by creativity and curiousity, not by economic potential, but it hardly matters. You are young, and if there is any time where you can afford to make mis-steps or impulsive decisions, it is your youth. So take a look around, and see what things look like, and be patient. Teach yourself all you can, and ask for help where you find it. There are lots of talented and helpful people out there who will take a little time to help you, if approached correctly. Don't be afraid to make unreasonable decisions (like buying 8K of equipment), if you have faith that you will put it to good use. Don't let anyone convince you that what you are doing is a waste of time, if you love it.

    If there is anything else I can do to help you, please PM me.

    Otherwise, best of luck.
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    i find that really cynical. what about improving your talent? isn't that what you'd rather be doing?

    entrepreneurship can be tough -- i've done it and am doing it now. i first started my own company, w/ several others, because we were all working together for someone else as consultants but weren't being assigned to the kinds of jobs we wanted. so we went off on our own and found jobs that we did like.

    of course, we had to run the company too, and i ended up working 80-100 hours / week for 5 years.

    if you love doing X, then find a job doing X until you can't stand the politics anymore. maybe at that point you can go off on your own, because you have:
    1. skills
    2. money saved up
    3. word of mouth (VERY important)
    4. networks of clients
    5. networks of support people
    6. a body of work / portfolio
    7. experience you can point to
    8. confidence in yourself
    9. an impressive resume

    when on your own, you can expect to spend a lot of time not doing X, but you'd better be damn good at X, to the point you can do it in your sleep. because in a lot of ways, you'll have to :)

    good luck.
  8. wrc fan macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

    Jan 19, 2003
    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    Well you could go the whole "trial" route and only after you have made money then purchase the software (Since you are a student you should be able to get software at the education price).

    But there really is no reason why you must have the latest and greatest version (My company is still running Photoshop 7 and Freehand 10). Go on ebay and see if you can get Photoshop 6 or 7 cheaply. If you need to do vector work see if you can get Freehand or Illustrator cheaply, etc. etc. One time I looked online there was a copy of Photoshop 5 selling for $20, and then you can see what upgrading to a newer version costs.

    Or you can go the OpenSource route. Sure the Gimp ain't Photoshop, but it's definately usable. There are also some free vector drawing tools, but I haven't tried any.
  9. Brother Michael thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004
    blackfox: Actually, that has helped out a lot. The situation sounds very similiar and too me that was a necessary slap or reminder that to do the things we want to do, we have to make sacrifices in the form of thigns we don't (like a job at McDonald's to get some money). As for the credit thing, the biggest reason why I don't want to do it, is because, well I am afraid that if it fails or worse, I fizzle out on it, I have a large debt. But, again it is about the risks is it not?

    zimv20: It wasn't meant to be. Lemme explain that one a little better. I am not exactly that great at this graphic design stuff...I am not a good production person. I don't mind it per se, but I have always seemed to like the business side of things. I like using my Left brain in a Right brain world. As for making my talent better, I would hope that by doing things in this business I could make myself better.

    oaklandbum: I never really thought about makes sense though, I mean I guess for my printing aspect (i was going to also print things for students, figured if i have the equipment already might as well take advantage of the student arena), as long as everything is saved in a .PDF there is no reason it shouldn't work. Thanks. As for using "Trial" software, I have given it thought, I I said I want to run an honest business, but eh...I don't know. I know that if I did do things that way, the non-trial versions of software would be the first thing profits went towards...I will try that eBay idea though...smashing idea really.


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