Fortunately, I’ve discovered how to earn a very good income with my camera and laptop.
I don’t like to throw around my awards or talk about how much money I make. I use the word “fortunate,” because in addition to helping others in times of war, famine, and political unrest – something I wish I could afford to do without getting paid — I AM getting paid.
I can put my daughters through college. I can provide a nice life for my family without financial concern. And I can take trips when and where I want.
I’m paid because I can get the photos and videos my clients need to raise awareness or ask for support from global governments. I’m paid because I can be trusted to see and handle situations with sympathy and respect. And I’m paid because I’ve mastered the skill of video.
Yesterday we talked about selling videos as stock. I brought that up because you have to start somewhere and stock is something that’s available to everyone no matter where you live and no matter how new you are to video.
Today, let’s assume you have some experience and you’re offering your services to clients.
Here are my two fundamental practices you can adopt to maximize your income:
1) Develop your skills. I’m a triple-threat digital media professional. That means that I work as a still photographer, video cinematographer and writer – all with equal skill and ease. That allows me to be booked for assignments that lesser qualified individuals would never be considered for.
You can start at the bottom (we all did). BUT, if you want a full-time income from this, you need to master your skill and that takes practice. Do that and your income will increase.
2) Upsell your work. When I win an assignment to create a video or shoot stills or write an article, I always try to “upsell” or talk the client into an additional service. If that doesn’t work, then I work to find other clients to give me work in the same local area, so my costs go down and my profits go up.
Sometimes it’s as simple as offering to write a short article based on a photograph I took on location. Other times it means I need to travel into a location that isn’t frequented by video pros and bring out rare, hard-to-get footage. It’s important to me that I get that second (or third) sale and I’ll do almost anything I need to do to get it. (Except go back into Somalia… I’ll share that story some other time!)
These two simple strategies work amazingly well for me.
I don’t like leaving money on the table, and I’d much rather have a client book me for more work than to realize later that they hired someone else for a job I could have done.