Growing Your Production Company from Yourself to a Team

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Video assets are the biggest need for every business, nonprofit and personal brand. From marketing to educational content, video is how the world communicates. There is no better time to be a producer creating assets for these companies and brands.

Many producers working for corporate brands and companies are often “one-man” shows, creating content as a producer/shooter/editor. In this niche of the industry, they’ll sometimes go by the hybrid term: shreditor.

It’s not a bad way to make a living. You’re involved in every aspect of production, start to finish. But if you’re tired and exhausted, a shreditor losing opportunities due to post-production, maybe it’s time to rethink this model. If this describes you, it’s time to grow from a single-person producer into a production team.

Your Time = Money

By far and away, the biggest challenge for a single-person producer is lacking the time to get everything done. While you’re busy with an edit, you can miss a $10,000 project from a referred client. If you spend all your time working for current clients, you won’t have time to network and establish relationships that enable business growth.

Your time is money. You can either lose money by spending your time on low money/hour tasks, or you can make more money when you free up your time for higher dollar/hour tasks.

But is losing money actually that bad? Let me explain it this way: if you spend four hours cleaning your audio and your production rate is $70/hour, those four hours are worth $280. But what would your time be worth if you spent the same four hours pitching project worth $10,000? Those four hours are worth $2500 a piece. And if you spent those four hours cleaning audio instead of pitching, you lost $2430 per hour.


Ready to start leveraging your time in favor of making more money?

What Skills Do You Need?

As a single-person producer, take stock of all the skills required to produce a video. Include the planning, shooting, lighting, editing, sound engineering, as well as speciality skills like drone operation, color correction and set design. Everything.

Likely, there’s a number of skills you’re good at and you work quickly and efficiently. But what about the skills you’re not good at, the ones that keep you up until 3:00 am hunting down tutorials on YouTube? Those areas are costing you money.

There’s three solutions to this problem:

1). Keep spending your time learning and laboring away (which is leaking you money). 2). Hire a full-time employee to work for you. 3). Outsource the skill when you need it.

Outsourcing a skill when you need it--the third option--provides the most cash flow. You don’t have to hire a full-time professional when you can’t guarantee full-time work.Yes, outsourcing costs money. A smart producer builds these expenses directly into their project proposals. When you assemble a team as needed, your gain valuable time to do other things.

This process is similar to working on a large TV show or Hollywood blockbuster. You’re adapting it to build a flexible, nimble team to produce your projects.

Get Out Of The Gear Trap

Another money-trap keeping single-person producers from scaling is constantly buying new gear. Believe me, we all want a Ronin and a GH5 to play with or new plugins to make our videos easier to edit. But if buying new gear and software leaks money that you could otherwise use to grow your business, you need a new approach.

A great solution is renting gear to keep equipment costs down. Rental companies are all over the country and some will ship gear to your location. By renting gear, you can use the latest cameras, lens and rigs for your productions. Best of all, you used it for a fraction of the cost it otherwise took to buy it.

Likewise, by outsourcing technical skills such as audio mixing or editing, you gain access to that professional’s plugins, software and equipment resources rather than investing in them yourself.

This leaves you more time and finances for networking and maintaining client relationships.

Become a Delegator

A producer in the TV or film industry pulls together members of a team and provides oversight to get a project done. On a big production they’re not “manufacturing,” ie, on-set running sound cables or assembling camera rigs. Another professional is doing that.

As a single-person producer used to doing everything yourself, it can be unsettling to let of parts of production go. And unlike a TV producer responsible for gathering resources and people, you’ll probably do some “manufacturing” yourself. But you won’t have to do it all anymore.

Delegating production tasks is the best way to grow, both as a project leader and as a creative professional. It takes skill and practice. But you need to become a delegator to grow a successful business.

Everything Is About Saving Time

Forming and maintaining client relationships are essential to growing your business. More clients provide the resources to hire a full-time professionals at your company. Or maybe you’ll like outsourcing to other pros because like renting gear, you can get the exact skill you need for any production.

Either way, it’s all about saving time because time equals money.

Every single tool you use, from the software on your computer to the hardware that’s crunching numbers can save time. The professionals you hire for your team, from pre-production to post save you time. Even reviewing services like give you more time to do higher dollar/hour tasks.

Anything that doesn’t save time costs you the ability to grow beyond from a single-person producer and into a cash flowing, full-fledged production company.