Leaving Your Job to Start a Video Production Company

Money, free time, hobbies...or none of the above. Start your business wisely.

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The dream of leaving the workaday world in search of entrepreneurial bliss is not an uncommon one. Heck, most of use have wanted to run our own show, shunning the restrictions of a day job in favor of controlling each and every facet of a business. But is it the right decision for you? Maybe. Heck, it might be the best thing you’ve ever done. But there are considerations with such a big decision, and there might be enough hurdles to make the change a tricky one to navigate.

As a disclaimer, there is WAY more to leaving a job to start a business here, many issues localized to readers in other countries. I won’t touch on taxes, registration, incorporation or some of the other aspects of this decision that would demand further research. Ask local businesses for advice, speak with lawyers and accountants for advice on setting up a business properly and in accordance with local laws and requirements.

Now, here are a few small points to keep in mind when weighing this decision.

A major consideration when leaving a job is how good a fit starting and running a business is to your personality. Do you want to grow a massive company with dozens of employees or are you going to carry on as a solo artist, freelancing your way through the video production world as a hired gun? Either option is great, but there are considerations with both decisions.

Having never started a company with dozens of employees, I can’t speak directly to it, but I have friends who have done just that.

Think about your skills and personality and decide whether you want to be an administrator, an artist or designer, or another role within an organization. Remember, it’s possible to promote yourself - or be promoted - to a position outside of your skill set or sphere of interest. Many of us are strong as editors or motion graphic designers, but being Director of Motion Graphics might not be right for us.

Flying solo has it’s own strengths and pitfalls.

As a freelancer, we don’t have a boss. We have a dozen bosses. Or fifty bosses. Every contact at every one of our clients is our boss.

So too, to a degree, is our lifestyle.

Our need for a degree of cash flow will determine how hard we need to focus on a payment structure. Our client needs will dictate how we manage our time from day to day. Early shoots, overnight edits, and other client demands must be managed or they will have an option to look elsewhere.

We also don’t have a regular paycheck. Does your partner or spouse have a steady job? Do you earn money playing in a band on the weekend? These things start to become extremely important, particularly in the early weeks and months of being in business.

That doesn’t mean we’re completely out of control. We can set hours, implement payment policies, use software to answer our phones to let us keep our heads aimed at the editing displays, but ultimately the question stays the same: do you have the personality and lifestyle to allow for a freelance position. Can you handle being your own sales staff, accounting department and creative team? In time it might be possible to scale, or you might start a company with key partners, but every company has a large spectrum of jobs that need getting done and somebody has to do them.

If you haven’t started earning big money, or if you only have a client or two, paying to outsource work can be a stunt.

There is a heck of a lot more to consider, but this can be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make in life. It’s a huge shift from day job to running the show, but you can do it.

Next week we’ll look at more you can do to make the transition fun and seamless!