A career in videography can be a diverse and rewarding path with lots of opportunities for different kinds of work. And once you feel confident enough in your abilities, starting your own videography business can be incredibly lucrative – if you know what you’re doing. 

To make sure you’re prepared, this guide will cover all the essential steps on how to start a videography business, including:

  • Understand the market
  • Build you brand identity
  • Training and experience
  • Market your business
  • Expand your network
  • Get the right equipment
  • Get insured
  • Consider your legal structure
  • Register with HMRC
  • Organise your finances
  • Make a business plan 

Understand the market

If you want to make any serious money with your videography business, you’re going to need customers. But first, you need to understand what sort of jobs are available to you. 

The market is fairly broad, and it’s really up to you to decide what kind of work you want to do, but some good ways to get consistent videography work are:

  • Weddings
  • Live events
  • Real estate agencies
  • Stock footage

Weddings

Most videographers will tell you they’ve been asked by family or friends to shoot their wedding video, early in their careers. 

The downside is that they probably won’t offer to pay you. The upside is the video will be seen by a lot of people and you can ask the couple to recommend you to others. 

If you do end up doing the first one for free, at least ask for the cost of memory cards and other basic expenses. 

Live events

Conferences, charity events, balls, galas, even high school proms are all great circuits to get involved with. They all want videos made, and they’ll usually have regular events, so it’s a steady source of income if you can get into it. 

If you can get one gig and they like your work, you’ll probably be asked to do it again. You can also ask them to recommend you to their own industry contacts. 

Real estate agencies

It’s generally for larger properties. They’ll be looking for walk-through videos and footage of the surrounding area. 

Reach out to some local real estate agents that focus on higher-end properties. If they like your work, you can ask them to recommend you to others in their industry, and you’ll be on the way. 

Stock footage

People are always looking for professional-looking b-roll for video projects. Shooting things like landscapes, buildings, city skylines, and busy streets can be sold to sites like Shutterstock.

In terms of quality, most people will be looking for at least 1080p, but 4k is the most popular. That said, there’s always a market for more “old timey” footage, so shooting on older 16mm cameras can work too. 

Build your brand identity

Once you truly understand the videography market, you can start thinking about your videography business’ brand identity. 

Establishing a brand identity is essential to good marketing because it will help you stand out amongst your competitors, allowing customers to recognise your particular business and what you have to offer. 

Building a brand from the ground up will take time, so here are the basic steps you should take:

  • Determine your unique selling point – what sets you apart from other videography businesses?
  • Define your target audience – who are they, what do they want, how do they communicate, and where do they spend their time?
  • Choose your design – what do you want your branding to look and sound like?
  • Build a brand style guide – set out some strict guidelines that inform everything your business does publicly, including logos, slogans, colour palettes, and written communication. 

Training and experience

Honing your skills is essential if you’re serious about starting a videography business. Competition is fierce, so anything less than a top-quality service just won’t cut it. 

Formal education, like undergraduate and masters degrees, will help you build your skillset and develop your own particular style. They’re also a good selling point for potential clients. 

That said, a formal education isn’t nearly as important as your portfolio. Nobody is going to care much about your qualifications if you have an incredible collection of work that proves your skill. 

Build your portfolio

A good portfolio is going to be your major selling point when it comes to attracting clients. You can always publish all of your work on your social media, but there are also some great online portfolio sites like Format and Vimeo where you can build a stunning portfolio. 

The advantage of an online portfolio is you have more control over how it’s constructed and presented. You could even create different portfolios that showcase different styles and skill sets to match the kinds of jobs you’re applying for. 

Sending a link to a purposefully designed portfolio will also make you appear much more professional compared to a link to your social media page. 

Market your business

After you’ve created a unique brand identity, you can start to focus your marketing efforts by promoting that specific brand through as many channels as you possibly can. 

Social media

Social media sites like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great places to meet new connections and advertise yourself. You can join groups and threads dedicated to videography gaining direct access to an interested audience. 

For the best results, you should post regularly with relevant content to increase your visibility. And don’t forget to share, comment, and like other people’s content – social media is very much a two-way street – the more you put in, the more you’ll get back. .

Freelance sites

Alongside social media, there are loads of dedicated freelancer sites where you can advertise yourself. The most used sites for freelance videographers are:

Any of these sites will let you apply for work, advertise your business, and find other freelancers to collaborate with. 

Expand your network

Networking is the perfect way to promote your business while meeting valuable contacts. While marketing increases your customer, networking is more about gaining more professional contacts. 

Social media is once again a great networking tool. You can join dedicated videography groups and reach out to others in the industry. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a response every time, just make sure to follow up quickly when you do. 

Check out up-coming videography networking events using sites like Eventbrite. There are loads of online and in-person events that are specifically useful for videographers. When you’re at the events, it’s important to make the most out of your limited time, so check out our article on networking for some effective strategies. 

Finally, try reaching out to charities and local businesses for a collaboration. Even if you do some work for free, it’s well worth the effort if you’re able to make contacts and gain some good favour in the community. 

Get the right equipment

As you probably already know, videography involves good quality equipment, so it will be one of your biggest startup costs. The greater variety and quality of equipment you have will directly affect the number of jobs you’re able to do and the level of quality you’re able to achieve. 

For most professional videography jobs, you’ll need:

  • A camera
  • Lenses
  • A laptop
  • Editing Software
  • A tripod
  • Sound equipment
  • Lighting

If you’re just starting out and money is an issue, try looking for second-hand gear or consider renting some of the pieces you don’t have, as and when you need them. 

Crucially, make sure you’re familiar and proficient with all the equipment you own. Whenever you get some new kit, no matter how simple you think it is, get used to working with it before you use it on jobs – nothing says unprofessional like a videographer fumbling around with their shiny new tripod. 

Get insured

Most of the equipment you’re using will be expensive, and losing or breaking it means you can’t fulfil your contracts, so make sure you have equipment insurance for all your key pieces. 

Aside from that, there are a few other insurance policies that you’ll want to consider as a self-employed videographer:

  • Public liability insurance.
  • Professional indemnity insurance.
  • Business interruption insurance.
  • Employers’ liability insurance – this is a legal requirement if you plan to hire any employees.

When setting up your business, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to set up as a sole trader or a limited company. From an operational perspective, the main differences between the two structure are:

  • Financial liability – sole traders are personally responsible for all debts incurred by their business, whereas limited companies enjoy limited liability
  • Income tax – sole traders must pay more income tax as their income increases (0% – 45%), whereas limited company profits are subject to corporation tax (a flat rate of 19%).
  • Preparing records – limited companies must submit public records of all business information to companies house, whereas sole traders can keep their information private. 

Because of limited liability, investors are more likely to consider buying into your business if it’s a limited company. 

Register with HMRC

If you choose to set up as a sole trader, you’ll need to register as self-employed so you can manage your taxes. Sole traders pay income tax that increases as you earn more taxable income. 

When you set up as a sole trader, you’ll receive a Unique Tax Reference (UTR). You’ll need this information when you submit your self-assessment tax return. 

If you register as a limited company, you’ll need to register with HMRC with your chosen company name and detailed company records.

Organise your finances

As a business owner, you’ll be directly responsible for recording all of your finances and using that information to make informed accounting decisions. 

Bookkeeping can take a while to get the hang of if you don’t have much accounting experience, so we’ll cover a few of the essentials here, including:

  • Cash flow
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Recording business expenses
  • Invoicing

Cash flow 

Cash flow is a term used to describe the movement into and out of your business account. You need to track cash flow if you want an accurate picture of your business’ financial situation. 

Profit and Loss statements

With accurate cash flow insights, you can use them to make profit and loss statements. 

They’re financial reports showing how much you’re spending compared to how much you’re making, so you can see how your business will perform over time. 

Invoicing

A large part of bookkeeping is creating, issuing, and recording invoices. It’s important to have an organisational system in place for invoices because you’ll need them to report your earnings to HMRC. 

Business expenses 

Business expenses are any costs that are wholly and exclusively for business purposes. 

When you report your business expenses to HMRC, the amount is taken off of your total taxable income, meaning a lower tax bill. 

Here are some common examples of business expenses: 

  • Office costs
  • Travel costs
  • Clothing expenses
  • Staff costs
  • Things you buy to sell on
  • Financial costs
  • Costs of your business premises
  • Advertising or marketing
  • Training courses

On top of business expenses, you can also claim tax relief on capital allowances. Capital allowances are similar to business expenses, but they’re usually for larger purchases rather than ongoing costs, such as:

  • Equipment
  • Machinery
  • Business vehicles

Make a business plan

As with most big ventures, a solid plan is the best place to start. It’ll help you lay out a clear path, ensuring you know exactly what to do at every stage of the journey.

Aside from keeping you on track, a business plan is essential if you want to secure funding from potential investors – they’ll want a fair amount of reassurance before they invest their hard-earned cash. 

Using everything mentioned so far, you can create a comprehensive business plan  made up of seven parts:

Executive summary

An executive summary is a broad overview of your business idea. It should include:

  • A basic definition of your business
  • A list of business goals
  • A list of products and services
  • Your target customers
  • Where and how you intend to sell your services
  • Your financial strategy

Business overview

Similar to an executive summary but more about the big picture stuff. A business overview should include: 

  • Your official business name
  • A rundown of your brand identity
  • Your business structure
  • A mission statement

Market analysis

Describe the industry as a whole, including your competitors, recent trends, and how you plan to fit in. Write about your target audience and explain why they’ll choose you over your competitors. 

Products and services snapshot

Go into detail about the product list from your executive summary. Give an in-depth explanation of each product and service. 

Marketing plan

Through extensive market research, you should be able to outline how you plan to attract customers to your videography business. Include your total marketing budget and where exactly that money will go. 

Operations plan

Your operations plan should describe all the practical parts of your business operations. It should include equipment, location, supplies, shipping options, funding, and other resources.

Financial plan

You might need an initial investment from a bank loan or private investor. If this applies to you, you’ll have to prove you can handle the repayments with a financial plan. 

Most financial plans include:

  • An income statement – how much money your business will earn per week, month, quarter, or year (minus your business-related expenses).
  • A balance sheet – a list of your business assets and liabilities.
  • A cash flow statement: a list of when your income and liabilities come in and go out every month. 

Download accounting software

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. 

Save time worrying about taxes with features like receipt capture and expense categorisation. Just snap a picture of any receipts and they’ll be stored on the app and sorted into HMRC approved expense categories. You can then view live tax estimates, so you’ll know exactly how much to set aside for tax season. 

Use Countingup’s invoicing features to create professional invoices on the go and handle payments when they’re received. With the Countingup app, you can:

  • Create an unlimited number of customised invoices.
  • Add a logo to invoice templates.
  • Send invoices to customers.
  • Receive a notification when an invoice is paid.
  • Match a payment to an invoice.
  • Duplicate an invoice.
  • Change an invoice’s due date.

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.