If you have a passion for video, photography, web design and graphics, starting a multimedia business could be the ideal way to express your inner creative genius while making a good income at the same time. Before getting started, you should assess your interests and decide on what kind of multimedia work you want to do. Multimedia projects can range from slideshows at weddings and graduations to state-of-the-art computer-generated graphics for luxury car shows.
Things You Will Need
To start out in the multimedia business you're going to need a digital camera that can record high-definition photos and video, stereo microphones for recording audio, as well as professional software that can edit photos, videos and audio recordings. Having your own website to advertise your services and to display your portfolio is a must. If you're not an expert in one of the skills required for multimedia, like Photoshop or web design, find someone who can work with you as needed.
Showcase Your Work
It's unlikely anyone will pay you to work on a multimedia project until they have seen samples of your portfolio. Upload examples of your best photos and videos to a "Portfolio" or "Showcase" page on your website so prospective customers can see the quality of your work and get an idea of your style. If you haven't landed any jobs yet, upload the best examples of work you have done, whether it was for school or for friends and family. You could also create a multimedia presentation of your new business, which gives clients a taste of your work while advertising your services at the same time.
Multimedia is a huge field. What's appropriate for a car dealership may not be appropriate for education or corporate presentations. When you're first starting out, consider working within a single niche, ideally a field you have worked in yourself, where you already have contacts and understand what they want. For example, a car dealership may want short, snappy videos of the cars on the lot. If you're experienced in vehicle sales, you probably know which features customers would look for in the video. Another approach is to begin with local clients, like small businesses in your community. The corner pharmacist may be more likely to talk to you about his website if he has seen the website and photos you worked on for the hardware store across the street.
Preparing for Your First Contract
When you're ready to sign on your first client, you will need a contract. Multimedia contracts should spell out exactly what you are providing the client with, such as photos, interactive educational DVDs or demonstration videos, as well as when they should be delivered. If the client is responsible for providing you with photos or corporate logos, this should be spelled out as well. For example, if the client assumes you will be providing original photos, you may suddenly find yourself a few days behind schedule and having to front the costs for models you had not budgeted for. You should specify how long the client has to review the material before asking for changes, such as one week.
A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.