To be exact it was 104 individual real estate listings in under 12 months.
In 2019 I was just starting out, I went through all the typical steps you hear people go through to gain experience, clients, and a reputation in my area. My area at the time wasn't in Texas (where I was born and raised), it was in Colorado. So in mid 2020 when I returned to Austin, Texas, I had the opportunity to prove what I had learned, and I managed to grow my company here in my home-state much more successfully than in Colorado.
1) Always ask 'what is the selling point of the home?'
I can't tell you the amount of times I have delivered a video and the realtor or home owner sent me feedback like, 'you didn't capture that spot outside?'
I always ask about the selling points of each home I capture. After all, I've never seen this home before and I'm supposed to sell its features to a potential buyer online. Sure, I've trained my eye to pick up on things that need to be captured, but that doesn't mean I know the property well. It's just too easy to miss something important without asking the right questions.
2) You don't need to do both photography and videography
Let me be honest, I think it's much better if you focus on just one.
I started out in 2018 with a camera that only shot video, I would pull screenshots from my videos to deliver as photos. That was horrible, none of the images were HDR (high dynamic range) and so you couldn't see out any windows, I didn't know any lighting techniques to properly light indoors. My work at the time didn't meet professional standards. I felt required to deliver photos along with my video, so I upgraded to a camera that shoots both video and photos. The quality of my photos went up exponentially but my focus and passion was still being a videographer, not a photographer. At the end of the day that showed in my work. No matter how good my videos were, I was simultaneously building a reputation of having mediocre photos, and that hurt my business.
Today, I work alongside photographers that specialize in real estate photography. And that is the key here: to be a specialist at something comes with many perks. You, too, will notice the benefits of being a specialist if you try it out.
3) Free work is not a bad thing
I had a hunch that other people just wanted me to experience the pain they had experienced when they told me to do free work. I genuinely believed I didn't need to. But in my first year as a real estate videographer I only captured 3-4 homes.
The truth is that free work is what allowed me to do 104 homes in my second year as a real estate film guy. I did somewhere around 30 free homes, which was A LOT of free work. But through doing free homes I gained new client relationships which lasted all year.
I wrote free work into my business model, I'd tell everyone that their first job with me was free, and that helped me get new clients. That business model worked well for me for awhile, but eventually I reached a point where I no longer really benefitted by doing any free work at all, so I don't generally offer it anymore.
4) Realtors are normal people too
The realtor's business model benefits quite a bit from being seen as a normal person. And so, they just act like themselves most of the time. It's honestly quite refreshing to me, having spent a number of hours around suit-and-tie people that never let you see any aspects of the real them. Also, if you're working with a homeowner, they have no reason to put on an act for you, and often kids are running around screaming and whatnot.
Sometimes this 'just be yourself' aspect of the job can take an odd turn. Prepare your brain to spend time around people that are different than you. I've had realtors, male and female, pee in the woods around me AFTER we had driven past a bathroom only a few minutes before. I had a realtor in Colorado offer me weed after only doing 2-3 jobs with them. These are not beginner realtors either, they are well established individuals. Also, I would never say who these people were, I've worked with well over 40 people in the industry and I don't bring this up to slander anybody but to showcase my point to its more extreme ends.
*I didn't say yes to the weed, and I'm not speaking here at all on my thoughts about weed.
5) Videographers should always fly their drone
This should be its own post because it's so important. I laugh every time I see a real estate videographer listing 'aerial drone shots' as a video add-on. It makes a bit more sense as a photographer, but in my opinion EVERY home is better off with aerials. It's a unique perspective which can give important context for the home.
It takes me less than 5 minutes to get my drone in the air. It takes less than 10 minutes to capture everything, and only a couple minutes to pack it all up. If you're like me and you enjoy flying your drone, I would tell you to seriously consider adding drone aerials to your base package.
Also. don't view your add-ons as a money grab. 4k video is not an add-on, it's expected. Drone video (in my opinion) shouldn't be an add on either.
I have only 2 add-ons, I find them both practical and not always necessary:
1) I film my realtor and edit them into the video, mostly as a voice over
2) I'll edit a second, shorter clip for social media. Something roughly 15 seconds long.
6) In-person networking isn't dead
The #1 way I get work today is a result of in-person networking. I know, I have a website and a portfolio online, and a Facebook page, and an Instagram, and a LinkedIn blah blah blah. Those help marginally compared to meeting people face to face and building relationships in my area. After spending a lot of time on each of these online platforms I actually decided to give up some of them. For example, I still have my @theimagerybox Instagram account, but I plug my personal @cameronbrig Instagram across my website and whenever I meet new people. So Instagram is just a portfolio for me, not really a powerful marketing platform. This is just the way I've done it based on my experiences, I also don't personally know anyone that's raking in the business from their Instagram real estate profile.
LinkedIn surprises me sometimes at being an effective way to reach people.
7) Understand your job
What is your job? I'm sure you're tempted to answer, 'I'm the videographer.'
Well, yes and no. I find it helps to word the question this way, 'what was I hired for?' and then I can see a better answer.
I was hired to make someone want to buy the home I'm filming.
People aren't likely to buy a home without seeing it first in person (though I have had that happen a couple of times through viewers on Facebook, no kidding - blew my mind), so my job is to inspire a viewer so much that they book a walkthrough. From there, it's all on the realtor to work their magic.
Is it my job to show every square inch of the home? Not the way I do it, no.
Is it my job to show a realtors face for a certain amount of time in the video? No.
Is it my job to start at the front door and showcase things linearly? Not necessarily.
My job is to inspire people to action.
Now that I understand this, and it took me a long time to understand this. My goal for each project is to make something I'd be proud enough of to display to anyone. ANYONE. 'Hey you, look at this thing I made!'
There are so many videos I'm not proud of from my past, and that's mainly because I followed various rules of requirement instead of bringing my best creative vision to the property each time.
As an outro statement, never take this for granted: the home buyer could come from Facebook, who knows?
Thank you to everyone who made it this far in the blog post!
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