5 Things To Do During the Off-Season To Keep Pushing Forward

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With a combined 20+ years of experience as wedding filmmakers, we created the LEVEL UP brand to help filmmakers elevate their businesses and their craft, so they can make more and work less.


Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 5 of the Level Up Your Wedding Film Business Podcast, and today we are going to be talking about the 5 things you should be doing right now, during the off-season, to keep moving forward in your wedding film business. Right now, it’s January. And where I live, there are not a lot of weddings happening during this time of year. So what I like to do is accomplish a whole list of things that I’ve been putting off all year that will ultimately help me in my business. And today, I’m going to be sharing those things with you.

I’m your host, Taylor Petrinovich, and at the core of this show I want you to feel inspired to take your business to the next level, and I want to give you tools and practical advice to help you along the way. Let’s Level-Up together.

So, for most of us in the U.S. and the rest of the northern hemisphere, our off-season happens during the winter months. It’s cold outside, maybe it’s snowing where you live, and there just aren’t a ton of weddings happening.

I live in northern California, and it’s definitely winter here. Well, as wintery as Sacramento gets. But that’s awesome, because it gives me time to get a bunch of things done that I didn’t have time to do over the summer. 

Since the wedding industry is pretty seasonal, there are naturally busy times and slow times. During the slow times in my business, I really love taking some time to relax and decompress before weddings start again. But, I’ve found that if I take too long of a break and shut my mind into hibernation mode for too long, I tend to lose the momentum I had during the summer and fall. 

It’s one of those things that happens without fail. I’m going to get science-y here for a second. Because this isn’t just a thing that I notice in myself. It’s an actual law that’s found everywhere in nature, and it’s called Newton’s Law of motion. Basically, that law just says that objects in motion will stay in motion, and objects at rest will stay at rest.

So it totally makes sense why once we sort of mentally check out, it’s easy to stay in that mindset.

So, to keep myself “in motion” so to speak, I like to create a list of things that I can do during the off-season that will help me continue pushing forward in my business. This helps keep my momentum going, and it helps me stay motivated and pumped up for the upcoming season filled with weddings.

And, if you’re anything like me, I think that doing these things will help you, too.

Every single one of these things will help me progress in my business. They might not give me immediate results, but they will definitely help in the long run. 

So we are going to just jump right in with this episode, because there are 5 things that we are going to be talking about. 

#1 Update Your Portfolio

The first thing you should do is update your portfolio. When I say portfolio, I am talking about all of the films you have listed on your website. They might be under a tab called “portfolio,””wedding films” or something similar. Or, they might be the ones you have embedded on your homepage.

Ideally, your portfolio will only include films that will help you attract more of the types of films you want to create. So go through your portfolio, and remove any films that don’t reflect that. If you don’t want to be shooting weddings at a certain venue anymore, then remove the films from that venue. If you don’t want to be shooting, let’s say, country weddings anymore for whatever reason, remove the films with that vibe. You get the idea.

You get more of what you are putting out, so make sure your portfolio is intentionally curated to fit your needs and your goals. Ideally, you should have somewhere between 6-10 films in your portfolio. You don’t need to have 30 films on your website. Having that many films is actually a bad strategy. Your portfolio should be intentionally curated to fit your brand and your clients.

Next, make sure you upload or embed each film that you did this past year that DOES fit your brand and your ideal client, and that will attract more of the kinds of weddings you DO want to continue shooting. In the hustle and bustle of busy season, sometimes we forget to show off our best work. So make sure you take a few minutes to add the films that will serve you to your portfolio.

If you don’t have 6 different films that fit your brand and the direction you want to be going in this year, take the opportunity of all this downtime to do a styled shoot that you can use in your portfolio. Either find a photographer or a coordinator who is already planning on doing a styled shoot and ask if you can join. But, if you can’t find any styled shoots to participate in, just grab a few of the basic necessities: a couple, a dress, and some flowers, and do a styled shoot all on your own. Drive to a pretty spot and spend a few hours creating a beautiful 1 minute video showing off your skill and your style.

#2 Set Some Goals

The next thing you should be doing during the off-season is goal setting. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail here, because episode 4 was all about goal setting, but I will touch on it because I think it’s important. 

You should set goals in 4 major areas of your business: revenue, growth, systems, and community.

Revenue Goals. Without revenue, being a wedding videographer won’t be a sustainable career. So make sure you know how much you need to make to live your normal life, and figure out how many weddings you need to book this year to accomplish that goal. 

Growth Goals. You should set 2 growth goals: growth in the quality of your films and growth in your branding. So pick one thing you want to accomplish this year that will help the quality of your films improve, and pick one thing you want to do to make your branding better. Whether that’s getting a new logo, doing a branding photo shoot so you can have some new headshots to use on your website – whatever it is, pick something that will elevate your branding.

Systems Goals. The next goal to set for yourself is systems. These systems help your business run efficiently. You know your business better than I do, so chances are, you know where you need help here. Whether it’s finding a new way to organize raw footage, or finally investing in a CRM like honeybook, 17 hats, or dubsado, pick 1 system you want to improve in 2020.

Community Goals. Finally, the last goal has to do with building a community. Having a community has helped me in so many ways: it inspires me, it motivates me to get better, and it gives me a group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of. Having friends, even if they are just internet friends, is an awesome thing. Having people who understand what it is you do for a living is feels really good, and everyone should experience that.

Because this business can be lonely work.

So set a goal for yourself that will help you build a community of other wedding videographers or wedding professionals around yourself.

#3 Get Your Gear Situated

Third thing to do during the off-season is to do whatever you need to do to make your gear exactly what you need heading into the wedding season. Whether that means selling your old gear that’s been sitting in your closet for a year, learning how to use your gear properly, practicing new techniques, or becoming legally qualified to use that gear (i’m looking at you, you non-licensed drone op. Go get your part 107 certification, like, now. It’s not that hard, I promise)

You know where you stand with your gear. Just take this time to learn, practice, buy new gear, sell old gear, or have your gear cleaned and serviced. Just make sure that you have what you need for that first wedding this year.

#4 Build Vendor Relationships

The fourth thing you should be doing during the off-season is building vendor relationships. Vendor relationships are going to take you a lot farther than you probably think. The wedding industry is all about people. We are in the business of serving people (our clients) alongside other people (our fellow vendors). 

Building relationships with those vendors is going to do several things for you. First, it’s going to make your weddings much more enjoyable. When you’re working alongside your friends, it’s so much easier to have a good time than when you’re always working with strangers. 

Secondly, those relationships will make your wedding day run smoother. When you already are comfortable with someone, it’s a lot easier to ask them for what you need, and to be honest with them on the day of the wedding. If the florist is in your shot, but you don’t know them, you might just stand there and wait for them to move on their own so that you don’t seem rude. But if you already have a bit of a relationship with them, you might be able to joke around with them and ask them to move out of the way so you can get your shot.

Finally, having relationships with other vendors can, and probably will, lead to referrals. The number one way I book clients is through instagram, but the #2 way I book clients is directly from referrals from other vendors. It’s mostly photographers, coordinators, and other videographers (yep, you should build relationships with local videographers too! They will refer you when they aren’t available for a wedding!) So building relationships with key people, and being just an awesome person to work with, will help lead to referrals in the future.

#5 Invest in Education

The fifth and final thing to do during the off-season is to invest in education. No matter what level you’re at – if you’re brand new, or if you’ve been doing this for 8 years, there is always room for growth and improvement. 

The industry is always growing and changing, and there are so many facets as well. Whether you want to learn new skills for shooting, editing, or different ways to market your business, there is probably some sort of educational platform out there that you can invest in to grow in that area. So attend a workshop or buy an online course.

But if that’s not in the budget, just watch some videos on youtube. There’s so much content out there at our disposal that will help us get better. You just have to be willing to go out and find it. Just commit to learning something new and invest in yourself as a filmmaker. Because that will pay off in the long run. The more you learn, the better you will get in each area of your business, and that will help you continue to push forward.

So, to summarize here really quickly, these are the 5 things you should be doing right now, during the off season.

 #1. Update your portfolio. Remove all the videos that no longer serve you, and add in the films that will help attract your ideal client.

#2. Set some goals for yourself for this year. If you haven’t already listened to episode 4, go back and listen to that one. It’s all about goal setting.

#3. Get your gear situated. Buy whatever gear you need, practice using it, and sell gear that you don’t need anymore. Or, become legally qualified to use your gear – go get that part 107 certification.

#4. Build vendor relationships. Having relationships with the vendors in your area and your market is going to help you out on the wedding day, and can also lead to referrals. Don’t ignore this area.

And finally,

#5. Invest in education. 

There you have it, those are the 5 things you should be doing during the off-season to keep your head in the game, and to keep that momentum going. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode!

I’d love to connect with you. I created a brand new instagram page dedicated to this podcast, and I’d love to connect with you on there, you can find me @thelevelupco

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