In 2018, I was feeling underwhelmed with my work.
I wanted to be telling inspiring stories across music and sports in the mini-documentary format… Not creating corporate videos for local accountants.
So, I decided I needed to do something about it.
To get the clients I wanted, I figured I needed two key things.
- A portfolio of work in the style that I wanted to get hired for
- A network of people who could hire or refer me
First, that meant looking for a story that would become the centrepiece of my portfolio.
Second, I needed to make sure that the story would get distributed to my target audience.
Here’s what I came up with…
I was once the head coach of my local rugby team, and there was a player there who was an immigrant from Zimbabwe.
He had gone from being a very average player to one of the best props in the league.
To do that, he was always at the club training on his own.
I decided to tell his story.
The club had a great social media following.
And with my background in rugby, I knew I could get the video shared far and wide.
My hope was that the film would get noticed in the rugby community.
Which in turn would get me in front of brands and clubs who might want to hire me.
Anyway, we shot the film, and it turned out great.
The club shared it first on Facebook, and it went crazy – 30k hits overnight.
Then I sent it to RugbyDump, and they made it their featured news story.
I started Tweeting pro players and a few shared it.
Soon, the film was all over social media.
Here’s the mad part.
The player lived in a village where Skiddle, the big ticket selling platform, had their office.
The founder of the company saw the film, and they got me in for a meeting.
I ended up shooting 4 mini docs for them on upcoming bands, which got over 200k views online.
The film also got me loads of corporate gigs as a side effect – because the club sponsors wanted to work with me.
England Rugby even offered to buy the film to use in one of their advertising campaigns.
I’d say that one film has now been responsible for over £100k of work.
Since then, I’ve carried on doing calculated passion projects with great results.
I asked a Salomon ambassador if he wanted to make some social media content.
We shot an edgy piece in the Lakes which looked great on my portfolio.
But Salomon said it wasn’t a fit for their channels.
That wasn’t the end of it though.
When Speedo asked that same ambassador to feature in a paid project, he came to me to shoot it.
And now Speedo is on my client list, and I’m on their agencies’ radar.
So, here’s the strategy in a nutshell:
- Decide the type of work you want to do
- Find a project in that style that will look great in your portfolio
- Ensure the project has the potential to get you in front of the right people
Simple. But it’s not easy.
It requires hard work, investment of time and a bit of luck.
But it beats sitting around waiting for your dream clients to land in your inbox.
And the effects of this strategy will keep compounding over time.
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