I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who wanted to turn his passion (a small but very active collector / hobbyist market) into a full time business from home. Having worked in a corporate setting for a long while, and with two small kids at home that he fears missing out in seeing them grow up, he decided he is ready to take the plunge and turn his hobby of twenty years into a bankable income. Knowing that this is the type of consulting work I do, he stopped over last week with a business plan in hand to gage my thoughts.
I loved most of his ideas, you could see the passion and tender loving care he had put into the process of coming up with the plan, but there was (to me anyway) one major flaw: Out of a budget of approximately four thousand dollars that he had set aside for getting this up and going, he had almost 75% set aside for "video production and equipment" costs. I sort of scratched my head a little bit, and wondered what he had planned to film for three grand his first month in business?
He proceeded to explain that in his marketplace, video, especially online, was very hot, and a lot of the hobbyist sites that he visited had video and did not 'want to be left behind. So he was going to go out and buy and expensive camera and pay for a whole host of production work to get the same effect on his own site.
I sort of chuckled to myself and explained how EASILY it is these days to put up a fully INTERACTIVE and engaging video site, with no video camera, no expertise and without even having to have videos of your own! There are any number of ways to get this done, and do it well, but even people who are really familiar with the popular video agreement are great. Here is what you need to do, and it is not going to cost you ONE red penny.
Set up a "channel" for your niche market at Splashcast.net, which is a free and very powerful video service that will not only host your videos, put them into a killer attractive player that you can easily embed on your site, it will Also aggregate all of the videos for your marketplace for you, simply by searching public media sources (Like You Tube for example) for multimedia tagged with your keywords. Let's say you are starting a fishing site: You would simply create an account, and either upload your own stuff to their servers, or much more likely for a newbie marketer, do a search for ALL media on You tube tagged "fishing".
It will shoot you back a long series of thumbnail video images that you can review, and check for ones you want to include in your presentation. You can also embed your own html, pdf's, power points and text files, for an infinite amount of ways to make your particular channel unique (and monetized – think affiliate links to stores, free reports, re-routes and much more from within the player itself). Each player has an rss feed so that other viewers of your vids can embed them on their own pages, and even email the video link to their friends and subscribers. Talk about viral, wow! Or – what I like to do is simply create unique shows within my channel, so using our fishing analogy we may have individual shows on "deep sea fishing", "fly fishing", etc …. This offers a whole host of segmentation possibilities that will not only cull more viewers, but also allows for unique advertiser approaches if you plan on monetizing your site through direct ads. (Rather than Google, yahoo, etc)
I will leave you with this thought. If you are stuck on how to take that next step in getting your online business off the ground – you can have a single page site, with one large multi-media channel right smack in the middle featuring OTHER PEOPLES videos, and have it done in about 3 or 4 hours. People will come to your site, watch your stuff, and click on your ads, sign up for your list (if you include one) and you are in business, out of the gate, and you can realistically do this from a time of a bad football game, to the final fourth quarter whistle, and be making money by the ESPN wrap up late Sunday night. I know because I have done just that, and more than once. No excuses, get going – you can do it, I promise!