A few years ago, I suffered from terrible back pain. It was so bad that I was taking steroid injections and trying every other pain-relieving method I could find. Looking online, I discovered that millions of others were going through the same ordeal. That’s when I had a brainstorm: If I could find a way to rid myself of my own back pain… maybe I could create a little side business by helping other people get relief at the same time.
How was I going to do that? I had no idea.
Then one night I was talking to an acquaintance, Jamie K., about my back. It turned out that Jamie was a certified physical trainer – and she had some stretching techniques that she was sure would help me. She taught me a few of her stretches on the spot, and it felt good. After performing those stretches for just a few weeks, I felt noticeably better. And after a few months, I felt better than I had in years.
A light bulb went off in my head. I would produce an instructional video to help people use stretching to ease their back pain!
I’d already produced a successful ballroom dance instruction video, so I had experience doing it. And that video was pretty easy for me to make. After all, I’d been a dance teacher for years, so I was qualified to teach the material myself. I was totally unqualified to teach others how to do stretching exercises – but Jamie was the perfect person to do it.
That was the first instructional video where I hired an outside expert to be on camera. It turned out to be a bonanza that profited me over $5,000 within 48 hours of putting out my first ad. Three years later, I still regularly fill orders for that video.
Realizing I could use outside experts in my instructional videos opened up a whole new world of opportunity. I no longer had to stick with skills I was personally adept at.
My next video featured a very fit senior who had created his own exercise program for middle-aged and older men. That video brought in over $30,000 in 30 days.
Now you might think it costs an arm and a leg to hire an expert to star in your videos. Sure, if you asked Tiger Woods to star in a golfing video for you, you’d need to shell out big-time. But it can be surprisingly inexpensive. For instance, I paid Jamie only $100 to do the back-stretching video.
The instructional video business is an easy and fun way to make extra income. There’s a demand for how-to videos in just about every area of interest. So the opportunity to make money is practically unlimited – especially when you realize you don’t have to star in your videos yourself.
Here are some guidelines to help you…
* Choose a subject that you believe will fill a need in the marketplace.
Like I said, there’s a demand for videos in almost every area of interest. Just be sure the market isn’t too obscure. Let’s say you want to produce a video teaching people how to do magic tricks. Based on the fact that there are plenty of books and videos on the subject, you could guess that the market would be large enough for you to earn a reasonable profit. On the other hand, a video that teaches people how to identify the nest of the North American Spotted Owl would appeal to too small a market. You might find a handful of customers, but not enough to make the venture worthwhile.
* Figure out what you’re going to pay your expert.
When I was working with Jamie, she was employed by a spa where she made $15 an hour. I offered her $25 an hour for the time it took to shoot the video, which made her quite happy. But if, for example, you wanted to hire a lawyer to be your expert, you’d probably need to pay quite a bit more.
You can also go the royalty route by offering your expert a low upfront payment as well as a percentage of the video’s sales. This is often the better deal for both sides. It keeps your out-of-pocket costs down, and eases any worries he may have that he’ll get a piddling amount for his time… and then your video will wind up selling 100,000 copies.
I’ve found that offering a royalty of something like $1 per sale is usually well received. Even if your video ends up selling only 500 or 1,000 copies, your expert would still be getting a pretty good deal for a few hours’ work.
* Recruit your expert.
I’ve had a good deal of success advertising on Craig’s List for a variety of different experts. Those who responded to my ads were all well-qualified and willing to work for a reasonable fee.
You can also find experts in special-interest chat rooms on the Internet, via local newspaper classifieds, or sometimes through simple word of mouth.
* Get an agreement in writing.
I’m not an attorney, so I’m not able to offer you legal advice. But I can tell you that having a contract in writing is a good way to protect yourself and your experts. In my contracts, I always spell out very clearly what the compensation will be. In fact, I write in big, bold letters that this is the only compensation the expert will be getting and that no other promises have been made. My agreements also include a statement that says I own the full rights to the video, and can do whatever I please with it. And I include a clause that says I’m allowed to use the expert’s image, name, and material in any way I choose to promote the video.
You can find templates for contracts in the library or online that you can adapt to your purposes. But if you want to be sure you are fully covered, you should consider having an attorney write up a contract for you. Yes, this may cost a pretty penny. But you can use the same basic contract for every expert, so the cost won’t be that great in the long run.
Producing specialty videos is one of the best low-capital businesses you can get into. And by using outside experts, there is almost no limit to the number of subjects or markets you can appeal to.[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is the creator of the Quick and Easy Microbusiness System, ETR’s program for starting a business for under $100. Learn more of Paul’s video-business secrets HERE.