This is a follow up story for CFF Media. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Thank you for having us back for another interview! As a reminder, we are CFF Media! A full-service video production company located out of Sandy Springs, Georgia, smackdab in the middle of everything! We create video content, more specifically About Us, Testimonials, Promotional, and Drone videos, for the Greater Atlanta area with a primary focus on videos representing other companies from large corporations to mom and pop shops. We help tell their story. While this is our primary focus, we do love the opportunity to try other avenues of video production.
We started almost six years ago, working out of our home, coincidentally, down the street from our soon-to-be office, and trying to understand how we could make our way into the already saturated industry. We look around now for nearly six years under our belt and cannot believe the progress that we’ve made. Every day I’m still shocked to find myself walking into an office with our very own studio that we get the pleasure of renting out to awesome photographers and videographers alike. Seeing how far we’ve come in such a short period makes us look back and appreciate the humble beginnings we started from. Today, CFF Media is bringing in nearly $200k in business yearly thanks to our revamped internet marketing efforts.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Our business has been booming since we last had the pleasure of speaking to you guys over at Starter Story. Since partnering with our new marketing company, we have seen a 200% increase in business in all sectors. From studio bookings to full-on video production projects, CFF is certainly staying busy this summer. There were some important steps along the way we took to have the quick success we saw over the past year.
It took us nearly 4 years of working out of our home where we also lived, slept, and worked 24/7, seven days a week! It was a struggle knowing that we had to make videos for FREE to get our craft out there in the public.
Firstly, we partnered with Jessica from JJSocialLight a fantastic internet marketing company that manages our Google Ads as well as our website backend. Second, we started to advertise our studio space to local videographers and photographs on rental websites such as Peerspace and Giggster. Once we had our first couple of bookings with positive reviews, the income started to roll in and we have been booked ever since.
Last, but most important to the success of our business in the past year, was the hard work and determination of everyone on the team. Kameron, our marketing director, has been working hard, researching the best outlets to promote our business too. James and Jack have been out guerrilla marketing the s*it out of CFF with flyers and handouts. It is an “all hands on deck” effort to make this thing work and by golly it has.
One of our greatest strengths at CFF Media is our ability to keep our existing customers happy and coming back for more videos. Our compassionate attitude towards each client and their business is key to showing them that we respect their company’s values and want to reflect that in the video we create. Creating friendships within each project helps the overall morale, creating a better video when it comes down to it. Recently, CFF received high praise from Jim Blitch, head minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church where we had the honor of making an introduction video for their new Senior Pastor, Rebekah Close LeMon. These types of clients help spread the word of Jesus but more importantly CFF to their congregation which in return helped our business grow throughout 2022.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
At the start of this year when things were still unpredictable when it came to the pandemic and where businesses would be, we had to make a tough decision. Spend the last of our money marketing and risk losing our business by not affording next year's rent, or save the money and continue to suffer, but afford rent… We decided we couldn’t wait around and took the risk, knowing well that if this didn’t work, we were out by next January. We were solving a new problem: how to get people to buy from us that hasn’t bought from us before? The age-old question that we never had a problem with until 2020, when the world stopped.
Before Covid, our client base was strong and made up of returning customers that would use our services every month. Word-of-mouth marketing was our go-to and all we relied on during our first 4 years. However, budgets were cut and our once booming client base was struck down to just one. Luckily, the one we continued to work with was a marketing firm, still supplying us with their clients to make videos for. Without the quick thinking of our current marketing team at CFF, we wouldn’t be here.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The biggest lesson we learned working this year was that the old way wasn’t going to work out anymore. So our first pivot was to start advertising our studio to local photographers and videographers who already had a clientele base. That way they could use our studio kinda as an Atlanta hub for their video/photo work. For instance, one of our best and first photography clients, Ericka Hammer, who owns her studio in McDoungh, Georgia, uses our studio every week to shoot her newborn and family portraits of clients that live around the Atlanta area. Since her studio is further away from most of her clientele in Atlanta, she loves using our space as an extension of her own.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Our plans for the next five years at CFF Media are to keep expanding our business. We want to focus heavily on reaching out to more marketing firms like Lenz Marketing who we have been creating content for all of their clients. Continue growing our relationships with our current clients and hopefully expand to bigger projects.
Eventually, we would like to start traveling more to create videos for people all over the country. Our vision would be for CFF to be known nationally and to be the “go-to” video production guys for About Us, Testimonials, and Promotional videos. We want to be known as filmmakers who help tell the story of businesses and to make those stories interesting and convincing.
In our short-term plans, we believe we can start to take over Sandy Springs as “those video guys.” We want to continue to use our studio as an open haven for creatives to create and share our space with their clients. Long term, we would like to have a video production warehouse where we can host our clients for multimillion-dollar projects. Instead of using locations and having to scout them out, we would have our production hub that we would use for most, if not all of our video shoots. However, right now we are focused on spreading the name CFF and what we do all over the state of Georgia.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
The most influential content I have consumed in the previous year would have to be Colin and Samir podcast on YouTube. These are two up-and-coming creators who talk about the creator economy. More specifically YouTube and social media creators, however, I use their tips from their podcasts in our social posts across our platforms. They are unique and add an insider perspective inside some of the world's most influential creators, how they are successful and what got them to that success.
We have not seen anybody take this approach to showcase influencers as Colin and Samir and it has been tremendously helpful in getting ideas for increasing our social presence. From interviews with those actual creators to breakdowns of video concepts, they teach you all you need to know about building a social media career. You have the chance to learn from people that have already done it and more importantly, that are still doing it. Social media is an ever-changing landscape that needs to be traversed over and over to keep relevant which is a daunting task. Finding this channel and being inspired by their work has us looking positively at the future even though there is a huge hill to climb.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Patience is key. Some people will just give up if they are not getting instant success and trust us, success like this takes time. It won’t happen in a year, or two, hell even three maybe, but you must keep grinding.
Quitting will never get you to that finish line and to that goal you want to reach. However, working hard and never giving up until it is necessary will propel you further than quitting will ever do. Clique as it sounds, this advice is the best that can be given to someone who is struggling.
It took us nearly 4 years of working out of our home where we also lived, slept, and worked 24/7, seven days a week! It was a struggle knowing that we had to make videos for FREE to get our craft out there in the public. A big mistake we see a lot from new entrepreneurs in the video production field is that they don’t want to work for free.
They overcharge their craft when they have little to no experience and it’s hard to get your foot in the door that way. The reality of it, unfortunately, is that someone is willing to work harder for less and it is probably better than you if you have no experience. You must be that person to earn that respect from your peers and eventually you will start to see the money come in.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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