Making your FIRST DOLLAR in 360!

I remember when I earned
my first dollar in 360.
It was an eye opening experience.
I discovered this thing
called a 360 camera,
and it only seemed like
something you would use for fun.
But when I earned that first dollar,
it opened up a whole new
world of opportunity for me,
a world that has allowed me to
turn my hobby into my career
and I’ve never looked back.
I truly consider what I’m
doing now to be my dream job.
I get to travel the world,
go to awesome places like
London, where I am now
and do what I’m most passionate about.
And what’s exciting is there’s
a formula to what I did,
a formula that you can replicate, too.
Back in early 2017, I got a
message in my Instagram inbox
from this girl in the UK
who I thought was just an overzealous fan
trying to get my attention.
Then she started talking to
me about what she was doing.
She was working in VR here in the UK
and doing really, really well.
I would even say she was
doing better than me.
I could see she was an
entrepreneur as well
and she was getting
some really big clients
in the VR industry, and
making them her own.
So we started talking,
and we developed a friendship
that is probably going
to last a very long time.
Talking to her opened my eyes
about the opportunities
that were out there,
and I realized they weren’t
just with what I was doing.
– I messaged Ben because
I saw what he was doing
over on Instagram.
I was super inspired by how
creative he was getting with 360
and he was the only one
really, at the time,
that was putting his
stuff out on the internet.
There were quite a few
people working in 360
but he was the only one that was really
making a name for himself.
So I reached out to see
if we could collaborate.
Because we were clearly both
having success in our own ways
and I wondered whether
there was a way to team up
and do something bigger.
My background is as a TV producer
and back in 2015,
I kind of knew that the
industry was dying a little bit.
Everything was pivoting
towards online and digital.
Whilst I was thinking
about what I wanted to do,
360 just kind of magically appeared!
And because no one was really doing it,
I thought this is a great opportunity
to really make a name for
myself in this new medium.
So, I bought a 360 camera
and I went out and started shooting.
It didn’t take long before
brands started coming to me
and asking how can we
make this 360 VR stuff?
And quickly I made a name for myself
as a 360 producer and director.
At the time, it was so new
that brands didn’t really
know what to do with it,
so they were desperate to find people
that had this expertise.
Lucky for me, there wasn’t that
much competition at the time
and it was quite easy for me
to go in and convert them.
So quite quickly I started working
with Fortune 500 companies.
Being brought in to direct
and produce 360 commercials
for Facebook and online.
Creating VR training for in house.
Market research, recruitment,
basically everything
that fell under the
umbrella of VR film making.
– After hearing her story,
I realized there was a world
of opportunity out there
that I hadn’t even thought of.
That pitching 360 video
and 360 content to brands
offered massive value in ways
that traditional photography
and video had done in the past.
No one was really doing that,
and as someone that understood the value
of 360 content at the
time, it made me wonder,
is there something massive here?
I realized however, that
the path I was taking
was very different to Alex’s.
We were approaching monetization
in two extremely different ways.
My approach was more
building a personal brand
and finding ways to monetize around that.
Her approach was approaching brands
and making content for them.
They’re both equally valid approaches
but because the 360 and VR
industry is still so new,
we were two people on our own
figuring out the ground
rules for ourselves.
I’ve always been a
content creator at heart.
I like making my own
photos, my own videos.
It has always been a shame
to waste my creative ideas
on other people’s work,
so I made the conscious
decision to go poor,
and sacrifice that instant money,
for time creating my own content
that then led to long-term money.
It wasn’t easy and it was a big sacrifice.
We all have to eat, we
all have to pay rent.
I was working as a
videographer at the time
and I scaled down my clients
just enough to get by
so I had the majority of
my time to create content,
build my personal brand,
that I then monetized
after one to two years.
I know it’s a long time.
One to two years,
who wants to wait that long?
But if you can do it and you
can put out value for that long
then you will never be
poor as long as you live.
For me, 360 is such a creative medium
and I was getting such enjoyment
making these daily 360
photos, tiny planets,
360 videos, and YouTube tutorials.
That’s what kept me going.
I loved watching my account slowly grow,
putting more value out there,
growing a brand,
and becoming one of the most trusted names
in the 360 industry.
I know it makes no sense from
a financial point of view,
but I knew in the long run,
it was going to pay off big time.
For me, monetization existed
in so many different ways.
Instead of going out
and approaching people,
they come to me.
Every single day, I get
an email from a company,
a brand, a small business
that wants to work with me.
It has helped me grow
my own small business
which is what gets me by from day to day;
it gets the rent paid,
it puts food on the table,
doing what I love.
But I also work with brands,
too, on their content
doing it in my own way.
All the time, I have
companies emailing me saying,
hey, can you shoot a virtual
tour of our business premises?
Or, Can you make a 360
video for this major brand?
You know what I say?
Nope, that doesn’t interest me, sorry.
Because I’ve made my choices,
I love what I am doing,
and that isn’t what interests me.
However, if you do build
your own personal brand,
you will get clients contacting you,
wanting you to work for them.
But you need to create that
massive awareness first.
If you put enough work out there,
and get good at social media,
then it’s almost impossible
for people to not find you.
Which is why, for me, content creation
has proven to be the best
method for lead generation.
It has taken me two to three years to get
to the point I am at now,
but now I am in such abundance,
I can choose my clients,
I can hire and fire my own
clients, people that pay me.
I can tell them no, sorry, I’m too busy,
I would rather do what I love.
To come from a place of abundance
is a really good place to be as a creative
trying to earn money from their work.
No question it’s a longer path to take
when you are creating your own content
as your full time job,
but once you reach the point of no return
you are then creating
your own content forever.
– The business model for this is the same
as a videographer or a
video production house.
I went from being a
freelance VR videographer
to running a production house
so that I could have bigger clients,
take on more projects,
and hire more people in on each project.
It wasn’t long before we were trusted
with bigger and bigger projects.
Just because we were making
content that the clients loved,
we were being paid to learn as we go,
and we were building our skill sets,
we were building our portfolio,
and all of a sudden, we
became trusted by brands.
So, a big part of why we grew so quickly
and got bigger projects
was because we were showing the client
how valuable VR could
be for their company.
That’s a huge part about
selling people on 360,
it’s what value is it gonna give to them.
Whether it’s getting more engagement
on a marketing campaign,
or creating bigger attention
in a training scenario.
Either way, you have got to
find a value for a client.
That’s when they start to trust you
and start to open their wallets.
So once you have worked a lot of projects,
you get to a place where
you can pick and choose
what projects you work on
and what clients you want to work with.
You can bring on teams
to help you realize it,
or outsource it completely
so you have free time.
The reason I’ve been able
to get success quite quickly
is because I went into
it with a sales mindset.
I know how to speak
sales and convince people
on the value of 360.
That is so important because
360 is really valuable.
People just do not
necessarily know that yet.
– Earning your first dollar
will be the best dollar you ever make.
You will be so proud when you make it,
you’ll be like oh my God,
it’s like a million dollars!
I remember when I first experienced that.
When I got my first dollar,
it was just the best.
When you do earn it,
you will open up a whole
new world of opportunity
for making money in 360.
So how do you make your first dollar?
– Well, if I was just starting out,
and I really wanted to make
my first dollar with 360,
I would go to every small business
around the vicinity where I live,
save on that travel cost!
And I would ask them
if I could shoot a 360
video for them for free.
Basically, like a tour
around their business
that could be used for
marketing or recruitment
and then give it to them for free.
If you do a good enough job,
next time when you go back
you can tell them the cost.
And they will pay you.
– Another way to go about this is doing
the work yourself for free anyway.
So, creating the content,
whether it’s you on holiday,
or you at home, and just
creating awesome 360 content.
It can be for Instagram,
YouTube, Facebook.
But if you can prove to people
that you know your stuff
and you can create a great result
that’s even better than working for free.
Because it means that you
are creating something
that you are deeply passionate about
and it works as your portfolio
that you can push to brands and companies
and small businesses as an example
of what you can do for them.
– I think that’s the key to this
is that you have got to have kudos.
You have got to build a good reputation.
Whether you are doing
it Ben’s way or my way
the whole point is that you are proving
that you are good at this.
– Yeah, I definitely agree with that
and the beauty of these
social media channels
is that you can create a massive archive
of all of our work that
you have ever done,
so whenever someone discovers
you for the first time
they can go to Ben Claremont’s Instagram
and see the last 1010 posts that he has made
and what they would get
if they were to work with Ben Claremont.
The same goes for YouTube
and Facebook as well.
The more content you have on your channel
or your profile
or your page, no matter where you are
it adds up, one after
another, after another.
When people find you for the first time
they will look at everything
you have ever done.
If they like it, they
may want to work with you
if they have budget.
– And just building on that,
when you are approaching
clients to do service work,
it’s really important that you
start racking up those logos.
So the more work you do, the
more portfolio pieces you have,
the more logos you’ve got on your website,
and people will start to trust you
and know that you can do a good job.
– I think of 360 photos
and videos very similar
to the way I think about
videography or photography.
I used to work as a videographer,
and I advertised for clients
that I could make videos
for around Sydney,
and I ended up with a
big database of clients
by the end of five or so years
that were so reliable that
I had to start cutting back
on my clients because I
was getting too much work.
360 isn’t really that different.
You are offering them a kind of media
that they are using to
advertise to their clients.
360 brings massive value,
so if you convince them to invest in 360,
then you would treat it the same way
that you would treat
working as a freelancer
or a production company.
– Exactly.
Whether it’s going after clients
or going after a marketing
or advertising agency
it’s no different that
photography or video.
It is just a new art form, a new medium,
that can bring those agencies value.
– And the key to this is
having the sales psychology.
You need to be a businessperson,
you need to be an entrepreneur.
People aren’t going to come to you
without any semblance of your
work or your presence online.
You need to post stuff online
so people can find you,
and have that acting as your portfolio.
But you need to have the
mindset of an entrepreneur.
It’s as simple as that.
If you want to earn money,
you need to have a business mind.
– Yeah, it’s so true.
That switch that you
make from being a creator
to being a business person is so crucial.
That is ultimately the key to success.
– And you don’t need to go to
business school or university.
You can self-study.
It’s free in 2018 to
learn almost everything
you need to know about business
and starting a small business.
Do you think I went to business school
or got an MBA, hell no.
I just watched a shitload
of Gary Vee videos
and now I’m good to go!
So self studying through
podcasts, through YouTube videos
and anywhere else you
can find it, articles,
you can learn everything you
need to know about business.
I havn’t paid a dollar
to learn about business
and now I consider myself
a pretty accomplished entrepreneur.
– Absolutely, the same for me.
I basically sacrificed all
of my free leisure time
and basically invested that into listening
to business podcasts,
watching YouTube videos about
how to scale businesses,
just learning the basics about sales
and how you can approach clients
and the sales funnel,
all of these key things.
Again, I did not pay to do any of that.
I just learned it all online.
But it came down to dedication
and knowing that that’s
what I wanted to do,
and so it did come with a price
of sacrificing my free
time and socializing
and watching Netflix all the time.
But actually when it’s your
passion you don’t mind.
I actually find that
stuff really fascinating.
So that’s crucial.
– Yeah exactly.
This is what’s gonna set
you up in the long term
for having all of that time back.
If you can run a successful business,
you can travel the world
doing whatever you wanna do.
You can start automating your business.
You can pursue your creative
ideas as your full-time job.
That’s basically all I do
now is Instagram and YouTube.
That’s my job, so it’s because
I had that business mind
and I set up a really good future–
(siren sounds)
So this is basically my job now.
Instagram and YouTube are what I do.
It’s what I love doing,
I love being creative.
and it’s because I had the business mind.
I set up my business so I have money
coming in automatically.
If people contact me, it’s on autopilot
because I put the work out there
I put out the value.
I’ve been able to build my personal brand
and now I am basically set for life.
This is a formula that can be repeated.
You just need to study business
study giving value, putting
valuable content out there,
and people will come to you,
and people will buy things from you.
(crowd murmuring)
(sirens blares)
Okay, there was just a bomb
scare at Buckingham Palace,
which is why we
interrupted that last clip.
And we are back an hour later
to finish our video.
This is the kind of dedication you need
as a 360 photographer/videographer
wanting to get out there
into the world and make money
you need to be dedicated.
Hang around when everyone else leaves
and you will find success.
Okay, Alex, back to the DSLR.
Light is looking good.
Any final thoughts on the topic
of making your first dollar in 360?
– There’s loads of ways
that you can make your
first dollar with 360.
The point is that you just got
to get out there and do it!
If you are passionate about it
you will find success.
Whether that be adding 360 to
a service you already provide,
if you are in the creative sector,
or if you already work in business
finding a way that 360 can be valuable.
Ultimately, we are living in a time where
content is king,
so 360 video, that’s
gonna be a great value add
for anyone really, in any industry.
So just get out there and see
what those white spaces are.
If you are working in
real estate, super easy!
Just take a 360 camera along
and start to make virtual tours.
If you work in an architecture firm,
take a 360 camera along to
document your building sites.
If you’re working in a medical field,
use a 360 camera to document testimonials
because people find it more authentic.
Take 360 photos of businesses
and post them on Facebook
or Google Street View.
There are loads of ways that
you can make money with 360
but ultimately it comes down
to how convincing are you.
Can you convince a client that
360 is going to add value?
The key here is that it
actually does add value.
No one likes snake oil salesmen.
So find where it adds value,
go in there and speak
the language of sales.
What can you do for them?
What will 360 do for their business?
It’s not about you, it’s about them.
That’s how you make a sale.
– Something else I wanna add
is you need to have patience.
It’s not going to happen overnight.
You’re not gonna post one amazing photo
and then suddenly everyone on planet Earth
wants to work with you.
You need to consistently put out work,
put out value and impressive
content for a while
before people start contacting you
and wanting to work with you.
It was never fast for me.
A lot people think I
was an overnight success
but I absolutely wasn’t.
It took two or three years
of me putting out value
completely for free
before I had everyone in
town wanting to work with me.
Now I turn down way more
people than I say yes to.
I would say, I say yes to one in 10 people
that want to work with me now.
I get an email every single day
from someone that wants to
work with me in some capacity
and that’s a really powerful
place to be as a creative.
Because traditionally creatives starve.
They struggle and life
is hard from the get go,
especially as a filmmaker.
I started out as a filmmaker
and it’s just a never ending battle
to stay alive, to put food on the table.
It’s almost not possible in 2018
to make money by making a
feature film or a short film.
It is so hard.
You are constantly
fighting to defy the odds,
and there are so many
competitors out there,
all competing for the
same filmmaking grants
and the same limited attention
that people with money give to filmmakers.
Whereas, making content for the internet
is valuable for everyone
because it connects consumers with brands.
And if your content can help do that
then you’ll be valuable to brands
and they will want to work with you.
So I cannot stress it enough.
Put your portfolio together at all costs.
Spend all your spare time
putting together great content,
build up your Instagram profile,
build up your YouTube and
Facebook with amazing content
so that one person that may
need 360 content one day
goes back and sees it all.
They see the value you deliver
and they want to contact you
because the credibility is there.
Having such a strong personal brand
on so many platforms is how I monetize
and how I am known as the top guy,
which I totally reject, by the way.
I don’t think that’s true at all.
But a lot of people
call me the ‘King of 360’
it’s because I put in the work,
I put out content consistently for free,
I’ve given value and
I’ve got the portfolio.
My portfolio is bigger
than everyone’s on almost every platform.
So it’s important that
you build your portfolio
so other people that
haven’t seen 360 before
consider you to be that person.
So that’s all I have to say for now.
I hope this was of value.
This has been Ben and Alex coming
to you from Buckingham Palace,
and if you want to learn
more about monetization
and having the right mindset
around selling 360 video services,
you can see me and Alex
in my video course,
A Beginner’s Guide to 360 Video
and we explore it more in depth
how to build both a personal brand
and how to talk to clients
in a convincing way.
Both of them are equally important
in building your brand and making money,
turning your hobby into your career.
That’s the thing I am most proud of doing
is turning my love and passion
of 360 into my full-time job
where I can travel the world,
go to places like London,
and I get paid!
Oh my God!
I’m not gonna starve tonight.
As usual, hit that subscribe
button for more 360 content
and things outside of 360
that relate to 360 like this.
Alex, where can they find you?
– You can find me @alexmakesvr
across all the socials.
– You can find me on Instagram here
and Facebook here
and we will see you in the next video.


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