“A big part of my challenge as a creative is it’s so hard not to take stuff personally, especially since at the beginning you (feel) like, you suck at everything.”
The Journey from $0 to $100K
Mike started his business in late 2018 and decided to document his journey from zero dollars to $100K. His reasoning behind this is to focus his mindset.
He decided to do this after hearing a story from a friend, about a person who wanted to become an actress. So, for an entire year, she focused on becoming a Hollywood actor and documented the whole process.
While this sounds like a reality show in the making, Mike explained the logic behind it was to get the actress to focus. Even if at the end of the year, things didn’t turn out exactly how she wanted, the process of documenting her progress would put her on the path to becoming an actress.
So, despite only having a camera for a year and a half, Mike started the journey to document his efforts to reaching $100K a year with the same mindset.
Biggest struggles as a new entrepreneur.
While still new to the journey, Mike told me the most challenging part of becoming an entrepreneur for him has been dealing with “the moment.”
He explained there are often tumultuous periods of uncertainty and moments which are so pervasive. It’s not uncommon for him to doubt or question his decisions. He frequently wrestles with imposter syndrome, asking himself questions such as:
“Am I going to be able to deliver for this client?”
“Is this client actually going to pay me?”
“Is this the right thing I should be doing right now?
“Should I be making these videos or should I be on a different trajectory?
“If my end goal is to become filmmaker, am I just distracting myself from doing that by taking on this sort of work?
“If I say yes to this, will I have the capacity to say yes to something else?
In addition to these questions, Mike knows he still has to balance his workload and show up for conversations with potential customers.
“There are days where I feel great, and it's easy. Then are days like, everything sucks, and this is awful.”
He admits, building his business is much more complicated then he thought, or that others will lead you to believe. Hustle is a word he hates.
“It’s always, get out there and hustle. You got this! And frankly, there are days where I don't feel like moving. On those days, how am I supposed to get up and actually put on a smile?”
Video isn't Mike's first foray into entrepreneurship. Before video, Mike did what he refers to as, “a series of experiments,” where he tried different things to determine what would stick, what he enjoyed doing, and what would be profitable.
His first experiment was podcasting. He decided after some time editing audio was mind-numbing.
Then he decided to launch an entrepreneurial mastermind group and was able to sell a few of those, which led to his next venture, events.
His first event, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, was a huge success. He helped raise a lot of money, so he thought, events might be his thing. Unfortunately, his next a couple of events lost money.
However, during the process of creating the events, Mike bought a camera and determined he really liked making videos.
For his video experiment, Mike contacted a friend who runs a conference called Lady Coders. She had a Go Fund page for the conference, but no video.
He filmed a video for the page which helped her raise $12,000.
The LinkedIn Experiment
Mike puts out some of the most engaging videos I’ve seen on LinkedIn. They are usually under three minutes and packed with so much information that I often come away from them thinking, “Huh, I hadn't thought of that.”
He gets his content for the videos from questions he's asked from people in his network. Questions such as, how do you do x with video, or how do you produce your videos, often become the subject of his videos.
Other times the content is as simple as a thought he had on entrepreneurship, on selling or his viewpoint on proposals.
Three different types of videos every business should have
Mike believes every business owner and entrepreneur should have a video for each of the following in their content farm.
- A frequently asked questions (FAQ) video
- A testimonial video
- An intro Video
Outside of these videos, Mike recommends having any sort of content that helps people put a face to a name. He tells his clients, they don’t have to produce video, but they should be creating some sort of content to help grow their brands.
There are a lot of reasons not to do video. One of them is equipment. Everyone wants to wait until they have a better camera.
The challenge with “waiting” is; first, you’ve lost time, and second, the learning curve on a “real” camera can be very steep, causing yet another reason not to do video.
Mike also believes that the video quality for the nicer camera will not look that much better than what you'd be able to shoot on your cell phone.
His advice on equipment id don't wait, use what you have and get started.
Mike doesn’t fully script his videos or even memorize or recite them, prior to filming.
Instead, to make it easy for him to remember, he breaks his scripts into three parts.
- A hook
- The story
- The takeaway
When determining the hook he’ll use, Mike, skips ahead to the meat of the story and asks himself, “what am I trying to get across to people? What is like a fascinating way I can show that?”
From a story standpoint, he often looks to the takeaway first, then backs into the story using his storytelling skills from his copywriting days.
B-Roll and audio
One of the reasons Mike’s videos are so compelling is his use of b-roll and audio. He adds in B-roll, which is any visual element that is not a person talking on camera, to polish the story and make it visually appealing.
Mike noticed many videos on LinkedIn were just talking head type videos with no music. So, he decided to add music as an element of stickiness. He gets most of his b-roll and sound from the following sites.
Mike typically works with businesses to create a video sales funnel. He helps companies create a “content farm” by showing them how to create and distribute weekly and monthly content for LinkedIn.
He also works with entrepreneurs one-on-one, helping them learn the fundamentals of shooting and editing their own videos since a lot of entrepreneurs don't have the required budgets for him to create the videos for them.
To help entrepreneurs in this situation, Mike recently decided to launch (as an experiment again) an in-person workshop.
In the workshop, Mike will teach attendees his process for capturing ideas, writing scripts, shooting video correctly, how to upload and edit, and even how to distribute it. If you’re interested in attending Mike’s workshop, reach out to him at one of the links below.
Best Ways to reach Mike
Generosity and Encouragement
Mike is a generous person, giving his time and energy where he can. This year he decided to send hand-written postcards to random individuals with notes of hope and encouragement.
When Mike first moved to Denver he didn't know anyone, so he started writing postcards as a way to reconnect with his friends back home and around the country. Seeing the reactions to his postcards, he decided to send anyone who wants words of encouragement to sign up via his website.
If you’d like a postcard from Mike, you can sign up on his website at http://mikekilcoyne.com