Our target audience was car enthusiasts with customized high-end cars – people who spend thousands of dollars on the aesthetics of their ride.
We offered a video shoot featuring their car and two edits – one for YouTube and one for Instagram.
Crafting a portfolio
Finding a paying customer without experience is just unrealistic, so we needed to get experience.
Luckily for us, we knew some people with cars we could film. Patrick's neighbor, Tommy Linebarger, runs a YouTube channel where he modifies cars, namely his Audi S4. My coworkers, Andy and Christian, have a BMW 440i and Nissan GTR and were gracious enough to let us film them.
We filmed and edited all three videos within a month and learned exactly what this business would entail.
Scalable business model
From my last business I realized the importance of scalability, so I put thought into that first.
Creating a video would require 3 people:
- Orchestrator – plan and execute the video shoot and drive the follow car
- Videographer – film everything
- Video editor – edit the video
Outsourcing video editors wouldn't be too difficult either. There are several websites such as Fiverr with a rich supply of video editors.
An orchestrator (the person actually making the video happen) is the only position that can't be feasibly outsourced. To enable people in this position to act autonomously, they would have full ownership of the videos produced and receive the majority of the profit from each video. Fullspeed would find the clients and direct them to the orchestrators to carry out the video shoot.
Getting our first customer
With a portfolio established, we were ready to get our first customers to validate the business idea.
I wanted to try out physical advertising, so I printed 50 invitation-style letters and handed them out to every customized car worth over $10k that I saw over the next few weeks. The letter read,
I noticed you have a sweet car.
How would you like to show off your car with a high-quality video for your Instagram? It would be a cinematic masterpiece of you driving on the freeway and cruising through downtown.
Choose the time and place of your shoot, and we will make it happen.
You can text me at 408-622-0926 if you have any questions, and be sure to check out our Instagram @fullspeed.io.
We got 11 followers on Instagram from the letters (22% follow rate!) and a couple of people texted me, but no one was down to pay the $250 that we were asking.
Patrick led the advertising campaign on Instagram, promoting our original content. However, that was met with the same result – several followers but no customers.
Brandon manned our Instagram DM's, responding to people with questions and messaging a variety of accounts. We got interest from X3 Adventures and rapper Peso Evans, but nothing developed from these either.
And that was it. After several weeks of trying, we called it quits.
Why it failed
Fullspeed failed because our prices were too high and because we had no immediate audience to market towards.
Our operating costs were huge. Hiring a videographer and an editor costs easily $150 for a single video, plus the time spent finding the client and orchestrating the video shoot. These costs resulted in a high price tag for the customer, and it was higher than the customer was willing to pay.
We approached this idea from a cold business perspective – we had no "in" to the car community. To be successful at this kind of gig, you need to have a well established reputation. We didn't have that.
Another reason was the demand wasn't prevalent. Smartphone cameras are good enough for most people, plus it's common to have a friend with a professional camera.
We also were quick to give up on this business. From the idea phase to calling it quits was only a period of 5 months.
If we continued to pursue this idea
We needed to establish our Instagram profile as a reputable source of content relevant to the car community. To produce and manage the content would require bots and a considerable amount of legwork.
We needed to establish ourselves in the car community. This could be done by attending meetups and befriending people in the community.
Collaborating with YouTube channels is also a big one. Working with people who already have an audience would be a big jump forward for us.
Producing videos with more shock value would also help us. We played it safe with these videos – no speeding, no donuts, no drifting – nothing sketchy. But in today's instant-dopamine Internet era, shock value is absolutely a factor in your success on social media.
Patrick Moran – developing the fullspeed.io website, leading the digital advertising campaign, filming the Audi video, editing the Audi and GTR videos, and helping envision Fullspeed.
Brandon Seanez – handling public relations, driving the follow-car for all three of the Audi, BMW, and GTR videos, and helping envision Fullspeed.
Estevan Falcon – filming the GTR video.
Jett Johnson – filming the BMW video.
Michael Ferreira – photographing the GTR shoot.
Tommy Linebarger – providing the Audi S4.
Andy Nguyen – providing the BMW 440i Gran Coupe.
Christian Sapguian – providing the Nissan GTR Premium.
Nicholas Chen – inspiring the idea.
Tim Sellnau – editing the BMW video.
Cars are freaking cool, but I think I'll stick to developing software.
Thanks for reading!