When we came across freelance videographer Ryan Snaadt’s Instagram feed we couldn’t help but notice his passion. At age 24, he’s already achieved great success as a freelance marketer and videographer. By incorporating his business Snaadt Media Group, LLC last year and legitimizing his practice, Ryan saw it grow 4x! (If you haven’t set up your business yet, here’s a great place to start). Now Ryan is very active in the freelance community. He speaks at events and runs a Facebook group for freelance videographers (join it!). He has even launched an online course to teach other freelancers and started a YouTube channel with a growing following. Ryan’s ambition inspires us – check out his tips to success below!
Let’s make sure you pat your own back… What’s your biggest strength as a solopreneur?
I feel that leaning into what you are good at is key. My strengths are marketing, platform strategy, and interpersonal communications. Not all videographers have a strong ability to speak, understand, communicate, and put talent at ease effectively. So really focusing most of my attention on those actives that produce a result and hiring out/automating the rest.
What’s the best business or money advice you ever got as a freelance videographer?
Just start. There is a notion that you have to be ‘ready’ and the truth is you never will be. Start early and fail often. That is the best way to become better and learn on the fly. The best learners are the best earners.
Also, live by abundance, not competition. Basically, quit thinking that other videographers or creatives in your area are competition. In my industry specifically, I work closely with other videographers, refer them gigs I can’t shoot, and help them get better. This is a newer approach than the past, but it is very helpful to avoid burning bridges and grow a tribe of friends that support what you do.
Now for a moment of realness, what are you struggling with right now in your business?
Over the last year, I have taken my knowledge and bundled it into an online course teaching other videographers how to grow their freelance business called Solo Video Pro. Since it was my first time doing this, I quickly realized that I didn’t understand how to run and market an online product business very well. So at the moment, I have been working through checking my ego and re-structuring the course, getting more feedback from students and making it the best product I possibly can that really helps people succeed.
Taking stock of a weak area and being very real with yourself is key to getting better.
As a freelance videographer and marketing strategist in Des Moines, what challenges and advantages do you think are unique to your city?
Des Moines is an amazing place. I grew up in rural Iowa and DSM brings the best of the country and the city together. There are a diverse set of businesses here big and small that are just now realizing the value in video content. Insurance, agriculture, real estate, etc. are all great industries to leverage video to stand out.
Yes, there is less demand for video than larger cities, but there is not as much competition either. People are very relationship-driven here so if you do good work and deliver results, you retain them as clients long term.
I am a very goal-oriented person. I have a goal sheet next to my bed I look at twice a day to keep my priorities top of mind. I am realizing very quickly that the ‘hustle and grind’ are not sustainable in real life over a long period of time. If you can’t find a balance in your health, wealth, and relationships – things can get bad quickly.
We know the freelancer life is all about the hustle toward incredible goals. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Financially, personally, and with your businesses?
Personally, I will be married next year and hope to have started a family and paid a considerable amount of my student loan debt off in the next 5 years. My marriage and my debt are my driving force for working as hard as I do.
My business goals in the next 5 years include doubling my freelance videography income, taking on a smaller amount of clients and getting them real results with video and the strategy of using ads over a longer period of time.
I aim to have 50 students a week joining Solo Video Pro, to eventually focus all of my freelance efforts on helping that community and pull back from the videography. I greatly enjoy helping other videographers get business savvy and reach new heights and want to spend more time diving into that.
Hitting these milestones would allow me to live a life of passion rather than profit.