How to work effectively with difficult clients

w/ Ryan Koral

Ryan Koral has spent the past 13 years telling brand stories through video storytelling. In that time, he’s learned a thing or two about working with difficult clients.

Join us as he shares his top takeaways on how to build a great working relationship, no matter the brief or project.

About Ryan Koral

Ryan Koral has always loved shooting video.He started his business 17 years ago and what started as a $300 one-off shoot for his first client quickly lead to him and his team flying all around the world shooting beautiful weddings.

But as time went on and he started a family, he wanted to grow his business without the need to travel so frequently. A friend of his said “Ryan, you can tell peoples’ stories through video – it doesn’t have to be the story of their wedding.” and this opened his eyes to the possibilities in front of him.

He then rebranded his business, which is now called Tell Studios and 5 years ago he started another business called Studio Sherpas, where he talks about the business side of growing a video business. He also has a weekly podcast called Grow Your Video Business.

Don't let the fear of failure put you off


The Motion Hatch podcast actually materialised because Hayley and Ryan’s mutual friend pointed Hayley in the direction of Ryan’s podcast. Without that, the Motion Hatch podcast might not be here today!

So it just goes to show, if you are inspired by someone or you see someone doing something similar to you, don’t be put off because you’re worried about failure or that yours won’t be as good as theirs. No ideas are original anymore – you’re allowed to be inspired by others and take action from that.

Ryan says that if he’s learned anything through business, it’s that there is plenty of work to go around for everyone. You can be an advocate for your competitors and want to see them succeed too.

Don't be afraid to learn in public


Learning and creating in public is all about learning in an online space and bringing your audience along with you.

So for example, learning in public could be starting a podcast so you’re able to interview people you inspire, or doing a live workshop where you take feedback on board at the time.

Things don’t have to be perfect for you to put them out there.

How to work effectively with clients on projects


Videography clients and motion design clients have some similarities. In both industries, clients usually fall into one of two categories – the people who have a very set idea of what they want in mind and those who want to use you for your skills and creative direction. 

Ryan asks all clients to take part in a paid £2500 workshop before he starts working with people to plan out the creative process. This helps to make sure that prospective clients are serious about working together. He also doesn’t work with clients who don’t have an idea of budget from the get-go.

Don't be scared to say no to clients if they don't align with your values


One of the best things that you can do during the sales process with clients is explain your process and rates with confidence. 

If someone doesn’t want to work with you based on how you like to work, or if they don’t have anywhere near your budget then don’t be afraid to say thanks but no thanks.

The best way you can deal with “difficult” clients is by asserting yourself with confidence, knowing your worth and not settling for less than you deserve when it comes to payment.

Mistakes you should try not to make when finding clients


People are often afraid to say they’re a solopreneur or a one person business because they feel that having a team gives them credibility. Wear this badge with pride. You don’t need to hide behind a company name or call yourself a studio to seem more credible. 

Be totally open and honest about how you operate. Put your photo on your website – let people get to know you and how you work.

Let people really know your personality and you’ll be surprised how this can help you to win more work rather than be something that holds you back.

Do you have a creative process in place that helps you to eliminate unsuitable clients? How about a sales process? Do you ever feel like you’ve tried to hide your personality from your clients and keep things strictly professional? Let us know in the comments below! 

 ln this episode

    • An introduction to Ryan
    • Why you should be inspired by others and take a leap of faith
    • The benefits of learning in public
    • How to deal with clients during the creative process
    • Ryan and Hayley role play how to deal with a difficult client 
    • Don’t be scared to say no to clients if they don’t align with your values
    • How to assert yourself and your process with confidence 
    • Mistakes not to make when finding clients



 “If it’s something that you’re passionate about then do it. You need to put that out there to the world – the world needs you to be your true authentic self. [7.40]


“If I can instill confidence in them, then they’ll go back to their boss and explain our process and we’ll seem more put together than someone who just offers a free pitch.” [35.13]


“The sooner you can be yourself – and your true authentic self, the client isn’t going to be surprised that you’re cracking jokes. They’re either going to be drawn to your personality or afraid of it.” [39.24]



Check out Ryan's work on his website Tell Studios

Get 30% off The Video Blueprint Method with the code MOTIONHATCH 

Listen to the Grow Your Video Business Podcast

Follow Ryan on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

Ryan Koral (00:00): I feel like there's nothing original. Like we've all, we've been inspired by something that has made us want to, you know, create the thing that we're creating. I see so many motion design pieces that they're, you know, there's some similarities and it's because people are encouraged, inspired by other people's work. So this idea of like, you know, completely original, it's like, yeah. I mean, yeah, it came from you and maybe you think that is like totally original, but you were inspired somewhere along the line.

Hayley Akins (00:29): Hey hatchlings. Welcome to the motion hatch podcast. I'm your host Hasan. Yeah, he hatchlings among them. Tap said 93 of the motion hatch podcast here at Mason hatch. We're on a mission to help you grow your motion design business. When I first started this podcast, I was inspired by a friend of mine who told me about a client of his side, created a podcast to help people grow their video business. His name is Ryan coral. He has a videography agency and a community called studio shippers, which includes his podcast and many great courses, as I'm sure you can imagine a lot of what Ryan teaches crosses over with what we do at motion hatch. So I wanted to invite him on the podcast today to chat about client communication. In this episode, we spoke about a lot of things, but we also touched on how Ryan sells a blueprint workshop to his clients for $2,500 to help them with their strategy and pre-production for their project.

Hayley Akins (01:30): We went through some role-play in this episode to show you exactly how Ryan approaches his clients with this idea of a paid workshop. But if you want his exact method, Brian has kindly given the motion hatch audience. They sent off his video blueprint method costs. So if you use a code motion hatch, you can get 30% off. This gives you the step-by-step process to sell these workshops to your clients. So if you want to charge more for your creative ideas, give your clients a better experience and also make more money for each project. Then I definitely recommend checking it out. You can find the link at motion hat, shut comforts. Our studio shippers use the code motion hatch for 30% off. Please bear in mind that this is an affiliate link. So if you purchase, we do make a small commission, but I would never recommend anything to you that I didn't think would help you to grow your motion design business. So let's get into this episode.

Hayley Akins (02:28): Hey Ryan, thank you so much for coming on the show, Hailey. Thanks for having me. Do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Ryan Koral (02:35): So 17 years ago I was working at a small college that I actually attended and I somehow convinced them to buy me a video camera and a computer because I was promoting all these events. And back in those days, it was like, you know, we did have email and postcards and I said, you know, it'd be sweet if we could make DVDs to send out to people. Or I don't know if you remember those little like DVD business cars or CD business cars. Anyway, they bought me this stuff and I started playing with video and I absolutely fell in love. And so shortly thereafter I just was driving to work every day. How, how can I just do video? And the church that we were going to has this incredible video production departments. The camp that I worked at over the summer would make these really cool videos.

Ryan Koral (03:26): And so I was just inspired. I was seeing all these incredible stories people's life transformation. And I said, I want to do that. And so I started doing that and eventually I left the college and was getting hired by the college to do video, was getting hired by our church to do some video. And then like friends and family were hiring me. And then somebody who I did not have any connection with hired me. My first like real job was like a $300 video of this snowboarder where I used every single preset effect. If I showed it, it would be the most embarrassing thing ever, but they gave me $300. I was like, this is incredible. And that was 17 years ago that I started this business. And you know, it's kind of morphed and transformed too into bunch of different things. Over the years I started out, I never wanted to be by myself.

Ryan Koral (04:16): I wanted to have a team so slowly I was bringing friends in to help me contract shoot, contract edit. And then eventually I was able to hire my first employee. And 10 years ago we created a totally separate brand because we were doing a lot of mostly weddings for a long time. All over the world, really had unbelievable opportunities, met some really cool people, but then as our family grew and our finances needed to grow, we needed to be able to shoot, you know, here in Michigan weddings are like six months out of the year, at least the really nice ones. And so a smart friend of mine said, Hey, you can still tell incredible stories of, you know, people and it doesn't doesn't have to be weddings. Like there are people, people that start businesses have like a purpose and a reason why they did this.

Ryan Koral (05:10): And because they, in some way want to change the world. And that kind of opened my eyes to say like, wow, I could tell other stories of people that want to make an impact in the world. And that really got me excited. So we launched this other brand our corporate brand today it's called tell studios. You can see if you're watching, you can see there's our little logo right there. And and so I've got a team, we've got a production studio in lake Orion, Michigan, which is about 45 minutes north of Detroit. And then five years ago, we're at, we're almost done here and this is my entire life story five years ago. I've always had a passion for the business side of what I do. I love business. I just, I, my entire life I've always like dreamed up starting businesses.

Ryan Koral (05:55): And when I'm in the world of video, I'm always talking about business and people's eyes are lighting up. You know, everybody wants to talk about cameras and how to tell a better story. And, and I love that stuff, but whenever I would talk about business, people would like lean in and be like, oh man, tell me more about that. And, and then I realized like, oh, like there's something here. So five years ago I started studio Sherpas with my friend, Matt Davis, which today is we have a, I have a weekly podcast where I just talk about the business side of how to grow a video business. And I I've built courses and you know, have tons of training really on all the aspects of, you know, how to, how to do a sales call, how to charge, what you're worth, how to things that you should include in your contract.

Ryan Koral (06:43): Like all of the, the meat of like running a business for most of us getting into this work, we didn't go to business school. We didn't have a former business. So there's just so many things to know how to do this successfully and sustainably, like for a long time, because a lot of people get into this work, they don't charge enough. Then they realize that I can't do this for a career. And then they pivot and start going. They go back to what they did before, or they just do something completely different. So there's my story. Thanks for having me on well, have a great day.

Hayley Akins (07:14): Yeah. Thanks Ryan. Thanks for doing it really quickly as well. I feel like it's always good to have the backstory at the beginning, but then it's always nice to get into like the GC actionable tips. So we'll be doing that very, very soon. But I just wanted to kind of tell the audience a bit about, you know, how I know you. Cause I feel like it's kind of interesting, cause I don't know whether you know this, but I actually started the motion hatch podcast because our mutual friend Jeremy said, Hey, you know, you want to help motion designers with the business side of things. I know a guy who does a similar thing, but he helps mainly video people like video editors or people, film filmmakers and stuff like that. And he's like, why don't you do that? So it's kind of like, I stole your idea a little bit.

Hayley Akins (08:01): So I thought that was like an interesting thing, like to tell the audience, cause you know, this is kind of how you get started is you think, oh, well maybe like somebody else is doing something similar, but like slightly different. Maybe I could do that too. You know, and this is like four years ago. So you kind of started like, I guess maybe like a year ahead of me or something like that. So I just kinda wanted to give everyone a bit of that background cause I, I think it's nice, you know, and I, I appreciate you for that. So thank you for getting me started on this train.

Ryan Koral (08:31): Oh my gosh. I love that story. The thing that that reminds me of is the imposter syndrome and this feeling of like people that, you know, want to start doing motion design or in and feel like, well, I've got to, you know, one of my best friends is a motion designer and I don't want to, you know, steal their clients or feel like have them feel like I'm creeping out on their territory and what I've learned over 17 of running a business, being the president of our local video chapter here where there's other competitors, quote unquote competitors that are doing the same thing that are getting the same phone calls from the same clients as me. What I realized is there's so much work out there and for the people that are really rooting for you and that care about you and that want you to succeed in life, those people do not care.

Ryan Koral (09:18): They, they, they want you to do the thing that you feel like, man, this is the, this is the thing I really want to do. And I feel like I'm in the right spot and the right place in my life to start a podcast or to start a business. And you know, there, there will always be people out there that are afraid of you and what you're doing. And those probably aren't the people that you want to build your community around. I mean, still, you know, try to love and support those people. But at the same time, if you're going to really spend time, you want to spend, spend time with people that are for you and for your success. And that doesn't mean that you don't have room to grow and you don't have areas in your life that you need to be challenged on, but don't not do the thing because you're afraid that it's not going to be as good as, you know, Ryan's podcast or as, you know, Haley's business or whatever. Like don't not do it because of that. Because really if it's, if it's something that you're excited about and passionate about, like you've, you need to put that out in the world, the world needs you to to be your true self in, in that could be starting a podcast or, or business. So that's my just small disclaimer and encouragement for people that are like, ah, I'm just, I just don't want to, you know, it's not going to be as good as, or I just don't want to offend anybody. Yeah,

Hayley Akins (10:30): Exactly. I totally believe in what you just said. And I think it's great because everyone always says, oh, well, you know, like when you start something, you've got to be like super original. And like, you know, to everybody listening to this podcast, like, I mean, this is still pretty original, but like, you know, you were doing something similar just in a different industry. And I think like it's good to get inspiration from other industries and other places too, for our business. And that's kind of what I've been doing over the past few years as well, is like really digging into, you know, business, entrepreneurship, content marketing, and all of those kinds of things, which is not really that to do with motion design or video editing or filmmaking, you know, but like we bring those things in to our industry and that really helps other people. So yeah, I think that's great. It's kind of like, you know, you need to see other opportunities and other people doing things and then that can spark ideas for your own business. I think that's really important.

Ryan Koral (11:27): Oh my gosh. A million percent in, even in motion design, you know, this community that you're building, I feel like there there's nothing original. Like we've all, we've been inspired by something that has made us want to create the thing that we're creating. I see so many motion design pieces that they're, you know, there's some similarities and it's because people are encouraged, inspired by other people's work. So this idea of like, you know, completely it's like, yeah, I mean, yeah, it came from you and maybe you think that is like totally original, but you were inspired somewhere along the line, even if it was like your football coach from back in high school or something, there's something that was passed onto you that has given you this idea or this vision for, you know, how you want to make this thing.

Hayley Akins (12:09): Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think it brings me on to think about this idea of like learning in public. I mean, this wasn't really what I was initially going to talk to you about on this podcast, but I think it's really interesting, like thought to follow right now is, I mean, you know, I'm all about that. Like let's land in public. Like that's why I partly started this podcast too, is because I wanted to access to people that maybe I couldn't speak to otherwise, which I think is a really great thing. And also just sharing what I'm learning and my work and things like that online. That's kind of what has helped it to grow. And I don't know how, you know, you feel about that and whether you have seen the benefits of that kind of thing as well.

Ryan Koral (12:50): Yeah. Yeah. Th that's, I mean, that's, that's the best place to learn because real quick to get immediate feedback, instead of, you know, back when I was building our initial course, we could have spent a long time building this thing and then, you know, spend hundreds of hours shooting, editing, scripting, delivering, and then find out that it just fell flat instead. Like, Hey, let's do a live workshop. See how that goes. Oh, people like that. Okay. Let's do another live one, see how that goes. Okay. Like this, this is what we need to be doing. And I've done plenty of things or I've, you know, thrown an idea out to my audience and then crickets. And I'm like, oh, okay. So I'm not going to do that thing cause it's just doesn't seem to be resonating. So I think creating in public kind of just putting your step out there, your, your step, putting your stepping out there. One of my favorite phrases is you don't learn until you launch and the thing doesn't have to be perfect, done is better than perfect. And just putting your first idea out there to see how it resonates that that's, I think one of the smartest things that you can do as an entrepreneur.

Hayley Akins (13:55): Yeah, definitely. So how do you feel like this sort of thing, you know, this experimentation idea relates to, you know, running your service based business because obviously you have tell studios and then you have studio Sherpas as well, which is amazing. I can't believe you still do both of those, like congrats to you that you must, you must have like an incredible team and, you know, be very organized. So yeah, we can talk a bit about that later too, but I just wanted to follow this idea of experimentation and how, how do you feel like this can play into our service based businesses?

Ryan Koral (14:36): That's a, that's a great question. I feel like with the service-based business, it's a little bit different. You know, it's, it's all, it's been an experiment from the beginning, but the longer that I've been in business, the more we have a better handle on what's re what's expected. So there's still some experimenting. And I would say like on pieces that we're doing for a client, 80% of what we're going to deliver them is, is what they are expecting in 20% might be like, Hey, let's try this. And let's just, you know, we think this is really cool and it might fall flat. And fortunately that's only 20% of the piece. So you know, we can, we can fix that. The other thing that we've done that has completely revolutionized the way that we work with clients and create pieces and get too far ahead of ourselves because there there's this one project that just haunts me from like years ago, we got hired by this small private school to create a piece for their, for their big gala event.

Ryan Koral (15:41): I was late delivering the thing. I was overwhelmed by the whole project. And I, I, I sent it to the, it was the principal or the superintendent of the school, like the day before it was due. I was like, oh man, I, I reached the deadline, send it over to her. And she hadn't seen anything up until this point. And this is like a, probably a five or seven minute video it's like tells her story and all this stuff, we thought it was incredible, super emotional. We sent it to her and she's like, no. And I was like, oh no. So we did what we could in 24 hours to fix it. But that relationship was just wrecked. I mean, I, I apologized, I did everything, you know, I, I think she maybe even threatened to Sue us or something. I dunno, it was just like ugly, messy.

Ryan Koral (16:24): And it was totally my fault for not having a better process for how we deliver projects. So today what we do is when somebody comes to us with a custom idea for, for the kind of video that they want, we have a workshop with them and we go through a workshop, we go through our storytelling process, our video making process and how we deliver great videos that, that really aligned with what the goal of our client is. So we get clear on what their, their goal is. We get alignment with their team, they get alignment with each other because you'd be surprised at how many times two or three people from from a company will come in saying, we want to do this video. And then we ask them like, okay, well tell us what you know you want or why you want it.

Ryan Koral (17:05): And then you get three different answers. So then it's like, okay, well, we can't do all three of those. So which what's it, what's it gonna be? And then they kind of like, you know, fight it, duke it out. And and so out of that workshop, we create a blueprint and that's where we'll throw out any kind of crazy creative idea where we want to experiment and let them shut it down in the blueprint phase because we haven't shot anything. It's just, it's all just kind of sketched out and let them, you know, chew on it. Because when we actually take that blueprint to production, there's little surprises when we deliver the first draft, because they've, they've, they've kind of said yes to this document that really gives a clear vision for what the piece is going to look like. So that's allowed us to experiment without doing it.

Ryan Koral (17:51): If you're experimenting and production on set with a crew and people and all that stuff, it's still, it's a little dicey, you know, unless you for sure get what you know you need. And then you take whatever time, extra time you have and try the extra stuff. I think that's my advice is like, make sure he get what you have to have to get when you're on set, because when you go to edit, like you, you know, you can change the edit if it's crazier to experimental or whatever. But when you're on set and the client's paid a lot of money and people are flying in from out of town to be there for this thing. And then you're just like, Hey, this, I got this vision and you followed this vision and then it falls flat that's recipe for disaster.

Hayley Akins (18:29): Yeah. I mean, tell me about this workshop thing, because it sounds like you're, you're basically, you know, doing some strategy with the client before you move on. Is that correct? And tell me kind of how that

Ryan Koral (18:42): Yeah. So when people call us for video work, we, we tell them what our process is. And it's kind of like, Hey, you're, you're, you're gonna fall in one of two camps, one camp, you've got this idea for this video. You want to direct it. You just, you want our cool cameras and our expertise to, you know, be able to shoot and edit this thing followed by your lead. That's one way of doing a video project. The other way is that we kind of become collaborative partners. And we walked through this process together and you lean on us for our expertise in directing and you lean on us for now, we'll work together on this. But like, if you've never done a video or you're just not confident in your scripting or with what shots need to be in there, or who should show up first in the video and how it should end, if you need help there, then we're going to guide you in that process.

Ryan Koral (19:34): And that, that is going to, that's going to take a little bit more time, energy and money, but it's going to be well worth it in the end. If you don't know, you know, if you're not super confident in your own video making abilities. So people say like, well, and then I'll ask them, which one sounds like you? And they're like, oh, that, that one, for sure. It's like 90% when we work with agencies that are like, no, we've got the storyboards. We know we need, we just need your cool cameras. And we're like, cool. Like we can coat that out like very easily. But when it's somebody that says, yeah, we want this workshop or, or, or we need your direction. Then we say, okay, the very first thing that we do before we do any production before we quote the project out is we do a workshop.

Ryan Koral (20:12): The workshop costs $2,500. If we go through the workshop and you absolutely hate it, we'll give you your money back as we go through the workshop, we're gonna, you know, nail down this idea, kind of come up with the creative direction, what this needs to be. We're going to create this blueprint for you. You're going to sign off on that, or we're going to make changes to the blueprints, revise that, and then deliver the final to you. And when you kind of say, yes, this is it. Then we move into production. We will not do a workshop. If a client doesn't already have a rough budget in mind. So if they say, we're not really sure what we're going to, we're going to pay for a video or what we're willing to pay. Then we say, well, you're too early on in the, in the stage.

Ryan Koral (20:50): We're not going to charge you $2,500 for, for a workshop when your budget might be $2,500. And we're not gonna go through a 90 minute or a two-hour workshop coming up with ideas for a video that we don't know if it's a $10,000 budget or a hundred thousand, because we can talk about, oh yeah, we could fly out to Australia and shoot all this stuff for seven days. And that would be so cool. And it's like, okay, that's $150,000. And they're like, oh, well, no, we can't do that. So instead of wasting our time in the workshop for them to at least have some kind of a budget range and communicate that to us, then that allows us to say that, great. We'll just make sure that during the workshop, we're not going to let you say we're going to Australia for seven days.

Ryan Koral (21:33): If you've, if you're telling us your budget is 10 to $20,000, that's just not going to make sense. So that has helped our whole sales process. Plus we're getting 2,500 bucks paid for pre-production work that we never got paid for before. We're seen as experts in this whole process, which before people would just assume that they needed to kind of take the leadership in the lead, the direction for the whole project. When now we're saying like, no, no, no, no, this is what we do like, so you can hire us to do this, or you can, you can direct us and it's going to be this other fee. We're not going to go through the workshop. And that's that, you know, just know what you're getting yourself into. So that's kind of the process there. Does that make sense? Yeah,

Hayley Akins (22:14): I think that's awesome. I wondered if you would be willing to do a bit of role play with me because I feel like I, you know, we'd like to play an awkward client and see if you see if you can get me to like, cause I can see the benefit of the workshop and selling strategy I think is awesome. But then I can see a lot of clients are like, oh, well, no, you know, like, do we need to do that? So I feel like we should go through that because I want you, I want to hear, and I want to hear the audience to hear like, what are you, what are you saying? You know, what are the words that you're saying? So, okay, so I'm going to be this client, right? And I'm like, I can't wait to hear your client voice. I'm not going to do Weiss. Don't, don't be silly, but I'm going to be like, Hey Ryan. So I'm thinking about doing a video for my company. And you know, I've looked at your work on your website. It seems like tele studios is like the place we want to go to, to get this video done. So you know, how much would it cost me to make a video pause the whole role play

Speaker 4 (23:17): Thing. This happens,

Ryan Koral (23:22): I'll just say it like this, this, this happens all the time. Right? You get a client that calls in, like they ask you what's the budget. And it's like, oh my gosh. So just, just we all know this and it's one of the most annoying things in the world. So I I'll do my best to turn this back around here in a second. But I'm in the back of my mind, I'm just knowing that this probably isn't a great fit client. They're not ready for a video. And when, when people are calling me for work, there's a lot of customization in the proposal and the quoting and all that stuff. So it just takes a lot of time. And we're kind of at this stage in our business where I just don't have a ton of time to educate clients on all of the things.

Ryan Koral (24:10): So for us today, we're fortunate enough to be able to say to a client like this, there's probably some other things that you need to be thinking about. You know, I can give you some, some price ranges and whatever. So anyway, that's, that's just a little preface. Let's jump back into the role-play and I'll do my best here. Okay. So Haley, tell me, tell me first, like what's, what's the goal? Like, what do you need to happen? What do you want to happen with this video? How will your business be different by doing it or, or by not doing it? Well?

Hayley Akins (24:44): So I ran a bakery, let's say. And I'm, I'm really looking for a video to go on my website because I want to tell everybody about what our bakery does and why we're different. And I th I've heard that, you know, doing a video and putting it on your website can hopefully get us to increase sales on our online shop, but I don't really know. And I just thought your work looked really good. So I kind of wanted to come to you and us, you know, how much, and could you do this video for us? Oh,

Ryan Koral (25:16): You're very kind. Thank you for the kind words. Okay. Pause again. Now what Haley's just done here is she's given me a very clear indication of the kind of video that she wants. This is what, what I call a brand story. Now, if she comes to me and she starts talking about something that I'm like, I don't know, like, you know, she's like, we want to do this 3d walkthrough and then you know, and, and she just kind of goes down this road of like, I'm like, that sounds like super customized, but if she starts talking about something that we've already kind of got packages for, then, then I can be like, okay, great. This, this, this can work. I can, I can get a yes or a no from her a really quick here or a yes, I'm interested to know more.

Ryan Koral (25:56): So okay. Time back in Haley. So what, what it sounds like you're describing is a brand story, and this is kind of like the heart and soul of this is why I started this business, you know, 17 years ago is because I wanted to tell people's stories and, you know, people that start businesses want to make some kind of difference in the world. And I'm sure you have this awesome story about, you know, why you started this bakery. And I might even just say like, you know, tell me why. Like, what do you love about it? I'm not going to ask that right now because Haley, do

Hayley Akins (26:24): You actually have it? My family has a bakery, so I reckon I could probably came into my mind. Yup.

Ryan Koral (26:30): So then I would just say, yeah, are, this is a brand story packages for our brand story pricing for our brand stories start at $8,000. And you know, as you are kind of thinking through budget and stuff, you know, starting at $8,000, I mean, we've had clients spend as much as 20 or $30,000 on a brand story. Do you think that's within your budget? Eight to $30,000?

Hayley Akins (26:54): Yeah. I was sort of thinking like more like 5,000. So that's like, seems like, right. Like what, what I'm trying to get to the point of like, where you're giving me the, you know, let's say, let's say I've got more than that. I feel like realistically, I'm not sure what bakeries have like $20,000 to spend on videos, but let's, let's go with it. Let's go with it. So imagine I've got a business and I have got 20,000. Right. And I'm like, I'm like, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Maybe you probably wouldn't let the client, you wouldn't, I wouldn't let you know that. I be like, yeah, maybe. Yeah. I mean, maybe we could make that work.

Ryan Koral (27:33): Yep. So, so then at this point, I'm going to say like, great, well typically when people call us, they want one of two things. They either want to direct a video. They've got a clear vision for what they want. They've they've probably done video in the past. Have you guys done video in the past?

Hayley Akins (27:46): No, we haven't really done much video, so we, we don't really know what we want, but we've seen like a few examples that we thought were cool of other people who did that. So that's why we came up with the idea. Yeah. And

Ryan Koral (27:58): Most people that, you know, fall in this first camp, like they've done video before, or they're an agency and they've got a really clear vision. They've got somebody on their staff that is going to lead this project from start to finish and they just need our cool cameras. They need our, you know, our, our fancy technology and, you know, somebody there that can run that stuff. The other, the majority of people that call us are similar to you where maybe they've done video before, but they they've got a business to run and they don't want to lead all of the things. So they want to lean on us for our expertise and the direction that we can provide. So when that happens, the very first step for us is to do a workshop with you and just all the stakeholders you know, at your, at your bakery that would want to speak into this piece.

Ryan Koral (28:39): And the only way that the workshop is 2,500 bucks. And the only way that we can do the workshop is I know you're, you're kind of, you know, you said maybe, you know, you've got maybe $20,000, eh, you're, you're not really sure. We will only do the workshop if you're comfortable on landing on some kind of a budget range, because in the workshop, the goal of that workshop is to talk through ideas and concepts that can fit within that budget range. So it's going to be a complete waste of my time and your time. If at the end of the day, you really only want to spend $5,000. It's like, if you're going to shop for a house, you don't just go with a realtor and start driving around and you know, she's taking you to different houses and you're like, oh man, this is amazing.

Ryan Koral (29:19): And then you get to, you know, and she's like, well, in the hump. And you're like, yeah, I want to buy that one. And she's like, okay, that one's $2.5 million. And you're like $2.5 million. You know, what are you? I don't have that much. And she's like, well, we've been riding around for all day. I've been showing you a million dollar house. Like what, what, how much money you have to spend? And you're like, I've got like $50,000 and it's like, oh my gosh, you both just wasted so time. So if you tell your realtor, Hey, we're, we're seriously looking at, you know, 50 to $250,000 houses, then that's going to limit the search. It's going to be way more. But if you're lying and you don't really have 250, I mean, that's dumb, right? So like, if you're going to spend $2,500 to do this workshop, you really need to know what is the price range. Otherwise, you're going to be wasting your money by, you know, doing a workshop and having us come with an upload up with an idea that just doesn't fit inside of your budget. So how does that sound? Yeah,

Hayley Akins (30:12): It sounds okay. But I mean, I spoke to this other video company and they said that they would do a pitch for me for free. And then I was hoping that you would do a pitch free too. And then we could, you know, choose the idea that we like best. Yeah.

Ryan Koral (30:28): Yeah. So inside of our blueprints, that's we go through this workshop together and then from the workshop, you will get a blueprint, which, you know, we might come up with a creative idea in the workshop itself, as ideas are, you know, people are getting excited that doesn't always happen. And if it doesn't, then when we sit down to build out the blueprint, like that's, when we're able to build out this, you know, this idea of a pitch or whatever and then send it to you. And if you love it, great, we move forward with production. And if you don't, then we kind of go back to the drawing board and try to understand better, like how we missed it or whatever. That's actually never really happened when we'd do a blueprint, it's mostly like one or two small things that need to be adjusted.

Ryan Koral (31:07): And then we move forward with production. So it's an opportunity for us to work together on a small scale, you know, 2,500 bucks at the end of the day, what you're getting is a blueprint. And you can take that blueprint to this production company or to wherever, because honestly, if someone's going to work on a free pitch for you, how much time are they going to be able to spend on that, to really make it thoughtful and for it to align with who you are as a business and what your goals are. So that, that for us is our differentiator. There are a lot of people out there that would give you free pitches. And if you love it and you love what they are presenting, go for it. But this is our process. And this works for us and really works for our clients.

Hayley Akins (31:48): Okay. All right. I think you've convinced me then if I can take it, potentially take it to that other production company too. Like, I feel like there isn't really much to lose. I don't know whether they would say that, but I feel like that was pretty convincing Ryan. So I feel like we'll like, well, and the P the painful role-play golly, put me through the Royce trying to be as awkward as possible. But I feel like my, my, like, niceness, just like, he's like try to come out. I'm like, oh, you're like, yeah, I guess that sounds, yeah, exactly. This is why I've been not very good. Like as a client, I'm like, yeah. I feel like this is off the bottle though. Right? It's like, you've got to take charge as the business owner and say, well, this is how we do things. I think like, where people get stuck with this stuff is because they're not used to talking money. They're not used to talking about business and they don't practice that stuff. And I think that is really for me where the problem lies, you know? Yeah.

Ryan Koral (32:48): Yeah. I mean, that's, that's, this whole area is where so many of us get stuck. We, we haven't done this before and people might be listening and they may be like, what is this guy talking about? And other people might be like, oh my gosh, like, he sounds like such a good sales person. I didn't start as a good sales person. I was pathetic. I was overly confident. I didn't know how to start a conversation. I didn't really know how to end it. I didn't know how to instill confidence in my clients. I just, I relied on my, this sounds terrible, but my charming personality, or I should just say my personality. I relied on my personality to kind of carry the conversation and just hoped, cross my fingers that they would like me. And if they liked me that they would want to do business with me and at worked sometimes, and it didn't work most of the time because when I was working with wedding clients, that was more than half of the thing. They wanted to be able to like you to know that you're going to be great to hang out with for the day, but for a business, they want to know that there's going to be a return on their investment. They're going to spend all this money. They need to feel confident. And so, you know, I've been able to learn through the years how to speak more, like what a business, how a business wants to, to hear and what gives them confidence. I like that.

Hayley Akins (34:02): And that's why I really like is the fact that you have like your sort of agency model, you know, where you're not gonna make them go through all the strategy bit, but you're saying, but we require that bit from you. I imagine, you know, from the agencies, you require them to give you like the script you know, really clear guidelines, stuff like that. So like, you obviously have a process for that side of things as well, right? Yeah,

Ryan Koral (34:25): Yeah. Otherwise it would, we'd be, we've done so much free work unintentionally over the years. And, and an agency would hire us and just totally take advantage of us because we didn't know. We didn't know. We were like, oh my gosh, and agency, and they've got a huge budget. And it's like, yeah, but guess what, you're going to work twice as much as you normally would for this, because you haven't set clear boundaries. I've I'm talking to one of my coaching clients yesterday. I was sending him a follow-up message because he's worked, he's been working with this agency for five years. Hasn't raised his prices. They are totally taking advantage of him. And, and he just needs to know how to speak to them in a way that doesn't belittle what they're doing, what they're trying to do, the direction that they're going.

Ryan Koral (35:08): But really it's just about him saying like we're growing and we're improving our processes. I'm hiring a full-time editor because we really want to up our game. And in doing that, we're, we're going to be raising our prices. And so I just want to let you know, you know, as one of our favorite clients, one of our longest standing clients, your rates are going to go up and, and just so you know why this, this is why. And, and I told him, I'm like, dude, you've been with them for five years. They loved like, the work that he does for them is unbelievable. If they have issues with that, he's got weight. He's most of his other clients he's charging higher rates for. He's just stuck with his one client for so long that if, if they don't move forward with him, it's going to free him up to be able to do work for other people. He's he makes a decent amount of money, but the amount of work that goes into what he's making with them, it's insane. I'm like, dude, I'll hire you at those prices. You can come, you know, contract for us and I'm going to be getting a killer deal and he laughed. So, yeah, I think it's super important to try to figure that stuff out because otherwise you end up getting taken advantage of, and that's, that's not a way to grow any sort of business.

Hayley Akins (36:14): I think I totally agree with you. And it's like something that we've spoken about a lot before is kind of trying to come from this place of abundance rather than like scarcity, you know, fear of like not getting the client of scaring them away, because the only reason why you were able to talk to me like that and kind of take control of that conversation is because you weren't scared of losing me as a potential client, right? Yeah.

Ryan Koral (36:39): A million percent in a clients, especially a corporate clients. If they can, if I can instill confidence in them that we've got a process for how we do stuff I'm not trying to win you over with my personality. Although, you know, if I have a personality that can be helpful. And in that, that confidence lets them feel like, okay, cool. If they're hiring me, maybe they have their bosses, like, Hey, go out and find a video company. So if I can instill confidence in them, then they can go back to their boss and say like, oh yeah, find the company like they've got this great process. It's this workshop thing or something. And yeah, they, they, it sounds like it works and we can get our money back and whatever. That's a lot different than, well, yeah. I did talk to this other video company and they'll, they'll do a free pitch for us. Okay. Well, let's get the free pitch and see what that is. But like, it sounds like this other company has got their stuff together. We might want to go that direction.

Hayley Akins (37:30): Yeah. That makes complete sense. So I'd love to talk a bit more about like what the biggest mistakes you see people make when it comes to like communicating with clients. Because we talked about a lot about like, you know, having your own processes and things like that down, but what is some of like the big mistakes you see people making when they're kind of, you know, out there trying to get clients and you know, maybe they feel like the clients are really good and they might, you know, maybe they feel like the laugh at them. If they say, Hey, this is my process and things like that, you know, like, let's talk about that.

Ryan Koral (38:08): Yeah. Well I think even just sitting down and trying to come up with you know, what are the three steps to your process and it can be, it doesn't have to sound overly complicated. First thing is we meet to kind of talk about, you know, the goals of this thing. And then we'll brainstorm the idea for the video. Next part is, you know, we jump into production and then then we have our revision process and you get to pro two revisions or whatever normally. And then we deliver and then we're all given high fives, you know, something very simple that you can memorize that it's just like, this is what we do that can give you confidence to say like, okay, well I've got some kind of a process. So even just spending a few minutes, coming up with something that can be very basic.

Ryan Koral (38:50): The client's not going to laugh. They're not going to be like, that's your process. They're going to be like, oh, cool. Like obviously there's way more steps inside of your process, but that's just a, that's a good overview. Took you 45 seconds to explain it. And that's, again, that's, that's about a confidence thing. It's confidence for you and confidence for your client. I think where a lot of us go wrong is we're afraid to put ourselves out there. I think one thing that annoys and frustrates me is on so many people's websites. They present themselves as tell studios sounds like this. Like, wow, let's get big studio. And it's like run by one guy. That's, that's actually not true, but

Speaker 5 (39:29): You

Ryan Koral (39:29): Have no idea. People are afraid to put their picture on their website. They're afraid to say that they're a solo preneur, that there isn't one person business. Because you know, if they're talking to a client and they're trying to get a $10,000 or a hundred thousand dollar project, like what client is going to hire a one-person video studio that's different today, today, things are different today. And to be afraid of saying like, oh, I'm a solo it's like ever, like this world is so connected. And of course you should have like a database of contractors that you can hire in that will help you on projects. So that's, I think is assumed by most businesses today. That's not, it was 20 or 30 years ago before the internet and before college aberration versus competition, this, this idea. So I think hiding behind like big names and, you know, whatever in, in just not being totally honest and saying like, yeah, this, like, this is my company.

Ryan Koral (40:29): We've worked with some really big brands. Who've done some massive projects. And when, when I need to, I bring in partners to help me deliver on a high level. I don't always need a team. Right. Which helps me kind of be able to work and work more efficient and be more attentive to you as the client and your needs. I think that's a mistake. I think people should put their photos on their website and be totally open and honest about how they operate. And, and that could be part of your process as you talk about. Yeah. In initial phases, we kind of talk about the goals and then I'm determining do, is this project too big for just me? Do we need to bring in other people? And I'm trying to identify what actually is needed here. And I don't want to always assume that the client needs the full team.

Ryan Koral (41:10): Cause that might be really expensive. They might be fine with one or two people. And then the other thing is I think it's directly related to his personality. I think I've had enough clients that I tried to woo in. Just try to be their yes, man. So that they would hire us only to find out that they don't really, for my sarcastic sense of humor or my dad jokes or you know, they just, they, they don't care for me and Hinton. What I got going on here, you know, this personality over here, the Siri, you can be yourself and be your true, honest, open, authentic self. When you're halfway through a project, the client, isn't going to be surprised that you're cracking jokes or that you're kind of obnoxious. They, they are either going to be drawn to your personality or they're going to be you know, afraid of it.

Ryan Koral (42:03): And if you can get the people that are afraid of it, to know what you're all about, like earlier on, then you're not going to waste time. And you know, it, it really stinks when you're working on a project and you find out that your client doesn't care about people and doesn't care about making things, right. For everybody, not just them. Right. So, you know, there was one project that we did. This is our first huge corporate contract that we landed. We went from booking weddings for five and $10,000 to get any opportunity to work with the university of Michigan business school. And we had to go meet with their team at the business school. And they're just like one of the top business schools in the entire world and right down the street from us, sort of, and I was like, oh my gosh, this is like, this is huge.

Ryan Koral (42:52): And I'm so nervous. Anyway, we go to this meeting and before it, before the meeting, we said, Hey, let's make a little video that highlights the campus and kind of talks about like, why we'd want to work with them. Like, and we'll bring that into the meeting. It's not a pitch. It's just like what we think, how we, we might be able to help them. So we play this video and at the end of the video, we left this part in where, where I was kind of like, I came on screen at the very end and I'm like, and that's kinda why, you know, we think we'd be a great fit to work with university of Michigan. And that's why he made this video and really cause well, we just couldn't think of anything else. And that's, that's how, and then it cuts in a, our logo comes up, their logo comes up and it's like, you know tell studios plus university of Michigan something.

Ryan Koral (43:35): And then you cure me in the background. I'm like, is that good enough? I dunno. And then we're kind of like laughing and giggling and then, and then it cuts. So we play this video and I'm like, they're either going to love it or they're going to hate it. We play the video. I look at this long table, there's like 10 people in there and there's smiles. There's some chuckling. And the person leading the brand management there said, Ryan, what you guys did in that video is the exact thing that we need you to do for us. We don't, we don't work. We don't have that silly side. But the way that you were able to caps capsulate your personality in that piece is exactly what we need you to be able to do for the university. And so that won us this twenty-five thousand dollar job that ended up, you know, we have done work with the university for years now and have made hundreds of thousands of dollars with them.

Ryan Koral (44:18): And really it's because we weren't, well, I shouldn't say we weren't afraid we put our personality in the work in, and just put it out there and said, they get us. This is going to be great. And it was a great partnership, you know, for them to know us from the very beginning. So I would say don't be afraid to get, to know, get to know as soon as possible. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and let people really know who you are, what you care about and you know, and why, why you do this work.

Hayley Akins (44:44): Yeah, definitely. I think like that's just such a great place to end this podcast. Like, I feel like I had so many more questions, but I'm also like, I feel like you just nailed it right there. So I kind of want to leave people with that thought. But yeah. Thank you so much, Ryan, for you know, giving us so much value today. I really appreciate it. But do you want to tell the audience where they can find out more about you and studio Sherpas and tell studios? Yeah.

Ryan Koral (45:11): Yeah. Sure. So if you want to see our corporate work, you just go to tell The PA I have a weekly podcast it's called grow your video business have amazing guests have amazing topics all around the business. I have videographers, I have authors it's, it is a really fun podcast and really helpful for anybody that is trying to grow a video business. We're doing an in-person event here in the Metro Detroit area in October, it's called the onward summits. You can get more and we've done this event before. It is seriously. One of the best things to just this community of videographers and filmmakers that we're building super, super fun. And then I've got a free workshop. If anybody's interested in knowing how to get a client's budget if you want to dive in a little bit more, I think it's about a 40 minute workshop.

Ryan Koral (46:01): It's totally free. And I just really walked through this process of you know, I've talking to Hailey through that little fake phone and there are different tactics and techniques that I'll do to really try to narrow in on what a client's budget or budget range is and figure out where they're at in the buying process. You can get that workshop. If you go to studio, And my socials are at Ryan coral and whatever. I don't post a ton online outside of, inside of our little Facebook group and with the podcast and whatever, but Hey, they thank you so much for having me on this was super fun. Love what you're doing, love the community that you're building. And just, just grateful that I could come.

Hayley Akins (46:41): Yeah, thanks so much for coming on the show, Ryan. I really appreciate it. Thanks again to Ryan for coming on the show. I hope you got a lot of help and advice from this one. Make sure you do check out studio Sherpas and the grow your video podcast. And remember if you want to get your hands on that video blueprint method to help your clients and make more money per project, then go to / studio ship is a new user code motion hatch for 30% off. If you enjoyed this episode, why don't you get your phone out of your pocket? Take a screenshot of the episode and share it on your social media. Do tag us at motion hatch. We'd lived here for me. Thanks so much for listening all the way to the end. I appreciate you. See ya.

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