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Online Mastering - Pros/Cons
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NotchontheRocks
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4th December 2012
Old 4th December 2012
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Online Mastering - Pros/Cons

I recently started a thread on here called "Tax Question," in which I wanted to know tax-related details about an online mastering business. A few of the responses brought up a few points about the nature of online mastering, so I thought I'd ask about it in a thread of its own to get some more opinions.

I want to start an online mastering website/business (I only do occasional freelance work now) and wanted to know the possible pros and cons of going this route. It will be directed towards lower budget clients, and the goal is to build a client base while demonstrating to clients with tight budgets how beneficial mastering can be.

What are some good and bad things I may run into during this process if I decide to go through with it? Do you have any suggestion about how I should proceed?

Any and all opinions are appreciated.
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4th December 2012
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Just a few things off the top of my head:

I did the same thing about three years ago. I'm still making less money than I used to to in my regular 9-5 job (high school teacher), so don't forget to figure that into the equation!

Just work very hard, that's it really. If your work is good clients will return and spread the word for you, and your business will grow.

Find a good accountant.

Develop a REALLY great, professional way of communicating with your clients.

Will add more if I think of any!

Good luck!
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4th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaluma View Post
Just a few things off the top of my head:

I did the same thing about three years ago. I'm still making less money than I used to to in my regular 9-5 job (high school teacher), so don't forget to figure that into the equation!

Just work very hard, that's it really. If your work is good clients will return and spread the word for you, and your business will grow.

Find a good accountant.

Develop a REALLY great, professional way of communicating with your clients.

Will add more if I think of any!

Good luck!
Good advice! I don't plan on quitting my regular job at the moment, though. I would just be doing both.

Could you elaborate more on the communication thing? I was actually going to focus a lot on client communication - do you have any specific suggestions on how to go about doing this?

I also have a few concerns, and since you have gone through this process before, you might be the person who could answer some questions. How much work did you get at the very beginning of the venture, and how much do you think I should expect? One of the reasons I'm hesitant is because I don't want to put a bunch of time and resources into making a great website and end up with absolutely no work. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase client interest?
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4th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotchontheRocks View Post
I recently started a thread on here called "Tax Question," in which I wanted to know tax-related details about an online mastering business. A few of the responses brought up a few points about the nature of online mastering, so I thought I'd ask about it in a thread of its own to get some more opinions.

I want to start an online mastering website/business (I only do occasional freelance work now) and wanted to know the possible pros and cons of going this route. It will be directed towards lower budget clients, and the goal is to build a client base while demonstrating to clients with tight budgets how beneficial mastering can be.

What are some good and bad things I may run into during this process if I decide to go through with it? Do you have any suggestion about how I should proceed?

Any and all opinions are appreciated.
The solution for on-line mastering: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/i/200001-...000/221627.jpg

All rooms on both ends of a telepresence call are standardized with regards to:

-Technology(identical equipment at all points)

-Acoustics(wall, ceiling, and floor treatments)

-Measurements("6-seater" "12-seater" and "18-seater" Telepresence rooms from country to country have same dimensions and ceiling heights - with some local variations permitted to satisfy fire notification and disability access, etc. IE a 12-seater in London will be of same dimensions/proportions as 12-seater in Chicago, etc).

-Proportions(distance from viewers to screens, and between seated viewers is all standardized to the nearest centimeter, regardless of country of install)

The point is, while Telepresence may be a bit over the top for sharing mastering projects with remote clients, it illustrates how standardization of equipment and listening/viewing spaces are necessary for everyone involved to hear approximately the same thing.
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Hermetech Mastering
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4th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotchontheRocks View Post
Good advice! I don't plan on quitting my regular job at the moment, though. I would just be doing both.

Could you elaborate more on the communication thing? I was actually going to focus a lot on client communication - do you have any specific suggestions on how to go about doing this?

I also have a few concerns, and since you have gone through this process before, you might be the person who could answer some questions. How much work did you get at the very beginning of the venture, and how much do you think I should expect? One of the reasons I'm hesitant is because I don't want to put a bunch of time and resources into making a great website and end up with absolutely no work. Do you have any suggestions on how to increase client interest?
Re: Communication, just be open to their needs, patient, understanding, and professional. It's not really something that can be taught. You need to have dealt with a few "difficult" clients to be able to know how better to deal with them in the future. Some of my most difficult clients are now some of my best (and have taught me the most about my craft), whilst others went away and never came back. The latter is what you want to avoid.

I had ten years of self and friend/acquaintance mastering before I officially opened my doors and started accepting money from people. The main reason I began to take things more seriously was due to all the positive feedback I was getting about my work. So I already had a small client base before I began. I then built a website and advertised via word of mouth, the local music community, websites, and forums etc. that I was a part of. Things started with a trickle and now I have pretty much a small but constant stream of work, three years later.

Whether or not to do any free work, offer free samples etc., is a topic which has been done to death on here, and would definitely reward use of the search function.

If you already have a day job, and the time and money to invest in a web site, then what's to loose by giving it a go?

The best suggestion I have for increasing client interest is: Do great work and be professional. Then as I have already said, things will take care of themselves and grow.

There's a lot of sage advice on here, PRW, REP etc., but you need to be able to identify the gold from the shit, and that only comes with time spent there.
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4th December 2012
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pro: it can be a nice job
con: there are thousands others offering that service out there
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NotchontheRocks
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4th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaluma View Post
Re: Communication, just be open to their needs, patient, understanding, and professional. It's not really something that can be taught. You need to have dealt with a few "difficult" clients to be able to know how better to deal with them in the future. Some of my most difficult clients are now some of my best (and have taught me the most about my craft), whilst others went away and never came back. The latter is what you want to avoid.

I had ten years of self and friend/acquaintance mastering before I officially opened my doors and started accepting money from people. The main reason I began to take things more seriously was due to all the positive feedback I was getting about my work. So I already had a small client base before I began. I then built a website and advertised via word of mouth, the local music community, websites, and forums etc. that I was a part of. Things started with a trickle and now I have pretty much a small but constant stream of work, three years later.

Whether or not to do any free work, offer free samples etc., is a topic which has been done to death on here, and would definitely reward use of the search function.

If you already have a day job, and the time and money to invest in a web site, then what's to loose by giving it a go?

The best suggestion I have for increasing client interest is: Do great work and be professional. Then as I have already said, things will take care of themselves and grow.

There's a lot of sage advice on here, PRW, REP etc., but you need to be able to identify the gold from the shit, and that only comes with time spent there.
Thanks! That's a big help. Appreciate it!

Sent from my DROID BIONIC
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6th December 2012
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I have found that online mastering is essentially the same as attended mastering, recording or mixing - Promoting yourself is necessary to get started, but in the end it's all about relationships - word of mouth, repeat business, gradually building a client base, and above all... results - satisfied customers are the best advertisement! The internet opens up the whole world to you, but it's those relationships that bring in the vast majority of work over the long haul.

Offering free samples is a must IMO, especially when you haven't yet established a track record.

An effective website is also a must, but it doesn't have to be so elaborate or expensive to be effective.

Once things take off for you, get ready to spend a lot of time off the clock answering emails...

Best of luck,
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Tarekith
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7th December 2012
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Just furthering what others have already said. I too had been doing this on the side for about 10 years before I felt I had enough of a client base to switch to doing this full-time. I can't imagine just jumping in and expecting to get enough clients to make a living right from the get go, especially if you're targeting the lower end of the market.

But since you're mainly looking to just get more experience at this point it sounds like, consider if it's time to make that jump to doing it "officially". Once you become an official business, there's a lot of time and money that gets spent just keeping things legally on the up and up in terms of city, state, federal taxes, business licenses, web server and bandwidth, and the like. Not to be negative, just that if you're not bringing in enough clients yet to cover those sort of basic costs, it might be better to wait until you are.

When you do decide to jump in full time, just be patient and really learn to make your clients extremely happy. In this day and in this business, your clients are by far your best form of advertisement, and not all of them are easy to work with as mentioned above. You need to be constantly aware that there's hundreds of other people offering the same service as you, often for less money, so you need to have something unique to offer your clients to make you stand out.

Good luck!
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