1 DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
Like any new business, it will take time before your production company becomes profitable. Realistically, you might need to develop your business on the side while having a regular job with a paycheque. As you get busier with PAID video work you can throttle back on your other job.
Tip: It can easily take 2 years to get your business off the ground.
2 FREELANCE FOR OTHER COMPANIES
Freelancing gives you real-life experience working with clients with less risk to yourself. It's generally easier too since you just need to show up at a particular time to shoot. There are lots of emails and phone calls that happen during pre and post production which you won't have to deal with.
Tip: Taking low or no pay jobs at the start is OK assuming you are getting rich in experience.
3 PLAN FOR THE FAMINE
In this industry there are times when you will have an overflow of work and other times there is none. Being able to survive through the feast or famine is critical. As you get more seasoned, you'll begin to anticipate these seasons and stay busy investing in your business in other ways during the shoulder seasons. Build your social media, write blog posts, work on a passion project, take a crash course on business, travel, etc.
Tip: For many video production companies in Canada, Spring/Fall/Winter are OK months but the busiest will be in the Summer.
4 YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY
You will need to purchase equipment to get started obviously (ie. camera, lenses, computer, etc). But more than just equipment, invest in yourself as a business skills by attending marketing events or trade shows. Business skills are intangible assets which are hard to quantify at first but ultimately will help you get more work in the long run.
Tip: Hire a business coach on a bi-weekly basis to help you think big.
5 Be Helpful
Maintaining a good reputation in the industry is paramount. It only takes one bad experience and that news will travel around quickly. However, if you are known as being a helpful company people will call you again.
Tip: Be brave and ask your clients at the end of the project to provide feedback on working with you.
6 STAY CUTTING EDGE
Volunteer on larger scale productions to see what the pros are doing. By placing yourself in these situations you'll also shoulders with industry professionals and get to play with equipment you normally wouldn't have access to.
Tip: Watch online tutorials like Lynda.com to learn new shooting and editing techniques.