Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

It can be tough to value yourself and your talents when you run your own business. There is always the inner thoughts in your mind about what is “fair” based on your experience, training and perceived talent. This is especially true of those in the arts.

If you ever want to be successful, as well as taken seriously in your marketplace, however, you have to charge fair rates. Well, what is the best way to do that? In my opinion, there are several best practices. One way is to ask those that have come before you. Look around at what those people you respect in the business are doing. If their rates are not published, Ask! The voiceover community especially is incredibly helpful to those who seek guidance respectfully and tactfully. A second way to get a grasp on fair rates is to look to advocacy groups. For voice actors there is no better place than the World Voices Organization or WoVo (www.world-voices.org). In fact yours truly just participated in their monthly rates roundtable where we discussed this very topic. You can watch the full video here http://youtu.be/BmBInKWw8m0.

This brings me to this week’s real world example. One of the topics discussed in the roundtable was how to set up a fair rate at the beginning of your business and stick to it. So this week I quoted a client on an elearning piece. The client accepted my bid but came back to me with a request for syncing the voice to an existing video…in Russian! I immediately put on the brakes and said “you didn’t mention syncing in the job listing, this will require an extra fee”. I wasn’t being greedy, just honest to both the client and myself. How much extra work there really was to do was even more than I imagined (but that is a lesson for a different day).

Anyway, I quoted the client an additional fee that was a full 50% of the original price for the entire job. You know what happened? They said yes, immediately, and off we went.

So the moral of this week’S story? Know your rates, stick to your guns and Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

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