Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Is Your Voice Worth More Than $15?

If your voice was a product on a shelf at the local department store, what amount would appear on the price tag? Think about the time, effort and hard work that you have put into developing that product from scratch just to get it to the point of where it is today. How much would you charge customers and clients interested in buying your product?

When you think about it from that perspective, it’s easy to feel offended by the mere thought of placing a $5 or $10 price tag on your talent, right? There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way either, even though there are many different lowball directories that will make you feel otherwise.

Now that we are two weeks into the New Year, you may not be very happy about the amount of new business you have been able to generate since the first. You could very well find yourself on the short end of the stick when it comes to bidding for different projects simply because lowball contractors and freelancers decided to submit bids that were a fraction of what was on your proposal.

What should you do now? The old saying that, “If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em” may quickly cross your mind, but should you pay attention to it?  NO!!

If you take your craft and career seriously, then you always have to remember you are worth so much more than the $10 and $15 jobs that seem to be popping up out of nowhere. You might be saying to yourself, “But, those are the only jobs that are available right now!” By thinking this way, you are clearly not able to see the forest for the trees. Believe me, I know what’s like to struggle to get as many jobs as you can when you are sitting on a big goose egg for the week or even the month – bills piling up, prospective clients bailing out and you're left wondering whether or not you should have gotten into this business in the first place. I went through this when I first got started in voiceovers. Take a deep breath and erase this level of thinking from your mind.

The key is to make sure that you focus on what is really important – the quality of the client instead of the quantity of the payment. When you’re not making very much money or closing very many jobs, you may start to think about joining such sites as Voice Garden and Internet Jock just to scrounge up as much work as possible. As is the case with any business, you need to focus on working smarter and not harder by focusing on high-quality clients.

There are always going to be clients that are simply looking to save a few bucks by getting whatever they need done as cheap as possible. As long as their basic needs are met and they don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so, they are happy. Even if they are not familiar with the average rates that professionals within our industry charge for our services, they will find themselves simply searching for the lowest bid amounts and hoping for the best. Those are low-quality clients that accept low-quality work as long as they get it done for low quality prices.

You need to be focusing on the type of client that is the exact opposite. The type of client that clearly understands the simple fact that quality work requires quality prices. Even if they have limited experience when it comes to this industry, they know that if they want it done right the first time around with no exceptions – they will have to pay for it. In comparison to the lowballing clients looking to save a few bucks, high-quality clients ARE OUT THERE and could be just around the corner. Keep in mind that one high-quality client can do a heck of a lot more for you in the long run than twenty low-quality clients.

When you're a new voice talent, it may come easy settling for these types of jobs for the long haul just because they seem easy to close. Professional anglers don’t use their best tools, equipment and boats to find goldfish just because they are available. Not only would they be wasting their time, money and resources, but they would look absolutely foolish doing so, wouldn't they? How do you think you look with all of your time, money and available resources chasing after the “goldfish” clients and jobs of this industry?

I look at some of these lowball VO directories like a kiosk in a shopping mall. Full of junk that true professional voice talents don't need. So, do yourself a favor and avoid them! Focus on revamping your marketing strategy in order to effectively target the “big fish!" This can be done much easier than you might think.

The key is to simply remember that your work is worth more than $10 – regardless of any rejection notices and emails from prospective clients that would rather keep their money and sacrifice quality than the other way around.

Think of your voice as a showroom-quality product that just hit the shelves today for the first time. Don’t place your brand new product on the clearance rack just so it can sell quicker for pennies. You could easily miss out on the high-quality sales opportunities that will slip right past you along the way.

Keep in mind that my entire sermon here is based on working with clients direct. If you’re represented by a talent agent, the agent will negotiate the rates with the client and more often than not, they are really good rates!  Thank you, talent agents!  More about the agency game in a future blog.

So, I ask you again….what amount appears on your price tag?


Debby Barnes said...

Your jottings are so fine, TD. I really appreciate all your VO Introspections. And this particular post is well worth the read. Cheers!

Lance Blair said...

Right on! Even when I see a cheap Car Dealership spot rate, I shake my head: you know the ad is going to bring in at least five new customers, even if it's in North Dakota. So, that's perhaps 50 to 100K of gross. The VO talent deserves more than they're usually paid in that case. You can't say, oh, it's a small market - you should have to pay money to make money. If I had a dealership or any business I'd be embarrassed that I only wanted to invest $15 in the voice of my marketing.

Jordan Reynolds said...

Great stuff Terry. Couldn't agree more. Fortunately, like you said, there ARE high quality clients who pay very fair rates. You just have to find them :).

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, if you don't think you're worth more, no one else will either.