Know your worth

In reply to a thread on Facebook about a freelancer being contacted for a job:

Her story:

So this guy just contacted me out of the blue about some programming for a project.

I told him that I don’t do that anymore, but asked him what his budget was, to see if I could refer him to some of my contacts.

He mentioned hourly rates between $18-30. I told him that my contacts charge around $75, and wished him the best of luck with his project.

He responded with a long tirade calling me rude and the worst negotiator ever.

My response:

It’s their attempt at guilting us by making us feel like we’re “stuck up bitches” for asking what we believe to be a fair wage.

Example: My favorite was a man who approached me very early on when I started doing VO, years ago. I still had a full-time job and was just starting to take classes and tinker. Because I was still learning, I was happy to do whatever just for the practice, it wasn’t how I made my living yet. This particular casting guy would give me spots to do in Spanish, which was great practice for me since I don’t get to speak it often enough. The spots were for large corporations, like Wells Fargo. He would pay me all of $15 – $30 per spot, tops. Not including Paypal fees. You read that right, $15-$30. Again, I didn’t mind it at all, I just wanted access to the copy for practice.

After a couple of years when I felt ready to start establishing myself, I gave him my new rate, said thank you very much for your time and I understand if you cannot afford me. He sent me the most wretched email, telling me “You’ll never make more money than I pay you for any spot.” Isn’t telling someone they’ll never find better the definition of an abusive relationship?

I guess I should be glad my agency and all the clients I’ve worked for since don’t know I’m only worth $30. Lucky me!

I’m so used to voice actors yelling at me for selling myself short but I DO WHAT I WANT WHEN I’M READY. I certainly have a bottom line now, and if I do work for free it’s because 1) I can afford to because I’ve made my money elsewhere, and 2) It’s a favor or a passion project for someone who deserves it. My time is worth something. It’s worth something to me, therefore it will be worth something to anyone else who wants a piece of it.

But back then, like any good entry level person, I wanted to eat up all the experience I could. People get upset when you realize you no longer have to settle for less. Again, like in any abusive relationship.