Nov 01, 2022

What you charge for your services says a lot about what you believe your time and your skills are worth. And where you position yourself in your marketplace. If you're just starting out and you don't have a lot of overhead, then charging a lower rate makes sense. But if you're a media veteran, it's time to look at what you charge.

Charge a LITTLE & you'll get a LITTLE respect.

Charge MEDIUM & you'll get a lot MORE respect.

Charge PREMIUM & you'll get the MOST respect.

As you begin elevating your work and building (or rebuilding) your brand, consider gradually raising your rates a few dollars -- at least once a year. Bumping your rate from $250 to $275 a day, or $500 to $575 a day, won't be a dealbreaker for clients. But that extra money can help pay for your gas or cover other expenses.

The goal is to find a sweet spot somewhere between Medium & Premium for what you do and where you live, then work to get to the upper end of the scale. That doesn't mean you can't scale above premium, if you can justify it. But be careful not to price yourself out of the market.

I have a talented friend who has been in the business for a long time. But when I asked for her day rate, I noticed that it was the same rate someone just starting out in television would charge. Her rate sent a message to me about how she valued her time and her experience.

Here's the bottom line. Scaling your income will help financially but you have to believe you’re worthy of that new rate.

Time for a confession.

In the past, seeing other directors doing the same work as I do get paid two or three times more was really frustrating. I would stand there. Scratch my head. And wonder..."How in the world did they pull that off? Why were they able to charge double or triple?"

The answer was because their perceived value was higher than mine. Clients looked at the work they did for high-end customers and valued their brand enough to pay more. Their expectation was -- If they pay more, they'll get better.

That's when the lightbulb came on!

And I realized that if I don't elevate my work, I'll get left behind. I won't be considered for great jobs. I can't scale my rates or stand out in my space. So I started watching great content online, and wrote down the names of top companies producing great shows.

As I studied their work I broke it down for clues & insights, and applied what I learned to my own work. I decided that if I was going to compete with the best, I needed to learn from the best, and rethink my process. 

What books/blogs are your reading? What shows are you streaming? What new ideas are you using to elevate your content? 

Because...If you do great work, you can get better jobs. And Give Yourself A Raise.