Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Raising Your Value
Our industry is full of intangibles. I mean in every other field there is a very tangible barometer of skill measurement and competency which makes it easier to place definite value on those skills. For example, you don't go to the doctor, dentist or your attorney and try to haggle with them over the price of their service, you immediately figure they are worth it because they are certified regardless to experience. Now what I have seen in our industry is that people figure that musicians or artists are just having fun and we are there strictly for their entertainment so they don't really place a high monetary value on what we do. They also don't respect all of the knowledge we have acquired by doing what we do and that knowledge is worth something. A lot of times we are devalued simply because of our presentation and the fact that we simply allow it to happen. Now I submit to you that we have to practice raising our value. The first step in doing so is to define what your skill sets are and do research on the market value of those skill sets. For instance, I've been operating an independent production company and label for over fifteen years. Now my partners and I started this company after working with major labels and realizing that we could do the same thing for ourselves. In the company I was a producer, musician, arranger, writer, visionary, performer, head of artist development and stage presentation, I wrote contracts for shows, licensing deals, worked records at radio, dealt with product placement, proper packaging, marketing and....well I'll stop there but I think you get the picture. So when people hire me, they don't realize that the price I charge is based on my experience and expertise. Once you've defined your skill sets, you must package yourself. Remember perception is reality. You can't charge $10,000 and you look like $10. You should have your company letter heads, bios, resume, proper photos, press kits(both digital and hard copy), company contracts for dealing with whatever facet of entertainment you deal with and of course a business email address and a very clean website with samples of your work. Having these things will enable you to justify and prove your worth to potential clients. And beware of the ear hustlers. These are people that will pick your brain for knowledge and make money off of your information but not pay YOU. Everything you know is of some value and you have to start dealing with it in that manner. Only then can we raise our value. Also understand that value is not always assessed in dollars and cents. You may sometimes make a decision to do something for a relationship or advancement but you will know when those things are required. For the most part, anyone who wants your service should be made to value it and what it has taken for you to obtain the knowledge you possess. As my business partner says " We are not on sale!"
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