Getting What You’re Worth
(playful instrumental) (shutter snapping)
As a creator, you want to be able to gauge what the client's budget is pretty quickly; if you're on the phone with them, make sure you ask for a range, so the solution is simple, is that what's your budget, what am I working with, I just need to know, because I can make you a project this big, or this big, or this big; you just gotta give me an idea, and oftentimes, they'll share that with you, because they're gonna appreciate your no b.s. approach, and sometimes, it's going to be a bit unclear, they don't want to tell you, so try to gauge with questions like, do you guys have a budget, how big is it, how big was your last project with somebody? And they'll give you indications, just try to get indications, you're investigating this budget, and quickly, you're gonna know if this is the right thing for you or not; maybe they're like, well, we have never spent money on this, and we kinda want to keep it casual; if the brand is like, oh, we want...
to give you exposure, we want to help you out, they'll be some paying opportunities down the road, don't buy that, be like, alright, at this time, I'm focusing on more involved partnerships, more paying projects, and let's talk when you're ready; it's fine, you know. You can ask them what they're appetite is for something that's big or small; even just the word appetite will get them to open a bit more, and you need to be investigating that; just be actively listening to what they're saying, so you can ask better questions, and if you see that it's going the direction you don't want, don't stick around; it's kind of like that, there's a scale that's invaluable as a creator, and that's the ability to gauge the client's budget, and that usually happens on the phone or by email; you want to be able to quickly get an idea of their appetite. Do they want to spend money? That's the first question; sometimes they don't want to, they're gonna talk about exposure, but if they want to spend, try to get an idea; ask them what the budget is, how big was the latest project they did? If they're just being evasive, keep asking, just try to get as much info as you can, 'cause this may be not the right fit for you, and the goal with this is that you're working on the right projects; if from the get-go, it sounds like there's no budget, or it's very teeny, well if you're more advanced, you move on; if you're starting out, you take it, but at least you know what's going on from the get-go, and you don't waste any time, either to you, or for the brand. How to price yourself; if you're just getting started, you may want to get an idea of the industry rate, the going rate, and to do that, you're gonna have to ask whoever you know who's in that industry, a friend, an uncle, anybody who's got a rough idea of how much do creators charge; you want to get a ball-park; if you're already more established, I'd like to share some quick rules of thumb I use for my daily stuff; so when I get a bid from a client for a job, I do one thing first, and I look at who the client is, how big they are, what's they're revenue, the marketing spent; I just do as much research as I can, so I can price it right. And it's a matter of perspective; what seems like a lot of money to you, may seem like not a lot to a billion dollar business, so try to look at it from both perspectives, and also, I keep in mind a lot, that I need to be ready to lose the job; there's only very few brands that I would want to do for lower than my going rate, and that's because I might want to add them to my portfolio as a client, but 99 percent of the time, I'm ready to walk away from any bid, and I don't want to be competing on price, and just having that mindset, where you're gonna be in a position of strength, like you don't need that job, it's easier said than done, 'cause you might be in a tough spot, so that may be different. But if you have enough cash saved up, you need to be standing your ground, and just standing for what you're worth, and just having that mindset of hey, I'm ready to lose this job, I'm gonna bid this fairly for me, and for them, will make a big difference, so when I'm discussing a project, I don't want the budget to be the first point of the conversation; I want to go through the fun stuff, the creative, the ideas, and then we talk about budget, but if it's the first item of conversation, odds are, I don't want to work with the brand, and that's because we don't share the same priorities; they're just budget conscious, and I don't want to compete on budgets; I'd rather compete on ideas. When the budget discussion starts, I don't want to be quoting on day rates; I'd rather quote a big, creative fee that includes production and all the deliverables, it's just like a big lump-sum, and the reason I want to do that, is because I don't want to be quoting for, let's say five days, and they want to save money, and they're like, well, we can only afford three days, can you do it in three days? And then, you end up having to compromise the quality of your work, 'cause they're trying to shorten the shoot; if I'm quoting a big lump sum for the whole project, there's really no way to cut down any corners; they don't know what things are worth, and they might want to have details sometimes, so be ready to give details, but whenever you can, just have a big lump sum, and don't try to be paid for your time, but be paid for your involvement; the bottom line is that I want to work with clients who are not focused on the budget, but they're more focused on making a difference, and just having good ideas come to life, so that's kinda like the overview of pricing a project. But let's say somebody wants to buy stock from you, or images, and that's called image licensing, so when someone approaches you to buy images for a campaign, whatever they want to do, first thing to ask is, what's the usage? One year, two years, where is it gonna be? On a website, on a billboard, everywhere? It is exclusive, non-exclusive, meaning that only that brand can use the image for the amount of time they want, and to price that, you might want to start looking at Getty Images or iStock, just to get a base rate, okay, and you can put everything there, like two year, print only, non-exclusive, now it's gonna give you a rate; $1300, okay, well then, if you want to decide if your work is better than what they can find on Getty, if you think it's better, then price it higher than Getty, but at least have kind of a base rate to start off. Let's run through some scenarios of image licensing, so number one is you've shot this campaign for this brand, they wanted 10 images, and they want to pay you x amount of money; let's say at the end of the shoot, they're like wow, they're so good, we want 20, so how do you price that? Well, I look at what they've already spent on making the whole project happen, and I usually give them a break; I'm not going to charge them standard licensing rates, because they already hired me to shoot the images, so they took some of the risk and cost with me, so I'll give them a break; scenario two is you shot some images a year ago from a trip, and this brand wants to license some of them for their website; well, that's a different pricing structure, and that's when we talk about Getty Images again, and it's having a good base rate, but since there's no history with them, they're not getting a break, unless they're buying 10, even five images, then you can start doing like a volume discount, but if they only want one or two, usually they're paying full rate; how do you increase your rates as you grow? For me, my goal was to never do a job for less than I did the one before, so it's always about growing, even if it's a little bit, you still want to be growing, and as you build your client list and your portfolio, you're gonna build more experience, then your rates will go high; it's normal, if you have more experience, it just makes sense, so just accepting that, and knowing that the more you know, the higher the fee will be is key. To sum it up, when pricing yourself, remember to know your client, how much do they spend? What other stuff they've done; try to find out everything you can about them, see the quote from their perspective; what seems like a lot of money to you might not seem like a lot to them, so don't get bugged down by the amount; look at the size of the brand, how much have they spent? Also, when I'm quoting, I want to be in that sweet spot, where I send the quote, I want them to push back a little bit on it, like whoa, this is what I want to spend, what can we do about it? Now I know that I'm at the sweet spot, and I'm not leaving any money on the table; if I send a quote and it gets accepted right away, I'm like, oh, I'm gonna be disappointed, but still happy, and really, the last thing I want to tell you, is that I want to be ready to lose that job; I don't want to be counting on it, I want to be in a position of strength, so just by keeping that strength mindset, knowing that there's an abundance of work, and that they'll come to you, or you'll get it, just gives you a better foot when it comes to negotiating. (playful instrumental)