Interestingly enough, we have somewhat of a dependency on jobs in our culture. The majority of workers work at wage jobs. What I’ve found with wage jobs? The bigger the company, the tendency is the more they want to work the lowest paid workers at that company.
So low pay, lots of work.
With salaried jobs, you can consider this to be the middle tier, even though billionaires technically have salaried jobs, they’re moreso self-employed with a regular paycheck. In this tier, you’re generally hired as a specialist with nearly always at least a college Bachelor’s as a requirement. You’re hired for a specialized skill that no one else there can do. The result? Because these workers are not paid by the hour (or day, week, or month), the management can work them as much as they see fit, dancing the possibility of losing the job, and thus the lifestyle over them. Extended hours into the night, as well as even some weekend work, and work from home have been common in addition to the 40-hour work week. At certain companies, employees are chastised if they don’t work at least EIGHTY hour weeks, with some employees racking up 120 or more.
So decent pay, LOTS of work.
Now self-employment. To really break free from the feeling of working for someone else, telling yourself it’s all ‘for the good of the company,’ and allowing them to control your cash flow and thus determine your lifestyle, you assume charge of yourself. You set your prices.
Some think that this is a LOT more work. After all, you’re keeping track of receipts, mileage, tax forms, licenses, insurance, repairs, equipment upkeep, purchases–you are essentially the hub and the only hub (assuming you’re working by yourself) of the business. The US government sees you as the ‘Owner,’ the ‘President,’ the ‘CEO,’ and also the ‘Chairman of the Board’ depending on what form you’re filling out. Additionally, you’re advertising yourself to potential clients and working out payment arrangements that way. If you don’t get paid, it’s a pain to go chasing them down. And sometimes you can get screwed this way, too (a reason a lot of credit card to smartphone apps have come along so the option to pay upfront is there).
The reality is, you can go two routes with this:
1. Low or decent pay (depending on how firmly you believe in your product or service), and not much work.
2. High pay, and not much work.
That’s right. The clients are paying for use of your equipment, use of your skills, and as a business owner, you have the right to determine the value of your own product. If you decide to charge $100 per hour for video editing services, knowing the guy down the street charges $40, and the professional studio across town charges $150, then you may lose some clients, but the ones who recognize the value in your skill set are the ones that will happily pay your otherwise insane rate for peace of mind. Looking at a demo reel of an editor who charges $100 or $150 per hour is quite different from looking at one who charges only $25.
As far as how to do this, it’s tricky because each client is different and may want to negotiate, and each project has its own unique set of challenges, some that you may have no idea how to do (I’ve had to outsource certain aspects of projects to other network connections, but this generally does not result in a negative view of my company). I think it just starts with a belief. If you believe that you are the shit, no one else can touch you (and although that may sound arrogant it’s basically what The Secret is relaying), and develop the ability to stave off the worry that others may start to think you suck because you make a mistake or don’t have a certain skill set they need, the ability to override that and maintain a positive attitude about yourself, then virtually any price is workable.
A videographer can make six figures in a niche market, such as weddings. Two or three weddings a week, with several packages to offer (say the $1200 package, the $1600 one, and the $2000 one) can result in a pretty good payday for you. I once charged a client $1600 upfront to shoot his video, $4000 on the backend to edit it, and $360 later on to do some minor modifications in the server in which it was uploaded. He paid it, and never complained.
And something like that, makes your work even better. It makes it easier, it never feels like you’re working, and it beats the hell out of any wage or salaried job. Get addicted to that, rather than a cycle of sameness that’s incredibly hard to get out of. Best advice I can give.