I’ve been a full time editor/proofer/virtual assistant for 4 years now, and in that time, I’ve changed my rate three times. Once from $15 to $25 an hour, from $25 to $35 an hour, and last a split up rate for audiobook editing and proofing work.
During that time I’ve gotten a lot of advice and opinions from people about what I should charge. Many have said to raise my rate, and others have said to lower it. People have shared stories about how when they raised their rate, they got more work, and different folks have said how I should lower my rate to stay more competitive.
What I do is not unique, there’s a lot of folks who help out in post production, and their rates are also all over the map, so there’s not much help there either. The most common thing that people have told me is to charge based on what I think I’m worth.
(So I should ask to be paid in gold, diamonds, and champagne? Just kidding. ;-))
But what has come home to me is that I’ve had to face certain realities. The echelon of talent that I work with and that has a need for my services requires flexibility. Everyone who does voice over makes different amounts of money, and if I rigidly hold to a particular dollar amount, I’m going to lose out on a lot of opportunities to make connections and positive impressions and to get work.
I’m not advocating bottom feeding, nor am I commenting on the rates of voice talent, I’m just trying to point out the realities that I deal with-people who do voice over make a whole lot of different levels of income. That’s not going to change in the foreseeable future.
When you say something ‘should’ be a certain way, keep in mind that everyone views life through their own set of perspectives. There are rights and wrongs that are immutable, but not everything is black and white. Yes my business is a business, yes I charge what I believe is a fair rate, but I also have to move within the community and realities that I find myself in, and I choose to be inclusive, rather than exclusive.