Tuesday’s Titillating Business Tips
with The Luvely Rae
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve offered a business tip. Today’s tip is pretty simple and ties into why I’ve been so busy or in some cases not busy enough. Get ready. Here it is…
Titillating Business Tip #10: Know your worth.
Whether you are just finishing college and combing the job listings on Linked In, an employed business person working for a corporation, or a burlesque performer making waves in your local scene, it’s important to know your value. Let’s look at the 3 different values in the course of any career.
- Starting out- Talent like yours is a dime a dozen
- Experienced- You know the how to do the job and you do it well.
- Unique Skills set- Mastery, Originality
Starting out- Talent like yours is a dime a dozen
If you are an actor, dancer, or recent college grad then you are fully aware that upon entering the market you are a small fish in a big pond. If you do not have the experience, then going into a job interview and demanding 65k plus benefits may leave you with few job offers. Not to say you have to take whatever you can get, but know that you can only get what people see you as being truly worth.
Performers extra tip: If you are a performer, it’s quite common for new talent to work for free as a way of getting experience and “paying your dues”. Experience is one thing, but at some point you have to stop working for free even if it means working less. Remember you are still providing something to the production. If the production is for profit, then you definitely should be making something. If the production is a charity event or produced by a nonprofit then there is still the chance that you can at least get transportation money. Traps to look out for:
- (Actors) Pay to Play Theater – Does the producer have a good reputation? If you are paying to perform does the audience pay to see the show? Is the play a well-known script or a new work by an unknown playwright (vanity project alert!)?
- (Burlesque Dancers) Sacrificial Lamb- Does the audience pay to see the show? Did you bring an audience? If you are not getting a minimum or a guarantee, do you get a portion of the tips? Does the show hire the same 10 performers all the time (will your sacrifice actually lead to future work with this producer)?
- (Dancers, Pole Dancers) Charity Event- Does the charity/ nonprofit have a cause? Is the cause something you believe in? Is the event ticketed? Does the charity have sponsors? Does the charity have a budget (example: has the space been donated, were the logo gift bags donated)? I have a friend who has donated her talent to a charity event and every time I ask what the charity raises money for. The “charity” is a nonprofit and the money raised supports their future performances. It does not lead to paid work for anyone performing at the charity. I’d rather just donate $20 online to support their performance budget instead of hours of rehearsal time plus the actual performance time.
Stop “paying your dues” and start “paying attention”.
Experienced- You know the how to do the job and you do it well.
So now that you’ve gained experience and allocates that comes with a job well done, it’s time to reevaluate your value. If you are putting more into providing a quality product/ service than your peers charging the same rate, then it’s time to increase your monetary value. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you are worth more and why you are worth more. Ask for that raise! Explain to your boss that you’ve increased in value and you would like them to reconsider your wage. Are you a freelancer? Let your clients know that you are raising your rates and let them know why. Not because you deserve more, but because they are getting more. They are getting the best.
Performer extra tip: The nice thing about being in a union is that the union sets a minimum payment amount for you. You don’t have to be in a union to do this. Just write it down for yourself and do not take work for less than your minimum for the first few months. Have a rate that does not equal your minimum. See if people are willing to pay your new rate, if not then are they willing to pay your minimum? Still “no”? Then your perceived value and the amount you are charging do not match.
Unique Skills set- Mastery, Originality
This pond is a lot smaller and you want to be the big fish. This is the person who goes and gets a black belt in Six Sigma, the person who goes back to school for a PHD or a Masters, the person designer who goes and trains with one of the best in the biz for the skill and the marketing benefits of saying who they trained with. I’ve known burlesque dancers to train themselves in contortion and glass walking just to add an extra skill and increase their workload. With the popularity of Pippin, actors are scrambling to Circus Arts schools in hopes of acquiring the skills that will land them their next big role. If you are in this camp then you need to make sure that every move you make reiterates your value. You will find yourself saying “No” a lot, but don’t let that discourage you. After all it’s good to be wanted.
A quick note on “Perceived Value”: When someone tells me they do not want to spend a certain amount of money, I remind them of what they are paying for. I also tell them that they can find cheaper (after all I started out as a little fish too), but it will not match in quality. Hey, let’s face it, many of us have purchased the “generic brand” to save money and that’s fine. Sometimes, there really isn’t money in the budget to pay for more and in some cases I am happy to offer a referral.