Its now been just under 10 weeks since I gave up the security of a regular paycheck and full-time work, to hang out my shingle as a freelance travel writer / voiceover artist / whatever.
And I’m still having a blast – but I have to say, things are slowwwww …
Oh, I’m keeping the wolf from the door with regular work as a part-time academic and fill-in newsreader – but so far, there have been very few nibbles for my writing and voice-over skills.
So far, for example, I’ve done a handful of phone-on-hold recordings, a corporate video, and am currently narrating a horror story for a new American author – but its a slow start.
I’m also about to head off as a lecturer on a South Pacific cruise – but that doesn’t actually pay any money (although I do get a near-free cruise for Shirl and I)
What I wonder, though, is whether I am working ‘too cheap? And on a related question, should I ‘bite the bullet’ and spend some cash building a studio, for example?
The voice-work I am getting is through a website called Fiverr (my link id is https://uk.fiverr.com/grahamcairns if you want to check it out)
Now, Fiverr is an interesting experiment .. essentially, its users provide services – based on $US5 per ‘gig’.
But that doesn’t mean you can only charge $US5 … for example, my $US5 ‘gig’ is for 100 words of voice-over … about 30 seconds. And for that you get a straight read, only one ‘correction’, etc. Want to make further changes? Add an extra $5. Want royalty-free music? Add $15. Want Power-point slides? Add $10. Want me to edit your copy? $5 per 100 words. You get the point.
But even with the add-ons, it’s still not a great deal of money.
For example, the narration I’m doing will only nett me around $US80 – and that’s for a 45 minute short story, of 6500 words. It’s a project that will take at least two hours to voice – so the rate suddenly drops to around $US40/hr.
My hope is that, as I build a portfolio of work, I’ll be able to ask for more money – and pick up more work doing corporate videos, etc.
But here comes the chicken-and-egg question.
To do work as cheap as I am, I have to minimise my costs. So instead of going for a Rode, I went with a Yeti Pro microphone.
And instead of building a sound-proof booth, I instead have a baffle-box for the microphone (made out of a collapsible shirt box from Howard Storage, and some acoustic foam I bought on Ebay.)
Now these are good enough for basic work, such as I am doing – but do I need to step up to the next level? Or should I wait until I start getting better-paying gigs before I make that investment?
The other question, of course, is whether by working ‘cheap’, I’m locking myself out of the more lucrative market?
Will they look at what I have done, and what I’m willing to do it for, and say “that’s all he’s worth?”
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But if you have any input, I’d really appreciate hearing your views!
One thought on “What-I-Wonder-Wednesday – Am I doing the right thing??”
I quit a secure full time teaching job to go freelance and I have the same worries – I have work lined up and enough in savings to cover everything for a while, but it’s still a scary experience! I keep reminding myself that, while things will be tough for a while, at least I have part of my life back – it will all be worth it in the end. Best of luck to you!