Fear is one sneaky little critter, and it can be a pretty crafty foe when it comes to stopping us from doing all kinds of things…
Like asking for what we want.
I’m not talking about asking for what we want by slamming down our fists with a ridiculous demand. I’m referring to polite and non-threatening requests that can help us get ahead in our careers – and the world in general.
What Can Happen When We Ask
Let me give a couple of examples from my own recent experience, both of which came up during projects I was completing for voice-over business clients. In both instances, some changes occurred during the project, and I felt the fee amount that we had originally agreed upon needed to be raised a bit to adequately compensate for the additional work and usage involved.
It would have been SO easy to ignore that feeling in my gut and just finish the project, thereby avoiding the risk of rocking anyone’s boat. But, experience has taught me that when I feel the urge to make a request, it is best that I speak up. So, I emailed a very polite message to each client explaining why I felt the pay should be more than what we had originally estimated.
In both cases, the request resulted in a pay increase. It also prompted a phone conversation where we discussed improving our pricing policy. On the other, the client more than doubled what they originally offered!
Why Asking for What You Want Matters in the Voice-Over Business
Asking for what we want can be especially important in being fairly compensated for your time and talent in the voice-over business. The market can often seem diluted with so many vying for the same jobs; we might think low pricing is the way to win. But, in many cases, voice-over clients are willing to pay for better quality and more value.
And in ALL cases, we’ll never know… unless we ask. Not every request for a pay increase necessarily results in one. I’ve had instances where a loyal client had a very tight budget on a particular job, and I agreed to a lesser rate than usual. We were still able to discuss the issue in a positive light and lay the groundwork for future opportunities.
Asking for what we want is magical that way. And it sure beats what can happen when we’re too afraid to speak up.
What Can Happen When We Don’t Ask
When we’re too fearful of making a request, bad things can happen. For starters, we’re not likely to get what we want because people won’t have a clue as to what that is. We can then start to feel resentful, which can make us unhappy in our work as well as our lives.
Feeling resentful toward the people helping to pay our bills is self-sabotaging and absolutely deadly in the voice-over business. Fear can still stop us from making our requests. We may be afraid of being rejected. We may be afraid of making someone upset. We may envision a confrontation or think that the request will change our relationship with the person somehow. It’s human nature to want to be liked and to make people happy, and we may fear that making a request will result in a negative outcome.
While fear may be playing all those games in our heads, we need to remember that the basic reality of the situation is much simpler. In a business situation, what is the worst thing that will likely happen if we politely ask for what we want?
The person might say, “No.” And “no” is not the end of the world. “No” is not a rejection of me as a human being; it’s just a rejection of my request. And an opportunity to perhaps make an alternative request that will elicit a different response. Even a rejected request is still preferable to being unhappy, resentful, or not getting what we want simply because we’re too afraid to ask for it.
So, how about you… Was there ever a time when you felt fearful about asking for what you wanted, but you did it anyway and got a great outcome? Please comment and share your story!