While the gig economy is nothing new, it is going through a rather new transition. It’s being flooded by an influx of workers. Millions of fresh workers have entered the world of flex and freelance work between 2003 and 2013 alone. From video production to copywriting services, fitness training to photography, fields across every industry are feeling the effects. The voice-over realm is one of them.
This increase of workers leads to an increase in competition. And one of the strategies some workers use to beat out the competition is to offer impossibly low prices. While this may initially appear to clients as a great move for business, it’s actually not. Not for the client’s business or the voice-over actor’s business.
Why Impossibly Low Prices are Never Good for Business
Since the lowest prices are typically offered by new workers with the least amount of experience and industry knowledge, the low cost of the work is likely to be reflected on the quality. On the voice-over talent’s end of things, offering impossibly low prices not only makes it tough to make a living, but it can also reflect negatively on their professional reputation. Only those who are not confident about what their work is actually worth would even dare to set a price that’s ridiculously below the skill, talent and scope of a specific project.
What Eventually Happens
Prices can’t continue their downward spiral forever. There’s got to be a breaking point. That breaking point tends to come when the workers start to thin themselves out, in a process that’s reminiscent of natural selection – where only the fittest survive. Those that are not-so-fit for the industry may bow out for any number of reasons, some of which are outlined on voice-over actor Paul Strikwerda’s Nethervoice blog:
- Not booking enough jobs, or any jobs
- Goal of instant stardom
- Can’t afford to invest in quality equipment or coaching
- Hard time getting motivated
- Fed up with same old tasks, over and over
- Not sure how to market self
- Crushed by repeated rejections
- Stressed out by freelance uncertainty
- Working too much for too little
- Don’t know how to stand out from the crowd
“If even pros with years of experience and an impressive portfolio have trouble booking jobs these days,” Strikwerda writes, “you need to bring something very special to the table if you wish to compete at the highest level.”
The Fittest Who Survive
Voice-over actors who can indeed compete at the highest level, who bring something special to the table, and who have paid their dues over the years are those who are likely to survive. Members of the fittest group typically:
1. Are backed by years of experience and training
2. Have full-time availability and are easily accessible when needed
3. Record on sophisticated equipment in a professional studio
4. Focus on high-quality results
5. Have found their niche
6. Are constantly learning new things, developing new skills
7. Know their worth, and charge prices that reflect that
8. Are strong, determined and persistent enough to stick with their voice-over career/dream no matter what
No matter what’s going on with the gig economy in general or the voice-over industry in particular, the thought of quitting is not likely to cross their minds.
While the sharp plunge in price and quality may be bad news in the overall gig economy, the good news is the fittest exist in every industry. Clients can find them and hire them at any time. Evidence in the voice-over industry includes a strong portfolio, sophisticated recording equipment, versatility, skill, extensive experience, high-quality work and a long history of happy clients.
Ready for your next high-quality voice-over project? Contact me for a quote or complimentary audition today.
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