Seth On Getting Paid For Your Work

September 14, 2012 - By 

A well written reminder from Seth that being competent isn’t all you need to succeed.

…access to tools is no longer sufficient. Everyone you compete with has access to a camera, a keyboard, a guitar. Just because you know how to use a piece of software or a device doesn’t mean that there isn’t an amateur who’s willing to do it for free, or an up and comer who’s willing to do it for less.

It’s true, if someone wants professional work, then he will need to hire professionals. But it’s also true that as amateurs are happy to do the work that professionals used to charge for, the best (and only) path to getting paid is to redefine the very nature of professional work.

Read his entire post, Here.

See Also, “MORE“.

Posted In:  Ideas
  • When this happens “being competent isn’t all you need to succeed” – it simply means that the market is over saturated. That’s it.

    Also let’s no forget that we are in the middle of an international economic severe depression.
    Let’s look above the the trendy designer hipster culture – let’s look to the real economic facts that directly affects corporation budgets, people buying power – ultimately the budget for videos and the frequency of the projects.

    Nowadays youth is 78% poorer with less chances than the youth from the 80s – thank for this to the neo-liberalism and to the overall job outsource to China. America become a country where a majority of young people are working at Starbucks, fast-food, design, advertising, malls, banking, etc… this is simply not sustainable – you can not have an entire economy based on service jobs – it will back fire – so it did.

    Read :

    • That’s cool and all, but I’m not American and I’m pretty sure this applies to Chinese as well.

      • The Chinese are getting exploited, only a few are getting rich out of this scheme… but once they will own all our factories, the western world will be a mall parking wasteland, because nobody will want to “buy” the plastic fake USD, or EUR – because these currencies have nothing to back them up… research, it happened before in the history, but never at that scale. To big to fail, is bullshit – it will fail, it’s failing as we speak.

    • Of course you can have entire economies based upon service jobs, as long as the necessities are being provided for, food, housing, and so on.

      Most of theese tasks has been automated or outsourced.

      And a society where say just 50% of us actually “have to” work sounds like a great place for creative work, it´s just that you have to realize that what you actually do is trade something “nice” (a 3D render for example) for something that you can´t live without, say food, and maybe you just have to do a little bit of both.

      To this date, the 3D render has made you lots more money then the farmer makes, which is weird.

      But I think you´re right, I think this question is the only one today, until this is solved, no one will find work, no matter how good you are at Cinema4D, or any other 3D application, we need to build a new base before anyone can start building anything on that base.

  • I’d like to mention that, working in commercial post-production, often what separates someone making serious money as an editor or finisher has directly to do with that person’s ability to play well with others. It’s not enough to be good at your tools, you have to be good at collaborating: agreeably and amicably doing work that’s asked of you and making your clients feel valuable and comfortable. People pay money not only for the quality of the product, but the quality of the service. My wife has a great magnet on the fridge at home. It reads “Love people, serve them tasty food.” When you treat your clients well, they’re more likely to come back, even if someone more affordable can do the same work. There are no guarantees, but you can definitely adopt certain qualities of practice that increase your chances of success.

    • people in this industry are known to bend over for producers and directors… nowadays more than ever… so I don’t see it as a super valuable key point or argument.

    • Very well said! That is such a good point! and why yes, as mentioned, people are known to bend over backward a lot in this industry for producers, there is much more to it than that. Simply doing the task isn’t enough, even if you do everything they ask. It’s how you do it. If you do it in a way that’s polite, and still direct and easy to talk to, this person will be much more likely to be hired again. What I mean by this is, if you can talk to your directors, and even talk about what they want to do, but in a kind and positive way, they will take even your work with them better, even better than someone who did all that they asked, but did it in a gruff way, with an attitude. What this is called, is emotional intelligence, and we are even today, learning more and more about this amazing skill set! It is said to be one of the most important skills you can learn for joining a team in any industry. Be it 3D, marketing, or even working at google or apple. Emotional intelligence is the heart and core of every good team! So that’s really so true! A company will hire the guy they know they can get along with, and they like to work with much more of the time, even if that guy may know a little less than the other guys. 🙂

  • We also have to realize that when we say “pay less”, that means “less paid”.

    It´s an economic contradiction, everyone want´s to pay less, but get paid more. That´s impossible, that´s the deathspiral.

    As Paul Krugman say, “Your spending is my income, my spending is your income”.

    More then anyone else companys need to realize this, that the less they spend, what they actually do is destroying their own customerbase.

    • Exactly to the point.

      Unfortunately the corporations are like massive ships on a collision course to a rock – and as you know there are no breaks on boats, the inertia is greater, the impact can’t be avoided, only delayed.

  • I really don’t like when people say things that are supposed to be profound yet contain no substance. The message I got from this article “if you want to get paid you have to show you’re worth getting paid for”…um duh? how about you tell us how to show that?

    Lead a tribe? Build a reputation? How do you get a tribe of people that want to pay you money if you can’t prove you’re worth getting paid?

    This is a catch 22. You need a reputation to get work. You need work to build a reputation.

    • Not true, I have been in 2 jobs where one I never used Avid Media Composer, was totally straight out with the guy, and got to work on it with Zilcho experience, it was a total learning curve but I got some great work under my belt, my first job was print and I had never used Quark (remember that), and I was just honest and ambitious enough to nail it.

  • See this by Mike Monteiro 🙂

  • I went to an art college in the late 80’s in the UK. At the time the UK had a huge reputation for ideas based design work. The course I went on taught ideas – well, how to come up with ideas anyway. It’s all we did – hammer out idea after idea.

    I recently went to a final year graphics show. (Haven’t been to one in years and years). Everything was pixel perfect but afterwards I couldn’t remember a single piece – other than a sense of extreme gloss… My lecturer would have been outraged – he have probably run around with a bin bag foaming and screaming – “Cosmetic! Cosmetic!” at everyone (he was bit odd) but do you know what – it’s what I felt like doing… What had these students spent their 3 years (and probably £50K) actually learning? That’s $30 a month!

    This gloss is becoming cookie cutter easy but what will always be hard are the clever and witty ideas. Figure out how to do them and you’ll always impress.

  • “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. ” -Red Adair

  • There is nothing like getting paid to do what you love, best feeling in the world. I was out of work for like 5 years and almost gave up a number of times, freelanced for some big companies in between but it was very spotty. I just landed one in July at Subway HQ as a eLearning Designer (first one in the new team) and was up against a ton of people, all those years of staying on top of the software paid off, I cant wait until Monday, and not many people can say that, I truly feel lucky as hell. I have GSG to thank for keeping me up on all the software and great tutorials through the rough times, so thanks.

    • Congratulations Tony,

      I have never experienced a layoff that long, and thus unable to truly comprehend what you went through.

      But you have my admiration and respect for surviving and maintaining a perseverance to keep up to date with software.

      Best of luck ahead.

    Most of you will appreciate this video, I know I have been there more then once, actually a lot more.

  • This is always an interesting topic of discussion. There are many great points made in these comments. As a buyer of creative services and a creative type myself, I have some interesting perspective on the matter.

    Agreed the market is over- saturated with designers that under sell their services and provide low quality work. There are too many clients who only care about lowest price and fastest turnaround. These factors do make it challenging to compete but not impossible. Too often we blame this lower rung of the industry as the primary cause for under employment and poor quality or under bidding of services. Welcome to the open market:)

    But as eluded to in some of these comments, YOUR services must be good enought to compete in such a market. If you are unable to educate a client about the process and demand competitive compensation, perhaps they are not a client you should keep. Their jobs may pay for that months cell phone bill but this work does little to advance your personal growth.

    During down economies, many friends and colleagues in the technical and artistic fields were only slightly effected. Through diversifying their skillets, having a strong work ethic and ability to provide VALUE, they were still in high demand. They weren’t always the lowest bidder.

    My point and to echo the points of others is that we can’t change the fact that their is always going to be someone that can do the job cheaper and sometimes better. As hard as it may be to believe, that’s not always enough for an agency, design firm or CG company. It’s about relationships and value. Value is not the same as price.

    The tools are cheaper, more accessible and more of us doing it. I don’t see it as threat- it’s just more opportunity to differentiate my skills from the masses. Seth’s got it right.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.