Making money VS growing network - advice please?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bertrand Batz, May 21, 2011.

  1. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    Hey guys, how are you?

    I'm on my 3rd year of propaganda college and have since long decided I wanna work with audio stuff, making car commercials' audio, jingles, and stuff...All my college professors have been very supportive, since I've been doing some jobs for free last year and it just worked well, some of those works have been shown in TV commercials, radio, etc. This kind of thing(being in a busy restaurant and sudenly see that commercial with the audio you've done, running on the TV) just showed me I'm on the right direction.

    And then came 2011...

    I just spent kinda 6000 dollars to set up a nice home studio, bought some nice condenser, some mics for drums, a nice mixer, etc...the gear doesn't matter for now. Here's what matters:

    The same people(college professors, etc) come again to me asking for free jobs, sometimes offering certificates or talking something like 'well it doesn't need instruments, you can create it with reason etc' even knowing I want to do some real work $$...One of the jobs I was asked is to operate and being the producer of kinda 6 maybe 8 jingles they want to produce as a classwork, for a contest...So it would take a lotta time in the studio...

    So there are maybe 3 different ways to think it through and give them an answer...

    a) I've done this for free before 'cause I needed to learn the practical stuff, but now I'm trying to work for real. This was my first tought, just telling my professors and whoever asked me for these kind of job that the stuff changed, now I do all my work in a time and this time has a price...

    b) Just let it happen NOW but tell them about my situation(HEY I just spent an awful lot of money setting equipment up and organizing stuff, this month I'm just desperate for $ervice, bills are pilling up my desk this very 1'st month) and make it clear that after this one job I'm only gonna accept jobs for real money not certificates etc

    c) Should I think about accepting these college jobs just to conserve a good network and relationship with my professors and collegemates? I mean, lotta people in my class work at Advertising agencies, corporations, media planners etc...A giant job like that, with the whole class divided in groups etc, could be a good opportunity to strenght some network with people I'm sometimes not very close to. So it could kinda open doors to real paid jobs, and bear me some more portfolio.

    What I'm in doubt with is: Should I really put a limit on this? Or is it best to work it out the safest way as possible(trying to get advantage of this)?

    Well, sry for my english if it's macarronic sometimes
  2. Tom Fodor

    Tom Fodor Active Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Queensland Australia
    Meet them half way.

    Man I know what you are going through, and all I can suggest is to be upfront and tell them that they can have a student or educational discount for your services but nothing more. Make it reasonable and they will still keep you in the loop. If they don't, you were never going to get anywhere doing it for free anyway, and the time you would have spent on free projects could be used for promotions and networking elsewhere.

    Good Luck.
  3. duanecharles

    duanecharles Active Member

    Aug 3, 2011
    Home Page:
    Not everyone has a network like that to begin with. When I started out... in another business all together
    ; having a network like that opened a bunch of doors through word of mouth advertisement.

    Ok. Maybe you have to get freebies away for now, but if the kind of (positive) people you are dealing with can open other doors later, in most case it will be worth it. Just don't become a doormat and allow people to take advantage of you...because they will.
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    I'm dealing with your exact problem Bertrand, but magnified.
    Making the leap from making some money to running a business - balancing rent, utilities, and expenses against what I'm bringing in - AND the time I spend bringing in that dollar amount.

    Tom is right on - especially on the halfway thing. There's a lot of value in those "old" relationships - both from recurring business and referrals.
    And in this day and age, burning bridges is that much more detrimental - word of mouth is as powerful as ever w/ modern technology.

    Ultimately we both have to decide what we'll take...
    But I know w/o the freebies, trades, and relationship building I've done... I wouldn't have this problem.

    Like me, it sounds as though you need to start changing your focus from networking to profitability.
    It's a difficult line to draw, I know.

    Sounds like we both need help.....

  5. Bertrand Batz

    Bertrand Batz Active Member

    May 20, 2010
    Hey guys, thanks for your input. I tought a lot on the subject and there are some things I am trying to achieve by now, so people can see it's serious business and not just a guy with a studio...

    I'm just getting to have a CNPJ(I don't know how you call it in USA, in Brazil it's an ID number wich the government recognizes you as being a formal business, with taxes, and that document note used to describe services made/etc). Offering this formal service note makes it more aknowledgeable as a real service.

    The thing about discount rates is rite too. My father told me basically the same thing. You can't just give everything away for free. If you do a great job and charge not full price for people from the university etc, they can still come back for your exclusive service and promote you by word of mouth. If you do it totally for free, they will come back seeking for free service all times.

    Also, for networking purposes, I just found the perfect situation to make a solid network with Ads Agencies in my region. It's the Publicity Professionals' Association 'round here, wich makes some barbecues with some light booze with guys from ads agncs and students and suppliers. It's a really nice oportunity because you are not dealing with people who can one day become big and pursue your services, but with people who are already in the business and seeking for suppliers. Not broken students searching for maximum friendly advantages. You know what I mean.

    If you guys are trying to break into publicity etc, such meetings are more than perfect for serious bigboy jobs.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Any kind of good business requires some proper communications. In certain circumstances, you may want to donate your services to help support a cause, or to open up other possibilities. But in the creation of commercials & jingles, you are talking about an actual commercial venture. And that requires proper professional business negotiations. This can go beyond a standard studio charge by the hour scenario. In a commercial production situation, you may want to negotiate a specified contract, over a duration of time, with special pricing based upon the contract negotiation. This makes them feel special making yourself a regular producer for them and creating a regular client for you. They already know you're talented.

    Portuguese sounds weirder than trying to understand a drunk Greek.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. TuBlairy

    TuBlairy Active Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    Home Page:
    Should be either/or

    You need something back. Cash, Referrals with cash to spend (not simply 'contacts'), services in kind under contract - get ppl to hand out flyers for you, clean the studio, organize promotional events etc. I often find that its not that people can't afford services, its simply that they do not want to pay. When the services in-kind is offered, they usually slink away.

    I once had the local university language department call me up and ask if I'd play (classical guitar) in class. At the time, performing was my profession. I said $150 which was my minimum at the time for simple gigs. They wanted me to volunteer. After 10 days of intense back and forth, I caved at $75 or $100, then a few days later they phoned back and said they'd found a local juggler who'd work for free. I guess the moral of the story is, if people value your work, they'll deal somehow. If they don't, they're just jerkin' you around.

    A final thought, try going to a local college and tell them you'd like to enroll, but you're flat broke. Can't pay a thing, but you'll give them lots of contacts. Take your earplugs along, the laughter will be deafening.
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I think we have all gone through this. You want to get contacts and referrals and figure that by doing some "freebie" work you can get them. The problem is that now the same people who have gotten all the freebie work don't want to pay you for any additional work. You have gotten some VERY good ideas from others on this board on this topic.

    When I quit my job at the local college I still got a lot of people who I knew asking me for favors. When I worked for the college I helped a lot of people in my "free" time and did not charge them but now I had to make a living off my skills and I could no longer afford to do that. I basically told them that I would try and keep the costs to a minimum but could no longer afford to do things for them for free. Many of them understood, some did not. The ones that understood still needed my skills they were willing to pay me for them. The ones that wanted me to still do work for free were disappointed that I would not and some friendships were lost but I guess they were not as good a friend as I thought. Best of luck and let us know how things are going...
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