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What do guys like me get paid?

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Stephen Maples
What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 2:54:52 am

Forgive me being new here. I've gone over some of the recent threads here and don't feel they quite match up with my situation. I'm about to be offered a salary position with a major corporation I've been doing temp work for. They're paying me peanuts right now, but I was glad to accept it at the time last year with freelance work dropping so much. Right now I get paid hourly at $13.70. I'm located in east tennessee, so wages aren't what they would be in New York or LA.

I have a two-year technical degree in video production, over 4 years freelancing (mostly below-the-line), and over a year running the show at my current position. I do all the research, writing, production management, shooting/directing, lighting, editing, graphical work and anything else that's needed of me and am very competent in all but the writing and graphics/effects. I have enough experience to trouble-shoot any problem on mac or PC, and have the talent to put all these cogs together.

Currently I do only a portion of the company's videos. They still hire outside vendors foe some of the larger projects that require several true talents but want to start using me more and more. The company has a co
petitive salaries ethics policy to pay their employees what they normally get at other companies. Trouble is, I don't know what others in my position with my talent and experience get.


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Franklin McMahon
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 2:01:43 pm

You need to adjust your income requirements to incorporate your added experience. A lot of creative people never factor in the experience that grows over the years. You are a more valuable person than you were last week, last month, last year.

Also sit down with a pad and decide how much you need to make to achieve the lifestyle you want. This result may mean moving to a new position, new company or shifting your career focus. But the key is to decide what you want to make and then work to make that income level happen. Many do it the other way, they decide well, that is all the market around here has to offer me. They have very long and rocky roads through their careers.

Also really start to sell your experience to others, write it up or do a demo, beef up your site, convey to everyone your many many hours, months, years of experience. A lot of it is wording. Once you start to change descriptions from "doing freelance for years" to "over half a decade of professional experience" people will take notice. The more you take your experience seriously, the more others will. Leading to higher steps in your career.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 4:37:04 pm

[Franklin McMahon] "You need to adjust your income requirements to incorporate your added experience. A lot of creative people never factor in the experience that grows over the years. You are a more valuable person than you were last week, last month, last year."

You also need to adjust that formula to balance it with the market conditions, the near-bread-line standing of many markets in today's business climate, and factor in that while your value may be increasing, your employer's chances of gaining profitable business is getting rougher and rougher.

If you really want to make $60,000 a year, then be prepared to take the pad that Franklin mentions below and sketch out what you are going to bring to the table that is going to put many times that into your company's coffers. After all, they can't pay you out of thin air and in today's world, the reality is that you will either "intrapreneur" with your company or you likely won't have enough value to stay there. Treat it as it's your business and understanbd that while you may bring many times your $60,000 to the table, by the time that the costs of equipment, offices, wages, benefits, taxes, etc., etc., are paid, the company is going to have very little of that "huge sum that my work brings to the company" left over.


[Franklin McMahon] "Also sit down with a pad and decide how much you need to make to achieve the lifestyle you want. This result may mean moving to a new position, new company or shifting your career focus. But the key is to decide what you want to make and then work to make that income level happen. Many do it the other way, they decide well, that is all the market around here has to offer me. They have very long and rocky roads through their careers."

Those that also think that today's marketplace is one in which they are going to have a job for years, are also likely to find life a rocky road. The reality of The New Normal is that people are going to have to be far more stressed and competitive than they have ever had to be in the past. Those that look back to the days of union jobs and the security of lifetime positions and pension plans, are going to find the world a really rough place.

I am COMPLETELY willing to pay my people $60,000 and up -- many that work for us already make more than that -- BUT that money has to come from somewhere.

So, in an information age, there is power in ideas and in intellectual property. Become a part of your company's Idea Manufacturing Dept. and do not be afraid, when you are away from work, to think through the kinds of ideas that can bring value to your company and make them known to management.

Today's business world is hyper-competitive and you will either have to bear all of that on your own or you can become a part of a team that works together to place all of the various puzzle-pieces-of-competence that each team member has, to build something together that sustains all of the members of that team.

The old anti-business rhetoric of those who think that every business is out to screw people is the tired rhetoric of losers who will always be the Odd Man Out and will never really succeed in today's world -- the world of hyper-connected markets that extend around the globe and place people in less developed countries who are very hungry and will work for little (because they have families they love and want to care for too), in competition with people in more developed countries who are going to find this new degree of competition very disconcerting.

It won't be going away.

It will be getting more and more competitive.

You can talk all day about what is fair and what is not but it will not change much. What will change things is when you decide that you have to "become an active participant in your own rescue." Find the ideas that will bring new business to your employer and then ask for a cut of it -- if that $60,000 you want to make is your real goal. Most businesspeople will play the game of "If I bring you a half-million can I have 60,000?" all day long. But if you think that you are going to play "Here's 120,000 and I want 60,000," then you are hallucinating as the margins are just not there in today's economy. Worse yet, are those that think that is not their concern and "the company should just feed me work and pay me, thank you. I don't think about it."

The world is changing and the future belongs to those who know how to market. In a world full of products that come from almost anyone living almost anywhere, it is not the person working on the line who is the real value-add. It is the person who knows how to get the market to buy what they are selling. Learn the power of ideas if you really want to be both a communicator and an earner.

But don't come to me looking for a job. I don't hire. But I am always adding people who can communicate and bring value to the table and can take away less than they bring to that table.

I don't have all the ideas, neither does anyone else. Your boss won't and neither will you. But if you have good ideas, toss 'em on the table and ask for everyone else's. Shape them. Mold them. Make something of value together. But don't think that you can just show up for work anymore and do the least that is expected and get a paycheck and go home and not give another thought to the company. That world died with the internet and the future is no place for people who do not see themselves as part of the company they work for.

Bottomline? As I tell my team here, we either all succeed together or we will all fail together. Only an ego-maniac thinks that they are so singularly important that they alone carry all the weight, burden and reason for the success of a company or an idea. Yes, some people will affect that bottomline more than others, but do not under-sell your own value -- especially if you really do want to make that $60,000 that you see as your goal. (Especially when there is someone just across the wire from you, who is willing to do it for a hell of a lot less.)

Welcome to the future that nobody wanted.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry






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grinner hester
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 2:43:21 pm

13.70/hr



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Michael Cummins
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 3:00:46 pm

(wrong thread)


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Scott Cumbo
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 8, 2009 at 6:14:07 pm

your only worth what you can get. Someone might give you $65/hour for your skill, someone else $13/hour. It's up to you on what your willing to sell yourself for.

Another thing to keep in mind is, When companies want to hire a freelancer as staff it's because they want to save money, not spend more. With a staff position, they usually offer health benifits, vacation, sick days, and a steady paycheck in exchange for a lower hourly rate. where a freelance rate may be higher but the hours may be not be steady and no benifits at all.

Good Luck

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: What do guys like me get paid?
on Aug 10, 2009 at 9:52:27 pm

Stephen,
If I could get you as a freelancer for $X, I would hire you full time at $.5 times X (...if I could afford it).

To be employed full-time you have to be worth the amount you charge, plus the added amount of overhead for the full-time position - including any insurance, the office space and air conditioning you use, and the time that I'm paying you to fill out your timesheet or take a bathroom break. (When you are freelance those times are a "hidden cost" to your client.)

Currently, they don't have to pay for your down time - and as the saying goes... "Why buy the cow..." etc., etc.

As Ron said, you can only demand more if you can prove that you are "earning your keep". Typically, that's at least double what it cost to employ you as a freelancer.

If you don't have a well balanced portfolio of current clients, it might be to your advantage to take the full-time job offer. I would say that even in East Tennessee, you are working for below market rate right now. The rate you posted is well below what my freelance rate was over a decade ago in West Tennessee. Not to say I didn't work cheap when I started out... that was a point in my life when I just needed my foot in the door to learn about the industry, so I did work as kind of an "internship" for a company for a while - but I couldn't continue and survive at even the cheap rate I charged for very long. Even though I loved the type of work and the people I worked with at that company, I certainly couldn't raise a family on that salary.

Often, the best way to get a *decent* raise is to work for someone else.

If you don't want to work somewhere else, and feel that you are getting fair compensation for your current work, try to get as close to that hourly rate as possible, but I see no benefit for them to pay you more than that for the full time job - unless they sense that you are about to be snatched up for a better gig and they are desperate to keep you.





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