valetoile wrote:I think I undervalue my services. [...] I would probably do it for free [...] I probably shouldn't have just said all that here in public, but there it is.
This is 100% cool. Again it's a free market and this is art, right? It's oral tradition or some beautiful notion like that from human history. We are indeed spreading a language.
So in my roundabout tangential way of providing allegory, I'll take a crack at highlighting when this mindset would
work against a field of study or industry.
Look at my study of videography. Look at the market value of these services before/after the digital boom. Before digital cameras flooded the marketplace, there used to be a few guys in every market who charged thousands of dollars for the laziest job of wedding videographjy ever. A camera slabbed down here, a camera slabbed down there. Three uninspired wide angles of the Bride's back. Some George Lucas style editing transitions that were automated. This guy could make thousands & thousands and be considered a craftsman. For not even trying, just investing in equipment.
But when the field was opened up, hundreds of people had cameras and it suddenly had the potential of becoming an artform. My friends and I were trying to differentiate & create stylized, heart-warming videos. I personally preferred doc-style videos where I captured as many human moments as possible. Twenty hours of editing, treating your wedding like it was Coppola's opening scene for "The Godfather." Doing something unique & spending quality time on the project so the client could *feel* the heart shine through. Performing better interviews than the local news channel-- capturing friends and grand parents exclaiming their love for the bride and groom.
We all clamored for gigs that paid half what they used to. Or in most cases one fifth of the price
. But that was still too high for what the market wanted. Because there was always someone willing to undercut the entire field.
So the market demanded FREE.
"Hey our cousin has an iphone. Let's get him to film it."
Now this has more to do with technology but basically all those abstract skills like frame composition, seemlessly interacting with guests, getting them to form a dance circle around the camera, the ability to get people out of their shell on camera-- went out the window.
The market saw a crack and exploited it.
Only a small fraction of the market cares about skill sets. About value. Instead people want free. Because every guy who owns a camera is suddenly considered a craftsman. Naturally this is an illusion but it doesn't matter. Pandora's Box has been opened.
Every week you'll see posts on craigslist where someone OFFERS film students the experience of filming their wedding for free. The experience? The experience in preparation for what? The mythical client who one day will pay for goods & services?
(disclaimer: there's still a bit of a market out there of people who appreciate quality but you REALLY have to brand yourself and work your butt off to find them. In some cases, charging ridiculous amounts like $10,000 is the only way to find these people. Because they appreciate that confidence you have in your abilities. But who does that?)
I could see this trend happening to web design or graphic design, fields like that. I'm not positive about acting coaching and things of that nature. But you could see how it could happen where the market shrinks & shrinks. In most cases it seems to be a form of psyche-out where all the artisans collectively trick themselves into devaluing their abilities.
(don't get me started on public education & teachers)
This is exactly why we are all in the business of selling. Selling is a form of educating. Carving new value where there used to be none.