How to Figure Out Podcast Rates and Other Things That Make Freelancers Uncomfortable
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How to Figure Out Podcast Rates and Other Things That Make Freelancers Uncomfortable

#GrowthGoals: One content creator’s forage into the podcasting space. A blog series exploring the well-intentioned attempt of a content creative to learn about a new trade.

‘This is Uncomfortable’ is the name of a podcast hosted by Reema Khrais on NPR’s Marketplace. Their tagline is “A show about life and how money messes with it.”

But “this is uncomfortable” also adequately labels the feelings some freelancers feel when they talk about getting paid. It shouldn’t be so difficult to get paid, especially when the work is done by professionals. We all know that. Yet not all of us are versed in the workings of negotiations, co-creating a statement of work and asking the question: What is my work worth?

As I balled up in my own bubble of wanting to break out into the expanding ecosystem of podcasting (which I have affectionately named Podcastlandia) I realized I was missing a few essentials:

  • I had no idea which skills I could charge for and what rates to ask for.
  • I had no idea what other women were making in the podcast space.
  • I get really nervous when I deal with a client and try to set rates on the fly.
  • The internal dialogue in my head when determining rates with a prospective client is: I want to be paid for the good work I’ll promise to do, yet I don’t want to scare this client off by asking too much from the onset.
  • Is it just me, or do most women have trouble getting paid what they are worth?

Expert advice on what rates to charge in the podcast space.

Expert advice on what rates to charge in the podcast space:

Presenters at Werk It 2019, a festival celebrating women and non-binary creatives in podcasting, provided loads of tips and resources to help me through these uncomfortable topics.

Here were some of their good pieces of advice:

From Keisha “TK” Dutes, Producer, Glitch and EP Consultant, ‘Hear to Slay’ and Gabrielle Horton, Producer, ‘Hear to Slay’ and Founder and Chief Storyteller, The Woodshaw:

  • Utilize the group text (your ladies’ support group has your back. It should be a safe space for you to ask earnest questions, like what others charge for similar projects you are considering and whether the work on a project is worth the pay being offered.
  • Ask your peers about your salary range and check to see if you got paid as much as someone else on your team holding a similar job title. There are subtle ways to do it, while striving for equity.
  • Support each other, even when the green goblin of envy rears its head; talk it out.
Ask your peers about your salary range and check to see if you got paid as much as someone else on your team holding a similar job title. There are subtle ways to do it while striving for equity. #freelancing #creatives Click To Tweet

From Julekya Lantigua-Williams, CEO of Lantigua Williams & Co.:

  • Fill out and read industry surveys on pay rates and best practices in the podcast industry.
  • Read the “Werk It Survey: What PodcastIng Pays Now” report on salaries and AIRS Code of Fair Practices.
  • Make a Rate Card that outlines different rates for different work taking into account time/difficulty/technicality. Here’s a sample of a rate card for podcasting.
  • Learn as much as you can about a prospective client. When sending a query, mention specific episodes, listen to the last season of the show and be familiar with the podcast’s social media posts.
  • Ask clients what they pay for specific work, services and skills and set your prices accordingly.
  • Ask for “reach assignments” that build and stretch your other strengths. Offer to support a particular person with a task you want to learn.
  • Ask for meaningful and constructive feedback from your clients on every project.

By the end of several sessions, I had somehow felt a sense of community I hadn’t felt in a while in the professional world. These ladies were dishing the truth so openly and honestly that I truly appreciated the culture of podcasting professionals.

For someone who loved the authenticity I heard in podcasts as a listener, it was refreshing to see how that culture was not scripted or fake, but that many professionals in Podcastlandia value genuine, honest and straight-forward communication.

Elizabeth Chey

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Chey consults international, community-based, and small nonprofits on communications, advocacy, strategic planning and capacity building. Her passion for arts, peace building and development compels her to tell complex, intimate stories about people working for social justice. She earned her MFA from New York University and a Journalism degree from Northwestern.

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