People, the struggle is real.
Here are three quick facts about my chosen industry:
With the notion that the scuba industry is of a healthy size, please enjoy this anecdote...
A week ago, I was in communication with a vlogger (We’ll call him ‘Bob.’) who runs a sailing blog. Bob was looking to get himself and three crewmates Dry Suit certified in preparation for a trip to Iceland. They also wanted a private charter dive boat so that they could film a video for their YouTube channel. No problem, I said, I can make that happen. We agreed upon dates and a schedule, the required self-study options for the specialty course and the necessary prerequisites. Then the discussion turned to pricing, and Bob dropped the bomb…
“Oh, uh, no, we can’t pay you, but we can promise you exposure…”
‘Exposure’, unless you’re a photographer, should be a dirty word. I come from a musical/artistic family, so I know creative types struggle with this all the time. In the scuba industry now, too?
Let's break down the numbers to see if the exposure is worth my product:
Next, I needed to research who Bob is and who follows him to determine if our demographics align. Their output is focused mainly through YouTube and their channel has about 240000 followers. If I got to reach 240000 people for $2000, that’s less than 1¢ per contact.
Impressive, but who are these people? A cursory go through their follower lists showed that the majority of people are located in Australia and South East Asia, where their yacht had been most recently. In addition, the followers were shown as being much more interested in sailing than in diving.
My decision in this instance was to not work for exposure. At this stage in my business’ development, I could spend that $2000 on much more targeted marketing strategy for my intended demographic.
To my dumbfounded surprise, this incensed Bob. He refused to believe that what he was offering was not of interest to me. He gasped as he related to me his struggle to find an instructor for this particular specialty course who could accommodate his narrow dates and now he had found me and I… I… I wanted to charge him money?! Actual money?! But… but… exposure!
I patiently and professionally explained that his exposure was pretty much irrelevant to my business, which did nothing to calm Bob, and our communication ended with Bob continuing his search for his Dry Suit Specialty Instructor.
I don’t quite grasp Bob’s perception of his blog’s value to other businesses. I really don't understand how anyone can expect anyone else to work for them for free, unless it’s for a charitable cause. I wouldn’t even have the nerve to ask.
Our logo was designed by the talented Graphic Designer David Fast of Oceans Design Group in South Beach, Miami. He took my scribbled notes on not much better than a cocktail napkin and turned it into a clean, digital identity that represents our brand. I hired a professional graphic designer because I wanted a professional graphic design.
Imagine if I’d have said to David, ‘Oh yeah, I can’t pay you for your talent, but I’ll add a link to your company on my website and write a nice review for you.’ Who goes to a Technical Diving website to find a graphic designer? Who trusts a Technical Diving Instructor’s opinion on graphic design? What real value could I offer to his business?
Diving is my profession. If you need a professional job done, you need to be willing to pay a professional to do it. What are you paying for? When hiring a Miami Technical Diving Instructor, as with any professionals, you should be looking for:
As oil well firefighter and real life super-hero Paul Neal "Red" Adair said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do a job, wait until you hire an amateur.”