How Much Money Do You Want To Make?

I was recently researching beats online for my new album, and I was struck by the variety of “beats for sale” websites.  Some sites offer beats for $4.95, while others start at $100. 

In the course of listening to hundreds of beats from various sites, I came to the realization that the main thing differentiating the beats was price.  There was almost no difference in quality between the beats on most sites.  Some of the $10 beats were amazing, and many of the $100 beats were average at best. 

This got me thinking.  A producer could submit the same beat to two different sites and make 1900% more money from one site than the other. 

So the question becomes:  Do you want to be a $5 producer or a $100 producer?  If you’re going to put in the same amount of time and effort to make a song, would you rather receive $5 or $100 for your work? 

Obviously skill comes into play.  You can’t make a bad beat and expect people to pay you anything for it.  But once you hit a certain skill level, how much money you make is largely determined by what you signal you’re worth. 

Professionals signal value in many ways.  How does your website look?  What clothes do you wear?  Who has worked with you before?  How exclusive or busy are you? 

There’s a market for everything, so you have a choice as to which end of the market you occupy.  Are you going to be the fast, cheap, and reliable option?  Or the expensive, elite, and exclusive option?  Are you only going to market to people who work at multi-million dollar companies, or only to small businesses? 

Marketers talk about this as your “niche,” but I prefer to think of it as your professional identity.  If you value yourself at a certain amount, have the skills to back up your assertion with a valuable product, and signal your value to the marketplace, you should be able to find customers who share your worldview. 

If you don’t own a company or have customers, you still have a professional identity.  How you present yourself to your employer, your parents, or your teacher signals how you value yourself and what you have to offer others.  You get to choose whether your work and attitude says, “I’m just here because I have to be,” or “I have something valuable to contribute to other people.” 

There are rappers who are willing to buy $5 beats, and there are rappers who are willing to buy $100 beats.  There are employers who hire accountants for $4,000 per month, and there are employers who hire accountants for $40,000 per month.  If there is a demand for what you’re selling, you get to decide which customers you want. 

How much money do you want to make?  The choice is yours.  

Posted on January 22, 2015 .