Pay what you can - Podcast Producer Steph Colbourn
Finding the right price for your services can be a tough one to crack. We’ve heard about all sorts of pricing models on the podcast before, but Steph’s the first to tell us she charges on a sliding scale. Steph tells her clients:
"This is the least amount of money that I can make this project on, and this is the most amount of money that I would charge to do this project. Whatever you can afford to pay me in between those two, please do."
Steph tells us how that works in practice, as well as sharing her experiences of speaking at a conference, networking, finding clients, hiring a team, managing people, and keeping on top of the whole work-life balance thing.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE BEING FREELANCE PODCAST WITH PODCAST PRODUCER STEPH COLBOURN AND STEVE FOLLAND
Steve Folland: So as ever, how about we get started hearing how you got started being freelance?
Steph Colbourn: Sure. So I actually went to school for arts, and I went for audio art. I thought I would be an artist, and I did a double major in creative writing, so I want it to be a writer and an artist. Graduated, was making art realised I need to make money, so I got a job at a marketing firm doing all of their audio and video production. And then I didn't really love my boss there, so I left and I just started, you know, working on audio and video production for other clients. It just sort of boomed into a podcasting business, because podcast blew up and I had a good writing and audio background and I really enjoyed the format and I had really lucky timing.
Steve Folland: Okay. So how long were you at the company where you were doing video and audio?
Steph Colbourn: Only a year.
Steve Folland: But there's a lot that you could learn in that time.
Steph Colbourn: I guess I learned the business side of it. I learned how to set up an RSS feed, I learned how to make a compelling story, add in the music, and the intro outro sort of thing. Well, you know. You have a podcast right now, but I learned how to do that part and then yeah, I really loved podcasts. I wanted to make some more storytelling series based shows, so I kind of started making some stuff on my own time and then clients ended up reaching out to me and yeah, I was lucky.
Steve Folland: Just to put this in perspective, when did you leave that company? When did you go out on your way?
Steph Colbourn: That was probably seven years ago now.
Steve Folland: Yeah, so I guess that was just as podcasts ... I mean I know they've been around for a while, but just prior to them really kind of blowing up.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah and I think it's still, from what I can see, it's still growing a lot.
Steve Folland: Yeah.
Steph Colbourn: I really lucked out because I had a bit of a portfolio and I was editing podcasts on the Internet and from what I knew, there was only two other people doing it at the time. So, it was like a very niche market to be in.
Steve Folland: How did those first clients find you?
Steph Colbourn: I actually, when I quit my job, I ended up freaking out and emailing everyone that I knew online. I just went around the Internet and tried to find other people that were working in audio production either in radio, freelance or in podcasting freelance and I emailed a bunch of people just saying like, "Hey, this is my portfolio. I would love to just like talk to you."
Steph Colbourn: I ended up meeting a friend, well now we're friends. His name's Aaron Dowd. His handle's The Podcast Dude on Twitter and he was the only other person that I found online that was doing this at the time that was in the US or Canada. We ended up chatting a lot, kind of like messaging each other a bunch. He had some extra freelance work, so I worked with him for a bit and then he ended up getting, sort of going the opposite trajectory. He now works for Simplecast, so a bunch of his clients that reshowed to him for work ended up coming to me because he was no longer taking on as many freelance clients.
Steve Folland: But that came from the fact that you just sent basically cold emails or on Instagram or Twitter?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: Like how did you reach out to people?
Steph Colbourn: I just sent a cold email to his website, which I think at the time was The Podcast Guy or Podcast Dude and I said, "Hey, I'm doing the same thing. Would love to chat." We just talked and it was just good timing, honestly. And then most of my other clients that I got around that time were just, I would go on internet forums, like on Reddit. I'd go on marketing blogs and just answer people's questions about podcasting, so a lot of people would be like, "How do I set up an RSS feed? What is podcast hosting?" And I would just give free advice, basically, in the comment section of forums and give my email and some people emailed me and I ended up producing their show for them.
Steve Folland: That's so cool. When you, when you emailed The Podcast Dude and others, how were you feeling?
Steph Colbourn: I was super scared and super nervous and I had a ton of imposter syndrome and you know, I had been doing this for a year and I was very confident in my audio skills because I had more experience with that, but I knew nothing about being freelance. I was really nervous to go out on my own and I was really nervous to email other people and sort of like pretend like I was confident about starting my own thing.
Steve Folland: You trade now, I know, as EDITAUDIO. Was that what you were doing then seven years ago or were you just Steph?
Steph Colbourn: No, I always, I don't know why I made that decision to be honest, but I always started with the company name. I originally chose EDITAUDIO as the name, because I wanted podcasting to be my main focus, but I didn't think that there would be enough work to sustain myself just in the podcast market because at the time there wasn't that many people doing podcasts.
Steph Colbourn: I made EDITAUDIO as a way to do like, "Okay. I can do audio for video. I can do podcasts. I can do radio. I can do, you know, clean up of stuff if people have a meeting that they need cleaned up. It was sort of an all encompassing name and then basically a year later, after I started freelancing, podcasting got more and more popular and I ended up only doing podcasts.
Steve Folland: How did you portray yourself? So you had a company name, but on your website would you still say, "It's me," or "I'm Steph?" How did you come across in that way?
Steph Colbourn: I put my own face on the company website and yeah. It was ... I think at the beginning for maybe a year, it was an "I" thing. It was just me and then after a year it became "We." I mean with podcasting there's always writing and transcription and stuff that goes along with it, so I did try from the very beginning to get other people work through it. I hired a few contractors that I knew that were doing writing or doing transcription and they sort of worked under the umbrella of the company.
Steve Folland: How did you find managing other people and having to deal with paying them or project managing things? How was that for you?
Steph Colbourn: This is going to sound weird and I think it's maybe from going to art school, but at the time I didn't see it as me giving a job to someone or me managing other people. I just saw it as, "Okay. Transcribing is not my expertise, so if I could give it to someone who really loves transcribing or is good at it, then I should do that." And similar with writing. I can write and I'm a good writer, but if someone wants to be writing for their career, then they should be the ones that's doing that. I didn't really see it as me managing. I just saw it as this kind of collaborating and then eventually that became unsustainable, because there was a lot more work and I had to manage everyone's deadlines, instead of my own. Then it became more of a shift to managing people.
Steve Folland: So now are you still the only editor or do you have other editors as well?
Steph Colbourn: No. Now we have a few producers and editors. I have hired, up until this point, everyone as a contract worker, but as of this month I'll have two full time employees.
Steve Folland: Wow. In what role?
Steph Colbourn: One audio producer and one sort of business, backend marketing, social media person.
Steve Folland: And how does that feel?
Steph Colbourn: Pretty cool. It feels good. It feels exciting. It feels nerve wracking, but I think it's good. I feel like I've grown in like a pretty organic way, so this is like the next phase, and I hope it goes well.
Steve Folland: And Are you working literally together or is it all remote?
Steph Colbourn: So as of right now, everyone will be remote. I haven't hired the producer yet, so I'm not sure if they'll be remote or not but everyone right now is remote.
Steve Folland: And have you become ... So over here we have like a limited company. I think it's called something different in Canada and the States and what have you. You trade as a company now, right?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I always had a business number, but we just became incorporated, which is I think the same as a limited company.
Steve Folland: How did you continue to market yourself? So the first ones were by reaching out and by being helpful. Was that just like the continue strategy?
Steph Colbourn: It's been a bit of both. To be completely honest, I have lucked out just with like having a portfolio and being in the industry at a good time. There is that and then the other side of it is that a lot of the networking I've done online has paid off, so like keeping in touch with people on Twitter, reaching out, getting like promotion that way.
Steph Colbourn: I do still do a fair bit of free consulting. I'll just hop on Twitter one day or I'll go into forums and I'll just answer people's questions and I think I do it less now to get work, but I think it helps promote yourself as a nice person that people can feel comfortable reaching out to. I think that helps and word of mouth, honestly, like clients give my number and name to other clients so I rely a lot on that.
Steve Folland: How did you manage your own workload? Because, I mean I'm sitting here knowing what it's like to produce podcasts and video and stuff that, but I know that there's often a um you know, perhaps a weekly schedule for example. You don't know when bits are coming in and you might have multiple projects on the go at some time. Everybody wants to publish on a certain day each week and there's actually quite a lot going on potentially.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, it's a lot. I'd say the biggest issue I have is that some podcasts publish weekly and other podcasts are like a project, right? So, it's like a lot of editorial research, a lot of journalism that goes into it and then you record and produce and there's like 12 episodes. So there's that series based podcast and then there's like that weekly, ongoing podcast and those two different kinds of podcasts take very different skill sets and very different timelines. It's hard to manage both of those kinds of workloads, especially because having ongoing work is great, but then if you have a project that's going to require an extra 30 hours a week, you have to be able to accommodate that at any given time. So, that's hard. How I deal with it? I don't know. I guess I'm a workaholic a bit.
Steph Colbourn: I think everyone who freelances is a bit of a workaholic, just because you love your job most of the time, right? I'm pretty excited that I love my job and that I get to do what I get to do, so I think I put a lot of time and effort into it and it doesn't seem terrible to be working on a Friday night. That being said, I try not to do that all the time and I think hiring people that I trust has helped me alleviate when there's too much on my plate, so I can hand stuff off all the time and give the work to other people and know that they'll do a really good job.
Steve Folland: And have you created any processes or tools that you use to stay on top of things?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. Do you know Airtable?
Steve Folland: Oh yes.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: I've been experimenting with it recently, yeah.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, I love Airtable. I use that as a hybrid production schedule for all of the projects that I have and then with each client, I have a production schedule, so like all of the moving bits, when they're going to come in, I give everyone who works on the project access to that. So let's say, Kate is giving me the introduction file on Tuesday and then the interview file next Thursday and it has to go out in a week from then. There might be a writer that needs to get all those files. There might be a transcriber that needs to get all those files. There might be an editor that needs to get them all, so we all have access to the same working spreadsheet. We all know when the date, where the file is going to come to us and when we have to return it back and we just fill it out as it goes. There's sort of like two ongoing spreadsheets, one in Airtable for everything and one in just like Google sheets. That's like at the client level and I'm obsessed with my calendar.
Steve Folland: But you can look at things in a calendar view in Airtable as well. Can't you, I think?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. Airtable's great. Everyone should use it.
Steve Folland: Well, what I found from Airtable was it, it certainly seemed great if like you are, you've got lots of different people working on potential things.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: There's a method to assign things a bit. A bit like you can with Asana as well, too. So, it's very clear who's responsible.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah and you can tag things. So, like if you're me, I'll put like a little tag next to like an episode if it's in pre-production, if it's in recording, if it's scheduled to be recorded, just so I know where everything's at.
Steve Folland: And how about the business side of things? How have you managed that?
Steph Colbourn: It's rough. I mean I think it's been good. I feel ... I've heard some horror stories of other people that have been in similar positions as me. Actually Aaron, who I was talking about at the beginning of this episode, The Podcast Dude, we did a talk at the Podcast Movement Festival last year about basically how to become a freelance podcast editor. Aaron had this horror story about the second year that he was working as a freelance podcast editor, that he didn't know about taxes so he had like 20 grand of backlogged taxes to pay. So yeah. I've heard much worse stories. I haven't had anything terrible like that happened to me, thank God. The business side is hard and also interesting. I feel like I'm learning a lot. Managing people is good. I like managing people. Hiring is hard.
Steve Folland: Hiring is hard. What's hard about hiring?
Steph Colbourn: I guess because as I've been hiring these last few weeks I've been really respecting the process of HR. I guess I don't have any background in that and I have very little work experience in an office, so I think it's hard for me to judge from an interview and an application form if it's going to be a right fit in terms of personality.
Steph Colbourn: I think you can judge someone's work pretty easily through that, but I think when you have a company or when you're working with someone every day, you want to hire someone who you're going to like really get along with and want to hang out with every day and want to talk to you every day. I think that's really a hard and interesting thing to judge when you don't have that much time that you get to spend with someone.
Steve Folland: Have you had any advice or support in that whole, "Taking on an employee?"
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. I reached out to some people that I know and respect. Actually some clients too, who have like businesses that are growing and asked them like, "Are there any questions that I should ask?" And I got some really good, insightful questions. My favourite is, "If you could go back and give yourself advice three years ago, what would that advice be?" And it's just like these questions that you normally probably wouldn't get in an interview that maybe reveal more about how you think about your life and yourself, rather than how you think about your work and get your work done.
Steve Folland: How did you change the sort of work that you were getting or maybe you haven't, but you know it sounds like as well as doing perhaps editing of a podcast, a bit this one for example, where you've got two people just chatting. It's fairly low effort I guess in terms of editing, whereas you could create something which is more like Serial or you start up, you know, like these much more involved pieces, what it sounds like you work on. How have you gotten into that kind of work and like work with a client and suggest that they do those kinds of things?
Steph Colbourn: It's usually not a suggestion, so I don't usually come into a project and suggest like, "This is the kind of thing that you should make." How it usually happens is that people have heard something like Serial and get excited about it and have a good idea and they come to me. How they come to me, actually speaking at conferences, going to networking events, those have been really, really beneficial for that like bigger or larger scale work. I think a lot of the weekly podcasts and marketing podcasts, stuff that is ongoing, those come just through like recommendations and you know, people searching like, I don't know, podcast editor on Google. I think the bigger stuff comes from word of mouth and meeting people places in the real world.
Steve Folland: So you mentioned conferences, and you mentioned Podcast Movement Festival, which is a really big one, right? So when did you first start doing that? Was that something that came natural to you or?
Steph Colbourn: No. I went to my first conference last year actually. I went to Podcast Movement last year and I was so nervous and so anxious and I was speaking at the conference too. Not only did I ... I had never attended before, but I also like had never spoken at a conference and it was crazy. It was so interesting. It was a really good experience for me and I'm happy I did it, but at the time I thought I was going to die.
Steve Folland: How many people were there?
Steph Colbourn: At the conference? Like thousands.
Steve Folland: Really? It's one of those ones which I see on the Internet, like the big American type with the big screens and the big stage.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. I mean our stage was smaller that we were speaking on and they had sort of like these breakout groups of different talks that you could go to. It wasn't like I was speaking to like 40,000 people or something, but it was just so overwhelming. I mean I'm sure you have experiences like this when you work mostly alone and at your computer all of your days and all of your life and then you're suddenly thrust into a situation where you're in a room with another 4,000 people for four days straight. It's just such a shock to the system.
Steve Folland: How did you get over that? Even that going up and talking to people thing, I find tricky. Well, I personally can very easily just suddenly stand by the biscuits at the side, the cookies at the side with a cup of tea and not talk to anyone.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, I was really nervous beforehand and I just was kind to myself. I mean, I know that sounds silly, but I was really nervous beforehand and I just told myself like every day like if you can't do it, then don't do it. You're going to try your hardest every day to talk to as many people as possible, but at the end of the day, if you need to go home and take a nap, you need to go home and take a nap.
Steph Colbourn: The thing that I found really helpful was that I stayed off campus, I guess. The conference was in a hotel room in a hotel building, so a lot of people were staying really close to the conference if not within the same building. I got an Airbnb, sort of like a 15-20 minute walk from where the conference was being held. Every day I got that 15-20 minute walk in, outside. I got fresh air. I could make my own food, have my own solace away from it, which was really helpful and then, yeah. Just be kind to yourself. It's a shock to the system. You can't force yourself to have conversations if you don't want to have them.
Steve Folland: That's nice advice. How did you then, make the most of the experience? There's so many people that you can meet. There's so many things that you could learn. How did you approach that, either during it, but also after it, to take stuff away?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. I actually, I got the program for the conference and I circled three things every day that I wanted to go to, because I decided that three was a number I could go to. There was like one in the morning or one or two in the morning and then one or two in the afternoon and then every day I would reassess, "Can I handle this today?" If I couldn't, I wouldn't go and if I could, then I would go and I would go to the talks. I would try to like stay for the conversations after, because usually that's when like, you know, you get to know other people that are also going to similar talks that you're interested in and then I would walk around.
Steph Colbourn: I found like the networking times pretty hard to talk to people, so I would actually walk around when there was like in between conference talks, there'd be like booths and stuff set up where you could just talk to other companies that were there. There were other people walking around, so I was mostly talking to people then, just because it felt there was less of a precedent to like be forced to talk to each other. I felt more comfortable at those times.
Steph Colbourn: I did go to one of the drinks. There was like an event every night where you could drink with people. I went to drinks at a, I don't know, closing party type thing. Oh, and there was meetups, like Meetup the website. People organised meetups around the conference as well. I went to some that I was interested in. There was like a Representation in Podcasting Meetup and there was like Queer People in Podcasting Meetup, so I went to both of those and it was like a very small subsection of the conference. I felt much more comfortable talking to people in that setting.
Steve Folland: I absolutely respect you for also getting up then and doing a talk.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, it was rough. I was so nervous. I can't explain how nervous I was, because I was so nervous that I don't think I can like paint the picture of how ridiculous I felt, but I was really freaking out. I mean I got through it, so if anyone is listening to this who thinks that they will also be so nervous and can't do a conference talk, you can and you'll be great. But yeah, I was really nervous. I prepared, like over-prepared probably, but it was great and I don't think people can tell when you're nervous, which is something I have to constantly remind myself.
Steve Folland: And so that was your first experience. So have you been to other events since?
Steph Colbourn: No. Most of them happen in the summer, so that was last summer. Werk It is coming up and I'm going to go to that. It's in LA this year and then I'll go again to Podcast Movement.
Steve Folland: Now you mentioned being quite happily a workaholic earlier and you know, trying not to work on a Friday night, but not caring if you do. What I was going to say was, "How was your work life balance?" But before I say that exactly, how is your week like?
Steph Colbourn: Like what does it look?
Steve Folland: Yeah. Did you work from home?
Steph Colbourn: I have a studio in Montreal with like a little recording booth and a shared co-working desk space. It's probably a 20 minute walk from my house and then I have a house that I work from as well. I like being home and I like not being home. I really enjoy cooking and exercising, going for walks, stuff like that. I split my time between going to my studio and working from home. I'll go to my studio three days a week. I'll work from home two days a week. Sometimes I work on the weekend. I'm pretty flexible. The other thing is, this year at least, I haven't been home very much, so I'm travelling a lot for work and that really impacts when I come home. I haven't ... Since November I've been in Montreal for four weeks in the last the like four and a half months. It's kind of ridiculous and it does impact.
Steph Colbourn: If I am home for a week, I'll spend the whole week working from my house, because I haven't been in my home in so long. I haven't slept in my bed in so long. I haven't eaten like a salad that I made in so long. So, I do like kind of, again, like just try to be like kind to myself and understand what I need to do my best work and feel my best way and I just do that every day. But a typical work week, if I was at home, I would work every day.
Steph Colbourn: You're going to think I'm so wishy washy, but like I don't actually put in times to work. I don't allot myself, like a nine to five or something like that. I plan meetings and recordings. I try not to do more than three of either a day, because I find things that involve other people to be a bit draining of my energy, so I'll book like three meetings a day or three recordings a day and then the rest of my time I just sort of allow myself to work when I feel like it. I know that doesn't sound like very good advice, but I think if you like enjoy your work and you like working, it's actually the best. Sometimes I work at night, but I'm not upset about it because I got to have the morning off and maybe it was a really nice day that day and I got to go for a walk in the park or hang out with some friends.
Steve Folland: I don't think that's bad advice at all and neither do I think it's wishy washy. It sounds like what it is, is that you're attuned to when you best work and how you best work and you appreciate the fact that, "Yeah, I'm working in the evening, but that's okay because I sacked off this morning." It's-
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: It's when like you're working in the evening and you forget that you weren't working in the morning. I don't know. This is almost like historical guilt that goes on people I think that, "Oh, I shouldn't be working this weekend. I shouldn't be working in the evening."
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: But actually you forget that you were making better use of your other time perhaps.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, I agree and like sometimes I'll work from my studio for the day and I'll go up for a lunch and I'll have a really like nice time with a friend at lunch and then I'll work until 9:00 PM and I won't even realise it's 9:00 PM. I'm just like really into this episode that I'm making or I'm like really excited about the thing that I'm doing and I think that, yeah, there's a historical context there where like people have told us that nine to five is the work week and the rest of the time is your time to do things. I think that was like created, even the weekend was created as like a push back to get people to work and stuff. I don't think it's realistic to do that anymore and I don't think we need to work nine to fives and I don't think that like it's bad working in the evening or waking up at five and working then.
Steve Folland: What about when you're travelling though? So are you travelling and recording episodes or something, eh?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. Some of it will be for recording, so I'll have to go and like set up a little recording booth in an office, or I'll have to go do like a remote recording for an interview and then other stuff is just meetings. I like to check in on clients and let them know that I'm a real person.
Steve Folland: How do you find all of that travelling?
Steph Colbourn: I like it. I'm pretty ... I feel excited about it. I mean, I like travelling. I like going to new cities. Most of my travelling goes to Toronto or New York and LA a bit, but my family lives in Toronto, so it's a great excuse if I'm working in the area, I can go see my family, see my mom, see my dad and then New York. I mean who doesn't want to travel to New York?
Steve Folland: I would like to. I've never been. Is there a freelancing festival in New York that could pay me to go over and speak or something? Give me an excuse.
Steph Colbourn: I hope so. We have to find out.
Steve Folland: Or can we start one?
Steph Colbourn: I'm going to look it up. Yeah, let's start it. We can make it.
Steve Folland: Or maybe I can go to some podcast festival.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: There's always got to be an excuse, isn't there? So when we touched upon business side of things earlier, but like when it comes to billing, are you somebody who will just invoice at the end of a project or ... Because some of these are quite involved things. They're involving travelling. Are you taking a deposit up front or a milestone? Yeah. How have you figured out the best way to deal with that kind of thing?
Steph Colbourn: So for weekly work, like the podcasts that are ongoing, I charge on a sliding scale. We charge hourly on a sliding scale and it's like a, "Pay what You Can" model. I have like a minimum and a maximum hourly rate and I give it to the client and I say, "What can you afford to pay me?" We go by that and then it's hourly based on that and I invoiced bi-weekly.
Steve Folland: I'm sorry. When- I don't normally interrupt, but it's the first time I've ever heard of pay what you can. So, you give them a sliding scale. but does that mean then then what you say, "Okay, if you're paying this much per hour then I can only give you this?" Or are you just really nice? I can't quite-
Steph Colbourn: No.
Steve Folland: How does that work?
Steph Colbourn: I mean, I kind of got this from a concert. I went to a concert once and when I went there, to get into the concert, it was five to fifteen dollars. So you could pay five dollars or if you had fifteen dollars, you could pay fifteen dollars. The idea there was that like if everyone paid five dollars, the band and the venue could like, you know, be fine, but if everyone paid fifteen dollars, the band and the venue would make a profit. And it was like, "Okay, that's cool because then people that couldn't afford it were paying five and people that could afford it, were paying fifteen or somewhere in between. I was like, "Wow, that's a great model," because then you're not like, you're not leaving out anyone who can't afford to be there. I just did that with my work.
Steve Folland: Wow. How do people react to that and like do you find that a lot of people just go for the higher amount? It's an interesting thing. I've not come across it before.
Steph Colbourn: People ... Every time I tell someone this, they are like, "Well, why?" Especially like, you know, my dad is like a very typical business person and he has always been like, "If you give people a deal, they're going to take it. If you give people an easy way out or a cut in cost, they're going to take it." And honestly, I haven't found that to be true, like at all. I think people do look at it and they like, sometimes people are confused and I have to explain it to them and I just say that. Like, "This is the least amount of money that I can make this project on and this is the most amount of money that like I would charge to do this project and whatever you can afford to pay me in between those two, please do." People are honest and nice and they do. And like yeah, some people can't afford to pay me that much and some people can and it's great.
Steve Folland: That's really interesting. Good for you. And so going on that model, do they pay in advance of the episode being done? This was like a weekly thing, right?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, no they don't. I invoice bi-weekly for whatever I've done in those two weeks. If it's like a weekly episode and like ... Because some people have like, you know, writing or a blog post that goes along with their episode. Some people have a transcript. Some people just have the editing. Depending on what work is being done in those two weeks, I invoice for that work.
Steve Folland: And you invoice every two weeks?
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: So, and what was the other pricing that you do then?
Steph Colbourn: The other pricing, if it's like a series based thing, it's harder to kind of explain because in a series based podcast there's like pre-production. There's usually two phases of pre-production. There's recording and then there's post production. So all of that could happen in like a short amount of time or long amount of time, but there's like all of these different layers and some of them I'm more or less involved in. Usually I'll do a quote for the whole project, what that would look like and then I get people to invoice me in thirds. So a third after the contract's signed, a third midway through the project and then a third at the end once it's all been completed.
Steve Folland: Yeah, that's really good and so that means that you, so you never start a project without some form of payment. So, if you're travelling somewhere then you're not waiting until three months later to get paid.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, it's ... I would like to say that's true all of the time, but sometimes like with bigger companies, it takes a while to get the contract signed, so there have been times where I've been doing work for like a month or a month and a half and I haven't had like any contract or any payment or even any sort of security that the project is going to happen. I try my best to get that up front, but it would be a lie to tell you that, that's always the case.
Steve Folland: That's interesting in itself. So with larger companies sometimes you decide just to start work anyway based on the fact that you feel, your gut says, "It's going to happen."
Steph Colbourn: Yeah. Yeah.
Steve Folland: You've not come unstuck in either of these ways?
Steph Colbourn: No, I don't think so. I think the "Pay What You Can" model is like a really cool ... Like my whole passion behind this company and drive for it is that podcasting is a new space and media in general, but podcasting too is like not representative of the world we live in. How can I make it so that there's more women and more people of colour and more queer people that are making podcasts and also producing podcasts? One of the ways to do that is to help people who have been systemically marginalized, be able to afford the services that those who haven't, are affording. An easy way to do that is to be like, "This is my min and my max with the hope that eventually your portfolio of clients ends up distributing somewhere around the middle.
Steve Folland: That is so cool. Good for you. Do you have any side projects, or is it all client work?
Steph Colbourn: I make art still.
Steve Folland: Nice.
Steph Colbourn: Yeah, but not for money or anything, just for fun. Yeah, I make like some music and some like weird experimental sound art and I write all the time. I make conceptual poetry and like, yeah. That's my side project.
Steve Folland: Does that go out into the world or is that just for yourself?
Steph Colbourn: Sometimes it goes into the world. I probably haven't had any ... I had some poems in a gallery beside some collage work maybe a year and a half ago. So, very infrequently does it go out into the world, but sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. I haven't applied to get it into the world in a very long time.
Steve Folland: If you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?
Steph Colbourn: I would tell myself in general about not being, about being freelance and just general life advice that everything is going to be okay, because I think I was so worried and I think we like put so much pressure on teenagers and kids to like, "You have to take all these classes," and then, "You have to go to this school," or you have to like, "Get this degree and then you have to do this job and you have to do it at this timeline." None of that is true. I mean it is true to a certain extent that you have to work hard and try your best, but I think if you do that, you'll be fine and I wish someone told me that.
Steve Folland: Steph it's been so good to talk to you. Go to beingfreelance.com. There will be a link to everything that Steph is up to, be it EDITAUDIO's website or to find her on Twitter or wherever else she hangs out online. We will make sure that the links are there, so if you've enjoyed this, go say, "Hi" and check out some of the podcasts which she's been editing as well. I always learned that, on your Twitter, you always kind of share things-
Steph Colbourn: Yeah.
Steve Folland: ... Other people's podcasts and stuff, so-
Steph Colbourn: They're not always ones I'm working on. I just like to support cool podcasts in the world. Like this one!
Steve Folland: Steph, thank you so much and all the best being freelance.