How to Trade Exposure for Entertainment
Dear Nice Person,
I understand that you are offering me exposure as compensation for my services. I thank you sincerely.
It’s obvious that we both agree that my work is valuable. By reaching out to me, you tell me that my work is worth something to you, it’s something you want! Otherwise, you wouldn’t spend your own valuable time asking for it. And my decades of experience and numerous client referrals demonstrate that I'm worth it.
What we don’t know is whether the exposure you are offering is equally valuable. You are asking me to take the risk that the exposure you are offering is worth something to me. Simply doing a trade puts all the burden on me. You get my valuable services that I normally charge for and in return, I may (or may not) get good exposure that leads to paying work for me, as opposed to non-paying work like you are asking for.
Since you can’t quantify and guarantee the exposure I’ll get, let’s bet on the promises we are making:
I’ll bet on the quality of my work because people like you find me and ask for it often. I’ll be happy to entertain you and your guests at my standard rate. This puts the responsibility of performing and entertaining squarely on me. BUT, you can get your money back and more!! Let’s establish exposure metrics, such as the sales I book as a direct result of entertaining at your event, in advance:
During my performance, when everyone is having a great time, I will announce often and clearly that if anyone else would like to have me perform for their event, they should see you in order to contact me.
For every person you send my way who books me, I will refund you 10% of the fee they pay me. If I book enough events from the exposure I got at your event (about 10, if of similar value), then I will have returned all your money. Your exposure will, indeed, have proved its worth, and if you keep sending me more shows, I will keep sending you money!
Of course, if the exposure you offer does not meet these goals, then your exposure did not deliver. You’ll also know that the exposure you offer is not genuine compensation, and I hope you will, in good conscience, offer future performers more valuable methods of compensation.
Exposure is wonderful for me if it produces results, but exposure doesn’t make sense if you’re just using that word to justify not paying people who are providing you with a valuable product.
Famous actors get great exposure when they star in blockbuster movies, but they still get paid for their work.
My business is based on the fair exchange of value. You solicit and pay for my performance, and I deliver great entertainment. I structure my rates so that the price represents the value delivered, and we each uphold our side of the bargain.
Please let me know if you’d like to accept the terms I’m proposing. If you don’t, the only conclusion I can come to is that you have realized your exposure has little value.
I thank you again very sincerely for your interest,