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How To Give Yourself a Raise

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Voice teachers are nice.

Entirely too nice, really. By necessity, we have intimate relationships with our clients. We're also artists, and we nurture artists. We're unlicensed therapists, and are knit into our students' support networks. All this leads to a slippery slope.

The slippery slope shows up for different people in different ways, but the challenges we often share fall under the category of putting others' perceived needs before our own. THAT issue shows up most critically under the subject of money. The rates we charge, the time we have to teach, and the impact those two things have on our financial well being.

Knowing what a softy you are, this post is intended to give you some ideas about how to raise your rates in little ways. Some are time suggestions, some are money suggestions, and some are policy suggestions. All are meant to give your a few more bucks and a little more breathing room.

This post is NOT meant to be a business overhaul! There are coaches, classes, and groups for a long-term strategy implementation to create a solid studio business! These are ideas to help your mind loosen up a little, and to help you begin to move in a direction that is fair to you!

Keep reading, or watch the video of the broadcast!




Stop comparing yourself to other teachers in your area.

First of all, there's no such thing as "your area" anymore. We all teach online. If you're planning on going back to in-person teaching, use this time to set yourself apart from other teachers.

Second, you're not "other teachers." You're you. You have a unique set of skills, interests, and specialties. When you say, "That's what voice teachers charge," you're limiting yourself financially, and lumping yourself in with people who have nothing to do with you.

Establish healthy boundaries

Healthy boundaries help define a relationship. They help people know what to expect and how to treat you. They keep the people in the relationship free from guilt and resentment. They do not make you "mean." They make you fair.

What does that look like? How about these:

  • The session is over when it's over.

  • You have certain hours during which you answer texts or Marco Polo messages.

  • Clients pay ahead, or you have their card on file.

  • Your cancellation policy is strict, and not personal.

  • Your sliding scale or scholarship policy is pre-determined and you stick to it.

  • You get to say, "I wish I could, but I can't".

Don't give your time or talent away for free. Ever.

Being "nice" by giving your professional talent away for free will get you two things: disrespect and more of the same. People almost never value things they get for free. If you find yourself in a position where you feel you should give your professional time away for free, or someone is asking for you time for free, hit the "pause" button. Step away, figure out what will feel fair to you, and get back to them.

Watch your language

In most of the world, primary education is free. Maybe that's why the word "student" has a very different connotation than "client." (Not sure, just guessing.) People come to you for specialized professional services. So start thinking of them as clients rather than students. And while you're at it, try thinking of sessions rather than lessons.

It might not make any difference to you. But it might. Having sessions for your clients feels different than having lessons with your students. If you know you need to start changing your attitude about your work, language is a good place to start.

Time & Money

Heads up on the price increase

Announce three-or-more months in advance that your rates will be going up. Include in the announcement that you will do your best to accomodate people for whom this creates a hardship, and that you hope they will reach out to you to discuss how they can continue to make private voice sessions possible.

Shorter lessons

If you're afraid to raise your rates, consider making your sessions shorter. If you've been charging $50/hr, start charging $50 per 45 minute lesson.