One For $5, Two for $4

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Warning!  I am a satirist!  If you do not have a sense of humor or are easily-offended, these blogs may not be for you. May I interest you in an innocuous episode of Peppa Pig instead?

Of Bargains and Worth

Yes, this is my 300th blog.  Oh, stop that.  You stop that now.  Yes, I am amazing, I know.  Thank you.  OK really.  Stop.  Seriously.  Stop it now.  STOP!

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Juvenilus Ignoramus

The strikingly handsome one on the right is me.


I was seven.  Or eight?  Whichever is the one where silly kids do things that do not make sense.

It was a sunny day out, and it was finally the day of my garage sale.  I must confess I was as jubilant as a young boy who is 7 or 8 and is holding a garage sale on a day that is sunny.  Follow me for more excellence in similes.

I had dutifully created and placed signs throughout the neighborhood advertising said sale, tacking them to trees in order to thoroughly aggravate local residents on whose property those trees were located.  Please remember that I said I was silly, not sensitive.

Today was the day I was going to sell some of my Transformers toys, because I had amassed far too many, and they were keeping me indoors more than outdoors.  Also because my pasty white skin apparently screamed ALBINO!!! when we were out in public as a family, which was rare because, if you have been following along, this albino was usually at home playing with his overabundance of Transformers.

Mom suggested I sell some, and so I wiped off my suntan lotion and began to prepare.

I set everything up properly, had a little table with my chosen Transformers neatly aligned and properly presented, complete with signs detailing:

  • their name (names are important)
  • their Autobot or Decepticon affiliation (market research demonstrated young children were more apt to buy good-natured earth-loving robots), and
  • their individual price per unit (kids were all on allowances after all so competitive pricing was key), which I had decided on at $5 each.


Being entirely left to my own devices, I came up with a poster, and was utterly proud of myself: ready to dive headlong into commercial success and hawk my wares proudly. Pretty sure I was wearing my clip-on tie.

That is, until my mom came and saw what I was doing.  I had naïvely created an ill-founded promotion for my wares, scribbled neatly with a black sharpie:

“TRANSFORMERS! One for $5, two for $4!”


I will allow you a moment to reread that and judge me.

Welcome back. Stop judging me.

I beamed up at mom proudly as she looked down at me with that face that looks like she is trying to divide 4,329,276 by 2379.  She did not scold me, but I do think she had a passing thought of seeing how much I could fetch on eBay.  However, she took the time to provide some quality parental education on How To Not Be Dumb.  She asked me, and I do believe this is the exact quote, “Hey, Genius, why would someone buy only one Transformer for five dollars, when they could get TWO for one dollar less?”

It took some re-explaining while I still smiled proudly up at her, but when it finally sunk in, my proud smile faded into one of those slow awakening stares when you finally become self-aware of your giant nerd factor.  Blame it on my underdeveloped juvenile business neurons.

Some things look good in print until you realize they are really just upside-down thinking.

By the way I can still feel you judging me.


Not The Brightest Bulb

Now, I am not Albert Einstein.  By “not Albert Einstein”, I mean that I am incrementally smarter than a box of hair.  Case in point, I have certainly pulled my fair share of ridiculous stunts and zero-logic maneuvers in my lifetime.  Take these classic examples:

  1. As a child, I thought it would be prudent to move to Hawaii in the event all-out thermonuclear war, because what are the odds a missile could hit that tiny little island.
  2. I once dove off a rock into the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean off Mexico, and almost drowned.
  3. I failed to back up my old wedding videography clients' videos to the cloud, and then experienced a massive hard drive crash which corrupted nearly all the data.  I then had to pay $2500 to have it all restored.
  4. I amassed a giant Transformers collection and still watch the cartoons.  I am still pasty.
  5. As a child, I lit a match in our home and blamed it on my shoe. True story. Read all about it here.
  6. That time as a teenager that I dressed up as a 1920's flapper.  I am not kidding.  By the way thanks mom for letting me borrow your costume.


me as a flapper

You are welcome.  It's Joshua; "Miss Jackson" if you're nasty.

I have also done plenty of other off-color things that would require one to enter one's credit card number here.

It’s all good though.  I mean, it’s not like I ever slapped anyone on stage.

But what do all of these things have in common?  They all revolve around not thinking ahead, and naïveté concerning consequences.  For example, dressed as that flapper, how could I have possibly known that I would get beaten up by angry truckers?


Tenure Be Damned

People in a row

The ground is level for all of us.  Not everyone knows this!

Many spring chicken, upon entering the voiceover industry, think they are not necessarily “worthy” of fair market rates.  They will bend over backward to get something on their resumé.  Here is just a short list of some of the stunts they pull:

  • Seeing what the competition is charging and deliberately underbidding them
  • Pulling a George Santos and listing miraculous lofty feats, hoping this “fake it until you make it” campaign will see them appearing more valuable than their colleagues, only to be later unveiled as a fraud
  • Offering their services for free, or badly bartering, giving up perpetuity and exclusivity out of pure desperation
  • Failing to educate themselves on good bargains and healthy business profit
  • Acting like they know it all, and just generally being an ass towards advice given by colleagues
  • Paying rock bottom prices for crappy demos
  • Freely giving away their voices to A.I. and TTS jobs, or partnering with despicable companies like Revoicer
  • Letting clients use their voice in unauthorized ways or for unremunerated new media buys
  • Becoming a serial purveyor of horrible advice
  • Lackadaisical, cavalier attitude, complete with shoulder shrugging


What do all of these things have in common?  I am so glad you asked.  All of these have to do with investment.  In this case, none or little.

  • Poor or little investment into training
  • Poor or little investment into equipment
  • Poor or little investment into learning
  • Poor or little investment into listening
  • Poor or little investment into the community
  • Poor or little investment into the industry
  • Poor or little investment into understanding self-worth


So why do they choose to invest so little?  Why do they race to the bottom to avoid expending themselves?  Why do they choose the path of least resistance?  Here is why:

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.


Shortcuts. We are always looking for shortcuts.

New voice talent sometimes tend to look for shortcuts to get them to where they want to be, and they forget that the journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step…but it is still a thousand miles.  There is no fast track, no Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.  There is no teleportation machine.  We have to earn it.  We have to invest.

To earn and invest, we have to value ourselves properly, and we have to teach clients to value us, our equipment, our training, our expertise, properly.  That involves toeing the line for market rates.  It involves valuing ourselves and our voiceover future enough to build a slow and careful foundation, and to build our careers smartly.

I did not arrive at voiceover success overnight.  I watched on the riverbanks for over a decade.  I studied and grew appreciative of what people were doing, and how it worked.  I invested into training and equipment.  Then, when I began to book jobs, I began to invest into better training and better equipment.  And all of the previous experience and equipment I could then cash in on and thus defray the “expensive” investment of the new experience, and new equipment.

The lesson here?

You can’t offer your voiceovers one for $5, two for $4.  That is giving away the farm.  You are worth more!  We, as representatives of the voiceover industry, are worth more.  I applaud people like Paul Schmidt that rail against selling out and devaluation.  He is a good man, and he genuinely wants to see us all succeed – together.  I would also like to add that someday I hope to see him dressed as a flapper, just for funsies.

Please do not underbid your colleagues.  Please do not sellout.  Please do not compromise and go to Fiverr.  Please do not take jobs that pay you a fraction of your worth.  Please avoid sites like SpeedySpots, JustSaySpots, PlanetCharley, VoiceJungle, VoiceRealm, VoicesCloud, and the like.


"One for $5, two for $9" makes much more sense.  To be clear, I am NOT advocating that you sell a voiceover project for $5.  Determine the appropriate rate for the usage and term you are being asked to quote for, and then feel free to offer a bulk discount in the end.  That is your prerogative as a business owner who understands their own worth.

Think ahead. There are consequences for naïveté.

In this industry that has so much heart, remember to use your head.


This is a business.  Treat it as such, with no shortcuts or upside-down thinking.

On a more serious note, THANK YOU to all of my readers for enabling me to reach 300 blogs.  I consider it a monumental milestone, and I was utterly proud to be on this journey with you.  I am done blogging for the foreseeable future.  Thank you for your understanding.

One last thing.  If any of you has Transformers, contact me to schedule a playdate.






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Joshua Alexander
The Voices In My Head Blog
[email protected] ∙ [email protected]

39 thoughts on “One For $5, Two for $4”

  1. Thank you for this reminder Josh. “…but it is still a thousand miles” – that hit home! There isn’t anything that substitutes for the time needed to take each step regardless of how much I may want to be at some arbitrary point in my future. I’m grateful to learn (and re-learn again and again) from people like you, Paul, and so many others. You’ve all walked a thousand miles and paved the road so just maybe MY thousand miles are just a little smoother. March on my friend.

  2. We love you! We’ll miss you! Thank you for the 300th blog. Knowing our voice over worth translates to all aspects of our lives. Hugs from one if your groupies 🤩

    1. You are so very welcome, Lisa. Thank you for reading and accepting the intended gift of my wanting to inspire. I appreciate you! And you’re not a groupie; the ground is level here, or should be. 🙂

  3. Take care of yourself, Mr. Josh. I think after 300 blogs you’ve earned a well-deserved respite. Thank you for the laughs and the inspiration.

  4. Uh oh. Is there a petition going around yet to convince Paul to dress as a flapper??

    Thank you for always advocating for the community. Without the voices of reason, people may choose to listen to the noise instead. And there is a lot of noise out there. Why are people so noisy?!

    This was a great listen. I think I see lunch or coffee in our near future, friend.

      1. I’m not altogether sure Michael Apollo Lira has an “off” button, and anyway I wouldn’t want to push it – he’s on Level 8-4, about to beat Bowser and free Princess Peach!

  5. I listened.
    I liked it.
    Thank you.
    I LOVE that you made the $4 sign, it explains a lot about your business ethics now!!
    I’m also sorry to see you disappear from FB for the time being. I hope no-one was being a d*ck.
    The blogs will continue, right? …RIGHT?!

  6. I have continued to resist Fiverr…set up the account and let it sit dormant. Why, because it just doesn’t feel “right.” I can’t say why, so I go with my gut in this one. Others seem to make a good amount there. However, it seems more investment, than return to me. Taking a break, eh? I will sit here patiently, hands folded and quiet, until your return. See you soon, Josh!

  7. Lol, I’m the last person who can give you grief about stopping the blog on a high note, hehe. I haven’t typed anything on my blog in a LOOOONG time, haha. Not for lack of want to though… I just don’t get to it…

    I totally agree with you. Revoice is not my fav atm and there are all manner of voice cloners out there that use celebrity voices to make all sorts of content… As someone who really struggles to make something, the idea of someone just swooping in and literally stealing my voice is just not on. I will absolutely contact and demand removal, because it’s a violation of one’s person… Just like you can’t just use someone’s face without their permission, the voice is the same thing.

    I’m sad that you’re off FB too though… I really want to keep in touch… I saved your email, so I’ll use that. I actually have a pen pall in North Carolina. We reply when we can, so sometimes it’s like a week or three and it’s like: “What in the world does this refer to?! [scroll scroll scroll] AH! Now I remember!” hahaha.

    Thank you for being such a cool friend and thank you for having entertained us for so long. Just think about it – 300 weeks, is roughly 5-6 years’ posts – that’s a great run for anything! I will definitely miss it!

    1. Thank you Marius! Thank you for always reading and commenting, I really appreciate it. You are a wonderful mammal, and I appreciate you more than I can say. Do keep in touch, and I want to see that Jesus costume!

      1. You are very welcome good sir!! You are too and I appreciate you mega much!! 😀

        There is a whole story around that, so get ready, hahaha.

  8. “In this industry that has so much heart, remember to use your head”. This quote is golden. As is the rest of the advice. Oh, and we have several transformers around here. But only the kind that a dummy can transform (aka me). My oldest was obsessed with transformers about 15 years ago and they were all IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSFORM. We are talking 1700 steps that required an instruction manual that was usually missing words (pre-youtube videos here for you youngsters). I loathed them and would beg him to just enjoy them in ONE FORM (which defeats the whole purpose, I guess). So we can play transformers as long as you don’t make fun of my one click quick transform kind.

  9. Thank you for all you do and have done, Josh! We often reference you in our VO Accountability Group, so know that you are valued and appreciated. Take care!

  10. Your blog has been an education and entertainment. We’ll done! 300 is a huge accomplishment. A great time to rest on you laurels. Or a chair, whichever you prefer. Isn’t a laurel a tree? Don’t rest in trees. I did this once and fell asleep, with the predictable result.

    1. *writes reminder to self to look up definition of laurels* The only Laurel I really know is the one that was friends with Hardy!

      Seriously, thank you for being my Hardy, and for all your encouragement and fantastic writing. You’re one of the good ones. 🙂 Blessings, my friend!

  11. Hey, these math skills are exactly why I talk to myself in a padded room all day. 😉

    I do like to occasionally pitch in, though, and say that it IS possible to charge industry rates on sites where you can set your rates or bid appropriately. My rates are consistent with GVAA guidelines wherever I’m at. Yes, I double-check my math, and to all those crispy math teachers who said I’d never be able to use a calculator out in the wild, NEENER NEENER. LOL

    Anyhoo, absolutely, avoid anywhere or anyone who tries to take that control out of your hands, but if it’s a site where you can set your rates or bid appropriately and educate as to why your price is set the way it is, do it! Help RAISE the bar back where it belongs, instead of missing out on some potentially fun, awesome, worth-while and perfectly reasonably priced projects. Where’s my Mary Poppins bag when I need it?

    And I feel like I missed out on Transformers in favor of Thundercats, so all I ever ended up with were a couple of knock-off Go-Bots. Man, I had to dig pretty deep through the ol’ memory banks for that one, thanks for the trauma – I mean memories! 😀

    1. OMG, so I remember my first Gobot, Cy-kill, the motorcycle robot! I never could figure him out, and he was always a little bizarre. Potter against a Semi, Optimus Prime always rode right over him. Memories!!!

  12. 300 blogs! Great achievement, Josh! Time to conquer a different mountain, which I’m sure you’ll do, with or with Transformers in hand. Looking forward to seeing you around … somewhere … even if not on Facebook. Remember the number of people who applaud you are far more numerous than the nasty detractors, so don’t let the down and dirties dampen your spirit. See you ’round, friend!

    1. Lol – I’m not entirely sure of that, but OK. I know where that sentiment comes from, and it’s from a good heart: yours. Thank you for your support and encouragement, my friend! I’ll keep reading and commenting on yours. Keep it up.

  13. Congratulations on 300 Josh! You’re WONDERFUL! You’re the BETTHHHTT! Great advice as always, and always entertaining.. as always.. by in which I mean all the time… and by that I mean each time… every time I listen… always.

  14. your not blogging anymore josh?? well miss ya my friend! Sorry to hear you are needing a break again, but, let us know if theres anything we can do. ENJOY your time off! 🙂 🙂

    1. You are very sweet, Kris. Thank you for taking the time to reach out. Just need to push the ol’ reset button. Thank you for your understanding and may you be utterly successful!

  15. Congratulations on the 300th blog post, Joshua!

    A remarkable achievement indeed!

    I hope you gave yourself a whole hour of vacation time (because it always seems to me that you do more in a day than any person realistically can… so an hour to you must feel like a week to everyone else – eh… thank you for reading my lame explanation to my lame joke. 😀

    Keep the posts coming… I’ll be here for the next 300, even if I don’t comment on each and every one.

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