TEDxSacramento 2013 from Jody Mak on Vimeo. If you follow my blog, you know what a HUGE Ted fan I am. It was an exciting and motivating experience to attend a live conference.
- College life begins at 7: Tanishq Abraham at TEDxSacramento
- Reducing fear of birth in U.S. culture: Ina May Gaskin at TEDxSacramento
- Mistakes were made on purpose: Brent Knopf at TEDxSacramento
- What I want to be when I grow up: Daniel Orey at TEDxSacramento
- Why I wear a patch: Sandi Selvi at TEDxSacramento
If you ever get the opportunity, GO!
Don’t worry how you’ll get there! Just imagine yourself where you want to be!
“There’s no pay. Is that okay?”
If I were to hand a book editor my manuscript and say, “Can you please make this look good and fix my typos? But there’s no pay. Is that okay?” Or walk into a doctors office and ask for some free immunizations because I’m really awesome, but I just don’t have a budget for that. What are the odds of that happening? – April MacLean at TEDxUCRSalon
This is one of the biggest frustrations of working as a freelancer in a creative field.
If you are regularly doing work for very little or even negative amounts of money, it will seriously affect your motivation. You’ll end up being resentful.
Negative amounts of money are when you consider the cost of continuous education,supplies, software or other services the creative professional has to pay for in “money” in order to work. When someone asks, “Can you design ___________ for me? It’s a great opportunity but we can’t pay you. We don’t have a budget for that. Is that okay?” It’s actually costing you money to work.
If this is a business, you need to think of yourself as a business. 30% of what you make goes for taxes. Usually 50% covers the cost of expenses and you need to put 20% back into your business so you really only get to keep 10% as your earnings.
You have to be careful about giving your services away because if you don’t value your work, no one else will. Choose your clients wisely and don’t undercharge. You’ll not only devalue your work but you’ll devalue the work of professionals in your industry. Most of us know what our skill set is. We know our level of expertise and some of us are more skilled or less skilled than others because it takes time to develop and hone our skills. Charge according to your level of skill. I’ve given you a link to a book that will help you at the end of this article.
What is the disconnect that makes it okay for people to approach you and ask you to work for little to nothing?
It is a friendship killer. If you think about it.
I once created a website for a friend and ended up managing it and being responsible for it for over a year. She had no clue of the amount of time and effort that went into it and she never learned to take care of it herself. Her eyes would glaze over and she would pretend to be dumb when I tried to explain things to her.
When I finally quit, I was so angry and had so much resentment built up and that came across in my relationship. Because she didn’t value or understand what I had been providing to her, she handed over the site to someone who was not qualified to manage it and it sat stagnant. Untouched and unloved. Her business could have benefited so much more than it did. We both lost. I should never have taken it on as a favor. If she had paid the market price she would have understood the value and done the work she needed to do to make it worth the money.
I did not get any new business from referrals and I had to pay if I ate in her restaurant. I didn’t even get invited to the anniversary party to celebrate one year in business. Even though I was up until 5 am in the morning getting her site ready for her appearance on a local morning show to announce the opening of her business. It had no value. It was my fault for allowing it to happen and a lesson I learned through experience.
April MacLean explains that it is because they are not aware of the skill that’s involved. They just don’t know.
“This is a skilled, hard working set of individuals. The more we continue to downplay the work of the Arts (creatives), the more it is spilling into our culture, our communities, and our schools. Arts are being cut. It’s affecting the way children are creatively. It’s affecting their health. It’s affecting their problem solving and their comradery. And we’re sending a message that this is not a worthy thing to honor. I will pay a house cleaner $45 to come clean my house for two hours, but I will not pay you “creative professional” $45 for the months of work that you have put into bringing this piece to my stage.” Give Me Money: April MacLean at TEDxUCRSalon
I think that as creatives we are fueled by empathy and emotions in which many of us become people pleasers. People may have praised us early in life for our talents and abilities. We may have performed or painted the scenery for a theater production at our schools, made posters or showcased our photography. None were paying gigs. We did it because of our passion. Perhaps this is a way we have disconnected ourselves from viewing these skills to have monetary value.
What can you do?
Know that what you have to offer has value. Position yourself to attract the kind of clients who have budgeted for your services. Many of us get into a creative field because we are good artists, writers, etc. We may be talented at what we do, but there is the business administrative, financial and technical aspect to making a living as a creative freelancer. I am a right brain thinker and as such, I’m very creative. The technical part is difficult but is necessary. It’s a combination of skills that have been carefully thought out and practiced.
The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money: How to Think About It, How to Talk About it, How to Manage It is a great resource. “This book focuses on proven techniques and resources used by a wide range of successful creatives to manage their business finances. Expert advisers are interviewed on topics such as accounting, taxes, contracts and financial planning. Using examples, case studies, and real-life stories from actual creatives.”
Track your time spent on projects using tools such as FreshBooks. It’s a pain in the butt to log in and set the timer every time you make a change or complete a task, but the 6 minutes here and 10 minutes there add up! You need to deliver the client a status report to show them what you have been working on. This is a no brainer. Keeping a record not only helps you show the client the progress, it also helps you see the value you bring.
Update: This is a great article about ways to work with someone’s budget especially when they don’t have one.
You could just say, “NO!”
Are there people in your life that you feel the need to walk on eggshells around? Do you sometimes get a little irritated with friends, family or coworkers and feel guilty for standing up for yourself? Does the mere act of experiencing an angry emotion, or doing anything that will make you unpopular, fill you with remorse and guilt? Do you spend your life trying to be what others expect you to be or avoiding anything that would make you unpopular?
This video from TEDxBoulder 2012: Rethinking Unpopular by Erika Napoletano is enlightening and funny. Erika talks about how at an early age we’re taught to down our honesty knob and turn up the one on polite. “It’s no wonder that by the time we get to be adults, we can’t honestly tell anyone around us who we really are, what we love, and what we’re feeling.”
Sometimes we’re just too polite because we are afraid to be honest. We can’t seem to distinguish between real honesty and “bat-sh*t crazy.” I believe that when we’re not honest, we eventually become “bat-sh*t crazy.”
- Stop apologizing for being human. In other words, do it when you have a valid reason but not for every little thing that you think someone will find fault with.
- Be sincere, honest and true to who you are.
- Surround yourself with people who belong. Not everyone belongs in your circle. Don’t allow someone you wouldn’t be close with block you from expressing your authentic voice.
People who put up a good facade, appearing perfect….. well, they make me nervous because it feels like I have to live up to their expectations. Don’t you hate that?
And when I see beyond the face they show the world, and see their humanness, their vulnerabilities, and strength to be unapologetic for being human; I feel a connection.
Real, authentic, flawed, human, sincere, courageous, humorous, (I should add humorous X ten because laughter is the BEST!) Anyway…. you get what I’m saying.
I was raised in a passive aggressive family. You know, the angry smile?
Always be yourself.
Never try to hide who you really are…
The only shame is to have shame.
Never regret the past…
it is a waste of time.
There is a reason for everything.
Every moment of weakness….
Every terrible thing
that has happened to you.
Grow from it.
The only way you can
ever get the respect of
to show them
that you respect yourself.
And most importantly…
do your own thing and
never apologize for
being you. – Unknown
Being an introvert isn’t the same as being shy.
“Let your gratefulness flow into all of the blessings around you and then you’ll know, it was a good day.” Absolutely. ♥
Great stories come from what you are passionate about. Those feelings create a live wire of nervousness but can be rewarding if you touch someone with your words.
I found this video through Seth’s website. I hope you enjoy it. I did.
I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’ve often felt that it was not a good trait. I’m sensitive to my environment. I need to feel connected and at the same time it opens me up to the fear is so real that it shakes me in my boots. I have to work at having courage.
What I got from Dr. Brené Brown’s Ted Talk:
People who have worthiness are those who have a strong sense of love and belonging. They BELIEVE they are worthy. Whole hearted people live from a sense of worthiness.
Courage – Whole hearted. To Speak your mind with your heart. Courage comes from the latin word, Cour, which literally means “heart.”
Compassion – to be kind to themselves and others.
Connection – as a result of authenticity.
Fully embrace vulnerability. It’s not comfortable, but necessary. The willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. Willing to invest in relationships. Willing to be the first to say, “I love you.” “I’m sorry.” “Sharing a story from your life.”
How much of ourselves do we truly accept much less share openly and honestly?
Let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. Vulnerability is beautiful. Stop controlling and predicting. Leave your measuring stick behind. (This is me talking to myself.)
Shame, fear, worthiness, joy, creativity, belonging, love are all born out of vulnerability. These are what connects us. To be connected it takes courage to be imperfect.
We numb ourselves…. discharge pain and discomfort.
Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she has spent the past ten years studying a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the questions: How do we engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to embrace our imperfections and to recognize that we are enough — that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? Brené is the author of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power (2007) and the forthcoming books, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010) and Wholehearted: Spiritual Adventures in Falling Apart, Growing Up, and Finding Joy ( 2011).