Money is a big source of anxiety for many people, not least self employed creatives. Currently (April 2022) we’re being bombarded with social media posts about fuel price increases and war which only add to the worry about earning enough money each month.
The collective scarcity consciousness is a tricky one to navigate and often other people’s views and opinions keep us stuck in the ‘starving artist’ zone where we literally work to exist, chronically undercharging because heaven forbid you make a profit.
I’ll stick my neck out here and say that I don’t buy into this BS. You are allowed to pursue a business and career doing what you enjoy AND make good money while you’re at it. You just have to give yourself permission to charge your worth.
Before I get into how to go about not just earning a living, but also making a profit, here are 7 signs you’re undercharging for your creative work:
- You know you need to up your prices but you’re afraid you’ll lose clients
- Routinely spending more than you earn
- Working seven days a week but still not getting everything done
- Shitty clients who don’t pay you on time
- Saying yes to any and every job that comes your way
- Feeling creatively unfulfilled
- Taking time off gives you massive anxiety
This was my reality for the first decade of my photography career. I was constantly busy, always working and yet struggling financially which made no sense on the surface given how busy I was.
The game changer for me was taking the time to price my work profitably (there’s a free guide to help you do this here) along with working out exactly who my ideal clients were, branding my business to appeal to a better caliber of clientele and going in the creative direction that lit me up. Setting creative and financial goals is the first step. If you know where you’re headed, you can make a plan to get there.
Remember, the only person who gets to determine your level of success is you and there’s no need to burn yourself out in the process of getting there.