Give Yourself a Raise

You must make money, enough money to keep the dream alive (and your spouse and parents of your back). Far too many talented and creative people had to quit and give up because they were not able to make enough money to keep pursuing their dreams. Having to pay the bills and constantly not having enough money to do so killed their motivation For this (creative life) to work we need some money coming in. Where does it come from for the creative person? That is the beauty of it. There are all kinds of ways to boost your bottom line and bring in bucks other than straight salary. There are royalties, licensing agreements, speaking fees, product sales, consulting, teaching, advances, endorsement deals, and so on. There are also some straightforward ways to make you money, make more money, inclusing savings, investments, real estate, stocks, things that generate income).  We want to focus our energies and money on things that will make us more money without having to work for it. Right?

The goal is to make moe doing what we enjoy. That said, why not try to get the most you can for yourself? To do that, you must value your time (and energy) enough to demand that you get paid what it is worth (usually more than what they are offering) and seek out higher paying opportunities, because you put a price on the time you are trading for your wages. You wan more so that you can work less! (many creative people make enough to take large blocks of time off after a project. Would that not be nice?) You want to be able not only survive but to thrive. To make enough so that you can actually start to save, pay off your debt, travel, work on pet projects, relax, and most of all, have peace of mind. Many times these take creative approaches; other times it is just putting in the time and doing whatever you have to do to make a buck.

To me, freedom has always been and will always be my number one goal. I also realize that to achieve this you need two things, one of which is money. (the other is the heroine’s journey story you tell yourself of making choices that lead to freedom). I could write a whole book about freedom (i did in fact) because it is that important. I believe that is what every artist wants (that and a lot of love for their work and for them). The freedom to choose how you spend your time, what you work on, how you go about that work, and where and when (and how) it is displayed and distributed is HUGE. Money is more than a little important in making it happen.

Start thinking about things that generate money. Do good work of course, but become money oriented. There were times when I would work for next to nothing because I wanted the chance to show people what I could do. Maybe it was to get love or make others happy. Who knows?  When I finally realized I was giving up a lot more than I should, time I could have used for things that pay, having to work harder and longer just to be where I wanted to be I wondered why I was exhausted as well as angry and bitter. What was once fun had begun to be a burden. I was overwhelmed with work that was not paying nearly enough (and sometimes nothing at all). I finally said enough is enough. I realized I have limited amounts of time.  At first is hard to put a price on a creative project, because each piece is unique, each business is unique. But once you know what your time is worth it becomes earlier. You may still underbid, because as a rule, right brainers chronically underestimate time. I started to keep a time log and a cost log for each project. Then I charged for time plus costs. Simple. I am also realistic. Not everything we do we get paid for (promotion),but that is an investment in US. There should still be a payoff. Is it high enough? Is it worth your time? Remember you have a limited amonut of time and what you give away can’t be used for things that pay. Or you find you have no time to promote yourself. Why not? Your time and income are linked.

It motivates you to have a specific incoome or earnings target to shoot for. It gets you off your ass and pushes you to work harder and ask for more when you are gooing for a goal. I looked at all kinds of ways to make my goal, including collecting past due invoices, charging more for expenses, negotiating better deals, and selling books at the back of the room to attendees. I concentrated more on my income and ways to build it up and looked for things I could add on that would generate cash. This included things like encouraging existing customers to buy more, bundling items together and raising rates. I also started focussing on profits and not just sales.

Creative people usually are uncomfortable admitting they want to make money and even more reserved about asking for it. They don’t see their worth, so they either don’t try to make enough or are ashamed if they make too much. Ever notice how nobody talks about what they make? There is nothing to be ashamed of if your paychecks are big or small (it is how you use it that counts). But isn’t bigger better?