Knowing your Value
The "v" word is is one that is often used during Floco conversations; between Erica and I, in emails to our creative peers, and in meetings with our "test" clients. It's one of the very first buzz words we used when we sat down diagramming this crazy thing we were doing. The idea of value, monetary or personal, is a powerful one. It's something that creatives really struggle with (hi, my name is Caty, and I'm raising my hand). Whether it be dealing with this internal, annoying perfection complex, or being totally confused about how much to charge for your hand-stitched leather bag that took you 12 days and two hours of sleep to make. You don't have to feel like shit about what you're doing or constantly worry about how much you're worth. Really and truly. Let's take a look at how we can make this better, shall we?
What you are doing is valuable.
Do you blog about crazy life as a young mom? Are you creating this awesome product that could potentially be used by an entire profession? Do you spin hand-dyed yarn and want to sell to makers? Cool. What you are doing is valuable. Not because I'm telling you that it's valuable, but because if this passion stirs up something that makes you want to change the world in even the teeniest of ways, it is valuable. People feed off of passionate energy, and the more you recognize and acknowledge your value, other people will too. Don't be afraid to get their attention and make whatever this is a real thing.
You get to determine the monetary value of what you do.
Let's face it: if you are a budding creative business owner, you probably never learned much about business during your arts education. Nobody said "this is how much you should charge per hour as a graphic designer" or "you should sell your hand-woven table linens for this much". Like, I'm sure there may have been suggestions along the way from people in the field that you met a few times, but did we really ever have a clue about how to price things or what to charge for our time and skills? Probably not. So, when we get into the real world and we're living off PB&J's and everything starts seeming really expensive, we start asking ourselves, "who the fuck would pay for my shit?" This is normal, and this is real. This is also the easy way out. Don't get stuck here! Just like what you are doing is valuable because you decide that it is, you are also allowed to determine how much and how often you are getting paid to do what you love. I'm not saying it's okay to throw together a half-assed piece of work and charge a million dollars for it. What I am encouraging is that you really evaluate the time and money spent on what you're doing, and then put a solid, appropriate price tag on it. A little market and competitive research doesn't hurt in this area, but ultimately, you call the shots here. Every time.
Here's the thing: knowing your value and being valued are different things. This can be a little tricky. Sometimes, you've got to make moves to be valued by your market. That's why Erica and I started Flourish, to help and encourage creatives to make those moves. You are always allowed to call the shots on your business and your money (get it, girl). If you know how awesome you are and someone else doesn't (potential client, buyer, boss, shitty boyfriend) it's either a. on you to show them that value because you've obviously got it in you or b. you say deuces and move on to something so incredibly wonderful that these people will be pissed they missed out. We all deserve something wonderful, amirite?