How Much Should I Charge For My Work?
Well now, we’ve really come to the nub of it all, haven’t we… how much should I charge for this thing I’ve made or this service I provide?
This is a real world, physical reality, get with the program kind of question that pretty much everyone asks at various points in their creative career.
Small business people in all fields ask this question of themselves pretty much on a daily basis so you’re not unique.
I do too.
Weighing up the pros and cons of the of work, the people I’m working with, the likely terms of payment (it always varies), accessibility and so on, is vital.
I get a feel for the job and I go away and digest it all – sleep on it you might say.
Then I make a decision, or rather the decision is made for me.
You say; I’ve worked really hard to get where I am, I am skilled and I am talented and I want to get the best compensation I can for this.
We feel on one level deserving.
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But the thought behind the thought often says something different and dictates how much we’ll earn.
This Is A Mental Game
Yesterday I wrote about exchanging art for cash.
That piece spoke of The Artist’s Manifesto and the section towards the end of the document that dealt with creatives bringing their art to the world.
It spoke about how we should do whatever it takes to share our work with others.
That part is vital I’m sure you’ll agree, but if we carry a lesser idea of what we are worth around with us we’ll only ever get what we ask for in that mode.
Nature abhors a vacuum and a vacuum will always be filled to its extents, no more.
What vacuum are you creating in yourself from a worthiness perspective then?
This is a mental game between you and others and others will always respond to you in a way that you appear in thought, word and action.
Therefore the mental work is the real work.
There’s no pretending it, this thing, this feeling tone within us. It needs to develop and grow of its own accord, it can’t be forced.
We can’t decide today that we are worth €150/hr or €10,000/ creation when we were charging a fraction of that yesterday.
Something needs to shift internally.
So often the best approach is to increase it gradually, not to convince others, but to convince ourselves.
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Walking The Walk
Over the years I’ve met many poor executors of their work.
To be truthful, I’ve employed people who were poor craftsmen. Their poor workmanship was a direct reflection of my state of mind.
So I can’t be too critical here.
But what I will say is that on balance my overriding work ethic has been to always do the best job possible within the financial constraints of the job.
That bit is important too because some people just don’t want top quality.
In fact, many people just want average. So within the scope of your agreement, I suggest that you always bring your best standard.
If someone wants something below what you’re prepared to give, walk away.
If you are desperate for the work you might well take it on. Whatever it takes to pay the bills, right?
Well, if that’s you just don’t be surprised if those jobs don’t work out very well for you.
Many times I’ve compromised my standards for the sake of a few quid and lived to deeply regret it. State of mind here is everything.
If we decide to charge more than our counterparts then we need to deliver on that. Coming up short on quality and/or commitment just doesn’t cut it.
We’ve got to walk the walk.
I Can’t Tell You The Solution
If you are currently agonising over how much to charge for your work, I’m not sure I can offer you a solution.
My perspective tells me that mindset changes by itself. We can’t force it, so perhaps it is best to leave it alone.
The tendency seems to be that we continue to do those things that don’t serve us until we can’t take it anymore.
This is why new years resolutions don’t work.
They don’t come from a place of frustration and inner motivation to change our current circumstances. They tend to be frivolous.
Frustration seems to be a great motivator, although I don’t think it’s good to stay there.
Getting pissed off with being screwed by buyers and clients can certainly make us change our minds, there’s no doubt about it.
So, in summary, I don’t believe there is one solution to getting paid more for our work. The truth is we get paid what we ask for even if we verbally say we want more.
More often what we think deeply about with respect to our worth is what we actually get.