You might want to sit down and grab a coffee while you are at it. Or well whatever your poison. I want to share something with you about being creative and then being a business owner. Believe it or not, not all creatives are good at business. No offense but let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge the fact that creatives are the most underpaid professionals. And you want to know where the heck that all starts? We do not value our gift to create something from absolutely nothing. Now we’re not gods, but if you think about the fact that everything in the room you are sitting in right now, was created by someone. Without creative minds, none of it could exist.
Now we could go down the unnecessary lane of evolution and cognitive adaptability but I would like to think of it as the simple truth - creativity is an incalculable value. Creativity is this ability of unlimited thinking, problem-solving, and at most visually evoking skills. Yet, the biggest thing that most creatives struggle with is our inability to put a decent numerical value to it. Not because it is incalculable but because we do not value it. So we take that underhanded, discounted, negotiated payment because we do not see or perhaps do not understand our value.
So the next thing you are going to tell me is “ but, Michaela, the industry is so saturated and competitive.” And I am going to tell you, “ So what!. Who cares because you shouldn’t”. And yes, it sounds short-sighted and naive but some of the greatest revolutions were based on that narrative. You see, I am not speaking to the industry as a whole, I am referring to you, the creative reading this. Where is your value? Do you not value your art, your workmanship? Do you not value yourself?
This great quote says, ‘ No one is you and that is your power.’ Similarly, your creativity is your own and that is where your value lies. So stop discounting unbearably low prices and accepting that it is what it is.
No this is where the business part comes into play, where your skill value and income meet. The single most common reason why creative businesses are depleted within the first year is that there was not enough income/sales to sustain - wait for it - The business and its owner ( if you are a solo entrepreneur) and staff. We need to separate ourselves from our businesses. It is challenging but there are three core benefits of it.
1. You don’t have to split your cost between you and your business overheads.
2. You as the person is not affected by the outcome of your business. It doesn’t feel like a personal matter.
3. Well, you get to call yourself a business owner, because that is how entrepreneurs think.
I built a business and brand that helps startups see the value in what they offer and I am passionate about educating and empowering startups to have a better chance of existing in their
first business year. But for my fellow creative, take this from what I have said, find your value and stick with it and for goodness sake... STOP OVERDISCOUNTING YOUR WORK!