What if you could earn more money–in ⅓ the amount of time it currently takes you?
We all know that pricing is a sensitive, almost a taboo topic in the creative world – no one discusses their rates openly nor shares their findings. It took me 5 years to figure out the 3 layers of pricing. Upon realising this, I created a system with a set of actions to lower my workload and increase my earnings by 3x. (not a hoax)
The best news? It’s actually not that complicated once you approach it with an open mind, and I can set you free from these common myths and help you start earning more money in the next few minutes!
When the reality hits
Back in summer of 2017, I started my first small businesses. I sold custom-made bespoke stationery – primarily planners, which took me more than 30 hours to make. However, because I wanted to help as much people have their own dream planner, I made my offer accessible. So, I ended up pricing the planner at only £45/50eur/$USD60.
I thought I was successful – I was booked for months in advance! I was getting loads of sales and brilliant, positive reviews. Until one day, I realised I’m burning out. All of the fun and excitement started fading away. I was constantly overwhelmed and one day, I completely stopped enjoying what I was doing. I closed my business soonthere after – it was just turning 1.5 years.
After this experience, I started exploring how and why has this happened. Working as a business consultant the previous 2 years and with this small business behind me, I now know exactly what happened and how to help you avoid this.
My first step in finding out why I burnt out to the point of closing my extremely successful business was looking at what influenced it.
There are 3 parts to this story:
- The society
- Our mindset
- Our ego
The society – or, how we are conditioned to believe we are less worthy
You see, even now in 2020, art and creativity are still not accepted as a career in most of the modern society. Seeing how art and culture programmes are the first ones to be defunded by our governments, listening to our friends, family or acquiantesce how we should find a “real job” really does not help in making us feel like we are worth.
Additionally, we as women have additional setbacks in this space as the constant gender pay gap continues to show us that we earn less than men in the same positions. Similarly, we are much less confident than men so we tend to self-depricate and undervalue ourselves and thus, our work.
These two – well actually, three – facts are extremely important to keep in mind as they form the ground upon which we build our own self-worth and self-value.
Mindset – how we trick ourselves
The second part of the picture is a bit more personal.
What we believe about ourselves is playing a major role in how we decide to price our work.
This holds strong grounds in the values that our environment reflects to us, such as the ones described above. It is up to us how do we go from there.
Almost always, the default way is to believe the signals we get from outside – that we should be grateful for every sale we make because why would people even buy from us (so surprising), that we are greedy and selfish if we don’t do something for free or for an extremely low price, that our prices are just too high.
However, this doesn’t do us any good.
We need to start believing and opening our eyes to the transformation we bring to our customers. We are not only artists, creatives and designers.
Ego – and how it makes you blind
The final part of the picture is a big one, and I’d argue the most important one. Not being aware of its impact, we can blindside ourselves and lead us to burn out – just like I did to myself.
Here’s the truth – having sales feels good. We get dopamine hits every time we see a new sale on Etsy, when we get an enquiry for a commission or a nice review. Getting all those positive comments makes us feel like we are valuable, like our work is valueable to others.
Our ego is our strongest enemy. The only thing we see is the success we are getting – the increasing sales numbers. We can see that there’s absolutely no need in increasing our prices or changing anything whatsoever about our business! Why should we, when everything is going SPLENDIDLY WELL!
That right there is the ego trap. It makes us close our eyes and have tunnel vision. And it’s slowly but surely leading us into the overwhelm pit because in order to keep on selling, you will need to continue to produce more and more of new content.
Its much easier seeing a high number of sales and being happy about it, not worrying about anything else. Above all, it also looks better to the outside world – having 500 sales instead of 5.
However, when you decide that you want to have time for yourself, for your family, for other business ventures… you need to make a decision with yourself on what type of business do you want to build. And in my case, it’s a slow, sustainable, intentional business.
Having confidence in your business strategy
Upon realising this, I created a system for myself which I used in my newest creative small business – Franka Makes Patterns. I decided to hold myself worth to my standards and build an intentional, slow & sustainable business.
My prices, unlike with the planners, are now in the higher ends (£45/50eur/USD$60). And even though I don’t have a splashy sales numbers in the tens or thousands, my mere 5 sales equate to as if I had 15 sales at a lower price point, but without the consequences.
I went 3 times less to the post office. I spent 3x less time packing orders. I had 3x more time to do anything else I wanted to do.
Additionally, I have paid out every single expense of mine and already started making profit by just making those five sales I currently have.
What’s more, I have a 100% customer review 5-star rating.
I intentionally designed my business to have a slow growth, where I’ll nurture the relationships I have with my clients and grow steadily.
I decided to have confidence in front of society. I shifted my mindset into truly believing that my art is worth, as well as the value my it brings to others. I hold strong ground for this, even though my ego is trying to fight its way. But I know this is the right way – for me, and I reckon it’s the right way for you too.
Pricing artwork is such a complex topic, but at the end it all comes down to fighting your ego and believing in yourself.
What is your new business strategy?
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