Skip to content

It’s okay to want to make money

So often creatives talk about feeling a bit dirty about asking for money for their work. They feel almost like it’s wrong to want to make money – it’s selling out, or it’s taking money from people, or their work doesn’t feel like work so it feels wrong to charge for it.

Is that you?

The value of creative work is hard to quantify, more than if you’re selling a product. If you’re selling a ‘thing’, you know the wholesale cost, you know your overheads, you know what you want your profit margin to be, and you probably know what similar things go for, so it’s easy enough to set a price.

But there is value. Your work is valuable. And it doesn’t matter if creativity comes easily to you, if you love it, or you feel called to do it.

Your work is still helping people solve a problem. They need your photos to make themselves look professional, or their products look irresistible, or make their memories tangible. Or they need your design to make their business stand out and show their clients what they’re about. Or they need copywriting that entices and persuades, that tells a story and makes the customer the hero. Perhaps they need artwork to commemorate something, or make their place feel like a home, or a commissioned piece that means everything to them.

That’s not something just anyone can do. All that time you’ve spent learning your skills, finding your style, figuring out what makes your work yours, that’s worth it. I promise it’s worth it to your clients.

What that means for you

  1. Don’t be willing to work for free – whether it’s a ‘sample’ project, work for ‘exposure’, or through scope creep. Charge a decent rate for your work (unless you’re offering to help in exchange for testimonials or to practice a new skill)
  2. Send your invoices on time.
  3. Chase up unpaid invoices – do not shrug your shoulders and quietly be annoyed. Make sure your clients pony up.
  4. Stick to your agreed scope of work/number of hours, and let the client know that anything over and above is chargeable.
  5. Keep an eye on your rates and expenses. Raise your rates as necessary (this is especially important if you charge by the hour – don’t let yourself get paid less because you can do your work faster!)

Your business is there to support you and your life. Aren’t you privileged to have skills that let you make a living and enjoy doing it?