How to charge more for your art and work in 2015.

Your art, whether you paint or do consulting, is worth more than you think.

How do I know? Because nobody values what they create enough.

The things we’re good at come naturally to us so we naturally make the mistake of thinking they aren’t worth money. I’m working on an idea about this very issue right now for all my artist and entrepreneur friends. In the meantime though, I didn’t want you to miss an amazing opportunity to charge more for the great stuff you create.

What’s the opportunity?

January 1st.

The changing of the year provides you a wonderful chance to raise your rates. I gave this exact advice to a writer recently who had been writing for a website for free.

I told him to email the site owner and say, “I’ve had a blast writing for you this last year and wanted to give you a heads up that with the new year I will be raising my rates. Do you have a budget for the writing I do?”

If they say no, be honest and admit the exposure you’ve been getting paid might not be worth it. Most of the time when we’re paid in exposure we don’t actually do the work of tracking to see if the exposure is real or fictional. Do you have blog traffic from that volunteer work you’re doing? Can you see other clients that have directly come via that exposure? Has your volunteer work opened up real opportunities you capitalized on not just fake someday opportunities?

If they say yes and that they do have a budget, the door is open. Talk to them about your rates.

If you don’t have many pre-existing clients, no one is going to notice you raised your fees for 2015. Just do it. (If you’ve got pre-existing clients that you grandfathered in at a low rate you don’t have to raise their fee but otherwise be brave. Also, if you have a cause you want to volunteer for, go for it. That’s a completely different dynamic.)

Don’t miss the chance to use the calendar as a great conversation starter.

Your work is more valuable than you think.

I promise.

  • David Mike
    Posted at 05:55h, 19 November Reply

    Out industry standard is about 10% a year to stay above inflation and still get a raise. Problem is most stylists feel guilty about charging more. If you lose a few clients over pricing, you will be okay due to the increase. Work smarter not harder.

    • Dara
      Posted at 10:14h, 19 November Reply

      I hear you David. I feel bad about raising prices for on my clients. It is something you just have to be brave about. The clients that like you will stay anyway…

    • William
      Posted at 11:00h, 19 November Reply

      Good point, David. Too many people don’t realize that if you double your rates, you can do half the work and get paid the same amount…

  • Brenda
    Posted at 10:05h, 19 November Reply

    A friend of mine connected me with someone who wanted to hire out some crochet work. When the client asked about rates, I had no idea what to say. I asked my friend, who told me I should charge a lot more than I thought I should ask for. I wasn’t even comfortable with the number! I went ahead and emailed that number to the client, expecting some negotiation, but instead she cut me a check no questions asked. It really helped me see my time and skill as valuable. Just because it’s easy and usually enjoyable for me doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, especially when other people do not possess my skill set.

  • Melody
    Posted at 10:19h, 19 November Reply

    So true! And it will result in plenty of of people walking away from you because they don’t value your work either, but the people who don’t are better to work with anyway.

    • Brandi
      Posted at 10:46h, 19 November Reply

      Well said.

  • 22044
    Posted at 10:28h, 19 November Reply

    This makes sense to me. Of course, I am neither an artist or entrepreneur, so my thoughts are pretty much just “intellectual”. Best wishes to those who would put the suggestions into practice. Your work is valuable!

  • Brandi
    Posted at 10:45h, 19 November Reply

    The ongoing battle of art being misunderstood and undervalued…

    Without artists the whole world would be boring and drowning in Comic Sans. Drowning in it, I tell ya! DROWNING!

    Thanks for the validation Jon!

  • Emily Carlton
    Posted at 11:41h, 19 November Reply

    Thanks for this post, Jon! Even when I raise my rates it’ hard to believe I’m worth that sometimes. Thank you for continual support of creators, speaking truth about their art and their value.

  • Josue Molina
    Posted at 12:16h, 19 November Reply

    I think we’ll be seeing this a lot. And it will be universally accepted — I hope. It’s close to 2015 for crying out loud, and I think free is over rated, to a certain extent. But yes, I’m tired of people who’ve been spoon fed with the “free” pudding to the point where they want our new music, movies, and books for free — and never considering the work put in to it. If we all get together with this mindset, and become the ideal client for others as well, we will change the world.

    • Debbie Mason
      Posted at 12:37h, 19 November Reply

      Hear hear! The constant struggle of artists. Everyone loves the work but few know the work it takes to create.

      Example: see the current Taylor Swift v Spotify news.

      • Josue Molina
        Posted at 09:49h, 20 November Reply

        There so many ways to look at her case. I mean, Spotify still pays — just not enough. And the whole $10 a month seems too similar to “free.”

        So listeners have the ability to tune in to unlimited stream for a small amount. Not bad.

        Another perspective, it’s sure better than piracy.

        I believe in artist making a living off of what they do. I don’t mind a “great” living. But once they think “deserve’ millions for their work…its just greedy. It’s not only selling music in this case, but your self in performance and etc too. This is when artist meets entrepreneur and thinking of creative ways to make a sustainable-wealthy living through diversification in their craft. But to sit back and relax thinking you deserve 1 million downloads for a 1.99 song on itunes as oppose to a deal with Spotify for unlimited streaming is ridiculous. I’m not defending Spotify. There are always other alternatives.

        I mean, this is great news for the indie, but terrible for the mainstream artist. They’re losing money, but the indie is finally getting noticed. Mind you, the indie does have the chance to go in to all marketplaces too (we finally got rid of the middleman).

        I mean, do you think its fair a $100 Million movies to be streamed via Netflix just for $10. No, but they pay, it’s better than piracy, and an alternative when all else fails in sales and marketing. So should Spotify put a cap to listening (like audiobooks)to compensate the artist more –maybe. Or would they up with so-so music or become a marketplace for indie (kinda like Netflix).

        My point. Not only should we increase our prices, but also build fans rather than listeners. Fans are the ones highly committed to buying rather than renting (the subscription model). Thats the only solution. And not only that, but try hard and discover other platforms to sell, service, or entertain to make profit. Putting your eggs in one basket hoping for stardom is an illusion.

  • Bump Galletta
    Posted at 13:20h, 19 November Reply

    Dec 31st I will be raising my prices, again. Thanks Jon. This has been a major confidence boost, and a help towards my dream.

  • Christina
    Posted at 13:51h, 19 November Reply

    I’m a private piano teacher. Raising rates is an ongoing discussion among our community. I’ll never forget the last time I raised my rates (by just $5/month – less than a 10% increase) and a mother emailed me saying, “It’s about time you get paid more! You’re still not charging enough, though.” Boy, was that an eye-opener! I was worried about losing students, but not one parent complained or dropped lessons. Since then, I’ve raised my rates by $5 every other school year.

  • Mark Lilly
    Posted at 09:07h, 20 November Reply

    That’s a great idea, Jon. And this is the best time to be planning for what changes to make in the new year (not during the holiday madness of December). I’m looking forward to charging what I’m worth in 2015 because I know I’ve been selling myself short.

  • Toni @ Debt Free Divas
    Posted at 09:10h, 20 November Reply

    Will. Be. Brave! Thanks for the motivation ..a.k.a kick in the pants.

  • Jonathan Carone
    Posted at 08:30h, 21 November Reply

    January 1 I start my dream of being a free lance designer for the global church and focusing more on writing. Super scary, but at least I can start out charging what I’ve been told I’m worth. It’s more than I would’ve charged on my own, but I’m at least going to start there.

  • KC
    Posted at 12:07h, 07 December Reply

    This is a great strategy, Jon. I’m working on a few things to release right around the New Year and am tempted to under sell them.

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