How to be Okay with Charging What You’re Worth

finance May 13, 2021

Unpacking the emotional struggles of setting prices as a creative

When it comes to business, the #1 challenge most creatives face is the mental game of charging what you’re actually worth. 

There are, of course, two ways to think about pricing your work. One is a more left-brain, logical, numbers-and-reality-based assessment of what you should charge for your creative services.

But as creatives, we don’t always think in all numbers. 

So let’s take some time to really unpack the emotions and feelings we have associated with money and worth. And if you want to go even deeper,  we break down these restricting emotions further in this workbook which you can download for free.

From Taking to Giving

It’s understandable that charging what your worth is--excuse the pun--emotionally taxing…

Just charging for your creative output feels inherently weird… like asking people to pay you for being yourself.

Not to mention the imposter syndrome that plagues many creatives with intrusive thoughts like, “Who would pay that much money for my work?” or, “There are so many more talented artists out there…” or, “No one will take me seriously.”

So it can take some mental gymnastics to actually feel worthy of charging anything -- let alone charging enough to build a sustainable income that enables you to actually build a livelihood in the field you’re passionate about.

Our awesome and amazing money guru and instructor at Parsons Entrepreneur Academy, Andi Smiles, calls this money mistake “internal reactive pricing.” And you are not alone with these feelings.  

For most artists, shame can come up around the thought of money, setting prices, and establishing fees… 

But if you shift that from a mindset of taking to a mindset of giving, you can start to become more confident in receiving money. 

When you create art or perform a creative service for your clients, you are giving something that only you can give. There are no creatives out there who do what you do quite like you do it. Your work is enhancing their life, bringing joy, or helping them solve a problem. 

If you’re a painter, your paintings will spark a smile every day they wake up and see the bright colors adorning the wall of their breakfast nook. If you’re a photographer, your images will spark imagination or recount precious memories for years to come. 

Think about value, not dollars-per-hour

To avoid the uncomfortable issue, a lot of creatives look to how other people price their work or industry standards for pricing. 

Those can be helpful guidelines to take into account… but they can also be restricting and downright exhausting. 

Because competition is high, many creatives are using race-to-the-bottom pricing just to stand out and get business, causing industry standard pricing to drop to a point where it is no longer sustainable for you as a creative business owner. 

So how do you comfortably ask for a price that makes sense for you?

Start thinking about VALUE instead of the trading-dollars-for-hours, or hourly rate mindset. 

So while you might not feel comfortable charging $30 for an album…  

You can confidently ask for $30 for an album experience that includes an acoustic cut, downloadable phone backgrounds, and an invitation to a secret online performance and hangout sesh. 

None of those things cost you any more to create. But the VALUE they bring to your customers makes the higher price tag worth it. 

It takes practice

Just like anything, being able to confidently charge what you’re worth takes practice. 

At first it will be uncomfortable - and that’s okay! Sit with that discomfort and ask yourself why you’re feeling that way. Why are you doubting yourself? What are you afraid of? 

Each time you make a sale or close a client it will become easier and easier. The more you see customers and clients saying “Yes!” the more you will realize that yes, you ARE worth that much. 

Being able to recognize your own worth is something we all need to transform within ourselves, if you want to be able to truly honor your muse, and serve your community and the world at your highest capacity.

And once you get over that hurdle, you’ll not only be able to alleviate a significant amount of stress, thereby freeing yourself up creatively…

You’ll also be able to have a greater impact with your work, and with your choices in life.

 If you know you to do a little more work with yourself on recognizing your own worth as a creative, we put together this ebook to help guide you down the path of money confidence.  Just click here to download it for free.

Click here to download your free ebook

Meet the author:

Addison Rice is songwriter, producer, digital marketing strategist, direct-response copywriter, and entrepreneur. He lives nomadically in a converted school bus with his wife/bandmate, Jahnavi - travelling the country and making music while he helps musicians and creative entrepreneurs build businesses around their art. 

You can find out more about Addison and his various projects at AddisonRice.com and listen to his band, The Love Sprockets, and check out their bus life at TheLoveSprockets.com.  Or, simply, follow him on instagram @hurricane.addison. 

The Parsons Entrepreneur Academy--Powered by the Parsons School of Design--is an online platform dedicated to helping creative professionals learn and master the business side of their professions. We provide community, mentoring and courses created for and by people in the creative fields.  Sign-up for our emails and learn how to turn your art into a business.

Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.