Know Your Value

On Knowing Your Value

A big part of making the step into self-employment and starting your own business in general is knowing what you’re worth. All too often I see artists and aspiring creatives pricing their work and their skills for much less than they are worth. Pricing your work and figuring out what to charge for a certain project can be one of the most difficult aspects of the self employed artist. Underpricing your work is not only harmful to yourself, but it also negatively affects the market because it lowers the value of the work around you. If you keep your pricing at a healthy rate with maybe just a slight competitive edge, it raises the value of the artist’s community as a whole.

Tips for pricing and knowing the value of your work:

  • Account for cost of materials as well as overhead. Know how much your supplies cost, what your overhead is such as rent, utilities, the gas it takes to get to the post office, how much it will cost to ship, and how much the packaging and shipping materials cost per item.
  • Be realistic about how long it took you to make something and charge for your time to be a liveable wage. This includes brainstorming the idea as well as the actual production time. Don’t discount your time because you love to do something. If you are an artist, the community as a whole needs you to be an important component to our modern day culture, don’t act like what you do isn’t important to society because art is a huge part of innovation and helping people to think outside the box, and therefore create change and progress in all aspects of our society.
  • Know your value at wholesale and retail prices. If you are selling a product or small runs or artwork, you want to be able to approach small businesses and boutiques that will want to sell your items at higher prices than what they bought them for.  The general rule is that wholesale is half of retail, so take your numbers from the previous two tips, and that is your wholesale price, multiply that by two, and that is your retail price. Don’t sell yourself short.

This topic can go on and on, but these are the basics, and remember, it’s not about being greedy or finding fame, it’s about being able to create change in your community by offering creative and innovative services.  It’s important to build growth in your own community so that it can have living and working artists that contribute to society as a whole.  So on that note, let’s make 2014 and the coming years the New Renaissance! Keep working, growing, becoming inspired, and finding new solutions to our communities’ issues.

// Staying Focused //

dream catcherIt is very easy in this day of booming technology to get distracted while we are trying to create or when we are supposed to be working in our studio or on our creative business ventures. I found a few tips that help me keep my projects on track and my mind on the tasks at hand.

  • Eliminate Distractions

I like to turn off my WiFi connection when I’m recording new music because not only does it boost my processing speed, but also every time I try to click on that little Internet Icon, it prevents me from getting lost in the vastness of the world wide web. It also gives me a little visual cue of “oh right, I turned that off for a reason, I’m supposed to be working on this other thing right now.”

  • Develop Self Awareness

Those who know me know I can seem a little spacey at times. I’m a dreamer, I day dream a lot through out the day and I’m sure while it has helped me immensely with developing new ideas, it’s important to be aware of where your mind is and be able to snap back to reality and the project in front of you in an instant. Maintaining focus and a mindfulness for the present moment is like training your brain as if it were a muscle. This is a difficult skill to learn, but gets easier over time the more you practice at it. The trick is to develop a self awareness that allows you to notice when you are drifting off into dreamland.  Once you are able to recognize when you aren’t staying in the moment, it’s possible to re-direct your thinking back to your productivity.

  • Don’t Force It

Know when it is not the right time. If you are just not in the right zone or frame of mind, chances are the things you create won’t turn out to reflect your vision. Sometimes you can jog this by taking a walk or stretching for a bit, but by all means take a night off and use it for something else like brain storming or meeting up with your friends or colleagues to discuss your next projects.   There is a healthy balance in pushing yourself and your creations, and maintaining a lifestyle that allows you to stay uplifted and take time to enjoy the finer things in life – such as friendships, long walks with your dog, thrift shopping & perfume sample collecting. ; )

How to Get the Most Out of Your Creative Work

creative space“Creative work” has always seemed like an oxymoron to me. There is a fine line between solely going with the flow, and trying to wrangle out creative ideas on a regimented schedule.  Making visual art or music has to come naturally to me, or it seems too forced and we can often tell when ideas don’t arrive organically. Something that helps me pump out creative work on a regular basis is making sure the conditions of my environment are conductive for creative thought.

Five Tips on How to Do it::

  • Get organized
It’s not necessary to have a big mess in order to be a creative type, often times our mess works against us and our flow.  Having supplies stocked, tools where you can find them, and a dedicated space or surface to create your art helps you go right into your flow without having to look through everything every time you need to find something.
  • Make it inviting / inspiring
Make your creative space a place you want to be in.  I personally love multicolored changing lights to put me in the zone, and a bulletin board on the wall for snippits of favorite images or sketches of upcoming series.  Decorate your walls with art by your favorite artists or designers, or with art you make yourself.  Having visual cues around you to remind you of your vision and goals will help create an inspiring atmosphere.
  • Take Care of Yourself
This seems like it shouldn’t need to be said, right? But you’d be surprised how many aspiring creative people, myself included, that take this area of life for granted.  All that stuff you need to do for regular life maintenance, really needs to get done. This includes household chores, eating well, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep, also throw in some relaxation time and bubble baths or meditation. Keeping all of the basics in check will help you create an environment conductive to productivity and keeping your mind clear and ready to create!
  • Dedicate Yourself and Your Time
Have set blocks of time that you can dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.  Do whatever it takes to follow through.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you if necessary.  I like to have ongoing lists of the next small steps I need to take to get achieve my goals, that way when I am getting back to my creative zone, I know exactly what needs to be done and very little time is spent wondering what to do next.
  • Perfection is Not the Goal
Perfectionism is a great way to never finish anything. Aim for your “personal best” instead.  I like to make something as best that I possibly can, but at some point you just have to stop and the piece has to be completed. Knowing when something is “done” can be one of the hardest things to learn, but if you know that you’ve given it your best there isn’t anything else you can do. Plus, your “best” will become better with time and practice.

∆ welcome! ∆

∆ welcome! ∆

This is a space dedicated to my arts and crafts, music projects and events, as well as advice on how to thrive in your creative business ventures. Check back here for the latest releases by yours truly or my colleagues based out of the Milwaukee arts and music scene, or to get a glimpse behind the scenes of my creative process.

xoxo,
luxi ❤

-1