Imagine you walk into your neighborhood dollar store.
My beloved go-to for movie candy and art supplies, FYI.
You walk into your local George Washington General Store and you select the shiny object of your inexpensive dreams, a tinsel tiara, say, a bouncing balloon ball, or what have you.
When you head up with your object to pay, you search through your pockets but come up with three shiny quarters. Only. And no other cash.
You politely offer your three quarters to the cashier but as it is a DOLLAR STORE, the employee declines your kind offer. They suggest you tuck it behind the counter and come back for it when you have that greenback in hand.
No big deal, right? You shrug and vow to come back. No hearts broken, no souls forever ruined.
YET, when it comes to negotiating payment for creative service, this simple transaction of goods (shiny object) for value (the elusive dollar of this story) becomes oh so personal.
Say for instance a local nonprofit wants to spotlight your genius at their annual gala, just you, a crowd of hundreds, and maybe some free food. Sounds amazing, yes?
Forget all those years training your skills!
Banish those hard earned instincts to the back of the mental closet!
Deny all those years rehearsing and not hanging out with your non-creative friends!
Suddenly, the mighty talented creative who is so fabulous that someone wants to HIRE THEM stands reduced to a child waiting to be noticed by their mom at the end of the first day of kindergarten.
But when it comes time to ask for value in hand (remember that cashier insisting on the dollar as payment?), Creatives tend to shrink and hide their asking price behind a sense of not being worth it.
The dynamic changes from a simple transaction of object/services for value into one of value for value. Suddenly, the creative spirit wants to discover their value by what the nonprofit/casting director/buyer might offer.
Imagine instead coming from a place of already having value (like the cashier at the dollar store who knows their stuff is worth a dollar) and simply stating how much the object/service is worth.
The price is what it is, it’s not personal.
- Yet how often have you failed to mention your asking price and left a gig with nothing or maybe some leftover food?
- How often have you asked for less than you wanted because being told it was too high was *just *too *scary?
- How often has the value being offered been internalized as YOUR worth?
But, my dear creative, does the dollar store employee feel like their worth is diminished when you walk away without your shiny object?
They know that when you are ready to buy…..you will be back.
Now you might argue that a dollar store delight is way, way different than the creative shuffle we all hustle every day. Too many artists, not enough jobs, blah blah.
But, my clever friend, you can also buy beautiful shiny objects anywhere. Arguably ones that last longer and might even not break before you get them home.
But why then does the dollar store and its siren call of value remain the destination location for fun?
Because it is the price you want to spend for the value you want to buy.
The fact that you don’t have the dollar YET is not the problem.
You know what you want and you want it now. Even if it’s not yet in the budget.
So to return to our nonprofit who is slavering to hire you, they too might just want your special magic but not quite have it in the budget for your unique brand of something.
If you quote a price that’s outside their price range, they will let you know. They won’t be mad. They won’t be offended. They will know they simply can’t yet pay for what they want.
But better believe they will be back when they do have that money in hand.
Because you, my dear creative, are worth it.
Carry on, rockstars!
~~Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies! Can’t wait to share my next blog post next Friday, same bat time, same bat channel. ~~There is life outside of the spreadsheet!! ~ Rhianna Basore