Archives for January 2014

On Pricing Mindset: How Much Do You Value Your Own Creative Work?

One of the greatest challenges we face as creative entrepreneurs, especially in the early phase of our business journey, is finding clients and customers who value what we do and who will pay us a fair sum for our work.

The thing that’s so insidious when you’re first starting out – whether that’s in the beginning of your creative career altogether or in the beginning of taking your thing online – is that the offer of online or other “exposure” in exchange for illustration, graphic design, photography services, interior design advice, or in my case, copywriting, almost seems like the smart thing to do. (And let’s be honest, in some cases, it is.)

We’ve all had people try to finagle us into providing our creative work for next to nothing, or even worse, for free.

This blog post is not about how to price your creative services – you can get plenty of great advice on that topic by Googling “how to price creative services” (which will return in the neighborhood of 136,000,000 results). I suggest you read through some of those articles if you’re struggling with pricing.

No, today’s post is about your mindset around the value of the creative services you provide.

I have two things to share on that topic that can help you think of the value you offer through your creative talents in a bigger and bolder way – something much more expansive than some arbitrary hourly rate multiplied by the time it took you to create your work.

Take a quick peek at the two short articles below – they helped me crystallize my value in a way that makes it much easier to both turn down low-ball offers for my services, and to say “no” to providing my hard-earned skills and experience for free or next-to-nothing in exchange for so-called “exposure.”

This first short piece comes from a custom furniture maker named C. H. Becksvoort who often gets asked why his prices are “high.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Visitors to my shop & showroom sometimes ask why my prices are so “dear.” There are several responses, and the list keeps growing: 1) When you invest in my furniture, you are buying 2-6 weeks of my life. 2) You are availing yourself of five decades of experience in joinery, wood technology, restoration, and design. 3) You are investing in a green product, made of sustainably harvested wood from Kane Hardwoods (in operation since 1858); a product that will outlast the next generation. 4) Buying quality once is always cheaper than buying cheap, and having to replace it 4 or 5 times. Most of what you see at big box stores will be in the land-fill within 5 years. You are supporting the local economy, handmade in the U.S. A. 5) Each of my works are built by me, from raw stock, one at a time, to suit your specific requirements. No two pieces I have ever made are exactly the same. The hand of the maker is always in evidence. Most folks think that “custom” means getting the body color, engine size and audio system you desire, not realizing that your “custom” vehicle is one of at least 3,000 just like it on the road.

From years of restoring furniture for the last Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake, ME, my motto has always been, “Not how cheap can I make it, rather, how good can I make it.” C. H. Becksvoort © 2012

How brilliant is that?

This second piece is from a published author who often gets asked to provide writing at no cost. If you’ve ever been asked to provide your creative talents for free in exchange for “exposure,” this will resonate deeply with you. Really funny stuff too, by the way.

Check it out here:

Slaves of the Internet, Unite!

Next time you’re having doubts about the value of your creative products or services, I hope you’ll remember these two pieces of wisdom.

Have thoughts on the topic of pricing and the often thorny issue of exchanging your creative talents for dollars? Leave them in the comments section below and let’s compare notes. : )


Can Copywriting Principles Work for Visual Artists?

image by Clarita

image by Clarita

Recently I received an email from a subscriber who had just downloaded my Creative Rebel Guide to Writing a Client-Attracting About Page and thought it was “just fantastic!,” to use her words.

But there was a small problem.

She mentioned that as a visual artist and not a service provider, the suggestions in the guide wouldn’t really work for her, because, as she said, “I don’t offer solutions to peoples’ challenges or other services like design or advice.” 

Here’s the thing, though.

Anyone selling anything, online or elsewhere, can benefit from using tried-and-true copywriting and marketing principles to win clients and buyers, and make sales.  It all starts with getting clear on who your ideal buyers are – whether they are collectors, clients, customers or whatever you call them in your world based on what it is you provide – and what they want.

Because I know there are other visual artists out there who struggle with how to apply copywriting and marketing principles in their business, I thought I would share my response to this lovely reader so those of you in the same position can start thinking of how you can do the same:

Thanks for getting in touch, and thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it!

Let me just say I still think you could adapt the advice in the Creative Rebel Guide to Writing a Client-Attracting About Page to your work as a fine artist.  Once you get clear on why your clients buy art from you, you can tap into that to write your About page. [And any other copy on your website.]

Mainly, the advice in the guide is about focusing on your clients and customers in your website copy and on what they are seeking, then positioning yourself as someone who can deliver that to them. You are delivering the *experience* of art to them, and they will have all kinds of motivations for buying art from you, so the key is to figure out what those motivations are and tap into that in your website copy.

So although you create fine art, that IS the solution some people are seeking — they want to experience beauty, or create a beautiful home – and fine art is part of that – or maybe they collect art because it makes them feel “special.”  There can be many motivations for why people buy your work, and if you can home in on what those reasons are, you can write your About page, or any other copy on your website, to focus on those needs and emotional drivers in a way that really connects with your ideal clients and customers.

I hope this makes sense, and I wish you the very best of luck!



So, for you fine artists and other visual artists out there, what are your thoughts? What has your experience been with using copywriting and/or marketing principles to attract clients or collectors and sell your work? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let me know in the comments!

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