There is yet another wonderful discussion going on over at AJ Marketing. Most of the people on the list are working artists, but I believe this topic applies to all of us as women, and is rooted in our self-esteem. How do we value ourselves AND our work or art?
I know I am at risk of saying something a bit unpopular here, but I am going to just state my opinion for what its worth. I am always open for debate as most of you know . When artist’s began using EBAY and ETSY to sell their work, I was actually horrified to see where the bids were starting. Some were as low as .99 and it broke my heart to see artist’s buying into the idea that "art is a hobby, and has no value." For some it may in fact be a hobby, but what about those of us who are making this our life’s work? As a coach, I honestly feel this is one of those topics I slay with my warrioress sword over and over. If this is what WE believe, the fallacy will continue to live in our culture-art as hobby, not to be taken seriously.
If each of us, really sat down and calculated the time, supplies and effort we have put into our work-no matter what that work is-we would never start a bid at .99 cents! This was one of my biggest transformations as both an artist and a coach. I did not value myself, my time, or my expertise, and so for a lot of my career I gave it away. Shame on me, but a truly valuable lesson once I realized that if I truly wanted to pay my mortgage and still have food in my fridge, I had to shift the starving artist/social worker mentality. I had to dig deep into the root of my own beliefs to see where this lived. When I did, I was able to heal this part of myself and step into my true value. Was it easy? No!
The first time someone called me for a t-shirt design after working with this gremlin, I was trembling inside. I had already decided what I was going to do when that next call came in, but a challenge had not arrived. Then…the phone rang. "I hear you do t-shirt designs." "Yes I do," I replied with quivering lower lip. "How much do you charge per design." "$$$$" I replied, and then proceeded to take a deep breath and hold it so I would not start saying my usual, "But if you can’t afford it, I am happy to lower the price to make it work for you…blah…blah…blah." The offer to discount, actually happened BEFORE the other person even had a chance to say yes or no! It felt like 10 minutes went by, as I stood there holding my breath, lips pressed hard together, so the discounting statement would not come tumbling out of my mouth, turning bluer and bluer in the face. It actually took the person exactly 20 seconds to make a decision- "Sounds great, he said. When can we meet?" My breath came rushing out as I set the appointment feeling like I had just slay-ed a major dragon. At that moment I realized that for so many years, due to a lack of self-esteem and fear that no one would buy my work, I was my worst enemy, not the client or customer. If I did not believe in my value as an artist and therapist, why should other people feel that value?
And so, as an artist, who is building her client base and reputation, I have chosen to go big! I now have prints of my original artwork, made by my wonderful print Goddess Lindsay at Studio 101 Digital Printing. Going "cheap" is not always the best option when we are looking to sell our wares and ourselves. The customer sees it, they can feel it, they really do. Lindsay’s prints are not "cheap," I would not want them to be. I deeply respect the investment she has made in her business and the time, attention and care she puts into my work. When I take all this into consideration, the prints are very reasonable in price and have incredible value as she creates beautiful high quality images. They look and feel totally professional-because they are! I am willing to pay a little more, because I see the value in Lindsay and her work. I can still price them reasonably and educate my clients about their value. See the circle here?
To help my customers and clients see the value, I let them know how each of those prints is made and that they are a Limited Edition Series. I do the same with my coaching, by informing my clients as to how I work and how my expertise can help them if it is a right match.
Write It: How do you see value related to self-esteem?