Being a creative entrepreneur is an interesting balancing act… in a lot of ways. You’re balancing between creating some form of art (photography, copywriting, decor, design, etc.) and being a business person who needs to charge money for their services.
Plus, a lot of us never pictured ourselves doing the whole business person part. ^
Am I right?!
Here’s the thing, though — just because you may never have pictured yourself in the shoes you’re in now doesn’t mean that you can’t completely rock it. And, on the other hand, just because you’re a creative entrepreneur certainly doesn’t mean you ever have to step into the shoes of the *untrue* stereotype of an artist who lives paycheck to paycheck.
In fact, a lot of those problems can be solved with one step: charging prices that are right for you, instead of undercutting and undercharging yourself.
Now, notice I didn’t say it was one “simple” step, okay? Undercharging — and pricing in general — is a big roadblock for a lot of creative entrepreneurs, and I want you to understand something right away.
If you think you’re undercharging, you probably are… and it’s not your fault. There are a whole medley of things that are causing it, and none of them are easy.
And I want to dive in with you to help you figure it out.
First up… let’s get really analytical.
Before we start digging into some of the more mindset-based and emotional things that go alongside charging as a creative entrepreneur, it’s important that we get really, really logical.
Enter: good ole’ numbers,.
See, I’m a big believer in the idea that money is more of a neutral thing than we like to give it credit for. It flows in and out, it can be welcomed in, and it can be a really beautiful thing. Those numbers are part of that neutrality in themselves, so working with them can be remarkably helpful.
So, let’s do some math! (Also, this seems complicated, but I promise it’s easy.)
First, break down your monthly expenses (and your yearly ones, too)! What is the amount of money each month you need to live comfortably? Now, how about that money you need to live abundantly? Write that number down.
Now, multiply that number by 12. We’re going to call it the Beginner number, okay? (If you prefer to think quarterly, that’s okay! You can multiply by 3 instead. It’s all about what works for you.)
Then, remember that taxes (let’s say 30%) have to come out of that money, too. Multiply that number you wrote down by .30%, and add that number to the Beginner.
This new number you see — we’ll call it your Peaceful number — is your new baseline. This is the amount of money you want to make every year. You can section it into months or quarters to start seeing how much money you want to make throughout the year, and then you can start pricing from there.
This is where it starts to get a little tricky, because every creative entrepreneur has a different pricing strategy — so you’ll have to decide your hourly or per-project rate with your Peaceful number as a guide.
(Psst… we run through a lot of this in my course Finding Peace & Profit, which you can grab here!)
Now that you’ve run the numbers, it’s time to turn inward.
Whether you always pictured yourself on the entrepreneurial side, prefer to focus on the creative side, or grew up hearing things like “artists never make money,” there are a lot of deeply rooted beliefs around making and charging money as a creative entrepreneur.
I’m here to tell you, firsthand, that recognizing them is an absolutely essential piece of what you need to stop undercharging — and start charging the right way. Here’s a few that you might be experiencing (and that I have in the past):
- “I don’t deserve to make this kind of money.”
- “My job isn’t important enough to charge like this.”
- “No one will ever hire me.”
- “Other people charge less.”
But, here’s something that’s so, so important to realize: all money really is is a piece of paper. That’s it. When we emotionally charge money, we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice — because money only has the power we give it. And, when you can truly uncover and understand the limiting beliefs and mindsets you have around undercharging and pricing in general, it’s a lot easier to move in the right direction.
So… here’s how to navigate pricing.
Alright, friends — more than absolutely anything else, I want you to lean into your intuition. I want you to trust yourself. Why? Because that trust matters so much more than you think. There are so many ways you can do this, too:
- Your gut feeling: Your intuition is a powerful, powerful tool. Is your gut feeling telling you that you could be charging way too little? Is your intuition asking you to move forward? Or, is it the other way around? Get in tune with that gut… and go with it.
- EFT tapping: I’ve spoken time and time again about EFT — or the Emotional Freedom Technique — because it has wonderfully and profoundly changed my life and my business, and I just know it will change yours, too. It’s a mix between acupressure and mantras, and I dive into it deeper here.
- Meditation: If you don’t currently take the time to regularly sit still with yourself , you’re selling yourself short — and meditation is your fix. I love downloading podcast meditations, clicking around on Spotify, using apps like Calm, and even just sitting alone with my thoughts. It’s a remarkable way to learn and find clarity, especially around things like pricing.
Finally, I want to remind you: you deserve to price your services at the caliber of the incredible services and art you offer. And, when you take the time and do the work to start understanding why you’re undercharging or overwhelmed, everything changes. I, for one, am so excited to watch it happen.