Thriving Artists Series: How to Make More Money
“Thriving” and “artist” don’t often snap together in most people’s minds.
But they should. If anyone has a reason to thrive it’s those of us who make a living based on creative inspiration. And while many artists in all walks of creativity “struggle” to create a thriving income, when it comes down to it, making money doing what you love for a living is possible. We have no problem understanding that we own the power to create our work, but many of us stumble when it comes to owning that same power to create income.
Thriving as an artist involves more than just making money, of course. It’s a “whole-person” definition that needs the sum of it parts. Spirit, craft, experience, attitude, beliefs, effort. More on those in other posts.
How do you make more money as an artist?
Let’s start out by examining what it is you are being paid for. And for our purposes here, we’re not going to address unions or other “going rates.” Those are a part of many artists’ income guidelines, but that’s not at the core of what I want to discuss today. We need to back up a bit before we get to that aspect.
What are you being paid for? Your time? Your talent? Your marketability? Your experience? Your “you-ness”?
Most likely, it’s going to be a combination of all of the above. What I want to drive home is the fact that behind whatever it is you are doing for your art – acting, painting, writing, set designing – you are the key factor for why someone hires you or buys your creative work.
Your value is you.
But many artists, new and experienced, struggle with valuing the “you” aspect of their work.
Money is energy. Nothing more, nothing less.
We use it as a form of exchange for value. People respond to you based on the beliefs you have in yourself. (Occasionally, “old souls” (not to be confused with age) in the industry may respond to you based on the higher value they see in you and their belief in you – knowing that you’ll grow into these beliefs as you mature spiritually. But while this is a pure blessing if it happens in your artistic career, it’s also pretty rare.)
Let me say it again, people respond to you based on the beliefs you have about yourself. If you do not value yourself appropriately, they will value you at the level you value yourself. You’ll be paid for what you “believe” you are worth. No more. No less. Why? Because…
Money is an exchange in perceived value.
It’s what we are each willing to give and accept in order to receive the value we perceive. So, yes, you do have to be good at what you do, work with integrity, live up to professional standards and give them their perceived value’s worth in exchange. But ultimately, you set the value of “you.”
Believe that you can only earn the “going rate”? That’s all you’ll earn. Believe you can earn more than the going rate? You’ll find opportunities and ways to do so.
We externalize our income and tend to believe that it comes down to “the system,” “that’s just the way it is.” We set the locks on how much we earn by our beliefs.
We unlock how much we can earn by our beliefs as well.
I’m not talking about wishing on a star for a million dollars and it will land in your lap. Your income usually incrementally reflects your expanding beliefs.
Most people never gain consciousness of their money beliefs, let alone change them. But once you do, you take back the power over how much you earn and you create income – you don’t “get paid” by others. (In other words, yes, other people pay you, but you know that you are receiving that money because you created the ability to receive it and you opened your beliefs up to receiving it. The power remains in you. Not outside of you.)
You set the real value of your work and your income will reflect it.
This isn’t about arrogance or ego. You do have to be good at your craft to attract top dollar. But even if you’re not at the top of the league, you have the power to create more money in your life. It starts with your money beliefs. It starts with placing a higher value on you and your work. It starts with realizing that you can earn more. That it’s in your power to generate a flow of income into your life. When you do, you’ll start to create, find and accept opportunities for more income. It may mean raising your prices, your rates, asking for more during negotiations, and it may mean turning down work that doesn’t pay what you have decided you are worth.
This may sound crazy to you if you are still in a place where you are struggling financially. Turning down work? Yes, turning down work.
Remember, people respond to you based on what you believe about yourself. Believe you can only get buy, that you’ll never make a living at this, that you have bad luck, that it’s hard to get work, that the odds are ridiculously impossible – and that’s what you will experience. You’ll attract people who get that you don’t expect more or believe that your work is worth more and you’ll be a good match for them.
But, believe that your work is valuable, back it up with craft and performance to match it, never give luck or odds a second thought because they don’t apply to you, maintain that your work is worth what you are asking, turn down opportunities that don’t match your belief and guess what? You’ll attract people who get that you expect to be paid for what you are worth, see your work as valuable and they’ll have no problem paying you for it.You’ll be a good match for them.
There are jobs and people to match every level of money belief.
You are the one who sets the money beliefs about you and your work. It starts with you. You set that belief in others.
And get this, people leave it up to you to set your value. They meet you where you are.
You are the one who has the power to change it.