5 Challenges Every Creative Has When Charging For Their Time

Let’s face it if we make a living from using our creative talents then it’s a nice place to be; not to denigrate other professions - but getting paid for doing what you love is a dream job.

However, even the dream job has it’s challenges, here are my top 5.

  1. Just because I would work for FREE doesn’t mean that I should!
    Clients can be a cynical bunch, especially when it comes to money and they will play on the fact that you do a job you love, so you would do it for FREE. Yes that’s true, however I’m creative because that’s what I was put on this earth to do, I do it as a business because I have bills to pay - they are not the same thing.
  2. Knowing When To Stop
    Partly due to point 1, a lot of us don’t know when it’s time to stop a project. We want to do the best job we can, that’s essential, but again remember if you’ve only been given $1000 there’s no way you’re going to deliver a $10,000 project - unless of course you work for free.
  3. Knowing Your Creative Strengths
    Some projects are not for you, or me. If a Metal band came to me and asked me to produce and album I’m sure I could do a reasonable job, but I couldn’t do the best job. We are not good at everything, a thing creatives hate to admit, but being good at one thing will get your more work in the long run.We shouldn’t use our clients time and money to try and develop new skills - trust me it will bite you on the ass! Repeat after me “I can’t do everything!”
  4. Managing The Project
    In my recent article I outlined some personal challenges for many creatives - one of them being the lack of organisation skills. Another lesson I’ve learnt when it comes to big projects is it might cost you less to hire someone with project management skills than do it yourself. “Hang on” you’re thinking “How can hiring someone save me money”. Let me give you an example, it costs me a third of my charging rate to get someone to look after my books than me do it myself and they do it a lot better. If you have a big project, then try using someone to take away the stuff you hate doing and are not good at, so you can concentrate on the stuff you love doing and excel at.
  5. It’s Not Personal
    If you are charging people for your time then they have the right to an opinion and get the job they need. This will mean that they may criticise your work and want things changed. You might not agree, you might not like it, you may even think it’s challenging your talent. Tough - as long as the client is paying, then in most cases, they can do what they want with the project. Of course if you think it’s going so badly wrong it could damage your reputation, then you need to discuss the best way to deliver what they want and also protect your reputation. I don’t know a studio or a post house in the planet that has hoped that people never find out a project was done at their place.

So there we are, 5 challenges - what are yours?

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