What They Are Worth: How Di Grew Her Business Revenue by $25K a year
Posted on June 21, 2019
Salary Coach clients are realising such great outcomes we’ve decided (with their permission) to tell the success stories. I hope to grow this library as part case study for the business and as part learning tutorials. It’s inspiration for anyone considering your next career move and/or looking to increase the value of your working life.
Di the accomplished Artist
For anonymity, let’s call our Artist Di. Di has been painting all her life. Di is scratching out a small artist’s income from something she loves to do.
Her work is great, and she regularly receives requests for commissions.
She receives a commission request for a painting of a young woman for her 21st birthday. Her parents want something that captures the young woman’s spirit and depicts who she is.
The photograph chosen is of the young woman walking across the street in Times Square, New York. It tells a story of a fresh young woman with the world at her feet, and full of hope and optimism for the future. It shows her taking the time to say hello to a NYPD horse, demonstrating her ability to connect with people and animals.
So much hope and optimism are portrayed.
When the work is completed, Di’s client adores the paining and proudly hangs it for all to see. Whenever new guests come to the house, the painting is pointed out and the young woman and her parents take time to admire its beauty.
Another commission comes through. The brief is to create a custom sized painting of a farmer’s favourite bull. He is a big land owner in Australia and he is turning 50.
His wife wants to give him a painting that tells the story of her wonderful husband who is a farming success. The wife wants everyone to see her husband as she does; a cattle farmer, a big strong wonderful man and his handsome bull-like strengths.
Di creates beautiful paintings. They are paintings that people hang with immense pride. They are a sign of success and tell a story. They are deeply personal tokens for their owners.
The trouble is, Di isn’t as confident about her pricing as she would like to be.
Doubts in the artist’s studio
Di is busy with commissions and is ‘painting like a maniac’. She is joyful about it. And yet, the niggling question remains. Is she pricing it right?
Pricing cringe and doubt is not an uncommon creative practitioner problem. Yet Di does her homework and finds that other painters are earning more. She looks at the commission her main gallery is charging on her work and feels she should be getting more from the arrangement.
Yet she is shy about the price and having the negotiation conversation. It’s not the ‘done thing’ to ask for more, is it?
Di the Artist faces the same sort of cringe many freelancers, creative practitioners and small business owners face. Part of her is telling her she’s worth more money. Yet part of her is holding back.
She can’t stop thinking that her hourly rate is too low. She is worried about being greedy. She is worried that if she asks for too much her business will slow down, or worse still dry up. She is an Artist and doesn’t see herself as a business woman. In fact, while necessary, the business side of Di’s art career isn’t so easy for her.
Di came to the Salary Coach for help
Di takes the chance and asks someone to help her. That someone is me, the Salary Coach.
Using a formula of:
- How long it takes to paint
- Costing out hidden extras such as whether it required a custom sized canvas or added extras such as frame
- Plus, the amount of detail required as the baseline
Di discovers she is indeed under charging for her work. Based on the formula alone, Di priced her next commission $500 higher than she would have previously. The client wrote back within 24 hours and said yes. The concerns about pushback melt away.
It isn’t only Di’s business that starts to become more profitable, allowing her to do more things.
What Di began to realise is that she is worth it. That she can have the life and career she wants, and whilst it felt uncomfortable standing-up for herself she found that people think she is worth it too.
Over the next 10 years, Di the Artist can add $25,000 per annum to her business. That equates to a $250,000 boost in business revenue!