I'm raising my rates.
Whoa. Even typing that out makes me a little, well, scared. Which is good. I should be nervous. It also makes me feel tingly and alive and that means I'm going in the right direction.
I'll start from the beginning. I really don't want this to be a post about justifying my decision--but I would like it to be about how I came to it. I didn't agonize, but I did some thinking and searching.
Bottom line, to quote the brilliant Molly Crabapple, "even artists have to eat".
Last November, I made the transition from an office job that had taken over my sanity, time, and and any sort of creative juice I had. When I was laid off, it was a welcome chance to really delve into what I love while I searched for the perfect job.
I was faced by remnants of the negative thinking that had accumulated while I had lived in Fresno. Artists don't make money. Artists struggle. Artists depend on other people. Art is not a vehicle to self sufficiency.
Eff that. I'm in Los Angeles now, not Fresno--the land where the impossible is a beautiful reality--and I'm not interested in succombing to antiquated business and life models. I'm interested in success, freedom, sincerity, charity, and love, in all aspects of my life.
I had a few requirements for my new life, and I wrote them all out, fittingly, one week before January 1st. And I mean, I wrote them all down. Flower garden. Women I would establish relationships with. Dresses I would make. Travels. And most of all, details for my career.
And that included the dreaded topic of money. I say dreaded because money is difficult. We have preconceived ideas about where money should come from, how it should be earned, saved and spent. I had to really be honest with myself about how I felt about it-- how my time and output dealing with art equates with what I make, and how that projects onto not only my self image, but to the brand I was creating.
New idea that blasted my mind: I would be in a position to call the shots about how much money I made during a certain period of time. I would never have to ask for a raise because I would always be 100% in charge. I'd just work harder to earn more money. Simple. Beautiful.
All this felt powerful--you know, liberating, in spite of my naive nature. I'd never run a business before. I looked to my role models, hunkered down, and started reading all of their stuff. I started following who they followed. I started getting involved in conversations.
What was interesting was that I learned quickly that people with talents who are successful aren't just working their butts off on their craft--they are involved businesspeople. They kick ass because they think about what they love 24/7. They think about the needs of their customers, not just what they want to create.
I knew that this wasn't something I could do on the side anymore.
This was gonna be my life.
The work began. I learned how valuable my time was, and how to manage it myself. I seized opportunities to get to know people who could analyze and advise. I talked to everyone about what I was working on and the projects I wanted to do later down the line. I looked to the present and future, and didn't dwell on the past. I learned that I was worth something.
Did you get that? Because that's pretty huge. I was worth something. I am. I. So. Am.
It is a hard lesson to learn when you feel like you should be grateful just to have someone be interested in your art. You should thank them by doing work for them gratis, for tips, for the smile on their faces. Remember, artists don't make money. They struggle. They get day jobs.
I was thankful to have an amazing woman come into my life. Dyana Valentine asked me questions, she poked and prodded, she lit a fire under my ass, loaded me down with resources and ideas, and then told me to take over the world.
So here I am, world. I work hard, and I love what I do. And this brings us to where we started--my rates are going up. This is how I pay my rent and buy frioles to cook for dinner. I'm scared but overjoyed to be in a position where I can do this. My dream is now my real, everyday life.
Thank you so much for supporting me, from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to see where this journey leads to.
For the scoop on packages, you can check out my newly put together Services page.
And here is a small sample of resources that inspired, enlightened and empowered me:
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Ferazzi
Unicorns for Socialism by Alexandra Franzen
Danielle LaPorte's "The Spark Kit"
Seth Godin's Blog
Gala Darling's "Love and Sequins" (Particularly Chapter Two: The Smart Girl's Guide to Business. She's having a sale! Scoop it up!)
Crew of beautiful geniuses:
Michelle Bonfils * Jennifer Emerling * Laura Goldstone * Perri Johnson * Jamie Coakley * Mona Teliga * Peter Hughes * Laura Spinella * Ben Pringle