Let’s talk about money!

Often as creatives we would rather hide under the duvet than talk about money. We have a love, hate relationship which isn’t always healthy.

As we head towards the end of January I want you to take this time to really think about your finances. I’m not talking about the tax return, or how much is in the bank (although I hope you are keeping an eye on those things!). I’m talking about the work that you are doing and the money that it is generating- or not!

In this podcast I talk through why it is so important to keep an eye on the projects that you are working on. We invest so much of yourselves into our creative work, both emotionally & through the time we spend on it, that we can often forget it needs to earn us a living!

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Dealing with imposter syndrome

At some point in our careers imposter syndrome will strike. I have suffered with it many times, and it always feels like the little monster on your shoulder telling you that you shouldn’t be there.

Imposter syndrome was first coined in the 1970’s when a study in America at Georgia State University noticed that successful women suffered from chronic self doubt.

Men also suffer from imposter syndrome but not as often as women. There are several examples of high profile women who have come out and talked about their own feelings of dealing with imposter syndrome.

“There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am”
Facebook Chief Sheryl Sandberg

So why does hearing about how successful people also struggle with this help you? Imposter syndrome strikes when you are reaching out of your comfort zone and growing. If we can take a moment to thank it for showing us that we are challenging ourselves, we can gain some control back from it.

In this podcast I talk about why imposter syndrome strikes, how to overcome it & I set you a challenge to help you deal with your own imposter feelings.

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How to automate your creative career

Happy New Year! I had wanted to say that last week but found myself unexpectedly in hospital for 5 days. As with everything in life, it is full of surprises. But lying there in bed it got me thinking about automation as I knew my social media posts were still sending out to my audience without me having to lift a finger.

If the word automation sounds weird to you, let me explain why it is such a great tool for you to use, especially if you are just starting out on your creative career, and find yourself having to wear many hats.

I’m sure at some point you have used an out of office reply on your email, or set it up for when you are away on holiday. This is one of the most basic forms of automation, but so useful!

In this podcast I talk through some of the ways that you can make automation work for your career and business. Think about all of the extra time you’ll save so that you can get on with the business of creating new work instead. It’s important to make time to do what makes you happy. 

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Giving thanks

This week I want to talk about giving thanks. It isn’t thanksgiving, or a special reason to do this -although the holiday season is a great time to send a card.

Taking the time at the end of the year to think about all of the people who have helped you, is a great way to see that you haven’t had to do this all alone.

Sometimes we forget the small things that people do for us; whether they make an introduction, explain a new skill or lend an ear to listen to your concerns.

I have been blessed this week with thank you’s from some of the people I have mentored over the year. It means so much to me that they have taken the time to write and tell me about the successes they have had. It was this that gave me the idea for this week’s podcast.

In the podcast I talk about why it is important for you to give thanks to the people who have helped you, and I have set you a challenge start to thank those that have helped you.

Reminding people that they have touched your career and life in a positive way, helps to spread a bit of magic around. We often spend too much time focussing on the negatives when we build our careers,  without taking a look to really see all of the positive help we have received during the year.

What has someone done to help you this year? Let me know about it in the comments below. 

Remember to be thankful as 2016 draws to a close, and think of ways that you can help others in the coming year.

Planning For A Great Year

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As we race towards the end of the year, I always think that this is a great time to review what you have achieved so far, and to plan for 2017.

Planning for a great year takes structure, and not just the odd to-do-list. This is more about looking at what you want to achieve, and setting those points as markers for how the rest of the year will be structured.

I explain how to do this in the podcast that you can listen to below.

I still use to-do-lists (I know they can be addictive!), but if the major events aren’t planned out, it makes it hard for you to know when you need help, support or finance to get the project done. It is also crucial to make sure that you have given yourself enough time to complete the project.

Too often we think that we can achieve something in a certain time frame, and then life gets in the way. Make sure you build in contingency planning, both in terms of time and money, in case something goes wrong. It is better not to need it, than to wish you had it!

A challenge for you

At the end of the podcast I talk about a challenge for you to plan your own year ahead. Here are some of the key things you need to think about:

  • Do you know the deadlines for your project?
  • Do you have all the people you need to help you?
  • Have you got finance in place for the project?
  • If you don’t have finance in place, have you planned how and when you will need it?
  • Are there press and PR moments that you need to plot out for the project? (Remember that some magazines have 3 months lead times!)
  • Do you have support plotted out for the year, so that you are able to achieve what you need?
  • Have you plotted out holidays and fun times with family and friends? It is so important to take breaks so that you have the energy to go back and finish the project.
  • Have you plotted out points in the year to review your progress? By making moments to review, you can see if something is working or not, and whether you should continue with it or try something else.

Above all have fun with this. Things are flexible, and can be changed as we go along. Unless we know what the big challenges are, we can’t prepare for them. It might mean that you only focus on one big thing a year rather than several, but it is better to have achieved one thing, than to fail at several.

Let me know in the comments below what you are going to aim for next year. Is there any help that you need with it? 

Going Pro

turning-pro

Going pro is all a matter of belief and confidence in the work that you are producing. Obviously if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it! So I’ve recorded a podcast to talk you through real things that you can do to turn pro.

Often it is about how you present yourself and your work. From the way that you handle clients, right down to the way that you communicate in emails and on phone calls. Over the years I have seen people’s work that is of a professional standard fail, as they haven’t taken into consideration the other areas of their career that they need to have a professional attitude towards.

You can hear about what you need to think about in the podcast below, and I set you a challenge to help you review your own career and work right now, and what you can do to improve on it.

The best way to start is to look at what you do right now. Think of the areas that your work, you and clients or commissions interact. Look at the list below and think about what areas you can improve on.

The list (do add your own)

  • Emails- How are you writing them? Is it in a formal or friendly voice. Choose what feels right for you and your industry.
  • Telephones- Is your answer machine message clear and concise? When you leave a message, do you repeat your phone number twice, so that the person at the other end has time to write it down? When you talk to someone on a call, are you friendly and helpful, or shy, blunt and uncomfortable? These are things you can work on.
  • Website- Even if it is one page, do you have a website? When people are looking at your work, or thinking about hiring you, a website gives them proof that you are professional. It is also a way for new clients to find you. Don’t under estimate how important it is to have one.
  • Contracts & Agreements- do you use these for every bit of work, no matter how large or small? They not only give you protection, but they also help you come across as professional and serious about your career and work.
  • Model & location agreements- if you work as an artist, filmmaker or photographer, this is something that you should think about. I talk more about it in the podcast.
  • Delivery notes- if you are sending work, this helps with your own filing, but it also makes you look more professional to the client.

There are lots of other things that you can add to the list. The key is to think what your competitors or heroes are doing, and how you can appear as professional as them. Chat with your friends as you might be able to share legal costs to produce contracts. Anything to help you get started on the road to being professional has to start with you.

Often turning pro is a self belief  in you yourself and your work. Doubt never goes away, but how you manage it can be the difference between you succeeding or giving up before you have climbed that hill.

I’ve set you a challenge in the podcast to review your own professional work and attitude. Let me know in the comments what things you are going to change, and any tips you have to offer. 

Mastermind your career

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When you are starting out and building your career, it is important that you have support from your peers. They are on the same journey as you, and understand the fears, doubts and needs that you have.

We often seek out those who are ahead of us, such as mentors or coaches without seeing the value in those walking next to us on the career path.

I have created a FREE download  explaining how you can find your own accountability partners and  form your own Mastermind groups.

Having someone to support you when you are building something new, or trying to make a break through, can really help you to keep focussed. Sometimes things go wrong, and that is when it is also so beneficial to have a support network.

In our creative careers we will face many rejections and set backs. Making sure that there is a safety net and support, will help you to deal with it, learn from it, and move on.

You can download the help sheet here: CLICK

In the comments below let me know what you would like from an accountability partner or mastermind group. It is something that we are looking at creating in the future, and I would love to hear your thoughts about it. 

Pricing your goods & services

pricing-is-the-exchange-rate-you-put-on-all-the-tangible-and-intangible-aspects-of-your-business-value-for-cash

Pricing your goods as a creative can seem like a daunting task. There is no guide to follow and rarely an industry standard pricing list. This can make it seem like some sort of alchemy calculation, especially when you are starting out.

Pricing is one of the subjects I get asked the most about by CWI members, creative start-ups, and University students. It brings out the most amount of panic and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This week’s podcast is all about how to work out what your worth is, and how that then affects your pricing structure. You can listen to it below.

Once you have worked out your worth (that is what you as an individual needs to keep the lifestyle you already have- nothing to do with your work finance) you can start to look at all of the other elements that you need to think about when you price your goods and services.

Pricing goods

Pricing goods is slightly easier than pricing services- so let’s start here. You know that there is a fixed cost to making something. You know how much it cost in materials and in your time, but there are other things that you need to think about as well.

  1. If you make a piece of work in a studio you need to take in the costs of rent, heat etc as well.
  2. When you work out your hourly rate- does it make it feasible to sell that piece of work to the market you are currently talking to? Or do you need to look elsewhere?
  3. Making one of something will always be more expensive- is there a way to make multiples or have your work manufactured?
  4. If you are selling your work through galleries they often take 50%. Have you added that to your costs?
  5. Can you look at licensing your work to make more profit? This isn’t for everyone, but it might help when you are starting out and trying to build a name for yourself.
  6. Have you added aspirational value?

Aspirational value

Aspirational value is the alchemy element of your work. It is one of the hardest things to price for and it can take time to build it into your work. You’ll see plenty of artists raise their prices as they go along, rather than jumping straight into a high value piece.

The key is to look at the people you admire and the kind of career you want to model yourself on. How have they priced their work over the years? Do they have their work for sale in limited places or have they licensed it for all sorts of things? This will make a difference to the value of the pieces.

Pricing services

Pricing services is slightly harder to do. It isn’t as if you buy them off the shelf at the local store, but you can compare yourself to other service providers doing the same thing in your area.

If you are running workshops it helps to look at what your competitors are charging. Remember to think about who they actually are though. Often councils or Government funded workshops and classes are heavily subsidised, so you need to think why having you as the training makes them more valuable.

It might be that you have a wealth of experience, or fantastic contacts that you can share. Or that you have been on the same journey as the people you are teaching, so you understand how they are feeling. Or you are so specialist at what you do, they can’t find it anywhere else. All of this adds value.

When you look at your pricing remember these things as well:

  1. Your travel time and mileage to and from the venue.
  2. The cost of hiring the space, or if it is at your studio- remember to add the cost of rent, heating etc for that period of time.
  3. Preparation time- this is one that most people forget to add, but it is part of the cost as you are still working when you are preparing.
  4. Post time- as above, you might have to sort things out after the event. All of that time and work counts towards the cost of the workshop.
  5. Any materials that you will use or even just photocopies of worksheets.
  6. Any refreshments.
  7. Press and marketing materials- even you posting on social media is your time!

There are many other things that you might now realise you need to add to the cost. You need to think of everything that you use or need, to create and complete the workshops. Your time before, during and after, counts towards it as well.

Final thoughts

Pricing is something that you need to test and review. It might mean that the market you were hoping to enter is now unable to afford your goods and services, so your entire customer base changes. This will then affect your marketing, branding etc.

At the end of the podcast I share ways that you can find out how to price your goods and services when you have no idea where to start.

Let me know in the comments below what you find so hard about pricing your goods and services. 

If you still find this hard, there is an online Creative Business course coming up in 2017. To be the first to sign up for it at the early bird rate, let me know that you are interested by emailing me at:

Philiy@CreativeWomenInternational.com

Giving back can help your career

we-make-a-living-by-what-we-get-but-we-make-a-life-by-what-we-give

When you start out on a creative career, the last thing that you are probably thinking about is giving something back. What if I was to tell you that there is a great benefit to thinking about giving something back the moment you begin your career?

You might think I’m crazy when you are worrying about the finances and how you are going to make the rent. But actively building this into your career plan can actually help you get ahead.

When we try to help others, they in turn will pass it on and help those coming up through the ranks. Obviously there are going to be a few who take things without giving back, but if we all helped each other up the career ladder, rather than trying to climb over each other we would have a stronger and more stable career.

Some people are great at giving back, but often do it at the detriment to their own success. There is no point cutting your own arm off, if that stops you being able to help more people with two! Sometimes we can’t do everything we believe in straight away, but having an idea of what we plan to do, will enable up to structure our career around it.

In this podcast I explain why it is so important to do this, and I have set you a challenge to complete this week to give something back yourself.

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Planning for success

Planning for success

We plan for a journey or what we want to do on our holidays, but we rarely plan for success.

When we see our competitors or people we admire having success we forget about all of the private sacrifices it took to get there. Or the years of slog and failure before they had a success. all too often we compare our beginning to someone’s middle. As the saying goes “It is amazing how many years it takes to have an overnight success!”

If we don’t plan for success we are going to end up unfocused and treading on the spot. If we don’t have a goal or dream to aim for, how do we know if we have made any process towards it, or had any small successes on the way?

In this podcast I talk about why it is so important to plan for success, how to do it with out feeling overwhelmed, and how to use the tools and contacts you already have, before you go hunting for for new ones.

New shiny things are tempting, but they can move you off the path to success. I talk about how you have everything you need right now and how to make the most of it.

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