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.

Continue reading “Dealing with imposter syndrome”

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

success-doesnt-just-happen-its-planned-for-2

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? 

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.

Continue reading “Giving back can help your career”

Get a grip on copyright

 

Be original

Getting a grip on copyright can be one of the greatest tools in your creative kit. I have met so many creatives who don’t understand copyright law, and this so often puts them at a disadvantage with their clients.

I have studied copyright law, but it does change quite often, so it is important for you to check what the latest laws are in your country. Most countries follow the same copy rights laws, apart from China. In this article I am going to talk about the UK copyright laws.

Copyright law doesn’t have to be scary. I’m going to talk you through a few basics, and explain a few exceptions to the rules. This should be enough to empower you to make the right decisions when selling your work or taking on a commission or employment.

In the podcast below I talk through the basic principles of copyright law, how it can make you money and how to explain to your clients what your rights are.

Here are the basics

  1. As a creative, when you produce a piece of work, whether it is a painting, photograph or writing, you own the copyright.
  2. You don’t need to register your work, for you to own the copyright to it. In the states and the UK you can register your work to prove that you own the copyright, but this isn’t a requirement.https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/register/
  3. You can add the copyright symbol © at the bottom of your website or work, but again it isn’t a requirement. I like to add it to remind people to respect my copyright.
  4. If you sell your work (like a painting or photograph) you retain the copyright. Even if the work is a portrait of the client, you have the rights to the copyright. They have no right to make copies of the work, whether they sell them or not.You can sell them the copyright- but I’ll cover this later on.

Exceptions to the rules

There will always be some exceptions to the rules, so it is important that you check with your own country’s law as to what the exceptions are. They also change regularly, so it is important to make sure that you are up to date with your knowledge.

Continue reading “Get a grip on copyright”

How to self publish

Chella honey bee books

This week I have been chatting to Chella Adgopul from Honeybee Books, about how to self publish. The world of publishing has changed so much over the years. With the birth of the internet there are more opportunities for people to publish their own work.

In the past self publishing was viewed as more of a vanity project, but in this podcast, Chella talks about how that is no longer the case. Major publishing houses now expect more of their authors, including sharing their own contact lists. Which begs the question “Why not publish yourself?”

Chill gives loads of great advice and shares top tips if you are thinking about self publishing. You can listen to the whole interview here.

Before you think about going it alone, and publishing yourself, there are some things that you should think about.

Check list

  1. Is there a market for your book or are you sharing it with friends and family?
  2. Have you got a professional to proof read it? (Honeybee Books can help with this).
  3. Have you thought about the design and layout of your book?
  4. If you are going to take it to market you will need an ISBN number & barcode.
  5. How many print runs will you need? Will it be a large or small print run? This can affect the price.
  6. Do you already have a large following that can help you promote your book?
  7. Have you written a blurb- small summary for the back of the book? This can help with your publicity as well.

Honeybee books can help answer many of these questions. You can find out more about them by clicking the link here: www.honeybeebooks.co.uk

What would you like to self publish? Let me know in the comments below. 

If you would like to get more podcasts like this landing in your inbox each week, including free downloadable worksheets and offers that aren’t shared anywhere else, sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this page. 

 

Dealing with difficult clients.

Dealing with difficult clients

It doesn’t have to be painful.

There will have been some point during your career when you have had to deal with difficult clients. You may have started off well with a good relationship, but as the work commitments piled on the relationship broke down.

Usually there is a basic cause to the problem and 9 times out of 10 it usually relates to communication.

Communication can break down due to a number of reasons. They might have given you more work than was agreed, or else they keep moving the goal posts, or they keep making changes to the work which leaves you with many more hours than you imagined you’d be working on it.

All of this can be prevented. In order for that to happen you need to start at the beginning. I explain how in the podcast below.

When we begin freelancing we often think that we have to say yes to every project. We fear that we will never work again if we say no. I spent my early creative career saying yes to things that I later resented doing- and no one likes an unhappy employee or client.

We need to learn to say no more often. Now I’m not talking about the shouty kind of no which makes the person who offered you the work feel bad. I’m talking about taking the time to say no. Rather than saying yes immediately, ask them if you can get back to them, or check you diary. Anything that buys you a bit of time so that you can weigh up whether this is the right thing for you to be doing. I always as myself these three questions:

  1. Will I enjoy working on this? (You are at work for many hours in a day, so you have to want to work on it).
  2. Will this help to further my creative career? (If we keep on working for free we are going to end up bankrupt and still on the bottom rung of the ladder).
  3. Are these people who I want to work with? (Just as you need to enjoy the work, you want to enjoy working with the people. Trying to work with someone who is difficult from the start isn’t going to end well).

I’m lucky that I have now got enough of my career behind me to be more picky these days, and I spend most of my time saying no to things. Often it is because what they are asking me is actually going to take several days rather than a “can I pick your brain”.

Saying yes to the right things, will help you progress your career, will help you to shine as you are enjoying the experience, and you are more likely to deliver your best work when you have felt valued and excited about the projects.

There will always be days when you need to pay the rent and have to say yes to something for the money, but there are ways to manage that job so that it doesn’t turn into a horrible experience with difficult clients demanding more, and you hating every moment of that. I talk more about how to deal with that in the podcast.

Communication is key. From the beginning, until the end. I would always rather someone was informing me of their progress every day than not at all.

Think about the times that you have been waiting for a bus or a plane and it is suddenly delayed. You sit and wait and no one tells you what is happening.

How do you feel?

I imagine that you begin to feel frustrated and annoyed that no one is telling you what is going on, or when the transport is actually going to arrive. This is how clients feel if you don’t tell them what is going on.

There will be days when we realise that we aren’t going to meet the deadline, or that a problem arises and we need more time. As long as you are communicating this to your clients, reasonable people will understand. Reasonable people can turn into unreasonable people if they are left hanging, with no idea of what is going on.

The second thing that can create difficult clients is money. Money makes the world go around, whether we like it or not. Creatives are particularly bad at pricing themselves correctly. (There will be a future podcast and worksheets to help you with pricing).

Sorting out the money before you even start the job is hugely beneficial. You get those uncomfortable money conversations out of the way first. Often the person who hires you isn’t the person who pays you, so before you do one single hour of work, make sure you discuss how you want to get paid and who is going to pay you.

  • Do you want to be paid before the job starts? (This is possible if you have a good relationship with them. All of my mentor sessions are paid up front).
  • Do you want to be paid in instalments as you deliver the work in chunks? (This can be a great way of working as the client gets to see the work progress and understands that they need to pay for the next piece of work etc. It also allows them to give feedback as the job develops.Plus it protects you. I have had the horrible experience of a magazine going bust on me and months worth of work went unpaid, and I had to contact the bailiffs to retrieve my photographic negatives! Not a nice experience. If I had requested payment in chunks this wouldn’t have happened).
  • Look at what terms you add to your invoices. And if you don’t put payment terms on your invoices do it now! Payment terms basically mean the number of days you are willing to wait until the invoice needs to be paid.I put 15 days for most work, and 30 days for magazines and newspapers as I know their departments take that long to process things. I’ve seen designers as to be paid on receipt of the invoice. Work out what you need in order to survive or what you are willing to wait for, or put up with, and then set your terms.
    Continue reading “Dealing with difficult clients.”

Why you need to build a community of clients.

They are so many benefits to building a community of your clients and customers.

When I set up the CWI I wanted to create a place for women to come together, share ideas, help and inspire each other. We have members from over 27 countries that are generous with their advice and support. It is this type of community that I want to talk about today.

When we work as freelancers we have to continually innovate and find new customers and clients to sell our work to. It is important to understand how the climate has changed in terms of customer service and need.

Gone are the days when we met our prospective clients and customers for the first time during an interview. We now use the power of Google to check out who wants to hire us, or whom we can sell to.

I like to think that we have gone back 100 years in terms of customer service. Our ancestors would have shopped in the corner store before super markets were invented. The owner would have known what you bought last week, what you might like from the new stock, how your mother is and whether you need to pay on credit or can pay the full bill this week.

They knew your name, your family and neighbours; they were part of your community. This is how it is now that social media and on-line selling has arrived. We want to know whom we are buying from and if they share the same values as us. We want to know if there is a story behind the work, which makes it all the more valuable by knowing it.

Why you need to build a community of clients

Whether you sell face-to-face, online, with one client or many customers, to make a success you must now create your own community. A community will spread the word, be your biggest cheerleaders and fans.

In this week’s podcast I talk about the benefits of thinking this way. How you can make people value what you sell to them, and how they can become your biggest fans and part of your marketing strategy. I also talk about how they can make or break your business, and must be handled with care. I talk about a FREE workbook that you can get access to if you sign up to the mailing list at the bottom of this page.

Continue reading “Why you need to build a community of clients.”

How to tame the social media beast

Some times social media can feel like a bit of a beast. It is always nagging you in the background, or stealing all of the time you could be creative instead. We feel like we need to be on every social media platform, chatting to every person, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can tame the social media beast!

Social media can work for you if you answer these three questions first before you go anywhere near it:

  1. Why do you want to use social media?
  2. Who are you talking too?
  3. What do you want to get out of it? -(Your goal).

That really is as simple as it needs to be. We panic and try to do too much, too often, without any direct focus. All this achieves is a stressed out you, and no clear guidelines of whether you are achieving anything by posting anything!

In this podcast I talk through ways to make it work for you, from identifying your audience, to the right type of content and the best times of day to post it.

Continue reading “How to tame the social media beast”