487A2819.JPG
Posts in advice
Know Your Worth: 3 Steps to Getting Paid as an Artist
I’m not a business man / I’m a business, man
— Savon x J Hova
img_20171209_234653.jpg

There is a saying that goes "If you're good at something don't do it for free."

I recently stumbled upon a letter by W.E.B. Du Bois saying "You can't afford me" in the most polite way I've ever heard in my life. Too many times are artist not properly compensated for their work and too many times do we feel the need to take whatever crumbs we can get because we don't know where the next check will come. When Du Bois said "I regret to say that the honorarium which you offer is simply impossible." the sky parted, shined a light on my Twitter feed, and at that moment I realized I wasn't alone in a world that under values art.

1. Set your rate

When you work a job, you are compensated for your time and your energy. As an artist, your art is your job,  or more so a business that provides services. To provide the services, you as the artist,  must put in time and energy and be compensated for it. Write down the services you provide, give each service a set price calculated by the time and energy it would take to execute it, and stick to your rate! Don't think about if it's too high or that no one can afford it. Know your worth and walk into your purpose. How much money will it take for you leave your house? Once you know that you'll be on the right path. 

Short Story:

As a performing artist an OG once told me "My rate is $$ because if I tell my wife and kids I'll be gone for 2 weeks and don't come back with something to show for it they won't let me back in the house."

2. Add taxes

If you're an artist running your own business that means you're probably handing out W9's left and right. Which also means you should be adding tax to your prices. Let's say you charge $1000. When you get paid you should subtract $350 for taxes. The other $650 gets split between your travel fund, investments, play money, etc. The workaround is to send the invoice in as $1000 + 35% tax. Now you won't end up like Wesley Snipes.

3. Learn to say "No"

When you work for yourself there are moments where you become anxious about taking every opportunity that comes your way out of fear of never working again. So much so that you'll take on a job for less than you're worth just to throw something at the expenses breathing down your neck. Your craft is your life, is your passion, is your hustle. Don't negotiate your rates down to a metro card and a slice of pizza out of fear. If they can't afford you, best believe someone else can. You just have to make sure those folks know how to find you.

Definition | Long Sleeve
38.00 50.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Definition | Tee
27.00 35.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Side Note:

There are other factors to take into consideration like market value, budgets, the economy, etc. You're going to have to negotiate at some point because that's just how the world works. There are things worth more than money that you can gain if you know what to ask for. 

You teach people how to treat you. If you keep doing things for free or for the low or for the culture then that's exactly what everyone will expect from you. The next time you get that email or DM and someone and is asking you to do way too much for way too little, channel your inner Du Bois and hit em with the  "I regret to say that the honorarium which you offer is simply impossible."


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitterinstagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.


Things Worth More Than Money
download.jpg
If you get money and you know it / take it out your pocket and show it and throw it
— T Pain x Savon

One of the worst things you can do to an artist, other than steal their work, is ask them to work for free. Certain fields of creativity are more tokenized than valued and the idea is so widespread it can be defeating for a creative on the rise. Artist should get paid for their work. No if, ands, or buts. Creation takes time, energy, focus, diligence, skill, AND MONEY. Artist: Always set a price when you’re approached. Everyone else: Pay the artist you book.

Now that that’s out the way, I want to point out money isn’t always the most lucrative priority for an artist.

Leverage aka Finesse

You need to know how to leverage a non monetary situation into a scenario where you come out with a gain. That gain usually leads to money aka “the bag.” I performed for free for years (which was way too long). Running up and down states, spending my last to get to a gig, do my thing, and leave broker than I was the day before. In the beginning that’s what you have to do. Get your experience up, get your resume up, take what you can get, but always thinking of the bigger picture. In this game, you have to show what you’re worth before you can ask for it.

Relationships aka Networking aka It’s Who You Know

Facts: The relationships I built back when I was doing way too many things for free as an upcoming creative lead to me to money in the future. My first tour wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a friend I made 4 years prior. I kept in touch with company owners I met when I was in college doing shows for free. They eventually booked me for their events off the strength of our relationship. You’ll only go as far as the people you talk to and if the people you talk to are getting money then eventually you’ll be getting money too.

Definition | Long Sleeve
38.00 50.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Haiku | Tee
27.00 35.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Brand Awareness aka Let Em Know

Brand awareness can be worth more than money at times. Get yourself a mission statement, a website, a social media account, and tell the world you are out here for hire. How are people going to pay you if no one knows you exist? Also, if you’re an independent creative, business cards and websites are tax deductible. You’ll make your flip at the end of the year anyway. If you are good at what you do and enough people know it, the money will eventually come to you instead of you having to go to it. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool on the planet. You’d be surprised how much a friendly reference could be worth.

Hustle aka You Don’t Hustle You Don’t Eat aka Make A Flip

One thing more important than money is the ability to make money when there is none. Wherever. Whenever. However. I can’t tell you how to do that. Every creative has their own way that works for them. All I can say is that if you’ve been broke for long enough you will figure out a way to not be broke anymore. If you don’t hustle you don’t eat.

What are your thoughts? Is there anything else you can think of that’s worth more than money? Leave a comment, share, and let’s talk about it on Twitter @savonbartley.


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitterinstagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.





 

adviceSavon Bartley