I posted about this recently on Instagram, but thought it was time to open the conversation a bit further. If you’re anything like me, there’s a few things you’re tired of seeing. On year one it was innovative, but on year six, it’s tired, overdone, and has been seen on Pinterest a million times. As a creative, there’s wisdom in seeing something, changing it, making it better, and bringing a better solution to the public. (This is part of creativity and innovation as an artist.) If you’ve gone to design school or have found yourself working within the industry for any given period of time, there are the phrases that can easily make you cringe. I figured it was time to drop a few truth bombs and dive into this subject. Today, I’m issuing a dare. Create something the world has never seen before.
We’ve been there, the scrolling, searching, and navigating for hours. The collaborating with a client and finding ourselves shocked as the same logos have popped up over and over again within moodboards. Aren’t you tired of seeing the same marks, the white walls and tile, the same brush script, and colors? It’s time to do something fresh, to kick it old school and cultivate inspiration the way you used to. Remember when you had sketchbooks printed with images, layered thick with double sided tape, and sketches upon sketches, everywhere you went? You cultivated and curated inspiration as a discipline. Your desk was this glorious studio. It was filled with textures, patterns, small paintings, and illustrations. It’s time to go back to the source. Shut off the screen, schedule time for photoshoots, and fill notebooks with inspiration. Curate from your life rather than a pinning popularity contest. (Here’s the crazy thing about Pinterest, if you’re visual, the images will remain seared within your brain, fueling your creative process subliminally.) Begin to fill journals with your favorite moments, textures, and patterns. For me, my latest inspiration has come in the textures and colors of the national parks, colorful chocolate packaging from the Netherlands, and playing in Procreate. It’s time to create something revolutionary.
Let’s be honest. It’s always a bit nerve wracking when you set your pricing and then state it to a potential client. However, if you haven’t raised your rates for 4 years, there’s a serious problem. It time to charge for the transformation you bring to your clients. If you have the skillset of a small agency, it’s viable to charge the amount of an agency. Your clients will get an amazing experience and service. Let’s be real, you’re excellent and brilliant. Don’t undersell yourself or set your prices according to your competitors . Be mindful that you are now in a global marketplace. Your rates can be comparable of that of an expert with similar experience and quality in a different city. Bottom line- it’s time to charge for the transformation you bring.
If your product, service, and client experience is amazing, don’t negotiate or discount your pricing. Include a thorough explanation of your packages, timeline, services, and what you will provide within a bid. More than anything be clear and protect your work within your contract. This provides grace and clear communication in any client relationship.
If you have a degree, went to art school, and have years of experience in your field, you have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table. Your time is never free. Don’t allow people to pick your brain for the cost of a coffee when you offer creative consulting and mentorship as a service. Great design is never cheap and fast. Just like owning a camera doesn’t make you a photographer, a $50 monthly subscription to Creative Cloud doesn’t make you a designer. We all know Canva is never the substitute of building a beautiful brand. Thinking that Fiverr, Upwork, and Etsy is your competition, couldn’t be further from the truth. I recently came across a campaign on Instagram from @jamesllewis that completely resonates with the heart behind this post. Simply posting “Our time has value,” he is encouraging other creatives to stand up for the value behind creative work. (Have you ever wondered why people will spend more on a hair service or day at the spa than they will a photoshoot or design work for their business? This is the exact message behind this campaign.)
As a creative, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of running a business. However, building something that is moving forward and directly tied to your why, can quickly get buried. If your why is feeling like a distant memory, make sure to revisit your about page. It is why you do what you do. Plain and simple, it’s laid out and visible for the world to see. You know the business plan and five-year plan you made at the beginning of the year? It’s time to break out that plan and revisit it again. How does your why inform your current decisions, your boundaries, and the ways you pursue finding your ideal clients?
When was the last time you told your story? Past a #fridayintroductions post on Instagram, how are you bringing your story and differentiators to the surface? It’s time to own it. Over the years, I regularly sit down with local business owners and makers. I take time to uncover their stories, bringing them to the surface, and uncover their why. It always amazes me the stories that can be told after a 30-minute conversation. In one meeting, I heard something that stuck with me. A business owner stated, “I learned I couldn’t get tired of telling my vision and my story. We told our vision for a year in order for people to remember it.” The craziest thing about these posts and interviews? I rarely ever knew the story behind the individuals running the businesses I frequented until I took the time to ask. It was completely missing from their brand.