If you’re like me, you hate dealing with money. I hate the stage of business where you give someone a price quote or an invoice. It can be awkward and nerve-racking. I’d rather just do the fun part; the recording, the designing, the painting. You know, the art stuff. The money stuff isn’t as much fun.

Many times, as artists and new business owners we are afraid to ask people to pay for our services. And when I say pay, I mean pay fairly. We usually underpay ourselves. We quote a price really low trying to ensure we get the job and work our behinds off for very little.

It’s hard to decide what to charge someone, especially if you don’t have the equipment and large company that the”big guys” have. But does equipment matter? Not really. Is your end product what the client wants? If so, they shouldn’t care what gear you use. Does the size of your company mattter? No way. Actually, people will pay more for small business services just for real customer service and an enhanced experience.

So what matters? What is fair when it comes to people paying you for your services?

When I go to charge people for recording, I no longer consider my gear, my location, or the size of my company. Instead, I consider the fact that I have been recording and perfecting my craft for over 12 years. I have invested a lot of time and a lot of money into my ability for more than a decade (so far). My product is very high-quality and competitive with just about anyone. Even the big, major studios. My clients have told me this.

With this in mind, why shouldn’t I get paid? And paid good?

I like this story:

One day a woman spotted Pablo Picasso in the market and pulled out a piece of paper. “Mr. Picasso,” she said excitedly. “I’m a big fan. Please, could you do a little drawing for me?”

Picasso happily complied and quickly etched out a piece of art for her on the paper provided. He then smiled as he handed it back to her. “That will be a million dollars.”

“But Mr. Picasso,” the woman replied, flustered. “It only took you 30 seconds to do this little masterpiece.”

“My good woman,” Picasso laughed, “It took me 30 years to do that masterpiece in 30 seconds.”

In the last 48 hours, I have produced and recorded 5 songs. It use to take me a week to do one. Over 12 years, I have gotten much better and much more efficient. I don’t charge for the time it takes me to produce a song, instead, I charge for the 12 years it has taken me to learn how to produce songs as skillfully, effectively, and quickly as I do now. 

$10,000 in two days sounds crazy. But $10,000 in 12 years? Not so much.

Whatever you do, don’t rip yourself off. Consider all of the time you’ve put in over the years.

Time is money.


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