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Buying Out of the “Starving Artist” Mindset

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Over the weekend, I stopped in a local gallery and was talking with some of the artists. Several were quite successful.

One described herself as struggling. Then she said with a laugh, no she was really the typical “starving artist.”

What ensued was a rather lively discussion about our value, what we believe we are capable of, what words to do us, and the notion that we do not have to buy into that “starving” mentality.

The starving artist mentality is totally in your head.



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What’s Your Value?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Value - Business SignThis past Friday I gave the keynote at the Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference. I had a great time connecting — and reconnecting — with so many talented artists. My talk was titled “Starving Artist No More: 7 Steps to a Profitable Creative Arts Career.”As the title suggests, I spent a lot of time talking about your mindset. One of my slides included a favorite quote from Mika Brezinski on knowing your value, which I will share below. From my experience working with creative entrepreneurs, I often find they struggle with determining a value for their work and then charging for it. Here are some tips for dealing with worth.

  1. Know exactly what you are charging. Many creative arts entrepreneurs often are challenged by what to charge for their services. Many tend to undercharge because they don’t know what to charge. They look at what others are charging and figure it must be right. Ever wonder how that person came up with her price? She probably did what you did: looked around at what others were charging and figured it was right. Take the time to go back and determine how long it takes you to accomplish your work. Consider what your expenses are – overhead, taxes, materials, etc. Then determine what you need to make on an hourly basis to meet your expenses and make a profit.
  2. Build confidence in your work and value. In Knowing Your Value Mika Brzezinski said, “Knowing your value means owning your successes. Owning your success means acknowledging your achievements. By acknowledging achievements you build confidence.” One way to do this is to have what I call a Weekly Success and Strategy Session. This is where you set aside time to review your accomplishments for the week and celebrate them. Then strategize for the week to come. Seeing what you accomplish does build your confidence. With increased confidence you will be better able to see your value and express it.
  3. Be visible and promote yourself. Once you see your accomplishments, don’t be shy about sharing them with everyone you know – and even those you don’t. Women, in particular, are not bold about this. Remember, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will? If you need ideas on promoting yourself, listen to our the call in the ICAP Library with Tara Reed on “How to be a Pres-Friendly Agent.”
  4. Look for a mentor. It can be useful to have someone else help you objectively look at what you have to offer and your value. It’s easy to stay in our own shell and others often see things we don’t.
  5. Step out in faith. Once you know and believe your value, don’t second-guess yourself. Own your value and move forward. There’s an African proverb – When you pray, move Your feet – that says it all.

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