How Do I Make More Money As An Artist

One of the questions I get asked most is ” How do I make more money as an artist”.

My first response is always, to “ASK for more money.”

It may appear on the surface to be an obvious or wise-ass answer. But it’s not.

I regularly urge my coaching clients to double even triple their current prices. And when they do, they find very little significant resistance and end up earning more money with that one simple change.

The reason is many artist greatly undervalue their work to begin with and are practically giving it away. Because we are operating under a knee-jerk reaction to compete on price first because we don’t know how else to position what we offer to our ideal clients.

There are many considerations that your potential client factors
into their buying decisions. Pricing is just one. Let’s look at a
few others in no particular order…

– Reliability
– Availabilty
– Service
– Familiararity
– Likability
– Trustworthiness
– Style
– Quickness (able to turn job around quickly)
– Knowledge (of subject matter or industry)
– Experience
– Celebrity status
– Reputation
– Guarentees
– etc….

You get the idea. Find ways to differentiate your work in ways that are important to your preferred potential clients that they would be willing to pay more for.
Let me make something clear in case it got lost in my rambling. I think competing on price alone is always a losing proposition. You need to discover the value of your time and your work. You need to cultivate and identify the right audience that values what you have to offer.

NOTE: Many artist resist this advice initially (you might too) because of a whole laundry list of self-imposed limitations and fears that we all deal with and is just to deep a topic to cover here. We’ll discuss further in a follow-up post.

So here’s my challenge to you. The next project that come into your studio, figure out what you would normally charge, double that number and offer it up as your quote.

Afraid to double it? Increase it by 50%.

If it helps, here are two interviews you may want to listen to with artists who have discussed tripling their rates. Not over a three year period. not gradually. But in one fell swoop:
Interview with illustrator George Coghill
Interview with artist Velicia Waymer

 

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I want to know what you think about the pricing issue.

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7 Responses to How Do I Make More Money As An Artist

  1. Thanks, Carlos. I guess this is more than just ‘positive thinking’ (not that that isn’t important), but it seems like common sense to value what you do if you plan on selling it/yourself.

  2. Aidan, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re right. Though, for the most part I know most artists value their work and what they do. The real issue I see in coaching artists is that they greatly undervalue their work, or don’t understand how to position themselves and add value to what they do in a way to allow them to command higher fees or expand the the services provided to new and existing clients.

  3. Yes, I agree, this is excellent advice for the most part–perhaps with some variations depending on sales venue.
    IMO, you are on the right track with your informative article.
    However, there are some artists who price themselves out of the market with prices that are much to high for their reputation. So, my point is that both extremes exist.

    If you would like to write a unique guest post for my blog on these topics I would be happy to feature it. Best wishes

  4. Totally agree, Carlos, and I have a lot of experience in this. As a digital artist a few years ago, I raised my rate to a level I feared was too high. I knew it was right when I had a client try to negotiate it down. Instead of just adjusting the rate down, I laid out a two contract/plan options that offered my rate and explained the value they would receive, then a lower-rate option that offered less value (spelled out in detail). They went with the higher value option when they saw the difference in the rate options.

    These days as a screen printer, we are often undercut by other printers who compete on price. We feel ok losing those jobs because:

    A. We know the undercutters can’t maintain a business for long at those prices (we know what everything costs).
    B. Those people looking for the lowest price only are not going to be long term clients for us, which is our focus (reciprocal business relationships).

    Great discussion!

  5. Excellent approach David. And thank you for sharing your experience. It’s important for our fellow colleagues to understand that they too can do this. I understand the initial hesitation many artists have, but once they find the courage to do it, It can change your business entirely.

    Continued success my friend.

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