I was so irritated.
I’m not going to say their name, give you details, or talk about the proposal, but I certainly am going to write a warning for anyone who will listen. And I don’t frellin’ care that I want to yell about it all over the internet.
And it was asked by the owner of a new business, who days after asking me to commit to a project, came back and bemoaned the fact that she had a slim budget for her grand opening.
Was there any way I could negotiate a lower price?
“I can appreciate the prices you charge because of your extensive expertise, but…. I’m paying for all this wine and I don’t have enough money.”
What. The. Hell.
Really. After a week of knowing my price, and me setting aside time and making preparations. Really?
So dear readers: would you take a 50% pay cut if your boss asked? Bet not only you wouldn’t, but you’d tell him where to go!
DON’T DO THIS! ARTISTS ARE PEOPLE TOO!
And just because you’re used to buying 3rd world cheap, doesn’t mean you’re justified in asking for my services, scheduling me and then asking me to slash my pay. (What d’ya wanna bet that ain’t box wine you’re springing for.) I could have far better respected you coming clean and saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t have as much money as I thought,” than to ask me to work for half price.
“I have 200 people on my mailing list that I will advertise your business to when I advertise my event. So you’ll get exposure.”
“Exposure” is the rotten kiss of hard-work-for-nothing in many cases. Every newbie thinks at some point that every flirtatious offer to exchange products or services for “exposure” will be good for them. Too often it just isn’t. And for some businesses, too much of that kind of financial risk is just the kiss of death.
And 200 people on your mailing list? That’s all? If the wind is blowing the right way, I might get one contact out of that. IF your email ad is done nicely. But statistics are not in favor of even that.
“I’m sure people who attend my event will become future customers for you.”
Here’s where my eyes start to glaze over just a little. I’ve heard all this before. People who try to present themselves as having assets they don’t really have.
In over a decade of being in business for myself, not once has making a donation, or participating in someone’s private event ever… let me repeat that… EVER sent me a lead, much less a sale!
Now. I do a lot of charity work. I’ve often donated to cancer causes with no questions asked.
But here’s the big key. I don’t do it for exposure. I do it because I choose to give back to the world through a kind heart and generosity. Because that feels right to me and because I want to. That doesn’t mean I don’t put my name on my donations, but giving for exposure is the wrong reason. Spending business assets on possible “exposure” has never paid for me. Not saying it won’t for someone else, but it never once has for me.
Artists and designers and consultants and musicians and all those other entrepreneurs out there need to be just as respected for their time and expertise as someone who works for the man.
And whatever this weird fatal attraction is, where society is dying to have us colorful creatives around, but you want us to pimp ourselves out for cheap, has just gotta go.
Stop dissing our fields.
Stop diminishing our returns.
Stop using us. And artists, don’t you go caving either!
We have every right to feed our kids and have a warm bed too.
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