Introducing the Grow book trailer and fundraising campaign!

I’m so excited to share this trailer for my book Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job! with you. The animation was created by the talented Mackenzie Katz and it lays out the passions, ideas and experiences that drove me to write Grow. It also highlights what I hope to achieve with this project, from helping creative people clarify their vision and build their own sustainable path to success to working together to build an economy that is supportive of creative businesses and careers of all types.

This book trailer is being released in conjunction with a crowd funding campaign on to support the production and promotion of Grow. Grow is about building DIY community and your participation during this campaign will enable me to develop and present workshops with other DIY entrepreneurs all over North America to help creative people strengthen and sustain their ideas and businesses.

The campaign is a great time to pre-order Grow and pick up other fabulous titles from the book’s publishers, Cantankerous Titles and Microcosm Publishing, as well as rewards handmade by me, including a special, new issue of my personal zine Indulgence that will only be available to campaign supporters.

You can watch the video, peruse the campaign, learn about all the fabulous rewards, and make a contribution here.

We have until April 1 to reach our $7,000 goal and hope to build as much support as we can in the early days.

Thank you in advance for your support of DIY creativity and for spreading the word about how others can get involved in the growth of the Grow project! The ideas, inspiration, and support I have received from the DIY community has sustained me over the years and I continue to be buoyed by all that my community offers me. Thank you for your attention and support!

Creative Money Maker: Value Yourself? Then Pay Yourself!

 Like any creative project, the Creative Money Maker pivoted. I have been incredibly lucky to develop and launch this column with the DIY Business Association. While the DIY BA takes a pause on developing new content, I decided to continue the Creative Money Maker here because got such a great response to it and have so much fun writing it. Join me every other Tuesday right here for more financial advice that feels good! 

You know the old adage “time is money.”  Guess what? It applies to creative people whose work is driven by passion and as well as profit.

When you create a project budget it is important to include a line item for paying yourself, even though you may not anticipate making any money from your project at first. Your budget is a plan for a time when your project is profitable and compensating yourself is a key element. Remember, your budget tells the story of your project in numbers, and you are important part of that story!

Compensation is about the value you put on your time, experience and expertise. “Value” is an intangible concept, but here are factors to consider before determining your fee or hourly rate:

  • Have the confidence to know that your time is worth money
  • Clarify what skills and tasks the project requires
  • Consider your experience and expertise. Do you have a perspective or level of experience that is not common for your field?
  • If creating a budget for a client, consider the value your project brings to your client’s life

Once you have a clear idea about the criteria above consider whether to calculate your fee on a time basis, a project basis, or a package basis.

Time-based is how much you charge per hour for your services. This helpful when you offer services such as consulting, administrative or technical support.

Project-based is a price based for an entire project that has a concrete end point.  When pricing based on a project you want to calculate about how many hours it will take, what the project requires of you, how much the client values the project, and your overhead such as the tools and space you use to create the project.

Package-based is similar to project-based pricing, but it puts more conditions around a project. You offer a certain amount of time or number of consultations for a flat-fee and, if your client demands more changes or wants additional services, you can charge by the hour or an agreed-upon additional fee.

There are no hard and fast formulas for determining how much to charge hourly or for project-based prices. Musician Greta Gertler, who also runs the PR agency Goldfish Prize, shared her simple strategy for pricing her time, which she uses as a baseline to determine her hourly and project-based fees.

Simple pricing strategy:

  • Determine your overhead costs such as tools, software, studio rent, insurance, taxes, as well as living expenses for the year, month and week
  • Determine how many hours a week you want to work
  • Divide to get with your starting number for your hourly rate

Greta Gertler in her band The Universal Thump. Photo by Carol Lipnik.

For example, if my expenses are $2,000 a month and I want to work 30 hours a week I will divide $2000 by 4 (for 4 weeks in the month) and get $500 per week. Then I divide this by 30 to get about $17 an hour. I will have to work at least 30 billable hours each week and charge at least $17 to cover my expenses.

If you are making a budget for a client remember they are only paying you for the time you spend on their project. Thus your “billable” time should cover your expenses incurred during “non-billable” hours. Therefore, I may determine that I will work about 15 hours a week on my clients’ specific projects, so I could raise my rate to $30 an hour to cover those expenses.

Before deciding on your fee find out the going rates for your field. Project fees and hourly rates will be in a range, and you want to know where you stand. Reach out to the professional associations that provide guidelines for pricing your work within your discipline. Talk to other professionals and those who hire creatives about how they determine their fees. For those of you who are selling goods, next time we’ll talk about pricing the creative products you produce.

You have skills, creativity and expertise to offer to your potential clients, your project, and yourself.  You must value yourself first before expecting anyone else to do so and planning to pay yourself fairly sends a message to the world that you are valuable. As a creative person educate yourself and your community members about your worth.

How do you determine your fees?

What challenges do you encounter when it comes to paying yourself?

What does value mean to you?

For the first three installments of the Creative Money Maker please visit the DIY Business Association’s website here.

Introducing the Creative Money Maker

Even if you read this blog regularly you might not know (yet) that I have a secret life as a arts administrator with a love of numbers, finance and fundraising. A girl has to pay for those shoes somehow! Over the years I’ve gained a whole bunch of skills when it comes to combining creativity with logic and strategic planning, especially around money. So, it is with great pleasure that I announce the debut of my bi-monthly column for the DIY Business Association, the Creative Money Maker, which will be full of financial advice that feels good for creative people.

If you are a creative person who wants to make a living at your creation and there’s a part of you that wants to run away screaming as soon as you hear the words “finance” or “money” this column is for you!

Read my first column: Dear creative person: It is time to shift your thinking about money about how financial empowerment is creative empowerment and please join the conversation!

Also, spend some time checking out the rest of the DIY Business Association’s website. It is run by the ever-inspiring Amy Cuevas Schroeder, who was also the mastermind behind Venus Zine, and is full of advice for creative people in all fields interested in (or in the process of) nurturing a micro-business.

South by Southwest Takeaways

These bikes were having fun watching us

Corita performing at Waterloo Cycles during SXSW

Today I have a guest post up on my friend Alejandra O’Leary’s blog about what my big lessons from SXSW. Coming from the perspective of a nonprofit arts administrator and a DIY musician, I wasn’t sure if the SXSW conference would really resonate with me, but it did, and I think I took away some valuable ideas that I hope will be helpful to musicians and all types of creatives. Please check out the entry here and let me know what you think! Also, if you’d like to listen to the insights and ideas shared in the panel I spoke on, Beethoven + Social Media = Crowd Funding Patronage, you can listen to that here!  If you’ve been to South by I’d love to know your big takeaways and if not, I’d love to know what you are working on to take your creative project to the next level!

Corita at Cherrywood Coffee House

Corita performing at Cherrywood Coffee House for the Austin Girls Rock Camp party during SXSW