This is a friendly reminder to all you artists, crafters, bakers and makers out there to get paid. Get paid for the work you do for others. Is it difficult to talk money? Is it uncomfortable to ask for what you’re owed? Yes and yes, but it’s also absolutely necessary.
This PSA comes to you after a coworker commissioned a piece of work from me and forgot to pay. Word of this spread to a creative colleague, and she gave me a stern talking to this morning. At first the idea of asking for money – even though it was money I had earned and a price that we discussed! – seemed way too uncomfortable. But she gave me a proverbial shake of the shoulders and said that’s absolutely not OK. Allowing others to take advantage of talent, time and experience without compensation is an insult to not only to the creator themselves but all artists; it discredits their craft and it devalues their work.
And that chat really reignited that sense of creative justice I have in me. So all you makers out there: get paid. Get paid fairly for you time, talent and materials. Settle a price and form of payment up front; it is not acceptable for someone to say they’ll pay you $20 and give that to you as a $20 Starbucks gift card or a $20 shirt – those are not equivalent. Tell your client what your price is, when you expect payment, how you expect payment and, if need be, follow through. I did it today, and it feels good.
This is an important lesson, makers. Now go get it.