Money Matters

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  • Pricing Artwork – Why You’re Eating Cold Noodles for Dinner Again (plus, a recipe!)

    For any new business, pricing work can be a total guessing game. On the one hand, you want to undercut the competition, beucase you know everyone wants a bargain and you want to get your product out there. On the other hand, you want to eat. How to solve this quandary?

    The pricing problem becomes further compounded with creative businesses, because the product you’re selling isn’t something people can easily place value on. Artwork doesn’t immediately solve a pressing problem, or offer some kind of stable market for which you can compare models and prices. The price a person pays for artwork is whatever they feel it is worth. If they don’t feel it’s worth the price asked, they won’t pay for it.

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  • How to Make Money from Selling Handmade

    The handmade movement is booming all over the world, and is becoming a real force in the market. Aimed at countering mass-produced consumerism, “buy handmade” has become a mantra of many disenchanted consumers, and owners of small handmade businesses are benefitting. People want less stuff, and they want to feel connected to the stuff they DO buy – they want to know things are ethically produced, they want to feel as though they KNOW the person who created an object. They’re tired of mass-produced crap.

    But handmade businesses just can’t compete with the prices of goods from China, and the economies of scale for larger companies mean most small business owners are struggling with increasingly small profit margins.

    As an example: two brightly colored wool hats sell in a clothing store for $30. One hat was made in China, shipped to the country and sold to the retailer by a large hat-buying chain for $15. The retailer makes $15 and that hat-buying chain makes $8. The costs of shipping, storage, freight and packaging add up to $7.5 and the Chinese hat maker earns about .50c.

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  • The Epic Guide to Teaching: Earn More Money and Grow Your Creative Business by Becoming a Teaching Artist

    This is a guest post by Emily Helms, an incredibly talented, intelligent and compassionate writer, bookworm and creative copywriter (she’s humble too, but trust me, this girl has the “brain smarts”.)

    If you’re a creative biz owner who is just starting out, I’m willing to bet that the money isn’t rolling in the door yet. In that case, teaching may be a great way to earn some extra cash while honing your skills.

    I’ve taught for almost two years in three different settings: out of my home, out of a community arts school, and most recently, out of a teaching studio at my local music store.

    In this post, I’ll go over some advantages and disadvantages of teaching to help you decide whether it’d be a good addition to your artist’s bag of tools. I’ll also go over some of the things you’ll need to consider before taking on your first victim…er, student.

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  • Your Services as Products, or how I earn buttloads of money as a writer.

    I’ve been utterly blown away by the response to my new writing packages. You guys were so enthusiastic I spent nearly every waking moment before we left for Germany creating press releases and writing blogs and talking on Skype at all hours of the morning and night. (That’s the only problem with doing consulting from New Zealand – we’re so far ahead of the rest of you, I’m always having to wake up at 4am to talk to someone. It’s all good, though.)

    I’m still taking orders for new writing packages, but keep in mind I am on holiday. And it’s a real holiday too, meaning I’m not working till I get back to New Zealand on the 16 August.

    Some of you have been emailing asking why I decided to create writing packages. “Surely,” someone said, “you’d be better off sticking with your old services page?”

    After reminding him my name is Steff, not Shirley, I assured him I’ve had a much better response to the packages than I ever did to my “hire me” page, even when I promoted my services quite heavily.

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  • Artists and Creatives – How to Write a kick-ass sales page

    I aim to please. I’ve been a fan of Cory Huff’s Abundant Artist blog for, oh, forever. It was reading this blog and some of the inspiring guest posts that first inspired me to set up my own art shop. And, while my paintings have never been as successful as my writing, I consider my […]

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  • Epic Interrogation with Vail Joy of FutureNoir – designer behind steffmetal.com and grymmandepic.com

    If you’ve admired the bad-ass graphics and design of any of my websites, you’re should direct your compliments to Vail Joy of FutureNoir.net. Vail is the epitome of a grymm & epic businesswomen, running her creative design studio out of Slovenia, where she can indulge her bird-watching obsession and attend as many metal festivals as she wants, the lucky wench.

    Over 18 months ago I was thinking about updating my Steff Metal site and sent out a message to all my readers asking if anyone knew of a good designer. Vail answered the call and I’ve been bugging her with projects ever since. She’s friendly, super easy to work with, has the BEST ideas (have you SEEN my Cthulhu-themed copywriting packages? That’s all Vail’s work), and I recommend her to everyone I know planning a website – especially if you’re even a little bit alternative.

    vail-joy-future-noir

    Vail’s come over to Grymm & Epic today to talk about being a creative freelancer, money managing tips, and how to find the time to get to all the best heavy metal concerts.

    Firstly, we just want to know who you are, and what you do. Can you share your journey from mini-Vail to FutureNoir?

    Well, I am a transient cat herder and long-time lover of music, but make a living as an independent writer and designer. FutureNoir is a niche design studio focused primarily on web solutions for the creative industry – music, authors and artists.

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  • Can you Quit Your Day Job and Make a Living as a Full-Time Creative?

    In Monday’s Epic Interrogation, NYT Best-Selling urban fantasy writer Jeaniene Frost talked about honestly about her first failed attempt to quit her job – you can read the full story in Jeaniene’s interview, but basically, she quit too soon, thinking the money would be coming, and the money didn’t come. She had to go back to her day job, just to make ends meet.

    Imagine how scary that must be, not just for Jeaniene, but for her family, too. Luckily, she’s now doing so well she’s been writing full time for two years with no sign of stopping.

    You can quit your day job and make a living as a creative entrepreneur. There’s work aplenty out there for artists, writers, musicians, sculptors, actors, dancers and designers, if you learn about the business side of your art and apply yourself to finding it. You can find more joy than you’ll ever know working for yourself and spreading your unique creative message all over the world. But how do you avoid quitting too soon?

    I am not a full-time writer. I’ve been running my freelance business part-time for nearly seven years now. When I’m not writing, I work for a non-profit creating braille books and resources for blind and low-vision NZers. As I’m legally blind myself, this job is especially important to me, as I know firsthand how hard it can be to access things you want to read if you can’t actually read them. Full time work may suit me some day, but right now it doesn’t, because I love what I do.

    However, here’s what I would make sure you had in place before considering quitting your day job:

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  • Announcing My New Ass-Kicking Writing Packages!

    There’s no Epic Interrogation this week. Instead, I’ve got an announcement. A lot of people write to me saying they’d love to hire someone like me to work on their site, but they don’t think they’ve got the budget. I don’t like advertising my rates, but I’ve been thinking of creating some special writing packages […]

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  • The Creative’s Guide to Asking for More Money

    [dropcap]I[/dropcap]n this week’s epic interview, I talked to burlesque beauty Leda Petit about the dance business. Leda says one of the best business decisions she ever made was to ask for more money.

    Wow, now that’s a scary thought.

    As creatives, the thought of asking for more money can be terrifying. You’ve only just got your little business going, and now you want to turn away all your clients / customers by putting prices up? It seems ridiculous. Bear with me, and I’ll explain why asking for more money or raising your prices won’t drive your customers away, but may set you up for real success.

    Are you paying yourself a fair wage?

    You have as much right to earn a decent wage as anyone, and there is absolutely no point being in business if you’re going to run yourself ragged for pennies – you’d be better off working part time and doing you art for fun.

    It’s time you sat down and worked out exactly how much you’re earning per hour. If it takes you three hours to paint a picture, and you sell that picture for $100, and you minus off $10 for materials, you’re earning $30 an hour, which sounds pretty decent, actually … but is it?

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