Tricky Business

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  • When is it Time to Raise Your Rates/Prices?

    This is a heads up to all clients and potential clients, not-so-cleverly disguised as an informative blog post. I am raising my rates at the beginning of April by about 10%. This is both a cost-of-living raise and reflects my improving skill-set and specializations. If you are a current client – don’t fret, I’m not going to raise the price halfway through a project. Rates for future projects may be slightly higher, or not, depending on several factors.

    If you are a new potential client and would like to lock in a project at the current rates, then contact me now – I’ll be quoting based on current rates till the end of the month.

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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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  • Email: My Secret Shame, and Improving your creative business in the New Year

    I am shit with email.

    There is no sugar-coating that baby, no making excuses or blaming it on the cat. I am shit with email. I come home from work, all ready to write my little heart out for the evening, and there it is, that seething bulk of communication, and I am grateful for every single item that comes into my inbox – new albums for me to download, guest posting, client enquiries, press releases from strange and weird places, ad requests for Gothic Wedding Planner, replies from editors about pitches, newsletters … – so I, in my excitement, read them all, think “I’ll reply to that later, when I’ve given it some thought,” file it away in a folder, and promptly forget that I need to reply to it.

    Sometimes I look at that counter that says “54 new emails” and I go and listen to my husband’s band practice, instead.

    I frequently leave people hanging for days – sometimes even weeks. I accidentally delete things. I send emails and forget to attack stuff. I send enormous files without noticing. I am a bad, bad emailler. 

    If there were email gods, they would smite me where I stand.

    The first thing that I wanted to say was that if you’ve been a victim of my email-suckyness, I apologise. I am so, so, so sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m an unorganised, scatterbrained hazard to myself.

    The second thing I want to say is that it’s going to change.

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  • Unicorns are Awesome and Why I can’t help you quit your day job

    [dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s a lot of bollocks blowing up in the blogasphere right now, especially surrounding internet marketers, information products, and the old adage: “those that can’t do, teach”. I won’t go into specifics, suffice to say a lot of people are starting to ask questions about what “qualifies” someone as an expert who can teach others – and whether teaching people they can “quit their day job” and run a successful internet business from home is the marker of a scam artist or not.

    I wanted to address this today because I’ve been reading what they’re saying and – even as a person who sells info-products – I can see their point. I don’t want to be rude or mean about it, or call anyone out, but yeah – I see their point.

    A phrase used by a lot of sites these days goes: “you don’t have to be a 10 in your chosen niche to teach. Even if you’re only a 5, you can teach the 1’s and 2’s”. And a lot of the people telling us this are genuinely nice, kind and caring people. I believe you should always think people have the best of intentions until proven otherwise, and most businesses who earn money around selling info-products and services – coaching, how-to ebooks, affiliate marketing, courses, etc – genuinely want to create something that helps people. They care.

    Hell, I write ebooks and I coach people, because I care.

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  • Freelancers: Dealing with the Lumpy Income Blues

    I read a wicked article on Freelance Switch the other day by Martha Retallick called Proven Solutions to Freelance Income Fluctuation. In the article, Martha outlines some killer strategies for beating what she terms the “Lumpy Income Blues”, which is a term I am officially stealing and using in my everyday freelance vocabulary. Mostly, Martha […]

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  • The Introvert’s Guide to Face-to-Face Networking

    If you know me primarily as on online mistress of wit and wisdom, it may surprise you to learn that in real life, I’m painfully shy. I’ve been meaning to ring the lovely beauty therapist who lives around the corner to book a waxing appointment for two months now, but the thought of calling up […]

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  • How to score your dream jobs – the heavy metal way

    In this week’s Epic Interrogation with the stunning Vail Joy of graphic design studio FutureNoir, Vail talked about generating interest in your sites by sending emails directly to contacts about your new projects or services. Since this is a technique I use to spread the word about Steff Metal and generate new business, I thought I’d discuss it further.

    Do you have “dream clients?” Maybe you think it would be awesome to design a t-shirt for TUK, or you’d love to collaborate with a certain musician. If you’re a writer like me, creating website copy for sites like Clockwork Couture and Actual Pain would be awesome fun.

    Those jobs aren’t just dreams – they do exist, but right now, the companies and individuals are using someone else, or not doing the job because they can’t afford it or haven’t found the right person yet.

    The right person is you.

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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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  • How to Write Without Colour

    I don’t talk a lot about my eyesight, since it seems kind of irrelevant when we’re not talking face to face. If we were, you might notice that I don’t make eye-contact, that I seem to stare at a spot over your shoulder, that I blink all the time, and that when I go to […]

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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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