Just a quick note to say that the Trichordist has posted a list of recommended books and I completely agree with him (he’s David Lowery, in case you didn’t know). These are must-reads for anyone trying to make a living as a creative professional today.
Recently, I offered a special deal on web reviews. I so enjoyed doing reviews again (after some time not doing them), that I’ve decided to make some time in my busy life to do non-legal consulting more. I don’t have a lot of time available (my law practice keeps me busy!) but I can fit in a few limited consultations.
Here’s the deal–I’m offering the following packages:
- Send me 50 images (in a pdf) for offline review, and get a 30 minute phone consultation: $100.
- Website review, with a 45-minute phone consultation: $200.
- Online presence review–website, Facebook, Tumblr… whatever tools you are using–with a 45-minute phone consultation: $350
These are live conversations, not some written report like some other companies offer. You’ll be able to ask me questions (non-legal–these are not legal service consultations) and we’ll have a real talk.
If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll send you details.
Here is a long but important piece about Like Farms on Facebook, by Mark E. Tisdale. Like Farms are another reason to keep your work off Facebook, of course, but it’s also worth sharing this info with your non-creative professional friends on Facebook, to ask them to stop sharing content like that.
Yes, many people will ignore such a plea, but some won’t. Remember, every cultural shift starts with just one person.
Want another compelling reason to get paid for your work? How about avoiding being labeled a hobbyist by the state and thus not being able to take business deductions? Yup, that is really happening in Minnesota and it can happen to you, too.
If the IRS thinks you aren’t really a professional, if you don’t actually make money, you can end up on the dark side of a nasty audit. If your business is deemed to be a hobby and not a business, you will lose all the business deductions you made against any revenue generated and, boom, tax bill from hell.
So, every time someone asks you to use your work for free (or infringes!), ask yourself “Am I a hobbyist or a professional?”
This is a long read, and probably a bit complex for some of us without the technical background, but it is totally worth it. Designer Matthew Butterick’s talk on web design and the necessity to critique technology, called The Bomb in the Garden.
**OFFER EXTENDED! Get the great rate if you sign up before 4/26 5pm PDT!**
Tax Day is a great time to remind yourself that you are in business and that you are successful at it. If you have to pay any tax for 2012, that means you actually made money. No matter how little, the fact that you made a profit means you are a successful businessperson! Congratulations!
To celebrate, I’d like to help you be even more successful so I’m offering a special online portfolio (website) review at a price of only $100. This is more than half-off my usual rate. You’ll get 30 minutes of my time via phone (or skype) including the opportunity to ask questions about your work and its marketing*. You must book by 11:59pm (PDT) Friday to get that rate (payment via PayPal). If you’d like more details or instructions on how to book, just email me.
* No legal advice is included in this offer–this consultation is for marketing issues/questions only.
If you have even the slightest desire to be a successful commercial photographer, make sure you are reading these posts, like the one today about cost consultants.
Talk about jumping on the assignment! San Diego photographer Don Mirra kindly shared his results with me almost immediately and gave me permission to share them with you. You can get the whole pdf of his thoughts/results by clicking on the screenshot above.
Your turn! What have you learned from my assignment? Share your thoughts and results! They don’t have to be in a pdf like Don did… you can just post a comment or shoot me an email and I’ll add it to the discussions.
This month’s Manual is being offered to everyone (not just subscribers) and I hope lots of you read it and participate. It contains an assignment. You can get the pdf here.
When you have completed the assignment, come back here (the Manual has the link) and share your experience in the comments.
Recently, I’ve been reminded of how miserable one can feel when forced into working for free. Whether it’s making art or providing legal services or, I suppose, even driving a taxi or doing anything, when you’ve put your best efforts into something only to get nothing for it, well, it’s enough to set your teeth on edge.
I’m not talking about getting ripped off. That’s a different kind of hell, when a client doesn’t pay or someone steals your work (that’s a different kind of “free by force” that I talk about all the time–but not today).
I mean the kind of free where you’ve committed to helping out, only to get taken advantage of. Perhaps you agree to design a brochure for a local non-profit for an extremely reduced rate and, after you’ve committed, you find out that your lovely, kind contact is actually not in charge but rather her evil twin, the color-blind, disorganized battle axe is. The Axe asks for a matching postcard and email promos and guilts you into adding that work for nothing. She then emails you constantly and criticizes everything you do, even though she hasn’t a clue what good design is. That little 10-hour near-freebie is now taking 100 hours and everything is a crisis, mostly because she failed to tell you when she hired you on Thursday that the deadline for the printer is Monday. Then, when you bend over backwards to still somehow make it work, she gets pissed you can’t get that Ansel Adams guy to shoot the thing…even if he is dead.
Okay, maybe that sounds a bit far-fetched, but I bet you have your own similar story. We all do. It proves the old adage that if you give some people an inch, they’ll take a mile. That kind of free work is somehow worse, to me at least, than getting ripped off. After all, you agreed to help but then you let them take advantage. It’s a slow grind into hell.
I think the cheap clients are the worst–they over-manage and generally make things worse. They also prove the other adage that there is a relationship between the amount of money you get paid and the pain-in-the-ass factor of the client–that relationship being, of course, inverse.
On the other hand, when you knowingly and openly offer and agree to work for free, negotiating the deal with that in mind, somehow it (usually) becomes something not very work-like. I mean, often when you do a free project, by choice, for someone or something you truly want to support, the project turns into something really fulfilling. People are usually grateful for your efforts and gracious in telling you so. You are not micro-managed. You get the joy of helping without the guilt. Like a miracle, when you look back and find that you spent thrice the time you had planned on the project, it just doesn’t bother you because you made great work and it really helped. Sure, you didn’t get paid for it, but you got satisfaction
Yes, I am saying it’s okay to work for free. Some people think that I’m totally against that–I’m not. I am against working for free for any other reason than you want to give. But once you do, then you should offer to do some work pro bono. That kind of free feeds your soul.
How can you tell the difference? Easy: you get asked (guilted, begged) by others to do free work for them = Force; you offer your free services to others = Choice.