How to Stop Being a Starving Artist

Starving Artist Syndrom is a Problem

The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. Being a Starving Artist isn’t noble, it is a crippling mindset that is justifying you accepting less than you deserve. I’m not debating you on this in the comments, it is a fact.

Great, so what do we do about it?

Look I get it, the market doesn’t respect creativity and doesn’t value it the same way it values technical skills or business savvy. Until that culture changes, you’re going to have to learn the language of business and how to create leverage as an artist, and that doesn’t mean getting people to all of a sudden wake-up and respect your creativity.

Understand What Other People Value (Hint it’s not your creativity)

You need to understand that what other people value is what you can provide to them. If your creativity can facilitate giving them what they value most, then you will be able to charge what you want or what is appropriate. This will ONLY happen after you managed to communicate that what you can do for them, aligns with delivering to them what they want most:

  • Time/Speed
  • Opportunity
  • Respect/Prestige
  • Profit/Resources
  • Consistency

You’ll notice that aesthetic, design and creativity didn’t make the list. By framing your language and the way you communicate around those values, you will always be a Starving Artist.

If You Really Want to Stop Being a Starving Artist, Answer This Question:

How does your work create value for me and my business? 

It’s really straight-forward. If you can’t communicate that to an employer or client in a meaningful way, you’ve already lost. You need to learn to speak the language of business if you want to be taken seriously. If you can’t do that, it’s okay, but you will have to partner with someone who can and split the money with them.

If you want a more in-depth conversation around how to stop being a Starving Artist and get paid what you’re worth as a creative, you may want to listen to this episode of my Podcast.

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