How Value To Your Creativity

Creativity is a natural gift.  It is something to be revered, respected and valued.  However, sometimes we are so used to it...(it is like breathing) and forget to make sure our work is properly valued.   People have to be taught about the value of what you bring in your ability to create a beautiful space, building, room, event, garment,....whatever it may be.   They do not know it until they have learned. That is your responsibility.

For instance, you know when you attend an event that has been designed and created by a popular designer/planner  - you have expectations.  That firm or designer has successfully built a standard, a reputation. They have educated the client, community or public on the value they bring.  In turn, they are able to validate the price they charge.

Creatives aren't great at putting a dollar value to their work and often are at a loss to explain why they are charging what they charge......I really have much more to say about this but for now will keep it simple and give some examples and tips.


If you are just starting out....

1) Do some comparisons on the market.  For example, if you are just starting to design for others, don't ask for a high rate right out of at the beginning but build slowly.  Look into what a designer typically makes per year.  (if you research it, it is low but look) 

2) Take that number and divide it into working hours and you will see it is not a lot but its a start.  Use that number for hourly.  Then if you are reselling items you charge a procurement fee.  This is totally up to you but if you are taking the time to know where to select and  find items, set up accounts, purchase, track and take responsibility for returns as well as arranging receiving and delivery of the  item.....charging a fee is necessary.  

3) Never start out by saying what you charge.  Start by saying the value you bring.  Relate to the client  about creating beautiful solutions, overcoming challenges, meeting deadlines, handling nightmares and creating a successful project and end result.  Talk about what could go wrong and how your work helps to alleviate issues, waste and mistakes.  PLUS creates a beautiful result.

4) Get them excited about the dream.  What they envision and how  you know how to bring it and then some.  You have many ideas.  That is true but its knowing HOW to make the idea a reality and create a unique home, office, event or product.  THAT is the key.  If you are new, don't expect to get top dollar....but start practicing this

5) Truly see your value.  Nothing is done without design, planning and creative thought.  Many people are vying to be designers, but successful designers have to be able to know what they bring and communicate that to the client.  Give examples....tell stories, show photos and tell the story about the project

Then....when they are ready to work with you...

You discuss pricing... and why. Make sure it makes sense and again, communicates value.  Avoid talking money up front.  That will never go well.  If they are interviewing other designers, ask to be the last.  Sell them on what you bring. ... A delivered complete and beautiful design they envision and more....a very good experience.


THAT is valuing what you do.  That is making sure others understand the value of what you do.  Practice it. Believe it and walk away if they are not willing to see how valuable your creativity is.  The respect starts with you.  

If this was helpful..

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Elizabeth Ribons, ASID, CID is a successful creative entrepreneur and designer.  She has mentored many into their own creative businesses