A letter to all creatives: Know Your Worth
You may have done a job that is worth repayment or an exchange of some sort. Maybe you just started up a business and are too shy to own up to the value of your product or service.
I personally know that as a free lance writer, model, creative, whatever you call it – I often struggle to place a value on any of my work. Within the last year of me starting this blog and the brands I've been lucky enough to collaborate with, it's taken me a while to figure out this entire process -- and I'm nowhere near to having it all solved.
I have however learnt in the last year and a bit that owning up to your talent and taking that extra step forward for yourself can be quite challenging. I've had big and small pay-checks, and more often than not -- no pay-check at all.
Understanding what you are trading your services/product for and what you are willing to accept is entirely up to you, but there are a few things you should always stick by, such as never backing down and knowing your worth.
Here are 3 things I learnt in the process :
All shots by Mark Morgan @mxmsurfphoto
Be your own #1 Fan
Believe you are talented. Whatever it is that you are creating, producing, singing, writing, painting, shaping. It can be intimidating for the soul to claim yourself as a “writer” “musician” “actor” or any creative outlet for that matter. For a while, heck maybe even all your life, you’ll feel like a fraud. Someone that isn’t worth investing into. But guess what? That’s what everyone else thinks about themselves too – even those who made it. The trick is to shut that little voice up, and yes, be your own #1Fan. Believe you are awesome, and everything will follow suit. One of the things I repeatedly remind myself is to “Fake it t’ill you Make it” probably the best advice I’ve ever heard.
“No” is a wonderful word
A few weeks ago I posted a photo of a contract I had come across after meeting with a modeling agency. Without going into too many details, the contract itself had demands that stated – and I’m quoting word for word here – “Models must look fantastic at all times” and “Don’t get creative [with your looks], it will work against you.”
Safe to say the responses I got were of shock and horror that people in the fashion industry still speak this way – and worse, have the balls to write it down on paper in poor English and give it to young hopefull girls who probably still don’t know who they are as an individual.
Don’t be afraid to say no. If something doesn’t feel right, deep down in your heart, that twinging feeling in your belly – it’s there for a reason. Call it intuition, instincts or just plain ol’ common sense. The heart and the body do not lie. Peer pressure is a thing – you probably experienced it when you were younger, and maybe even still today. If someone, or a group of people, want you to do something that doesn’t sit right by you – acknowledge that for minute. Understand that you are feeling this way for a reason, maybe it’s the values your parents brought you up with, maybe it’s your own values that you still don’t quite fully grasp yet.
Stand Up For Yourself
Sometimes it’s standing your ground and knowing what’s best for you – or not giving up on something you truly believe in. Situations and people can be intimidating. Backing down or keeping your mouth shut may feel like the path of least resistance, but it’s up to you decide if that resistance is actually protecting or hindering you. It takes a lot of gut and confidence to stick up for yourself. Ultimately you are only going to disappointing one person, and that's you.
Holding your ground in times when you feel like something is wrong -- it will shape you character. That inner strength you are continuously working on will flourish and grow into something that will guide you your entire life.
Think of it as a pastry chef making his own cookies. There is no need to conform or meld your cookie into someone else’s cookie cutter version of what they want. They can make their own damn croissants – you keep going with your square oatmeal chocolate chip – maybe that’s the shape that works better for you.