I run into all sorts of people who struggle with self-employment, online and off, in my daily life. As an artist and crafter, I meet tons of other creative types who just don’t “get” social media and marketing and self-promotion. As a web developer, blogger, and social media manager, I meet people who don’t have the time to try to understand the power of the internet in their business.
The time is NOW to take ownership of what you do, and make what you love work for you.
Crafters and Artists – Stop calling it a “hobby”. Did you know that if you earn a profit for 3 out of 5 years with your art or craft, that in most states, you’re officially NOT a hobbyist anymore, but it’s a full-fledged business? Stop and think about that for a second… Do you WANT to have a business, where you can claim deductions, run profit reports, grow your income substantially, and have a “full time job” out of it, or are you content with it being just a hobby? I’d think in this economy, everyone would want more income, and if you’ve got skills and talent, why not use them to pay the bills?
I know that many of you reading this are making beautiful things mostly because you love doing it. What breaks my heart is how many of you (you know who you are) are using $10 of yarn to make an intricate scarf, and then selling it for $15, actually believing that “any profit is good profit”. Really? It took you 4 hours to make that thing! That’s you, being paid $1.25 per hour. I don’t know about you, but I’d learn to love flipping burgers at minimum wage instead of wasting my time, my creativity, and my energies on $1.25 an hour if I were looking to make money from anything. If you really don’t need the money, that’s cool, give them away. Literally. Don’t spend another moment online promoting yourself. Call up your local City Mission or some churches or homeless shelters and drop them off. Because by selling handcrafted work so cheaply, you not only make your own work SEEM cheap, but you instantly devalue what everyone else does, which makes you a jerk. Really. If you do this, and have this mentality, you are a jerk.
Freelancers, Writers, Bloggers, and Coders – It’s time to take your stuff to the next level. Stop trying to make money from the sidebar ads on your blog, and quit wasting time writing 500 words for $10. You need to get yourself out there, be seen, and have something more than the next guy in order to be able to create a real income from what you do, and on the regular. Anyone can get the occasional $2500 job, but can you get two a month for a year? Certain “we pay writers” sites don’t pay much at all, so you have to spend 100 hours a week writing crappy articles about things you couldn’t care less for, when you could be working on your own stuff. Craigslist is chock-full of people wanting websites made for $100… is it worth it? (Please don’t actually think that was anything but a rhetorical question. The answer is NO.)
You have to decide where you want to go with your chosen career as a freelancer, and stop working for peanuts. This means proving yourself.
Stop Trying To Get Away With A FREE Site or Blog
No, seriously. Stoppit. It’s not that expensive to get a domain name and hosting, and you CAN start off with a free WordPress theme, or you can spend a few bucks and get a professionally pre-designed theme that looks like a million bucks and doesn’t require you to pay anyone to do anything for you.
I did some research for you. Now, at the time of this writing, the up front cost total is below. This may change, at GoDaddy’s whim, but usually it doesn’t. Or, one thing goes off sale while another goes on. You can also Google for additional discount codes, and save even more. Keep in mind, none of the following requires you to hire a web developer. If you’ve used Microsoft Word, and can follow directions, you’re golden. Check it out…
ONE Domain Name (your.com) for ONE year: $6.17 (tax incl.)
Economy Hosting for ONE site, for ONE year: $45.50 (this price is for a year, however the minimum purchase is 3 months, and you can do auto-renewals)
(OPTIONAL) Pro theme: $99
Grand Total:$51.67 (or $150.67)
So just over fifty bucks a year, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous looking, super optimized website, that YOU OWN COMPLETELY (because you never know when wix.com or whatever will decide to shut down and leave you hanging anyway).
The bottom line here is that I want you to learn to take yourself seriously. If you SERIOUSLY don’t care if or how much money you make from what you’re doing, then ignore this entire post and go about your “business”. But if you want to grow and develop your business into something that will at least pay your mortgage every month, or your car payment, or your grocery bill, or all of the above and more, you need to stop trying to outbid the competition by undervaluing your work, and displaying it in a way that wouldn’t impress anyone. It makes you, and your work, look cheap when I’m fairly certain neither is true. ;)
What are you paying for, that you can do without (even temporarily), to save up that fifty bucks?