Make that money girl, don't let it make you. - The Players Club
Storytime: Recently, a company that I had reviewed product for in the past approached me with an opportunity. Because I believe in the brand and really liked the product I said yes with no hesitation and all was well and good until I was asked how much I would like to be compensated for my work. When I tell you that I clenched, I could not actually give you a better example of the physical manifestation of my level of discomfort. I had no idea what I was worth, what to ask for, or even if I should be paid at all. I basically said, "Who me? No, I don't need to be compensated" to which the owner replied, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Yes. You do. You get paid for work". If you're a fellow creative or creator then you probably understand the shock waves that went through my body. If you're a fellow creator then you understand that people expect handouts. If you're a fellow creator you're probably used to giving handouts for the sake of "getting some great exposure". If you're a fellow creator I want you to listen real good to the advice I'm about to give you: Stop. Doing. SHIT. For. Free. #thatsall Honestly, it's that simple.
Stop doing shit for free. This is my motto for 2017 and I'm applying it to much everything. Here's why you should too!
Your Work Has Worth
When you decide to pursue your passion as a career or a side hustle, that's when you've decided to put in work. You start investing in your craft in a serious way: time and money become heavily involved. When people start to notice and reach out to you, that means they see worth in your work, they see opportunity in your audience, they see you solving a problem that they have. If anyone wants access to these things, they need to pay for it.
When You Undervalue Yourself, You Allow Others To Do The Same
In my interaction with the aforementioned business owner, I gave someone else the power to determine my worth. If I was working with someone looking to make a quick buck and take advantage, I could have left that deal pretty raw. Fortunately for me, this person gave me advice when they didn't have to. I've now sat down and thought about my practices AND pricing so that I never again give anyone the opportunity to buy me for cheap.
When You Undervalue Yourself, You Set Market Price for Others In Your Industry
If I was messy, petty, and had the energy I could publish the countless emails I get from companies wanting me to promote their products or services without even offering me the chance to test them. I often play along because I'm the worst and enjoying wasting rude people's time and eventually let them know that I cannot recommend something to my audience when I cannot vouch for its quality. At first, I wondered why anyone would have the balls to even approach me with such absurdity, but then, I realized, it's because someone else agreed to it. To that person, STOP. FULL STOP. IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, you make it more difficult for everyone else.
You Deserve Nice Things
I'm not saying that money is the key to happiness, but I will say that you cannot buy food without it and food makes me pretty damn happy. If you're putting in hours of work creating content to promote someone's brand (and I PUH-ROMISE you they're making money as a result of your efforts) then you deserve to be paid in some way, shape, or form so that you can have the things that you like and need.
So to sum all this up, If you are working for someone, you deserve to be paid what you're worth. Point blank. Period. the End.