Making money is OK. Really, it is. You can actually charge people for your time and talents. It’s OK!
Now, to some of you reading this, my opening paragraph will make you say, “Duh!”
I’m sure you’re thinking that, of course it’s OK to make money. We all need money and charging people for what you do for them is perfectly alright. In fact, some of you will be thinking that it’s no problem at all to charge people as much as you can squeeze out of them.
There’s a crowd of weirdo’s like me though who don’t see things that way as a matter of course. We feel uncomfortable charging people for what we do – and we feel that way for a whole host of reasons.
Here are just some of the ‘reasons’ that play over in my head. Some these might resonate with you:
- I can’t charge somebody for something that took me 5 minutes. What’s five minutes worth? $2, $3… is it even worth charging that little?
- I can’t charge somebody for doing something they could have done themselves! I’m not a genius, anybody could do what I do.
- They probably can’t afford to pay. Because I know everyone’s financial circumstances down to the nearest penny.
- My payment is seeing the joy on their faces. Who needs money when you can make someone smile?
- Charging them might damage our relationship. Right, because friends will think you’re a terrible person if you try to make a living doing what you do.
- My work isn’t good enough to charge for. At least, it’s not good enough to charge what other people would charge. Yeah, because people ask me to do things for them because my work is terrible.
Do you recognize any of those broken records?
Yeah. I thought so.
The point here is though that it costs money to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food on the table and that money doesn’t grow on trees. Well, not for most of us, anyway.
What YOU’RE trained to do/practiced in/qualified for/good at/willing to do is valuable to other people and it’s OK to charge them when they ask you to do it.
There is, of course, a limit here. Friendships and personal relationships are built on an openness and willingness to share talents freely from time to time. That’s not 24/7 though. A true friend won’t expect you to build a house for them for free.
Even what you’re WILLING to do can be something you can charge for.
It’s not hard to clean your house, it just takes a little time and effort. Many people, however, don’t want to put aside that time and put in the effort so they will gladly pay somebody else to do it for them. It’s something anyone could do, in fact it’s something that person could easily do, but they are happy to place a monetary value on not doing it themselves.
… and it’s OK for you to take their money!
How much to charge?
I’ve recently started selling some of my photographs and I find charging more than the cost of printing and framing the images very difficult.
If I step back and look at it from a business perspective though, I think about the money it cost me in gas to go take those pictures, the cost of the camera equipment I used, the time I spend practicing taking photographs, all the editing time and all the time it takes to print the image, frame it and deliver it, each image actually costs me quite a lot of money.
I’m not a brilliant photographer or anything and I imagine I will not sell more than 50 pictures EVER…. so effectively, my $1000 camera cost me $20 per picture – and I need to charge people that just to get my money back.
Mine and your time is valuable, too. Minimum wage here in California is about $8 per hour. So even the state says that me spending an hour doing something for someone is worth at least $8, just for my time.
It’s really hard to think that way, to value your own time, to factor in your actual costs and to charge people accordingly, not to mention charging them something extra on top so you can do more than eat dry bread for dinner.
You can do it though.
I’m learning to. Slowly.
You can too!
Start here, if you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: It’s OK to make money!
(Just not forged money. The government doesn’t like that too much)