Put Your Money in My Hand
For me, admitting I am an artist was a huge leap of growth. It took decades to admit it out loud. Because 1> It wasn’t ok in my family for that to be your profession and 2> Because of <1> I wasn’t trained in the formal sense.
It was not until I made this proclamation that I was able to tell people to put their money in my hand or walk. People always want things for free. And they will take whatever you give them. The number of times people asked me to just produce a logo or flyer for them so that they could see my work, or so that they could then decide if they wanted it… Laughable. They could get these fists. So you want me to spend two hours of my life that I can’t get back doing something for you that you may or may not value enough to compensate me for?
Suck a phat one.
It took me a while to realize that my closest friends who weren’t buying my book felt entitled to a free copy. And they were waiting for me to offer. They weren’t going to ask, probably because they knew I couldn’t afford to publish a book at the time, let alone give away free ones. I guess they figured they would just wait until I could afford to give them a free one, in the mean time, they would keep telling me how they were going to buy a copy real soon.
As much free stuff as I give away–time, ideas, resources, hugs, kisses, love, work–I was surprised at this revelation. Because although all my closest friends deserve free copies of my book–because they have been rocks, shelter and everything to keep me going–I thought they would know that I needed them to buy a copy. That I published the book to save the world and their purchase not only put food on the table but also added value to the work and intrinsically advertises it.
An eternal THANK YOU to those friends of mine who parted with their $15–sometimes plus tax and shipping!–to order a copy of a piece of my soul. Thank you for your support! And those who paid $30 and got the banging hardcover, I LOVE YOU. There is a special place in heaven for your kind 😉
Put your money where your mouth is.
Like when we say we like something but aren’t willing to separate from the dollars it takes to get it. If you want to produce something major, don’t expect to get something for nothing. Giving is a natural sowing and you will always reap. Always. That is one of the primary laws of nature. Which is why even evil men prosper. Many have learned how to give, even if it’s not from a pure place.
I always support businesses that I believe in. Especially my friends’ businesses. With actual cash, not just words. If I say I value what you do, that means I’m willing to give something to enjoy it. We are all motivated by what we get. No matter how philanthropic we are. Why would you expect someone to work for free if you know you wouldn’t? Don’t take advantage just because you don’t believe someone deserves or needs to get paid.
Trading v. Free Stuff v. Barter v. Spending Money
Especially in the “activist” world, folks want to barter or get hook-ups because everyone is a “broke” teacher. Never mind the $90 shoes they bought new or the $100 jeans, the $200 coat. I’m just saying. In order for the things we produce to be of quality, we need to get a fair payment for them. That’s what motivates us. If someone gives you $100, they’re not going to get a $2000 project. Not even if you promise them they will. Why? Because that $100 is not enough motivation to make you bust your behind giving them a high quality product.
And if you’re going to barter, be very clear on the value of what you’re giving and the value of what you’re getting. If they don’t match equally, some cash should be changing hands!
Let’s buy each others stuff so that all of us are enriched, rather than giving each other free stuff and eroding the value of the products/art that we put so much of ourselves into.