Squashing the Starving Artist Mentality

Squash the starving artist

Starving artist might be my least favorite term in the world.

One of the biggest challenges I have as an artist, digital marketer and content writer is finding my worth and putting a price on my value.

What’s the right price for valuable work?

Over the years I’ve gained my experience, I believe. Let’s take a look at the journey that is CBCInked and you can tell me if you feel that I am a ninja of sorts.

Here are the basics of my experience in an easily digestible list:

  • My mom and dad are both writers and artists, so I have been drawing and writing since I was 5. Soooo…that’s over 30 years of art and content right there. Sheeyit, I am old.
  • I graduated in 2004 with honors – Bachelor of Fine Arts at Eastern Michigan. So I got my schoolings.
  • I taught youth and adults art for 9 years in various classes and culture camps.
  • I began marketing and selling when I was 22, so 16 years of field sales, cold calls, flyer making, door to door knocking, content writing, schmoozing and SEO growth. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!
  • I’m certified in Email Marketing, Sales, Content Marketing and Social Media with HubSpot.
  • I’ve written hundreds of blogs, e-newsletters, monthly e-blasts, press releases, website copy – you name it, I have probably written it.
  • I launched CBCInked in 2001, so I am basically an entrepreneur – I can never spell that word right. I’ve created thousands of works of art and sold hundreds. Starving artist and whatnot.
  • I am certified in WordPress101 and SEO101 and have expertise in over 100 SaaS tools that have helped me get to where I am today. (Thanks, Buffer!)
  • Adding this because it’s a feat in and of itself – I am a wife, dog mom and step mother, along with being a homeowner, car owner and business owner. And I pay my taxes.

So, what do we think? How many hours does that make up to become an expert in my field? Would you say over 10,000?

If so, how do you put a price on that when someone says – “hey can I get a piece of your art“? Or hey, “can you write my blog for me“?

It’s the hardest question I’ve come across since beginning my entire artistic journey.

What are you (and your art) worth?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Usually we see flaws, imperfections and most of the time aging lines that weren’t there before. But today, we are going to look in the mirror and see worth. We are going to clap ourselves on the back and say “good work” YOU for being amazing, learning all those skills and being the best you that you can be.

When you are a freelancer, contractor or an artist, there are ways you can showcase your worth so that people don’t shy away at your price or cost of service.

Let’s find out the ways you can showcase your worth, shall we?

  • Show your worth by creating a killer website
  • Share your worth on your social networks, a lot
  • Collaborate with other artists, friends and companies that will lift you up
  • Be transparent about your cost and show your value up front

Keep in mind that there are tons of resources and communities that will host your art. I started out years ago on RedBubble and have sold little pieces here and there! It’s really about getting involved in communities that are like-minded and RedBubble really does do it all.

Start here…

Full disclosure, I’m in with RedBubble because I love them! If you click on any of my affiliate links, I will get a commission. But that’s not what I’m in it for – I really do love and respect what RedBubble is doing and I’m so happy to be connected with them.

How do you value yourself?

Putting value on your work is a tricky balance between what you know your worth should be and what you know someone will pay.

One thing I’ve learned is that you aren’t the one that is going to dictate what level of your career you are at. Most likely a company, boss or someone in a leadership role will. Which is backwards and nonsensical but this is the way the world works.

If you have been working at a career for 16 years, does that mean you earn your title? What if you work for yourself? Does that mean you can title yourself as “Expert”? I’m not sure about you, but when I see 20 year olds on LinkedIn with the profile title CEO, Owner, I think you don’t know anything about that yet! Sorry, not sorry.

I applied for a senior level position a while ago that I know I was qualified for. I was sure I would get the role, and even had four interviews. Ultimately, I didn’t get the role and I was crushed. They made me feel that I wasn’t senior level yet and I doubted myself. It took the better part of the quarter to build myself back up again because I was so sure I was qualified.

When it comes to value, the rule for me now is, never doubt myself.

I am qualified. I am enough.

How do you put a price on your value?

We are down to the question of the hour. How do you put a price on all of this amazing, fantastic value you bring to the world?

Obviously you want to do the basic mathematical equation to find the profit. Thinking about things like cost of supplies, time spent on labor, and getting a net profit out of it.

Labor costs + Supplies + Profit = Value

Except don’t forget about your worth! Factor that into the equation because the actual creation to conception is the real labor. Your worth is your motivation, your drive, your creative spirit and your patience to make it all happen.

This Instagram post by Jessica Durrant (one of my fave artists) really nails the artistic dream. Let’s squash the starving artist mentality. Also follow her, she’s magic.

For more inspiration on Instagram, check out these influencers that are crushing it at life.

CBCInk’s Conclusion: Squash the Starving Artist Mentality

Starving artist – I think not! So…don’t undervalue yourself. Don’t underestimate yourself, know you are worthy. Your shit is most likely AMAZING and you doubt it everyday. Trust me, I know.

You are an artist. At whatever you do.

After all, there is nothing quite like finishing a piece of artwork, am I right?

Bottom line – my advice is add a little on the top for yourself because you deserve it. Don’t ever underestimate your worth or value and always, celebrate your earnings. Every penny.

custom art

Carry on, artistic friends.



P.S. I did a thing. Check out my little novella on Amazon – Sliced Time. It’s a WIP but it’s all mine. Kindle and Paperback editions available. I would LOVE to know what you think!

Published by cbcinked

Marketing Magician, Influencer outreach specialist, energy enthusiast, sales girl, avid artist, life lover, public relations guru, marketing genius, recruiting angel, organic life-seeker, sandwich connoisseur, organizer of chaos, amateur life coach, semi-professional gamer, smile generator, sunshine sucker, and lover of all things creative.

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