Its an age-old saying. Sure, its got some pretty cliche connotations now, but cheese aside its 100% true. I mean, would you sit 9-5 in an office if you weren’t getting paid for it? You probably wouldn’t, right?
Well, its the same for small businesses. You see, creatives don’t like working all day and not getting paid for it – the only difference is, we’re doing something that’s maybe a little less traditional. Graphic designers, hand-makers of all different and wonderful things, cake decorators, bloggers – you name it, there are people trying to make money from all kinds of ventures, but the one thing they have in common is that time goes into everything. Hell, I’d love to know of a way of making money that doesn’t take a second of my time.
I LOVE my Etsy store. I love designing and making things and I love the fact that there are people out there that are actually prepared to buy the things I make. I say ‘prepared to buy’ for a very particular reason. You see, day in, day out, I get messages from people asking me about custom designs, or they’ve seen me wearing something on Instagram and want to know how much it would cost to order it from me, and you’d think that I would love getting these messages, right? Sure, I get a little buzz from someone loving my stuff, but I just know that that is the last message I’ll receive from them, because as soon as I let them know the price, they’re gone.
You know, 9 times out of 10, I actually respond to these messages with a price that is lower than I should charge, just on the off-chance that they might go for it. Spoiler alert, they rarely do, even though I’ve already dropped the price. Why do I do it? Well because while its not the best business sense, I hate asking people for money. Worse than that, business sense-wise, it leads me to under-value my time – I mean, there is a skirt for sale on my Etsy store right now where the fabric itself actually costs me more than the price I have the skirt for sale at! I make a loss on that straight away, and then I spend 1-2 hours making said skirt from said fabric.
I blame what I refer to as ‘Primark prices’, even though its the high street in general. You can buy a dress in New Look for £10, so when you see a skirt on Etsy for £30 you feel like its priced a little steep, right? Well ignoring whatever the fabric costs the maker, when you combine the amount of time it takes to design the skirt, cut the fabric, sew it all together, hem it, fit a zip/button/elastic/whatever, you’re maybe looking at a couple of hours of work. So lets put some random numbers to that – say supplies cost £10 and designing and making took 2 hours – and you don’t want to pay more than £20 for it cos ‘that’s what you’d pay on the high street’, well that’s your non-direct way of saying that you think its ok for that maker to get paid circa £5/hour. That sound like a decent wage to you?
You see, I don’t think it does, yet I’ve been under-pricing my creations so as not to seem too steep. Well, I’m done with that. If people don’t want to value my time, then that’s fine, but I’m going to. My time is worth money, and so is everyone else’s.