The song is stuck in your head now, isn’t it? If not, you’ve officially let me down AND all the rest of The Beatles fans around the world. Here, let’s fix it:Ahh, much better.
Anyway, the title of this blog really doesn’t have much to do with The Beatles (unfortunately) but it does have to do with money and how we as a creative workforce have tabooed the fuck out of talking about it. And listen, I know I’m not breaking any new ground writing about it here, I’m just bringing it up now because I’m exhausted by how guilty I’ve made myself feel in regards to it all these years.
First and foremost: From adopting a freelance work style nearly ten years ago, to say I’ve been financially secure would be a great lie; with any creative career operated as a self-employed individual, we run the risk of collapse from week to week. No, seriously. If we don’t work, we don’t earn.
Yes, it is just like “real job” folks who have to go to a physical building outside of their homes to earn, only there’s this huge caveat: Freelancers have no safety net, no in-house benefits plan, no paid time off, no vacation days, no sick time, bereavement time or similar. There are no work lunches, no work-sponsored and paid for trips, no perks whatsoever. We know that going in, and we’re okay with it and still choose to forge on ahead.
But…when depression and anxiety hit and someone like myself is unable to write or photograph or market myself from day to day – sometimes this can last for months at a time – I make approximately ZERO dollars.
And I get it, there are plenty of drawbacks to holding onto “real jobs” just like there are huge perks to my work from home/coffee shop/cafe job. I’m not saying one works harder than the other. I’m saying we both work, end of sentence.
What I’m also saying is this: there should be NO SHAME, no stigma, and absolutely no guilt in wanting compensation for your creative efforts. None whatsofuckingever. If you create, you do it for, presumably, one of the following reasons (message me if I’ve excluded something):
- You can
- You love it
- You’re passionate about it
- You want to share it with the world
Read that list again and let it sink in, especially if you’re not the creative type.
Okay, good. Now that I’ve stated the obvious, let’s examine why some of us content creators may feel shame and guilt under a very real societal stigma.
- If you’re creating, you shouldn’t expect anything as a result of it because it should be a labor of love, right?
- If you’re creating, you shouldn’t feel entitled to anything, including financial benefits, freebies, exclusive events, press, etc., otherwise it means you’re only doing it for the money and the perks.
Friends, I’m pissed off even writing those words above because **how dare you? **Seriously. How dare someone accuse me or content creators AS A WHOLE or artists or fanfic writers, or authors or painters or podcasters or ANYONE in this vast pool of talent that we do it only for the money/benefits. How fucking DARE.
– deep breaths –
Anyway, I’m here to tell you that the stigma that exists? Is absolute shit. And I cannot and will not tolerate anyone who believes in line with that.
I had “real jobs” from the time I was 16 until I had my daughter. I drove two and a half hours a day for years working at a shit job with people who treated me like I was less than because I was a woman in a man’s industry (oil business). I did all that, I put my time in and then-some. I discovered much too late that it wasn’t for me. So I made a conscious choice to leave that world KNOWING it would be harder and knowing I might not make enough money to support myself let alone my family.
I did it anyway because I believed in myself and because I had passions and talents I wanted to share with the world. And because I saw I could sell those passions and talents with the world. Does that make me evil? Does that make my desire to create art any less? No and No.
– and I felt TERRIBLE for doing so. At first. I thought, “oh no, people are going to think I’m destitute for wanting to earn a living…” and then I stopped myself right. there. I felt shame for wanting to EARN A LIVING. Excuse me what?
No. I decided that pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into this uncharted territory would be healthy. It would show true commitment to what it is I’m trying to do here – share with the world. Share my images, share my thoughts, adventures, travels, favorite fashions, makeup, entertainment and on and on.
So I did. And I’m not taking it back. I’m not cowering in fear of what it is I’m saying and if you’re a content creator, you shouldn’t either. This blog is three years old and has never earned a single penny. Until I shared those links.
The right people will support you and believe in you without thinking you’re poor or holding a greedy little hand out. They’ll see that your art, you words, your life is worth the time and energy they’re putting into it and what they get is equal to what they give. Don’t hold yourself back out of some unfounded fear. The people who judge you aren’t worth your time anyway.
tl;dr: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money doing something you love, something you’re passionate about and something you should earn for. There’s no shame is putting yourself out there and asking or encouraging others to support you with the promise of intent that yes, more is coming. More creative endeavors, more ways to connect and communicate and experience this crazy fucking life together. Whether you’re a painter, a writer, a model or anything in between or beyond, you have the right to make something of it and to be proud of that.
Besides, the scariest villain of all said it best:
That’s my rant/wisdom for today, folks. I’m sorry (not sorry) if this is jarring or upsetting for some. But there are two sides to every story and this side hasn’t been loud enough.
Til next time…