Professional GROWTH: a wee story & art
I’m feeling better each day, y’all. I’m volunteering weekly at a local elementary school, I’m working a part-time job; I’m exercising and reconnecting with friends and family members, and I’m feeling confident as a mom again.
And, of course, I’ve been painting.
With my creative process ever evolving, well… I’ve had to learn more about how to run the business end of things more effectively. I figured out how to create invoices and take payment PayPal.
And then I realized I have issues.
Not long ago, an enthusiastic buyer sent me dozens of messages via Facebook, email and text message. I thought we’d finalized things so I got to work; apparently – she sent me a Tweet requesting that I revise a few things. Needless to say, I never saw it, so I didn’t make the piece the client wanted. After this snafu, I realized that corresponding on so many platforms didn’t do me any favors. Now, I only communicate via email, and I make sure to confirm orders with people before I start any work.
Another one of my issues involves asking for money.
I feel uncomfortable every single time I ask for payment.
Every. Single. Time.
Until recently, most of my orders came from people with whom I’m friends with on Facebook. It felt weird to ask friends for money. I thought people were just being nice by buying my little canvases. I felt unworthy of being paid for something that I was dabbling in as a hobby. And then I opened my Etsy shop and the orders started flooding in. That’s when a friend told me she was concerned I was undervaluing my work.
“Just because you make small paintings doesn’t mean they’re worth small dollars.”
I squirmed around with that for a while.
Me? Charge more? What if no one wants my paintings anymore? That will be so embarrassing. And how do I change prices. And won’t people be mad if they’ve already bought a 4×4 canvas and now I’m asking more?
I have a tendency to be a people pleaser, which is to say that historically, I’d go to great lengths to make else comfortable, to my own detriment.
I’m done with that.
So here’s the deal: effective immediately, I take cash or payment via PayPal. (No more personal checks.) I won’t start work on anyone’s canvas until I’ve received payment. If payment is not received within 48 hours of placing your order, that order will be canceled. Starting in the new year, 4×4 canvases are $25, plus shipping and handling (if applicable). Oh, and I’m not delivering canvases anymore. Folks have to pick them up or I’ll pop them in the mail (for an extra $5.95).
These are my policies. (There are a few others, but you get the idea.) As my friend reminded me, policies establish boundaries for acceptable behavior and guidelines for best practices in certain situations. They offer clear communication to buyers as to what they can expect from me, the seller, and also how I expect them to act.
Still, I can’t help feeling like my policies sound rigid and kinda bitchy.
Professional growth for me is learning that it’s okay to create boundaries, to say yes or no to something and then stick with that decision. It’s believing my work has value, that I’m good at what I do, and that I have a right to request payment.
To that end, the 4×4 canvas above – GROW – is yours for $20. Because it’s still 2014. Interested? Write SOLD in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do my policies sound reasonable? And what are doing to promote your personal or professional growth?
tweet me @rasjacobson