Doing the switch was not easy, not because I’m not ambitious nor because I don’t believe in the quality of my work, but because it represented a mindset switch.
Going from free to fee brings the stakes to a whole another level. Making the switch is what turns your amateur status into “professional” status (hoping the quality of your work is also there).
Last week, I sent my first invoice and I have to say that it felt great. It felt awesome actually. I felt how all the effort developing my skills had finally paid off. I was proud of myself.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.
Something Didn’t Feel Right.
For some reason, as I sent the invoice I felt as if I was taking advantage of my client.
Their expectations were more than satisfied, the participants were super fulfilled and the whole event went mega great, so what was is it? It just didn’t feel like work to me.
It felt as if had been playing around for 2 days (not even counting the preparation time). Obviously, I had been working, and working hard! It just didn’t feel like the annoying work people normally complain about.
The whole thing really threw me off. There I was, doing something I love, getting paid for doing it and for some reason, I didn’t feel good about it.
I’ve waited so long for this moment and now I found myself confused, feeling weird about it.
So I began to wonder why would this be?
The Negative Side of Doing Work You Love
I realized that my problem was that I waited too long to start charging for my work.
Even though I was super prepared to charge for it, I had delivered so many events for free, that this brought down my own perception of the value of my work.
Making it harder for me to feel comfortable charging my client. This is one of the reasons why I believe that following your passion can be a double edge sword.
You are so passionate about it, that you will be willing to either do it for free or probably underpriced yourself. Since you get so much satisfaction from what you do, you are at risk of taking this feeling as part of your payment.
As if this was not enough, since this is something you love doing, you will probably have put the effort to be good at it, making the value you provide way higher than what you actually believe it is.
Now, this will work in your favor though since in the beginning, as you build your network, your brand and you learn about the market it will make you a cheaper alternative to the already established guys.
Start Charging Sooner!
Whether you offer a service or a product, just like Eric Ries says in his book “Lean Startup,” get out there and start collecting feedback.
You will never be ready enough. You will always find an excuse to keep yourself down, to keep your product away from the market.
Yes, there is always room for improvement but only by exposing yourself to the market you will know exactly which areas you need to improve.
Never forget that you don’t need to be the most experienced person in the field or have the best product, you just need to provide the most value you can and your passion will take care of that.
Everybody I know can make a better burger than most fast food chains, yet we still see them all over the world!
Value Vs Cost.
Understanding how much value you are bringing should be your first priority, followed by developing that value further with continued work on your skills.
As for your costs, think of it as a reference to set your starting price. This is way, it’s only when you have finally understood your market and your customers well enough, that you will know how much you are worth.
Look around, figure out what your work really is, figure out its impact and the results it brings to others. See who else can do it and if they can’t do it as good as you and then set out to show people. Learn from the competition.
Creating a lifestyle that allows you to make a living by doing your passion every day will take time. Be perseverant, patient and determined, if you are serious about it, you will find a way to it.
And when you do, don’t feel bad for those who don’t have the chances you do, surprisingly not everybody is willing to do what it takes to make their dreams come true.
Your job will be to inspire them to do so.
Now keep it going, keep moving forward.
If there is anybody you think who should read this post, go ahead and share it with them.
Now I would like to ask you something. I would like to know if you are already making a living by doing work you love and what is it? Make sure to share it in the comment section below!
Pic: Copyright Tim Norburn
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