How to talk about Money

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The demographic of this platform is very wide, our largest portion of readers is 18-24 but it stretches from 12-35.

There’s not that many of you by universal standards, in fact, there is only 1300 (but yesterday we were at least a few below that number so we’re growing every day!) I think among that 1300 of you and in that very large age demo there is bound to be some young aspiring artists, writers or make-your-own-money-makers.

I saw a twitter post from a freelancer, who shared the fact that a magazine wanted her to write for them, for free.

This person sharing the post is a celebrated journalist – if content is asked of her she more than deserves payment.

But after I read this post I got to thinking about how difficult it is to talk about money and to ask to be paid. Especially in industries like Freelance art or journalism.

I thought for all the aspiring journos out there I would share some of the things I have learned along the way while being a freelancer. Which is something I am so excited and honoured to be!

Talking about money will always be a bit difficult, but in a work context, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get.

A key thing to remember is that if you are providing a service, or doing something that people want, you do deserve to be paid in some way.

Here is what I have learned and my advice

You will work for free –  I spent about 8 months writing pieces for free – and it was the best thing for me, I know that’s a bit contradictory to what I have said above, but it is the truth it allowed me to practice, figure out my style and my approach and the truth is that if you’re wanting to enter a creative or freelance based industry you will have to build a name, and a network first before you discuss payment – the way you do that is by working for free, practicing your craft wherever you can and building a portfolio, once you do that then you can start talking about money.

A good guide is to start thinking about money (or being paid for pieces) once you’ve got a portfolio with some meat in it.

Every platform has their own payment systems and rates, so you’ll obviously go by those – and you will have to invoice, so make sure you keep a record of your invoices and if you don’t know things like your IRD (tax) number, you’ll have to find it – a how to guide is available with a quick Google.

Networking is half of the game – There is nothing more important than forming a network, do this by joining Facebook Groups like ‘Support Your Local Girl Gang’ or by looking in your friend networks, find fellow creatives and go from there. But, to network you have to be confident in who you are and what you’re doing – so practice your elevator pitch.

Be professional – this is especially true if like me, you’re young, because if you want to ensure people take you seriously – you’ve got to be as professional as possible. This means, format your portfolio and CV well, use greetings and sign-offs in emails to professional peers, have an invoice template at the ready. To write up a CV and do an invoice, use Google Drive templates or Canva, super easy, super editable. Super professional. 

Always put professionalism first.

People do actually want to pay you – I know it mightn’t seem like it, and I know this industry might seem scary, but I promise you – it is incredible and people like Editors will 90% of the time want to pay an established creator, who has turned out and pitched good content. Don’t be afraid, you’re worth it.

 

If you’re going to ask ‘but how do I actually ask’ fear not!

So sometimes platforms will bring up rates to you, sometimes they won’t. And sadly there is no one way to ask about money, just like there is no one way to ask any kind of question. But saying something like “could we discuss potential rates” or “thank you for this opportunity [or] for accepting my pitch, what is your usual payment system” is a good starting place for the conversation to lead on from, again don’t be scared – money is a topic like any other, don’t let fear or stigma tell you otherwise.

 

I hope this helps you in some way, I know when I was starting out this was very daunting so I hope this gives you some comfort, flick me a message if you have any questions I am happy to help or to direct you to a person who can.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Clive Lamdin
    August 9, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Hello, Grace, and thank you for yet another valuable and well-written piece; you’re ALWAYS worth reading. And just for your information, the demographic of your platform actually stretches to 74 (75 in a couple of month’s time). Keep up the good work (paid or otherwise). Clive

    • August 9, 2017 / 9:32 am

      Thank you Clive, I love it when you comment on my work – and yes, paid or otherwise the goal is always to turn out the best.

      Thank you x

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