Why a Pricing Workbook for Creatives?

posted on: January 27, 2019

The short answer?  

So that more creatives can have a successful business and rewarding life.

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The much longer answer that made me create it in the first place.... 



I've been creative my entire life and never really had a sense of what I wanted to "be" when I grew up.  I only knew that being able to create, and finding ways to be creative made me happiest.  Figuring out how to share my creativity in productive ways and then how other people could value my creativity was ultimately the most important aspect of being able to do creative work for a living.

Here's a look at how that creative journey unfolded for me and what I learned along the way...
  • Ballet, Tap, and Jazz Dance classes as a preschooler and elementary student taught me I didn't care so much about dancing unless it was just for fun or for my own personal expression.  I learned more about how to control my body, my movement, and the space around me at an early age, but also decided early on that dancing in someone else's footsteps wasn't my thing.
  • Visual Art classes as a summer program and elementary student taught me about illustration, watercolor, painting, optical illusions, paper craft, and other cultures.  I loved those experiences but resisted the detail work that came with developing those practices.  I learned that visual art was a wonderful outlet for me when I needed to do something quiet, but still expressive. 
  • Instrumental Music classes as an elementary, middle, and high school student gave me a sense of being part of a gestalt work toward something bigger than myself in which my part was important and valued while still requiring me to be sensitive to my balance within the whole structure of a piece.  I learned how to tune into what everyone else around me was doing.
  • Vocal Music took me from singing in church as a kid to being a professional singer and soloist for choirs as an adult.  It allowed me to use my voice in a harmonizing way, connecting to an energy and body of sound much larger than myself.  Choral singing gave me a community of like-minded people who cared about creating harmonious and beautiful work together.  Auditioning for professional positions and top choirs taught me my voice was highly valued.
  • Theatre Acting and Musical Theatre in elementary school, middle school, high school, and in the community taught me emotional control and personal development by playing character roles that were drastically unlike me or exactly like people I aspired to be.  It taught me how to speak and behave with intention; how to present a story in front of an audience full of people.  I learned how to be engaging when I needed to and how to hide in plain sight while in the middle of a stage.  I also learned the importance of picking myself back up after an audition rejection and learned how to better sell myself as the perfect fit.  These experiences later made me a top salesperson in regional cellular company.
  • Tour Guiding and Youth Programming for an historic mansion allowed me to stretch my theatrical storytelling skills into engaging paid tours for adults and children, and reconnected me to my love of architecture, handmade craftsmanship, and local history.
  • Music Teaching in the public schools as a long term substitute and teaching artist taught me I loved the process of engaging students in creating music for their own personal expression and as a way of dissolving cultural divides through a common creative goal, but I also learned I didn't love the overarching structure and constraints of public school systems, so working in the schools wasn't going to be a good fit for how I'd use and share my creativity.
  • Photography self-study in high school never felt like it was going to turn into something beyond personal art creation and documentation, because I never saw entrepreneurial models of photography jobs that looked interesting until I started to meet wedding photographers who were self-employed.  I started sharing my own photography work with friends because it was an easy gift I could give them using my creativity.  It wasn't until people started offering to pay me for the photos I created that I even considered photography could be something more than a hobby.  I never could have guessed that it would become a full-time career for 13 years!  I had finally found the right combination of creative work I loved doing and the right people who valued it enough to pay me for it!
  • Writing has always been easy for me, even if I'm not the greatest writer.  Despite my love of run-on sentences, there are other people who don't mind my run-on sentences so long as they aren't the ones writing them.  So when a surprise request came in recently asking me to be a ghost-writer, knowing how to price my creative time based on all the things I'd learned helped me easily come up with a financial arrangement that would allow me to accommodate a new creative request I never considered saying yes to before.
No one taught me how to be a freelancing creative, or a creative business owner, or how to make a living as a creative, I had to figure everything out along the way.  Now I can make it easier for others.

I was rarely supported or encouraged by well-meaning adults to go down any of these creative roads professionally.  Even though my parents made a point to say, "You can do anything you set your mind to, Anne" the school mentors and career counselors would say things like, "These creative passions are great hobbies to have in your life.  So, what are you going to do for money, Anne?"

At the time my passion was for theatre, however, my family didn't have the money for me to go to a performing arts school like Juilliard.  In addition, all of the career counseling advice I received along the way made it seem like even auditioning at a local college for performing arts would be a waste of money.  Career limitations were gradually culturally engrained while living in Lansing, Michigan.  I see why, because it was home to GM factory workers and state government employees.  In Lansing, the "real world" beyond high school or college was bereft of creative jobs or professional creatives making a living from pursuing their passions.  Most of the theatre happening there really was community theatre, except for the performance venues that hosted out of town touring acts.

The cultural ideas of "careers" in the environment I grew up in were very limited.  

They operated in the bubbles of what they believed would be safe and secure, rather than seeing me as someone capable of managing risk and operating in the realm of what would be possible when applying creative drive and ambition.  I wasn't mature enough to see the limitations of their perspectives.  I didn't have enough life experience or supportive mentoring to recognize all the opportunities and options that weren't being presented to me.  I had no entrepreneurial mentors or even just small business owners somewhere in my life to help me understand how I could apply my creative drive and talent into something that people would value and support!

I figured it out as I went.  I did have the bulk of a business degree with some marketing, management, and accounting classes behind me to help me figure out the business end of things.  I figured out how to charge clients to help give me profit to buy more photography gear and insurance for my business.  I figured out how many clients I would need to serve and at what price to cover all of my business expenses and help me rent studio space and pay for independent contractors and support myself as a creative small business owner.  I figured out when my prices needed to go up because demand was exceeding my supply of time and energy.  I figured out what I needed to be accountable for in my revenue and expenses in order to keep doing work I loved.  I figured out how to recognize when I was falling behind and needed to market my work more to make up the difference.  I learned how to quickly restart my business over and over and over again to help support my husband's career transitions.

The business road maps that existed when I started were not designed for solo-preneur creative businesses- they were designed for commodity retail businesses, or standard service industry businesses.  The Small Business Development centers I went to in each town I moved to rarely ever had templates that fit my creative business.  Instead, they were full of models that involved more organizational overhead than what I would need to operate as a sole proprietor and independent contractor.

The more experience I had in the photography industry, the more I noticed massive business mistakes being made left and right by my colleagues.  Who could blame them?  What kind of leadership or training really existed for developing a creative business?  In 2004 - not much.

It's definitely getting better.  

Creative colleagues who went to university barely had one class on business training for their creative career- and I'm sure that's because professors were operating under the ideas that those students were seeking to be hired by larger agencies that would set their rates for them.  Colleges couldn't prepare curriculum fast enough for students who would need to work independently outside of the creative agency model.  We quickly entered into a new era of accessibility to independent freelancers through a variety of crowdsourcing platforms before anyone could create more training to make sure people knew how to price their independent creative work properly.

I asked my creative friends in other industries if this problem was unique to photographers, and every other creative told me it was just as challenging in their field as well.  There were very few creative business education options that spoke directly to how a creative operates and runs their business.  

To help fill the gap, I set out to share everything I had learned freely, on PhotoLovecat.com in an attempt to help raise the industry standards with accessible business information from actual working creatives.

The last 5 years have finally given rise to new educational platforms for creative business learning, but the resources are still somewhat limited, and often times behind larger pay-walls than what beginning creatives can really afford.  We can't rise the creative tides if the most valuable information isn't accessible enough, and that's why the Pricing Workbook for Creatives needed to be created.

Making a living as a creative has been the most amazing journey.  To be highly valued for your own unique vision of the world is    If I can help make that road easier for other people, I truly believe it will help make the world a better place.  I believe that being valued for our unique talents, and finding ways for other people to value them in ways that fuel our life is the highest purpose that each of us can ask to fulfill in our lifetime.  When we operate from a place of fulfillment and abundance, it is easier to help other people in the world as well.

So, that's the history behind my personal WHY for creating the Pricing Workbook for Creatives.

Now, here's how that history translates into WHY it's important to create this workbook for future creatives who seek to be valued for their work:
  • To provide an easy and accessible framework for aspiring creatives that outlines the structures and supports unique to a creative business.  
  • To provide a pricing framework that values a creative's mind, needs, time, tools, and energy- which gives creatives a solid foundation for pricing their work. 
  • To provide a framework for individuals to shape their own personal version of what success and a professional creative life looks like.
  • To provide a framework that allows individuals to be as unique and specialized as they need to be in order to support their creative work.
  • To provide a structure for growing a creative business with meaningful formulas that allow room for each individual's vision of what growth looks like for them.
If I am successful, this Pricing Workbook for Creatives won't just be a workbook, but a movement.

A movement in which individuals will know exactly how valuable their creative work really is, and the workbook will support them in defending that value for themselves rather than allowing it to be defined by other people's assumptions.  A movement in which creatives feel empowered and confident to stand up for their worth rather than backing down and accepting less than what they need to be fully supported.  A movement in which the most unique and creative individuals can figure out what they need to make a living doing what only they can possibly do.

I believe in empowering more creatives to make a living doing what they love, and if you agree, I hope you'll help support the growth of this book too.
- Anne Ruthmann

Photography Tips from a Professional Photographer

posted on: December 15, 2018

The following links and blog posts have been written over years of working as a professional digital photographer with a background of practice in film photography.  These articles are written to a broad and general audience interested in a professional perspective on the various aspects and issues involved in digital photography.  Each topic links to a new post.

What You Should Know About Your Photos:

Behind-the-Scenes Production of Photography:


The Business of Being a Professional Creative:







2018 Review: Not What I Expected

posted on: December 14, 2018

The word I chose when I began 2018 was "Prosperity," but what is prosperity?  Is prosperity abundance of income? Time? Travel?  Friends? Family? Good food? New experiences?  All of these and more?
What if you had all of these except the abundance of income?
Would you still be living a prosperous life?



This year put my ideas of prosperity to the test.  To make a long story short, what the year taught me was that yes, you can still live a prosperous life, even if you don't have an abundance of income.  You see, I always thought the abundance of income was a necessity to having a prosperous life, and so I always took a great deal of energy to make sure my businesses gave me the abundance of income I needed, and eventually I also found a way for my business to give me an abundance of time, freedom, and travel as well.

However, this year, after retiring from my primary income of photography and not fully establishing a replacement for that stream of income, I learned that the prosperity of time, freedom, friends, and family can still create prosperity of travel, good food, and new experiences.  I learned that all of this can still happen without the prosperity of an abundance of income that I've become so used to creating for myself.  The universe cleverly crafted dozens of opportunities for family and friends to have extra room and generosity for creating invitations to travel and go on worldwide adventures together and removed all of my barriers to saying anything other than "Yes, I'll go!"



This seems like it would be a dream come true, right?  However, for me, the experience of accepting these offers was actually harder than I expected because it made me wrestle with feeling guilty that I wasn't paying for everything and taking care of everything on my own- which is what I feel naturally obligated to do- and it made me surrender more control over my travel arrangements and outcomes and learn how to become comfortable with only getting to offer my deep gratitude to others for inviting me to join them on new adventures.  I mean, I could flip the perspective on the whole thing like they got a free travel escort and documentary iphoneographer to capture and share their adventures along the way... but that would be the self-centered way of trying to justify that I was contributing just as much in other ways rather than just being grateful.



There have been other times in my life when I've had a similar situation, but I couldn't recognize it as prosperity.  Previous periods felt like constraint and entrapment, entirely because I was so focused on what kind of prosperity I WASN'T yielding, that it was impossible for me to have any appreciation for the types of prosperity I already had.  During those times, I couldn't even recognize the prosperity of freedom and of time when I was exclusively focused on attaining only the prosperity of income.  I was previously blind to seeing how freedom and time gave me the opportunity to create new things that I couldn't create when I was too busy focusing on generating an abundance of income.  This is true for so many people who equate not having a job with not having any prosperity at all, even if their life is rich with the prosperity of family, friends, time, and freedom.  On the flip side, we can also be in a place of having the prosperity of income but no prosperity of time, freedom, or friends to help us enjoy the fruits of our income.

So, this year was a lesson in opening myself more fully to the kind of prosperity that comes from letting go of my own ego's ambitions in order to open myself up to allowing the opportunities of life to guide me.  I could have stayed in a place of selfishness and self-focus to attain my own goals faster, but I would not have traveled or adventured so much this year if I didn't let go of my individual agenda in order to be a fully willing companion to the dreams, travels, and escapes of others.  Even writing about letting go and being guided by the opportunities of life feels so fantastical and unrealistic.  Really saying yes to these opportunities made me wrestle with all the reasons I've turned down similar opportunities in the past, considering them risky and irresponsible, to choose adventures over working, and how I thought it was the smarter choice to completely avoid insecurity and avoid relying on others.  However, if I only ever rely only on myself, I never really get to understand how to more graciously receive the abundance that comes from others.



This was a big hurdle for me because I grew up learning that I should only rely on myself, only trust myself, only depend on myself.  To rely on others would mean putting myself in a compromising position that might include manipulation, or needing to do things that don't align with my values, and potentially even emotional or physical harm.  Growing up on the poorer end of the financial spectrum meant I saw a lot of things in my daily life as a child that made me very skeptical of trusting other people.  I came from a mindset of defending myself from the dangers of financial scarcity by always focusing on not being in a position of relying on others to begin with.  Self-employment has been my biggest security blanket of knowing that I am the only one who can control my financial outcomes, so to surrender that security and trust to others to support me was a big challenge for me.



When this year started, I thought it was going to be a year of working on my own goals and agendas with regard to writing a couple books, and spending more time introducing my Reiki work into the New York City market.  While I did accomplish a tiny bit of that, it wasn't even a fraction of what I thought I was going to be doing.  Instead, all of the opportunities that were most exciting this year came in the way of travel opportunities with family and friends, which I also had thought would give me time to work while away from NYC, but really just kept me distracted from working.  Much of the travel I did required my full attention, to make the most of the experience and time, rather than getting a chance to tune out the environment and put my head down into my own work.

Being a companion to family members and friends exploring new countries and new experiences allowed me to be a witness and a participant for so many great adventures that I wouldn't have chosen on my own and not being in the driver seat gave me more freedom to document it all along the way than if I were the one always in control.  At one point, I thought maybe I should just become a professional travel companion or tour guide who will document other people's trips?!  I'm not ruling it out, but I also haven't made a business plan for it either.  I still have books I want to finish and I'm finding that travel is a great distraction from actually making progress on them.



In the process of being a nearly full time travel companion, I learned that I could be a companion who doesn't get manipulated or harmed in the process of turning over a lot of trust and financial responsibility to other people, which has often been a fear of mine that still can make me pull the plug quickly if I see too many warning signs of potential harm or manipulation.  Financial abuse and abuse of power is something rarely talked about culturally, but has long been a deep fear for me.  It may not feel like a big deal to other people who are well-practiced in being on other people's agendas or wallets and finding ways to navigate it, but it was a practice of patience and collaboration that challenged me in ways I haven't often allowed myself to be challenged before.

These companion trips challenged me to trust other people much more than I ever have, even when they are family members I already have massive trust in.  They challenged me to work through more difficulties and compromises than I might be willing to if I were the one making the plans or controlling the itinerary.  Needing to depend on them also started confronting my fears around asking someone else for something I want or need, which, if I'm honest, I'm still not entirely comfortable with.  In retrospect I see how ironic it is, since I've often been the person who has gone above and beyond to help pay for other people I see struggling to get what they want, yet never fully allowing myself to be on the receiving end of that kind of generosity without also feeling a sense of guilt or obligation.  I realized that I've paid a lot into the bank of karma, but have refused to ever draw from that karma account until this year.



I don't think I can say I've fully released a sense of internal guilt around not paying for everything myself, but I'm working on it.  I'm working on the pride that needs to be released when letting other people take care of things and pay for me to do special things with them.  I'm working on replacing the guilt and bad feelings of not contributing to something financially with more acceptance and gratitude for other people's generosity and giving.  Learning how to accept gifts gracefully is getting a little easier for me, but asking other people for things I really want is still way outside of my comfort zone.

Let me be clear, I do not expect that someone else should be responsible for my wants or needs- that feels like entitlement.  I also don't desire to be in a position where other people need to be the ones responsible for my wants and needs, because that feels like dependency.  My goal is always to be fully self-sustaining and then some so that I can be generous in my giving to others while coming from a place of meeting my own needs.  If I try to understand it all in the energetic soup of life,  because these personal convictions run so deep, they may actually create a block toward receiving, so I needed to be in a situation where I would have more experiences that challenge me to navigate the space of prosperity that comes in the form of gifts from others.



The biggest thing that helps me feel safe taking these risks with other people is the confidence I have built through prior experiences of starting from nothing to create something valuable.  Luckily, all the years of working for myself and getting my business up and running quickly have given me the experiential road map and confidence to make things happen quickly for myself when I need to.  However, if people keep inviting me to go on adventures with them as their travel companion, it becomes difficult to do anything other than keep on adventuring through this crazy ride called life!

Is it even worth documenting and sharing what other work I did this year?!

The personal inner work around releasing my need for financial control was the hardest work, and apparently the majority of "real work" that I needed to focus on this year.  The universe made it seem like I was just going on a bunch of adventures so that I would keep showing up and working through learning how to trust other people more.  In some ways, I'm amazed that I even accomplished any work other than learning how to travel more lightly with others.

Since travel dominated my year as if it were my full time job, I might as well quantify it in some way.




TRAVELING LIKE IT'S MY JOB


HOME VS. AWAY
156 Days in NYC
209 Days of Traveling

42 NEW PLACES VISITED 
(Links go to Instagram Posts)
Cozumel, MexicoSeven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman • Harvest Caye, Belize • Roatan, Honduras •   Quintana Roo, MexicoPotsdam, NYLake Placid, NYThingvellir, IcelandGeysir, Iceland • Albany, NY • Amsterdam, NY • Herkimer, NY • Lowville, NY • Lake Erie Shoreline, PA & OH • Salamanca, NY • Copenhagen, DenmarkStockholm, SwedenTallinn, EstoniaSt. Petersburg, RussiaHelsinki, FinlandFreetown Christiana, DenmarkBeijing, ChinaGreat Wall of ChinaTerezin, Czech Republic • Baku, AzerbaijanAteshagah Temple, AzerbaijanAbu Dhabi, United Arab EmiratesSchell City, MO Industry City, Brooklyn, NY • Market Harborough, EnglandFoxton Locks, EnglandLeicester, EnglandBlaby, EnglandNorwich, EnglandHappisburgh, EnglandKananaskis, Alberta, CanadaBanff, Alberta, CanadaLake Louise, Alberta, Canada • Calgary, Alberta, CanadaSavannah, Georgia • Hilton Head, South Carolina • Tybee Island, Georgia

14 PLACES REVISITED FOR MORE EXPLORING
(Links go to Instagram Posts)
New Orleans, LABear Mountain, NYWoodstock, NYReykjavik, IcelandShanghai, ChinaHongzhou, ChinaXiXi National Wetland, ChinaPrague, Czech RepublicBuffalo, NY •  Waltham, MA • Lexington, MA • Lily Dale, NYWashington, DCMiami, FL



REIKI ENERGY HEALING & TEACHING

Before I started trying to quantify the rest of this year end review in terms of work, I had completely forgotten about some of the work I had actually done this year and how things that seemed like curiosities and adventures actually turned into acquiring more skills and knowledge to bring into my reiki practice.  Learning for curiosity's sake is great, but it's even better when that curiosity becomes practice, understanding, and actionable healing outcomes for other people.  Reiki is always first and foremost a practice for myself, and from that dedication to personal practice, reiki helped me release many personal worries about the travels I listed above.  My experience of using reiki to help me stay balanced gives me more examples to draw on when helping others find their sense of balance as well.

One of my professional reiki goals this year was to determine what more was possible to offer in distance reiki work.  This goal came out of realizing how much I was traveling this year and how much I may be traveling again next year.  The longest period I stayed in any one place while traveling was living in Shanghai for 4 weeks over the summer.  I had an idealized situation thanks to Alex working for NYU Shanghai, which gave me great access to a VPN and good internet speed, yet still found challenges when attempting to video or audio stream with family or friends in a synchronized way.  I was able to get some social media posts uploaded along the way, but uploads were often delayed or filtered and needed to be redone or restarted to adhere to Chinese permissions, which essentially came down to only sharing positive things about China while on a Chinese internet connection, even while on VPN access.  The same was largely true for Russia as well- much of what I wanted to share felt like it was going through a filter and only bits and pieces of the good stuff came out the other end clearly on social media.  You'll just have to go and visit for yourself if you'd like to see the non-social-media version, OK?

Anyway, that tangent is just one example of the challenges of working online or at a distance while traveling.  You think having online offerings will make it easier to work and travel at the same time, but we're a bit spoiled in the United States and often forget the connection challenges and barriers that we may encounter in other countries that don't hold the same values toward internet speed and connection.  My New York City internet speed has spoiled me so much that even going to visit family members in rural midwestern areas that don't have fiber connections feels painful sometimes.  I digress.

Did I meet my goal of determining what more could be offered in distance reiki work?  Yes.  Thanks to a lovely group of women who are open and accepting of unique and unexplored spiritual gifts, I was able to offer and test a type of medical intuitive session that could be done with permission received in advance and allowed me a period of several days to tune in and do the work with a deadline of delivering the work within 3 days.  This process allowed me to learn what my personal limitations were around the work with regard to how long each session would take, how many sessions I could do in a day, what kind of information and healing outcomes were possible for the clients, as well as getting a better understanding of what clients appreciated and valued the most about the session.

I learned that providing recorded audio and visuals for the session were highly valued and that every single client felt they had received confirmations that the work was real, valid, and insightful for their healing benefit.  Considering there are so many unknowns and mysteries involved in doing and delivering intuitive work, those confirmations were huge for being able to continue offering this type of work to people.  It is only when clients find the work valuable that I have any confidence or reason to continue offering it.  Otherwise it's just a lovely experiment in working with individual energies and then it's time to go back to the drawing board.  So, I would say the experiment was a success and I found a new offering that I can deliver at distance.

Part of learning is also about the challenges and barriers to doing the work.  I learned that I still need to have a reliable and fast connection to send a good chunk of megabytes across the interwebs, which means there are still some constraints around doing that type of work while traveling.  I also learned that having too many energetic entanglements in a row means that I either need some extra help with energetic clearing beyond what I can do for myself, or I need to have more days off after doing a string of sessions back to back to let the extra entanglement energies clear out naturally.  So that creates an additional expense to me for offering the work while staying energetically clean and clear for myself and the next client that comes along.

By the way, it's not lost on me that several years ago all of this talk about entanglement and energies needing to be cleared would have sounded like complete and utter woo-woo non-sense to me before I had first-hand experience with what they all feel like, so I totally understand if it seems like non-sense to anyone else who hasn't personally experienced it.  If you think about it... that's what non-sense literally is... not sensing it for ourselves.  However, I also have the wisdom now to say that whenever you feel unusually exhausted after having a conversation with someone or being in their space, there's a good chance that feeling of being drained has a significant amount of energetic transfer involved.  Higher energy moves easily into lower energy areas just like hot and cold air.  If you feel unusually energized after being in someone else's presence, you may have been the lower energy getting activated and charged up.  I digress.  Let's get to some numbers and figures that are easier to make sense of....

PROFESSIONAL REIKI SESSIONS
18 Hands-On Reiki Sessions
 - 9 Hands-On Reiki Clients (6 New, 3 Returning)
16 Distance Reiki / Medical Intuitive Sessions
 - 7 Distance Reiki Clients (5 New, 2 Returning)
 - 6 Medical Intuition Only Clients (6 New)

PROFESSIONAL REIKI GIVING
Heart of Healing Podcast Interview
Reiki Meditation & Relaxation Circles
Healing Story Blog Posts Written on Abundant Sphere

REIKI ENERGY HEALING EDUCATION & DEVELOPMENT:
6 Reiki Classes Assisted / Mentored @ NY Open Center w/ Joanna Crespo
Medical Intuitive Workshop w/ Tina Zion
Advanced Medical Intuitive Workshop w/ Tina Zion
Spiritual Healing Workshop w/ Barbara Sanson
Homeopathy 101 Workshop w/ Leslie Johnson RPh, DCHM



COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY


*** RETIRED LAST YEAR ***

Well, even though I made the announcement about retiring last year, I still had clients who weren't ready to move on yet and wanted to take advantage of the time that I was still in NYC before I started spending more of the year away from the city.  It was actually good to have that definitive time away from the city so that they really had to start finding someone new and not just keep relying on the idea that I would be around.  Part of this is also because it's just really hard for me to say no to clients I care a lot about- which is basically every single client I ever have.  However, as of December, I haven't touched my camera for a professional purpose since September.  Before that, I hadn't touched it since May.

At the beginning of the year, I was still in that place of not really being sure if I was just making a hasty decision or if I was really truly done, but now it's very clear to me that the paths ahead of me are not ones which are defined by the rituals or obligations of being a professional photographer.  I spent a considerable about of time at the beginning of the year clearing out some of my 10 year old wedding and portrait sample albums and prints.  At times it was a joy to see how many couples were still together and still were happy to cover shipping costs for more images from their past.  Other times it was heart breaking to hear of a client who had died far too young, or of separations that made it feel too triggering to even reach out and see if they would want pieces of their past.  Sometimes as a documenter of other people's lives, we may develop more of an attachment to how we see their history than they do.  Sometimes that's beautiful and sometimes it's hard, but I wouldn't trade any of that care or concern to a job that required me not to care at all.

It is so wonderful to depart this journey from a place of joy and gratitude for all that it has given me, all that it has taught me, and for the amazing relationships, clients, and experiences that it has brought into my life.  If I had to repeat this same life all over again, I'd absolutely include a photography career again- it has been one of the greatest life experiences I've ever had.  I truly hope that anyone sincerely interested in photography as a career gets the bravery to go for it and not to give up when it gets hard.  There were so many times I wanted to give up and do something that seemed easier or required less of me, but I'm so glad I kept showing up and working through the challenges because they made me better, stronger, wiser, and more confident in what's possible for myself and everyone else.  If you need help or mentoring, you know how to reach me.

8 PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS
6 Home Renovations
1 Interior Design
1 Event Photography

7 PHOTOGRAPHY CLIENTS (All Returning)




CREATIVE BUSINESS CONSULTING


***FINISHED PRICING WORKBOOK FOR CREATIVES!***

My primary goal with consulting work this year was to finishing the Pricing Workbook for Creatives.  I totally didn't think I was going to finish the book this year all the way up until I had a major breakthrough on December 11 about how I could give weight and meaning to the need for profits and then a way to break down a clear and easy strategy for profit planning and profit distribution across a creative business.  I'm going to thank the divine guides of the universe on helping me wrap that last bit up because it felt like a download of clarity all at once after I had been struggling with a way to create an easy and clear DIY answer for months.  Profit planning was something that used to require a lot of discussion with my consulting clients in order to fit all the pieces together, so I had never created a formula for it that someone else could apply clearly and easily until now.  I can also assure you that no one taught me this method in business school, because they were all operating on older models of profit calculation that never quite fit for the way creative businesses run.

This workbook has actually been coming together in bits and pieces of conceptual form ever since I started blogging about pricing as far back as this post from 2007: The Psychology of Pricing.  As soon as I got my bearings on the photography industry as a whole and starting looking around at what was happening, it killed me to see so many amazing photographers not applying simple common-sense pricing strategy to their creative business.  Once I realized it was simple to me because of my background and education in business marketing and management, I decided to create Photo Lovecat to help rise the tide of photography business education and understanding through free blog writings.

This Pricing Workbook for Creatives feels like a culmination of all of my personal work and experiences as a creative business, on top of working with many other types of creative businesses to help bring clarity to their business strategy.  Every page has been considered for far more than just photographers, as it can apply to any creative business that requires a creative mind and set of creative tools to run.  My vision for this book is that one day it will help someone churn out a meaningful pricing number for something that no one else has ever seen or done before, and may only be possible for one single person to create.  Even for someone who has such a rare talent or product that there isn't even an industry or market to reference for the creative work, this Pricing Workbook for Creatives will help provide a roadmap for pricing in a way that creates sustainability and growth for even the most unique and rare form of creativity.

I also somehow managed to squeeze in some consulting work and some professional giving this year as well, which kind of amazes me after everything else that has happened this year.

CREATIVE BUSINESS CONSULTING WORK:
5 One-on-One Consulting Clients
1 Iceland Creative Retreat

CREATIVE BUSINESS CONSULTING GIVING:
1 Soloist East Village Presentation on Using Thumbtack for Client Leads
1 Interview w/ Libby Bryant on Pricing Strategies for Creatives



RANDOM CREATIVE WORK

There's really no other good place for this, but I feel like into every creative's life a little bit of random creative work may fall.  Last year that random work was serving as a last minute marriage officiant at a hospital.  This year that random extra work was ghost writing and editing some SEO focused blog articles, so I might as well document it!  These random things that people might ask us to do as a creative contractor (and we might actually say yes to doing professionally) is exactly why I created the pricing workbook for creatives- so that saying yes to something new is easy to price out even if it's outside our normal offerings!

BLOG GHOST WRITING & EDITING
2 New SEO Focused Blog Articles Ghost Written
2 SEO Edits & Revisions of Previously Written Blog Articles
1 Ghost Writing Client



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