The Price Is Right

You know what's hard? Putting a price on my work.
Back in the beginning of my career it was tough because I knew I sucked. Well, "sucked" is a strong word, but my work was not worth the going rate for similar services. I knew it. It took me far too long to finish a full set. My smile lines were all crooked and shadowy (not that it mattered in a town where no one else was doing pink-and-white sculpts back in ’92.) I had to figure out how to eliminate lifting and I hadn't settled on which product worked best for me.
I had a hard time getting new victims in my chair, and once I did, it was so daunting to put them through all that and then look them in the eye and tell them they owed me money for it. *GULP* And then ask if they wanted to book another appointment.
That, of course, got easier with practice of both my skills and asking for money. Then, for years, I was pretty good about keeping prices on par with "the norm" for the area I was working in — except nail art. Oh, the nail art!
Back in the day I charged a measly two extra dollars to tack on some basic nail art. In my mind "basic nail art" meant things like a couple of stripes or wispies to avoid totally naked nails. But I quickly learned that although everyonewanted nail art, no onewanted to pay for it. So I gave awayfar too much of my time and talents just for the opportunity to do nail art at all. I knew it was time to stop that nonsense when a regular (and not so personally compatible) client came in and asked for all 10 nails to feature a black panther design she'd found in one of my nail art books...and then happily paid me my $2 for the privilege, as was clearly stated on my price list.
Yes. There was a discussion. No. She did not remain a client. No. I didn't miss her. And yes, I started being more assertive in pointing out that the listed price also clearly read, "starting at."
I still give away far too much of my time and talents for the sake of doing new and creative work that I wouldn't get to try out if I actually charged what I ought to for it. But I'm much better at deciding who warrants such consideration.
My job is just too dang fun to make it all about money all the time.

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