Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pricing Your Work

John Marine | 8:30 PM | |
We all want to profit for our work. When selling your creative work, how much should you charge? The price of your work and the WORTH of your work are two different things. While I am no money expert, I'll offer my own opinions on this issue. Take my advice in this post more like a bit of guidance rather than any definitive solution.

Pricing Your Work

I thought about this issue as I interacted with the TurboSquid community. A few members were wondering about pricing work that they offered on TurboSquid. A visit to TurboSquid will give you a look at a vast variety of models and textures offered for sale. Through the many categories, you will see items offered from mostly hobbyist and amateur publishers. At the same time, you will note more advanced and more professional models. Prices for offered items range from free to some more expensive offerings. There is no right or wrong price for any sold material of yours. You do have to consider a number of variables when trying to decide how much to charge for your work.

Let's consider a few things. I will be using a good amount of analogies to explain some of my points, so be ready.

Price vs. Worth.

You may charge a certain price for your work (or offer it for free), but how much is something WORTH? Do you feel your work should be taken more seriously than some people probably would take it? Do you feel you made something that isn't completely random and could really help market yourself? Every work has a price (even if free), but how much it is WORTH is what matters most.

Think about auctions, for example- like automobile auctions. Why do some cars sell for more than a lot of others? People see the worth in some cars thanks in part to the attention to detail and even the rarity of certain automobiles. A car that is rusted over, not cleaned up, and maybe has some emission issues won't sell as well. The analogies provided in this paragraph denote the importance of worth with work. You can price something any amount you want, but its worth is what matters most. It helps to price material based on how much you think it is worth ranging from the effort you put into making it and how you think people should perceive it.

People will be willing to pay money for material based on how much they feel it is worth.

How Much to Charge?

I am no Economics expert or any tax professional, but I always found it best to charge fairly and realistically if selling work. If a 3D model you created was done with amazing detail and professionalism, offering it for free wouldn't be a smart idea. It would be great to offer high-quality material for free so people won't have to pay money for amazing quality work. However, you are your own business, and the work you produce is your portfolio. You should be able to (literally) cash in on an opportunity to expose yourself and promote yourself as an individual and as a business. If you take yourself seriously and stand behind your work, you should be able to charge whatever you want for your work. Just make sure to be reasonable and fair.

Here is something I thought of in preparing this post: why do lemonade stands in neighborhoods charge money? I may be going off-topic, but there is a point I want to stress here. Someone who offers lemonade is offering lemonade because the seller(s) is/are confident people in need of some liquid refreshment will want to drink something like lemonade. It would be great to offer lemonade for free. While it would be helpful and beneficial to do so, it won't make too much sense business-wise. After all- you are offering a product and a service. While offering free lemonade would help cure the thirst of people in the neighborhood, free will help boost your marketability because you offer something where no one has to pay. However, offering something for free could provide a situation where you what you produce or offer can't meet the high demand. What if people think your lemonade is the best in the neighborhood and that other lemonade stands just don't stack up compared to yours? You worked hard to provide a service, and obviously, you provided and incredible service and an incredible product. Would you be better served being compensated for your work (even if you're the "pay it forward" type)? Free is great, but if you are trying to promote yourself and market yourself to others and feel like your work means at least something to others, it would be a fair practice to charge an appropriate amount of money for your work for the sake of loyalty.

The point of the previous paragraph is that providing something like your creative work for sale helps gain revenue and even provides a sufficient business model. You find people willing to pay for your more quality content and are willing to use and utilize your material. This can range from digital art to music and more. Charging fairly and offering quality material are major factors in helping build yourself as an entity.

If you feel you have to make material that should provide some revenue, safest way to start is to charge something like $1 USD (or whatever your currency approximates to $1 USD) at the lowest. At least a price this low for your work will help determine your truly loyal audience. Pricing this low won't please people who want things for free, but at least you are showing a bit of professionalism and offer a feeling of taking business responsibility. Think about it. You pay about $1 USD for music on iTunes or Google Play. You wish you could download music for free (especially the latest material), but you have to consider that music is a business, and the people who produce such content have lives of their own and need the financial support to make ends meet and to simply live life. Financial support is not relied on, but it helps to know people can profit proper from their work. So paying a certain amount for creative works can help such causes. Just properly price your material based on effort and worth to others.

Is the Price Right?

As I mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong answer about pricing work. I would advise to fairly price material based on the quality you put into your work and how much you feel it should be treated among a general audience. Don't price an amateur-level item at a professional-quality price. Professional quality means professional money. Consumers shopping for high-end goods aren't going to buy basic items from a mainstream department store. Especially if you are part of services that cater to both everyday people and professionals alike (like TurboSquid or Bandcamp), consider the range of products offered and their quality. People will shop at high-end stores for high-end goods. The high-end crowd want to find products befitting of such stature. So to see something not at the standards of professional quality will immediately be turned down for those wanting high-end goods. Best practice is to offer material to cater to certain audiences. People don't want to feel like they are getting ripped off or are spending more money than they really should for something.

Don't Sell Yourself Short!

Don't sell yourself short. Don't price something at affordable levels just to get more people. Even offering material for free would be like selling yourself short. As a producer of creative works, you are your own business. Value your own content and the effort you put into making it possible. If you feel your work is of high quality and begging of a high-quality price if offered for sale, don't offer high quality for a low price. Most high quality material is offered for high prices simply because it is material worthy of best-of-the-best quality. Every now and then you may find something priced fairly modest yet still provides amazing quality. How often does THIS happen, though? You have a chance to promote yourself and offer material better than what most others produce. Why not assert yourself and price your material competitively and realistically? Do you want people to take you seriously? Price your material accordingly, but seriously avoid selling yourself short.

Avoiding Greed.

We all want to profit from our work. However, you don't want to be greedy. Don't charging unnecessarily over your work. Don't charge for things that should be free or could be priced much lower. Taking yourself seriously is nothing wrong. Only thing is, don't feel like your very existence is on getting as much monetary value from your customers. Also consider this- who wants to do business with someone who cares more about making money than offering quality material to the greater public-at-large? People may refuse to check out your material if you are greedy.

Seek opportunities to financially profit from your work, but don't be totally fixated on getting every last bit of currency from customers or clients.

Pricing Your Work: My Reasoning

Allow me to offer my own reasoning on material I have offered online to others.

Some of the material I've offered online are offered at prices that I feel were appropriate for the effort I put into my work and how much I feel it is worth. Everything I produce is something I feel is of some kind of value. I feel like I am disrespecting myself if I offer material that I feel lacks any value. I blog for free and don't have any sponsors or anybody paying me to post certain things. When it comes to things like 3D models, music, or eBooks on the other hand; I feel that while free is great for my general audience, I feel I must offer some of my material for certain prices both for loyalty and for the sake of seeking monetary opportunities. My main focus is in offering material to others because I love to be able to make something people will enjoy. I am not focused on making money, though it would be nice to financially profit for my work. First and foremost with my creative work is to make something people will hopefully enjoy.

I enjoy what I do, and the level of professionalism I have is adequate without being excessive.

Pricing Your Work: My Reasoning on My Published Content.

I do not consider myself a good writer, so I didn't try to offer my eBooks at any ridiculous prices. I priced my eBooks based on the content provided and how much I feel it is worth to people who ultimately get to consume my literary work. Since posting my first eBooks, I priced them accordingly since I feel there is value to my material that I think offering for free wouldn't exactly merit its worth all that much.

I uploaded music to my Bandcamp page and offered them for sale at a certain price. Free would be great, but I feel those who really enjoyed my music will hopefully pay to show their support of me and my work. Bandcamp allows you to sell songs for certain prices and albums for other prices. If someone purchases an album, you can sweeten the offer by providing some special content as part of the package.

Because I am greatly a novice at 3D modeling, I don't go crazy with prices for my 3D models on TurboSquid unless I felt my skills warrant certain items to be certain prices. So I am not going to price my models to any serious degree. I may offer some of my work at higher prices especially if these are more original creations done with a level of detail much different from anything generic I've created. Because something is very original, I feel I am disrespecting my own work if I priced it low. My most original works would be offered on a premium level. So a premium-designed model of something purely original of mine would sell for much more than most of my other offerings. I value my own work and the level of importance and quality in my work. I am not going to make something not really special or unique sell for high prices. Basic items sell for basic prices. I'll charge more if I feel my work is of decent enough quality.

This at least covers my own philosophy in regards to pricing creative work.

Speaking of Creative Work...

Feel free to support me with my work! Visit the following links to check out my material:

my Weebly site (which includes various store material)
my Bandcamp
my TurboSquid work

Please help support my work any way you can. I would appreciate the support.

This isn't definitive advice, but it is advice nonetheless. I hope you gained some insight here. That concludes this blog post. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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