Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins is written like a rule book or a guide to thriving as an artist.
One of those rules, according to Jeff, is the “Rule of Valuation.”
He says, “The Starving Artist works for free, the Thriving Artist always works for something.” So don’t devalue your work by accepting less than what your job is worth. Likewise, don’t devalue yourself by accepting less than what your time is worth.
In an article on “Self-confidence and Personal Motivation,” Roland Bénabou and Jean Tirole argue that confidence is a professional asset with broad implications across your effort and professional earnings. (The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 117, Issue 3, August 2002, Pages 871–915)
Simply put, nothing is free. Devaluing yourself and your work will cost you in every way. It will lower your self-esteem, decrease the opportunities others give you, reduce the options you are confident to take, and finally, burden you financially and emotionally.
Free can be a part of your marketing strategy. But, be a good investor. A good investment has low risk and a high potential for gain.
Regularly evaluate your prices and your offerings. Cut out the work that costs too much time or too much money for too little return. And don’t accept work with a high risk of low return.