In my book The 5 Star Points for Success: Manifest Your Dreams, Live Your Life’s Purpose, I talk about believing in yourself and your dreams and why you should command top dollar for your creative work, so you can continue to get clients who will pay you appropriately and support yourself by living your dream. And, you should! But I’m going to kick off this blog post by saying something a little shocking: No matter how awesomely talented you are at what you do, nobody wants to deal with your BS. The fact of the matter is, if you are not showing up for your projects on time and with a professional attitude, people are not likely to continue to want to hire you for very long.
You are probably asking, “Did Oya just say BS?”
Why yes, I did! While I didn’t type out the full word, I mean it! I am saying “BS” for your own good, and because I want to keep it real. People may fall in love with you as a creator and performer. You may have the very best in your field — be the best singer, the best dancer, musician, photographer, writer … but if you keep showing up to jobs and gigs with the attitude that you are “the best,” but then do not do a professional job, people are going to get tired of you, and fast!
When you are truly talented and passionate about the work you do, you deserve to have people lined up at your door to pay you top dollar! However, if you give off the vibe that you are “all that,” but then are late over and over again, do not follow through with your commitments and are not willing to listen to anyone but yourself how do you expect others to continue to hire you and put out the good word about your work?
Do you think you are amazing and no one can fill your shoes? I am certain you are brilliant, but I ask you …
Are you courteous to others, even when they disagree with you?
Are you reliable? In other words, can people who hire you count on you to show up on time, take their project seriously and really stick to it until the work is done?
Are you respectful, and do you listen to others’ suggestions and ideas readily and try your best to accommodate clients’ special requests?
Are you honest, and can people say that your word is gold?
If you can enthusiastically answer “yes” to the above questions, fabulous! But if not, you may need to take a moment and regroup. Even if you are supremely talented, if you are consistently hard to work with, rest assured, eventually people will get sick of dealing with your bravado. And next time, they may even go with someone who might be less of a genius but is a consummate professional just for the peace of mind of knowing that artist will show up and be a breeze to work with.
I have talked to quite a few creators who seem surprised to know that clients or collaborators do not have endless patience for an artist simply because he/she has astronomical talent. However, though I am an artist and performer myself, I am also often in the position of booking musicians and others to work with me on projects, and when I book talent, I like to know I do not have to worry about them. I want to know the musicians I hire will know the music, show up on time for rehearsals and gigs and provide me with information I need before or after the show. And when I hire a photographer or videographer and need pictures or footage by a certain day, I need to know that person is capable of turning in the work on time.
Even when you are manifesting your dream and fulfilling your life’s purpose as I am on a daily basis, getting paid to do what you love the most, at the end of the day, this is your business; you must be able to earn money! A little while ago, I wrote on the topic of money and the importance of getting paid appropriately for the work we do on this blog (and believe you me, I touch on the often touchy subject of money in my book!). And I confess, I was a bit surprised to get quite a few messages from artists saying they sometimes do not go out of their way when taking a job because clients are not paying them that well.
When someone does not pay you very well, it gives you license to be unprofessional? This does not compute! Here is the truth: You are the one who agreed to do the job for less than what you are worth. And while that was probably not the best idea, once you agree to a rate, even if it was too low, as a professional, you have made a commitment to do the work you were hired to do to the best of your ability.
Here is a rule that all professionals live by: Do not make a promise to do a job if you cannot fulfill that promise. And I know all too well how frustrating it can feel to under bid on a job, then have to stay true to your word to finish it. And it can make you feel like showing up late or not showing up at all, leaving the client hanging until you are good and ready to finish … but you must put your best foot forward no matter what! Whether you took a job for $1, $100, $1,000. $10,000 or more, you took the job, and you must honor that, no matter what price you negotiated.
While we are on the subject of money, I want to mention that many creators set their rates too low or let people take advantage of them because they feel strange asking for money. Talent aside, you must know your worth! Time is money and money is time, so you need to go into every negotiation with a potential client knowing how much you want for your time and believing you are worth the rates you are commanding. Sometimes clients are testing you by suggesting low rates, while others simply just do not have it and may be better off hiring someone who is just starting out in their career, is less experienced than you are, just looking for exposure.
To solve this problem of feeling frustrated by accepting low rates and having that frustration lead to doing a less-than-stellar job for your clients, do not take $20 to perform a show, design a website, write an article or do any other project that takes you hours and hours or even months and months. And if you do accept $20, know that you still made a commitment to do your best, and just vow to yourself that you will not ask for too little again!
The major point I am making in this post is, plain and simple, under no circumstances should you ever tell anyone you are going to do work and then not do it. Even if your talent makes you shine like a star, if you behave unprofessionally, potential clients will get tired of hiring someone who is not professional and pass based on a bad reputation.
People will talk, and they can either say amazing things about you over and over again because of your professionalism and talent, or pass along their bad experiences when you show you cannot follow through to others who don’t even know you but will end up being too scared to hire you because they will be unsure of whether or not they can rely on you.
When it comes to creative work, it is not talent that separates the big boys and girls from the little ones; it is professionalism! There are no excuses to be had when you want to be respected and honored for your talent.
So, please accept this tough love from me: Don’t let people grow tired of you because you are a nightmare to work with. Instead, let them fall in love with your talent and your work ethic. Be a man/woman, be an artist, be an entrepreneur and be a person of your word! Your word and reputation will go a long way.
When you have both talent and professionalism, you have a winning combination. So, think about this the next time an opportunity comes your way and make sure you are honoring both yourself and your clients!
As you think about loving yourself, loving your work and honoring your clients, take a moment to listen to my song “Love,” delivered with lots of love, from me to you! Also, I hope you check out my new book on THE 5 STAR POINTS FOR SUCCESS: Manifest Your Dreams Live Your Life’s Purpose where I dive more into BUILDING YOUR FOUNDATION and REVAMPING YOUR MONEY MINDSET.
SPIRIT OF OYA CD Avail on Itunes, Amazon Spirit of Oya Site
5 STAR POINTS FOR SUCCESS Avail on Itunes, Amazon and Spirit of Oya Site