As someone who has long desired, and worked toward, building a career out of her art, the struggle of charging for my work has never been one that I battled. It seemed only natural to charge for the time and effort I spent on projects, though perhaps I undercharged on occasion in an effort to gain exposure.
But whether or not to charge for creative skills offered is a surprising struggle for many women. I didn’t understand it until I started talking to moms about Life Creative.
The question of whether to charge, and how much to charge, is a real struggle for many women, particularly Christian women who view their work as an extension of ministry. With this is mind, Wendy and I set out to write a chapter in Life Creative that speaks specifically to this struggle.
Maybe you find yourself hashing through this very concept. You believe you have a discernible skill, and you’re offering beauty back to the world, but you’re unsure of whether to charge for it. This book is for you!
The following excerpt from the book offers just a glance at the encouragement offered to the creative who wants to make a business out of her art. I hope it will encourage you as you move forward.
When Art Turns a Profit: An excerpt from Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom
Art is a valuable thing. Collectors of great masterpieces have bet their wealth on it, and if this is true, then we can naturally deduce that art- ists are valuable as well. We create beauty in a world that often feels ugly. When fires burn and terrorism reigns, we bring the healing light of hope through our artistic contributions.
Before we even talk about price tags and profit, let’s just grapple with this core component—we have something of worth to contribute to this world. Whether you create simply as an overflow and give your creations away freely, or you create with a long- ing to profit from your art, you, dear mom, bring value to this world. Rejoice in that! Yet for some reason as creatives, particularly creative women, we’re quick to shrug our shoulders and dismiss these gifts as frivolous, thereby undervaluing them before we even open shop. In this age that idolizes big platforms, bright lights, Internet fame, and viral success, these feelings of inadequacy lead us to question our small place in the online marketplace, and our worthiness to make a profit.
Dear creative friends, this must not be the case! You are a steward of talents. You may be familiar with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30, where one servant is given one talent, another two, and another five—according to their abililites. Knowing that their master is a hard man, the first servant buries his coin in the sand, so that he doesn’t lose it. The man with two talents invests his money wisely and makes an impressive return.
And the servant entrusted with five talents yields his master five more, due to his shrewd stewardship. Of course Jesus is talking about talents, as in coins, but we’re talking about artistic talents too, because isn’t everything He gives us ours to steward wisely for the greatest return? So all of this leads me to ask: What will you do with what the Master has entrusted to you?
Charge for it?
Give it away?
In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23
Regardless of the choice you make, the gifts you possess, along with the hours in your day, are entirely yours to steward, so steward them well. If you’ve offered your dreams back to the Lord, and you’ve given Him your surrendered yes to follow where He leads, then the banner of His grace now rests upon each decision you make. And if you long to make a profit from your art, then this is what I want you to take away: attaching value to the hours you spend laboring over each handmade treasure isn’t unbiblical for the creative Christian.
If you haven’t yet grabbed your copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom, now is the time to do it!
Currently Amazon is (most unfortunately) out of books. We’re trying to figure out why and what we need to do to rectify that situation. You can still purchase the book from Amazon, but it may be several days before you receive it.