Quit Your Job: Earn a Living Off of Your DIY Projects

With this guide, learn how to calculate a price that would allow you to earn a living off of your DIY projects and quit your job.


| June 2013


Grow (Cantankerous Titles, 2013) by Eleanor Whitney is a practical field guide for creative people with home business projects who want to achieve success and sustainability. Whether their projects are based in independent publishing, music, food, art, craft, activism or community work, Eleanor Whitney enables readers to clarify their project vision, get organized, set goals, create a plan, raise funds for, market, and manage their do-it-yourself project. The following excerpt from Chapter 2, “Be A Creative Money Maker: Find and Create the Resources You Need,” shows you how to calculate a fair price to be compensated for your work. 

Earned Income: Paying yourself

Paying yourself fairly for your work is an important step in building a sustainable, creative life. When you pay yourself you recognize the time and effort that goes into your work and acknowledge that your skills and expertise have value. Your craft’s value is based on offering up your time, talents, or service—such as writing grant proposals, event planning, designing a website, or composing songs—rather than just producing a final product. Build confidence in yourself so that you can be compensated fairly.

Follow These Guidelines As You Work to Set Prices For the Services You Offer:

• Have the confidence to know that your time is worth money
• Set a clear goal of what you want to achieve with your project
• Clarify what you are selling. What is the exact service that you offer?
• Consider your experience and expertise. Do you have a perspective or level of experience that is not common for your field?
• What is the reward for the customer? How much value does what you’re offering bring to your customers’ lives?

Jessica Hopper, who ran a business as a music publicist, explains in an article in Rookie magazine that when she valued herself, others valued her as well. “I worked at cut-rate prices for years, despite being great at what I did, because I thought it was the punk thing to do and would instill loyalty. Neither of those things is true. At one point I found out what our competitors were charging and doubled my rates for all new business—and no one batted an eye.”

Personally, learning to value my skills and myself enough to ask to be paid fairly has not been an easy process. I am lucky to do work I love such as teaching, writing, community organizing, and creative project management. Because I feel so passionate about these activities it was very easy for me to tell those interested in working with me, “Don’t worry about the money. I just enjoy doing the work.” When my to do list became too long and my calendar was full of other peoples’ projects, I could not see a tangible benefit for me personally and realized that my commitments to other people took away from my time, energy, and enjoyment of my own projects. When I became confident enough to ask to be compensated for my time I was better able to judge what projects were worth it for me to take on. While it’s great to contribute your time and energy to projects and initiatives you care deeply about, budget both of these carefully. When you take on new projects, whether paid or volunteer, be very clear about what benefit you are offering and what benefit you will receive.

Guidelines for Pricing Your Time and Services

There are no hard and fast formulas for determining how much to charge hourly or for project-based prices. However, there are strategies you can use to make an estimate and refine your prices from there. Musician Greta Gertler, who started Goldfish Prize PR to make an official business out of the networking, connecting, and outreach she was doing for musicians she loved, shared a simple strategy for pricing your time based on overhead costs and the amount of time you want to work.

mudassar.ahmad.161009
12/26/2013 1:14:42 AM

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