Last month I finished 50 Cent’s, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter, which has to be one of the best business books I have come across in a long time. His honest yet detailed analysis of people’s behaviour and psychology layered into real world scenarios really helped shape and broaden my perspective on business, strategy and mentality. One of the key concepts he spoke about was that regardless of how good you are, or how excellent your product is that, people will always try to pay less for its asking price. It made sense to me. Everyone looks for a bargain. This somehow creates a sense of accomplishment within the person leading the negotiations, as if they won a battle of wits against an opponent. This is particularly true in my Punjabi culture. The thing that worries me the most is the lack of empathy shown in these exchanges. I truly don’t think many people truly understand or appreciate how deeply this impacts the person on the other end psychologically.

Being a lifelong creative and an entrepreneur, I spent some time thinking about this issue which is extremely prevalent in today’s tech centric society. An issue that directly impacts the mental health of many creative students, graduates and professionals a like.

Many writers, designers, developers all put their heart and soul into developing their craft, spending copious amounts of time refining and adjusting one’s skill. Sadly, when it comes to actually charging for what they do, they are told by society the price they should be accepting. I have seen examples of people indirectly even insulting the creative saying “This person chargers this much” and they are better, so technically you should be charging less. This really strikes a nerve with me. I really don’t know how individuals can treat their people as labour product robots as opposed to actual human beings or how they have the audacity to undermine someone’s worth. I truly hate to see creatives offered “opportunities” that they are bullied into simply because they need the cash to cover their bills.

I wanted to write this piece as a message to creatives around the world to never to undervalue what you do. I have been in those situations before, countlessly working around the clock working with the wrong people and getting paid below my worth, only to feel trapped by the workload I had accepted. What we all must remember is time is scarce and precious and that if you take on an opportunity then ultimately you will have to sacrifice another. Choices are important.

If someone truly doesn’t see the value in what you do and if they are demanding a pay a price that is below your bottom line, then have the confidence to walk away. By continually indulging in negative negotiations and working with people that don’t see the value in what you do will ultimately lead to negative self-talk that begins to diminish yourself worth, confidence and your passion for creativity.

If you feel that you need experience, then be careful with what you choose to do to gather it. Sometimes the best experience could simply be creating your own creative piece and selling it to consumers, just have the confidence and patience to bring your own personal ideas into fruition. You don’t always have to work for someone, for free to become better at what you do, trust me.

Lastly, when it comes to negotiations it is also important for your own mental health and worth to understand and accept that no matter how good you are, people will always try to as 50 Cent said, undermine your pricing. Being consciously aware and knowing deep within yourself that this by no way dictates your skills or worth, allows for better negotiations. Be smart about how you offer your skills to that client in particular, possibly giving them a variety of pricing options that are priced in accordance to the amount of time and effort you are willing to put in. Do not be scared to charge your worth, it doesn’t matter what people on Fiverr, or your competition is charging, understand that your creativity is unique and that you need to be properly compensated if you desire to be a creative professional for a long time.

 For those of you that are interested, I have included affiliate links to 50 Cent’s book below. If you do choose to purchase from these links then we will receive a small amount of commission from Amazon for the sales to support the project 🙂



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