I’ll Pay You In Exposure!
There seems to be a tendency for people to disrespect and undervalue creative services. Whether you draw, paint, make music, write and so on, people seem to think your job is easy. Assuming that they consider it a job in the first place. They want what you have to offer but they don’t want to pay you for your time and the product they’ll receive.
People love free stuff. Many people will happily try to get anything they think they can get for free. This is expounded when the thing they’re trying to get isn’t valued highly. If they can’t get it for free, they want a steep discount or any discount. Okay, well can I get something extra? It goes on and on.
Why do people seem to undervalue creative work?
I’d say it can’t be that they think the job is easy because I’ve certainly seen plenty of people imply or outright say that very thing. Usually when they’ve been told they aren’t getting a discount, a free service, or just if they think the cost is too high.
I believe that some of this attitude comes from the idea that art isn’t important. I know that many would disagree but the common person just doesn't value art highly. They may enjoy it but they don’t see it as essential. If it isn’t essential, it can’t be worth much, right?
Of course, one might point out that we shell out money for all sorts of products that aren’t essential. I think that people will pay for these expensive, non-essential products because they view them as useful, if not essential.
They want our product or our service but they don’t assign it the same value as so many other things they’ll happily pay for. Because they don’t value it highly, they seem to think that they shouldn’t have to pay much for it. To the point that they’ll get upset if we even try to get a minimum wage for our time put in.
They don’t think our job is real.
Creatives who work for themselves tend to spend a lot of hours trying to make a living. The starving artist has been a concept for a good long time and it’s because, for a very long time, most of us don’t get paid very well for our often long labor.