Here's a round-up of the research and discussion from Mindstream's event on National Freelancer Day that explored the dilemma of money mindset for creatives and intuitives. [Podcast: Listen or read transcript.]
• More and more people are choosing self-employment to align their careers with their values and lifestyle. The UK's solo workforce of 4.8 million people contributed £275 billion to the UK economy in 2018, and it's growing: Another 175,000 workers went freelance in the last year, according to The Office for National Statistics.
• The large majority (85%) of mind-body-spirit professionals are self-employed for at least part of their work, according to original research by Mindstream.
• Independent workers whose products and services are creatively and intuitively led, feel their vocation is aligned with their values. "Serving is connected with meaning and purpose in my life," is among the statements made by participants in research by Mindstream, and panelist Adam Brewster describes his decision to leave full-time corporate work as, "I was basically getting told what I have to do on a daily basis. And I could see ways that I would do it differently and I had passions that weren’t necessarily the shared passions of the directors that were passing me the work. So I thought to myself, Well, maybe if I did this by myself it would be better for me."
• Most creatives and intuitives report that money matters are challenging. They face such questions as the justification of charging for products and services based on natural gifts, how to persuade customers about the value of their efforts, and establishing boundaries when non-commodity type work is subjective. As author and illustrator Clairey Colston says, "I think there’s a two-way process between valuing your work and also finding the right people who want what it is and can see the value in what it is that you offer, as well. And that was the difficulty that I found initially because I knew that there is great value in the work that I was offering, but I hadn't yet learned, Who needs this? Who wants this?"
• Getting comfortable charging -- and charging enough -- for creative and intuitively led work is a journey for most independent workers. David Thomas Wright, who coaches creatives and intuitives to achieve the business goals, says, "I think if it's an emotionally driven form of work, then people think it's kind of trivial or think it's a hobby or they think it's something like friendship. And it's not ... Money is a necessary boundary when you are doing something which is almost like an emotional exchange. Coaching, for example, or giving people readings."
• It's okay to do work for free if it's part of a strategy. Colston's volunteer work led to establishing her products and services, Brewster devoted one day to doing work for charitable causes, and Wright offers free classes and talks. They all say it contributed to boosting their visibility, networking and business. As Wright puts it, "I think it's important to consider exchange of energy, which doesn’t always have to be money. And, you know, that could be a skills exchange, which I have done many, many times."
• Trade the concept of competition for collaboration. If you are truly tapping into your own resources and unique offerings, you have no fear of what others may be offering to the market.
• There is an internal process to valuing our work and an external process. It's a matter of research, perhaps digging deep, and understanding how we feel about our proposition and then placing that in an accessible way to the market. In artist Rose Strang's case, she said the price points of her paintings were determined by "Myself making decisions and buyers making decisions ... I did the typical thing that most artists do at first and I underpriced myself, so [the galleries] were always doubling the price."
• There is support and community for independent creative and intuitive professionals. There are loads of free resources and affordable memberships in professional organisations that serve independent workers. Check out Strategyzer for business strategy, Freelancer Club resources and membership, IPSE resources and membership, Modern Work, and ShouldIWorkForFree.com. For more, see the SlideShare presentation from Mindstream's event for National Freelancers Day.
• The value of intuitively and creatively led professional work needs to be understood, recognised and respected. Based on the research by the IPSE and Mindstream, independent workers are in a great position to take stock of the impact of their offerings, educate the market on the value, and gain confidence so they can fully serve.
• SlideShare: View the presentation that accompanied the panel discussion event.
• Podcast: For thorough insight, research and panelist stories, listen to Episode 3 of The Mindstream Podcast: Valuing professional work that springs from natural gifts or read the transcript.
• Photo Gallery of Mindstream's event for National Freelancers Day (20 June 2019), exploring the money mindset of self-employed professionals whose work is creatively and intuitively led.