I have something to say to you, dream chaser: If you are actively pursuing your dreams – stop giving things away for free and stop reducing your prices on your artwork.

I say this with all the love in my being because I have been there. I have discounted my art and my work and never gave myself enough credit for my skills or what I am able to do. The Gathering is an incredibly low investment and I’ve been told to charge more – but I won’t – not right now, maybe not ever.

But that’s not the point, the point is this:

No matter your craft, you deserve to be paid for all that you do.

I recent weeks I’ve attended two shows and both times given stickers for taking the time to speak to them, to drive a few hours to see them but I happily pay the cover charge, the merchandise prices if it means that you will keep doing what you are doing and cover your expenses to travel. On both occasions, we bought merchandise from the bands because I have this crazy thing that I want them to succeed.

I feel weird and awkward (but not ungrateful) when I am giving something for free because as an artist, I know that we put in hours upon hours to become experts at what we do and frankly we all deserve to be paid for that.

Of course, not everyone sees it that way. I have attended enough festivals selling my artwork just to be told that it’s too expensive or they could do that themselves (by all means do it!) – but you know, I didn’t get good at wood-burning overnight and you didn’t become good at your craft without practicing. Sure we all have our natural gifts and talents and maybe that could be the reason you don’t see that you deserve to charge or be paid enough – it’s bullshit.

You deserve to be paid.

And I think maybe in some instances there’s fear that people won’t like you or won’t support you if you don’t discount your products or give them things for free. In the scheme of things, a sticker may cost pennies to make, but a dollar is a dollar in revenue. And I totally get it as a way to get your name out there.

But getting paid, charging for your craft is required, if you want to succeed with your craft, your business, your passion. It’s time to stop the notion that as artists we have to reduce our prices and then wonder why we are barely getting by in the process. I am guilty of this too.

If you are actively being a dream chaser, then give yourself permission to be serious about this and stop giving things away. You are not doing yourself or the world a favor by always giving something away for free.