Every day has a price. How much did today cost you?
You don’t have to be in business to think about how much each days costs. As long as your income is greater than your expenses, you are OK. Unfortunately, most people have no clue.
If you are a professional photographer, writer, designer or artist it is important to understand how much you need to make on an average day. Your equipment costs you money. Insurance, gas, and your living expenses are certainly a part of the equation.
In most cases, creative professionals have more expenses than they think. The price of gasoline to get to a job is an important part of your estimation. Here is a simple example of a yearly estimate for an on-the-cheap beginning photographer (based on 250 work days in a year at $113 per day):
- Desired income: $25,000 to cover rent, utilities, transportation and food
- Equipment: $2,000 (camera, lenses, light and repairs)
- Computer/software: $1,000
- Gas to 50 jobs: $250
Obviously, this photographer is not living large. He has no insurance, does not market his work, stays at home, and doesn’t accept high-production jobs. This photographer still needs to make $113 per work day to survive. This is assuming he works every business day. Most new photographers are lucky to have one good job a week. That means they must charge a minimum of $565 per assignment.
If you want to work really hard and only charge $565 per wedding for 52 weddings (if you can get 52 weddings), you can make it work. Unfortunately, many creatives have business models like this and wonder why their life still sucks. The truth is you have more expenses than the ones listed above.
If you have a staff position, you still need to compare income to your expenses. Otherwise you are supplementing with credit. Many people found out the hard way how much they were in the daily negative during the last credit crunch. Do you need a second job?
Many people attempt to create additional income with a second job such as photography. Unfortunately, they don’t employ the above cost estimation exercise and end up losing money as a whole because the side business is actually a money drain.
I’ve had photographers and other creatives tell me they can charge low rates because they don’t need the money. If you don’t need the money, why not go for the gold and charge more — not less — than what you feel you are worth? Charge enough to make the money meaningful.
Take the time to discover your daily number. How much does it really cost you to live each day of your life?