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The Bliss Blog

My friend, Betsy Chasse is a producer whose best-known work of art is the iconic 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know? It is a docu-drama that follows its main character, a photographer (played named by Marlee Matlin) named Amanda whose thoughts play out in front of her in beyond belief ways. The movie changed the way I and many others have come to view reality.

In the past few years, I have witnessed Betsy putting her heart and soul into her work and share it brilliantly with the world. Like many of us who are creative souls, she has been asked to do what she does for far less than what her services are worth. I know that experience well. As a therapist, writer and speaker, I have sometimes been asked to offer my services for a fraction of what they are worth, or gratis “for the exposure.”  Would a doctor, lawyer or some other form of a mainstream business person, accept that request? I know that on occasion, attorneys do pro bono work, but it is not a regular occurrence. I wonder what it is that those of us who do healing or creative work are expected to be cool with it.
Betsy posted this message on her Facebook page recently and it begs the exploration of why such behavior continues.

“For my dear friends in the “gig economy” I learned a valuable lesson recently about “scope creep”. I love creating, traveling, adventure and I am often willing to forgo what I’m worth in the name of creating something worthwhile for humanity and recently, after constant “scope creep” in which I acquiesced more than I should, even after I had put in writing what I was willing to do, I finally said no. Nope, I am not willing to ask people to compromise themselves simply because I am. In this age of Fivvr and cheap camera packages and everyone being an editor. Most won’t value what you’ve spent years learning. So be willing to walk away… you know what you know. I know what I know. I know what I deliver and I am no longer willing to allow anyone to play a game with that. Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Here’s the beauty of my saying no today, a project I really wanted to do, opened up, and so trust yourself. You’ll be ok, you’ll eat, your rent will be paid, you will survive, actually when you listen to your heart, you will thrive.”

I had to look up the definition of the term ‘scope creep’ and found that it referred to projects taking longer than anticipated and being expected to go with the flow without additional compensation. There have been times when  I have been caught up in that dilemma as well. There were times when I said yes to projects or gigs since I feared that I would lose whatever income resulted from them. In reality, some ended up costing me when I considered travel and time. When I work for someone, they are not just acquiring my services for that period of time, but all the years of training and experience I bring to the table, as well as prep time for what I do. When I write certain articles, research is required, as well as fact-checking and editing. Betsy is right. When I let go of fear and only said yes to what seemed a fair compensation for my expertise, more flowed in.

The reason that creative professionals are expected to accept less may lie in our belief that we are not worth what we ask for. It also is at the foundation of the social work field. I cringed when I saw a t-shirt that read, “Social Work, in it for the outcome and not the income” How ridiculous is that to blatantly undervalue what is really an invaluable service?

So, to all of my ‘Creativas’ and Healers, I invite you to take a page from Betsy’s book and expect and accept what your services are worth, as you tell the Universe that you are open for business that provides as much in return as what you put out into the world,

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