08 – Artful Pricing with Shannon McNab
Shannon McNab

Laura and Nikki are thrilled to introduce you to their first Startist Society guest, Shannon McNab!

Shannon McNab is a left-handed, left-brained surface designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her love of both art and numbers has allowed her to license and sell over 75 designs in just the past 4 years, working with brands like Party City, Cloud9 Fabrics and Pyrex.

But she also loves to teach other artists how to build a thriving business, tackling confusing topics like finding clients, productivity, and pricing, breaking them down to make them easier to understand. Because she believes that no one’s a better advocate for your art than you are!

 

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Topics discussed

  • How Shannon got started in surface design (1:50)
  • Showing at Surtex (trade show) and her journey toward teaching and sharing the business side of surface design (6:20)
  • Roadblocks that cause designers to give up (9:51)
  • Getting through bad days and comparison trap (10:25)
  • Fighting perfectionism (11:50)
  • Three methods to get paid as a surface designer  (15:36)
  • Setting and negotiating rates (22:19)
  • Sharing client work on social media  (27:22)
  • Pitching your portfolio  (30:00)
  • How much surface designers can expect to make in a year (32:17)
  • Shannon’s surface design industry survey (34:00)
  • Mindset and setting expectations (38:56)
  • Shannon’s 2020 income blog post (42:56)
  • Her word of the year (44:50)
  • Shannon’s course Artful Pricing, opening for enrollment next week (49:37)
  • Gaining confidence and charging more for your work (52:08)
  • Breakdown of Artful Pricing course modules (59:34)

Laura

0:07
Hi, this is Laura

Nikki

0:08
And this is Nikki with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.

Laura

0:17
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.

Nikki

0:31
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.

Nikki

0:38
Laura, who are we talking to you today?

Laura

0:42
Nikki, today we’re talking to Shannon McNabb and I am so excited. I really think she’s going to provide such great info and value for our listeners, especially for those that are in the surface design world.

Laura

0:55
Shannon McNab is a left-handed left-brain surface designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her love of both art and numbers has allowed her to license and sell her designs as well as teach other artists how to build a thriving business. She tackles confusing topics like finding clients, productivity, pricing, and she breaks them down to make them easier to understand. Because she believes that no one’s a better advocate for your art than you are.

Laura

1:23
Welcome to the Startist Society, Shannon, we’re so excited to have you here.

Shannon

1:29
And I am so excited to be here.

Laura

1:32
We think you are such an amazing example of a Startist that really didn’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of starting and succeeding in a creative business that you love. First of all, could you share a little bit with our listeners about how you got started in surface pattern design?

Shannon

1:50
Sure, it was actually a really long and winding journey. Because after graduate school, that’s actually where I learned about patterns. I took every elective I could in the fibers department, even though I was a graphic designer. I left school and it was actually right at the ’08 recession. So it was really hard to find full time work.

Nikki

2:12
Great timing.

Shannon

2:13
It was terrible timing! And so I was doing basically either part-time graphic design jobs that I could find, I worked at a scrapbook store to make ends meet. And then on the side, I was creating patterns. And I started by selling them on Etsy. And this was like way back in the day when Etsy was small, still quaint, and not at all like it is now. And that’s actually how I got my start. And for the next several years, even though I then went on to be a graphic designer in corporate America for a couple years, I still did patterns on the side the whole time.

Nikki

2:53
Let me ask you real quick how you sold patterns on Etsy. Like who was buying them? Were they purchased as clipart kind of things or…?

Shannon

3:03
Yeah, basically I come from the scrapbook world. I’ve been scrapbooking probably since I was like 12. And so when I found out that there was digital scrapbooking, I was like, this is amazing. I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. And so I started selling packs of five to eight patterns that would be on an 8½x11 or 12×12 sheet that they would get as a digital download.

Nikki

3:29
Okay.

Laura

3:30
So I come from the crafting world too, I used to be a designer for Hero Arts Rubber Stamps and doing projects for them and doing publications in that stamping world. So I totally get the obsession that we get over our supplies and our products and then the fact that you could move it digital. How cool is that?

Shannon

3:46
Yes. And I am very familiar with Hero Arts, I had so many trays of stamps from them when I was scrapbooking still. Now again, obviously everything’s digital on my end, I don’t really have that many physical supplies left in my stash because I just stopped using them.

Laura

4:07
Someday I’m going to KonMari mine out of my house. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Nikki

4:12
Sure you are, sure you are.

Nikki

4:14
So how did you go from having the patterns on Etsy while working in the more corporate design world to doing what you’re doing now?

Shannon

4:26
Well, basically after two years of corporate America, I was like, I hate this. I’m always super stressed out. I want to work for myself.

Nikki

4:35
Oh, you’re so lucky that you figured that out in two years. It took me 10.

Shannon

4:40
I don’t think my stomach could have handled 10. I had so much anxiety from working in corporate America that I was just yeah, especially the holidays because I worked for a retailer and it just and it was the e-marketing department which I know, Nikki you have some background in marketing and email marketing specifically so you know all about that.

Nikki

5:03
I do I do. So how did you make the switch?

Shannon

5:06
So my husband, who is a game designer supports us and basically has since I stopped working corporate.

Nikki

5:16
Does have an older brother?

Shannon

5:19
He does, but he’s married.

Nikki

5:21
Does he have a single dad?

Shannon

5:23
No.

Nikki

5:24
Okay, I’m sorry. Carry on, carry on.

Shannon

5:27
And so when I was like, I really want to go out on my own. And he was like, go for it. I mean, we met in art school. So he’s always been very supportive of my art. And he couldn’t be prouder of where I am today. And so from that, I started in graphic design, because it’s what I knew, and I had kind of a few clients that I could pick up really easily. So I kind of split my time between doing surface pattern design and the graphic design, because that was what made me more money. But I hit a wall a couple years in doing mostly digital scrapbook design, and then a little bit of graphic design where I couldn’t pass… I think it was like, either $12 or $16,000 mark for the entire year of income. Which, I mean, yes, my husband provides for us, but I have big dreams and goals. I wasn’t happy with that. And so I was like, you know what, I’ve always heard of this thing called Surtex, which is a trade show in New York, and I, dang it, I want to do surface design full time, and I’m gonna show at Surtex. And so, middle of 2016, I quit everything else, focused solely on surface design, and then showed for the first time at Surtex in 2017.

Nikki

6:42
That’s fantastic. I remember the videos that you did while you were… you were doing live videos from the show.

Shannon

6:51
Yes, yeah. So I didn’t do that the first year. But the next couple of years?

Nikki

6:55
Yeah, that was fantastic.

Shannon

6:58
Well, so and that’s the other funny part is, when I got started, there was not a lot of information out there about trade shows. And I mean, I gobbled up everything I could every blog, every webinar that was happening. I did it all, but there still wasn’t enough. And so something that was really important to me was to kind of track my progress and kind of give everybody the things that I learned as a newbie. And so that kind of started my journey towards being a teacher in this space is because I wanted that information, and it wasn’t out there. So I wanted to give it to everyone else.

Laura

7:34
And you’re so generous with your information. I’m a part of your Sketch Design Repeat group on Facebook. And I love how much fabulous information that you provide. Because a lot of us are just starting out, and we are in that space, and we’re looking for that information and can’t find it. And so you found that gap where, we all need that information are able to provide it. So thank you for that.

Shannon

7:58
You’re welcome. Yeah, and like, I felt the exact same way when I got started. And once I started giving information about trade shows and went deeper into surface design, I felt that there was such a gap in knowledge in so many aspects. We got the whole pattern design illustration thing nailed. There are so many amazing teachers on Skillshare. And you know, teaching those wonderful classes, how to make a pattern, all that kind of stuff, that information is there. But the business side, I felt was totally lacking. And I don’t come from a business background. I went to art school, for goodness sake, right? I didn’t learn this stuff. So it was important to me to kind of bring my experience to the table and share from my newbie roots, all the things I’ve learned – finding buyers reaching out to them pricing, artwork, all those kind of things that aren’t really talked about in our industry.

Nikki

8:55
Yeah. And as we found out last night, Shannon, you and I went to the same grad school. And although it was fantastic in so many ways, I don’t know about your program, it was different than mine. But I didn’t learn anything practical about how to take all the amazing things I learned from amazing professors, but how to apply it in the real world. So you get out there, you’re done with school, you’re trying to figure out what to do. And you come up against a wall. Now when I got out of school, there was no internet. So I couldn’t even research all of this. So you kind of start flailing around and so many people just give up. So what can you tell us about how to avoid that, why people give up and what kind of roadblocks to watch out for and how to work around them.

Shannon

9:51
So, I think there are a couple of reasons that people kind of give up. And I would say one of the first things and this is just kind of from a society perspective is we live on demand all the time, like, Amazon shipp to me in 24 hours, you know, DoorDash head to my, you know, favorite place and bring it to my house in an hour, especially COVID. So we did so much DoorDashing in the past year. It’s insane.

Nikki

10:18
Thank God for DoorDash.

Shannon

10:21
You know. And so there’s that like immediate satisfaction…

Nikki

10:25
Instant gratification.

Shannon

10:25
It’s so prevalent in so many aspects of our lives. And so even though we don’t necessarily think about that, from our art, I do think that that is a factor. And kind of along those same lines, as much as I love Instagram, it’s my favorite social media platform. There is a lot of comparison that goes on. And I mean, I’m guilty of this as well, like even today, where you see other people and all the beautiful things that they’re creating, and all the deals they’re getting, and the product that’s going out. And you’re just like, oh, gosh, what about me? I’m so far away from from where they’re at? How could I possibly get there? Instagram is basically like a highlight reel of our best moments, for the most part. So what you don’t see is how much hustle those people did over the past year in their own offices, or the 10 years of experience that they had to get to this point.

Nikki

10:55
All the rejections they had before they got those fancy deals.

Laura

11:28
And it was not overnight success story.

Shannon

11:30
Nooo. I’ll be the first one to say this, I have been freelancing full time for eight years at this point, and only in the last year do I feel like I hit a reasonable income for where I live in the Bay Area.

Nikki

11:46
Congratulations on that, by the way.

Shannon

11:50
My husband and I celebrated with one of our favorite bottles of wine. But yeah, I think that there is that comparison that happens. And that can really make it really easy to get defeated. And as far as like how to actually combat that. I am super into organizing, planning, all of that kind of thing. And so one thing I think artists need to realize is there will always be moments when we struggle. I mean, still today in my business, I mean, yes, I’m, quote, unquote, successful, I still have really bad days. And it’s important to honor those, but then know how to move forward from it. And so coming up with a plan for yourself, even if it’s as simple as like, hey, I’m going to take a 30 minute nap, or walk my dog around the block, because I’m not feeling it. And then you can come back with a fresh mind and sit down and make things happen. I think creating that plan to get through those slumps that are inevitably going to crop up will make it so much easier to get over those hurdles.

Laura

12:57
It’s like building self care into your calendar.

Shannon

12:59
Yeah, it’s like anything else, just like working out where, you know, you have to do it regularly before it becomes habit. It’s the same thing with business, you have to keep doing what you need to do. And when you have like, yesterday, I was working on my upcoming course and was really not feeling it because it was writing, which is not my favorite thing. And I was just like, okay, gave myself some space after lunch, then sat down and was like, Okay, let me just start, you know, 10 minutes, see what happens. And three hours later, I had written at least half of what I needed.

Nikki

13:38
That’s fantastic. And that’s such a great way to just get you past something you’re stuck on. You just say, I’m just going to start, I don’t have to finish this. I can just sit down for 10 minutes and start writing. And usually you find, like you did, you end up going longer and get it done.

Shannon

13:54
Right? Well, in a lot of things, again, kind of going back to Instagram, where it’s like a highlight reel, we, a lot of times, especially as artists, we think everything we have to create has to be perfect and beautiful and ready for market and all that kind of stuff. But that’s not possible. You’re going to make ugly art. I still make ugly art. And it may never see the light of day to a customer, to Instagram, anywhere. Yeah. And so like kind of realizing that not everything has to be picture perfect ready, can also be really helpful just for like mentally. Realizing that, okay, I’m not the only one that doesn’t have it together 24/7 and that’s all right.

Nikki

14:36
Right, right.

Laura

14:37
Combating perfectionism too.

Shannon

14:39
Yes. I mean, I always call myself a recovering perfectionist, but I’m still recovering.

Nikki

14:45
Same, same.

Laura

14:47
I think we will be for the rest of our lives, but that’s okay.

Shannon

14:50
It’s a journey.

Laura

14:53
We have a Facebook group, the Startist Society Facebook group, and one of the things that we hear a lot from people when we ask them questions on what their challenges are and what they’re struggling with, a lot of people are trying to figure out if it’s possible to make a full time living out of being an artist or a surface designer. And money and pricing seem to be these crazy, taboo topics. And so, we want to talk a little bit about it today, because we know that that’s something that you’ve been diving into a little bit. And so first of all, what are some of the ways that people can actually get paid as a surface designer? Like, how is it possible that people could make a living doing this?

Shannon

15:36
Well, luckily, there are a lot of different ways. I think a lot of times people when they hear surface design, either think art licensing, or like POD sites like Spoonflower, and Sociey6, but there’s way more available to us than that. I kind of consider surface design when I’m teaching to be three different avenues. So the first is buyouts. And basically what that means is a company will purchase a piece of art and the copyright of that art transfers to them. So you basically have no longer have any rights to it. And because of that, you should also charge the most money for it, because you can no longer have it in your portfolio. And then number two is licensing. And again, I think people when they hear licensing, they just think of royalties. But there’s a whole other kind of market that I feel like is actually a little more common now, which is flat fee licensing. Where by royalty, you get a percentage, or a specific dollar amount, or sometimes it’s even cents, something like 25 cents per product, and you get that on like a quarterly basis as a check. Flat fee licensing, on the other hand, is where you get a one time payment upfront for whatever they’re licensing. And again, there’s so many different factors that are involved, but the duration of the license and where it’s going to be sold and what products they’re going to be putting it on. Those are probably the three most important factors.

Nikki

17:08
So the flat fee, you’re saying that’s becoming more and more the norm over royalties?

Shannon

17:16
In my in my experience over the past several years – and again, a lot of this is from being at trade shows year over year – royalties are a little bit of a harder sell. Now, I will say that certain industries still primarily do royalties, like if you can do children’s illustration, like children’s books, I’ve heard that royalties are really common there. Bolt fabrics is another one where I would say most of the time it’s royalty based, although I still actually recently have had a couple flat fee licenses directly with bolt fabric.

Nikki

17:52
So, in your experience working with both, have you found one to be more lucrative?

Shannon

17:59
To me? I love them both for different reasons. I would say it really depends on the company you’re working with, because I’ve gotten, you know, $1500, $2,000 royalty checks, and I’ve gotten $10 royalty checks.

Nikki

18:16
Right, right. It’s a gamble, you don’t really know what you’re gonna get.

Shannon

18:20
You don’t always know if it’s a good, you know, fit. And so it’s one of the things I talk about a lot in my upcoming pricing course, where there’s actually several different factors that you need to know whether a royalty is good, you can’t just go off of the percentage that a company gives you. That alone will not tell you if you’re going to make any money.

Nikki

18:40
Right. Because you have no idea how well they’re going to sell. Or also, I imagine, I believe that sometimes when somebody buys a design, it may never make it to a product.

Shannon

18:53
Yes.

Nikki

18:54
And then if you’ve done royalties, you’re kind of screwed on that. But if you’ve gotten your flat fee up front, you at least got paid for it.

Shannon

19:01
Now, I will say with royalties, specifically in that situation, I feel like there is more of an assumption amongst all parties that it will be put on products. But again, that doesn’t necessarily mean the volume is going to be there. But that is one really interesting thing that I didn’t even consider when I started surface design is how much of my art I would license or sell that would never see the light of day. And that that goes for buyouts that goes for licensing and the other avenue which is freelance work, where you work directly with companies to create art that they would then put on their products, which is another fantastic avenue. It can help even out your income a little bit, especially if you get regular clients because, what you make one month from licensing can vary widely right over the course of the year. I think when I looked into it for, I think 2019, my worst month I only made a couple hundred dollars from surface design, but then my best month I made over $8000. You know, so it can be a crazy swing. And so if you have freelance work where you know, you know, every couple of months, the same company is going to come back and want something from you, it can kind of help.

Laura

20:16
So when you talk about freelance versus a buyout, what is the difference between those two things? Because do you retain the copyright of one versus the other? Help me understand the difference?

Shannon

20:27
So buyouts? Yes, you always will lose the copyright. Freelance I would say, most of the time, you’ll lose the copyright, but not always. I have, actually, one client who I work with regularly that they do an exclusive license for a short period of time, and then after that, I could put it in my portfolio. So I think the main difference between buyouts versus freelance is buyouts is creating art that already exists. It’s art that’s already in your portfolio. Versus freelance work is when they specifically come to you and say, hey, I need three patterns for makeup bags. And you would design that for them specifically.

Nikki

21:08
Yeah. So Laura and I were talking about this, trying to understand freelance in the surface design world versus freelance in the graphic design world, because if a client comes to me, and I do a freelance job for them, it’s usually considered work for hire that immediately just belongs to them, because I’m creating what they’ve asked for. So I guess it sounds kind of surface design, like it could go either way.

Shannon

21:36
I would say, honestly, probably 90% of the time, it will work like that, right? Where it is a work for hire situation, okay. But again, every once in a while, you’ll find the exception to the rule where you can eventually add it to your portfolio.

Nikki

21:50
Nice. Nice.

Laura

21:53
So when it comes to money, and pricing, I think one of the challenges we have as beginner surface designers is when, let’s say somebody finds you on Instagram. Or they find you on your website, and they see some pattern that they love, and they approach you and they say, hey, what is your pricing? How do people even answer that question?

Nikki

22:13
Don’t you just go, “Oh, shit. Oh shit, what are my prices?”

Shannon

22:20
For the beginning designer, that is the default setting is, like the panic. And I remember feeling that probably for the first two years before I had any idea how to create a pricing guide for myself.

Nikki

22:31
So where do you start?

Shannon

22:33
So it’s interesting you ask this because I actually got a DM yesterday, in Instagram being like, Oh, my gosh, I got this inquiry from somebody, I have no idea what to do. What should I you know, what should I say? So it’s funny that I’m getting asked this again. So I always say the first thing you should do is ask if they have a budget. And I will say a lot of times, for whatever reason, companies don’t want to give up this information. I find it silly, but I honestly think it’s a bargaining tactic for them to not tell you.

Nikki

23:05
Definitely a bargaining tactic.

Shannon

23:06
But it’s always still the first thing I suggest. Because if they give you that information, it can be a really short conversation. If they come back and say, Oh, I want $50. You know, for licensing a pattern, they’re like that’s our budget. And you can just be like, No, thank you. And that way, you don’t waste your time going back and forth with somebody forever, and nothing comes of it. Yeah, so that’s step one.

Nikki

23:33
Yeah. So what happens if they say, well, we need to know what your rates are. I can’t disclose our budget or whatever, or we don’t know what our budget should be.

Shannon

23:43
Which, unfortunately, is probably going to be the case most of the time. Well, actually, we’re just, you know, trying to get a read on what you need.

Nikki

23:50
Uh, huh. I hear this all the time.

Shannon

23:53
Yeah, a lot of times, it’s also because they’re approaching multiple people at once. And so they’re trying to see sometimes who can give them the best rate. But that doesn’t mean you should under undersell yourself. I just want to put that out.

Nikki

24:08
Definitely, we agree on that one.

Shannon

24:11
So after that, what I suggest is giving a number that is higher than what you actually want to receive.

Nikki

24:23
Negotiating 101.

Shannon

24:25
Yes. Yes. So something that I teach is building price ranges for yourself in pretty much every scenario that we already talked about – buyouts, you know, freelance licensing all of that, and like using that as a guide for every client interaction you have and so I always say like, kind of start at the top of the range that you’ve built for yourself. And that way, there is a little negotiation wiggle room, because a lot of times, clients really appreciate when you’re flexible, you just can’t be too flexible.

Nikki

24:56
Right. So when you have a conversation like this, if you have taken your own advice, and you had a range and for this particular type of work, you know that you’re not going to take less than this or more than this. Do you stick to that range?

Shannon

25:09
Yes, I would say in most instances I do. There are certain companies and industries that might be you know, like exceptions. If it’s someone you are just over the moon excited to work with, you know, it’s like your dream client, it’s maybe just a touch under what you were hoping for, it might be worth it. And you know, only and determine that for yourself. But like for buyouts, for example, I personally, at this point in my career, don’t want to charge less than $1,000 for any piece in my portfolio

Laura

25:36
Right, because your name won’t be attached to it, right? Like in a buyout.

Shannon

25:39
So yeah, there’s no additional benefit other than what you’re getting paid for the arm. And at the beginning of my career, I did not charge that much. And let me tell you, there are a couple deals that I regret, because those pieces are no longer in my portfolio. They’ve never been put on products by those companies. And so there’s never that like artist oh, yay, moment when you get to see it in stores. And, you know, so it was a good learning moment where I’m like, I should have charged more.

Nikki

26:09
So let me ask you about a buyout. If it’s a buyout, and the product gets in the stores, and even though you’ve sold all rights to it, you can’t publicly say, hey, that was my design.

Shannon

26:23
It depends on the contract.

Nikki

26:24
I guess you negotiate that with somebody, you know?

Shannon

26:27
Yeah, it really depends on the contract. Because there are some companies who welcome the extra kind of boost that you could potentially give them with a little bit of marketing on your own.

Nikki

26:36
Right, especially if you have a name that people recognize they’ll want to capitalize on that.

Shannon

26:41
Right. And I mean, again, most of us don’t have, you know, the kind of crazy follower amount like Lisa Congdon would have example, right. Like she would have a lot of poll if she posts something. Of course, she would probably never sell anything outright, right? But if she did…

Nikki

26:55
…and we would all know it was hers.

Shannon

26:57
Yeah, exactly. And so you know, like, even though most of us designers you know, have smaller followings, it can still be good to have a little bit more visibility, even if it’s just a couple more customers for them, because a lot of friends and family will buy our stuff and that’s still income for them.

Nikki

27:16
And even if you have a smaller following, it may be different people that don’t know about the company

Shannon

27:22
Right, like, for example, Pyrex is one of my clients. And I have sold some pieces outright to them. And they’re wonderful to work with. And that was an instance where they were like, yeah, here, we’re gonna give you some samples. As soon as things go live on the website, you can promote away and of course, I did!

Laura

27:44
What a dream.

Shannon

27:45
It was beyond awesome. It was definitely my dream client. I didn’t meet them until my third year at Surtex. So again, it just goes to show you that it takes time. And so you have to keep at it, you know, going back to the whole giving up, don’t give up. You know, it takes years to make this stuff happens. So…

Nikki

28:01
And are they somebody who found you accidentally there? Or did you approach them?

Shannon

28:08
I honestly forget if they were on my list to email prior to the show, or not, I don’t think they were but, yeah, they showed up at the booth and we had a normal normal chat interaction like we do at trade shows, which are so fun. I call trade shows are like summer camp. Like, that’s how it feels for me, because it’s just all my friends together with awesome clients and new people. And yeah.

Laura

28:34
I hope we can have ones in person again.

Shannon

28:36
Oh I know I think it’s about a week from when Surtex would be. And I like the past couple of months, I haven’t been missing the prep. But I have been so missing the idea of getting to spend a week in New York with my accountability partner and all of our friends together. So it’s bittersweet.

Laura

28:58
So you’re a big fan of trade shows and all of that, and I know for some people starting out the money aspect can be a barrier, right? Like, they’re not sure how much it is to actually have a display or a booth there when you’re starting out.

Shannon

29:12
It really depends on the show, like surtex is probably the most expensive. But I would also say there is a lot of prestige that goes with showing at surtex because there’s a lot of those like, I don’t want to say mass market but like Target or Crate and Barrel and like all those kind of people that that are more likely to go to a show like Surtex

Nikki

29:32
The really big names.

Shannon

29:33
Yeah, then some of the smaller boutique shows, but the boutique shows totally have a place of their own. They have great clients, you know, and I will say as much as we all are kind of vying for those big juicy clients like Anthropologie, everybody wants to work with them kind of thing. There’s something to be said for the small and middle level guys, because a lot of times, they’re a lot easier to work with, and sometimes can even pay better than those larger companies.

Laura

30:00
And basically, outside of the tradeshow world, there’s still an opportunity for you if you can’t necessarily afford to pay for a booth to pitch your portfolio, right?

Laura

30:12
Yes. I love that that was how you said… Oh, for those who don’t know why we’re laughing, I actually have a course called Pitch Your Portfolio. So that was, that was very that was pretty good, Laura.

Nikki

30:25
Nice segue. I happen to have taken that class. And it’s fantastic. And for anybody who needs help in that area, I highly recommend Shannon’s Pitch Your Portfolio course.

Shannon

30:38
Thank you, Nikki. It was it was so much fun, honestly. Because you’re right, Laura, trade shows are amazing. And I have gotten a lot of great clients that way. But not everybody has the ability, and especially the year we lived in last year, and are continuing to live in right now where we can’t meet in person and virtual trade shows are good, but they’re still early user, they’re still in their infancy. So they haven’t really seen the traction that I know artists have gotten in person

Nikki

31:05
Yeah, people are still trying to figure it out.

Shannon

31:08
Yeah. And so having other ways to reach out to companies, because yes, budgets might be smaller, they might have less artwork that they’re looking for than previous years. But there are companies that still need your art. And so knowing how to find them, and then emailing them, and what do you say? And how do you follow up and all those kind of things is really important. And I know a lot of people love focusing on the art. And that’s great, because the art should be the, you know, the number one focus, especially when you’re starting out, but once you have a certain amount of artwork, you can start that process.

Nikki

31:49
And that’s why I signed up for that course of yours. Because I am guilty of… I have a huge portfolio that I have not been submitting, because when I think Okay, it’s time to market and contact people and put it all out there, I’m like, let me just draw some more instead.

Shannon

32:10
It’s a great way to procrastinate. Oh, I just need to add one more piece to my portfolio.

Nikki

32:15
Yes…

Laura

32:17
So pitching our portfolios is important, it’s a great way for us to potentially grow our income. But when it comes to income for surface designers, like when they’re starting out, what can people expect to make in like a year,

Shannon

32:31
It really depends on your level of commitment to reach out to companies and how many you reach out to and how frequently because I mean, it really is a numbers game, you know, if you’re only reaching out to a couple people a year, you’re probably not going to see much income. But if you’re really diligent on finding five or 10 companies a month and reaching out, following up every month or two, you could potentially start growing your business. I will say just starting out, year one, you probably won’t make any deals, unless you did a trade show in person or something like that, where you can get a lot of eyes on your work at once. Because emailing is a little bit more like a cold calling method, you don’t necessarily know if the people you’re contacting are going to be interested in your work.

Nikki

33:21
Or even if they’re gonna to see your email.

Shannon

33:24
Right, could go to spam, they could get busy and just put it straight in their trash or just open it and then close it and forget about it, which happens. And that’s why it’s important to follow up. Right. So I think the expectation, I think a lot of times when people you know, are taking all these classes and everything and I love all the energy that comes into the classes about building your portfolio and all that kind of stuff. But there’s this aura that you can make so much money so quickly. And it’s really honestly not true. It takes a couple of years. And I’m not just only talking for myself, because I recently did an in-depth survey at the end of 2020, asking surface designers a bunch of questions about their businesses, and especially about their income. And what we found was basically at the three year mark, is kind of when we saw a jump in income. And then we saw another big jump after 10 years.

Nikki

34:27
Interesting. Interesting. So well, first of all, we love that survey and it’s amazing that you spent the time and energy to do the survey, put those questions together put together a beautiful, beautiful report that you’re offering to people for free. And we will link in the show notes to how people can get a copy of that. But it was so so helpful. And there’s some things in there that are really encouraging and some things that are a little scary. But I’m so helpful for this community.

Shannon

35:04
I totally agree. Thank you. And honestly, the reason I did this is because I’ve been wanting to have this kind of information for our industry for the past couple years. And I know several illustration based surveys that have gone out. And I was like, why isn’t there one for our industry? And I know, you guys will both, you know, understand this. I am a math analytics nut. And I know you guys are too. And so like, the more information I have, like, the better I feel about where I can take my business. And I know that same thing can help a lot of other people. And so that’s why it was really important for me to do that. And I agree with you, Nikki, there was some stuff that was like, that’s really awesome and encouraging. And then there’s some stuff I was like, no, I was hoping for better.

Nikki

35:58
But okay, first of all, I want to say, and this is this is a great message to anyone who’s listening. Shannon, you wanted a certain kind of information that you didn’t see out there. So instead of just wondering about it, you said, well, let me get the information together and put it out there. So I mean, that’s another great example of what a great Startist you are.

Shannon

36:23
You don’t see that you feel the need. I mean, that is one of the best. Like, I feel like almost like Business 101 tenets, right is like, fill the niche.

Nikki

36:32
Yes. Yeah. So um, I don’t even know how you would begin to do something like that.

Shannon

36:39
Just start?

Nikki

36:40
Oh, yeah.

SHANNON

36:40
Honestly, just start.

Nikki

36:41
Oh yeah, I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Shannon

36:45
I don’t know, maybe one of your previous episodes.

Nikki

36:47
It’s possible. It’s possible.

Nikki

36:50
So for people who’ve read your survey, and might feel a little discouraged about some of the lower numbers, what do you have to say to that?

Shannon

36:58
Well, I mean, this is the first year we’ve done the survey, right. And the majority of people came from those who were on my newsletter list. And just over two thirds of those are hobbyists, and part time designers. So it’s not a whole representation of the industry. I mean, it can’t be, it’s the first year. So hopefully, as we do this year over year, it will grow, and we’ll get a little bit better representation. But I would also say that there’s a lot of good, even though the numbers aren’t great, and again, I agree. There’s a lot of good to be gleaned from that, like 4% of people made over $75,000. And so think of that is like, again, you know, in a couple of years, depending on where you’re at in your career, like to me think of what’s possible. I’m super competitive, especially with myself. And so it’s like, how can I be in that top 1% kind of thing? Like, if you have that same kind of feeling, it’s an easy way to be like, look what’s possible, right? There are people who are making really good money. Again, it’s usually not just from surface design, there’s multiple streams of income. Another thing that we found, which I thought was really interesting was that your current work situation had more of an impact than years of experience. So whether you were a hobbyist, part time or full time, that actually was a better indicator of what income you were going to make than how many years you’ve been doing it, which I found really interesting.

Nikki

38:35
That’s interesting. That is interesting. But also getting back to how some people might be a little disappointed by the lower numbers, I think that because you’ve been so focused on teaching, your audience is probably skewed towards beginners.

Shannon

38:52
Yes, exactly.

Nikki

38:53
That definitely influences the numbers that we’re seeing.

Shannon

38:56
Yeah, and I mean, the the, I want to say the average, I mean, don’t quote me on this, I don’t remember the exact amount, but is the full average total income was like, I think $24,000, something like that, which, you know, to a full time designer, probably seems really low. But if you’re just entering the industry, maybe not doing this full time, it’s like a side gig right now, that would be really good money. Now, granted, you probably wouldn’t make that in your first year or even a couple of years. But it is all, again, all about your mindset. You know, how you interpret the data says a lot about how you feel about income. And so one of the things I forget who says it, but whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Laura

39:44
You may have heard that from one of our podcast episodes.

Nikki

39:47
We quoted that in one of our first episodes.

Laura

39:50
I think it was Henry Ford.

Nikki

39:52
It was Henry Ford.

Shannon

39:53
Yeah, okay. I quote people all the time but rarely do I remember who actually said it. But so if you look at those numbers, and you go, well, you know, nope, I’m never gonna make any income. Like, look at this now, no one’s making money, I can’t make any money. You’re right, you won’t make any income. But if you look at this and say, okay, that’s not exactly as much as I was hoping for, but I am seeing people who are making money. And that could be me in a couple of years, that can be really, really motivating.

Nikki

40:26
Yeah, for me, I looked at it. And I saw, there’s such a wide range, that it kind of says anything’s possible. And if you have the confidence in yourself, you know that you can be one of the higher earning ones you don’t have to be on the other end.

Laura

40:44
The main thing that I remind myself is that this is, this is a long term game, this is not a short game, like we’re in it for the long haul. And it takes some courage and some consistency. But just knowing that if things in that first year, you’re not making $50,000, that’s okay, that’s like not something you should expect. But maybe in three years time, four years time, five years time, you can start building up that revenue significantly, and it just grows over time.

Shannon

41:10
Absolutely. I mean, it kind of goes back to, you know, when we were talking about failing and giving up, you know, like, it’s giving yourself the time to make a go at this. I am. So I don’t remember who was the one who told me this. But when I first got into surface design, they said, you know, it’ll take an average of three to five years to make any decent strides as far as income, and I’m so glad and so thankful that I heard that took it to heart, because then when two years in, I’m like, oh, I’m only making like $20,000, it was like, that’s okay, because I’m still in that early phase, where if I had the expectation that I was going to make a lot of money, you know, within a year, I, you know, might have considered quitting.

Laura

42:00
You’re also developing relationships with different companies and clients that could become repeat clients and help grow you down the road. So…

Shannon

42:06
And that takes years. You know, in certain situations, it took me upwards of two years of talking with a client from the first time I met them to when they finally licensed my art. So.

Laura

42:18
And I think that’s a concern. Some people have to if they reach out, and they might get a rejection, it doesn’t mean it’s a rejection forever, all the time. It could just be they don’t have room for you right now.

Shannon

42:29
Right. And I know a lot of people feel like it’s very personal when you get rejections because our art is so much a part of who we are. But I actually celebrate rejections now when I get them and someone’s like, you know, this just isn’t for us. Because I’m like, that means I’m not going to be wasting my time with them. And it leaves space for new clients and new people who do want to work with me.

Laura

42:54
That’s a great perspective. Love it.

Nikki

42:56
So another awesome thing that you just did, I think, right before that survey came out, you did a big blog post, where you broke down what, what you made in 2020 and how that split came about. And that was an amazing thing to share with people because everybody wants to know, how much money can I make? What’s involved? How do I make my money, and a lot of people are not sharing that information. So what prompted you to put yourself out there like that and share that detail of information?

Shannon

43:34
Well, it’s funny, because it’s one of the things I had wanted to do after 2019. Right, I wanted to do it the previous year. But I was embarrassed with my income the previous year. And a lot of it was because I had set a goal for myself of what I was going to make. And I didn’t hit it for the first time in like three years. And I didn’t feel ready to kind of explain the fact that I failed my goal.

Nikki

44:03
Although that would also have been a really interesting thing to read,

Shannon

44:06
It would have, yes, go back and write it

Nikki

44:09
I was gonna say maybe now that you’ve passed that, it’d be an interesting thing to see how you can go from a year where you didn’t hit your goals to having the following year where you surpassed them.

Shannon

44:21
Right? Well, actually in a recent email, I did kind of share the past four years of what my income goals were. And I did mention the like, I hit it. And it’s something I’m actually going to talk about in my Facebook group and a Live coming up. So but yeah, it was it was one of those uncomfortable things I wasn’t ready to share even though I really wanted to. And so 2020 I was like I need to do that. And especially because I don’t choose a word to guide my year, every single year, like I haven’t for several years, but after the year we all had last year, I really felt called to have a word. And so my word was fearless.

Laura

45:05
I love that. And for those who haven’t heard it yet, we just released an episode all about that about the word of the year. So..

Nikki

45:13
We just did, it was the one right before this one.

Shannon

45:15
I might have heard about that before. So yeah, my word is fearless for this year. And a lot of the way I’m interpreting that is being more visible and open about the things that a lot of us don’t talk about, and things that I too am uncomfortable with. And so, you know, like, I know, I’ve seen a lot of artists share, like the income pies on Instagram and things, which is great. But I also felt it was really important to stick an actual price, like actual number with the pie. Because just looking at a pie. Yeah, that’s great. But that means, you know, maybe someone made $5,000, or maybe someone made $200,000, we don’t know. And so to me, it was as much as it was uncomfortable to basically be like, here’s how much I made, you know, I just was like, I need to do this. And, I mean, I did actually make less from surface design in 2020, than I did in 2019. And I definitely was like, hey, guys, like, this is the truth, you know, like, not every year, you’re gonna make as much,

Nikki

46:21
But also, you put so much of your time into teaching, and sharing knowledge. And so that showed in your income.

Shannon

46:31
Yes, it did. I realized after I got out of the COVID fog, that I know, we kind of all felt in like, April, that a lot of my clients, you know, we’re responding emails, because they were still on furlough and things that were in the pipeline before the pandemic got totally nixed. And I was like, oh, my gosh, I’d set a pretty healthy income goal for myself last year. And I was like, if I’m gonna hit it, I gotta do something different. And that was honestly why I started Sketch Design Repeat. It’s something I had literally been thinking about for three years. And so, it was thanks to COVID that I actually did it. And so yeah, basically, after June, the whole rest of the year, I would say 98% of my focus was Sketch Design Repeat and teaching. And then I had a couple clients who gave me some projects in the fall and things and that was great to get a little bit of surface design still, you know, to scratch, scratch that itch. Definitely, for the most part, I was primarily focused on teaching. And it honestly, right now is the most important thing to me, because I know how, again, how much information isn’t out there, and I want to fill that gap and help other artists build their businesses.

Nikki

47:53
Well, and that that pivot that you made was super helpful to you for your income goals, but to so many people who need that knowledge. So bravo. Great way to use your word of the year.

Shannon

48:12
And I mean, from Pitch Your Portfolio, which I ran twice last year, and I know Nikki, you’re a student. I have heard from several students who not only like, obviously got the knowledge and are starting their businesses. But we’ve had several designers go on to gain representation by agents, people like one of my students who was in the fall session, literally sold three pieces during the course. And I was just like, this is why I do this. Like, this is why I want this for every artist out there.

Nikki

48:45
I got a little distracted personally with putting a podcast together and uh…

Shannon

48:51
No big deal.

Nikki

48:51
…and have to get back to the course.

Shannon

48:55
There’s actually a group that that’s decided to revisit it right now.

Nikki

49:00
I know, I saw that. And I thought about doing that. But I kind of have my own plan for it. We have another episode that we maybe have just launched when this goes live about doing challenges and doing the 100 Day Project. And I’m going to be reaching out every day for 100 days.

Shannon

49:21
Oh, I love it.

Laura

49:23
Isn’t that a great one?

Shannon

49:23
I love it. Yes. Keep me in the loop, I want to see how that goes.

Nikki

49:29
I will definitely, definitely.

Laura

49:32
So speaking of teaching and the amazing job that you’ve been doing with teaching.

Shannon

49:36
Thank you.

Laura

49:37
I heard from a little birdie that you have a pricing course coming out. Can you share a little bit more with us about that?

Shannon

49:43
I can and I do. It’s called Artful Pricing. And it launches next week actually for enrollment. Yeah, it’s it’s honestly probably my biggest passion project to date. So I actually started writing it. Last year before the pandemic event it was gonna be my next I was gonna do a pricing course as my next Skillshare class. Before this was before Sketch Design Repeat existed before Pitch Your Portfolio, all of that. And I just kept writing and adding to it and it was like, this is too big. This is too big and too in-depth for Skillshare. Like I love Skillshare. But, you know, nobody goes to Skillshare really to do like the super deep dive classes. And I’m one of those people like, I want to give you all the goods, all the information. And so I am just about done with everything. And it’s a five module course where I basically do a deep dive on all the different avenues we talked about earlier, freelance projects, licensing buyouts, how you price every single one of those and how you build your price guides.

Laura

51:00
So when somebody asks you that question, you can actually answer it.

Shannon

51:03
Yes, exactly. So anytime, like if you go through the whole class, every time you get an inquiry, you won’t have that, like, panic moment…. what do I do? You won’t have that anymore, because you can go, I’ve got a pricing guide. It still weill be nerve racking, I’m not going to say you won’t still have those like jitters being like, oh my gosh, did I price it right? I still have those to date.

Nikki

51:27
Let me tell you, that never goes away. I’ve been doing web design and development for 26 years. And I still have that feeling every time I submit a proposal.

Shannon

51:38
Yes, it’s a it’s an initial like, oh, gosh, did I do that right?

Nikki

51:42
Is it too high? Is it too low?

Shannon

51:44
Are they gonna take advantage of me? Or are they ghost me because it’s too hight? All those things will still happen. But the information that I share, it gives you a much better sense of what is industry standards and all that. Like there’s a couple of screenshots where literally I show you for buyouts and for licensing here are pieces from my portfolio, and here’s the amount I got for him.

Nikki

52:07
Nice.

Shannon

52:08
So you know, I mean, granted, that’s only one data point. I’m only one designer, but I you know, it was at least a starting place so that you can feel comfortable with what you’re pricing. Because I think one of the biggest things, especially from what we saw in the survey that we had, is we are not pricing well. We need to charge more for our work. Because I think what we found was for licensing, the average price was I think it was $332 per piece.

Nikki

52:43
That’s not nearly enough.

Shannon

52:45
No, it’s not. In buyouts, it was like $504, I think was the average. And again, like earlier, I said, I don’t like to charge less than $1,000 for buyouts. And so that’s, that’s a big jump. And so like there is so much that needs to happen. And I think one of the biggest reasons is a lot of times we guess, especially for newbies who are like, I don’t know what to do, you know, and we again, we found that in the survey, there was a lot of people who still guess. And so this is kind of a helpful way, you know, you go through the course you don’t have to guess anymore.

Nikki

53:19
Yeah, and I think people guess and especially when they’re new, they undervalue themselves.

Laura

53:25
Correct. They have imposter syndrome. You know, they don’t think that their their work is worth that much yet, because they’re starting out.

Nikki

53:32
Absolutely. And they don’t realize that by giving things up for that low, they’re devaluing the entire industry.

Shannon

53:40
Yeah, it really does hurt us, because the more people who charge low rates, the harder it is for everybody to ask for more money.

Nikki

53:47
Yeah, it’s like when people get logos designed on Fiverr for you know, 100 bucks.

Shannon

53:51
Yes. And, honestly, I mean, one of the things I like to tell people and I said this recently in an Instagram Live is, especially with the surface design industry, our art has enormous value. If you think about it, like companies who buy our art, put it on their products. And guess what, it’s the pattern, or the illustration, in most instances, that’s what sells the product.

Nikki

54:23
Right? Nobody’s going to sell a plain white pillow.

Shannon

54:28
Or they might…

Nikki

54:29
Or they might, but they’re not gonna to sell as many as with a beautiful floral pattern on it.

Shannon

54:34
Right? And I mean, obviously utility is a selling point, you know, if something is useful, that’s helpful, but for the most part, people buy something because it’s pretty, and that’s because of our art. And so, I mean, I know for a fact that we don’t charge as high prices as the general illustration industry, or you know, graphic design and everything and it’s a shame because our art has a ridiculous amount of value. And I think if most artists came from that perspective, I think it would be a little bit easier to say no to those terrible inquiries we get where they do ask for $50 for a pattern.

Nikki

55:14
Right? So in your course, which is going to help educate us all so we don’t do that anymore. Do you kind of break things down into sort of where you are in your career, where beginners should start and what you can expect a little later on in your career.

Shannon

55:33
So we don’t do kind of a deep dive on like beginner to veteran and, honestly, I think that the pricing, the guide, at least, when you build your own pricing guide, that is a very personal thing, like I can’t necessarily speak to everyone’s different situation. And so that’s why I like the guide, instead of saying a specific set number, like you have to charge this. Well, if someone lives somewhere else, where they have a lower standard of living, you know, it doesn’t cost as much to live there, they might not want to do that, or someone who lives in a really expensive city, hello, San Francisco, you’re gonna want to charge more. So that’s why it’s more of a holistic approach, where it’s like, here’s how you build your own guide. And I do obviously share my own numbers, you know, to kind of give everybody kind of a baseline. And again, I live in a very expensive area. But it’s really important that you make it that it’s personal for you. Because no one knows your situation but you.

Nikki

56:43
But I wonder also though, so I live in Paducah, Kentucky, it’s a town of 25,000 people, the cost of living is very low, which is why I moved here from Atlanta. But if I’m charging less, because my cost of living is less, how should that be taken into consideration with sort of industry standards on a whole?

Shannon

57:10
Right, so I think, just in general, I mean, we already said this, but people charge too low. And so I think part of the reason is because we’ve just kind of, like society wise, we’re just used to, especially as women, like 97% of the industry is female. When you look at it, men versus women, we have a much harder time asking for raises, and you know, higher incomes in the corporate world and everything. And that translates to artists as well. So I think that really does play a role. And so I was trying to, like the way I approach it is meeting people where they’re at and so if you are, you know, rural Kentucky, and I mean, obviously, a lot of people starting out won’t have the experience, you have Nikki, they won’t have the decades of experience to be like, I know, I should charge more. So it’s kind of meeting them where they’re at, and giving them permission to start where they’re comfortable, even if it’s lower than it should be. Yeah. But then also trying to empower them to charge more.

Nikki

58:20
Right, work your way up.

Shannon

58:21
Right. And so I mean, one of the things that I talked about, specifically regarding location inside of Artful Pricing, is, it’s actually a benefit to you guys, if you live in a place that the cost of living is cheaper, because you can likely charge much higher rates, like the same rate that I would in San Francisco, you could charge those higher rates. And guess what, it’s more bang for your buck, because most companies are, you know, kind of, at least in the US, West Coast, East Coast, where it is those mostly more expensive places. And they expect that the prices will be a little bit higher than what someone might charge in like Iowa. And so like, it’s actually a benefit, because you have a little bit more room where you’re like, I can charge more. And I get more from that because of where I live.

Nikki

59:12
I like it. I haven’t thought about it that way. So what more can you share with us about the course without giving away any deep dark secrets that we’ll get when we join the course as I’m sure we all will. But what can you tell us about? I know you said there’s five modules and a little bit about how that is broken out. What more can you tell us?

Shannon

59:34
So it’s five modules. The first one is really kind of pricing foundation. Because again, like not very many of us have positive relationships with money, right? And so it’s really important for me to kind of set the expectation of you know, like, you need to first look at how you deal with money both giving and receiving it.

Nikki

59:57
A little mindset issue

Shannon

59:58
Absolutely mindset work. I mean, I know that’s a little woo. But it is so…

Nikki

1:00:03
We talk about mindset on here.

Shannon

1:00:05
Yeah, it really is so important. And so that’s why it’s first. Like, I don’t want to do it, after you’ve gotten all the information right as, you won’t absorb the information as well, and be as empowered if you don’t do the mindset stuff first. So you know, pricing fears, and, you know, like, when I actually did the work myself, I have a much harder time receiving money than I do giving it out. Which was a wake up call for me. It’s hard for me to ask for money.

Laura

1:00:32
I’m the same way actually, I get it.

Shannon

1:00:35
Yeah. And that can really help. You know, like, when you’re negotiating with someone being like, Oh, is this me saying, you know, like, I’m resisting, because I have a hard time receiving money. But I should go with it, because I know it’s right. You know, it can be it can be really helpful. Module Two is buyouts and licensing, where I do the deep dive and the pricing guide. Module Three is freelance projects. And that is so varied, because obviously, you don’t know what you’re going to get as a project. And so the way that I have, it’s a method to kind of build out how to price or, you know, give a quote, anytime someone gives you an inquiry.

Nikki

1:01:18
Oh, and did I also see maybe a little spreadsheet about that?

Shannon

1:01:23
Actually better, better than a spreadsheet, we actually with the help of my husband, who is a big nerd…

Nikki

1:01:31
We love nerds.

Shannon

1:01:32
Yeah, I do too. We built pricing calculators, and actually we built them for buyouts, royalty licenses, flat fee licenses. And then my favorite is honestly the one for freelance projects. So someone can just, you know, put in their hourly rate, put in all the different aspects of the project and out pops what you should ask for. And that comes as part of your course, that is included as part of the course, although it’s important that you watch through those modules.

Nikki

1:02:00
Yeah, what a great bonus.

Shannon

1:02:03
Yes, I again, like I’m such a math nerd that I was like, I can include calculators.

Nikki

1:02:07
I can’t wait to get my hands on those.

Shannon

1:02:12
And then the other honestly, really, like the other biggest pain point that I’ve seen from surface designers is about contracts. Yes. And so module four is contracts and negotiation. Because I know when I first started out, there’s a lot of terms that I’m like, I’m not a lawyer, I have no freaking clue what they mean.

Nikki

1:02:29
Contracts are scary to people.

Shannon

1:02:32
They are and I mean, like, it’s it’s legalese most of the time. And so like, I break that down, and you know, like, there’s literally a video called The Basics of a Contract. Nice. And I take you through the most common clauses and what certain really like, indemnification, a long word that sounds really scary. You know, like, really isn’t, but you need to know what it means and need to know what needs to be in that clause, you know, like, things like that. And it’s, it’s awesome, because one of my beta students, her husband is a lawyer.

Nikki

1:03:07
Ooh, that was helpful, huh?

Shannon

1:03:08
Well, and it’s funny, because like, I didn’t ask for any help. Because I actually didn’t realize it until after I was in the course that her husband was a lawyer. And so she told me that there was only one little thing that he was like, Oh, I would just add this. And so I’m actually going to be adding that to the course, but with everything else hee was like, Yeah, you’re right on. And it was like that, like validation?

Nikki

1:03:27
That validation feels good.

Shannon

1:03:29
I’m not a lawyer, but yeah, I’ve actually, you know, in the, in the years of experience that I have, like, I’ve actually learned a lot.

Nikki

1:03:35
You learned a lot. That’s fantastic.

Shannon

1:03:39
So yeah, and then obviously, negotiation is really important. And I mean, we already talked about that, you know, a little bit earlier, like, always ask for more than what you actually want. So you have wiggle room? You know, invoicing the clients. When do you do that? How do you do that? All that kind of stuff. And then the last module is about long term growth, multiple streams of income is something I firmly believe in as long as you do it, right. And I mean, that’s another reason I had the 2020 income post that I wrote about myself, because I have multiple streams of income. And so I kind of walk you through, you know, how to do that responsibly as a business owner, and then certain types of work to avoid, other common situations and just kind of like a nice little wrap up for the course.

Laura

1:04:22
Sounds amazing.

Nikki

1:04:24
And it starts when?

Shannon

1:04:27
It is open for enrollment from February 1 to the 5th, andactually, I’m doing a pricing workshop directly related to the course launch. And that is, you know, free to join. Obviously, I tell you about the course at the end, but I’ll give you, you know, like lots of good insights for that. And so that happens on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. So it’s the second and the third. I love going live. So like I and Q and A’s are like my favorite thing in the world. And so we basically like I finish up and almost always I spend at least like 30-45 minutes afterwards answering questions because I just love it.

Nikki

1:05:05
Which is great.

Laura

1:05:06
So I think this is so perfect for our listeners, we’re gonna put a link in the show notes so that they can go sign up for that workshop, how amazing and learn even more about pricing, because it’s just this big, scary thing that doesn’t have to be so scary, right?

Shannon

1:05:21
Yeah, exactly. And I have three different times and dates on purpose. Because again, I love being live. And I know I hear from a lot of people who are like in Australia, or another place where a lot of my lives are, when they’re asleep, it was important for me to be able to do like ones that everybody could at least be awake one of the times, because to me, there’s magic and showing up live. You know, like I’m a big proponent of making the commitment to doing things. I mean, there are times when I’ll be like, Oh, nope, can’t do it, I have to watch the replay of workshops that I’ve been a part of. But if you can show up live, it’s amazing. And there is going to be a bonus involved specifically with Artful Pricing, if you join live.

Nikki

1:06:07
Excellent. Well, we’ll make sure to share that link with everybody. So I assume if you go to that workshop, you’re going to automatically be given the information about signing up for the full course. But we’re also going to provide people with links to just to your general website to Sketch Design Repeat. And to your industry guide.

Laura

1:06:33
Yeah, your survey that is just so amazing. I was so impressed with it when I was looking through it and so much quality information.

Nikki

1:06:42
Yes, Laura, the financial geek really, really enjoyed all those charts.

Laura

1:06:47
That means a lot.

Laura

1:06:49
For those that don’t know, I do come from a corporate finance background. So I am totally a numbers chick. When I see numbers and charts, I get really excited.

Shannon

1:06:58
Me too, and honestly, like I could have probably been an accountant if I wasn’t a designer. So like I am too and my one worry was like, am I giving everybody too much? You know, like too much detail and numbers and everything. So…

Laura

1:07:11
I dig it.

Nikki

1:07:12
The good thing is that for the people who maybe the charts are a little overwhelming, you have a nice summary of each one. Yeah. So that was really helpful. Because I’m not quite as geeky in that way as Laura is. So I was like, wait, didn’t we see this chart before? Oh, no, this is the same thing but from a different angle, let me read the summary and it was perfect, it’s the best balance of both.

Shannon

1:07:39
Thank you. It wouldn’t have been possible without my VA. She she designed the whole thing. And then I put in my analysis.

Nikki

1:07:45
Well, you guys did a great job.

Laura

1:07:48
Well, we want to thank you for being so generous with your time and your knowledge today. And we just know that the work you’re doing makes such a big difference for artists, especially those that are just getting started.

Nikki

1:08:01
Thank you so much for being here with us, Shannon.

Shannon

1:08:04
I’ve had a blast.

Nikki

1:08:05
Yeah, it’s been super fun.

Shannon

1:08:07
I could keep talking with you ladies for hours.

Laura

1:08:13
Now it’s your turn. Join us in the Startist Society Facebook group and tell us what your pricing and money mindset challenges our. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, we’d love for you to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. You can learn more about the podcast and read today’s show notes by going to startistsociety.com/shannonmcnab. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

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