on backing yourself / the story of how my client paid me almost twice what I charged her

Like most little girls who grew up “girly”, I’ve been a makeup artist my whole life.

It all started when I met my first red lipstick. It was the 90s, and my mum’s lipstick collection was entirely mauves and browns. So, when she brought home this bright red lipstick she got as a gift-with-purchase, it was like something off the TV or the pages of a magazine. For me, it was love at first sight.

These days, I like to believe I’ve moved beyond finger-blended eyeshadow (this was my go-to) and vibrant red lips applied like a lip smacker.

I got my qualification last year and made the shift from painting my own face to painting the faces of others. I really enjoy being a makeup artist. It’s fun and it’s creative.

And yet (there’s always an “and yet”, isn’t there?) I find myself really dreading doing it.

Leading up to my bookings, I can’t help but feel all “doom and misery” inside. I’m so nervous I’ll do a bad job that I just can’t look forward to it. Which doesn’t make any sense, does it? I love doing it and my clients are always super happy with the outcome.

To be fair, all those fears go away the moment my brush touches their face and I remember I’m actually good at this, people want me to do it! But it’s the lead up to the event that gets me. And then, of course, the awkwardness of charging for it.

Whenever my clients pay me in cash I awkwardly mumble “oh, thanks” and stuff it into a pocket. I behave as if I’m not running a business, and I’m embarrassed that they would even think to pay me.

Just last week I was hired to work on a photoshoot with a photographer I really like and a local musician who wanted some photo and video content for a project she’s working on. It was a really fun shoot – I was nervous, for sure, but the vibe of the team was great and we had a really good time together.

The makeup turned out brilliantly. I kept catching myself looking at her and admiring what I’d done – it was the cleanest contour and the crispest wing you ever did see. She even told me, several times, how happy she was with it. 

But when it came time to discuss payment, I completely clammed up.

(Word of advice for MUAs: if you are working on a shoot, talk money first – be clear if you expect to be paid for all the hours you stay behind or just for the initial makeover.)

I sent her an invoice for my standard one hour/one face rate (NZD$75 if you’re curious) even though I had been on the shoot with her from 8:30am until 4:00pm which is seven and a half hours work.

So, why did I rip myself off like that?

My client was over the moon with her makeup. was over the moon with her makeup. But I still felt like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t professional enough or well known or whatever, and my insecurity caused me to self-sabotage.

It was actually the client who turned around and said “I would really like to pay you more as you stayed for the whole day and you did such an amazing job! Please change the invoice to $130” (which is almost double what I initially charged her).

I was lucky to have such a wonderful client who really valued my work – most people would have been happy to accept the first invoice.

And that’s why it’s so, so important to back yourself. As a freelancer, you set your wages. It’s entirely up to you to say “I’m good at this and I deserve to get paid for it.”

But this advice applies to just about anyone, in any job. Back yourself.

Once more, for the people in the cheap seats: 

back yourself text

It’s normal to feel insecure when you’re putting yourself out there. It’s totally normal to feel like you’re not good enough to do something.

Just don’t let that run your life.

Don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you want to do. I may have needed a client to smack me in the face with it, but I am good at what I do. My promise to myself from here on out is I am going to be more confident in my abilities and believe in myself more.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 3.19.58 PM
That’s me!

So my question to you guys is, have you experienced this feeling before? What was your reminder to back yourself? Leave me a comment xx

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