[by Charles Gupton]
The most important element in any negotiation process is defining the value of what is being exchanged. Without a clear understanding of what you have to offer and its value to the person you’re communicating with, the negotiation process will quickly become frustrating.
The challenge for many commercial artists/photographers is that they are artists first while the “commercial” aspect unfortunately takes the back seat. The mindset of many artists is that it’s acceptable to be under compensated for their work, hence the description “starving artist.” And what you do is an extension of what you believe.
If you are struggling with the negotiation process, take a look at these two aspects— the value of what you offer and your relationship with money — and think about where you stand. In her book, “Overcoming Underearning,” Barbara Stanny writes: “Psychology is to money what an engine is to a car. Whenever you’re stalled, that’s the first place to look.”
Although “looking under the hood” may be disorienting and the last thing you want to do with your time, negotiation is simply a process of exchanging beliefs about value.
You can’t transfer a belief you don’t have.