First Response to Mark Zuckerberg's Testimoniy: Facebook's Problems Will Persist

Many thoughts are percolating after Mark Zuckerberg's historic first testimony yesterday before a House Committee. I'm preparing Tin Shingle's TuneUp on a Facebook Backup Plan for marketers and business owners, but below are my thoughts as first published to my own friends on Facebook, as I also prepare to scale way back on emotional moments I put into Facebook, and the photos of my family that I plan to remove:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Achilles Heel is that he thinks that data and the computing of that data can solve everything. He has a developer’s mind with a brain that works very much like a database, and that landscape is what he understands. When presented with the question today of if Facebook is a Tech company or a Publishing company, he picked Tech (I’m not even sure what “tech” means because all tech produces something outside of itself).

Facebook is a publishing company. People self-publish. There is no filter. No editor. Aside from a very few admins of groups, and still, selection is then up to their ethics and positions on censorship and filtering for good health.

Then, there are machine editors in the algorithms, and that circles back to data. Facebook is a publishing company. People publish to it largely uncensored. People become cannibals of their own minds by beating themselves up in their own minds, and beating each other up outwardly - but silently - semi-privately - on groups - or people’s pages or business pages. Facebook lets people become social cannibals, destroying each other. Even the good ones get inward and throw stones. Zuckerberg started Facebook as a place to rate people’s “hotness”. It started as a judgement zone. It remains so.

Businesses who are on to disseminate information are siphoned by Facebook and need to pay to play. But even those rules are skewed, and the people who want to see our businesses can’t when they want to. Unless they dig into Facebook settings to require that they see the information first. Same for friends and family.

I don’t see Facebook’s problems getting solved anytime soon because Zuckerberg is too database/computer driven, and not thoughtful enough. He has a responsibility as a publisher. He’s hands off, but he’s the enabler. Sheryl Sandberg is not empathetic enough to understand either. She learns with life experience, sadly, like the lesson she learned about bereavement leave when her husband passed. And Zuckerberg will too when his child gets addicted to Facebook or videos or to headlines the way all of us have. And then Zuckerberg will understand. But not until then. His choices, in the meantime, while well-meaning, are not ones I trust.

Don’t get me started on listening speakers. All I can tell you is - don’t let a talking speaker in your home. From any of them. Amazon. Facebook. Google. It’s an open listening device that can be tapped into, or more of your words sold for advertising and retargeting to market to you. Smart, machine-based marketing, but lazy marketing that trades on privacy currency. URL Shorterner Stops Serving - 2 Big Impacts for Small Businesses


Wait...what? stopped working? Stopped URL shortening?

Yes. Sort of. For Normal People. For developers and large companies, Google has Firebase Dynamic Links as the new option. Ever since March 30, 2018, you couldn't use anymore to create a shortened URL. What is a shortened URL? It's when you take a really long link, like this one:

And turn it into something that looks like this: . You would do this to share a shorter, easier link in social media or an email so that people don't get overwhelmed with looking at a really long link, and to fit with tight character (aka letter) restrictions at places like Twitter, which mandate that you write in 140 characters or less. Or they used to, and now that policy has shifted and more characters are allowed. You would also do this to get tracking data on how many people clicked on that link.

According to Google:


Starting March 30, 2018, we will be turning down support for URL shortener. From April 13, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the console. You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue Previously created links will continue to redirect to their intended destination.


Translation into Normal Person: Google will stop shortening URLs, unless you use their new API. provided analytics to show you how many people clicked on your shortened link, and that will only be available to you for a year from now - via a download of an Excel document. No longer with an easy to read webpage in a interface be available to you.

Further details were provided on's blog, where they revealed that really they are continuing to develop URL shortening technology - probably on steroids - but only for API use. API (Application Programming Interface) is basically a connection between a fancy tool like the future aka Firebase, and a website run by a business owner.

Setting up or working with an API is no easy feat and requires investment into relationships with knowledgeable programmers to get this done for you. Tin Shingle uses a few APIs for certain things. We won't for because we didn't rely on this tracking data, but here's what this means for you:

Reminder That Free 3rd Party Tools May Stop Working

When you use a mega-awesome tool for free, this comes with a risk. The risk is that the tool will stop working. Or disappear overnight. Or disappear in 1 month with a heads-up announcement before it implodes. We have seen this with other tools that just...stop working. One such was a Cloud storage service. I already forget the name, but one day, users of it got an email saying that in one month, all data would be gone because Facebook bought it, and that's a wrap. #soannoying That's when I moved to Dropbox and happily pay them to store my data. Check out these search results to see how many cloud storage companies this happened to.

Tech Companies Looking to Profit May Benefit From the End of Free, Simple

This is a mystery to me - the Unicorn tech companies who create big, beautiful things, but don't make money. Rather, they make investor infusion cash, but not actual money from their business models working. This is curious to me because the free model can obscure pricing for those companies that do provide the service, and do it based on monies they actually earn from customers, not VC or angel investors. is a URL shortening company that does charge for the service of shortening URLs, and does offer it for free. has created a beautiful website that is easy to use, as opposed to Google's (now known as Alphabet) which usually lack a beautifully designed interface because developers are kings in those parts. Not to knock a developer, but a developer focuses on data and just making sure the data is available to people, and a designer transforms that data - often cutting it out - so that a Normal Person can use it without getting overwhelmed.

Looks like many people are headed over to from, as has set up a pop-up box for it in their lower right corner of their website.'s been hard at work educating their customers and future customers with helpful marketing webinars, and other resources. Hopefully this new development of a free service being taken off the market works in their favor!

Hashtag Highlights Roundup - What The Magazines Are Using Right Now

Tin Shingle's Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet

One of our favorite groups of hashtags to highlight - the print magazines! "What Hashtags Magazines are Using Now."  Because guess what. Your photo could wind up in the pages of those magazines - just because you got your photo in front of an editor's eyes who is following that hashtag! This is one of our favorite tricks.

If you are a follower of our Hashtag Highlight blog series you probably have started a list of your own favorite hashtags. The real diggers of awesome information have dug into Tin Shingle's collection in our Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet in the The Boards section of Tin Shingle's Member Center on our website, available to members only. In this roundup, we're pulling up some of our favorite ones.

#LiveBravely - Outside Magazine

#DisruptAging - AARP The Magazine

#HowWeFun - Family Circle

#LikeABoss - Rachael Ray Everyday

#HowISummer - Food & Wine

PS: You must be logged into your Tin Shingle Member Center account to get to all of the hashtags we've curated. Membership at the Community Level 1 is required. If you're not an upgraded member, do it here!


Next TuneUp: MailChimp: Design Tips & Ideas For A Great Email Campaign

This class has been pre-recorded and will open for all to stream free at the details below:

When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28th at 12 Noon EST.
Where: The place most convenient for you. Watch at your desk or listen on the go.
Price: Free for all during the hour of open streaming.

MailChimp takes your email campaign from #Meh to WOW. In this online class, Co-founder Katie takes you behind her screen and design a campaign in front of your eyes. She will show you tricks that you can use in MailChimp that will save you time when sending newsletters.

Covered in this Webinar

  • Design elements you'll need before designing your own newsletter.
  • The biggest time and money saving trick contained in just one MailChimp button.
  • 2 ways to slice and dice a text-heavy newsletter.
  • A #truthbomb that you must face before sending another newsletter.
  • Demonstration of new design tricks that anyone can do, simply and quickly.
  • A tour of analytics in MailChimp to discover what your readers are responding to and how to improve your communication with them.

March's Member Meeting for Tin Shinglers in Beacon and the Hudson Valley


Once per month, on the last Monday of the month at 12pm, members of Tin Shingle are invited to convene at Tin Shingle's office to talk shop, marketing strategies, business growth, and connect with each other to ignite inspiration. Membership at the Community Level 1 is required. So go activate your membership if you haven't yet, and see you soon.
RSVP: Please click here to let us know if you're coming.

This month, we will discuss:

LOCATION: 291 Main St, Beacon, NY 12508
DAY: Monday March 26, 2018
TIME: 12:00 EST

Not in New York? Don't You Worry!

Tin Shingle has a live broadcast of a TuneUp class planned that will discuss backup plans to if Facebook fizzles and puts even more of a squeeze on how you reach your customers, clients and new business. Real scenarios that could happen:

  • Super Duper Targeted Marketing could be scaled back, to protect people's privacy.
  • People may tap into their privacy settings and keep your marketing efforts from "seeing" them.
  • Facebook Fatigue. It's real, and could happen. Especially with the increase of online bullying, and people being unfiltered in social media.

Sign up for that TuneUp class here to hear it by phone or online.

Next TuneUp: The Truth About Press Releases

TuneUp: "The Truth About Press Releases"

It used to be the best way to introduce or announce a brand, event, product, or service, was to create and distribute a press release. Many times, this leads to paralyzing hours of writers block behind the computer, at the drawing board, or just lost in thought trying to create a perfect masterpiece.

Times. Have. Changed. 

You no longer need to  write a press release.
But if you wanted to, you could hire Tin Shingle to write and send a press release for you!

Feel liberated! Learn about this #TruthBomb in Tin Shingle's next Online Class, "The Truth About Press Releases." We will put that secret, and the power it contains, straight into your hands so you can work at getting more press with less stress!

You Will Learn:

  • What is a Press Release? What does it look like?
  • What do they really do?
  • When should I use one?
  • What opportunities am I missing by using a press release?
  • How else would I communicate with the media?
  • Simple Strategies you should be using instead

Details on How to Stream Coming

Once this storm passes, we'll have the date and time at which this TuneUp can be streamed.

If you want to connect with Katie right now, join Tin Shingle at the Community Level, and start chatting your question in our Facebook Group.

New Editorial Calendars in Tin Shingle's PR Member Center

Tin Shingle's PR Member Center has article idea leads from over 70 magazine titlesat your fingertips. What are editors and writers looking to feature right now? Editorial Calendars from the magazines themselves give you a general idea of where magazines are in their cycles. Get insight from the following new titles added to our Editorial Calendar Collection:

  • Brides
  • Chicago 
  • Cooking Light
  • Entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneur's Startups
  • Outside
  • Oxygen


Guess what? Magazines want to feature cool things and smart people.

That means YOU.



  1. Cooking Light
    The New Icons of Summer. July 4th.
    Deadline: April 23
  2. Entrepreneur
    A Series Dedicated to Mindfulness. Sleep Challenge (for Sleep Month)
    Deadline: May 22
  3. Outside
    Perfect Summer. Best Beaches & Guide to Summer Fun, Mountain Bikes, Trail Running Shoes, Packs, Style Feature.
    Deadline: March 23rd

Grab an All-Access Pass to Tin Shingle's Membership PR Center. You'll instantly have 70 magazine titles at your fingertips, with 3-5 themes for each month. That's roughly 300 different ideas that magazines are actually looking for right now and next month.

Make your own luck!

Today's Hashtag Highlights Roundup - From Our Instagram Cheat Sheet!


Tin Shingle's Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet

Everyone keeps their own list of favorite hashtags they know are winners (right? you do, don't you?), but Tin Shingle has business members in all industries, so we keep collections of lots of great hashtags for our members to use that are available in our Member PR Center!

Plus, if you normally 'gram about one thing (dog accessories), you may use a photo that is a picture of a pet out in beautiful nature wearing your accessory, so you want to tap into the photos about beautiful nature. Or if you're a doctor who makes virtual house-calls via the phone or video connection and you're doing it from a beautiful outdoor location that day, take a picture of your office that day and reach the outdoorsy crowd. Change it up a bit and reach new people!

Therefore, we're starting a new series that highlights one hashtag, or a group of hashtags that are great to use on a given day. Today's roundup for hashtags that are great to use on Mondays are below!

PS: You must be logged into your Tin Shingle Member Center account to get to all of the hashtags we've curated. Membership at the Community Level 1 is required. If you're not an upgraded member, you can get a sampling below.





The Case of the $5 Etsy Earring and the Joy of the Sale

 Photo Credit:  Tekniska Museet

Photo Credit: Tekniska Museet

There's an epidemic in pricing in women's work that I became aware of when I first started selling accessories under my design label 15 years ago: designers of beautifully made hand-crafted jewelry were selling it for $5, thus not paying themselves to make the jewelry, and maybe not even covering the cost of the materials. My accessories were sewn, and I lacked the patience to sit at a sewing machine to make them over and over again, so I always paid someone to make them, which I then sold on the website that I built myself. Designers selling on Etsy, at that time, had such low pricing, that my products wouldn't stand a chance.

Correction: I designed the website myself, and I paid a programmer to build it because I wanted it to look just so, and I couldn't code for websites at that level. That programmer has since become my long-time programming partner when I quit my day job to design and produce websites, so paying him was always part of the equation in any client work I won or accepted. Which is how I lost jobs on price, and even had friends get offended when I quoted them a price to build their websites if they struck out in their own business. This was in the days before DIY website platforms like Squarespace or Wix. Some friends expected me to give them my work, aka not charge my usual rate, and I couldn't because I had to pay someone to build it. It was guilt that I worked through over time.

Freebies and Indentured Designers

Designers around me could build all of their own stuff. Jewelry. Jackets. Websites. So they paid no one, and didn't factor this cost into their pricing. My accessories were priced higher than everyone else's. My checkbook cover retailed at $25. My jewelry pouch with 5 pockets, 3 earring straps and 2 ring loops was $65. A woman who I sought SEO advice from when I first launched my website suggested that SEO wasn't my problem, that it was my pricing. She herself, she told me, could make that jewelry pouch herself, and saw it usually retailing for $10 on the Internet.

Lots of the website SEO (aka Google) traffic I got, actually, was for patterns to make the products I designed. I can't follow a pattern, nor can I make one, so these searchers on Google could have fun looking for the pattern that I paid a woman stitcher to develop, as I wasn't about to just post it as a PDF on my website for anyone to copy. Even though posting a free pattern PDF is a great SEO trick because so many people search for it. Instead, to attract the people looking for freebies via SEO, I designed free desktop wallpaper, which did result in a commissioned piece once by a woman who wanted an illustration of high heels and bicycles. It was a flattering assignment, and I think I charged $75 for it.

Later on, after buying advertising with a reputable blog I followed, and getting subsequent PR for the exposure, my designs began to sell.The checkbook covers, and subsequent products like my "sexy sleepmask for travel" did sell on the Internet. Turns out, SEO and pricing wasn't my problem. Getting enough of the right people to my website was the problem. People who Googled "sexy sleepmasks for travel" bought the sleepmasks, and even a celebrity found it that way and bought one for his then girlfriend who he's now married to.

"You Don't Have To Work - I Can Support Us"

During my Morning Pages for my Artist's Way journey, a phrase bubbled to the surface that my very supportive husband spoke to me when we were engaged. I remember clearly where I was standing in our apartment, next to which living room piece of furniture. He said: "You realize that you don't need to work, and that I can support us. I want you to know that."

To many people, that statement is a gift. To a person feeling trapped in their job who really wants to paint and eventually sell their art, or to write and sell their book, this statement is a major support system to help make that happen. To me, it had the opposite effect. It was spoken in love and support, but tripped a money-earning blockage wire.

At that point, I paid for my own apartment on the 9th floor of a building in New York City. I proudly paid for it by my self - $1,750/month - and all of my bills. I had an ING savings account back then, and actively logged into my IRA account to fiddle with the investment settings - and even contributed to it! I was saving, I was working, and I had a plan.

When we got married, our joint returns unexpectedly bumped us into a higher tax bracket and we owed bunches of money in taxes because the quarterly estimates that I sent in each quarter were too low. The big tax return disappeared that year. They didn't factor in our joint filing which showed a lot of income.

I'm now on a payroll for myself, so that I don't have to send in quarterly taxes, but that "salary" is a pretty silly number, and is technically "poverty level" - I was told later by a banker who was considering me for a mortgage in 2008. Turns out $12,000/year is not impressive to a bank, even when you can write off most of your small NYC apartment because you work from it. He didn't care about the gross, which was $46,000, a number I was proud of and was the same number as the salary from the job I'd quit that year.

But the net, or my "Owner's Draws," led that banker to stop returning my emails. This is why I don't barter. The bank doesn't care how many massages you got in exchange for work.

Work as Choice - "You Don't Need To Work"

So what's with that phrase? Here is the discovery. When he said that, I was pretty jolted. I loved working. When you work for yourself, you usually love what you do. Being financially independent was a top priority for me. When presented with this statement, working became a choice. I don't have to work, but I wanted to work.

When I had my first child, all of my work income plummeted. Client work became very different. I wasn't emotionally ready for childcare, and everything changed. One afternoon I sunk to the floor of my kitchen, giving up, wanting to cry (ok, I probably was crying), and was encouraged by someone trying to help to "let it go...admit what you can and cannot do." But I didn't want to give up. I had visions and wanted to make them happen. I had ideas! A silly phrase a boyfriend once thought I was cute for saying.

Fast forward to now, and I have admitted to what I cannot do, and that means hiring people to work with me. I'm not giving up, and I'm making enough to pay them. But I'm not making enough to pay myself - no matter what the gross is. It's like a sliding scale of nothing. It's weird! The problem is in the profit margin, and not in the simple act of working and earning money.

Working in Secret - A Shadow Worker

After after my second child was born, I was digging out of that stuff, and was on the road to recovery when I learned I was pregnant with my third child.  The reason I plummeted was because working became a choice. A choice I felt that I was making over my children. So I didn't want to choose it over my children, so I only did it in secret. At night. When they were sleeping during naps. In the car at Target if they fell into a car nap. I have inverters in the car so that I can plug in my computer. I don't work from the car on road trips anymore because truth be told, my husband wants to talk to me, and now that the kids are in my life, they'd like to talk to me too - and be given snacks. But I do still plan for car naps in parking lots.

Sophie's Choice - Work or Children?

In my Morning Pages, I explored the phrase "You don't need to work - I can provide for us." What happened? When I was "working," which for me was both being creative and earning money, I was choosing to not be with my family - a Sophie's Choice syndrome (for those not familiar with the heartbreaking movie/concept, see here). This explained why I did a lot of work in the bathroom while on family trips. Secret. When visiting my husband's family, prior to kids, I actually did carve out time to sit at Panera, but that was when I had a retainer with a client, and had deadlines to produce for them. It felt justified. It wasn't my work, it was client work.
PS: This is beginnings of the cobbler dilemma for service providers who don't nurture their own businesses, only those of their clients, but that's a different article.

The Need to Work

So if we had all of the money in the world, and I didn't need the money and I didn't need to "work", would I still want to leave the house and "create?" I would! I would still want to leave and buy fabric. Or leave the house and draw something. Or leave the house to - let's be honest - go to a fitness class (this is a very hard thing to do! will the children be alright? will my husband feed them or will they waste away into TV and chips on the floor? truth: they will be fine - even with chips on the floor and ants in pursuit). Or close my door and cut fabric and sew something. But, I'd still be choosing my need to create or leave the house over my family, and that felt wrong.

Sure I could sew with my daughter, but she actually wants to work the machine. My son also. So I'm not pressing the pedal of the sewing machine, I'm enabling their experience of the sewing machine, which is awesome, but I'm not actually getting to make what I want to make. I want to help them and enlighten them, but you get the picture. Sophie's Choice.

The Joy of the Sale

Leaving something to create for yourself is not wrong. What I'm discovering through my Artist's Way, is that tapping into your creativity is inherent and necessary to live a sane life. However, one may feel the need to justify it with a sale. So a necklace gets priced at $5. A logo design gets priced at $50 or $350. Just so that it can sell, and the designer (or whatever industry) can say that they sold something. And then when I give my price of $3,500 (which includes paying my designer who specializes in logos and paying my producer fee for me - but still - logos are valuable even if I were to design it and involve no one), eyeballs fall out of their heads. Unless you're getting that number from an agency who has an office and people on staff, and then it becomes $10,500 and it's called "branding."

The epidemic is in the thrill of the sale - for any number - and it brings the pricing down for entire industries because people expect to pay $5 that took hours to make, and years of experience to make it special. It's the same as China pricing. Etsy pricing is China pricing. And Etsy isn't bad! It's a great platform to find wonderful things. It's the people who are pricing their things who need to up their game.

Women (might) feel that they don't "need to work" financially so won't charge, even though they do "need to work" to stay sane, and then charge nothing for their time. Women who work for themselves, but pay themselves half or nothing, and indenturing themselves.

My revelation was that money didn't factor into my guilt for leaving the house to "work" or to go create something. I was going to feel guilty anyway. The Sophie's Choice - kids/family or work? Since money didn't matter to my level of guilt, it suddenly disappeared. Of course I'm going to work! It keeps me sane, and I want the income! I want to contribute to my IRA again! Why wouldn't we want to deposit money into savings? Why wouldn't I want to pay into the mortgage? I get so excited when I do, because it's something that is very important to my own core values.

"I Didn't Go Back to Work Because It Cost the Same as Childcare."

Right - and when you do the numbers for all of the mothers work that you do - the primary care-giving - you're making about $5,000 a month. If you die, someone's going to need to come in every morning and wake the kids up, get them dressed, take them to school (or play with them if not in school yet), run to the grocery store, pay and manage all of the bills (which isn't as simple as just paying them - you may need to chase those bills and figure them out), then get the kids again, make dinner, and put them to bed. That's if you have a commuter husband like me who leaves at dawn and comes back after bedtime.

So yeah, you need that life insurance policy! Don't let your husband tell you that all is fine if you die - he'll make it work. He'll be facing a wall of expenses that he or anyone wasn't paying you before. Just searching for the child care replacement of you will take his time. This is why I have no issue with paying myself in pedicures. Or clothing purchases. Or having a life insurance policy.

"What Do You Need an LLC for?"

This phrase was another Blurt from a Time Traveler that emerged during my Morning Pages for my Artist's Way journey ("blurts" and "time travelers" are Artist's Way phrases). When I hung my shingle, I wanted to higher a lawyer to form my LLC because I'm just not that good at following directions on how to do that. This decision was questioned by someone who loves me and didn't mean anything bad by it, but couldn't see why I would need an LLC (the reasons why are a whole 'nother need one if you're going to sell anything).

One reason why you need an LLC or SCorp is because you need a salary. You're not write-off. While it may be appealing to accountants or spouses to write off the expenses from your work ("we can write off your car!"), and keep your income low so as not to add to the joint filing, that must not feel very good to you as a person. It trains you not to want to earn more income, and trains you that your working amounts to expenses - negative.

Prior to 2010, the federal government sent out Social Security statements in the mail. It showed how much social security you were going to get based on your income. If you had a full time or W2 job, this is pretty clear. You're getting money back in social security. If you worked for yourself and never paid taxes, only hid them as expenses in your family tax returns, you're not getting any social security from your own earnings. You might not believe in Social Security anyway, but the concept is there - the monetary value not put into your work, is also monetary value not put into your future savings.

Pay thy self. You are not a write-off.

Women Are Paying Themselves Half Their Worth


Tonight I discovered that women in business for themselves are paying themselves half of their worth. Gender pay gap be damned, we're doing it to ourselves and not even realizing it. This isn't a beat-ourselves-up-post, it's a hit-ourselves-over-the-head-and-wake-up post.

The Discovery of the Self-Imposed Pay Gap

During an event hosted at our office here at Tin Shingle in Beacon, NY for a group called Hudson Valley Women in Business, I was talking to a friend who designs high-end jewelry. And her jewelry isn't cheap. It took me three years to finally pull the trigger on a pair of her earrings. While we were talking at this event, I told to her that I'm making discoveries in an Artist's Way group I'm in that she was considering joining, and I confessed to her what I discovered in my Artist's Way journey.

I have recently made a discovery that despite what I sell not being cheap, I still don't make enough to make a salary. There I said it. Business bills get paid, but that's it. And I don't know why. No matter what the business expenses are, I make them, but not much more. Why? I'm in need of a money mindset shift.

I confessed this to my friend, and in response, she admitted that while she was coming up with pricing for a workshop series she was leading for a non-profit organization, she really struggled with the pricing. Them being a non-profit and all, and her being a super do-gooder person, she grappled with a real price. She broke down the hours it took her to prepare for the class, and then to deliver the class, and realized that her hourly rate for the workshop was actually double what she thought she should be charging. She took a deep breath, submitted the rate to the prospective client, and they didn't bat an eye. "Oh sure, that price is right in line with what we pay our other people."

My friend was shocked at their acceptance of her rate, and that she almost undercharged for her time and talent by half.

Another time years ago, I moderated a small panel at Barnard College for women in business. One of the panelists was a woman who co-founded a frozen dessert company. They made this chocolate dessert and sold it in many stores, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and others. They had fleets of trucks shipping their product all over the country. They boasted that they never took a salary. None once. Why? To keep investing in their business. But why? I was stupefied.

Discovery of the Pay Discrepancy Made During The Artist's Way Journey

Last month during a Valentine making workshop, I bought (finally) a copy of The Artist's Way for $5, and committed to doing it because a friend asked for a book club around it and I accepted. I can host a book club in our office, so bring it on. It's met twice so far, and has been a really gentle, and intense experience. Love it.

The book is all about creativity as a spiritual practice, and that you can dive in and unclog. You can silence the "Censors" who tell you you can't do something. Why what you want to do is wrong or won't work. During this experience so far, I discovered (I think) that what needs unclogging for me right now is money and pricing. I've unleashed some crafting creativity in the form of furniture painting and website design, so I'm all good there. But something made me buy this book and agree to show up each week to this group of others who are showing up each week, and what has emerged for me is the money aspect. There is something wrong with how I'm earning it.

I'm Not The Cheapest Chip In Town

Never have been. Even when I sold accessories I designed and produced, I paid someone to sew them, so I built that into my pricing, and advocated that others do as well. Consulting isn't cheap either - at $175/hr, so what's the problem? Or maybe that is cheap! LOL

I'm making exactly enough to pay the business bills. That is the problem. Whatever that number is, is what I make. It's need based. There is no cushion. There is no profit margin. If the business  bills go up, the gross number goes up, but the net stays the same. That's no problem. The amount made is for the amount needed for bills at that moment. I may have issues with profit margin. It may make me uncomfortable. And that is what I need to unclog.

The Salary - Undervalued

I was approached to head up the communications effort for a large client. I don't know their budget, but let's just say that they are pretty big with a lot going on. They wanted me to put something together to create and promote their communications. To report on their business, essentially. I told them I'd need 2 writers and a designer at least, and that I'd come back with a proposal. And where do I factor into that budget, because I would not be the main writer. I would be the producer and guide of the content strategy and execution.

So I thought, Ok, if we were on staff, in their Communications Department (which they don't have), what would my own salary be? It would be $46K. How do I know? Because that's what I made at my last full time job 15 years ago. So that must be right. They'd be saving lots of money because they wouldn't pay my health insurence or any other benefits. So it's right, right?

Wrong. It's been 15 years and the work I've done to build three businesses with three websites that reach hundreds of thousands of people and has changed the lives of some, is worth something. When I was quitting my day job 15 years ago to strike out on my own as a website designer and now also a digital marketer, an editor of The Village Voice interviewed for my job. When she learned the salary, she admitted that she couldn't possibly work for a salary that low. I underestimated what I did then, at $46K, so what am I doing now? Fifteen years and a lot of experience later?

Where Do We Go From Here?

I don't know. I'm working through the money issues through The Artist's Way because I have a feeling I'm going to have to face some Censors. And then I'm going to call Galia Gichon to whip my plans into shape and take her current Accelerator program with HerCorner.

I'm embracing March Madness as getting mad about my money issues and facing them. There is no reason for this! Enough. And the change is in my hands! Our hands. We are the boss. So let's make it happen! And realize that our needs, what we "need" to earn is actually much greater, and includes Summer Camp, IRAs, cash saved for when you can't work because you go on your own family leave, and a new couch, dammit!

Photo Credit: Like this photo? It's awesome and was made available on from Ira Cvetnaya.