It’s that time of the year. The month of the dreaded tax return. And I wince as I tot up the figures. They are never a huge surprise as I keep an eye on everything with spreadsheets on an ongoing basis. But seeing the final figure is always tough.
Based on averages I’m bringing in about £10,000 a year (that’s about £200 a week) combined business and PAYE before personal living and business expenses go out. Of course there’s a short fall. Hurrah for savings. I am, if nothing else, careful with my money.
My story of course is not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. The reality is that the creative industry is full of ‘freebies’ – people exchanging skills rather than being paid cash. That’s what day jobs are for and I suspect a greater portion of the creative industry is entirely sustained by work provided by the retail, food and admin sectors.
The arts are desperately over subscribed but still they keep coming, duped by the belief a degree will get them where they want to be.
To the traditional ‘you work you get paid’ generations it’s a momentously difficult concept to get your head around. Every time I have a conversation with my parents I have to breach the awkward subject of why I am not making enough money to live on. They simply don’t understand why I do anything for nothing.
My parents are reluctant internet users. The closest they get to fashion is the weekend supplement in the Telegraph magazine. And they live by the philosophy ‘you get what you pay for’ and therefore they don’t buy cheap. They buy quality.
They do not get that fashion at my level (and the behind the scenes side of the industry in general) is held together by promises and jpg images and now provides little or no income for the people involved. To them, it still looks like a glitzy occupation drowning in cash. But it isn’t.
The problem from an entirely selfish perspective (ie mine) is that if I only did shoots for money I wouldn’t be able to put up images of my work which makes it really difficult to sell things. So I guess that’s the trade off. I get photos I can use, teams get free wardrobe they can’t get anywhere else. It’s a means to an end. One day, when I am making profits, these are the people who will hear from me first.
Of course, in the world of the pay check, you’re an idiot for doing something for nothing. It’s like a never ending work experience placement. Would you flip burgers for free? But any designer will tell you that competition is fierce and comsumers shallow when it comes to acquisition.
So we press on. Because if you’re creative, that’s what you do. And if you don’t crack under the pressure, hopefully one day you’ll be one of the success stories.
For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk