Your art, whether you paint or do consulting, is worth more than you think.

How do I know? Because nobody values what they create enough.

The things we’re good at come naturally to us so we naturally make the mistake of thinking they aren’t worth money. I’m working on an idea about this very issue right now for all my artist and entrepreneur friends. In the meantime though, I didn’t want you to miss an amazing opportunity to charge more for the great stuff you create.

What’s the opportunity?

January 1st.

The changing of the year provides you a wonderful chance to raise your rates. I gave this exact advice to a writer recently who had been writing for a website for free.

I told him to email the site owner and say, “I’ve had a blast writing for you this last year and wanted to give you a heads up that with the new year I will be raising my rates. Do you have a budget for the writing I do?”

If they say no, be honest and admit the exposure you’ve been getting paid might not be worth it. Most of the time when we’re paid in exposure we don’t actually do the work of tracking to see if the exposure is real or fictional. Do you have blog traffic from that volunteer work you’re doing? Can you see other clients that have directly come via that exposure? Has your volunteer work opened up real opportunities you capitalized on not just fake someday opportunities?

If they say yes and that they do have a budget, the door is open. Talk to them about your rates.

If you don’t have many pre-existing clients, no one is going to notice you raised your fees for 2015. Just do it. (If you’ve got pre-existing clients that you grandfathered in at a low rate you don’t have to raise their fee but otherwise be brave. Also, if you have a cause you want to volunteer for, go for it. That’s a completely different dynamic.)

Don’t miss the chance to use the calendar as a great conversation starter.

Your work is more valuable than you think.

I promise.