From Hobby to Calligraphy Business: 4 Ways to Start Getting Clients | Ciarra Rouwhorst | Skillshare

From Hobby to Calligraphy Business: 4 Ways to Start Getting Clients

Ciarra Rouwhorst, Fine Art Calligrapher & Designer

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9 Lessons (1h 16m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:02
    • 2. Am I ready

      4:34
    • 3. What Should I Offer?

      10:54
    • 4. 1: Instagram

      16:47
    • 5. 2: Networking

      6:01
    • 6. 3: Styled Shoots

      10:45
    • 7. 4: Website

      9:23
    • 8. Closing Comments

      1:25
    • 9. Bonus Video: How to Price Your Work

      15:10

About This Class

Calligraphy is such a rewarding craft, but it can also be a profitable business. What would it look like if you could spend your days doing something you love, and use that skill to support your family? I am a full-time calligrapher and designer and I want to show you how it can be done.

Most calligraphers are self-taught, and start their business without much help from others. It can be overwhelming to know where to start and where to find help. So I created this class to give you some resources and help you to start getting paid work. 


What you learn:

Will will discuss how to get your business off the ground and how to start claiming your space in the industry. You will find answers to such questions as: 

Am I ready to start a business with my calligraphy skills?

What types of services should I offer people? 

How do I get paying clients to find me? 

How should I price my work?

You will also learn the most effective ways to market your business. Such as how to use Instagram to find clients, how to find and participate in styled shoots, how to make friends in the industry, and even how to set up a professional web presence

I will be here to help you along the way and answer your questions. 

What you will do:

You will take what you learn from this class by applying it to Instagram specifically. You will create a business profile or curate the one you have. Then share it with the class. I want to see what you are doing so I can help support you further. 

I also want to know if you apply other points from the class. So if you reach out about a photo shoot or if you launch your website, I want to hear about it! It is really encouraging to others to see your progress so I encourage you to share it with the class. 

You will walk away from this class 4 steps closer to your dream job and a community to help you make it the rest of the way!

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Have you been doing calligraphy for a while as a hobby and now you're ready to take it to the next step? Are you decided to start a calligraphy business, but you're not really sure what to charge for your services? Or you've been doing calligraphy for a while and you want to expand to different services, but you're not really sure what you can offer people. Then, I think this class is for you. We're going to discuss how to start a calligraphy business, and four ways to start getting clients. I'm so excited to bring this class to you. My name is Ciarra Claire, and I'm a calligrapher, and artists based out of Northern Michigan, and I've run my company for about three years now, and I'm just super excited to share with you some of my secrets for running a calligraphy business. I know it can be a little daunting. Don't worry, we're going to answer lots of your questions. Jump right in and watch the next video, all about whether or not you're ready to start a business. 2. Am I ready: Let's discuss some of the first questions that often comes up when it comes to starting in calligraphy business. Can you guess what it is? When am I ready to do it? You know, you're all excited. Maybe you've been doing this as a hobby for awhile, maybe you've done a couple of free jobs for friends and you're trying to figure out, how do I know when I'm ready to make it a business? Well, that's a great question. I'm going to give you a couple of pointers that I think can be really helpful to you. First of all, if you're already sharing your work, maybe on Instagram or Facebook or something and a couple of people have asked you what you charge to do something or they might be interested in having you do something. That's a really great indicator that you're ready to start charging. The reason for that is that you're already offering a service that they can't provide for themselves. Someone else sees the value in what you're offering, and therefore you should be compensated for the work that it takes to make that happen for them. Another reason is because, apparently to them your work is looking pretty professional and they're willing to pay for it. You should not say no. But that's just one indicator that you can use. Obviously, that doesn't count if you're not already sharing your work online because if no one sees it or knows that you're offering it, then they can't offer to pay you for it. Another thing that I think is really important to consider is your consistency. When it comes to offering calligraphy services in a professional capacity, you really need to make sure that you're able to fulfill what you're offering to the client. Let's take envelope addressing as an example. Envelope addressing, as I say later on, it forms the backbone of many calligraphy businesses. It's a really common service and it's something that you'll be asked to do often if you do weeding calligraphy. You want to make sure that when you start out a job, you give them a sample envelope to show them what the style of calligraphy looks like that they've chosen. You want to make sure that after you've done a 100 envelopes, they all look the same. Now they don't need to be perfect. Obviously, envelopes will vary in size as far as the length of addresses and so forth and maybe not every letter form is going to be exactly the same. However, they do all need to look like they're made in the same style. All the envelopes need to look like they belong to the same little family in a way. They don't need to necessarily be absolutely perfect, but they really need to show that you have a consistent style in lettering. Style can change a lot. You can offer a variety of different styles. If you look online, even just briefly, you'll see that there are so many different styles of calligraphy that you can do. There's really wild and organic calligraphy. There's really refined and technical calligraphy. You just want to make sure that whatever it is you're offering your client, you can be consistent from beginning to end. Now that also can go for other types of calligraphy jobs. If you're doing logo designing, you need to make sure that if they're asking for something that's really wild and organic, that you can do that. Or if they're asking for something that's really classic or a copper plate that you can do that too. You need to really take an honest look at your own skills and see, can I do this? Can I offer something that's going to be consistent? Do I have enough experience to know that I can do that? There's a couple of really great things that you can do to gain experience or to test your skills. One of those things is a really wonderful class here on Skillshare by Bryn Chernoff. I'll put a link to it in the class notes. But it's actually a class all about envelope addressing. It is so beneficial. She even gives you a class project with fake addresses. If you haven't done this project, yeah, I really highly recommend it. It will give you a really great grasp on how to complete a project from beginning to end. But it's also really got great test to see where your skills are at. If you do this test or you take this class and you realize maybe I need a little bit more work, that's totally okay. Go back to your drills, practice some more, and then try again in a couple weeks. I say once you're comfortable with a project like that, then you're probably going to do a really great job with client projects as well. 3. What Should I Offer?: At this point you're thinking, I'm ready to go. I've been doing this as a hobby for awhile, I'm getting pretty good at it. I think I can sell some things, but how do I make money? How do I make money from calligraphy? Or in other words, what services and products can I offer to keep ball to make an income? The good news is, there are a lot like, there are a lot of different things that you can do with calligraphy to make an income. We're only going to talk about a handful here basically the majority of the calligraphy industry. But there are always exceptions and there are always different things that you can do if you're just creative and resourceful, there's so many things that you can do. But we're going to talk about the main things that you're going to see people doing for a calligraphy business. The very first one, which is one of my personal favorites, is the wedding industry and wedding calligraphy and this is really just calligraphy-only services. It's not designing invitations, it's just doing calligraphy. We're talking about things like addressing envelopes, place cards. Those are the two really the biggest one. Sometimes that has to do with like wedding signage, seating charts, welcome signs, wood signs. But really, by far the biggest thing is envelope addressing. For most calligraphers, envelope addressing really forms the backbone of your business. It's going to be your biggest source of income and your most consistent source of income. You'll be doing anywhere from 25 envelopes to 250 envelopes, sometimes inner and outer envelopes. Then also like the day of goods, place cards, a scorecard, that thing. This is really great because the wedding industry is just a really wonderful place to work. There's a lot of really awesome vendors that you'll meet and work with and it's really special to work with couples too. But I also really recommend offering these calligraphy only services when you're starting out, because it's just a really, really great starting point and here's why. It doesn't require much investment for you to start a calligraphy business if you're just doing services like this. The reason being that the client usually provides the paper so you don't have the expense of the envelope, place cards. All you really, really need, if you're going to do it bare-bones, is your calligraphy pen, an ink, and names. That's about it. Probably a ruler. But really the investment initially is very low. I mean, yes, there are definitely differently tools and things that you can buy and expand your calligraphy arsenal. But if you're trying to start a calligraphy business on a budget, this is really the way to go. Then this can expand into other things over time. If you want to get into the stationery design world, then I think calligraphy is the perfect gateway for that and it can also just give you experience in a lot of different things. But because people are constantly getting married year round, I mean, there's definitely a wedding season, but envelope addressing can usually give you fairly consistent work and then you can take that income to help build out some of the different parts of your business. One of the other things that you can do is logo design. Logo design is really fun because you get to work with a really different clientele than you do with weddings. Instead of working with brides, you working with other creatives. You get to learn about their businesses and why they love what they do, who their target market is. All those fun nerdy business things and then turn that into a logo that's going to work for their business. Logo design does have a couple of different requirements for you. You'll need a little bit and knowledge when it comes to branding and marketing, and also some graphic design experience and with that also comes the graphic design software. It's generally recommended that you will be using Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. You can try out both of those programs for free for 30 days and there are some really great sculpture classes too, for learning how to do logo design and graphic design. I highly recommend those if you think you're interested in that. It requires just a little bit more investment because you'll need some graphic design software and a computer. But other than that, it's still pretty budget friendly if you want to get into the logo design business and it's really fun too. Another aspect of calligraphy that you can use for your business is doing one of a kind artwork. I'm talking about things like thou transcriptions or love letter transcriptions. Or one of a kind art that has someone's quote that they want or a poem or something like that. These can be really special pieces. Sometimes they're a little bit more time consuming, especially with vowels because you're usually working at a larger scale than you are with other pieces and it can require a little bit of patience and time to lay everything out properly. Patience and time as you're writing everything because you want to go slow, because you don't want to make any mistakes. But those can be really special gifts and heirlooms for people and also really fun projects to work on. Now, last we're going to talk about products. Another thing that you can offer are things like art prints, greeting cards, even invitations, things like that. I generally recommend that this is one of the last things that you're going to start offering after you've tried out some of the others and there's a couple of reasons for that. The biggest reason is that offering products generally will require a little bit more of an investment up front because you'll be having prints printed by your printer or you'll be ordering products online and then you'll be selling them yourself from your website or from Etsy. This requires a little bit more money to buy those things and then you're not necessarily guaranteed an income from them. You have to wait until they're sold. Sometimes things don't sell quite as well as you had hoped. I think it's really great to start that once you have a little bit of a buffer or more margin in your business, essentially after you've been making some income from other projects so that you can fund your product line. Because I don't really recommend necessarily going into debt for something like this, I think it would be much better to just start working with custom projects and then branch into products if it's something that you're interested in. The nice thing about custom projects like envelope addressing or vows, is you know that that money is guaranteed in a way, you're getting a deposit, they're paying for something that you're offering. So you know that you're making an income from that right away. Whereas products are really more of a long-term business investment. They're absolutely wonderful, but they're probably something that you're going to want to do a little bit more down the road. Now one more thing that I just want to clarify when it comes to products and art prints. Because sometimes it's a little confusing if you're looking at Etsy or sometimes people's online shops, it can be really confusing because it looks like art prints and original art are the same thing and it's really difficult to tell the difference and sometimes they're even priced the same. I want you to be really careful of this because there is definitely a difference. Take for example, someone commissions you to do a classic poem. You're going to write this classic poem on paper for them and send them the original piece of artwork with your ink on the paper. Now that's pretty time consuming, but it's beautiful and you get paid for it. Now that becomes an art print if you take the original artwork that you did, the calligraphy that you wrote on the paper, and then you scan it, you digitize it and you prepare it for print, and then you print copies from it. If you're printing copies from it, you're not necessarily going to be charging the same as you would if it was an original piece of art. Now, the original piece of art, maybe it took you an hour to complete, while the other art prints, maybe it took you that hour plus 30 seconds per print or whatever it is. But you're able to sell multiples of them. Obviously, prints would be priced lower than original pieces of art. Sometimes I see people putting things up for sale in Etsy shops and so forth that are actually originals, but then selling them for the price of an art print. You want to be really careful of that because it's going to be really difficult for you to make an income if you're literally writing things all day, but then selling them at the price of a print. That's just something to be aware of the difference. We talked about the wedding industry and calligraphy-only wedding services, logo design, vows, and original pieces of artwork, commissioned artwork for people and then products and prints and things like that. All of them are super fun. My advice to you would be to get your feet wet in as many of these different services and products as you can, because you just never know what's going to be a great fit for you. You might start out thinking that you're going to love doing envelope addressing, but then you realize you really don't like writing a 100 envelopes in a row and you would much rather do logo design. Or maybe you really love that heirloom aspect of creating one of a kind artwork for people. Or maybe you would rather do prints or wedding invitations that you can just print and then be done. It's really hard to know until you try them. A lot of times in the beginning of your business, you have a little bit more margin as far as time goes because you're not booked up fully, your schedule's likely not full with bunch of clients lining up, tire you right away, you have a little bit more wiggle room. Maybe you're working full time and then you're starting this business on the side. You're making things in the evenings or weekends and I just say take advantage of that time to try as many different things as you can. Then you'll start to see what might be a really good fit for you and maybe a niche for your business that other people aren't doing or just fall in love with a certain aspect of calligraphy and then you can focus your business around that. But I don't think there's any hurry when you're in the beginning to focus on anything too soon. I think it's fun to try as many things as you want and then you can narrow your focus down the road. 4. 1: Instagram: So far we've discussed several things to get you started. Whether or not you're ready to start, how to price your work as a calligrapher and also what kind of things, services and products you can offer as a calligrapher. The next thing that we're going to discuss is a question that I get asked pretty often and that is, how did you get your first client? That weren't family or friends, that paid you full price and that got your business going. We're going to discuss four ways you can build your business and get clients. The first one I'm pretty excited about and that is using Instagram for your calligraphy business. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the ability to use Instagram for my business. It has done so much for me and I'll get into that a little bit later but first let's talk about why you should be using Instagram for your business. In the world that we live in people are very connected to their devices, everything is digital, and people use Instagram on a daily basis. It's really important to show your work there because that's where you can connect with not only potential clients but other vendors. Also, many of the clients who are interested in calligraphy services are very visual. They want their wedding to be beautiful and so Instagram is great because they get a lot of visual content. People start collecting inspiration from Instagram and will actually look for their vendors on the platform. It's a really great place for you to be as a calligrapher. Now, it can be really overwhelming when you're first starting out with all of the different social media outlets that you can use. When I first started my business I opened a Facebook account, I didn't even have one before. I started a Twitter account, YouTube account and I was already using Instagram. I got super overwhelmed because people will give you all of this advice about showing up consistently and sharing different content on all of these platforms. It's just really overwhelming and also not really reasonable for most people, especially if you already are working full time or have another job and you're trying to start your calligraphy thing on this side. Someone gave me really great advice and I'm going to share that with you and that is, don't feel like you have to do everything. It's better to do one thing and to do it well. For me that one thing was Instagram, I already had an account, I was using it for friends and family. I knew how it worked and I focused most of my energy on that. Because of that, I get the majority of my work from Instagram directly, either from clients who found me organically through Instagram or through wedding planners that I connected with through Instagram. Instagram this year I attribute about $70,000 of booked projects from people who found me directly from Instagram. That is a huge portion of my business. If it wasn't for Instagram I really don't think that my business would be where it is today and so I can't overstate how important that can be for you and your business. Another question that I see people ask often is whether or not you should start posting your work on your personal account or get a separate account for your calligraphy business. I'll tell you right away that the answer is different for everyone. I've seen it done multiple ways and everyone has their reasons but I'm going to tell you what I think is the best method for a calligraphy business and it's a little bit of both. When you're first starting out I think it's totally okay to start posting your work on your personal account and there's a few reasons. First of all, your personal account likely, unless you're an Instagram influencer or something, is going to be pretty small. You're not going to have thousands of followers, it's going to be mostly your friends and family and people who really care about you and are excited about what you're doing. If you're nervous about sharing your work online, I think you should definitely start sharing it on your personal account because it gives you a chance to get your feet wet. Then your community that's already on there are like your cheerleaders. They can give you a lot of encouragement and it can just help you to build that momentum and being more comfortable in sharing your work. However, eventually I do think that you should open a separate Instagram account for your business. This class is all about taking your calligraphy hobby from a hobby to a business. Whether that's a side hustle or a full-time business that's totally up to you, but we're taking it from a hobby to a business so you need to treat it like a business and I think that starting a separate Instagram account is a great way to do that because you're starting to treat it seriously like this is a real thing. You're really doing it and you're sharing your work in a professional way. I think it's really important for you as a creative to take that step in your business. Another reason I think it's really great is because Instagram can serve as a portfolio for you and we're going to talk about that a little bit later and how to maximize that but just keep in mind that people are looking at your work on Instagram. They're going to look at your feed and they're going to get an idea of what you do, what your work looks like, and whether or not they want to hire you. It's really important to start sharing your work there. If you don't have a separate account, it can be confusing for people. What exactly you're offering or what kind of content they can expect from you in the future if they do follow you. Also, you're going to want your Instagram handle to match your business name. That may sound a little overboard right now if you don't even have a business name and that is totally okay. The thing that's nice about Instagram is that you can change your business name down the road and it doesn't affect anything. It'll update your tags and other pictures and so forth. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to settle on like a final business name right now because you can always change it down the road, just know that eventually you're going to want your business name to match your Instagram handle because it'll make it easier for people to find you and to hire you, that's really important. This is how important I think Instagram is for starting a calligraphy business. This is actually the class project. Our class project is to start a separate Instagram account for your business. If you've already done that, we have some more tips that you can implement to make your Instagram account work for you but that's definitely the first step. If you haven't done it already, open a separate Instagram account for your business and I'll talk about some different steps that we can go through to make it work for you. The second step is, if you've already done that, to use some of the tips that we're going to talk about in this class to curate your feed and make sure that you're getting your message across to your potential clients. You're going to post a link in the class project, to your Instagram account. This is really important because I really want to see what you're doing and I want to be available to give you any advice that you may need on setting this up and making sure that you're setting up your feed properly. Also, bonus points if you follow someone else's class project. I think it's really important to start building a community right away with people who are at a similar place in their business as you, because you can grow together. You have similar challenges that you can talk about and similar goals and accomplishments, and you can be calligraphy buddies along the road. I think that's really important to start doing right away. I really encourage you to check out the class projects, and follow some of your classmates so that you can grow together in the future. Now, let's talk about actually setting up your Instagram account. First and foremost, when you're setting up your separate account for your business, it's really important to make sure that your profile is public. Whether or not you decide to set it up in the settings as a business account or a personal account, that's totally up to you, but business accounts do have really great analytics that you can look at to see what images are getting the most engagement and things like that that can help you in the future to curate. Some people are apprehensive about switching over to a business account, because they think that things are different with the algorithm and so forth, so that's totally up to you. I wouldn't overthink that part too much, but do make sure that your profile is set to public, because you want people to be able to find you. Next, let's talk about your actual Instagram profile and how you're setting all of that up. First of all, you'll need an image for your profile. Now, you may have a logo already, that's awesome. You can totally use your logo. But I also really recommend using a picture of yourself. If it's just a well-lit picture of you smiling, I think that goes a really long way. I wouldn't recommend necessarily using a wedding picture. I know a lot of people do that, but I think it can be a little confusing again because this isn't a personal wedding blog or anything like that. You're representing yourself as a calligrapher, so try to make your picture look as professional as you can, but at the same time, don't put too much pressure on yourself. You don't need a professional picture. You just need something that the clients can see and they can get to know you and start to trust you a little bit. I think that's really important. I mentioned that several times in this course, but you really want to start building trust with people, especially online. One of the ways that you can do that is by sharing a picture of yourself so that they can see who's behind the account, who they're following and start to build that relationship with you as a person. Next, we're going to look at your bio. The bio is pretty short, it's only, maybe two or three sentences. You want to make sure that you are coming across clearly and concisely in your Instagram bio. It's great to include some personal information on, maybe something you like to do or something about yourself, but make sure that you're also including what your business is and what you're offering. I think this can get overlooked sometimes and people are just trying to be witty or funny, how many people like them, but if people can't tell what you do, then it defeats the purpose of having the account or having the bio there to begin with. Make sure that you are sharing, what you're offering people, what you do. Also make sure that you include some contact links, and we'll talk about this a little bit later in the class about building a website but make sure that there's a way for people to contact you. If you don't have a website yet, that's totally fine. Maybe you can put an email address in there. If you don't have a professional email address yet, you could just even create a new free email with Gmail or something else that has your business name at Gmail. That's a great first step in the right direction, but you want to make sure that if people are looking at your Instagram account, they know how they can book you for your services. That's really important, so make sure that you have some contact info in there. Now let's talk about what you're actually going to post to your account. I know this can get a little overwhelming, but bear with me, it'll be fine. When it comes to your Instagram feed, you really want to make sure that it looks like a portfolio. You want to share the kind of work that you want to create for people. That's really important. If you have a project that you've done for someone but you really didn't enjoy the type of project, I don't recommend posting it to your Instagram account because people will hire you for what they see. For example, if you do word signs for a wedding and you come to find out that you really don't like working with word signs then don't show them. If you really love envelope addressing, but you haven't gone very many jobs for them, show envelope addressing, write some pretty envelopes, put some cute stamps on there, take a couple of iPhone pictures and post that because that's what you want to be doing. With that in mind, it's okay to make some personal pictures in with your Instagram feed, but just make sure that the majority of the images that you're showing are your actual work and the work that you want to be doing. It can get confusing for people again, if there's too many personal pictures because they're not really sure, if it's a personal account, business account, what it is you're offering, what services you do. Make sure that that comes across really clearly in your Instagram feed. Bonus points, if your feed looks pretty. I know this may seem silly and it really should only matter what the content is, but people are attracted to beautiful Instagram feeds. If you can try and make your feed cohesive, maybe choose like a certain color palette or edit all of your photos in the same way, even within the Instagram app, upping the brightness or decreasing shadows or contrast or whatever it is that you want to do. You can edit photos within Instagram. Just try to keep your settings similar so that all of the pictures look like they're edited in the same way, or maybe share all of the envelopes that you share in screen have the same background. Just little things like that you can try to make it look like they all belong in the same portfolio and they tell the same story. Don't get overwhelmed with this because this is definitely, like I said, bonus points. You don't need to do this in order to run a successful calligraphy business, or to grow your following on Instagram. But it's just something that I do recommend if you're already comfortable with sharing your work. Take a look at your feed and archive pictures that you don't think belong and try to make it look attractive to potential clients. One last note about using Instagram for your business. Whenever you're using social media for your business, it's really important to use it as it was intended to be used by people. Why are people on Instagram? They're on Instagram to connect with their friends, share pictures, and find inspiration. It's really important that you are doing that when you're on the platform, you are sharing inspiration, maybe sharing helpful tips with people and offering them content, as well as making relationships with people. It's really important that you not only share content, but also reach out and try to make friends with people. Definitely reach out to people in your local wedding industry through Instagram, follow them, comment on their pictures, and don't ask for anything in return. I think it's really good Instagram etiquette, not to ask people to follow you. That happens often, but how many times has someone asked you to follow them and you actually do it? A lot of times it starts the relationship off, unlike an achy footing, so I don't recommend it. Instead, follow the people that you want to work with, and that are working on the weddings that you want to be a part of and then be supportive to them. Maybe if they post something about your local area, you could comment on something specific like, "Oh yeah, I love that coffee shop," or something so that they know that your local and that you're interested in their business, and that you're being personal and not just like looking for followers or looking for work. I think it's really important to try to actually start building relationships with people on Instagram, especially in your own wedding industry, instead of just looking for followers and trying to build a following. The same goes for fellow calligraphers. I think it's really important to start finding people that are in a similar place with their business and in the industry as you are, and to grow with them and support them as you grow. It's really important because when you're a calligrapher, often times you're pretty isolated. You're working by yourself, maybe in your home and you don't work in the same environment that you do if you're in an office or in a corporate job. It's important to start building a network of peers really. The reason is sometimes you'll be dealing with very similar challenges in your business, if you're at similar levels in your business or similar experience. You'll also have similar goals and similar accomplishments so you can be each other's cheerleaders, or you can answer each other's questions, or just be a listening ear. I think that's really important, which is another reason why I'm so excited about the class project for this course so make sure that you share your Instagram account with us in your class project, and we'll be sure to follow along and support you in your endeavors. Next up we're going to be talking about networking. 5. 2: Networking: Now we're going to talk about networking. I know you're probably super excited about this class. I think networking for a lot of people can feel like a key, like you're just doing it for your own benefit or if you're introverted like me, it can be scary. But it really doesn't have to be and there are some really great ways that you can do it. I think it's really important not to underestimate how much you need a community in this type of business, because likely you're going to be working by yourself all the time. You don't really have teammate that you can bounce ideas off or they can tell you that, "You're not crazy and you are really good at what you do and don't feel bad about yourself." Just things like that you really can use other people for. The first way that I network is Instagram. Building off is the last chapter in this class, I think it's really important to start building those relationships on Instagram and we talked about it a little bit already. But we talked mainly about building relationship with peers and now we're going to talk about building relationship with other vendors in the industry itself. It's really important to figure out what your local wedding industry is like if you want to be in the wedding industry. Planners are super important because planners are usually connected with brides before we are and they can refer work to us, but also they're really amazing to work with. All of the planners that I've worked with have just been really wonderful people and really great resources in the industry for me, to bounce ideas off or things like that, so really important. I think it's also important to emphasize that this really needs to be like a give and take relationship with people. You don't want to ask someone for coffee or ask someone to coffee and offered to buy them coffee and then ask them for a favor or spouse, someone at Instagram and then ask them to follow you back, or anything like that. You want to be able to just give to people and not expect anything back, because that's really the best way to go about building friendships and relationships. When it comes to networking, I think it's really helpful to think about it more as making friends than building a network. Just try to build relationships with people, trying to get to know people and offer your support to them. Another great way is just by asking someone that if you can buy them a cup of coffee. I know a few people have done that with me and I've really appreciated it and I've only done that a couple times because I'm pretty shy. But it is really nice to get to know in person and not just online. I think it makes a really big difference in the long run if you can build personal relationships with people, especially in the beginning because you don't have a rapport with people in your area. You haven't been working on weddings with them for years, so it's important that you try to get to know them. Another great way for you to do some local networking is with wedding shows. Now, wedding shows can be a little tricky. I don't think that their are necessary for you to build your business, but they can be beneficial in some ways. I think if you are just starting out and you want to make sure that people know that you're there and that you're offering calligraphy, it's really nice to do one or two local wedding shows, because it shows that you're taking your business seriously. It even helps you as a calligrapher. At least it did me when I did my first wedding shows it was like, "Well I have to tell people I'm a calligrapher now I guess I'm really doing it." It's like you're proving it to yourself. Now, I don't think that wedding shows are an amazing place to get clients. There's a few reasons for that, but at least in my experience, I've been able to get some work from a wedding show, but it's usually only been enough for me to cover the cost of the show itself. However, I do think it's been really beneficial for me in building relationships with other vendors, photographers, planners, things like that. It gives you an opportunity to talk to them and I think that's sometimes just as important as it is to talk to the clients themselves. Really definitely take advantage of that if you think it's something that you'd be interested in. One more thing that we're going to talk about and that is styled shoots. Now, you might not know what that is, or maybe you've heard about them, but you don't really understand how they work, or if you should do them or why you should do them. We're going to talk about that in the next chapter, because we're going to have a whole class all about styled shoots. But just to touch on it here, styled shoots are a really great way to network. They are really great way to build a community because you're working with other vendors, sometimes locally, sometimes abroad. But you're working on projects together, you're using your creativity, it's mutually beneficial, you both benefit from the outcome and helps you to get to know each other better. I think this has been especially true with me working with wedding planners, because it gives wedding planners an opportunity to get to know you, get to see more of what you can offer. See what it's like to work with you and build that trust and then I think they are more likely to refer you to clients as well or want to work with you with their clients. Style shoots are a really great way to start working with more people and expanding your network. Another great benefit about doing styled shoots as a calligrapher, is that you can actually work on shoots that aren't even in your hometown because you can mail your paper goods anywhere. It's really nice because you can start building relationships with people that aren't even in your same state, and you can work on projects that are really fun and it's just a really, I think all around really positive things. In the next chapter we'll talk more about that. 6. 3: Styled Shoots: In this section we are going to be talking about styled shoots, and I'm so excited. Because this is something that before I got into the wedding industry, I had no idea that these even existed, and this is something that a lot of people have questions about and so I'm really excited to talk to you about it today. Let's get into it. We are going to discuss what styled shoots are, how you can get the most out of it, and how you can get involved. First of all, what are styled shoots? You might hear them called different things, maybe a stylized shoot or an editorial shoot. But it's really just a photo shoot that's put together by vendors. They might get a model and someone might make a cake, and you might do a calligraphy and there's a photographer and maybe a planner or a stylist. You basically put it together as if it were a real wedding or a real inspiration shoot and you do a photo shoot. Then everyone who contributed to the shoot gets all of the images that they can use on their website, social media, and then you want to be really considerate and tag all the other vendors that were involved so that you can help to cross promote each other. The other thing that's really great about styled shoots is that, these are often what is sent to publications for release. You know all those beautiful blogs, [inaudible] pretty and features in Magnolia rouge magazine and all of these different publications. Sometimes they're real weddings, but sometimes they're styled shoots. It's a great way if you're trying to elevate your brand, and maybe you want to charge a little bit more or you want a little bit more recognition for your brand. Getting published is a really nice way of doing that, it gives you a little bit of a part on the back, it gives you a little bit more reliability among other vendors or to clients, and it's just a really great thing for your business. Now, how can you make the most out of these collaborations? I think that's a really great question. First of all, there are some things to keep in mind. One of the most common questions that I see people asking is, do I get paid for a styled shoot? The answer is generally no. No one gets paid for a styled shoot, everyone is contributing for free and everyone is getting something back for free. With that in mind, every once in a while, maybe someone wants something that they need in two days and you're going to have to overnight it to them. Or maybe it would be considerate of them to pay for the overnight shipping on that since they're the one that got to last minute and that's totally acceptable. Maybe for materials or something like that. But in general, no one is going to pay for the stationary goods for a styled shoot, generally, there's always exceptions. I think it's really helpful to keep in mind that we as calligraphers or even a stationers, our investment is really minimal. I mean, we can use envelopes that are left over from other jobs, ink we already have if we really want to. Whereas, florists and photographers are likely spending hundreds of $ on their materials for these shoots. We shouldn't feel really grateful that we don't have to spend that much to be able to contribute to things like this, and just be really happy that we get pictures back and get to be part of it and everything. I think it's important to have gratitude for projects like this for sure. Another thing to keep in mind is that nothing is really guaranteed. You don't know 100 percent if you're going to get really good pictures back, you just don't know. Oftentimes you're not even there a lot of times because you're a calligrapher, you can send stuff to photo shoots in different states or different cities. You're not going to be there to style the paper goods. You don't know if the stationary might be styled on the grass and you don't like the background and you can't use the picture. Every once in a while you might get photos like that back and you just don't really like them, and that's just a risk that you have to be willing to take. But at the same time, oftentimes you get really great pictures back that you get to use on your portfolio, on your website, on Instagram. I can tell you how much I appreciate that, because I am a professional calligrapher and a professional artist, I am not a photographer and I am pretty bad at taking pictures, I really struggle at taking pictures of my own work. I really rely on pictures from photographers, either from real weddings or from styled shoots to help me to elevate my branding and show people the kind of work that I want to be doing. These types of collaborations are just really beneficial and they can really help you to grow your business in multiple ways. We already talked about the networking aspect, but then also networking through Instagram and being able to tag people and be tagged by people, as well as show what kind of work that you want to make, and then the possibility of publications, it really all around mix these types of collaborations. I think really beneficial to calligraphy businesses. There's one other thing that I think we need to keep in mind when it comes to making the most out of these styled shoots. Now, we need to keep in mind that the end result, the very end result of these pictures is that someone will hire us. They're going to see the picture and they're going to say, " OMG that envelope is so pretty, I need that for my wedding, I need to hire her." Keep that in mind when you're creating things for styled shoots. I know that when I first started out, I totally fell into this trap of just making sure everything was really beautiful. I had so much fun creating all of these really cool things like hand painting, the handmade paper, and hand drawing illustrations and things on envelopes and stuff like that. But you do need to keep in mind that if a client sees this, a potential client sees your work and wants it, that you can give it to them or you know how to give it to them. I think sometimes we can get a little carried away with some of these creative projects and not really necessarily think about like the practicality of it. But let's take envelope calligraphy as an example. Let's say you did this really beautiful envelope calligraphy for a photo shoot, and you hand-drew these really beautiful botanical illustrations around the addresses. If a client came to you and wanted that for a 150 envelopes, is that reasonable? Would you actually be able to do that on 150 envelopes? Or would you have to charge so much for your time that it just wouldn't really make sense? Another thing that's really nice is that, it gives you an opportunity to troubleshoot things. Say you want to offer something but you don't really know how to do it yet. Styled shoots are a really great way to play with creative projects like that. For example, say you want to do envelope addressing on handmade paper envelopes because they're just so beautiful. But you're a little intimidated because the texture is uneven and they're a little tricky to work with. It can be really stressful for the first time doing that to be on a client project where you have a two week deadline or something. It's really fun to try that out with a styled shoot. Because then you get to figure out, you can take your time, figure out what names work, what ink works, all that stuff and work out some of those kinks, so then you'll feel really confident and offering that to your clients. Those are some ways that you can really make the most of these collaborations. Now we're going to talk about how to get involved. Another really common question is, my goodness, I see all of these styled shoots happening all the time, people are always posting pictures from them. How do they know that they're happening? How do they get involved? I know it can seem very mysterious. But one of the reasons for that is because usually it's the photographer or the wedding planner, stylist that is organizing them. It's not usually the calligrapher. Oftentimes I'm actually asked to participate by a photographer or a stylist and most of the time they're finding me on Instagram. Maybe it's a local vendor and they're looking for other local vendors to cooperate with, so they'll find me on Instagram that way. Or maybe it's a vendor from a different state, and they're searching certain hashtags and they find me that way and they're just looking for work that really fits in with the vibe and feel that they want for their photo shoot. The best ways to make sure that you can get involved are to do your class project, make a separate Instagram account and start posting work. Start posting work right away. I think It's really important because if someone comes to your Instagram account and there isn't any work there, then they're not going to want to work with you. Because they don't really know what it's going to look like and if it's going to fit in well with their project, so make sure you have work, you're posting it and then also you can totally initiate a styled shoot. I mean if you wanted to pull the whole thing together yourself, you can. I don't really recommend it because it's a lot of work. But what you can do is offer to contribute to styled shoots, especially locally. If there is a photographer or a wedding planner locally that you would love to work on their weddings with, ask if they're doing a styled shoot this year. Ask if you can send them some paper goods or just, even if they don't have a photo shoot coming up, you can always send them an email and say, "Hey, if you ever wanted some extra envelopes or placed cards to play with for styling or anything, I'd love to send you stuff." I think it's always really beneficial to be on that giving end of the relationship, because it shows that you're genuine and you just want to help them. Then if they use your stuff they will send you the pictures and it just works out really well. That's my two cents about styled shoots, why they've been so beneficial for me and how they can be really beneficial for you and your business. Now we're going to talk about websites. How you can get a website up, and how you can attract your clients. 7. 4: Website: Okay, we've come to our last module. Can you believe it? You're so close to finishing the class. All right. Next, we're talking about building a website for your business and I put this section last for reason. The reason is, I don't think you need a website to have a business. I think it's possible just to get inquiries through other means, Instagram, referrals, etc. Some name pricing and book them without a website however, this class is all about taking your hobby to business. So we need to treat it like a business. I think there's nothing that makes you look more legit than a website. I think it's really important. I don't think it's the end all be all, I think if you do the other three things we talked about, you'll be doing pretty good. But if you can finish it off with a website, I think that will just be amazing. So let's talk about it a little bit. I really recommend using a drag and drop type of website template system. I know there are a lot out there and people have their favorites. I use Squarespace just because that's what I started using when I first started my website and it's been working for me really well. Their staff is really great and I really like how the template is working and everything, it's been really easy for me to use. So I recommend going with something like that because you really don't need a professionally built website to start your calligraphy business. You can totally do it on your own and it's really not that expensive. I know it can be a little intimidating when you feel like you don't have maybe professional images of your work that you'd want to share. But even just start out with what's called a cover page. It's going to be one page. So they go to your website and there's just one page that says like coming soon or website under construction or something, but it'll have a little bit of information about you and then a way for them to contact you so that if someone clicks your link to your website from Instagram, they now know how to contact you or if someone finds you through Google and now they can contact you. I think that's much better than nothing. It can still look really nice and really professional. Once you have that, you're ready to build out your website. There's a few pages you're going to need. I definitely think about page as really important. We live in a world where everything is done online, but people still want that personal connection. So if you have a picture of yourself and talk a little bit about your business or your personality, or why you love what you do, I think that's really great. I think it's important to have it very clear what services you offer. It's also very important to have a way for people to contact you. So you'll need like a contact page or a contact form on your website. It can say inquire here or work with me or whatever you want it to say but you need a way to collect people's information. They need to be able to send you an email from your website. That's really important. It would be nice to have a portfolio, however, you can also just link to your Instagram account as your portfolio. That's a nice little shortcut. Now we're going to talk about something really specific with your website. It's a question that a lot of people ask, which is, should I put my pricing on my website? The answer to that is, it's totally up to you. But I'm going to share some pros and cons with you. So first of all, I'll say, at this point in my business, I don't offer calligraphy only services anymore and I don't offer logo design anymore, so the only services that I'm offering currently are wedding invitations which include calligraphy. Because those services are so diverse, I really can't include comprehensive pricing on my website because every project is so different and is priced completely different, so I just can't offer that pricing right now. But I do share my minimum. So I have it in my website in the information about custom invitations that invitation packages begin at a certain amount. I think it's really important to give people just at least a ballpark or a starting amount. But when I did offer calligraphy only services and logo design and things like that, I did list my prices. I know it can be tricky. Not everyone does. It almost seems like more people don't list their pricing than the people that do but I think there are some really great benefits. So one of the benefits is that people want information really quickly. They're likely going to your website and looking for your pricing and if they can't find it, they might just move on. Sometimes I think it can almost have the effect that people might assume that you are not in their budget because you don't share your pricing, they might assume that you're even more expensive than you are. So you could actually be losing clients by not sharing your pricing. What happens is, when the clients actually do inquire with you, they likely already have an idea what your pricing is and whether or not they can afford it. So it's no longer an issue of what is your pricing? Can I afford you? It's more of a question of are you available? I'd love to hire you. So I think it just starts off the whole client relationship on a really positive note because the focus is no longer on the pricing and on the money they're going to spend, but rather on the services that you offer. Now, obviously there are some downsides. So the downside of listing your pricing in your website is that some people are just price shopping, and they're just looking for the cheapest person. So they might hire you only because you're the cheapest, or they might not hire you because they find someone that's cheaper. That's a bummer to lose out on clients like that. However, that's not necessarily the kind of clients you want to be working with anyways, because you want them to value your services and want to work with you because of your style and your personality and because you're so wonderful to work with. I think, at least in my opinion, that the pros outweigh the cons as far as putting your pricing on your website but at the same time, I know that everyone has a different opinion about this and it's totally up to you. I don't think there's a wrong answer, I think either way it's totally fine, but if you're not going to list your pricing extensively on your website, I do really recommend putting some sort of ballpark or minimum, just so that people have a general idea of where you fall in their price range. I think that's just kind of a kindness to people. I know, at least for me, I really hate telling people no and I feel really bad when I'm outside of what their budget is, and they're looking to spend. So I think it's kind of a kindness to them to let them know where you stand in the market so that they are a little bit better informed before they inquire with you. Okay, so that's a little bit about pricing. One more little thing that we're going to talk about is email. Now I know this chapter is about websites and not about email, and I totally get that. However many websites offer an email service that's integrated with your website. So for example, I use Squarespace for my website, and they have a Google integration. So I can actually have a professional email address that's synced to my website. So my website is SierraClaire.com and my email address is [email protected] I think that if you're going to have a website, it's really a good idea to invest in a unique URL. So I wouldn't be using Squarespace.SierraClaire.com, but purchasing the domain name and then purchasing the professional email address. So it's really not a huge investment. Professional email is only about $5 a month, and we have talked about this before, but I'm going to say it again, this class is about taking your business from a hobby to a professional calligraphy business. With everything being done online now, I think it's really important to do everything that you can to build trust with people, and when you have a professional URL and a professional email, people know that you're a real business, you take your business seriously and I think it sets you up on a really nice level of professionalism. I think just those little touches go a long way. There's a lot of things you don't need. You don't need to invest in advertising and paid vendor lists to get clients. You don't need to do wedding shows if you don't want to. But this is one thing that if you can afford it when you're first starting out, I think it's absolutely worth the investment and it just sets you up in a really nice way for the future too as your business continues to grow. 8. Closing Comments: Thank you so much for following along with our Skillshare class about starting and launching a calligraphy business. I really hope this has been informative and answered some of your questions, but I have a feeling you'll have some more. If you have any questions at all, go ahead and leave them in the discussion board and I'll try to answer them as quickly as I can. I know that a lot of different questions can come up and I think that's a really great place to ask them because then other students can benefit from the answers and jump in on the discussion too if they're dealing with somethings as similar as you are. Be sure to do that. Don't forget about your class project. Get an Instagram account. Create the one you have, and share it with the class. I think it would be really fun to check back like a year from now and see where everyone's out with their business and how much you guys have grown and be sure to give your fellow classmates a follow, because I'm sure you'll want to see how they're doing with their business. I'm really excited to see some of your guy's work. Be sure to do that. You can follow me as well my Instagram handle is at Ciaria Claire, C-I-A- R-I-A, and I share a lot of behind the scenes on my stories and I try to share some educational information as well. I would love to have you there to follow along. All right, until my next class I'll see you soon. 9. Bonus Video: How to Price Your Work: This class is a little bit of a bonus lesson, because it's something that I know most people struggle with as they're starting a business, and that is how to price your work as a professional calligrapher. I know that this can be really challenging because not everyone posts their prices online and it can be really difficult to figure out even what market, industry, standards or averages or anything like that is for projects like this. I'm going to teach you how to price your work as a professional calligrapher based on your own circumstances. We're going to discuss one place you should not look for calligraphy pricing and then several places you should be looking for calligraphy pricing and how to price your own work. The first one is Etsy. Etsy is where you should not be looking to price your work. I know it can be hard because there are so many calligraphers in Etsy right now and they have to share their prices because people need to be able to buy their services right away. However, here are some of the downfalls of that. When you're looking at prices on Etsy, you don't know who these people are. You don't know if the people that are offering these calligraphy services are actually full-time calligraphers or not. They might be doing it as a hobby and just for fun and so it doesn't really matter if their business is profitable or not, or if it's just a little bit of side money. Oftentimes, the prices on Etsy are very low and there are too low to make a living off of. That's something to keep in mind if you're doing, for example, envelope calligraphy. I use that as an example a lot because it's one of the most common services that a calligrapher can offer. If someone is offering envelope addressing at $1 or $1.50 per envelope, that's not a living wage. It just isn't it. It's great as a hobby and for fun and to maybe support your hobbies so you can pay for more calligraphy supplies and things like that. But, you're not going to be able to run a business with prices like that. Another reason prices are low on Etsy are because it is a pretty oversaturated market. There are a lot of people offering the same services now because it's a really great place for people to start. However, because of that, there is so much competition that people feel the only way for them to compete is to lower their prices. It's created this bubble within the industry where prices are much lower than they are than in the industry in general. I really caution you when you're looking and comparing prices and doing market research. I caution you to steer clear of Etsy as a way to base your prices because it's just not representative of the industry in general. Well now, I busted your bubble because that's probably where you we're looking for your pricing. What do you do now? Let's talk about it. The first reference I'm going to give you is so valuable, and that is the 2017 pricing guide for professional calligraphers. I'll make sure that I leave a link to this in the class notes for this class but it's a really great resource because it is a compilation of answers from surveys, from hundreds of calligraphers by a calligrapher and it shows what people are actually charging for their work. An added bonus is that it's segmented so you can see what people who are doing calligraphy as a hobby, which is classified as under a certain amount of income per year or under a certain amount of clients per year versus someone who's doing it full time, so doing over a certain amount of weddings per year or clients per year. You can also see a breakdown of different states and what people are charging in different states. I think that's really important because depending on where you're located, your pricing will probably be different. If you're in LA or New York, your prices are probably going to be higher because the cost of living is higher than if you're in a rural community. Also, it breaks things down. It'll show you how much people charge for base envelope addressing or if people charge extra for centering envelopes or for designing an invitation and so I think this resource is really invaluable. It's a free resource, so I really encourage you to take a look at that. It can be really helpful. Another resource is a book by Molly Suber Thorpe. She actually has some calligraphy classes here on Skillshare, and I really recommend them. Just as a complete side note, I think pretty much every calligrapher I follow on Instagram has taken her course on how to digitize calligraphy and it is the best course I've ever taken for digitizing artwork and calligraphy. After this class, I totally recommend hopping on over and taking that class because it's really helpful if you want to do invitation design or logo design. But aside from that, she also put together a handbook for calligraphers, and it is so valuable. I really recommend buying her book, either the e-book or the physical copy. But there are so many guidelines in there for figuring out how to price your work. I really recommend that resource. Another great resource is IAMPETH. It's spelled, I-A-M-P-E-T-H, and it's an international association of Master Penman and there's so many great educational resources on their website, even for learning things like copper plate or traditional calligraphy, but also their conventions are really great. I remember reading somewhere that at one of their conventions they had mentioned how $3 an envelope would be a pretty good base price in general for envelope calligraphy and that's a really good guide to go by. I know when you're first starting out, you might not want to charge that much or if you're working on really tricky envelopes, maybe handmade paper or dark envelopes, maybe you would charge more. But that's a really good, just like ballpark number, maybe something that you can work towards as well. Here's another tip on how to price your work for projects based on time and how much money you want to make per hour. Here's something to keep in mind that I didn't think of when I first started my business. You want to take the number of amount of $ that you want to make per hour as maybe if you want to match what you are making at your job right now or a job that you had and you want to double it. The reason being, when you're self-employed or a freelancer, you have a lot of work that is unpaid. Whether that's answering e-mails, bookkeeping, posting to Instagram and so you want to compensate for that by making more money per hour than you would at a job where you're just getting paid for your job. For example, and this is just an example so don't take any of these numbers too seriously and just try to apply it to yourself in your own life, but say you were making $15 an hour at your job and you want to match your salary. Then when you're doing calligraphy and pricing out jobs, I would quote jobs based on $30 an hour. Now you don't have to tell this to the client. You could just estimate, "Okay, I think this job will take me about four hours and I want to charge $30 an hour," so that's the amount that I'm going to charge to the client. They don't need to see the breakdown of how much per hour you're charging. For example, if you apply this to envelope addressing, say you want to make $15 an hour, so you're going to charge $30 an hour. You can do 10 envelopes per hour for envelope addressing, so that would break down to $3 an envelope. If you charge $3 an envelope and you can do 10 envelopes in an hour, then you'll be making $30 an hour, which leads you to your base price of $15 an hour. Now, this example can work really well if you're already pretty proficient at your craft. If it takes you 20 minutes to do calligraphy on one envelope, then you wouldn't want to charge $15 an envelope to compensate just for being slow. That is a little bit of a caveat with that example. Make sure that when you're estimating how long projects take, you're not charging too much money per hour to compensate for being slow because you'll catch up. You want to make sure that what you're charging in the end is really representative of the service that you're offering and general prices as average is in the industry as well. Another great idea is just to do some market research. This is one of the times where it's okay to stalk people online and have it be for work. You want to look at different people in your industry. Maybe you look at other calligraphers in your area because how your area is priced might be different than someone else's area and see if you can find competitors pricing. Now, I say this because I think it's a really good idea to get a ballpark number in mind of what clients in your area are willing to pay for services. But the thing that I don't want you to do is find someone else's prices and then just charge less because that's really not fair to the other calligraphers in your area, and also it doesn't get you great clients because you don't want clients that just are hiring you because you're the cheapest. It never works out well for you in the end. You're going to take their prices and just keep them in mind with all of these other things that you are looking at to come up with your own pricing structure. I want you to look for a few things. Look for calligraphers in your area, see what their pricing is. Look for calligraphers who are at a similar skill level as you or experience in the industry and see what they're charging and then also look at people who you look up to in the industry that are clearly doing calligraphy full time as a business and see if you can find their pricing because I think that can give you a really good goal to work towards. I think it's really easy in the beginning to charge low prices because you feel maybe inadequate or inexperienced and you just want to get some work under your belt and that's totally understandable. However, don't fall into the trap of keeping your prices low for too long. You want to be constantly moving towards that goal of making a full-time time income from your calligraphy and you won't be able to do that if you keep your prices low for too long, so maybe keep your prices low for the first couple of jobs. But after that, start working up towards the income that you want to be making. Now we're going to talk about when you shouldn't charge at all and when you should raise your prices. If you're just starting out and you've never done an envelope addressing job in your life, you might not want to charge full price for it, and I totally understand that. There are a lot of different opinions about this, but I'm going to give you my opinion and what worked for me and my business. My first couple of jobs I did for free. I designed invitations and did envelope addressing for a friend of a friend's wedding for free as a gift and I also did a giveaway at a wedding show and gave away envelope addressing as a gift. I think that was a really great choice for me because I didn't feel comfortable charging for a project that I had never done at that time and it helped me to work out my process and give me a better idea of what I should be charging for this service. It helped me work out some of the questions that I needed to answer or ask of clients before we start a project and how to organize a project for envelope addressing and things like that before I started actually taking on paying clients, and I really recommend that. Because it gives you experience so you know what you're doing when you're dealing with clients that are paying full price and it also gives you a better idea of how to price your work because you can figure out how long projects are really going to take you and then you can start basing your pricing off of that. However, I don't recommend doing this for a very long time. Maybe just a handful of jobs, like two to five jobs that are for friends or family or as giveaways or at a discounted price before you start raising your prices. Here's the other thing I want you to do. If you're going to do free work or if you're going to do discounted work, I really recommend sending an invoice anyways and showing your clients, or your friends or your family how much you would actually be charging for these projects and then showing them what their discount is or that it's for free. I think that's really important because eventually you're going to be charging full price and you don't want people to be surprised. If you do a job for a friend and as a gift, you're only going to charge you $1 per envelope for envelope addressing or you're doing it for free. You don't want that friend to go then tell their other friends that's engaged, that you're a really cheap calligrapher and you'll do it for $1 per envelope. Because at that point you might want to start charging full price and they're going to be surprised because they think that you're a really inexpensive option. It's really good for potential clients and friends and family to see what your actual prices are going to be and then it's also good for you to have the experience of trying to figure out what your pricing is and figure out how to present that to a client as well. Now let's talk about when to raise your prices. There's a couple of reasons you might raise your prices. One is you've gained more experience, you're feeling more competent. You feel like your work looks as good as somebody else's and you feel really confident in the product that you're offering to people and you're ready to raise your prices. I think that's great. You don't want to keep your prices low as a beginner for very long. Here's another reason why you might want to raise your prices. This is something that I've done in my business that's worked really well for me and that is, once you get to a point in your business where you're busy, where you are booked for a few months out and maybe you're working full-time in your calligraphy business, or you're working nights and weekends and it's just too much work for you to handle. That's a really great sign that you need to raise your prices because you can make more money with less clients and that's a really great place to be in your business. If you're feeling really overwhelmed with the amount of work that you're doing, it's a good sign that your prices are too low and you could actually be making more money and working less if you rose your prices. That's your little bonus class about pricing. I'm super excited to answer your questions so if you have any questions about pricing or any of the other sections in this course, go ahead and leave your question in the discussion and I'll be sure to answer it for you.