Pricing your art like a Salsa Nazi

There’s a Mexican food place near my house that I loved going to.  Great food, but one thing kills it though.

They don’t want to give you salsa with your food.  Asking me to eat a burrito without salsa is like eating a bowl of Cheerios without milk.  You can do it but you don’t want to.

Actually, they‘ll give you salsa but they only give you one.  They even have a sign that says 1 salsa per burrito.  And then they treat you like a criminal if I ask for anymore.  They just stand there judging me in all my salsa rebelliousness and burrito piety. 

I kid, but it is annoying.

I asked the owner of the neighboring store about this because I knew he ate there too.  I just had to get the scoop on what was up with the Salsa Nazi.  

He told me he keeps the prices low so that all the landscapers in the neighborhood will keep eating there.  And him being a freak about the “free” salsa was his way of controlling costs.  

I asked him, “why doesn’t he just raise his prices” or charge for the damn salsa?  He said, “I don’t know”.  We both stared at each other cluelessly.

The Salsa Nazi has a money problem because he has a pricing problem.  I looked and that restaurant opened in 2008.  I could make fun and say he should have worked this out by now but I get it.  I had my own pricing issues too.

When I first started drawing caricatures at parties, I priced myself low because I didn’t have any experience or clients.  And I was still at Marvel so it didn’t matter a ton.  

And that’s great in the beginning but after you get some experience under your belt, you should charge what you want.  Irregardless of whatever the “market” is charging or what your colleagues think you should charge.  

But most creatives don’t.  

If you were to stop reading right now and get nothing else from this writing, read this first.  And memorize it.  

Or as Jim Rohn used to say, put it on your refrigerator so you can see it everyday.




Think about it.  

You can buy a bag from Walmart for $30 or you can get the same size bag from Louis Vuitton for $2,000.  Same size bag, huge difference in price.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…  But Adam, those are products.  I provide a service.    

I’m a graphic artist.

I’m a photographer.

I’m a juggler.

Doesn’t matter.  Want a service example?  Fine.  Let’s do it.  

My barber charges me $30 for a haircut.  I’m practically bald when I go in and I’m slightly more bald when I come. From far away someone may think I’m being hustled but I’m not.  I happily pay it.

I met a barber that charged $200 for haircuts.  And Steve Harvey said he paid hundreds of dollars more than that for each trim until he went bald like me.  

So why don’t we raise our prices based on what we want instead of the market or what we think we can get?

For most of us, it’s fear.

Fear you won’t be liked.

Fear they won’t buy.  

Fear you can’t pay your bills.  

Let me tell you a secret.  The limit to what you can earn and the power that is available to you is nestled between your ears.

“Wealth is an idea. A radio is an idea. Television is an idea. An automobile is an idea. Everything around you is an idea made manifest in the world.”    

-Joseph Murphy 

Wanna charge $500?  That’s an idea.

Wanna charge $5000?  That’s an idea. 

But anyway you look at it, it is YOUR idea.  And it ties into your paradigm of what you expect and what you believe you can charge. 

It’s.  All.  You.

It’s not the market.

It’s not CNN.

And it’s not yo mama.

As Joe Dispenza says, you can’t think better than how you feel.  And I got news for you, you can’t earn more than what you believe you can receive.  

Keep becoming the highest expression of yourself and you will live more of the life that you want.  In your personal life and with your art.