I constantly see online articles, social media posts, and rants from artists complaining about other artists in their area that work for cheap rates. We’ve all seen the Craigslist ads phone apps such as Glamsquad that offer $30 – $40 makeup applications. Many industry people feel that others with low-end rates (a.k.a. the under cutters) affect their career, income, and success. Ironically, the very same artists that constantly complain about the cheaper artists personally take advantage of sales and deals every chance they get by shopping at places like TJ Maxx, Costco and factory outlet malls. Yet when discussing their industry, seem to think it is outrageous.
There will always be clients at every level of income, budget, and expectations. The majority of large designers own outlet stores by choice. I assure you that there is no threat of an outlet store putting their own company out of business. Even more importantly, there is no such thing as competition for companies and artists that offer quality products and services that are priced at their value. For example, Crocs are not competing with Steve Madden and Steve Madden isn’t competing with Jimmy Choo and Jimmy Choo isn’t competing with Christian Louboutin. Each of these shoe brands/stores have multi-million dollar businesses because every single one of these companies cater to a demographic of clients that want, need and expect their level of price, style, and quality. Low-end prices/rates and under cutters have always existed and will always exist in every industry. For those that understand business, there is no reason to complain about it.
Sure, sometimes under cutters are responsible for putting other companies out of business. But this is only possible when a company is no longer delivering their customers a worthy shopping experience, quality inventory and services at the price point they offer. Those that go out of business most likely did nothing about the competition but point fingers. If a company or freelancer is not savvy enough to satisfy clients enough to generate repeat business and referrals or try new things to increase business, find new clientele when the tide changes, they’re doomed. Successful people are flexible and so are successful businesses.
After three decades working as an artist and over five decades of life experience, I can confidently say the following. When people complain about the under cutters ruining their business, the only thing that is to blame for their lack of clients and income is their actual finger pointing. Psychology 101 tells us that when we are feeling unsuccessful about something, it’s human nature to find something or someone else to blame. Not earning enough money is definitely not a comfortable or successful place to be. The bigger problem here is that by deflecting our own guilt of not being as successful as we desire to be and actually blaming others means that we accept the fact that we are victims. And once we convince ourselves that we are a victim, there is no attempt to “fix” the problem because we’ve convinced ourselves that it is not our fault. Since we have no control of what others do, it leaves us in a hopeless and negative state of mind that leads to complaining about those we blame.
I encourage everyone reading this to reflect on the scenario I’ve described. Most people have complained about things all throughout our lives. Sadly some people live in these thoughts on a daily basis. Try to catch yourself the next time you attempt to blame anyone or anything for your shortcomings. And instead, ask yourself, what could I possibly do to get better results? When my students tell me they can’t do something, I often reply, “What if I told you it IS possible?” Everything is possible! Think about the situation, come up with ideas, experiment with different things and try all your options until you, discover what works and what doesn’t. Pretend you’ll win a million dollars if you figure it out. This will get your mind thinking about several immediate ideas to try, so start implementing your ideas and don’t give up until you achieve your goal. If you desire to find a faster route to success and do not want to waste time figuring out what works and what does not, take industry marketing classes or schedule business mentoring sessions. But beware, there are many people that will take your money and talk the talk, but few have walked the walk. So research to find someone that has already successfully achieved what you are after and has a proven track record for teaching and mentoring others to success.
Keep in mind that the world is a judgmental place. While many will judge and badmouth the under cutters. There are also people that are judging those that negatively complain about the under cutters. Because when you think about it, complaining about under cutters is really just bragging about being a victim. Since we are all continuously judged by others, wouldn’t you prefer that people characterize you as hard working, tenacious and successful?! And guess what… Those under cutters that many think so badly of; they are really just people going after their own success. But when they weren’t successful, they didn’t give up and point fingers, instead they came up with ideas, tried different things and found an option to generate business that worked for them by lowering their rates.
Most of all, don’t worry about what others are doing. Instead, I highly recommend that every artist spends time trying different things to find out what works for them to develop their own clientele at the level of quality and budget of services they currently offer. From there, work hard to achieve the success desired. Just focus on no one but yourself and your own reputation. Once you have found your niche clientele and believe in your heart that you are worthy of the rates you charge, whatever that might be and success will happen.
Love and Wisdom,