How to Negotiate as a Creative

Treyton DeVore
May 21, 2022

​Welcome to The Loaf - a weekly newsletter sharing money and business tips for creators & freelancers​

Creator Crumbs

Business: 2022 State of the Creator Economy Report [Article + Download]

This report is like the Spotify Wrapped of the creator economy.

They received submissions from over 2,500 creators and gathered data around things like:

  • The most popular types of full-time creators
  • The most popular forms of content
  • Most popular topics
  • Earnings & pay
  • Top income streams
  • The value of having a newsletter
  • Burnout
  • And much, much more

​Read my top 7 takeaways here


Money: How to Negotiate as a Creative [Podcast]

A hidden gem in Tim Ferriss' podcast library, this interview from 2016 with Ramit Sethi talks through some of the biggest factors that play into creative business success - including how to sell yourself and how negotiate to get what you want.

A few key timestamps from the episode:

  • Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about negotiating [13:01]
  • How to overcome the mindset of β€œI hate selling myself” [43:53]
  • Understanding the needs of your client base, upping your rate, and justifying it to yourself without guilt [50:25]
  • How do introverts talk business? [57:47]
  • Should you ever work for free? [1:00:40]
  • For hourly consulting, is it better to price in packages? [1:13:22]

​View all links and show notes​

Free Financial Advice*

Topic of the Week: How to fund your creative business

This isn't an exhaustive list of options, but these are 6 different ways to fund a creative business:

Plan & save

I listed this option first because I believe it's the truest and cleanest form of funding. By taking the time to create a plan for your business, you can remove excess costs (like the interest paid on debt) and keep full control over your business.

I started Piertree back in 2020 and saved $800/month for two years starting in 2018 to make it happen. I knew my expected business costs and I knew exactly how long it would take to reach my goal because I laid everything out & built a savings plan that gave me enough money to get started.

Further reading: The Planning Effect - How to Create Clarity & Increase Your Chances of Success​

SBA (Small Business Administration) Loan

Depending on who you ask, debt is either god's greatest gift or a menace to society.

What I mean by this is that debt itself isn't good or bad - it's how you use it. Some of the biggest & best businesses in the world were fueled by debt, but millions of Americans are struggling financially because of easy access to debt (credit cards, car loans, pay day loans, etc.).

If used correctly, debt can be a viable way to fund a business. SBA loans are issued to small businesses in America and while they can be used for many different things, a common purpose is funding a startup.

Further reading: How to Get an SBA Startup Loan​

These can be difficult to qualify for, but there are also some banks out there that focus on creative businesses that may be able to offer more friendly rates and funding options.


These might be the "easiest" and cheapest way to get funding. For example, Shaan Puri (creator of The Milk Road) offered $25,000 to people building cool things in Web3. All you had to do was apply, explain why you need/deserve funding, and if you're chosen, you get the money. No expectation of repayment, just cash in hand to go build your idea.

Pretty straightforward.

​This guy held a contest on TikTok and Venmo'd a creator $200 to build a rocket with an on-board camera. He took the idea even further and launched Tiny Grants, a website where young creators can apply for - wait for it - tiny grants.


If you've been creating for awhile and you've built a core following, you may be able to use your connections to help fund a new idea.

Since Patreon allows you to set your own membership pricing and benefits, it can almost be treated like social venture capital. If you're transparent and you say that you're using the membership revenue to build XYZ, you may get more support than a regular paid community πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

This would be difficult to do without an existing following, but using something like KickStarter or GoFundMe would fall into the same "social funding" category.


If you own a home, the equity that you've built up from making your mortgage payments can be tapped into. HELOC stands for a "Home Equity Line of Credit" and it works similar to a credit card.

Let's say you have $200,000 worth of equity in your home and you want to access $50,000. You'd be issued a $50k line of credit that only needs to be repaid if you spend money from it, just like a credit card. The interest rates are relatively low compared to other forms of debt so it can be a worthwhile option, but HELOCs must be used extremely carefully.


Because if you use the line of credit and don't make payments, you could lose your home..

Funds from a HELOC are typically used to increase the value of your home, such as making renovations or building add-ons, but if used thoughtfully and with intention, it can be a last resort to fund a creative business idea.

Also read: Investopedia's Guide to Home Equity & HELOCs​

Side hustle

Similar to planning & saving, picking up a side hustle while you're still working your 9-5 (or after you've launched your business) can be a great way to keep the dream alive.

I've used this strategy as well because my $20k in savings didn't last as long as expected, so I had to do DoorDash for about 8 months while I was starting the business. It was tough, but I didn't want to take on debt and I needed money so a part-time gig was one of my only few options.

You may be able to take on some freelance work, pick up an overnight shift, or work during the day and create throughout the night.

While these aren't the only ways to fund a creative business, they're some of the most popular and most practical.

By taking the time to think about what you need the money for and how it's going to be used, you can narrow down your options and choose a strategy that makes sense for you and your situation.

Have a question about money or business?

πŸ’° Submit it here

..more crumbs

βœ… 8 questions creative entrepreneurs should ask themselves every month

πŸ“ˆ How to create & sell products at multiple price points

🎀 Colin & Samir's interview with Rolling Stone(!!) on preventing creator burnout

πŸ’° How much Eric Floberg made in 2021 as a photographer & YouTuber

✍🏼 How to write weekly & accelerate your career (with David Perrell and Nick Maggiulli)

Freelance Finds: Productivity Isn't the Ultimate Answer to Freelance Success, THIS Is​




Keep creating,

Treyton DeVore


Money &Β business for self-employed creatives in 2 minutes or less.
"It’s like a bible for creators that work more and forget the financial stuff."
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