What Should My Hourly Wage Be?


Published On: 11-18-2011 03:09pm

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Okay - you have decided to turn your hobby into a business and that means many things.  One of the most important is to pay yourself a fair wage for the time that it has taken you to produce your product. You cannot put a price on to your product without a dollar amount for the time that you have invested in producing it.

How do you decide what this magic number should be? Some people feel that $20/hour is a fair amount to expect for producing your art.  I can't argue with that and that is the exact figure that I used when I started selling my jewelry. I quickly saw that there was something wrong here, though. The actual time that I spent in creating a piece was often less time than it took me to find the parts that went into it.  The creation or "dreaming up" process was often lengthy.  Marketing and sales for this product ate up allot of my time also.

I did allot of thinking about this, and it wasn't until I read an article by a rather well known jewelry artisan that I found a solution.  She felt that an artisan had to pay him/herself a minimum of $60.00/hour...now, please don't stop reading,  her rational made allot of sense to me and I hope that it will for you too.

Because of the time that artisans spent running their businesses, learning their craft, finding supplies, keeping their websites up, going to shows, trying to wholesale their product...I think you all get the picture and we all know that the list could go on and on. But the point here is that this is all "non paid" time...unless you have sugar daddy, ain't no one going to give you even minimum wage for these chores, but these are all fundamentals that keep your business going.  Since this can often eat up far more of your creating time than you might like, the $60/ hour fee compensates you somewhat for this time also.  She figured that with the outside time that she put out, that she was probably making about $20/hr. when she was creating and she felt that this was very fair...and I have to agree with her.

For people who make many of the same thing, you should count your time when you have made several pieces, but for those of us who do primarily OOAK work, we only have the one shot at it. I have timed many of my processes so I don't have to keep a close watch on the clock, unless I am trying to work with metal, and I never know how little or how much time that will take, so I am very careful to keep good track of the time there.

Please, think about this. I think that it makes allot of sense.

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