Photo by Debra Lopez
How to Choose Yourself First
How much do you think you're really worth? Not what you say you think you're worth, but what do your actions say about what you believe you're worth?
So, I wanna talk to all the black women out there who have written to me, taken my free classes, recordings and what not and constantly engage, but never invest in themselves and take a class.
1. you can't afford it
2. you don't have time
3. you don't have money
4. you don't believe it can change anything in your life
Let's look at some of these reasons and question whether or not this is the truth or whether or not, you're just giving away too much for too little.
1. You can't afford it.
You can afford to buy hair products, specialty dietary items, gel mani/pedis, extensions, weaves, takeout, movie, play, concert tix but you can't afford to invest in something that will ultimately help YOU make the living your deserve?
You have money to subscribe to magazines, extra on demand channels, facebook, instagram, twitter personal opinions about the lack of opportunity for POC and women in the industry, but you don't have time to create a platform for yourself in the industry that would get you paid?
There something else at play here...let's figure out what it is exactly.
2. You don't have time.
You have time to do workshops, readings, panel discussions for FREE giving away countless precious hours of your time _(time you could be using to earn money by charging clients what you're worth)_, but you can't afford to hire a life, business, writing coach to help you produce a project that will pay you as writer, actor and producer?
You can afford to volunteer at your church, youth group, mentor little black girls, but you can't afford to focus on investing in strengthhening your skill set into something that earns you the kind of money you can pass onto your children?
Black women (black folks) have lots of opinions and we love taking to the pulpit, the stage, utube, facebook and giving out advice for free that we never get back because we feel it's part of our uplift to take care of the next generation by giving them free advice and mentoring.
FREE shit usually doesn't have a real process behind it to fix the problem and FREE shit is rarely valued.
When's the last time someone won an award or bought a house working for FREE...?
So, serving other peoples' needs (in a half assed way cuz its free), that's more important than learning how to create intergenerational wealth and build institutions that will sustain you and yours for the next 10 generations?
Just a question.
3. You don't have money
What would happen if you took all that time you were giving away free advice and free acting, writing and teaching and used that time to make money?
4. you don't believe investing in learning something new can change your life
Let's continue to paint a picture of what I'm seeing right now and then look at concrete ways to reframe what you believe is possible.
A lot of exhausted moms, actresses, coaches, business women, actors volunteering a lot and doing a lot of free advice giving and getting nothing back.
The oral tradition is great, but he who writes down history are the civilization builders and the race of people who not only survive, but thrive and create wealth.
Everyone else disappears into poverty and struggle.
A footnote in the mass suffering throughout history.
And here's the recipe for that:
**1. The biggest ingredient is guilt**
**2. The second biggest ingredient is being exhausted and giving away all of yourself as a way of proving to yourself that you have value and purpose.**
**3. The expectation that no one is willing to care for you the way you care for others.**
If any of the above 3 ingredients are in the crock pot of your life right now, keep reading.
We are very driven out of habit to work tirelessly for others passing on our limited knowledge and ways of doing things that have been handed down to us for generations without ever taking time to invest in learning new ways to work smarter, not harder.
Instead, we prefer self-sacrifice without personal development which is all about this idea of being the long suffering super woman who must always be tired, exhausted and underpaid in order to be worthy.
Am I getting warmer?
I know all about this, because I've spent a lifetime doing it.
**- What would happen if you did something completely for you?**
**- What would happen if you figured out that your time is money and therefore your time is your wealth?**
**- What would happen if everytime someone asked you for your time, you asked them to pay you what your time was worth?**
What's My Time Worth Budget
I spent 4 years in undergrad that cost $250,000.
Then I spent 3 years in Grad school which cost $175,000.
Then I spent another 6 years hiring coaches and working in the theatre for less than unemployment doing workshops,readings for free, etc. to the tune of $60K
Let's put a pricetag on all that sacrifice:
Let's say, I've spent a good $500,000. Let's include inflation and interest and make it a cool ONE MILLION DOLLARS learning what I've had to learn that allows me to teach others.
Let's say that in order to earn that 1 million dollars back,
- I need to be charging folks at least $500 per hour for my time at about 20 hours per week.
-The other 20 hours would be freed up for me to write, build and create work that its in line with my ultimate life plan from writing screenplays to building a profit making think tanks for african women business owners, to writing books, screenplays and plays about my ancestral journey from west africa, the gulllah, cuban and bahamian islands.
If I charged $500/hour working 20 hours per week teaching people and had 20 free hours to create:
1. At the end of 2 years, I would have made back the $1million dollars I spent on my education.
2. Created stories (books, films, plays) that would have paid my bills, earned me producer points and residuals to last me the rest of my life.
That's if I really believed my time was worth $500 per hour.
But what I see happening with my clients as I follow them on FB, Instagram, their newsletters is the following:
I see you running around frazzled charging people $60/80, $100 to teach their clients and mentees information that it took them decades and thousands of dollars to learn and they're never making that money back.
How many $60 sessions you got to teach to pay your bills, plus your debt and still have time to rest, save money, vacation and live your life?
But you are exhausted.
And your clients are breaking into TV & Film and getting record and tv deals earning them millions of dollars after they paid you about $200 bucks to learn what you had to give.
THEIR TIME and money is earning them a living.
YOUR TIME is earning you a whole bunch of exhaustion, the label of "super black woman", high blood pressure, lack of joy and no time invested in you and your dreams.
**How is that paradigm working out for you?**
**Does that paradigm even make sense?**
**What would happen if you just stopped and said **
**To any and everything not paying you what you're worth?**
**What if you only said **
**to things that celebrated you?**
And by celebrate, I mean, each and every person that sent you an email asking you a question or stopping you after class to ask you a question, what if you required a $500 fee before you stopped to answer that question or give them a coffee meeting, or $500 before you agreed to that panel discussion or podcast or workshop.
What if you actually got paid what you were worth?
Oh, I hear the explanations that sound dangerously like fear:
- Oh, I'm working for FREE to make connections, to gain experience
I'll ask one more time...and I'd love for you to write about it in your morning pages: What would happen if you actually got paid what you were worth? What would that look like...what would it feel like?
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April Yvette Thompson