Artists: What’s in a Name? Everything.

Retaining Full Ownership Is Risky, but Worth It

Whether you’re a mixed media artist, musician or content writer, you sign your name to your work. As your work gets recognized, your name then becomes your brand. Your brands need to be protected for them to have any validity in the world of business.

It’s fundamentally important for creative entrepreneurs to understand that the prospect of  “working for hire” or being paid a salary for churning out content comes at a great expense. You give up ownership of your creativity to whoever is paying you.

It is not unlike indentured servitude. For example, if a graphic designer works for hire under a big name company, they own every piece of work that comes from that arrangement.

You can do that if you need to pay the bills and you’ve got mouths to feed, of course. You need that steady paycheck. However, I think that creatives give away too much of their own equity, in their own ownership of their work, and it’s a real shame.

Numbers Don’t Lie

It’s more of a conceptual or philosophical perspective, but let’s just look at it this way. Creative Allies pays a 15% net royalty on a t-shirt. So let’s say a t-shirt nets $10 profit, the designer’s gonna make $1.50 a shirt.

On the other hand, let’s say they win the contest and they take the $500 prize. That’s only 350 shirts and they’ve already made what they would make at the 15% net royalty. Let’s say it sells 3,000 units instead of 350.

The designer would make so much more with a small percentage of ownership long term than they would by taking that upfront work for hire fee. 

Taking this approach to creative careers means that to be successful you need to have a lot of designs or a couple of successful designs that sell very well.

I think tools like Creative Allies do enable designers to leverage their creative output for a long tail revenue stream that can make them a lot more money than getting a work for hire buyout or a salary from an agency.

Never forget, creatives – your name has value. Don’t sign it away for fear of not being successful. In the long term, the risk is well worth the reward.


Greg LucasGreg is co-founder of Creative Allies and enjoys writing about creative entrepreneurship for On The Scene.

Guest contributors are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Creative Allies Inc. or its affiliates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to toolbar