From time to time, I would receive DM’s & e-mails about how I go about pricing my artworks & such.

There has always been a great debate about whether creatives should accept pro bono work especially when they’re building their portfolio.

As much as I’d like to preach, I can only speak from my own experience.  I had my fair share of free artworks especially when I was younger.  Sometimes, I was happy to do the free artwork.  At other times, I would find myself crying to my then-boyfriend-now-hubby that I was spending so much time finishing a piece and sacrficing my weekend / social life / rest time.  All of this just because I didn’t know how to say NO. *Ooh that rhymes.*
You Are Worthy of Your Dreams IMG_9708Years after, I finally mustered the courage to charge.  But still, I noticed that with certain projects, the rates did no justify the time I spent working on revisions & demands of the client.
*Artwork revisions totally deserve a different blog post but let’s just park it here, shall we? :D*

Having a day job for more than a decade has helped me cushion the effects of not pricing my projects properly.  Usually, I let the hubby handle the negotiations as I’m too shy to talk about money.  But, by working at home as a new mom, I came face-to-face with the reality that following one’s dream comes at a certain price–especially if you decide to do it full time.

Last Wednesday, during one of the Sun Life #LiveBrighter series of talks, I listened to Arriane Serafico share her thoughts about pursuing ones passion and how to make it sustainable.  Here’s her strategy (and I suggest you take notes like I did. Haha.):

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You are Worthy Draft IMG_9727Just like a lettering draft, have a plan & stick to it. 🙂

1) Have a personal plan–a solid savings plan and good budgeting skills.
2) Take your passions seriously because if you don’t, no one else will.

You need to  count the days you spend working on a project, include the resources you consume: electricity, internet, food, water, studio space / rent, depreciation of laptop/camera and other gadgets, paper, art materials, transportation, what schedules will this affect in your life.  If you don’t, no one will really take you seriously (and I learned it the hard way).

3) Sustain your passion by setting financial goals for yourself and taking steps to achieve them: Would you like to travel? Save up for a house et cetera?  Take concrete steps to achieve them (e.g. garage sale / regular commissions / extra gigs / lifestyle change).

Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

“Is my passion fueling me or draining me?  The reason why we pursue our passion is that we can build and live a life that we love.” – Arriane Serafico 

Can Your Passion Fund Your Dreams

*You know, I’m really trying to make this post shorter but I just really have so much to say about this topic. Check out my Instagram stories & Snapchat.  #TheStruggleIsReal*

During my first few years of work, I had a hard time saving.  I thought it was because of my salary.  Through time, even with an income boost, I still found that I couldn’t build a decent amount of savings.

Then, I realized what was eating my budget very slowly: trip to the cafe & convenience stores, lunch outs, buying clothes as often as my budget allowed me to do so, planning local & international trips et cetera.

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This changed when I finally joined my family business. I was honestly earning less from my fixed salary but saving more.  So, what changed?  My clothes had longer lives.  Trips to the cafe were cut down as I had to access the national highway if I really wanted to make it happen. Haha.  I also started focusing on other goals such as being able to save up for our condominium, wedding, family life et cetera. 🙂

There was even a time I tallied all my day-to-day expenses and classified them accordingly.  I found out that 40% of my earnings went to my hobby–it wasn’t even arts. OMG.

These days, before I dive into a project, I weigh the pros & cons more carefully. 🙂 So there. In short, after Arianne’s talk, I wanted to discuss this all with her but I had to pick up Riley already so I’m writing all my thoughts here instead. 😀

Good news is that aside from building a concrete savings plan, being a Sun Life financial advisor can also help you pursue your dreams. This “job” gives you the chance to earn unlimited income and you also get to work with a flexible schedule.

Former model Agnes Cuaso & fellow new mom (also a previous workshop attendee apparently :D) shares how being a Sun Life advisor has helped her spend more time with her baby.

To sustain one’s passion, one should take the financial aspect seriously.- Arriane Serafico

Aracama & Lights

Ballerina Cheska Sarausad also shares how she is able to sustain dancing and shelling out Php 5k for toe shoes alone every week thanks to being a Sun Life advisor.  She said that she has multiplied her starting salary 10 times since then.

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Camera & Sunlife IMG_9597

As Agnes said, start saving & investing as early and save as much as you can.  I so agree and I could really go on with this topic about how you should be saving before spending and also investing aside from saving. 🙂

As Clarissa de la Paz, a friend & the writer of “I Wish They Taught Me Money in High School” shared, money is something that is considered a taboo topic in our country.  I guess it’s high time that we talk about it.  At the end of the day, YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR DREAMS.

Sun life also offers financial literacy classes in their #LiveBrighter sessions which you may sign up for via

Learn more about how your time & money can work for you here:
Twitter: @SunlifePH
Instagram: @SunlifePH

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