Posts Tagged ‘money’

How to Price Your Craft

Whether you’re paid in dollars or with your audience’s gratitude, I’ve written here before that you should think of your craft as a business. Not in the Ebenezer Scrooge “let’s make lots and lots of money” sense, but in the “I value my work here enough to take it seriously” sense.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to value your own art, then the next question is “how much should I charge?”

How you answer this question could spell the difference between success and failure.

Why Many New Artists Fail

Here’s the thought process of many new artists:

  1. I’m new.
  2. I need work.
  3. I’m not as good as those who are more established in my field.
  4. I’ll charge less to “get my foot in the door.”

I’ll tell you where this leads: within months you’re finished.

Why? You were so worried about overcharging that you underpriced yourself right out of the market.

If you don’t make enough money to pay your bills, you’ll become discouraged. I understand that part of being an artist is learning to throw off discouragement…we’ve all been down that road. But in this case, it’s more fatalistic. You begin to tell yourself “I’ll never make any money doing this.” Sadly, the stack of bills piling up in the corner confirms your suspicion. (more…)

Children and Money

Being a financial coach and a parent means that I frequently get asked questions about children and money. Many of us struggle as adults because we never learned how to really manage our finances. We wonder how we can avoid making the same mistakes with our own sons and daughters.

Introducing an allowance can play a role in helping children learn to save. But how much should we give them? Should the allowance be tied to chores? These are just a couple of the questions that arise.

Allowances are very personal, and many experts have conflicting opinions.  As long as you remember that these are only opinions, here are mine: (more…)

3 Steps To Avoid Financial Nightmares

Ah, October. I love campy Halloween movies and haunted houses. To kick off the season, we watched the Ghost Hunter television show last week. You know the one. A team of investigators spend the night at a house where unexplained phenomena has occurred. They spend the episode trying to debunk the owner’s claims of paranormal activity. Sometimes these shows are frightening.

In this episode, both a baby carriage and a door moved on their own. Unexplained running sounds crossed the floor. In one video, there’s a definite shadow of something walking but there’s no actual person.

I wanted to sleep with the lights on that night.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but there are money horror stories, too. Gruesome tales that curdle a financial planner’s blood and make accountants shriek in horror. I know, scary stuff.  Here’s the most frightening money horror tale of all:

Money in your hands.

Scary, huh? You shaking? Maybe you aren’t, but you should be. Ever see the movies where the villain suddenly reaches out of the shadows and grabs the girl? In real life, the horror happens when your hand grabs a dollar bill.  Why does this so frighten financial pros?  That’s easy.  It’s because we know that once you clutch a dollar bill in your hand, there’s a good chance it ain’t gettin’ out alive.

In short, your hand is the most horrifying spot money could possibly be. (more…)

The Balancing Act: Tools to Manage Your Money

A friend recently asked me to review her spending habits. We’ll call her Linda for this piece, although that’s not her real name. Like many artists, Linda struggles with a budget because she’s constantly on the go. Between workshops, auditions and performances her life is chock-full of lightening quick money decisions. Spend more on parking to get closer to the theater? Grab lunch on-the-go to network with other artists? Hire better stylists to look her best for the next audition? Linda’s life is a constant barrage of decisions whether to spend, spend more, and still spend more.

Surprisingly, when I looked through her financial life, I could only advise her of a couple money management techniques to help her improve. Linda’s financial life was in better shape than the majority of people I see. How did she do it? To make up for the constant stresses in her life, she’d made five great decisions that were helping her balance art and money. You can copy each of these five methods in your everyday life to efficiently control the flow of money out of your wallet.

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Where Do I Start???

It was about 10 years ago that I reached a breaking point in terms of money. I had lots of debt, an almost empty bank account, and just getting the mail would bring me to tears because of all the bills I had just received and I wasn’t sure how to pay. If something didn’t shift, I was pretty certain that my pursuit of an acting career was over, not to mention the fact that I’d probably have to move back to NJ to live with Mom and Dad…

Fast forward 10 years, and every single time I begin working with a new client, the biggest thing I want them to know is that I understand how they’re feeling. It’s pretty rare to find someone in a situation much worse than mine was. The work and solutions I teach are not empty theories. I know first hand the financial journey you are on as a creative soul, and my mission is to give you the tools that will work for you and your artistic lifestyle.

The first question most artists ask when feeling that sense of financial overwhelm is: Where do I start? And the answer, while not always easy, IS simple. You start at the beginning. The very first step to meeting your financial goals is clearly defining where you are right now. This anchors your direction and allows you to easily gauge your progress.

There are two layers to creating that clear picture of your starting point. The first is the determination of your Net Worth. To arrive at this figure simply add up the current dollar value of your Assets (“what you own,” such as a car, home, investments, savings and cash accounts, jewelry, etc.), and subtract your Liabilities (“what you owe,” such as the car loan or mortgage remainder, students loans, credit card debt, etc.).

The next layer, factoring your Average Monthly Profit & Loss (also referred to as monthly Cashflow, or P&L), will require more time and effort, but is a critical element in understanding your financial baseline. In basic terms, your P&L equals your Income minus Expenses, or the precise amount you earn each month — from creative work, residuals, “job” jobs and/or side businesses — minus what you spend. As an artist, how do you pinpoint your P&L when income arrives from a variety of sources at random intervals and one month may differ wildly from another? The solution is to average our earnings and spending habits over a six month period. This will capture such variations and reflect all those “special, unforeseen” costs that don’t surface every month. Subtract the total of your average expenses from your average income to figure out your P&L. If this number is positive, you’re earning more than you’re spending; if it’s negative, you’re “in the red.” Your Average P&L, most accurately predicts your money lifestyle in all months.

Your success depends on the clarity of your P&L and Net Worth numbers. Armed with your true starting point you’ll be able to set concrete goals, determine milestones, and map a course for the future.

If you can use some clear guidance and accountability to take this critical step towards financial stability – check out Artist’s Prosperity 101. This is a powerful program that will guide you through each element of defining your personal financial starting point. In just 4 weeks you can have the control that comes from clarity – positioning you to stop surviving and start thriving!

When I started this process – more than anything I wanted clear direction. “Just show me exactly what to do.” Can you relate? Well, Artist’s Prosperity 101 does just that. You’ll get all the information you need in simple, manageable chunks so you can do what you need to do but never get overwhelmed.

Ready? Go!!!

The Great Home Debate

Popular wisdom says that you should purchase a home. Have you ever been to a party of homeowners and told someone you rent? It’s not uncommon to hear people mumble that you’re “throwing money away” and not “building equity” through mortgage payments. Because you don’t own a home you’re cast aside as some sort of second-class citizen.

Here’s the million-dollar question: should a creative individual buy or rent a home?

I think you’ll be surprised by my answer.

The issue of buy vs. rent is especially difficult because the creative community is a varied bunch. Although it’s unfair to stereotype a group of people as large as ours, I think we can agree that many of us are wandering hearts. We create for many reasons, but it takes a person comfortable with exploring unfamiliar territory to do what many of us do. A home ties us down, and that may work against our goal as artists.

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