Recently, I was reading about Elon Musk – the business magnate, engineer, and investor – involved in a number of amazing creations. (Tesla, Space X, Hyperloop, SolarCity are just a few.) At first, I thought, “Goodness! He’s an incredibly creative guy!”
Then I realized that in a real sense, this entrepreneur is also an artist… He just creates his “art” in a way that emphasizes the business aspects.
That made me think that flipping the discussion might be fun. What would happen if as artists, we treated our financial lives like we were business owners?
How It Would Work
Examining your financial life as if it’s a business and you’re an entrepreneur, causes a noticeable attitude shift. Instead of thinking, “Maybe I’ll save a little money here or there down the line,” we ask “How do I start saving NOW?” If the answer is “It’s impossible,” then looking at your money like a business leads you to the next logical question: “How do I speed up the process?”
You are reframing financial planning in a way that makes it fresh, exciting, and empowering.
Here Are Some Ways Good CEOs Handle Their Own Money
They Use Good Tools – Where do you have your checking account? Does your bank offer all of the features you need to be successful? Do you even know what tools are available at your bank?
If your bank can offer you a Swiss army knife full of features, you’re all set. However, some people pay unnecessary fees and put up with banking practices that sorely need updating. As an example, if you’re paid via check, does your bank have a mobile app that allows you to take a photo and automatically deposit your earnings? LOTS of banks now offer this feature, so all that’s standing in the way of this massive time saver is changing institutions.
Other questions you should ask… Do you have a savings account that pays decent interest? Is your investment account using low-fee options? Are your paid advisors actually giving you good advice?
They Systematize – CEOs know that they’re too busy to investigate everything all the time. The company is successful when they keep their eye on the prize. In this case, the prize is accomplishing your craft. So, ask yourself: Is your savings automated? Are you paying at least the minimum on your credit cards automatically so you avoid unnecessary fees and dings on your credit report? On a more advanced level, do you automatically receive spending reports each week? Apps and tools exist (many free) that accomplish all of these things. A friend recently said to me that she wanted to make good money decisions as often as possible. I try to look at it a little bit differently. I want to make FEW money decisions, and the ones I make I want to be BIG decisions. I automate everything else so that good decisions are made for me.
They Seek Out Tax Breaks – This one’s pretty easy. Are you eligible for a 401k at your day job? If so, this is the perfect spot to save for your older years. Are you eligible for a Roth IRA? With this special retirement account you’ll pay taxes on money going into your account, but then all future withdrawals are tax free.
On another level, do you earn money as an artist? Are you writing off the cost of your tools and education? Mileage? Workspace? Working with a good tax advisor to understand what you can deduct can be a dividend-paying relationship.
They Focus Their Energy On Top Opportunities – The best CEOs keep a laser focus on the important matters and aren’t distracted by other things. What are you doing every day to advance your career or your craft? Great CEOs also don’t just think short term. They focus on long term relationships. Maybe an opportunity doesn’t pay wonderfully right now, but can build powerful possibilities for the future.
They Develop Partnerships – As I mentioned above, great CEOs make sure they focus… so they delegate to awesome people who have skills in the areas where they won’t have time to concentrate attention. Finding a knowledgeable tax advisor is just one example. And don’t ignore possibilities for career collaboration. A performance artist might partner with a visual artist to create a powerful multi-media piece that would be attractive to a new audience. Exploring partnerships can be rewarding and create new avenues for success (not to mention new income streams) that you may not have considered.
By thinking like a CEO, you’ll first shore up the bottom line, and then go about creating and maintaining good cash flow. The result? A powerful shift in focus from financial concerns to craft!