I just have to write and tell you how excited I am to have found you! I’ve been an actor for five years, struggling along with everyone else, and I finally decided that enough is enough: I need to put together a plan so I can really focus.
All of this time, I thought I had already been focusing on my art, when in reality, I was part-timing everything: my job, my family and my craft. Now, you’ve put me on a path that I don’t think I could have accomplished myself. I have an emergency fund, a separate checking account for my business, and for the first time, real hope for the future. While I have yet to score that elusive “great part,” my auditions are much better. I believe this is because I come in focused and without worrying about “how broke I am.” Sure, I still worry about money, but not in the “OMG, I need this role” desperate way that I have in the past.
Thank you again for what you do. I just wanted to let you know there are people out there who appreciate you very much.
It is rewarding when we hear from folks who have started to take control of their financial futures, because the unfortunate truth is that many people simply never will.
I was just reading some statistics from a group called the Employee Benefit Research Institute. While most Abundance Bound readers are self-employed (and not employees of others), we frequently fall into these same traps and the results of their recent retirement survey weren’t encouraging: (more…)
I was recently drawn to a new book by Austin Kleon called Steal Like an Artist. As an artist, who also works with many artists, I thought it was an important book to read…especially since I don’t feel like I (or any of my clients, for that matter) are thieves.
Kleon says that in order to maximize creativity, you must realize that everything has already been done before. Creativity is seldom about finding a new subject; it’s more about placing your own spin on existing work. I think this is true. Shakespeare’s plays are all stories that had already been told. He told them better. Monet wasn’t the first person to paint people, landscapes, or buildings. He just improved on the existing process.
What does this have to do with money?
So many people want to be great at money, but they don’t realize that to be good at something (ANYTHING), you should emulate the best work of the masters in that field. Only then will you begin to practice good money management techniques.
Artists often tell me that financial books are boring. My friends in the financial industry tell me that much in the art community puts them to sleep, too! The person who achieves greatness is the one who can dive into an area and keep practicing until they become great. The funny thing about becoming great? Those areas that used to be boring are suddenly some of the most exciting parts of the task, once you understand the nuances of the trade.
If you’re a painter, what would you say to a person who stated, “Painting like Jackson Pollack is simple!”? How does it feel if you’re an actor and someone remarks how easy it is to just pretend all day? You know the truth, don’t you? It takes years of practice.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the strange place I found inspiration for my 2013 goals. This week, I’d like to address New Year’s Resolutions head-on. Every year millions of people write out a fresh list of goals in the hopes of making the next twelve months better than the previous dozen. We creative people are no exception: in our world, it’s often the well-disciplined artist who ends up on the road to loftier goals, while the dreamer without clear, concise milestones spends another year chasing the same first-tier plans (and never can figure out why he doesn’t achieve anything….). You know the ones; they’re the artists with grand ideas, fantastic plans, and nothing to show for it except a series of excuses.
One mistake that even big businesspeople make, is that they set professional goals, but forget about the fuel to get them there. It might not be the most glamorous activity, but remember your financial goals; don’t just focus on your art. By making sure that your financial picture is healthy, you’re bound to have the fuel ready to have a wonderful 2013 in your craft. By placing well-executed goals, you’ll get where you want to go faster, and with less bumps along the road.
Some Financial Goals to Act On
Emergency Fund – If you don’t have a cash reserve, now’s the time to start one. Anything can happen…and probably will….in 2013, so you’ll want the protection to know that when bad news occurs, you’ve got the money in the bank to easily get through it.
What’s a good reserve? Generally, I recommend having at least three months expenses in a safe place away from market fluctuation (like a bank account). (more…)
Finance is often as much about planning as it is about doing. I know that sentiment isn’t popular. We live in a ready, fire, aim world. Remember the phrase “The early bird gets the worm?” Society values the first mover. While speed and making decisions are certainly important factors in your success, it’s as important to focus on the right task as it is to be performing a task at all.
Here’s a story about two women I’ve met recently:
Dora works a part time job at the coffee shop while she auditions for various acting roles. Her job pays $9.50 per hour and the only thing resembling a benefit is that they make really good coffee. Credit card companies are constantly after her, looking for a minimum payment. “If I work more hours, I’d be able to pay the bills,” she decides. Because she needs to make ends meet, Dora often works 30 hours a week (the max her boss will allow….but 10 more than usual) and is too tired to go after auditions as much as she knows she should. “Short term pain for long term gain,” she reminds herself.
Let’s do the math on Dora’s “gross” income:
Regular time = 20 hours x $9.50 per hour = $190
Extra time = 30 hours x $9.50 per hour = $285
$95 more for that extra time? It sure seems worth the effort to help pay bills.
Remember setting up domino chains when you were a kid?:
I think artistic people understand more than others what these falling dominoes can represent. One positive result leads to another: an artist is shown in a gallery in Los Angeles, and a dealer in New York sees the show. That leads to a second show in Manhattan. An actor scores a part in a play that’s attended by a big producer. The actor’s next role is a small part in a motion picture.
I attached this video because even when all doesn’t go exactly according to plan (they had to roll the marble twice AND there was a break in the chain at one point), there are still positive results!
We tend to forget that one good result has a tendency to create another.
It’s the same with our financial situations, isn’t it? Successful people are far down the domino chain: (more…)
What is it about September? People walk a little more quickly. Long evenings under the stars with friends become nights at home in front of the computer. Kids go back to school. Client work picks up. Projects roll. The world shifts into gear again.
This is a time for productivity. It’s a time to set up a successful move for your art. If you’re going to celebrate a great 2012, this is the time to clean up your financial picture so you can focus on your craft, your clients, and your career.
1) Write out your goals. In the book The E-Myth, author Michael Gerber points out that most small businesses fail because they don’t have set workflow practices. Don’t just jot down some 1,000 foot goals, get your hands dirty!
- What are you going to do each day to reach your goal?
- What milestones along the way will you set to stay on track?
- How much is each goal going to cost?
2) Set up your budget and direct deposit schemes. By automating your financial picture you’ll be able to focus on your art instead of on a stack of energy-draining “to do’s.” If you have a side-hustle job to pay the bills, direct deposit this money into a savings account, then set up an automatic transfer of enough to live into your checking. Use online tools such as Mint or Yodlee to plan your budget parameters. Once you’ve written out your expenses, you’ll be much more comfortable in your financial shoes. (more…)
A talking head on television the other day said, “It takes deep creativity to find quality investment opportunities.”
Is this true?
If investing is about creativity, how come so many members of our community cover their ears the second an investing discussion begins? Why aren’t we the best investors of all?
In fact, when I think of investing, I don’t think about artists. I think about button down suits and Wall Street types. Maybe we’ve been wrong all along.
I think the talking head is right. We should be the world’s best investors. Legendary mutual fund manager Sir John Templeton built a reputation on always looking left automatically if the crowd was gazing to the right. That sounds like our community, doesn’t it? We see the unexpected, feel what others miss, and bring life to what others pass over as the mundane pieces of the world.
Imagine how rich we’d be if we applied our natural abilities to good financial management!
We can apply our abilities to financial planning. We can be great investors. All it requires is for us to overlay the areas where we already excel onto a new palate of good financial habits. (more…)
I was busy with my semi-annual deep clean of my children’s rooms the other day and came across an old Dr. Seuss favorite: Green Eggs & Ham. Although I think you all know the story, I’ll give you the quick executive summary:
Grumpy furry guy says he doesn’t like green eggs and ham.
Sam asks him to try them before passing judgment.
Grumpy furry guy decides to try them.
He falls in love with green eggs and ham.
In my experience, most people seem to be like the grumpy furry guy. A good friend of mine disliked classical music until I dragged him to a concert. Fast forward five years and he’s calling us to ask if we want to accompany him to the symphony.
It’s fine to dislike music, because although I’d argue that it’s good for your soul, neither your health nor pocketbook are at stake. But when you decide you don’t like investing money, or prefer not to use certain tools to save, it could cost you financially. (more…)
There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.
-Tommy LaSorda, Hall of Fame baseball manager
Starting. It’s difficult, isn’t it?
Often you can see the path that leads to success in your financial life, your craft, or your career, but you just can’t bring yourself to make the first move.
There are many reasons people don’t start. Most of them are labeled procrastination by people around you. I don’t think that’s fair. There are many, many reasons to wait on your goals, most of them far more involved than simple “procrastination.”
You don’t have all the facts yet.
You have other priorities.
It isn’t the right time of year.
You’ll be fresh tomorrow.
When you get money, it’ll be easier to start.
Once you pay off that old debt, then you can begin again.
The kids are about to go to school/end school/be born.
All of these are reasons to wait. Most of them are even good reasons. No matter, we know for certain one fact: it’s clear that now isn’t a good time to start anything new. But, you still know in the back of your head that if you don’t start now, there’s a chance that you never will. (more…)
Ah, late January… a time of colder temperatures, snuggling around a warm fireplace…and December’s credit card bill waiting like a bomb in your mailbox.
Did you overspend during the holiday season? If not, many people you know made up for you. According to this Bloomberg Businessweek article, consumer debt rose more in November of last year than it had in 10 years.
Although analysts call this a “good sign” for the economy, doesn’t this statistic frighten you? Weren’t we just talking recently about many people losing their homes because of too much debt? People in the arts, especially, shouldn’t take on debt they can’t afford. In many cases, our income streams bounce around enough that we shouldn’t be spending next month’s paycheck that may never arrive.
But, if you overspent over the holiday season, there’s nothing to do now but clean up the mess. It won’t be easy, but with a good plan and the right tools, you’ll be back on your financial feet in no time. Here are my four steps to curing your credit card hangover: (more…)