No Starving Artists – 4 Money Lessons to Debunk the Myth!

No Starving Artists – Powerful Money Lessons

As a fellow artist, you’re probably not unfamiliar with money worries. It’s the way it goes since we chose to pursue the arts not just as a hobby, but as a career move, right?

Wrong! 

There are 2 misconceptions about creative people that get me really riled up

  1. That we aren’t smart and so we end up being creatives because we can’t do much else (BIG MYTH! Let’s deal with that another time but, here’s why I became a creative professional).

  2. That it’s impossible to make a decent living as an independent creative and so you must accept a life of struggling to make ends meet (Also a HUGE MYTH!)

I’m here to tell you that there are no starving artists here and my goal is to make sure it stays that way.

This is one of the major reasons behind the creation of my upcoming programme, SHINE. I want to see more creatives doing this business thing well. I want to see more of us thriving because I truly believe creativity changes the world.

And with that, I would like to share the 4 most powerful lessons I’ve learned that have helped me transcend above the starving artist nonsense.

4 powerful money lessons from 12 years as an independent (aka self-employed) creative

1. Systems are everything

If you’re winging it, you’re going to struggle!

Do you have the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you know how much you need to make each month?
  • Are you clear about all your expenses?
  • Do you know how much you want to make each month
  • Do you know where the money is coming from?
  • Do you know where you can actively seek out that money? (Because unfortunately,  it may not magically land in your lap – but, if you’ve got the plug for that, comment below please)
  • Are you clear on the kinds of activities you need to be doing, each day and each week, to:
    1. seek that money,
    2. ensure that it actually comes in?
  • Have you developed the habits/rituals or routines to ensure that you follow through on these activities? So that now comes down to you, the person, the business owner, the artist…
  • How do you keep track of all of this?

That’s why I say that systems are everything – in all areas of your business but perhaps most crucially – when it comes to finances.

In the No Starving Artists challenge, we actually work all of this out! Don’t forget to sign up if you’d like to take part.

2. A scarcity mindset is expensive!

How many of you can relate to this?

You worry that there won’t be enough money coming in so you end up saying ‘yes’ to projects that will most likely be stressful, painful even, and that you know you won’t enjoy doing. But sometimes you feel like you have no choice. If you say ‘no’, there might not be anything else on the horizon…

These projects end up being so draining (in terms of time, energy, creativity, and even joy!). You end up compromising the things you’ve got going that will actually set you up for better in the long run. 

Or say you have a product business – you feel obliged to submit to anybody who asks for a discount, or you’re constantly putting your items on sale. You may also, (more often than not) go out of your way to accommodate special requests regarding customisation, delivery out of hours, and more! 

All these things really compromise your time and your bottom line but, you feel you have to please every single person, in order to make it as a creative entrepreneur. In my experience, spreading yourself this thin – out of misplaced desperation if we’re honest – ends up costing you WAY more than what you hoped to gain from it.

So we need to just be honest with ourselves and STOP this behaviour. 

Knowing the fickleness of human nature, it really does help to create systems to help you restrain yourself!

It’s definitely not always easy and there’s quite a bit of mindset work to be done, which we shall touch on in the coming week so keep your eye out for the next post!

3. Profit First

This is the title of a book by Mike Michalowicz which I highly recommend you all read ASAP.

He talks about this particular system of taking all the money that comes in and physically allocating it to different accounts that are earmarked for different purposes. One of those purposes being profit. It is essentially setting aside the profit before you spend anything, that way it’s guaranteed. As opposed to the conventional approach where profit is whatever is left at the end.

We started implementing this system in my business, almost 2 years ago, right before the start of pandemic lockdowns and curfews. In doing so, we have not stressed about cash flow since.

In this uncanny way, the Profit First system works WITH human nature. People generally tend to always spend what’s in front of them… Well, this direction gets your profit allocation out of reach. 

It’s more intricately explained than I can do it justice here so, please go read the book!

(And while you’re at it, check out my success reading list for creative entrepreneurs)

A bonus money lesson

The majority of you may know this one but not many of us put it into practice. We make all kinds of excuses about why we can’t do it and we deprioritize the hell out of it. 

And it will most likely show in our results… 

* It pays to invest in yourself

We may not always have the money to do so… (And I must say that, sometimes, it’s really that we don’t value ourselves enough to find, to set aside, or sacrifice something else, in order to have the money to do so)

We may not always have the money to invest, BUT, we can all create time. If we truly want what we say we want, we can do this. 

If you are struggling to invest in yourself – in terms of time and/or money –  you need to take a hard look at yourself and be real about what you want and how badly you want it

Then act accordingly:)

Let’s move from famine to feast!

So there you have it, my top 4 lessons to help get out of the starving artist mindset. I hope these have and will continue to be useful as you either start or continue your creative professional journey. 

Join me in the free No Starving Artists challenge to start tackling these things a little deeper and get your money right. 

Also, a quick reminder to check out my weekly SHINE Live on Instagram, every Monday at 8PM EAT/5pm GMT/12pm ET. Join me for a great time of learning and growing and doing it all with joy! 

Until then, go out there and shine!

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