Money is a sensitive topic for most people. It’s a complex, necessary evil that frees us when there’s lots of it and binds us when there’s too little. Most want more and today’s culture certainly promotes the seeming need for exactly that.
For artists, this is all heightened tenfold.
The unpredictability of our money paired with the often distant dream that we’ll break free of famine and into the feasting as most of our industries are supposedly (seldomly) wont to do, keeps us living in a vicious cycle of often irresponsible financial management. More so, our self worth finds itself deeply rooted at the center of our money “situation”.
This makes a lot of sense given that our business funds (income and expenses) are caught up with our personal funds. Why does this matter? Because unlike your friend Steve who works at his law firm or Nasia’s gig at Apple, they’re only responsible for showing up to work, filling out tax paperwork and letting their higher ups take care of the rest. But – as a poet, director, actor, or cellist, you *are* the higher up! Even if you’re working for someone else, your gig will end and all the while, you will need to make sure you’re managing your professional and personal finances as precisely as possible.
Beyond our funds being mixed together, your product is YOU. Therefore, the money you do make off of it is even more entrenched in your being. How can you reasonably be expected to separate yourself from your finances?
When we allow our money to validate or invalidate our sense of selves, we de-prioritize our work, create opaque boundaries and often lose the ability to have the real convo about what we need to do to make improvements, certainly with others and potentially even with ourselves. I know this from first hand experience. Working through responsible financial management is a major piece of Artist’s Strategy’s work and it can bring up a lot for creatives, rendering them stuck in their tracks. Because even if they want to move past bad habits, their sense of selves is undermined by admitting to themselves and others the truth of how their money may have been handled.
The best way to shift and develop a healthy relationship with your money is to do exactly that. Start small based on where you are and seek the guidance or tools you need to develop a budget, a savings strategy and week to week process for minding your funds.
No matter how painful or uncomfortable it may be in the present, your future will thank you.