Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you look at your bank statement? Either you don’t want to see how much you have coming in, or you have too many bills you needed to pay that month and you can’t bear to see what it has done to your balance, so you feel like you’re in a catch 22?
I remember when I was in graduate school and had just gotten my last student loan check that went primarily toward rent, books and food for the semester. I had very little left over, but was teaching private yoga lessons to a couple who were fully committed to their practice. I relied on that income, plus the few classes I was teaching at a studio, to get me through my second to last semester at NYU. That term I was working on a piece in collaboration with drummer Andy Stochansky, who lived in Canada at the time, so I was choreographing on a tight deadline to make sure he had enough to work with as he wrote the score. All was going well, when suddenly I got a phone call from my beloved yoga couple saying they decided they didn’t want to spend the winter in New York so were going to be leaving town for the next three months. What was I going to do??
I was left scrambling to try to figure out how to make ends meet without disrupting my rehearsal and class schedules, and didn’t know if I was going to make it. This was the time I was determined to understand how to run a successful business, so I had been talking with a man who ran a successful socially-conscious brick and mortar business here in the city, Robert Mayer, who eventually became a mentor to me. I called him to ask his advice, frantic and completely panicked. He listened ever so patiently, and then said to me in his soft, even-toned voice, “sounds like you didn’t prepare enough for a dip.”
“I didn’t prepare enough?,” I said. “How could I have prepared for them to stop lessons this fast? They were completely committed, I had no way of knowing.” “You need to assume that’s going to happen,” he said, “especially when you make a choice to put all your eggs in one basket.”
That was what hit me like a ton of bricks: I made the choice to put all my eggs in one basket. But how in the world could I take on any more clients with the schedule I had for school and my show? That was where he told me what I most needed to hear: “You have a responsibility to your art to figure that out, and make it so that you are in control of your cash flow, not the other way around. It’s called owning your destiny.”
I had never looked at it that way, and quite frankly was dumbfounded at how clear and logical it felt, yet I had no idea how to make that happen. This is where Robert taught me how to optimize my income like an entrepreneur who knows how to make her money work for her.
There are few greater disruptions to the creative process than lack of cash flow, but as artists we are rarely taught how to prepare for that and manage that as we are growing up, or while we are studying art in school.
The truth of the matter is that for the rest of our lives as we pursue our art as our business (and that is what it is, by default, if we are making it our life’s work) we will never have what we might consider a ‘steady income’ because we are not working a job that pays us the same amount of money every week. Instead, we are running our own businesses where cash flow varies depending on a plethora of factors we can’t always control: we didn’t get hired for the gig we thought we were getting, the dance show you were supposed to choreograph was postponed six months, the new retail store that was supposed to carry our line needs to hold off until the holidays, the acting job has been shelved indefinitely.
There is a particular method business owners who know how to expertly manage their revenue use to ensure they have more than enough to get by every month, including the down months. Robert taught me how to do this, and although it took me a while to really put into action, once I did my life never looked the same. I started by figuring out how to grant myself an extra $1000 per month, which enabled me to focus solely on my art for the rest of that semester. I call this process optimizing your income.
Optimizing your income starts with knowing how to treat your income like revenue, which enables you to cover your expenses every month, pull out a net profit and reinvest in your artistic work so it is able to grow, as well as invest a certain amount to put your money to work for you- and still have enough left over to spend on unexpected expenses that come up!
Want to know exactly how to do this? I’ve put together a special Master Class on this exact topic that will take you through the three steps you can begin to take right now to create this for yourself, no matter what you may be making in this moment. These are steps that will enable you to turn your financial life as an artist into one of consistent profit, with your money doing the work for you, and will get you there quicker than it took me, I can promise you that!
We will cover exactly what you need to know to turn your income around and begin to see your creative vision come to life now (and the best part is we will begin to put your money to work for you!)
Click here learn more and sign up, now, as this Master Class is just one week away!
I believe artists are hardwired to run the best businesses in the world. Help me prove my belief by taking action and sharing a theme that is integral to your art in the comments below or share a visual on Instagram using #artistsinbusiness and tag me: @alexisfedorpics!