Recognizing potential pitfalls regarding the handling of your finances is the first step to avoiding them. Without any judgment, answer these questions honestly and quickly with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
- Have you ever supported someone else while you, your creative business, your dreams, your life were put on hold? Are you too afraid to cut lose a loser/deadbeat friend or lover for fear that nobody else will come along?
- Are you afraid to ask for a raise or to raise your rates, and thus remain underpaid? Do people owe you money, but you are afraid to ask for it back (or forgot)?
- Are you so disorganized that you don’t bill clients promptly or pay your bills (or taxes) on time?
- Have any of your bad habits hurt your career (showing up late, not at all, or intoxicated)?
- Do you do things that are dishonest or go against your morals and values to make money? Do you hate your job and do it just for the money?
- Do you make unrealistic promises that you can’t keep?
- Does your lack of savings put you on the brink of financial disaster?
- Do you do things in haste that have caused you to lose money in the past?
- Do you buy material things to make yourself feel better or to impress others?
- Do you get angry or jealous or feel inferior when others make more money, have nicer things, or have more success than you?
- Are you more than Euro 1000 in debt or struggling to make minimum payments on your debts? Are you in the dark about how much you owe? Are you near the limit on your credit cards?
- Do you fail to take care of yourself? Do you not have health insurance?
- Do you let your possessions fall into disrepair and have to buy new ones?
- Do you turn down or blow off potentially bigger opportunities to stay within comfort zone? Do you ignore industry signals and fail to make corrections in your approach to your career?
- Have you ever been a victim of a scam or get rich quick scheme?
- Do you feel that many of your money problems you brought on yourself?
- Do you think balancing your checkbook is a waste of time? Have you bounced more than a check or two this year?
If you said ‘yes’ to more than a few questions, your money woes may not be because of the economy, the art world, or other external factors, it could be that you are to blame. If that is the case, that is good news because it means it is fixable and within your control to do so.
Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?
Ever wonder why the rich got richer? I will tell you why. Because making and managing money (and making good, sound financial decisions) starts in your head. In the story you tell yourself about you, your business and your money. Without wasting their mental capacity on envy, anger, worry, fear and frustration, they can flourish. (Our brains work better without all that distracting brain clutter). Instead of worrying about money, they focus on finding solutions and creating great work, knowing that by being more productive the money will come.
Wealthy people (creative and otherwise) usually have a healthy dose of self esteem and are able to seek and accept money that comes to them without any guilt. They value themselves and their work, time and talent. They don’t waste time on things that don’t pay off, because they are cost conscious and profit minded. They would prefer to pick a project that has the probability of turning a profit rather than directing their time and resources to something for which the best they could hope is to break even. They know what they want, believe it is possible, overcome their fears and move forwar. And when they make it, they feel they deserve it, so they don’t usually sabotage their success. People pick up on their confidence (and can see their success) and want to work with hem, hire them, pay them large sums of money.
So remember, if you focus on abundance, that is what your mind believes, and you will find creative ways to get it. The flip side is to listen to naysayers who tell you that nobody makes any money in the creative business and that we are supposed to struggle. If that is the story that you tell yourself and believe, guess what that is what you will get. Stop saying that money comes to other people. No matter what has happened in the past, you have to focus on the work at hand. If your mind is filled with doom and despair, it will be hard to feel that you and what you do have value, and they do. So if you could choose an attitude for today , would it be negative or positive?
The No Limit Story
Maybe the most devastating effect of low self worth is that it limits what you think is possible, which in turn limits your growth, which ultimately affects your earning potential. Low self worth usually equals low net worth. How? Let us say you suffer from confidence issues, are you more or less likely to go for a grant? Your inner critic quickly shuts down the possibility of YOU ever getting the grant with an inner dialogue like, ‘Who do you think you are?’ We must break self imposed limitations on what we can do and how much we can earn as creative people. There are others who will try to beat you down so they can take advantage of you, don’t help them do that.