I recently had an email from someone who had visited our website, liked what they had seen, but had a question about our methods and philosophy. The question was this:
"What about if I am an artist and I don't want to change my profession and also I don't want to have another job on the side? I want to keep my work and have great benefits from that."
In other words: I don't want to do anything apart from my acting career , and I want to get well paid for it. What do you think about that?
My immediate response was a mixture of amusement and irritation. Of course, for everyone pursuing an artistic career, what we all ideally want to do is get paid a ton of money for doing what we love (just make sure you have had your financial education before this happens - you don't want to end up a morality tale!). If you are a dramatic actor, making $100,000 per episode for being in a high quality night-time drama is about as good as it gets. For a musician, platinum albums generating millions in residual payments is where it's at. For a sculptor, having ones work on display in private collections and museums world-wide would bring home more than enough bacon for any number of New York apartments and trips to South America. But, assuming that it may be some time before we find ourselves in those enviable positions, what are we going to do about money?
And that, I think, is the problem with thinking along these lines. Sure, there are those, very few, people who are lucky or talented enough to walk out of their acing schools and into full time acting careers, or whatever other artistic endeavours you chose. But, for the rest of us, there will be a period (anywhere from a few months to several years), where we will have to do something else in order to make ends meet, while we wait for the income from our art to allow us to live in comfort.
"Have to". Those are the operative words in that sentence. Not "want to" or "like to" but "have to". There is a great line in "Gladiator":
"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to".
Now, do you have to have another job while you pursue your artistic career? Not necessarily; but unless you are either supported to willing to live on the streets, then it is something that you seriously need to consider alongside your artist development.
For the person who asked the question above, I would say this, finally: At Abundance Bound we have tools to help you work out exactly how much you need to earn in order to live (email us at mailto:email@example.com with "Chart of Expenses" in the tag line for help with this). Having gotten that number, you can then find work, be it your own business or a regular job, that will provide that amount in the least time possible, leaving you free to pursue your art around it. If you can sell enough pieces or work enough days to not need anything else, then that is truly great for you, and the focus now becomes what to do with the money you are earning, so as to get the greatest benefit out of it (that is where financial education comes in)
But, for the rest of us, truly consider the options before you. Take control of your financial lives so that you can pursue your art free form the crushing weight of financial stress. Bite the bullet and handle things now, so that they do not get out of control later. And, above all, never stop focusing on your artistic success, because by doing that, all things are possible.About the Author:
Miata Edoga is a working actor, as well as being President & Founder of Abundance Bound . Inc, the financial education company for actors & artists. Her vision is to develop a community of artists able to pursue their creative goals free from the crushing weight of financial stress.