When your work is play, so often it is hard to see it as valuable.
Our culture teaches us that hard work is noble and suffering is required for growth. Yet, watching children explore the things that fascinate them demonstrates how untrue this #adulting assumption is.
A child that wants to feel in control might play with dolls, instructing them where to sit and how to behave. A child who wants to create a different reality may draw a world and inhabit it with monsters who scare him away at night. A child who doesn’t understand the way things work around her might take something apart just to see.
None of these explorations is deemed ‘childish’ or even immature. It shows the developing mind of the child focuses on where it wants to go next.
Yet when it comes to our creative contributions, we feel like it needs to arrive fully packaged and ready for market on delivery. That’s where business brain might kick in.
Business brain is great (and will create long term financial stability for you if you let it).
Creative brain needs freedom and exploration to craft the realities it needs to build the thing it most needs to explore next. It is this exploration and curiosity around possibility that draws audiences, critics, and buyers alike.
Think about how in a piece of great jazz music, it’s not the notes that matter. It’s the way they get to the notes or the feeling that the notes stir when they land, or the emotion that propels the notes that turns a jazz classic into a unique expression of the musician.
When it comes to making money, creatives hold a cultural belief that it’s all or nothing. They are either starving artists in a garret and hole-y gloves or they are sell-outs making pop cultural roadkill.
This all-or-nothing thinking might ring a bell from another challenging aspect of human existence: exercise. You are either running 15 miles every day (up hill both ways!) or you are a lazy bag of bones.
Simply not true.
All efforts, like all money, counts.
The money you earn from jobs you love, money.
The money you receive as a gift, of thanks, inheritance, or luck. Money.
The money you earn from stuff you did years ago. MONEY.
It all counts.
So if that’s true, why not lean into the ways you make money that bring you joy?
How often have you caught yourself saying, ‘if I only had the money’?
It’s a refrain that plays out in our conversations (and in our brains) like an earworm. And it plays so often that it becomes white noise in the background.
We use this downbeat as the soundtrack of our lives, a syncopation that we carry into the things we do and the conversations we hold.
But! It holds an intrinsic falsehood.
When we wait for the money to arrive before we take action, we often don’t take the preliminary actions that prepare us for the big move we are dreaming about. Think about it: moving to your dream city requires packing your stuff, finding a place for them to be, maybe making connections in your new city. None of that requires money. It requires action.
And if you are waiting for the money to take action, you aren’t building the supporting muscles that you keep you grounded and safe during times of thrilling transitions. This can lead to what Gay Hendricks calls Upper Limit Problems, or the ways we bounce out of the experiences we so long to have.
So while the money may be a key part of the major move you are looking to make, the strengthening of foundational muscles is more important so you can stick the ending when you get there.
Repeat after me: I am building the future I long to see with every action I take.
Imagine you walk into your neighborhood dollar store.
My beloved go-to for movie candy and art supplies, FYI.
You walk into your local George Washington General Store and you select the shiny object of your inexpensive dreams, a tinsel tiara, say, a bouncing balloon ball, or what have you.
When you head up with your object to pay, you search through your pockets but come up with three shiny quarters. Only. And no other cash.
You politely offer your three quarters to the cashier but as it is a DOLLAR STORE, the employee declines your kind offer. They suggest you tuck it behind the counter and come back for it when you have that greenback in hand.
No big deal, right? You shrug and vow to come back. No hearts broken, no souls forever ruined.
YET, when it comes to negotiating payment for creative service, this simple transaction of goods (shiny object) for value (the elusive dollar of this story) becomes oh so personal.
Say for instance a local nonprofit wants to spotlight your genius at their annual gala, just you, a crowd of hundreds, and maybe some free food. Sounds amazing, yes?
Forget all those years training your skills!
Banish those hard earned instincts to the back of the mental closet!
Deny all those years rehearsing and not hanging out with your non-creative friends!
Suddenly, the mighty talented creative who is so fabulous that someone wants to HIRE THEM stands reduced to a child waiting to be noticed by their mom at the end of the first day of kindergarten.
But when it comes time to ask for value in hand (remember that cashier insisting on the dollar as payment?), Creatives tend to shrink and hide their asking price behind a sense of not being worth it.
The dynamic changes from a simple transaction of object/services for value into one of value for value. Suddenly, the creative spirit wants to discover their value by what the nonprofit/casting director/buyer might offer.
Imagine instead coming from a place of already having value (like the cashier at the dollar store who knows their stuff is worth a dollar) and simply stating how much the object/service is worth.
The price is what it is, it’s not personal.
Yet how often have you failed to mention your asking price and left a gig with nothing or maybe some leftover food?
How often have you asked for less than you wanted because being told it was too high was *just *too *scary?
How often has the value being offered been internalized as YOUR worth?
But, my dear creative, does the dollar store employee feel like their worth is diminished when you walk away without your shiny object?
They know that when you are ready to buy…..you will be back.
Now you might argue that a dollar store delight is way, way different than the creative shuffle we all hustle every day. Too many artists, not enough jobs, blah blah.
But, my clever friend, you can also buy beautiful shiny objects anywhere. Arguably ones that last longer and might even not break before you get them home.
But why then does the dollar store and its siren call of value remain the destination location for fun?
Because it is the price you want to spend for the value you want to buy.
The fact that you don’t have the dollar YET is not the problem.
You know what you want and you want it now. Even if it’s not yet in the budget.
So to return to our nonprofit who is slavering to hire you, they too might just want your special magic but not quite have it in the budget for your unique brand of something.
If you quote a price that’s outside their price range, they will let you know. They won’t be mad. They won’t be offended. They will know they simply can’t yet pay for what they want.
But better believe they will be back when they do have that money in hand.
Because you, my dear creative, are worth it.
Carry on, rockstars!
~~Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies! Can’t wait to share my next blog post next Friday, same bat time, same bat channel. ~~There is life outside of the spreadsheet!! ~ Rhianna Basore
The worst word in the world – after taxes – might be
BUDGET. A skin-tight word that feels
like a seatbelt separating you from all the fun you could have. A word that means maybe those cute shoes and
happy hour on Friday are not your friends.
But having more bills than money at the end of the month
also feels pretty *NOT GOOD*.
What if you could have the best of both worlds – money that
feels good to spend but also feel flush enough to meet your bottom line?
The answer is EMOTIONAL COMPOUND INTEREST.
Say what, my friend?
Compound what? Fracture? Huh?
Compound Interest is the most amazing aspect of money, where
you get paid for having money.
Really. People with money will
pay you to hang out with your money. It’s
like the financial cool kids club.
In quick and dirty detail, compound interest is the interest
you are paid for letting someone keep your money in house, like reverse rent,
where you get paid to live there. Over
time, that money they pay you starts to earn interest too. So the money they pay you becomes even more
money, just like bread dough swells in size when left in a warm spot long
In this case, the banking institution is your warm spot. It’s super cozy there.
That’s all great for people with money to just leave around and
collect dust, you might say, but what about those of use with more hustle than
Imagine for a moment that instead of focusing on the amount of money you have to spend, you focus on what it does for you. Money is only an exchange of energy after all.
Maybe you prioritize that massage each month because your
body is a temple and you deserve it.
Maybe you always say yes to a night out with friends
because social time is the best time and you only live once.
Maybe you have a vintage coat collection that does not replenish
itself (*cough*cough*and you live in Southern California where it’s always
sunny and warm. Not saying I know this
person but she seems to have a copy of my credit card.)
More than the goods or experience you are buying, what
you are buying is the way it makes you feel to spend money on those things.
And it’s different for everyone.
Maybe that massage makes you feel like a Queen. We all need more Beyoncé in our life.
Maybe the massage keeps you loose, limber, and healthy for
the show you are doing. Have you seen
Lady Gaga after her Vegas show? Girl
makes self care look like an epic battle for health.
Maybe the massage lets you be still and breathe and not
think for a whole hour. Namasté, goddess.
Whichever one it is (and maybe it’s all three), that
feeling is what you are buying more than the object itself.
That’s why when it’s gone…..or lost…..or stained….it doesn’t
have the same value as when you bought it.
The trick is – and this is where it gets really fun – that feeling
can come from a whole range of things.
What else do you do ~ or can you do ~ that makes you feel
that way you want to feel? This is where
you get Creative. It’s literally your
Does your inner Beyonce need to rock some heels
and stomp around to music? (Mine usually
Does your Lady Gaga need to add a foam roller to
her nighttime ritual? In the words of
the great Ru Paul, can I get an amen?!
Does your inner goddess need to light a candle
and breathe in the morning so that her motor is not running on hyperdrive at
Guess what? Those are
all FREE ways to meet the same need and feel the way you want to
And you can take the difference all the way to the
That means when it is time to get on that massage table and have
a ‘Calgon, Take Me Away!’ moment, you will enjoy it more, knowing that you
From the compound interest of meeting your own
The money you could have spent on all those regular massages
you saved by choosing to meet those emotional needs in other ways.
AAAANND that saved money made you interest….which is cash…..in
your bank account…..that you can know use to treat yourself to real stuff.
You paid yourself to get a massage.
And that is some Rock Star level stuff right there. Nice work!
~~Have a fabulous weekend, lovelies! Can’t wait to share my next blog post next
Friday, same bat time, same bat channel. ~~
There is life outside of the spreadsheet!! ~ Rhianna Basore