Money is always a juicy topic - we don't have enough...we want more... But yet no one really talks about it.
I was lucky to grow up in a comfortable home, however in the beginning of my career I wouldn't say I was financially educated.
In year 9, our head of year encouraged us to set up a bank account with Midland Bank, which later became HSBC. We were told it was something we should do (I agreed) however there were so many pieces that were missing.
Incidentally he liked to wear wacky ties. I tried to google image one of his favourites 'A multicoloured tie with a gutted fish on' but strangely nothing popped up...so you will have to just use your imagination with this one...
I knew I wanted to be actor from being about four years old and still continue to make money as an actor, thirty two years on. However at that time I didn't really know the score. I had never met an actor who actually made it their career. I just knew that I wanted to do it.
That is where my fuzziness started... and the imbalance began.
This is quite a personal post so I hope it will be read as such and perhaps you may nod along.
1) As a creative I thought I had to be dedicated to my art... a starving artist who didn't need money. It turns out, in order to deliver my best work, I need a full tummy. I know some people talk about 'forgetting to eat' or accidentally missing meals... in truth, in 36 years I reckon I have missed approximately 17 meals. Plus I am a human in the world who has life admin to attend to.
2) I should be grateful for the opportunity...you never know who you might meet. I agree with this statement but not at the expense of self worth. So many times I have found myself in rooms where I was questioning why I was there. I just said yes because I thought I should. It turns out often the answer was a big bold no.
3) I underestimated the power of having an entrepreneurial mindset. I went along with the notion that when I was working as an actor, I was winning and when I was between contracts I was losing. I was successful or I wasn't. These days I am in charge of my income and make it my mission to make it consistent. I don't thrive when I am not in control. These days I have around 15 different income streams.
4) I don't want to do free work or be paid in beers or sandwiches. I now really understand the importance and value of my time plus the skills, experience and the talent I can bring to a project. I am too experienced to immediately say yes.
5) 'Their dream' is not necessarily 'your dream'... There is such pressure to say yes because everyone else is doing it. You know the obligatory email of ' X is getting married so I am organising the hen do...could please transfer £££ so we can kick start the process'.
The temptation can be to quickly find £££ and transfer over however a pause is always good. Once I received a message from someone I had never met, about a bride to be who I had met once, it had to be a no. Years ago I would have agonised about being a nice person... fortunately I am able to tap into my instinct much more these days.
Here are some things that I have really helped me:
1) I have done the money mindset work (and continue to do so) and have uncovered where my blocks are.
2) I charge well for what I do. Over the years I have been in so many situations where I have been scraping by and everyone else was thriving. It was so blatant and wasn't good for my self esteem, my mental health or my bank balance.
3) I ask 'What's your budget?' I assume that the 'opportunity' is paid. This sounds simple but it is game changing.
4) I negotiate. This is not always in money terms, sometimes making the project work for me in terms of time, details and expectations.
5) Boundaries. I rarely do discovery calls or 'random coffees'. I was only saying to Matt yesterday, unless I keep my boundaries in check, I am always the one who suffers. Everyone else gets what they need from me but I am left sliding down a wall like Pat Butcher ugly crying.
6) Coaching and mentoring can be fuzzy topics...sometimes people want to have a chat with you for free...but the information I share could be business (and life) changing. I now know how valuable my work is (even if a random 'Could I have a chat with you' enquiry doesn't) so I have show up accordingly.
7) I say no rather than yes. Often my gut tells me everything I need to know.
8) I don't get it right all the time...sometimes technology lets me down or we need to pivot as we go. This is normal and part of being in business. I always make sure I back everything up in an email and bring integrity, honesty and professionalism to what I do.
9) I am always clear about my intention. I always ask why I am doing something... as the great Oprah Winfrey says... 'What is your intention?'
10) I make it my responsibility to be part of the money conversation. To use my knowledge to empower others
Here are some of the books that have really helped me (click to find out more):