Money Management for Creatives

In the world of creativity, the notion of blending artistry with business acumen often feels like an uncomfortable tango. For too long, artists and creatives have navigated intrusive questions about their financial viability while grappling with the outdated stereotype of the ‘starving artist’. However, there is a profound shift happening. Creative careers are continuing to emerge as a powerful form of currency in its own right.

The only way to become a paid creative in 2024 is to put the work in and have the right mindset.

Rethink the Starving Artist Trope

It’s no secret that creative people don’t naturally gravitate towards the business of art. We shy away from left-brained tasks and operate instinctively on the right side of things while discovering ingenious ways to make a profit.

Yet and still, artists and creatives get asked intrusive questions like “How do you make a living?” to “Does art pay your bills?”. Many of us are confidently aware that the outdated notion is now the backdrop to recent changes. I’ll go as far as to say the infamous ‘starving artist trope’ can be put to rest because we are witnessing creativity become currency.

Being able to leverage your use of the internet namely social media has changed the game, raised the bar, and set the record straight for so many.

The Power of Creativity as Currency

Corporations are funneling thousands into creator funds and are consistently seeking high-ticket clients. Even though creatives are getting less negative press about their lack of financial awareness, let’s be honest, our energy towards money management can be a little janky sometimes.

And rightfully so, because our income can be inconsistent. We become anxious when the rent’s due, flinch at the mere thought of a utility bill, and can’t comfortably charge services on autopay from one account every month. The biggest indicator of our money-managing attitude is how we feel when it comes to negotiating salaries and selling our goods/services.

If nobody has made it clear to you before understand this now; it is possible to feel good about your finances and to speak positively about the money you spend and the money you make. Adapting some of these mindful money management tips will help to evolve anyone’s perspective on their relationship with creative currency.

Mindful Money Management Tips for Artists and Creatives

Get Clear Values

Start by writing out your core values. What lights your creative fire? Maybe it’s investing in quality materials, immersing in diverse cultures via exhibits, restaurants, or travel, or supporting social causes that inspire themes in your art. You can begin to align your spending with said values by putting money aside each time you get paid so that you can put it towards your creative development. You can either set a particular goal that you want to achieve or continue putting aside funds without assigning more meaning to it, and create a ‘rainy day’ fund for unexpected occurrences. 

Write Intentional Budgets

You just can’t get caught up in singlehandedly surviving and affording the necessities of life. Investors and grants are important and helpful, and yes, your artistic dreams deserve to be funded, but as quiet as it’s kept, you should be the first person to support them. Putting money aside for professional development events, supplies, application fees, and the occasional casual/informal meeting will help establish the value of your work endeavors. Your artistic projects and pursuits earn a front-row seat in your budget and should be neck and neck with other financial responsibilities you have.

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Become Resourceful

Choose sustainability! If you can get around purchasing the premium name brands, do just that, but don’t sacrifice quality. Start looking for sales on supplies, and look for different materials you can make art with. Expand your reach by looking for supplies in nontraditional art supply stores, begin to up-cycle materials, explore affordable tools, and collaborate with people you feel aligned with. Get more creative around any current limitations.

Seek Fulfillment, Not Just Success

Revel in graduating from working for “exposure”. If you’re not there yet, you will be very soon when you know the value of your work and your creative currency. Revel in the fulfillment of chasing your creative vision, nurturing your craft, and leaving a positive impact on other people through your art. Taking all this into consideration will help you to reimagine success beyond your bank balance, while also creating more opportunities for you to grow.

Adapt and Evolve

Flexibility is your secret sauce. Your financial landscape will change as your creative journey unfolds. The trick is to stay nimble—tweak strategies, adjust budgets, and realign priorities for that perfect balance. It will look different from month to month, and each quarter will yield different results. Being aware of the inconsistencies will help you be better prepared for the journey.

It won’t always be sunshine and pineapples, but the confidence you discover will help you to stay diligent on your path. Embracing a holistic approach to your finances will help nurture your creative spirit, and get you comfortable with financial wellness.

It may not be easy to welcome financial stability into your life, especially if you don’t have large/consistent income, a decent credit score, or poor spending habits.

But it is manageable and attainable by taking mindful, intentional, and simple steps toward your goals. 

until next time
peace and purple


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