[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski and is the second installment in a three-part series called Redefining the Hustle. Read part one here, and be sure to stay tuned for the final piece!]
In Part II of our Redefine the Hustle series (Part I focused on pandemic-proofing your time) we’re tackling that ever-present and ever-pesky scarcity mindset around money.
Yep, money. We’re talking about it.
While a lot of artists rather avoid talking about it, and certainly avoid trying to understand the principles around it, they sure do think about it. A lot. Where it’s going to come from, how little they have, how much they need (like, yesterday), and how to get their fans to fork it over.
The “hustle mentality” we’re taught in this industry damages our ability to make money in two main ways:
- Too many artists believe that the “hustle” is 24/7 and in order to build a career in music they need to dedicate every hour to trying to build it. Or in other words, in order to earn any money in this business, you have to struggle.
- Because it’s framed as being incredibly hard to make money in this business, artists believe they’re destined to remain poor and struggling until they catch some “big break.”
Here’s the thing – money is just money. It doesn’t come because something is hard. Does it take work to build a lasting career in music? YES! But it doesn’t take working 24/7 to earn money as a musician.
Part of redefining your hustle means letting go of that scarcity mindset and taking control over your finances in a way that empowers you, allowing you to attract the right audience into your life with clarity and confidence.
Attracting the right audience with a clear message that resonates with them while consistently showing up to engage with content will ensure that the money will come.
So, how can you undo the damage that the original “hustle mentality” has caused your money mindset?
Here are three simple yet impactful actions you can take on a daily basis to shift your mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance:
1. Look at your numbers.
This may seem over-simplified but it’s important and it’s something too many of us avoid too often. Don’t allow judgment or emotion to enter the situation. Just look at the numbers. Find out how much money is coming in (and from where), how much is going out (and to where), and how much money needs to be coming in each month to meet your needs (and wants).
Knowing what your money situation truly is (and it’s usually not as bad as you think) will allow you to make informed decisions moving forward. It doesn’t have to take long: after getting your numbers together, maintaining this practice can take as little as 10-20 minutes every few days or an hour a week. Feel free to use my free basic budgeting spreadsheet on Airtable here or try out an app like You Need a Budget (YNAB) to begin familiarizing yourself with your money.*
2. Choose your money mantra.
Words matter. The words we tell ourselves matter. As Gandhi famously said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” If you are set on creating a career from your art, and you believe deep down you can make it happen, then be mindful of the words you use around money.
In 2017 I had been building my current business for almost three years and while I was working in it full time, I was struggling to pay myself, let alone save for the future. In January of 2018 I made two promises to myself, and one of them was to change the way I spoke about money (the other promise is point #3 – keep reading).
For instance, I made an effort to stop using the phrase “I’m broke” or even joke about “being too poor” to do something with my friends. I also started repeating one of Marie Forleo’s money mantras, “There’s more where that came from,” every time money left or came into my life. In 2018, I quadrupled what I made in my business and even made my first hire.
3. Pay yourself first.
All of the money experts I have worked with, all of the books I have read, including Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, have recommended paying yourself first and for yeeeaaars I felt it was too risky, too irresponsible when there were bills to pay. Here’s the thing: there will always be bills to pay.
You’re a professional musician the minute you begin paying yourself. While you have nothing to prove to anyone, the sooner you can feel “legit” the sooner you can move beyond a large amount of self-doubt and start valuing what you do in more ways than one.
The second promise I made to myself in 2018 was to pay myself first from every paycheck. Many people ask, “How much do I pay myself?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, so do what feels right and stay open to adjusting it. Most money experts would recommend between 30-50% of your income in the beginning. As of January 1, 2018, I began taking a percentage of every piece of revenue and putting into my personal checking account.
Even if it was $5, I began to feel valued for all the work I was doing. Very soon after the amounts grew much larger. Part of redefining the hustle also includes showing others how to value your work by showing them you value your work. The ‘I’ll-beat-that-price’ mentality carries the stench of scarcity mindset and only attracts others with the same mindset.
Defining your own hustle takes courage. It requires giving up a toxic way of thinking, which sounds easier than it is – even when things are toxic, their familiarity is oddly comforting.
You’re not always going to get it right, but making an effort to practice these 3 tips above on a daily basis will completely shift your mindset around money and allow you to attract the money you want into your life with more ease and more clarity. Tell us in the comments what money mantra you’re going to commit to using here on out!
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