Money is one of the most troublesome aspects of being creative. We need it to survive but we can’t be slaves to it either. I am currently in the process of transitioning from part-time day job to freelance writing and, oh man, is it scary. The loss of a decent steady paycheck (and tips) is hanging over my head as I make the change to actually getting paid for doing what I love.
Though I feel a little like I’ve stepped off a cliff into a void that may or may not have a trampoline at the bottom, I’m not sorry I’m making the change. Part of what inspired this move was Lean In’s article “How to Disrupt Yourself and Why.” In it, Whitney Johnson, a business thinker and former Wall Street analyst, explains how taking a step that might seem backwards in terms of earning potential can launch your career. To make her point Johnson quotes Carine Clark, the CEO of MaritzCX who has successfully disrupted herself time and time again, rising to the top of big companies before finding promising start-ups and joining them at a fraction of her former salary. Then she helps bring the start-up success and her investment soon pays off. Clark likes to sum up her attitude as “lose something now to win something that is bigger and better.”
But back to the money issue. Though disrupting oneself seems to be the way to go, it’s best not to go about it without a plan. Recently, my mother shared this great article from Go Girl Finance “Five Healthy Financial Habits for the Self-Employed.” The author, Katharine Paljug gives great advice about how to manage the sometimes chaotic finances of a freelancer. Her tips are easy, practical, and will no doubt save me and any other fledgling freelancer lots of grief come tax season.
And for any young professional fresh out of the education system, or anyone looking for financial independence, I recommend Paulette Perhach’s “A Story of a Fuck Off Fund.” This second person narrative straddles the line between story and advice article. It is informative, persuasive and beautifully written. It tells you exactly why you should squirrel money away for the just-in-case times without being preachy. I found this piece through Austin Kleon’s newsletter, and it is probably the most interesting article I’ve read this year.
Money is a necessity but that doesn’t mean it should rule our lives. We shouldn’t stifle ourselves to make ends meet, but that doesn’t mean we should be starving artists either. Somewhere in there is a happy medium and I’m looking to find it. Have any inspiration or advice? Share it below!