Scene: A 14-year-old, promising young cellist named Kate is told by her teacher that she really needs to attend her first big summer festival that year. The festival in question was 6 weeks long, and cost a lot of money. Money that we simply didn’t have, according to my mom. Her answer was quick and clear:
My dad, however, had a different take. I mean, we still didn’t have that money just lying around, but his attitude was:
And he looked in the paper for a part-time job. He found one driving a newspaper delivery truck and did that for a few months until he had made enough to cover the fees. (thanks, dad!)
That festival changed everything for me–the teachers I got to work with, the friends I made, and having that “brand name” on my resume work their magic to this day, and I will always be grateful that he made the sacrifice of his time and energy. Mostly, I’m grateful that he taught me that there is always a solution to be found when it matters.
And now that I’m on the OTHER side of it. The side that my teacher was on when she knew that going to a big summer festival would be the catalyst I needed to reach conservatory-level playing, I know the heartbreak she must have felt for me when at first, we said “No. We can’t afford it.”
The heartbreak for me comes when I meet someone in a discovery call, and they’re desperate to do a program of mine like Creatives Leadership Academy or 1:1 work because they know it’s the exact thing they need to move the needle forward, but they can’t afford the fee.
Sometimes the money truly isn’t there. Sometimes the person just feels guilty spending it “on themselves” (forgetting that eventually, they’ll be bringing in MORE money for the whole family.)
And I get it! The price tag on live coaching programs can be steep. I was recently asked to join one that costs $75,000 for a year! Yes–you read that correctly.
I said no, but not because of the money. I said no because the coach’s area of expertise, though AMAZING, is not where I need or want to focus my growth this year. If they HAD been exactly what I needed right now? I would have found a way. I would have found a solution. Hell, I would have driven a delivery truck for a few months.
But I’d love to take a moment to show you how you can create a fairly significant sum of cash in a relatively short period of time, without having to resort to such extreme measures as my dad.
You see, artists and creatives are actually at an advantage. For us, more money doesn’t always have to come from more time. People are willing to pay for our expertise; for the value we can bring to them–not the hours we spend giving it to them. Think about it– If you pay top dollar for the best hair stylist in town, do you really care if it takes them 2 hours or 20 minutes? As long as your hair looks great, right?
Put together a show and shop it around. Churches, Community Centers, House shows, Anything within driving distance. You’ll need to sell 250 $20 tickets to make $5000. If you can do 8 shows, and get around 30 people to come to each one. You’ve got it. Raise the ticket price to $25, and you only need to sell 200.
Put together a workshop geared toward an upcoming event. Are all-state band and orchestra auditions on the horizon? Teach a workshop that goes over the piece, scales, and sight-reading, with mock auditions at the end. $150 per person for a half-day workshop? You’ll need 34 people to sign up. Or is there an upcoming art show? Teach a framing workshop or an open studio day where you help people finish their pieces. Nutcracker auditions for the kiddos? You get the idea.
The simplest method, but slightly less exciting, is to take on another student or two. No matter what you teach–it can be a private piano student or someone you tutor AP Art History to after school. Where you live, and who you teach goes into what you can charge for each lesson, but for many of my clients, taking on 90 minutes more teaching per week brings in around $5000 over the 10-month school year.
I’m not going to take away your avocado toast or your coffee. (Believe me, I would NEVER take away someone’s coffee!) But we can “put” an extra $5000 by NOT spending it on certain things as well. When my husband and I cut out drinking for a month–which we do a couple of times a year, we end up saving about $1000 each time. That’s just one thing. I remember when I was early in my freelance life, a group of us always went out for dinner between the dress rehearsal and the concert. One time, though, a couple in that group whipped out a couple of sandwiches and some carrots and celery sticks. And said they’d meet up with us for a coffee later. They were saving up for a down payment on their first home and decided they would cut out eating out for a few months. It totally worked–they were able to add an extra $5000 to their down payment when they found their dream house.
Look into grants and professional development funds. The school where I taught in Boston helped pay the expenses of my CD recording project. Several clients have had PD funds awarded for their coaching work with me, and there are grants available for all sorts of projects. Every year, crazy amounts of money is left on the table at these schools and organizations. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.
Bonus: Go old school, and have fun with it. How many money-making activities can you think of? It all adds up.
What happens if you:
Which one of these would work best for you? Have you tried any of them? Leave a comment and let me know!
Because if there is something you want or need– if it’s calling to you and your gut is telling you that this is something that can really turn everything around for you. Then I’m here to say there are ways to come up with the money you need. There’s always a solution.
So whatever it is that is sitting there in front of you–waiting to change your life for the better, please don’t let it pass you by!
And if that perfect, career or life-changing thing is Creatives Leadership Academy, remember that the program is designed to help you make MORE money as a result of the work. So if you’re able to figure it out short term, it’s going to be SO worth it in the long term.
P.S. This is the LAST WEEK to enroll in this year’s Creatives Leadership Academy. if you’re wondering if this is the right program for you, book a call SOON so we can chat about it! I’d love to help you reach those goals this year, and CLA might just be the thing for you.