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money talks says goodbye

Money-talks-column-headerHi everyone. Welcome to the final edition of  the Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that ever since our debut last May, we’ve been gathering wisdom from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.

We started this column following an essay about money I wrote for Mabel Magazine last spring. During the course of writing that piece, I started asking friends about their relationship to money/creativity. I realized that behind this somewhat taboo topic, there was so very much for us all to share.

Over the past year, it has been my extraordinary joy to interview so many amazing artists and entrepreneurs. I’ve learned so much. I am grateful to all our brave and honest contributors.

Interestingly enough, the biggest thing I learned from getting to author this column seems to be the same thing I learned when I wrote my essay: I want to keep doing what I love, because it is what calls to me. I want to keep doing what I love because it brings me joy. I want to keep doing what I love because my spirit, purpose, and vitality seem to be woven into my creative work.

I’ve loved all the helpful marketing and money tips that folks have shared. I’ve loved all the questions of value and self-worth. I love exploring ways to make money and support myself. These things are so incredibly important and I hope to keep on learning and growing in those areas. But where the real riches can be found for me are in simply living a creative life and being open to the twists and turns and loop-de-loops of that journey.

And get this — I’ve interviews some amazing creative folks over the past year. And I can call each one of them my friend. Talk about the riches of living a creative life! I’m sure you can say the same thing. Look around you. Who is skipping along beside you while you’re living your creative life? Pure gold, eh?

Speaking of — a virtual tip o’ my hat to our wonderful Mabel editors, Liz Kalloch and Stefanie Renee Lindeen. Thank you for creating this community and bringing us together through words and art. I’m honored to have a played a small role.

My final words for Money Talks? Do what you love and the money joy will follow. I promise. Hopefully the money will follow, too!

Adieu for now.

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money talks with Liz Kalloch

Liz Kalloch Money TalksHello, hello. Welcome back to our twice-monthly Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that in our columns we get to hear from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.

We started this column almost a year ago, following an essay I wrote for Mabel Magazine called “Do What You Love and The Money Joy Will Follow.”

Over the past year, it has been my pleasure to interview so many amazing artists and entrepreneurs. I’ve learned so much. I am grateful to all our brave and honest contributors.

As we wind down this column, I thought it would be fun to hear from Mabel Magazine founders and co-editors, Liz Kalloch and Stefanie Renee Lindeen about what stands out as some of the most important pieces of information they’ve learned about making money + living the creative life. We get to hear from Liz today. We’ll share Stefanie’s thoughts with you next time!

Liz Kalloch bioLiz Kalloch
Designer / Artist / Writer
San Rafael, CA

Out of the wide range of entrepreneurs and creatives that you interviewed for the Money Talks series, the one standout thread was the idea of worth. What are we worth? What is the worth of what we do with our lives and our businesses? What is the worth of this thing vs. that thing? What is the value we place on our own worth? Do we get to set the value of our own worth, or do we let others do it for us?

These are a few of the questions that your question Are you earning what you’re “worth” brought up for me and I’ve worked to get closer to answering some of them, and still have a ways to go on others. Bottom line though: I’ve learned more about how I place value on my own worth, and have put into practice something quite valuable to me — stopping to acknowledge my experience, my knowledge, my worthiness, my passion, my interest and my deep love for what I do everyday, especially in the face of someone saying “oh your rates are too high”, or “your work is okay, but it’s not what I’m looking for” and remembering I am still of worth. And so is my work.

More work to do on this topic, but your column has inspired a lot of my thinking about over the last months.

In terms of my favorite standout quotes from this series? Here you go:

Ren Allen on the question “What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you?” says: “I have a few choice words on this topic, but I don’t want to cuss here. It’s crap. It’s a line we’ve been fed (no pun intended) and it’s utter crap. I realize that society doesn’t always value art. But ultimately it’s up to us, as artists, to value our own work and what we bring to the table before we are ever going to find our ‘tribe’ who values us as well.”

Cindia Carrere on the question “Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love?” tells the story about how she had to raise the money herself to attend her 6th grade overnight field trip and how empowered she felt when she raised the money, and how it helped to her to appreciate the feeling of financial independence.

Maya Stein on “Do you think the expression, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow’ is accurate?” says: “Frankly, I could do without the second half of that sentence, mostly because the emphasis on it feels inaccurate. It suggests that there’s a symbiotic relationship between love and economic success, and they are — in my mind —a bit like those proverbial apples and oranges.
The irony of being a creative entrepreneur is that the words ‘creative’ and ‘entrepreneur’ don’t always play together very well. That phrase can mostly feel like an oxymoron, like ‘jumbo shrimp.’ It’s hard to keeps tabs on the money part and at the same time engage fully in the ‘love’ part.”

And Sara Page on “What’s your biggest money story currently?” She SO inspired me when she said: “I’m in the game now to leverage myself, and create passive income. I was so limited before. I thought ‘dollars for hours worked’ was the only model. The ‘good girl’ in me still wants to get it right, spiritually. The ‘brave girl’ wants to live her life to the fullest. The ‘creative girl’ wants freedom to keep diving into her creations. And the ‘mom and wife’ lady doesn’t want to choose between t-ball shoes, healthy groceries, and the auto-debit phone bill that’s coming out of her checking account next week. (What can I say, I want it all!) So I’m doing affirmations. Examples: ‘It is safe for me to succeed.’ ‘I love and accept that I have ambition and desires.’”

Money Talks has been a beautiful, heartfelt, honest and motivational column for me {and I think many others} and we are SO very happy that you volunteered yourself for it Sherry.

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money talks with Lila Danielle

Lila Danielle Money TalksHello, hello. Welcome back to our twice-monthly Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that in our columns we get to hear from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.

Today’s column features Lila Danielle a beautiful island girl who earns a living through several creative ventures, including the oh-so-enviable one of leading beach dancing.

Like me, you may particularly enjoy Lila’s no-holds-barred responses to these money questions. Her “hell no!” and “I hate this question,” had me grinning from ear to ear. This money stuff is not for the faint of heart, right?!

Lila shares lots of thought provoking stories and insights. But I think my favorite is this, “Regardless of the amount of money we earn, our worth does not come with a price tag. Our worth is priceless.”

I’d like for you to take a moment and consider what that means to you. And about you. Can you separate your worth from the money you earn? I’d sure love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

 

Lila DanielleLila Danielle
Facilitator/Writer/Movement Artist
Kihei, HI

Lila Danielle loves living on an island where the ocean is warm and it always feels like summer. She hosts weekly dance events and twice yearly retreats where people are moved by their own experience of creative expression and embodied wisdom. She’s also become a very devoted house-cleaner ever since her home opened as a bed and breakfast! beachdance.com + sojournmaui.com

1. Are you earning what you’re worth? The first two thoughts I had when I read this question were, “Hell, no!” and “I hate this question.” The critical voice inside my head immediately spoke up and said, “Well, aren’t you an angry artist and entrepreneur?” And while I know there’s some truth contained in that voice, the bigger truth is my worth has nothing to do with how much money I make and has everything to do with how I make and live my life.

What makes me angry is that we, as a society, decided at some point to equate our personal worth with our personal wealth in dollar amounts. What makes me angry is seeing investment bankers make a shit-ton of money while breaking the law and getting away with it while teachers barely make a livable wage while working their butts off and are paying for their own school supplies. What makes me angry are insurance and pharmaceutical companies who charge and earn outrageous sums of money while millions of people can’t afford health care or pay for the medicines they need to be well. I could go on, but my point being, money is what is earned and sadly, sometimes it’s earned very dishonestly. Worth is not. Regardless of the amount of money we earn, our worth does not come with a price tag. Our worth is priceless.

It’s unfortunate that our culture has assigned more perceived “worth” to certain professions (doctors, lawyers, CEO’s) by rewarding them with higher salaries and less “worth” in other professions (teachers, artists, social service workers) where incomes are significantly lower despite there being just as much worth and value in the work they do.

This question obviously stirs me up and it stirs in me another question I think we could all ask ourselves when it comes to making money and it’s this: “Am I earning enough?” For me, enough is feeling good about the compensation paid for my efforts and it supports my existence. Earning enough is what is important to me and when I earn more than enough, it allows me to provide financial support to others. When I don’t attach what I earn to what I’m worth, my experience has been that any sense of lack or any feelings of inadequacy or disappointment tend to disappear.

2. What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you? It brings up a ridiculous false story that people need to stop telling and believing in.

I’m tired of hearing it, especially from folks who call themselves artists and insist that “starving” is the only way they’ll ever be when it comes to making money. As with anything in life, our words are powerful predictors of our attitudes, our actions, and outcomes. If you say you’re a starving artist, you are or will be. If you say you’re a thriving artist, you are or you will be. What kind of self-fulfilling prophecy do you want to make realized?

3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love? My parents worked hard to provide for my sister and me. They often worked in jobs that were not personally rewarding, but they stuck with them because they had a family to provide for. I think there were some aspects they enjoyed in the various jobs they held throughout my childhood, but I don’t think either of them would say they made a living from doing work they truly loved. My dad’s passion has always been the theater and he would have loved to have been a well-paid actor.

My mom has always been creative and I think she could have made money from her art if that’s what she wanted to do. I was never told what I should do work-wise when I grew up, but I was definitely influenced by the choices they made for their own lives and the lives of their children, to do my best and find work I loved that would also pay me well. My working career has been a roller coaster ride of jobs I loved and didn’t make a lot of money and jobs I hated and made a lot of money.

4. What’s your biggest money story currently? My biggest money story right now is about a new business my husband and I are starting together where I’m at the helm of it all. We’re about to open up our home as a bed and breakfast and I’m curious about the kind of income it will generate for us. Ten years ago, my husband rescued me from a corporate sales career so I could do work I love and now it’s my wish to rescue him from the work he’s grown tired of.

5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? (Would you add anything to it?)
I love this expression about as much as I love the expression “starving artist.” :)

I think a more truthful expression would be, “Do what you love and the money might follow you or it might not.” A more truthful expression regarding work and money would take into consideration the ebb and flow of life. For the past ten years, I have done work I have loved and the money hasn’t always followed me. It’s only been within the last four years that I’ve become really clear about my most important “work.” Whether I make money or not with my words or my dance offerings, I will continue to write and dance no matter what. It’s a good thing that bed and breakfast is opening soon and it’s a good thing I think it will also be work I’ll really love.

Money Talks with Sherry Belul appears here on the Mabel blog every 2nd and 4th Friday of the the month, meet us here!

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money talks with Ellen Fondiler

Ellen Fondiler Money TalksWelcome back to our twice-monthly Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that in our columns we get to hear from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.

Today’s column features career strategist Ellen Fondiler. One of the things I love best about Ellen, and you’ll experience this for yourself when you read what she has to share, is that she simply cannot help but help people. Ellen is a natural teacher, trainer, coach …and mom. She’s always at the ready to share tips and resources or to connect you to exactly the person you need to know. Whether she knows you or not, she cares about your career!

Her business blog is named Unlocked. And you’ll see that in almost every paragraph below, she’s got her hand outstretched with a key!

So read on, because Ellen has sprinkled in tons of wisdom and guidance in response to my questions.

As always, we love to hear from you. Please comment below and let us know what this column sparked for you today.

 

Ellen Fondiler bioEllen Fondiler
Career & Business Strategist
Berkeley, CA

As a former attorney turned award-winning entrepreneur, Ellen Fondiler can help you see your strengths, create a strong plan, and create the career that you really want. Every door can be unlocked. Learn more about Ellen’s coaching and consulting services at: EllenFondiler.com

1. Are you earning what you’re worth?  As a career and business consultant, I currently charge between $250 and $350 an hour for coaching, writing, or editing. I charge $2500+/month for business consulting.

Some people think my rates are too high. Some people think my rates are just right. Some people think my rates are too low, given my experience level and the types of results that I can co-create with my clients. (I say “co-create” because it really is a partnership. I can’t secure someone’s dream job on my own — I can advise, support, inspire, and motivate, but my client has to be willing to put in their share of the work, of course!)

When people feel “on the fence” about hiring someone like me, or if they think it’s too much money, I will sometimes gently ask, “Well, what is getting your dream job ‘worth’ to you?” Or, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, “What is creating your own business and getting to experience the freedom of self-employment ‘worth’ to you?”

Most people would answer, “It’s worth so much. More than I could measure in dollars. This is my dream! This is my life!”

When you put things into that perspective, then paying $350 to get advice from a career expert might not feel like such an unreasonable investment any more. It’s actually a relatively small investment that has the potential to transform your life in a big way.

Could I charge more for what I do? Probably. But for now, my rates feel just right.

I feel like I’m receiving an appropriate level of compensation for what I do.

I also don’t feel any “resentment,” which can sometimes creep in when you’re under-charging and under-earning.

I have enough money for the time being, and more importantly, enough of all the things that matter to me in life: friends, family, free time and the means to enjoy my home, my garden, books, coffee, restaurants, and the city where I live.

I certainly have days where I think, “Man, I wish my bank account had ten times the amount of money that it does right now!”—we all have those days! —but on most days, I feel very “rich” in all the ways that really count.

2. What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you?  The first thing that comes to mind is… a hug.

I’m a mom. I’m very nurturing. My inner-mom comes out, often. I can’t help it!

So, my first instinct is, if someone feels like they can’t possibly earn a decent living doing what they love, then I really want to give that person a hug. Because that’s a very shaky, painful mindset to have.

To anyone who feels like a “starving artist,” I would also say… start looking for inspiration in new places. Look for new role models to show you what’s possible.

I know so many people who are “working artists” and who make great money doing what they love.

My friend Alex is a professional writer who is constantly booked up with projects, earning a great living. Her brother Ben is a full-time jazz musician, composer, and music teacher, also earning a great living. My son Willie is an artist—a graphic designer—and he’s now working full-time at Facebook. There’s a woman I know, Theresa, who is a professional Tarot card reader, which is an art form unto itself. She has a constant flow of clients and she has built a beautiful life for herself.

My point is: yes, there are people who are struggling to make ends meet everywhere, but if you look in the right places, you’ll also find examples of people who are working hard, thriving, and succeeding.

But first, you have to decide to change your mindset from “This is impossible. I am always going to be broke…” to “I can do this. I can make this work. Every door can be unlocked…”

3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love?  I came of age on the cusp of the women’s movement. My parents instilled in me the belief that I could do anything, be anything, and succeed at anything I tried. So for me, it has always been natural to dive into the deep end of the pool. That said, I always knew that “success” takes lots and lots of hard work.

My dad was an airline executive and my mom was a stay-at-home parent but was very active in the community and volunteer organizations. They were both hard workers and really liked what they did. I have always loved working, trying new careers, learning new things, and piecing together whatever puzzle is in front of me.

4. What’s your biggest money story currently?  Toward the end of last year, I discovered a book on decluttering called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In the book, the author invites you to touch every single item that you own and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

I started doing the process, touching all of my possessions, all of my cups, plates, pillows, everything in my home, and I began to realize, “This doesn’t spark joy, nor this, or this, or this…”

It was pretty revelatory. I realized that I had tons of old books that I loved—once—but didn’t need any longer. Tons of plates that belonged to my landlord that came with my apartment—but I never liked them! I began to declutter and clear out lots of new space. Through the process, I also realized, “I really don’t need very much in order to feel happy.”

I need daily inspiration and entertainment from podcasts, books, and my favorite TV shows (like Scandal). I need time with my two sons. I need a few beautiful cups for tea and coffee. I need green things surrounding me: plants, flowers, things that are alive. Oh, and a sexy European boyfriend might be nice—ha ha! But beyond those simple pleasures and experiences, I really don’t need much else.

So currently, my money story is a story of sufficiency. A story of simple abundance. I have enough… and enough is enough.

5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? (Would you add anything to it?)  I would say, “Figure out what you love, identify something that other people yearn for and would be willing to pay for, create a strong plan, work hard, market yourself, and THEN the money will follow.”

Here’s just one example: My friend Samantha has always loved cuddling. She realized, “Lots of people love cuddling, too, but don’t have anybody to cuddle with. Millions of people are deprived of physical touch, which has all kinds of mental and physical health consequences that have been studied and proven.” So she branded herself as a “professional cuddler” and now people pay $60 an hour to snuggle with her at her studio!

This didn’t happen overnight, of course. She started with zero clients and a lot of raised eyebrows and confusion about her services. She worked hard to build a following of fans. She wrote and self-published a book about her work. She participated in more than 300 media interviews to educate people about the power of cuddling. It took some time, but eventually, things began to take off. Now she even runs a certification program where you can learn how to become a professional cuddler, too!

Samantha’s story is just one example of how you can take any passion—even cuddling!—and turn it into a viable business or career.

If you’re resourceful, passionate, and willing to be patient and keep taking steps forward, day after day, there is always a way to earn an income doing what you love.

Money Talks with Sherry Belul appears here on the Mabel blog every 2nd and 4th Friday of the the month, meet us here!

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money talks with Ren Allen

Ren Allen Money TalksWelcome back to our twice-monthly Money Talks column. If you’ve been following along, you know that in our columns we get to hear from artists/entrepreneurs who “bare all” in terms of beliefs about money + tricks/tips/tools to earning a living while living a creative life.

Today we get to hear from Ren Allen. What I love so much about Ren is her no-holds-barred responses. Like, “It’s crap!” Or “Do the work.” And this one, “You better get your relationship with money worked out.” Read on to find out what in the heck she’s referring to with those strong comments.

The other thing I don’t want you to miss about Ren’s responses is when she talks about wanting her business to thrive so she can move even more deeply into the life she imagines for herself. I love that she’s brought in this conversation of the future — that making a living isn’t just about getting by right now, but creating a sustainable life for ourselves.

Whatcha think? Please post in the comments below after you read Ren’s thoughts. We’d love to hear yours, as well!

Ren Allen bioRen Allen
Makeup Artist/Bodypainter
Johnson City, TN

Ren Allen is an admitted Tea-aholic, lover of birds, digger of dirt, student of life, mother of many, and companion to one. She runs a full-time makeup and bodypainting studio, alongside her husband’s photography business in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern TN. Faces by Ren and Tea with Ren

1. Are you earning what you’re worth?  If you ask people in big cities, I’m not charging enough. If you ask people locally, I’m expensive. If you ask me, I’m really happy with my pricing for the time being. I live in a small town, I get to travel a lot, and I’m supporting a rather large family. I don’t know if it’s “what I’m worth” but I feel very much in alignment with my prices and that they are fair for the client — and also sustainable for me— at this time.

Worth and value are something I think about a lot. Pricing needs to reflect an alignment with the value received and your offerings. I want to be generous with my clients, and generous with myself. Generosity breeds growth and loyalty. The kind that is based on actual value, not just growth for the sake of growth.

 

2. What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you? I have a few choice words on this topic, but I don’t want to cuss here. 😉

It’s crap. It’s a line we’ve been fed (no pun intended) and it’s utter crap. I realize that society doesn’t always value art. But ultimately it’s up to us, as artists, to value our own work and what we bring to the table before we are ever going to find our “tribe” who values us as well.

The starving artists I meet tend to believe that myth and perpetuate it. They don’t treat their art as a business.

I want to make clear that there is nothing wrong with having a hobby, or an outreach, if that is your direction. But if you are going to start a business, run a damn business. It requires marketing, plans, organization, focus, and determination. You can learn those things. If your art is your business, then you are going to have to learn skills beyond your art form.

I don’t intend to ever be a “starving artist” again and I will constantly encourage people to put that tired mantra down. We need a world of thriving artists instead.

 

3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love? Oh yeah. I was the kid who loved selling things. I would gather the stacks of comic books my Mum purchased for us and set up a table at the end of our driveway, selling them all day on the weekends.

Lemonade stands, Popsicles, comic books — anything my young self could get a hold of to make a buck.

I loved that feeling of empowerment. I poured my heart and soul into creating a booth that would appeal to passersby. I loved earning my own money. It was satisfying doing it myself.

I remember my Dad teaching me that selling the Popsicle for 10 cents was not a great idea if my overhead was more than that. He got me thinking about operating costs and proper pricing at eight years old.

4. What’s your biggest money story currently?  Moving deeper into thriving means not only having money to support my family, and re-invest in my business but creating financial stability for the future. I’m at an age where I need to think about how to care for our needs as we move into “the golden years.”

I’m proud of what I’ve created with this business. How it nurtures and encourages others, as well as how the money flow is allowing me to do more in my community and support activism I’m passionate about.

I want to move deeper into that place of abundance and thriving so that I can do more in those arenas.

 

5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? (Would you add anything to it?)  I don’t care for that saying actually. It’s misleading.

Doing what you love has it’s own benefits, that might not have anything to do with money. If you want the money to follow your passion, you better get your relationship with money worked out.

You better think about how you’re going to thrive, and grow your business. How you’re going to have enough to re-invest. Too many entrepreneurs are being shortsighted in thinking that doing what you love will somehow magically make money at some point.

It can be as simple as using what you have to it’s fullest potential.

But thinking that money just happens, without effort at your end will lead to a lot of disappointment. The money follows if you know how to work with money. If you charge appropriately, make enough to really run a sustainable business (one that takes care of your needs, as well as the needs of the business), and aren’t afraid to talk about money.

If you’re uncomfortable asking for money, that’s going to trip you up endlessly.

Develop a brilliant skill set. Do your research. Fumble around with refining your business model (lots of this is learned as you go of course) and VALUE what you bring to the table.

Doing what you love doesn’t need to be the way you earn a living. Some people enjoy the thing they love more, if it’s not their vocation. But if those two things are going to work together, don’t assume the money will follow. Do the work.

 

Money Talks with Sherry Belul appears here on the Mabel blog every 2nd and 4th Friday of the the month, meet us here!

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life is like . . .

Samuel-Butler

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knowing yourself

MadonnaThis quote might elicit a few snickers, or a few rolled eyes, but one thing you kind of have to give up to Madonna — no matter how many times she reinvents herself, no matter how many come backs, or set backs — she knows herself, and she knows what she wants.

Being clear on who we are, what we want to create in our lives and for our businesses is such an important part of succeeding. So many of us are working to have our businesses seen and heard — amongst all the other people out there who are trying to do the same thing — so we’re taking a small page out of Madonna’s book today, and reminding ourselves to stay true to who we are, and perhaps ruling a small {or large} segment of the world.

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money talks with cindia carrere

Cindia Carrere Money TalksHey everyone. Welcome back to Money Talks, the place where we get to explore what it means to make a living while living a creative life.

This week I’m excited to introduce you to Cindia Carrere. Recently I read an article Cindia had written about the new role of creativity in the world.  She talked about the way in which “former attorneys, engineers, western trained doctors, psychologists and others are transforming into heart-centered healers, speakers, authors, and change makers.” And she said, “The time has come to honor both our heads and our hearts, our training and our wisdom, instinct and experience.”

I agree with Cindia that there is a shift happening. And that’s why I invited her to participate in this column. I love bringing in the perspective she offers. There are entire groups of professionals who are transitioning to living more creative lives. And as Cindia cleverly points out, “how often do we use the expression, ‘starving attorney,’ or ‘starving physician?'” So these folks are cooking up creative lives for themselves without the heavy yoke of old beliefs about what is and isn’t possible in terms of earning a living. That’s got to make a difference, right?

What do you think? I’d love to have you join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

Cindia-Carrere-bioCindia Carrere
Intuitive for Entrepreneurs
Portland, OR

Cindia Carrere is a trusted Intuitive who teaches Coaches, Authors and Speakers how to move past what’s holding them back so they can open their floodgates to profits and peace of mind.  HealYourGrid.com

1. Are you earning what you’re worth? 

 Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what you’re worth, what you’re charging, and the product or service you’re offering may be three different things. But when you align them with the needs of your ideal clients, it’s magic! I’ve heard it said, “Abundance is guaranteed when you combine service with what you love to do.”

2. What does the expression starving artist bring up for you?  Oooh, it brings up cultural stereotypes, and a little bit of first-hand experience. As a professional artist and Intuitive making a living from creativity for the past 25 years, I admit, the salad years were a liiiiiitle lean. As a side note – the first thing I thought of when you asked me to write this, was how fortunate my husband and I were to live and create in a 1926 bungalow that we named, “Mabel.” Not only was the name perfect for the era and our home’s personality, but it was a purposeful combination of the words, “stable” and “mobile,” which allowed us the freedom to travel and become more financially stable.

As my fingers hover over the keyboard, I have to ask, as a society, how often do we use the expression, “Starving attorney,” or “Starving Physician?” Personally, I don’t recall ever hearing it, but I did grow up hearing cautionary tales about starving artists, writers and creatives. The images I came of age with, was that of artists and writers either being broke, depressed, suicidal or all three. Pulling from the archives, Sylvia Plath, Hemmingway, Virgina Woolf, Diane Arbus, Vincent Van Gogh, and possibly Frida Kahlo, are a few examples.

The cultural climate is shifting – call it Global Income Warming – as evidenced by Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future who says, “The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.”

Even though this change is coming, a conception still lingers about who is “allowed” to earn big money (movie stars, athletes, politicians, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, etc.), and who is not (artists, teachers, ministers, holistic/spiritual practitioners, etc.).

I’ve heard people say that if something is a gift, then you should be doing it for free. Why? Aren’t athletes physically gifted, aren’t attorneys brilliant at debate and thinking several steps ahead of their opponent, aren’t doctors excellent at commitment, diligence, and have an aptitude for learning? Everyone who has mastered something, had a spark, an innate gift that required time and devotion to develop.

The same is true with artists, musicians, and heart-centered entrepreneurs. Don’t Creatives have to eat and put a roof over their heads, too? Everyone is entitled to earn a living.

3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love?  When I was in the 6th grade, our class was scheduled to go on an overnight field trip that included pizza and the State Capitol. Hey, this was BIG stuff. I’d been hearing about the annual trip since first grade and it was a rite of passage.

The total costs divided into the number of students going equaled $15 apiece. I naturally assumed my parents would pay for it, as the trip was required, but they said no, I would have to find the money on my own.

I had no idea how to go about it and felt quite crushed under the burden. The pressure was on and I HAD to find a way. (Insert soundtrack for dramatic tension building here), but the inspiration Angels came through. Using well-worn colored pencils, I drew birthday cards and thank you notes with matching envelopes, then carefully wrapped them with ribbon and went door to door in my neighborhood selling them as packages. And they sold – every one of them!

I made my $15 and felt quite empowered having figured out a way on my own, and realizing that my designs were actually valuable enough to purchase.

I remember the class trip even more fondly, felt an incredible surge of creativity, and experienced my first taste of financial independence. Selling those original designs gave me the confidence to ignore all the warnings and become a “starving artist.”

4. What’s your biggest money story currently?  When I first started helping Entrepreneurs move past what’s holding them back, I charged a whopping $100 a month. Then I started charging $100 an hour, and now I’ve been paid $1,000 for an hour of my time. For some reading this, that will sound like a lot, for others, they’ll think, “Oh, is that all?” That’s not why I share this. My point is, do you suppose that I had more clients at $100 a month, $100 an hour, or $1,000 an hour? 

Initially I would have answered, “Duh, $100 a month, that’s why I’m pricing it that way,” but I was incorrect and uninformed. I learned about something called perceived value. Because I priced my services too low, potential clients didn’t think I could help them. The light bulb went on when I understood that clients have to trust, understand, and believe your product or service can take them to the next level.

As a Creative, my clients are predominately left-brained analytical professionals, such as doctors, engineers, scientists, and ex-corporate executives who suddenly feel a higher calling and are now on their soul path exploring creativity, spirituality, and have become coaches, authors, speakers and heart-centered entrepreneurs. Used to dealing with higher income brackets, they dismissed me as not being serious about my business.

I finally worked up the courage to raise my fees, and during a discovery session, a doctor immediately challenged me, saying my prices were “rather salty.” Instead of apologizing or backing down, I asked, “If I charged $_____ (I gave my old pricing structure), would you believe that I could take you where you want to go?” She paused to think about it, and said, “No, not really…” She hired me on the spot.   

5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? (Would you add anything to it?)   I believed it enough to try it out for myself straight out of college, and it has proven true for me. I have chosen to do what I love and enough money has followed. You’ll notice that the phrase isn’t, “Do what you love and boatloads of money will follow.” For some, tons of money will show up, and for others it may be a meager reveal.

I think the essence of that statement is life is too short to do what bores you. Is the phrase, “Do what you hate and the money will follow” any more true or inspiring?

Since we spend so much of our life force and time doing our work, wouldn’t the world be a more joyful place if everyone were doing what they loved? Polls reveal that 70-80% of Americans HATE their jobs, and suicide rates are highest on Monday mornings. For the health and well-being of our country, and the world, I support the concept of doing what inspires you, what motivates you to get up in the mornings excited, and the money can’t help but follow.

To come full circle, sure, there have been some tragic endings for poets, authors, musicians and artists, but there are far more individuals suffering in office cubicles or who end up in the self-inflicted morgue because they were so unhappy, not doing what they loved, and didn’t know there were other possibilities.

Yes, the “velvet handcuffs” of security, insurance, a steady paycheck and other benefits are quite convincing, but personally, I don’t like the odds. We’re either sold a bill of goods that artists starve, or the other choice is to become a wage-slave. Neither feels right. Before I step down from my soapbox, I’d like to encourage anyone reading this to know that there are far more options today than ever before.

What inspires you, and makes you want to leap out of bed on Monday morning to go and do? What information, experience and value do you have to offer? When you lead from excitement, the money, and people you are meant to serve, can’t help but follow.

Money Talks with Sherry Belul appears here on the Mabel blog every 2nd and 4th Friday of the the month, meet us here!

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work makes the work happen

Jen-Hewett-for-FB-postMabel No. 1 — Beginnings is available again here. Catch the interview with Textile and Print Designer Jen Hewett in our regular column “7 Reasons Why You Should Know . . . ”

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dare big

Norman-VaughnMabel dares you! Wouldn’t it be amazing to shake off the weight of whatever fears you are holding onto about failing and move forward into your life, with all your big dreams? There may be failure — because we don’t think that just because you shake off the fear of failing it will just slink away — but there’s sure to be some joy and success and surprise and who would want to miss out on all that goodness just because we’re afraid of failing. Not us. Let’s dare to fail together: what are you going to dare?

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