Hi everyone. I hope that this Money Talks column has piqued your curiosity around what money means to you in regards to living a creative life. I have to say, for me there’s been a sense of freedom simply in stepping outside of my own small story about money and exploring the bigger picture.
I love what Niya said in her comment on our last column, “Money is a creative and juicy topic. One that is close to me. It’s a big check in – and a constant teacher.”
No matter where we are on the money spectrum — whether we believe we have enough, not enough, or more than enough — we can use money as a teacher. These conversations can be a form of mindfulness and can spark changes in our lives. If we take Niya’s advice to view money as creative and juicy, then money becomes a part of our creative process — not something outside of it.
This week’s featured artist, Mary Anne Radmacher brings some new focus points into our conversation. I hope you’ll take the time to comment and let us know what her ideas evoke in you. (As always, please remember that it isn’t easy sharing this kind of personal information; be compassionate, offer helpful ideas, and speak from your own experience.)
Without further ado, here’s Mary Anne!
Mary Anne’s words are used in meaningful exchanges from birth announcements to graduation services to memorial celebrations. Her art, partnered with her words, are featured on walls in homes and businesses around the world. Her commercial work is available through appliedinsight.net and you can follow her various pursuits at maryanneradmacher.net
1. Are you earning what you’re worth? I do not believe that anyone ever earns what they are worth. While I understand the question, I have to circle around the answer. I believe earnings and worth are interrelated in such a way as to create undesirable outcomes. I’ve been on both ends of the financial spectrum in my three-plus decades career and I am at ease, apart from earnings, defining my worth by my presence, my breath, and that which I am able to both give and receive.
That said, even after thirty-five years producing art, I still find myself following a rule of thumb given to me by a seasoned artist: “Price what you are selling. Then add 40%. Wait a day And double it. That will be closer to the appropriate price.”
2. What does the expression “starving artist” bring up for you? The term, “starving artist” spans centuries. It is an historical irony that those who contribute most mightily to the sustenance of a culture/civilization are most poorly compensated. Making art is less of a mystery in this age of instant training videos, which both serves to heighten the value of art and craft — and diminish it.
When I was working a minimum wage service job, I had the same artful impulses that I have now. However, acquiring the art I loved was problematic on my minimum wage salary. Thus, in 1985, I built into my business plan that my work would always be original and affordable so that people employed as I was, could afford to have framed pieces of art in their homes.
I think art-hearted creatives have a deep empathy for all kinds of people. And it leans them toward generosity that is difficult when compared to their real-time budget.
3. Do you have any childhood money stories that have to do with making a living from work you love? I have acted upon an entrepreneurial spirit since I was six, when I bottled grape “perfume” in my backyard and sold the slimy bottles to kind and supportive neighbors.
4. What’s your biggest money story currently? My biggest money story right now is tied to the core of my income: books, publishing, and greeting cards. An industry in flux. Some say the industry is in decline; others say it’s becoming expansive and embracing technology. I am reinventing the way I do business and, essentially starting over, at what some might consider the “end” of my career or time for retirement. I am committed to inspiration in whatever form I am able to communicate it and I plan on riding the wave of the industry transition.
5. Do you think the expression, “Do what you love and the money will follow” is accurate? I have not yet experienced a fondness for the phrase, in whole. I have advocated, “do what you love,” in poetry and prose for thirty years. I think they are two different things. Doing what I love allows me to be content in whatever financial circumstance I find myself.
As for, “the money will follow” part… that means having a good understanding of income and out-go, of having a budget, of building a little savings account into a nice nest egg. Having a great relationship to money and finances is a parallel path to doing what I love.
Attitudes about money are important, so I keep myself in check. I am fair to myself in my pricing and fair to all kinds of buyers. I am generous within whatever means I am experiencing at the time. Some time ago that meant buying cars and paying medical expenses for people. These days, it means contributing work as incentives for indie funding campaigns and sharing what I have with people who need it.
For me it boils down to this:
- Do what you love.
- Be passionate in all the aspects and aspirations of your life.
- Embrace every opportunity to fund your dreams, your visions and understand that you can only give what you have to give. And, whatever that is, it is always enough.