Are you a creative? Are you an entrepreneur? Do you want to wake up every morning and head to work happy because you know you’re working ONLY on what you love and living off it? Wake up. It’s not possible. Here’s why: If you want to make a living doing what you love, you need to work on something really boring and shitty – personal finance.
First, a story…
I’m a photographer. I started in 2007 and with family help, I was able to attend photography school and buy gear that didn’t outright suck. I shot my first wedding for $60 because I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I got into concert photography and sold images for nationwide use. My largest payday doing that was $50. I became very good at my job, but money wasn’t coming in. Every year, I’d be a few thousand more in the hole. When I hit $26,000 in debt, I thought about giving up. Photography didn’t pay, I thought. I loved it, but I needed a Real Job.
I started a Real Job in 2010 for $10.50/hour. I was happy to take it. I’d stock shelves five days a week and on weekends, I’d shoot nightclubs for $160/night. I would shoot for six hours, then edit for two hours the next day, so $20/hour. I thought I’d made it, but then I moved out and realized I still wasn’t making enough. That was how it started.
I got fired in 2013 from the Real Job. I realized then and there that photography was my only way out, so I got into weddings and started caring where my money was going. Wait, HOW MUCH was I spending on booze? How many dollars were going out and how many dollars were coming in? Was I screwing my financial future?
I think by now, you know the answer was Yes.
I’m still terrible at personal finance, but November 2015 was the first time in years I “lived within my means”. I started tracking every nickel that came in or out. I’d spend all day shooting a wedding, then come home and start counting my receipts. I’d edit for ten hours a day, but still dutifully open an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the night and add up pennies. My Job became more than just my passion for photographing people. My Job now required me to master personal finance just so I’d have a can of Chef Boyardee to eat.
It complicates matters even more if you don’t understand how money works. Oh, you think you’ll be able to Retire someday by regularly putting money into a 2% GIC? Nope. That doesn’t keep up with inflation. Your money can’t grow. Got a credit card hitting you for 19.99% interest and owe $10,000 on it? You’re literally throwing away $166.58/month without making a dent in your debt. If, instead of throwing that cash away, you were able to invest it intelligently, that’s $2,138.89 in Free Money per year. PER FREAKIN’ YEAR! Run the goddamn numbers. I know you don’t like looking at the little minus sign next to your bank balance, but you MUST do it. Otherwise, you’ll be a wage slave forever. This is Your Way Out.
Read a personal finance book. If you want something easy to breeze through, even “Personal Finance in Your 20s for Dummies” by Eric Tyson ain’t too bad. Ignore sensational stuff like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” or “The 4-Hour Workweek” for now. That’s about the philosophy of money, and if you’re reading this blog right now, you’re not ready for that yet. You need the basics first.
Starting now, work towards your Dream Job. Open up Excel and learn how to use it. No excuses, do it right fucking now. Figure out how much crap you need to cut out of your life so the money you make doing what you love is more than your living expenses. Live on less. Simplify. If you have to, work more. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn to live off your Dream Job.
Do the thing. You can do it. I believe in you.