Making a reliable income while working creatively is the dream of many, but accomplishing this goal is easier dreamed than done — as many artists, musicians, and filmmakers have learned the hard way. That’s why we have compiled this useful list of tips that can help you maximize your income while minimizing expenses and optimizing your time.
• Choose jobs wisely. Working as a creative-for-hire (i.e. writing songs for a film score or for another musician) is a great way to form valuable connections and gain professional experience. Unfortunately, because there are so many people who aspire to be in this career path, there are also many low-paying gigs out there. It’s important to weigh your options carefully and be patient in order to find a job that is really worth your while, both creatively and financially.
• Manage Accounting Like A Business. Come April, many novice creatives are blindsided by tax season. Gathering documentation, tracking potential deductions, hounding clients for W-9s and trying to figure out the 1040-MISC all within the span of a few weeks can really put a damper on your spirits (as well as your business.) Moreover, analyzing your own profitability will probably become important to you at some point, especially if you aspire to someday go on tour, hire employees of your own, seek funding for a project, etc. For these reasons and more, it is important to take accounting seriously, even if this doesn’t always come naturally to free-spirited musicians and filmmakers.
• Network. You want people to see your work — and you eventually want people to pay you for your work. Connections are everything! Always be networking. You never know when you might meet a producer, a label manager, or a fellow creative who could help take you to the next level.
• Be Flexible. If you are willing to take gigs that are slightly outside your comfort zone, you will grow faster both personally and professionally.
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