Surviving the Slump: How to Manage Your Finances Between Big Projects

This is a guest post by Brittany Fisher of  Financially WellFor more content/info like this, head on over to her website!

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Surviving the Slump: How to Manage Your Finances Between Big Projects

As an artist, it can be tough to break into the mainstream and earn a living doing what you love. But since you still have to eat, you’ll need an income stream and that means work. Fortunately, you live in the 21st century and don’t have to be nailed down to a job you hate for 40 hours per week. Let’s take a look at how to make it in the gig economy until you achieve artistic autonomy.

Identify Your Skills

Consider looking for side gigs that play off your strengths. Are you adept at keeping things organized? You might make a great virtual assistant. Do you love animals? People pay big bucks to put their pet in in-home accommodations while they’re away on vacation. Have a knack for breaking down difficult concepts? Tutors make up to $40 an hour without a degree. If you’re having trouble pinpointing things you’re good at, American Express recommends the obvious course of action: ask someone you know for advice.

Pursue Your First Gig

Finding that first freelance opportunity will help you break a mental barrier, give you confidence, and help you identify if it’s the right kind of side job for you. It’s hard work and, at times, you may feel as though you’re chasing a perpetually moving dream. It’s not impossible, however. There are opportunities everywhere: on the internet, through your friends and family, and even via chance encounters. Don’t be afraid to beat the streets and pop into a few small businesses in your area. You never know who needs a helping hand but simply can’t devote the financial resources to hiring a full-time employee.

You can also find freelance/gig opportunities by joining networking groups or attending events where your potential customers are likely to be. For instance, volunteering at an animal rescue will put you in close proximity to pet parents that may need help with training. You can also find jobs through sites like UpWork, Craigslist, and TaskRabbit.

Set a Schedule

When you work a traditional 40-hour-per-week job, you have a set schedule and typically know your start and stop times. You’ll also have a scheduled lunch break, days off, and vacation time. As a freelancer, you don’t have any of this unless you define your schedule. As an artist, there may be certain times of the day where you’re at your most creative; leave these time slots open and incorporate your work schedule into the rest. Fortune explains that you can increase your productivity by making small decisions the day before. This could be as simple as getting your coffee cup laid out on the counter so you aren’t fumbling around first thing in the morning

Organize Your Workspace

There’s a good chance that your freelance endeavors will take place mostly at home. While this may sound like a good thing, working from the sofa may not be in your best interest. Redfin suggests keeping your personal and professional spaces separate so your home life doesn’t distract you from your work and vice versa. Your work area should be free from clutter. You can keep yourself on track by investing in plenty of notebooks, calendars, and whiteboards where you can brainstorm as well as make list of your projects. You will also need a comfortable and supportive chair and any equipment necessary to get each job done efficiently and effectively.

Be Aware of the Good and the Bad

Perhaps the most important task as a freelancer is to understand the benefits and drawbacks of cobbling many short-term jobs together. The most alluring benefit is flexibility, but it comes at a price. Inconsistent employment, lack of benefits, and confusing tax regulations are all negatives to consider. Barclay Simpson, a UK-based recruitment consultancy, further addresses the pros and cons of working in the gig economy.

With a little patience, planning, and persistence, you can keep food on the table and still give yourself the freedom to pursue your passion. And if you still need a little encouragement, check out these 25 artists and their pre-fame jobs.

Image via Pixabay

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