Let’s talk about money!

Often as creatives we would rather hide under the duvet than talk about money. We have a love, hate relationship which isn’t always healthy.

As we head towards the end of January I want you to take this time to really think about your finances. I’m not talking about the tax return, or how much is in the bank (although I hope you are keeping an eye on those things!). I’m talking about the work that you are doing and the money that it is generating- or not!

In this podcast I talk through why it is so important to keep an eye on the projects that you are working on. We invest so much of yourselves into our creative work, both emotionally & through the time we spend on it, that we can often forget it needs to earn us a living!

The challenge

The challenge for you is to look at the projects that you currently have on your table. You need to have an honest chat with yourself, or a friend. Which of the projects do you know will bring you some income that is equivalent to the time & energy you have put in to creating it?

Now that might sound like something that is hard to quantify, but I know that if you are really honest with yourself, you will find the answer. Even if it means adding up all the true hours that you have worked on it, not just the ones that you have accounted for.


It is important for us as creatives to review the work that we are doing to make sure we aren’t carried away in the experience of creating, and not thinking about how it will bring in an income.

Of course there are going to be times when you need to think about the creating & not the money- but it is important to take these review times as you go along.

If you don’t earn an income from the work that you create, then it can only be defined as a hobby. Hobbies are great; I have several of them myself, but I know that they aren’t there to earn me an income.

Putting it all together

When we create we don’t see the money straight away. This can do a number of things to us, from paralysing us with fear, to giving us a false sense of security, that the money is on the horizon. Being honest with what will or won’t result in an income is crucial to your survival as a creative.

Sometimes we have to drop something that we have been working on for a long time, as we realise it either won’t bring us money, professional exposure, or it is going to take too much of our resources to complete it this time.

Letting go (or parking) of projects is as important as creating them. Knowing when to stop something can save you a lot of heart ache in the long run.

Now i’m not for a minute suggesting that you ditch everything that isn’t earning you income right now. If you have done the challenge correctly that I set out in the podcast, you will know what to keep, and what to ditch or park for now.

Ideally you should have 3 things on the table.

  1. A long term project that will bring you great rewards at the end (these can be both financially & professionally).
  2. A short term project/ work that is bringing you in an income, but it will only be for a certain amount of time.
  3. A side line project, using the skills and knowledge that you currently have to create something that you can sell when there isn’t lots of income coming in. It could be something you have written as a guide to other creatives, or consulting work, or an online course using the skills you have.This is something that I encourage new creatives to think about, as it helps you through the feast & famine times that come with a freelancing career.

Let me know in the comments below how you get on with the challenge. 

If you are starting out and want to learn more about how to set up your own creative career for success, there is a new online CWI course called ‘The Business of Creativity”. To find out more please email me with CWI Course as the subject line to: Philiy@CreativeWomenInternational.com