More Cash for Clunkers Tips: #10-19
August 31st, 2009 → Leave a comment
There was a lot of great feedback from my last Cash for Clunkers post with ideas for Creatives to survive… NO, make that thrive in a recession. I thought I’d post more related less to money and more towards growing joy in life. Here are ideas that I’ve been referring to a lot lately and that I’ve figured out over a good long lifetime. Some of these ideas are adapted from books I’ve read, some I’ve discovered, and others are from creative friends who’ve made livings doing more insanely obscure things than me.
Good luck! It’s the creatives that will help lead us to the light.
More Cash for Clunkers Tips: #10-19
10. Don’t ever ever ever let people characterize you as “broke” or “starving” and don’t ever describe yourself as those things out loud even if you are thinking it or its your “reality.” If you romanticize the idea of struggling, you will be your own self-fulfilling prophecy. ”Broke” and “artist” are not synonymous unless you say they are.
Other words to eliminate from your vocabulary: “victim” (best replaced with the word “survivor”), “struggling” (best replaced with “mastering”) and “trying” (ie You are a writer, you are not trying to be a writer.)
11. Grow an herb garden. Even if all you have is a tiny windowsill and a small handful of dirt. Sometimes when the world is falling apart, it helps have something nuture you as you nuture it. Grow things you can eat. Enjoy the novelty of harvesting your own food. Invite folks over to have a salad that you grew yourself. Watching the slow process it takes for a plant to grow will keep you from overbuying food or wasting food. If you kill your garden by accident, find a better place to garden, or start watering plants in the neighborhood that aren’t dying. Some easy plants to grow that are fun to eat are sweet basil and mint.
12. Get on that Martha Stewart Living tip and make something to improve your home or make a gift. A rag rug, a sock puppet, or just sew up the holes in your socks. Sure you could have a toddler in Saipan make the same thing for 99 cents, but just like gardening, there is a certain joy that is lost in crafting something with your own time and care. I like the tutorials on threadbanger for ideas of things to make. Some projects take less than 15 minutes.
13. Instead of panicking, write down ten possible solutions to the problem. Then action steps. Yay! You just made a blueprint of what to do. If you’re still stuck, go to tip #15 to get help.
14. Distance yourself from complainers, self-victimizers, naysayers, trainwrecks, and energy suckers. Yes, sometimes we are related to them. Yes, there are times when friends need our help. But we can’t help them if they try to cripple us with their crap. There are people who need a friend and there are people who want to pass their problems onto someone else. Set boundaries, find private time, do your thing.
15. Invite someone new to dinner with no ulterior motives. I have 1400 Facebook friends and am probably only close to 200 of them. In the isolation of working at home, I decided to start writing some of the ones on the periphery. “Hey, do you want to hang out? Can I take you to dinner?” It helps if someone you invite has expertise in a field you know nothing about because they will give you insight to life that you never considered before. Invite people over who you admire, don’t invite the folks I caution against in #14.
16. Work to learn, not to earn. If your job pays well but isn’t ultimately serving or providing any insight into what you want to do with your life, it’s often better to be at a less paying job where you can learn more in your field. If you can’t afford to work to learn in your dream field, then volunteer in your dream field.
17. When meeting people who are in a position to move you forward, remember that as an artist who is in this for the long haul, you are cultivating, not hunting. I’ve realized in how irksome it is to be approached with, “Hi Kristina, can you help me with grants?” Nobody likes being constantly bilked for their time and resources, especially from strangers. I’m always happy to help friends and people who have supported me because we have relationships that have been cultivated over time.
18. Find other ways to ask for “help” besides asking for money. With every non-profit holding out their hat, donors are a little fatigued. Here are some ideas for things you can ask for that may be helpful to your art: production or administrative assistance, airline miles, food for a reception, a contact list, rehearsal space. It’s much easier for people to offer resources or things that they can afford to share than part with money.
19. If you are going to ask for money, make it a positive exchange. Let potential donors know the long-term impact their money will have and how their contributions will be honored. Offer a credit in the product you are making. Breakdown how their money might be used in logical and compelling ways (ie $10 will rent an hour of rehearsal space). Believe it or not, most people would prefer to give money to a reputable and trustworthy person who will use the contribution strategically rather than give their money to temporarily plug the holes in a sinking ship. Email pictures of your progress. Nobody is obligated to give you their money, no matter how much it will help you. So never take it for granted. Graciousness counts.