Living Opera: money matters
This week we spoke about a rather nebulous, sometimes scary subject: MONEY! But have no fear, we're here for you!
The subject of finance has been a source of fear for us in the past. We didn't have good information sometimes, other times we made bad choices, and sometimes we just didn't have any work, so there was no money to manage! Ha!
"Money in itself is a neutral commodity, and it will take on the personality of the one who has possession of it."
You are the master of your money, and you must tell it what to do! Therefore, like so many of our topics, we will start by saying: you need a plan for your money! This plan will of course grow and change as your expenses change and the demands of your life and career change.
When you are building a career in the performing arts there are many expenses to consider, and they don’t decrease with success! There is your regular agent fees, which range anywhere from 10-20% of your contract, housing costs (opera companies generally do not provide housing for guest artists once you reach a certain fee level, so you need to pay for your own accommodations at home, as well as wherever you are engaged), publicity costs (headshots, social media management, PR company fees), voice lessons (ranging from $100-$250 per session), coaching, (ranging from $50-$100 per session), special clothing, (tuxes and gowns), various unplanned expenses that inevitably occur when you spend 8-11 months away from home a year.
Long story short, you need steady cash flow to stay in the game, and you need a plan to tell your money where to go ahead of time, or you will find yourself with nothing left over!
Someone told me that for the average performer until the 10-15 year mark of their career, one should expect to re-invest at least 50% of their earnings back into their business. As a freelance singer, you are your own business! Yes, you are an artist, but you are also a tradesperson with a product to sell. Do not let this terminology turn you off: you must think like a businessperson to succeed in business!
It is not “selling out” or “unartistic” to consider these very real facts of building a career in the arts. We want you to have all the knowledge you need to succeed and live a full, fulfilled, prosperous, exciting life as a performing artist.
We go a little deeper in our video. As always, the topic of money is much larger than what we were able to cover, but our goal is mainly to get you into an empowered mindset. Every action first flows from a thought, and we want you to have healthy, productive thoughts. Enjoy!