August 3, 2015 by Lisa Call
The Money Conversation in the Head
This is a story about how a comment about underwear revived MakeBigArt.
Last week I was having a bit of a panic over money. It is workshop enrollment time for my new session of online classes and I was freaking out that I might not get enough students enrolled which in my brain turned immediately to thinking I might have to go get a job.
Eeek! Panic. I don’t want a job! I just got rid of one!
So lets back up a bit. In the 2 years (wow – 2 years!) that MakeBigArt has been on hiatus my life has changed dramatically.
Big change #1: I quit my day job as a software engineer. This happened in April 2014. On my birthday. Best birthday present ever.
Big change #2: I became a trained co-active coach and am a few months away from getting my CPCC – aka – certification as a co-active life coach.
Big change #3: I fell in love. With a guy in New Zealand. I’m in the process of exploring what it means to leave the US and live in New Zealand. I’m starting to try on the word expat.
Each of the above events have impacted my relationship with money in big ways:
- The days of a steady (and quite lovely) paycheck are gone. Ditto for amazing health insurance coverage. Instead I support myself solely through sales of my art and my teaching and I am thankful for the affordable care act.
- I have added life coaching to my stream of income generating activities (yay) and I am still in the process of paying for my training and certification. The year long program was about $12,000 (ish) and worth every penny.
- In addition to normal living expenses in New Zealand, I am still a home owner in the US. I’m still paying for my health insurance, car insurance, cell phone plan, etc. So basically I have living expenses in 2 countries now instead of just one. Much to sort out here as I’m still on a visitor visa in New Zealand. Once I have a work to residency visa I will be able to drop such things as health insurance in the US (imagine!! wow!!)
Anyhow – the result of these changes brings us back to my first sentence. Having a bit of panic over money.
And the fabulous conversation that resulted with my coach.
First a bit of tactical nuts and bolts as an aside then we’ll get back to underwear. If panicking about money (or anything – like say not putting enough time into the studio) one thing that can help is to put a stake in the ground and declare “here I am today”. It gives us a place from which to peer into the future and see what changes are needed.
Which was a bit of a problem as I had ignored my bookkeeping for the entire year. I really had no idea where I was. How much money I was spending or how much I needed.
Right? This is so natural. The money thing was causing panic – why would I want to look at it?
Yet I knew I needed to untangle the mess and last week I bit the bullet and I got my accounting records caught up. Having some concrete numbers helped a bit in easing the panic. I now know exactly where I stand and what is between this place and the ideal.
The other thing this allowed me to do, besides ease the panic, was make some beautiful donations. I gift 5% of my gross income to things I care deeply about. I believe that money flows in a circle and to receive I need to be giving.
This energy of the cycle of money became blocked the last 7 months and it’s now flowing as it should. And yes – within hours of giving a big chunk of money away I had more workshop signups. I don’t give to receive – I give because I love knowing my art makes a difference in this world (someone in Nepal will have a house, someone in Africa will have clean drinking water, the art museum can purchase beautiful art, the organization can stay afloat, etc) – but it is amazing to see the connection between the two.
Cultivating a mindset where I can do the giving without panic (5% of 7 months of income was a pretty big chunk of the spare cash I had on hand last week) is something that took me a while wrap my head around and every time I do it I am grateful for the practice.
So step one – do the tactical work – check.
Claim My Value
Step 2 was/is a bit harder. I was having a little freak out about finding students that will want to take my classes.
I know when I spiral into this place it isn’t good. And my coach was brilliant at helping me identify my limiting beliefs and find a better way to look at it.
There is a lot more competition in the “teaching online workshops” space today than there was 4 or 5 years ago. Many of them are a lot cheaper than mine. Eek – queue freakout over pricing.
The key to overcoming this was reconnecting with what I know to be the true value in the classes I teach. Going back and reading pages and pages of testimonials from students that have said my classes have changed their lives and art is helpful.
Reconnecting with what I know to be true and what I have to offer was huge. My mindset completely changed.
Yes – my workshops are not $37. Yes – my workshops are worth every penny I charge. And infact when I look at what students are getting I’m under charging for the value.
So now we are getting to the underwear.
When I explained my workshops were bigger than just a simple art class my coach said (most enthusiastically I might add)
They are bigger than buying new underwear!
Yes yes yes! She got it.
The aha lightbulb moment – I am PROVIDING BIG VALUE. And it is not about making money – it is about helping other artist do exactly what I say here – “think big about their art, their marketing and their lives”.
Yes – I knew this. I just forget. This is why I have a coach. I need help remembering sometimes. The gremlins in the brain refuse to stay in the back of the bus sometimes.
So check – item #2 is done – new mindset.
Instead of feeling like I am grasping and trying to GET more students I know am much more relaxed and am trusting that what I have CREATED will attract exactly the right people.
This distinction between getting and creating is a big one for me that I have to remind myself of occasionally. Its about the value I put out in the world and attracting those folks looking for that value.
So how do I attract them?
I could go totally law of attraction here and just assume they will appear. But I’m just not that woo-woo spiritual.
I’m a firm believer in the type of coaching I do – “co-active” – which can mean co=being and active=doing.
Yes – I need the right mindsets so I’m not undermining myself and putting out the wrong energy.
I also need to do the right things – like behave like a business. Aka – I need to do some marketing.
Yes yes yes! And I need to tell people what the value is that my classes provide. I forget that not everyone knows the history of my classes or how they are set up. That I keep them really small and that they do transform lives. I need to actually write this stuff down and share it with my people.
And much bigger than this I want to write about mindsets. I want to write some of the things that I share in my workshops. Because this desire to help other artists isn’t just about money. I want a forum/community where we can have these sorts of conversations.
So I told my coach I used to have this website called makebigart but I broke it a year+ ago trying to stop hackers from destroying my web hosting account. Makebigart was created specifically for this sort of stuff. For inspiring other artists.
I have been wanting to write articles about mindsets and they just don’t fit on my art website so it was getting all jammed up and muddled and going no where.
Solution: at the end of my phone call with my coach I committed to fixing makebigart THAT DAY. And I did.
So here we are – makebigart is back (I even added an about page!)
I look forward to reconnecting with everyone.
PS – Barb – see – I told you the first article would be titled “bigger than buying underwear.”
PSs – in addition to my usual line up of online art workshops this fall (see them listed in my course catalog) – I am launching a small coaching group for beginning artists called the artist cartography group.
Please let me know if you have any questions.