Some financial advice that every artist (and non-artist) needs


Good new and bad news. Bad news is I can’t do my triathlon anymore. Good news is that I can’t do it because I got work! With 5th Ave doing Saving Aimee. I hope Kathie Lee is around a LOT. I love her madness on the Today Show I hope I can see it in real life.

Triathlon training takes about 10 hours a week, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but do the math. 10 hours divided by 7 days a week, yeah, it’s a lot of exercise. So I’m going to forgo the triathlon in favor of a paycheck.

On to the financial advice. It’s funny that the one thing I wanted to write about I got to practice in full force today: Negotiating. Chances are if you are reading this you are young or a freelancer and let me tell you that you are in a prime position to be negotiating your salary. The problem is that most of us were never raised to negotiate. Our parents did it and they did it pretty well. The baby boomer generation made 15% more than the generations following (adjusting for inflation). So now at 24 I am making 15% less than my mom and dad did when they were 24. Now granted they went it to far more lucrative industries than the arts, but I digress. Also, women who don’t negotiate a competitive salary at their first job can miss out on up to $1 million in earnings in their lifetime. A million dollars is a lot of money. Here’s a really good Washington Post article about it.

On to my example. Today when I was offered the position with 5th Ave, I was in a perfect position to negotiate. And I’m not talking about hard selling, or haggling, but just a simple negotiation. Here’s how it went down. I was offered the position, “And it pays $your soul plus your sanity” and I politely said “How about my soul plus my sanity and maybe $50 more a week?”. And then I got a lot of info about how 5th Ave never pays it’s PAs that much, etc. So I said “ok, thanks. How about some assistance with the ticket change fee for the flight I have to change to do this production?”. To which I also got, “5th Ave doesn’t really do that.” Fine. But I asked right? How many of you would have the balls to ask?

The answer is probably very few. In this economy and especially if you are a freelancer you are so freaking GRATEFUL for any work that when it comes along you seriously undersell yourself.

So the next time you get a new job, make sure you are making a salary you are actually worth. And if they aren’t paying you what you’d like, just ask for more. It’s not like an employer isn’t going to employee because you asked. Seriously, they offered you a job, they clearly need you. And if they say no, say ok, thanks. And then move on and don’t beat yourself up about how it didn’t work out. You’ll have another chance.

Similarly, if you are at a job you’ve been at for a while look at the last time you got a raise. And not a cost of living increase, but a legit raise. If it’s been a while at the next performance evaluation or the next time you are offered a job with that employer, just ask for a little more money. 5% more is a good jumping off point for your first negotiation. It takes in the standard 2-3% cost of living plus the additional premium the employer should pay for having YOU as an employee. You are a good employee right? Because if you’re not, you got no business asking for more money. The end.

I’d love to hear anyone’s experience with negotiating, successes and failures.

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This entry was posted in finances, jobs, negotiation, salary. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Some financial advice that every artist (and non-artist) needs

  1. Heidi says:

    My company gave us a 5 percent paycut. At this point, I hate to say it, but I'm lucky to have a job at all.That being said, you better bet I'm looking to negotiate if I can get another company interested in me.

  2. Verhanika says:

    That is a great point, Heidi. If your company is cutting back, don't try and negotiate a raise. That's just bad business.

  3. Ugh! I can't wait for my personal Financial Planning session! I've been brainstorming all the things I want to discuss. Thanks for posting these little financial tidbits. 🙂 PS. I'm a closet marketplace fan, I ❤ Kai!

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