Musicians tend to have more than their fair share of hang-ups when it comes to money, but a lot of that comes down to our mindset over the green stuff. A lot of times, we invite our own money blocks because of certain deep-seated beliefs that keep us stuck in the poverty loop. Bree Noble enumerates the most common of these money myths and demonstrates just how ridiculous they are in relation to reality. There might be some sort of pride in being a starving artist or living a Bohemian lifestyle, but money does move mountains. There is no telling how further you can take your message and your art with the help of a little grease. It all starts in your mind, not your pocket.
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Overcoming Money Blocks: How To Make Money And Still Be An Authentic Artist
Welcome to The Profitable Musician Show. This is Bree Noble and, on this episode, we are going to get right down to it and start talking about money. I’m not going to beat around the bush. We need to deal with this elephant in the room and talk about money, because let’s be honest, musicians have a lot of hang-ups when it comes to money. A lot of people do. It’s not just musicians, but musicians do tend to experience that starving artist syndrome, martyr syndrome when it comes to money, and it can screw you up. It can make it so hard to go out there and book gigs and sell things and deliver amazing experiences to your fans while also charging what you’re worth. My goal with The Profitable Musician brand and this show is to help you as musicians embrace being entrepreneurs and business owners.
I did this because for me, even though I took entrepreneurship classes, I was a Business major as well as being a Music major and all that, I didn’t learn how to marry the two for quite a long time. I didn’t understand that when you’re a musician, you’re also an entrepreneur. I want to approach this not from the practical side, but I want to talk about the mindset side. I have found in myself and in other people that no matter how many practical things you know, if you haven’t conquered the mindset that you have over money, it is very easy to either lose money once you get it or block money from coming to you. I did an episode a few years ago right before I put out the first Profitable Musician Summit about money blocks. I had my friend, Greg Wilnau on here.
It put me on to this idea of money blocks because I hadn’t thought about it before. I didn’t think I had any money blocks. After that, I started thinking about it and I’m like, “I think I have fewer than the average person, but I clearly have some money blocks.” I started digging into that. I read, and is still one of my favorite books called You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I’ve read it two times at least. I think I’m going to read it again because every time I read it, things come up differently for me. Your life is a little different. The world has changed a little bit. You see things that you didn’t see the first time. I highly recommend that book. They have the audio version as well. That’s what I listened to on my walks.If you believe deep down that you can't be an authentic artist and make money doing it, you will subconsciously repel money. Click To Tweet
It’s eye-opening about things that we might be believing about money that we don’t even realize that are keeping us stuck. I want to talk about those things. What are some of these money blocks that you might be having? The biggest thing with money blocks is that we don’t a lot of times realize we’re having them. They’ve lodged themselves in our subconscious. We have these beliefs about money that have been so deeply rooted that we don’t even realize are not facts. I’ve written about this in some blog posts on other people’s sites. I’ve talked about it a little bit on other people’s shows, but I realize I’ve never done a show about this. I want to bring up some common ones that I think especially musicians face.
I want you to read with an open mind and probe and think, “Are these things that I might be thinking deep down about money?” I’ve created a list of a bunch of them, and I want to read a few to you and see if they might be resonating with you or that they bring something up in your mind that you’re like, “Maybe I do think that.” The obvious one is the whole, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” thing but that’s cliché and we don’t think what that means. What it means is that money is a limited resource. I think about it as there’s this fixed pie of the amount of money that’s in the world. If you take some, there’s less pie for someone else, and it’s not true.
That has been proven out right now as the government is printing millions and trillions, probably billions of dollars in the US to help our economy. They’re like, “We need to pump more money in the economy. Let’s print more.” Clearly, this is not a limited resource, not to mention that money can be created and lost so easily in the stock market every single day. I want to call this out because of the fact that thinking this way makes it hard to put anything up for sale or to ask for money in any kind of way. If you think that you’re taking something away from someone else, when you’re asking them for money or you’re offering to sell them something, if you think about it that way, because you think money is limited, it will make it so much more difficult for you to feel confident to mention, “I’ve got this tip jar here. I’ve got these merch bundles for sale.”
That is one thing I want you to think about. Are you thinking that way? I think that I definitely realized that I had this in the back of my mind. It wasn’t very much in the forefront at all, but I could feel this guilt when someone handed me money. I’m like, “I’m taking something away from them,” but I have turned this around so much in my thinking and I try to drill this into my Academy students too. I spoke to someone that was talking about how they didn’t even want to put their tip jar up because they felt so uncomfortable about it. They thought it was not right in that certain situation because they wanted to give value. If this is something that is difficult for you, I want to challenge you to think about what you’re taking away from them from not allowing them to give you money.
To me, money is just an exchange of value. If they felt that what you gave was so valuable they wanted to give you some of their money and you don’t give them that opportunity, you’re taking that experience away from them. I want you to sit with that for a bit and think about how you can think that way before you go on a live or you’re at a show, and you’re talking about your merch, or you’re sending out that email to your list, talking about your upcoming crowdfunding campaign. I want you to think about the fact that offering them an opportunity to support you is valuable. It allows them to experience something that you could be taking away from them if you don’t give them that opportunity.
I certainly feel good when I’m able to support a cause, my church, an artist, whatever it is. If someone takes that opportunity away from me, I would lose out. That was all stemmed from, “Money doesn’t grow on trees. Money is limited. There is a fixed pie of money in the world.” I want you to sit with that and think about, “Do I believe this? Is this deep rooted in there, maybe even buried in my subconscious that’s causing me to act a certain way when I go into trying to offer anything for sale?” The second idea I want to bring up is the way that you look at money in relation to people and character. There are a lot of sayings around this that I pulled up and maybe some of them will resonate more than others. I want to say this in a bunch of different ways, but there’s the obvious one, “Money is the root of all evil.”Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy you choice, flexibility and freedom. Click To Tweet
How many times have we heard our parents say that? It becomes so cliché that you don’t even think about it, but do you think that when people get money, they become greedy? Money only comes to the greedy. “You’re either rich or you’re happy, you can’t be both.” That’s a good one. “It’s selfish to want a lot of money. People won’t like me if I have a lot of money. Having a lot of money might make me a bad person. Money changes people.” If you believe these, I promise you, you will subconsciously repel money. I’m not talking about repelling being rich. I’m talking about repelling money in general. You will believe that being poor is the best ideal way down in your subconscious and your mind will find every way to sabotage you from having the money that you need to be comfortable in life.
I’ve flipped this around. I know when I worked at the opera, I encountered a lot of rich people. Some of them were completely selfish idiots, who all they cared about was having everything designer and everyone knowing that they had a ton of money and talking fancy and acting fancy and not associating with people that weren’t as good as they thought they were because they had money, plenty of those people. There were also super generous, amazing people that I met working there. How I’ve turned this around in my mind is money amplifies who you already are. If you’re generally a generous person and you would give someone the shirt off your back, or you would help them in any way that you possibly could when you had no money, when you have money, you’ll use that money for good.
If you were an asshole before you had money, you will still be one but be an even bigger one when you have more money. If you were selfish, if you weren’t kind to people that didn’t have as much money as you, if you look down on other people, you will do that even more when you get money. The third one that I want to talk about that’s somewhat related to this, and it is so rampant for musicians because there’s this idea that we can’t follow our passion and make money. It’s mutually exclusive. We need to be martyrs for our art. We need to live a Bohemian lifestyle and eat top ramen because that means we’re sacrificing for our art and you can’t be an artist and make money doing it. I know that many of you are suffering from this because the circles that you hang out in, that’s the idea.
There’s this badge of honor to be the starving artist and you’re welcome to do that, but most people that I’ve talked to that have bought into that have gotten more bitter and angry. Who is going to enjoy doing their music when all it brings them is bitterness and anger? There’s also this idea of, “I want my music and my message to help people. I only want to help people. I don’t want to make money with it.” You have to realize that money is a means to an end. If you can make some good money with what you’re doing, then you can push your message further. That gives you a lot more ammunition, gives you a lot more currency in the world to get your message out there. Money is a means to an end.
Some musicians, they decide they want to work a full-time job or a part-time job that’s not in music so they can fund their art. That’s awesome. Some musicians, they have multiple streams of income and some of the things that they do are cover songs or they perform in ways that some other artists that are having this attitude of you have to die for your art will say, “They’re a sellout,” but that’s not true. They are doing these other gigs, doing cover gigs or a residency or something where they’re not doing their music that they want to do, that they wrote, original music. That allows them to fund their passion projects of their original music. That gives them a means to do that. I get angry when people say that artists are a sellout for singing covers or building up a YouTube channel with covers and making money from it. That does not mean they’re a sellout. That means that they’re being smart. They can use that money for whatever they want.
That doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person if they don’t then use it to fund this passion project. I have no problem with artists who want to entertain. That is the value that they’re giving in the world. It doesn’t have to be super high, purpose-driven. Some artists are just amazing entertainers, and they should lean into that and be okay making money that way. They’re still giving a ton of value to the world. Because money is just an exchange of value, they should be happy because other people are really enjoying what they’re doing. They’re exchanging their money. That means that they are getting value and then that artist can feel they’re making a difference in the world. It doesn’t have to be this lofty, “I’m going to change everyone’s thinking around a particular thing.” I wanted to call that out because that is something that comes up a lot, the whole starving artist thing, the whole sellout thing. I don’t want that to trip you up.
The final cliché that I want to call out that I’ve heard a billion times is, “Money can’t buy happiness.” That also goes along with what I was saying. No, it can’t buy happiness. What it can buy is choices and sometimes choices are what bring happiness. If you’ve got enough money that you can get the highest level of health plan, and that gives you choices of doctors that are going to treat you better and help you get over an illness much faster, then that is how money can buy you happiness. If money allows you to hire an assistant on your team to take some of the weight off of all the things on your to-do list, that buys you happiness. What they’re saying is money does not buy happiness in the material things in themselves are not going to bring you happiness that you can buy with money. I totally believe that, but money buys you choice.
In many cases, the ability to have choice, flexibility, freedom with what you do and the way you do it will make your life better. I know money is a touchy subject when it comes to musicians. I want to encourage you to roll these ideas around in your mind and probe and think, “Do I have these deep-seated beliefs that I’ve decided somewhere way down deep that they are facts about money?” Try to trace those backward. You came up with that somewhere. That belief was created by a thought that came up around a circumstance, whether it was your parents said something all the time, the way they acted about money, a circumstance that happened to you around money, other friends and how they talk about money. I want you to do that deep work because I promise you, it will make a difference. I know it did in my life when I did that mental work.
It did manifest itself in the real world in shifts, in the way that I approached money, attracted money, my whole abundance around money and the way that my business has grown, especially over the last year. I believe that I can trace back to this mental work that I’ve done around the subject of money. I would love to know your thoughts on this episode because I know I’m approaching a lot of uncomfortable, touchy subjects that set people off in certain directions. I would love to know what you think. You can go to our website at ProfitableMusician.com and leave me a comment. I’d love to know if this episode resonated with you and if you’re interested in talking about more subjects in relation to money and mindset.