Money Matters – Surviving Hard Times

In this blog I have written a short survival guide for artists, illustrators, makers and designers. In fact it is useful for anyone who is strapped for cash.

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2021 is out now! I’ve been a contributing author now for four years. My section is on How to Make a Living: Money Matters on page 502. This is the 114th edition of this book. Its where many famous authors and illustrators started their journeys into publishing. It’s where I started with the 2007 (100th edition). I wrote a blog about this year or so a go. Its still up in the blog archive if you would like to take a look.

The reference to artist in the title really meant something different to today’s meaning at the start of the twentieth century…more like a commercial artist or artisan. Its still a unique and great source of information, literally saving weeks of time trying to find industry resources or support by yourself. The book is also available as a website subscription service online.

In this blog post I want to share with you some tips on surviving hard times. Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is worth a read, if you want to experience life without unions or the welfare state, especially where Easton tries to budget and he exclaims, ‘We’d be alright if it wasn’t for the debts’, then take a look.

 

Here are my main tips with some useful links at the end.

  1. Get help, if you have debts try to sort them out, this could be through an IVA which can help you clear debts. Other ways could be converting your credit card debts in to a Credit Union Loan, but you need to compare the interest rates.The Business Debt Helpline or the National Debt Helpline can also be useful.
  2. Avoid as best you can from getting into debt as the recession deepens. For money management, saving and benefit tips follow Martin Lewis on social media
  3. Start cancelling unnecessary direct debits or switching suppliers. Look at your out goings, subscriptions, memberships, what don’t you need? I switched my broadband supplier two months ago. I now have an improved service and it costs nearly half the price of the original provider. Try looking on Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket and compare utilities.
  4. If you are renting talk to your landlord or landlady, write a personal polite letter to see if you could re-negotiate the rent. Equally try skill swapping with other creatives or businesses to gain products or services in return.
  5. Learn to cook, no really learn to cook, your will be amazed how you can reduce your shopping bills.  I’m a great fan of Jack Monroe know as the Bootstrap Cook I have all her cookbooks. You can borrow books from your local library or take a look at Jack’s blog for many free recipes.Jack Monroe
  6. Get help, you may be aware of the various support schemes during the Covid 19 pandemic. See here for more information. If for some reason you haven’t bee able to claim and savings are running low under £16,000 or for full support under £6,000 then you might have to claim Universal Credit if you are in a Universal Credit postcode. Do not move on to Universal Credit if you are on legacy benefits like Working Tax Credits, as you may lose out. Seek advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau before doing anything. What I can say until March 2021 Universal Credit has relaxed many of its onerous restrictions on the self-employed, and the system now understands ad hoc employed PAYE income, and also takes account of invoices paid and expenses incurred. Universal Credit is also a non taxable source of income. Its not perfect, nor ideal, but don’t let your pride get in the way of claiming.

What I will say is no one knows how long this state of uncertainty will last. One idea you might wish to consider is approaching businesses which have got going again and see if they need any feel good imagery for social media, new attractive signage, online messaging or traditional flyers or posters.

Useful Links Not Included Above

More about alternative sources of funding can be found in my book The Essential Guide to Business for Artists & Designers, 2019, Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Turn to Us  Useful grant and benefit checker

UK Government business-support

Arts Council Support for Individuals

The Association of Illustrators Covid 19 Support

Design Nation Resources

Craft Council Resources

A-N Resources


Read more >

AOI Business Vision and Growth Webiner

Hi there everyone, a couple of days ago I gave a webinar for The AOI about business planning, vision and growth. We covered a lot of ground in forty-five minutes or so, and I hope the content will help illustrators seeking to scale up their enterprise some ideas.

There is an awful lot to know about new and growing markets in illustration, beyond the traditional markets of editorial, publishing and advertising. In print media and publishing is declining and its very difficult to grow in shrinking markets. We covered eight new expanding areas of trade and talked about some brilliant trailblazers in these genres. I also mentioned the importance of trends, and its possible to find some information on trends for free if you know where to look, but much has to paid for. Getting this type of insight can be vital to help you think more commercially and make more informed decisions.

Its also important to understand such matters as money management, viability, profitability. The size of your game can change quite suddenly when you are an illustrator or other creator, e.g. winning a large cash prize, big advertising licensing deal, commissions from luxury brands, etc. These unexpected opportunities can have tax implications, so to understanding how companies work can be advantageous for higher earners.

If you are a member of the AOI one-to-one consultancy is available with me for £35  per one hour session via Skype.

Equally I am available for one-to-ones directly, but its much better value to to talk to me once you have joined as you gain over 70% discount. My full rates to non-AOI members are here one-on-one or via Skye.

Header image kindly supplied by Mike Lee-Graham Mike Lee-Graham on Twitter Mike Lee-Graham on Instagram

In article image also kindly supplied by Josephine Dellow Josephine Dellow on Twitter  Josephine Dellow on Instagram

You may be interested in my book The Essential Guide to Business for Creatives

Business Start-up for Creatives Weekend Course at Central Saint Martins

Entrepreneurship for Creatives Term Time Evening Course at Central Saint Martins


Read more >
Share with your friends










Submit
Share with your friends










Submit
Share with your friends










Submit
Garde-Meuble