Everyone has a slightly different situation when it comes to his or her current earning and potential to turn a profit. A good first step is to understand where you are now, then plan for where you want to be in the future, and how you intend to get there.
- Draw up a budget to tell you what you earn and spend. This will help you understand where you are at the moment, uncover high expenditure and suggest where you could be spending more wisely. Money Saving Expert has a great online budget tool to help.
- Find out if you are eligible for any benefits. The Turn2Us Benefits Checker and Citizen’s Advice Bureaux can help you find everything you might be owed.
Find out what taxes and national insurance you need to legally pay
Check the HMRC website for information about tax, and find out about how to become self-employed or start a creative business.
- Manage any debts you have to make sure you’re paying the lowest possible interest, and have repayments that suit your circumstances. Find out where to begin from Money Saving Expert, seek professional help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux if they’re really out of control, or refinance them with advice from FSA approved Money Saving Expert.
Once you’ve worked out what you have and are aware of your expenditure, you can start to plan your future money management.
- Creating a short, written plan for your future can be a useful reference to plan and check your progress, as well as work out how long it will take to improve your position. Anything from a rough budget and outline for your future aims, all the way through to a more formal business plan, will be useful, depending on your practice. Business Link also has a video on how to create your business plan.
- Make a note of everything you have that you can make money out of – your assets – like: artwork, skills, designs, projects, workshop plans, services, property. Brainstorm some ideas on how you can make money out of each in a manageable way that you are comfortable with.
- Start to identify what kind of funding would be most helpful for your practice at this time, and begin researching your options. You can use our tools to find out more about the types of money available. Funding criteria changes over time, so search on the Funding Central and Guidestar websites for the most up to date information available.
- Learn how to make better applications, when you could apply to companies and what for, and avoid applying for grants and opportunities that are not a good match for your interests, skills and needs.
- Start saving – even if it’s just £20 each month, you can build up your own ‘art fund’ to invest in research trips, new materials, attending a conference to make new contacts, commissioning. Totally broke? Read the Wage Slave Escape Manual tips on saving when you don’t have any money.
- You can’t work forever, and probably wouldn’t want to. Think about retirement and pensions even if you’re still young – saving a bit now will mean a much more comfortable living later.