February 1, 2015 • Newsletter
February is heart-health month, in both the literal sense (take care of your heart muscle!) and the figurative sense. Are you protecting yourself and your heart physically, emotionally, creatively, and intellectually?
Are you protecting your money and your finances with the same rigor?
To continue our theme of financial health this year, we’ve included a few things you can do this month to manage the business side of your art.
How is your budget going? You are one month in for the year, and it is a great time to check in with your budget. What did you get right in January? What unexpected income and expense changes did you face? (Because remember: Your budget is going to be wrong. Figure out why to make future budgets more flexible.) Your February Budgeting To-Do: Identify one thing you did really well budget-wise last month. Then identify one thing you can improve upon this month.
Think about your budget in a new way… Translate it into cash flow. When do you think cash will arrive? When will it leave your coffers? For many creative entrepreneurs, cash coming in is a bit uncertain (When will that client pay? Will I get that commission? What if my workshop doesn’t fill up?). Conversely, expenses (some of them anyway) are very predictable (monthly housing expenses, utilities, food, indulgences).
And here’s the crazy part: The months when you find you have a lot of cash are even riskier than the months when you may not have enough. Why? Because we may find it hard to stick to a budget when long overdue, hard-earned cash finally arrives. Celebrate. Enjoy your success. But budget for it. (And watch that cash.)
Your February Cash To-Do: Translate your budget for the year into cash flow terms. Identify highs and lows and build a contingency plan to reign in enthusiasm (during the good months) and cope with the shortages (during the less-than-good months).
Protecting your creativity, your assets, and yourself is as much a part of managing the financial side of your business as budgeting (or anything else we talk about). This protection is directly tied to your financial health, your budget, and your physical health. Plus, February 15th is the last day to enroll in a marketplace plan under the Affordable Care Act. What better month to think through your protection? Your February protection to-do: Review your insurance policies and needs. Do you have appropriate coverage? If not, investigate additional coverage options and build it into your budget.
Bonus February protection to-do: Take care of your health! Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and prioritize those closest to you. These are great ways (that are easy to forget) to protect yourself and your creativity.
February is a long, dark month, full of snow and woefully devoid of sunshine. Take a moment this month to be kind to those you encounter – strangers and friends alike. Support (giving it and receiving it) makes our creative communities thrive, and there is no better month than February to extend a bit of extra kindness. Your February To-Do: Slow down and extend additional kindness to those you encounter (strangers and friends).
Enjoy the month! It’s a quick one, and March will be here before you know it. To recap your February tasks:
- Check in with your budget.
- Translate that budget into cash terms.
- Review your insurance policies and needs.
- Support each other.