January 4, 2015 • Curriculum
Are you tired of tips to get 2015 off to a great start yet? Me too. Why do we still look for logical restart points, or excuses to recommit to our goals, in our lives? Shouldn’t we be doing that all the time?
Here are a few things you can think about doing to manage the business side of your art this month… Not because it is a new year, but rather because this is a great time to revisit some ongoing tasks.
(We’ll be posting updates like this monthly during 2015. Let us know what tasks work best for you!)
Giving support and receiving support make our creative communities thrive. (And it feels really good too.) What are you doing to support those in your field? When is the last time you answered a message from an admirer nicely? When is the last time you sent a complimentary message (a genuinely complimentary message) to someone in your field, without asking for anything in return? When is the last time you had coffee or lunch with someone, simply to cultivate the relationship? Your January To-Do: Reach out to at least one person and thank him (or her) for his (her) work.
What are the biggest sensitivities in your budget for the year? What items are you most nervous about?
(Oh, and if you haven’t done a budget yet for 2015, you should probably think about doing that too.)
My biggest budget sensitivity comes from deciding whether or not to let go of a part of my portfolio career. I do some related work occasionally that pays really well, but it is definitely a supporting role. As my starring role work grows, I want to let the supporting cast role work go a bit, but letting go of the income makes me nervous. I’d call that my biggest budget uncertainty for 2015. Your January Budgeting To-Do: Identify the two biggest weaknesses in your 2015 budget (including a plan for dealing with whatever comes to pass).
Your final quarterly self-employment tax payment for 2014 is due on January 15th. And remember, it isn’t estimated anymore since you know exactly how much you earned and spent during the year. Use Form 1040-ES to make the payment. (And feel free to get started on filing your taxes while you’re at it!) Your January Taxes To-Do: Pay them. (Really.)
Are you making mindful financial decisions? Is your world full of unnecessary stuff following the holiday rush? (And are those things bringing additional expenses, by the way? I’m looking at you Keurig machine.) Are you indulging in ways that don’t necessarily fulfill you? Make 2015 the year you remain fully mindful of your finances (and your utils). Your January Mindfulness To-Do: Take a moment for mindfulness every time you open your wallet (or your Apple Pay).
Related: Elephant Journal shared this image and story of a note that permanently resided in a wallet. My favorite bit from Isocrates: “Avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”
How much is in your emergency reserve? What is the balance (more or less) in each of your accounts? By checking in with these balances, you’ll be more aware of how they grow (or shrink) each month of the year. Your January Cash To-Do: Write down the balance of your checking account (and any others) and post it near your work space.
You knew it was coming. I couldn’t make a list of January to-dos without including goals. Apologies for the predictability. January is a great time to set some big-picture goals for the year (duh). What are yours? How will you accomplish them?
My biggest goal for this year is to update this blog more regularly. Because we count everything (everything!) I know I only posted 14 times during 2014. Ouch. My goal for 2015 is 45 posts, which seems like ridiculously ambitious growth. But now I’ve made it specific, time-bound, and I’ve added a bit of public accountability to it. Let’s see how I do…
Your January Goal-setting To-Do: Share one goal with someone who will hold you accountable. (Want some real accountability? Share it with me!)
Happy New Year.