boingboing at May 14th, 2014 08:30 — #1
some_guy at May 14th, 2014 08:56 — #2
"The Joy of Telling People How Much Money You Make", oh, you mean:
my buddy's ex-wife
makes $71 /hr on the internet . She has been without work for eight months
but last month her income was $19101 just working on the internet for a few
hours. have a peek at this website
bkad at May 14th, 2014 09:09 — #3
I think more people should share how much they make (note, I'm not volunteering to start). There is a strong social taboo in US culture that prohibits discussion of how much money people make or how much money people spend on real estate. For salaried people, this dramatically weakens one's negotiating position when looking for jobs (the human resources department certainly know what everyone else is making). If we were quicker to share this could be improved (and if you are being marginalized, you'll have more evidence). Salaried people, though, at least have websites where people can anonymously share dubious claims about their wages. For independent people (creative professionals, independent shop and restaurant owners, other entrepreneurs) there's no source of this information. I have no idea what incomes are 'typical' in these ventures or the success rates, other than 'low' and 'very low'.
chickied at May 14th, 2014 09:57 — #4
Thank you for talking about this. I have worked for years as a writer and trainer in the tech industry, for which I am paid very well. I enjoy the work - I get to do a lot of creative things.
Nonetheless, I was a pretty serious yogi for many years, had a certain level of online fame for my work moderating a discussion board and for a while I tried to live my dream of being a full time yoga teacher.
I had friends who were doing this full time but as far as I could tell, they were doing it by maxing out their credit cards, not having kids so they could live in crap neighborhoods, having a husband who had a regular paycheck so their income was just extra, or living in what seems to me a really hand to mouth kind of way.
All the creative endeavors I attempted came with so many hidden costs that I couldn't figure out any kind of business model that would ever make it pay except becoming wildly successful and packing in a big group for weekend workshops.Making CDs or books was never going to return on the time I put into the creative effort.
So I just decided in the end that's it's a hobby, or maybe a retirement job, but not something that a person with any responsibilities (children) can do. I wish I knew how people did it, or maybe I just don't have the stomach for the sacrifices it takes.
ratel at May 14th, 2014 10:12 — #5
One of the subtle assumptions of independent musicianry is the idea that once you go full-time, you somehow make a full-time income as a musician.
My deepest sympathy for anyone who's ever made that assumption. I always thought the default assumption was that being a full-time musician was the road to penury.
phoe1 at May 14th, 2014 10:14 — #6
First of all thanks as well for sharing your story. I am a freelance filmmaker based in the UK and I'd say its similarly competitive.
You said you had two years of steady performance and album sales before going touring as a 'full-time musician' - so that means you had a part-time or job or similar those two years? I'd say you effectively went freelance a little more than a year ago?
Most start-ups in reality fail to break even for a number of months first (if not years). There are all sort of statistics and business plans to look at for this.
I think key is building on your experience and not underselling yourself (moving up the market, using your new contacts etc). If you really work on performing full-time and do enough shows you shouldn't be struggling for money, especially if you already have successful albums sales etc. I would recommend tentatively upping your rates - this should be easily backed up by your blog on why this needs to happen now.
bobbyvardar at May 14th, 2014 11:01 — #7
I long ago gave up on the idea of making a living by any of my creative faculties, and have a deeply unglamorous office job.
People still frequently see me drawing and say "you're so talented, what are you doing working here". I explain that whatever natural flair I have there thousands of people out there who are a thousand times more hardworking and talented than me and if they're lucky they're just scraping by.
I envy the passion of anyone driven enough to pursue this kind of lifestyle.
rjmeelar at May 14th, 2014 11:13 — #8
Well there isn't a lot of downside to telling when you have low or very low income. But As a free lancer I think you can shoot yourself in the foot when you hit a peak. Even if its just a peak, some clients don't like to pay folks that are already making money than their average salary. A friend recently had his years earnings posted in a NYT article. Explaining to people the difference between gross and net and that he still needs the support of his friends in his work is a complex task.
prestonsturges at May 14th, 2014 11:16 — #9
The thing about all these wonderful services used by small businesses is that these services are big businesses that exist solely to carve a fat slice out of your income stream. They have no interest in whether you live or die.
anotherbozo at May 14th, 2014 11:16 — #10
Everytime I hear an NPR story on someone who left their cubicle job to pursue their dream of pickling ramps or writing poems they always leave out the part about finances. There's this persistent myth that we can all make a living by following our bliss and that if we work a job we hate it's because we didn't have the courage to do what we want.
A writer posted an excellent essay about the fact that most writers are broke or poor, or they have another source of income that subsidises their life. I was so glad she wrote it, and I hope that the reality of supporting yourself financially can be more a part of the conversation when we discuss how to pursue your passion.
The Conversation We Never Have:
prestonsturges at May 14th, 2014 11:23 — #11
Likewise science has become an expensive hobby. My advice is "Marry up."
But most people are operating at the level of South Park's "Underpants Gnomes," except their version involves playing with their iPhone in Starbucks.
fuzzyfungus at May 14th, 2014 11:34 — #12
Ah, the key to this is good parenting. Specifically, the kind of good parenting that mommy and daddy give you and Morgan Stanley manages for you...
phuzz at May 14th, 2014 12:31 — #13
There's a stigma against mentioning your wage in the UK as well, and I've never understood why. I'll go first, I earn £24k a year, which seems to be more than enough money for me.
prestonsturges at May 14th, 2014 12:36 — #14
But if you have a hobby some recruiter will say "Well that's your passion, so you don't deserve a job with a salary." Whereas they are apparently living their dream of being a pale doughy weasel who talks down to people looking for work.
raines at May 14th, 2014 13:10 — #15
I like the concept of taking "open-books accounting," as practiced by a growing number of businesses and NGOs, and bringing it down to the personal level - it's a natural relative of the open-source, sharing and open data movements, baked in for cooperative businesses and sustainable communities.
The trick is, as @bkad and other commenters have mentioned, that asymmetric privacy has different impacts on different people, and unilaterally disarming through financial transparency can change the power balance, not necessarily to the benefit of the disclosing individual. I've seen evidence that lenders and insurers are using the open web as data sources, not relying just on credit reports and data on application.
It's a big topic here yesterday and today at the sharing-economy conference in SF that PEERS is co-producing: Landlords and cities have strong genuine interests in protecting their investments and affordable housing long-term rental stock, and tenants and owners doing AirBnB hosting, and people taking action to meet their economic needs and share what they've got ahead of laws and clear agreements are suffering sometimes significant consequences, including 72-hour evictions and financial penalties.
Here's an example I witnessed in the past year, where transparency posed a challenge: at least one group of people creating community in this area got a late-in-the-process loan rejection because they were intending to collectively own a multi-unit property as an LLC and rent to themselves rather than to unrelated renters, and that didn't match the risk model of the lender, which assumed outside rental income; the bank may also have been anticipating that evicting/foreclosing on homeowners would be politically more difficult or more expensive/time-consuming than evicting renters after foreclosing on an absentee landlord. The group wanted to be open and welcoming and recruit partners to partners on their website, but couldn't afford to be if it means they couldn't get access to the necessary financing in the current market.
I ran into a similar issue close to home, and found a solution by stepping deeper into transparency, rather than trying to lock the barn door after the horse was gone: my neighbor couldn't get the federal approval needed for a reverse mortgage on her condominium because we publicly talk about our community as a cohousing neighborhood, sharing meals and common space, while retaining standard condo legal structure and financing. I launched a campaign with help from PEERS, lobbying HUD/FHA to change how it interprets rules. By shining a spotlight on the ways that we were normal, and showing that the differences were features, rather than bugs, we got over 10,000 signatures on a peittion over the first weekend, and found that change was happening before we even concluded the campaign and submitted the petition.
So if you are sharing numbers or other data that reveals aspects of your life, be aware you may be signing up for a life of radical honesty and only doing business with / getting access to capital or other resources from partners/employers/lenders with values alignment. Which could be a good thing, if you think about it, and the right direction for us to move as a society, but I do believe that we all should be able to choose how much we want to be a pioneer. Make it a conscious choice to push the limits of the system, and find ways to empower those around you so they too have choices in their lives.
miasm at May 14th, 2014 13:13 — #16
I was intrigued by your article and went to look up how donations over paypal are taxed and it does appear that in both the States and UK (Kingdoms?) any money received is 'earned' and therefore taxed.
However, this got me thinking.
Surely a few shell companies, offshore accounts and back-hand deals with amenable governments could allow everyone to configure their finances the same way that multi-national conglomerates do.
If the legality of tax powers are configured so that the taxed submissions of 'smart' accountants employed by god-knows-who, can be and in fact are, encouraged to be manipulated through the arbitrage of said accountants, why not indulge in a little of this ourselves?
How many lying and corrupt people do we need to create a new multi-national company for sheltering our taxable income? Surely you just need to appear to be operating from within the fold, using the exact same arbitrage as the corrupt multi-nationals, under the guise of 'actually being' such an entity.
Diffusion of responsibility is a proven, working process. Perhaps we're just not corrupt enough.
seki at May 14th, 2014 13:19 — #17
I wonder how many creatives/freelancers avoid disclosing their true income to avoid a barrage of naysayers and pessimism. Filtering every comment of "Why do you even bother?", "Just get a Real Jobtm already" adds even more stress on top of just managing the lifestyle.
Freelancers get even more victim-blaming for their 'choice' to work so much for so little, as if being hopeless dreamers out of touch with reality is the only- and completely optional- obstacle between them and a cozy paycheck. Nevermind that more and more so-called 'real jobs' also pay a barely-living wage nowadays on top of the insult of making someone else wealthy.
maggiekb at May 14th, 2014 13:26 — #18
When people ask me what they need to do to become a successful freelance journalist, my advice starts with ...
Step 1: Marry an engineer. They have health insurance and reliable monthly income.
I do extremely well for myself as a freelancer. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable posting my exact income on the Internet, but I'm perfectly happy to tell you that the gross broke six figures for the first time last year. Even the first year I freelanced, I made more money than I'd made the previous year at a staff job. But I also realize I'm a very privileged outlier and there is absolutely no way I'd have been able to take the first steps that led here without being married to someone who had health insurance and who had a steady month-to-month income that didn't fluctuate as wildly as mine did the first couple years.
The health insurance thing is a huge point, and it's one that I've used to explain why America needs better health coverage than just "get a job with an insurance plan". I pay way more taxes and contribute way more to the overall economy now than I would have if I'd had to remain working for someone else. And I know a lot of people who haven't tried to freelance or start a business, though they wanted to, precisely because they would lose access to health care if they did. I'd be really curious to see a study of how access to health insurance (or lack thereof) affects the economy, in terms of lost entrepreneurship.
prestonsturges at May 14th, 2014 13:33 — #19
There are a lot of great jobs out there if you don't need money. There is no longer a connection between work and salary.
adel at May 14th, 2014 14:10 — #20
Is being self-employed work?
Some folks think not working for someone else is being unemployed and lazy. I say that's nuts. Being self-employed is the highest form of contributing to our economy. Working a job for a company or someone else only makes the employer richer in exchange for a pittance of a salary, often at minimum wage which is hardly ever enough for the person to live without government assistance or charity by social and religious groups such as food-stamps, food-banks and dumpster-diving.
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