An acting career is expensive with countless places to invest your cold hard cash. And if you’re like most actors, you want to put everything you can toward classes, subscriptions, and events. However, most don’t actually have a system in place designed to help you avoid over-spending so you can put your money where it matters most.
Step One: Clarify Your Cash Flow
Before you can determine how much money to invest in your career, you’ve got to understand your monthly cash flow. So, review your last three bank statements to determine your average monthly living expenses including your rent, food, bills, loans, beauty treatments, and social outings.
From there, write a list of your ongoing monthly acting expenses such as your acting class, workshops, or any online subscriptions to casting websites.
Step Two: Create Your "Acting Extras" Account
Compare your monthly costs to your monthly income and determine how much extra cash you can set aside for additional acting expenses such as new headshots, a special class, or an updated demo reel. Let’s call this money, your "Acting Extras."
Even if you only invest an extra ten dollars each month, that money will add up if you set it aside. So, now, it’s time to set up a special “Acting Extras” bank account reserved just for larger acting investments where you’ll automatically deposit your acting extras allowance.
Make sure the investment happens automatically, so you don’t have to think about it. Your "Acting Extras" account should be completely separate from your day-to-day bank account. That way, you won’t cheat yourself by dipping into this account for other expenses. I like ING’s online banking system, or the automatic savings site www.smartypig.com.
Step Three: Pay Yourself Commission
Once your automatic monthly savings is set up, it’s time to consider how you’ll invest the extra income you generate when you book acting gigs. So, ask yourself what percentage of your acting income you’d like to contribute to your "Acting Extras" account when those residual checks poor in.
Step Four: Invest Without Stress
Setting aside an "Acting Extras" account makes investing in special classes or resources easy because instead of trying to scrape up the cash or go into more debt, you can let your account tell you when the timing is right. If you want to attend a new commercial class and the money’s there, dive right in. If it’s not there yet, you know precisely how long you’ll have to wait until you can make that next big investment and still afford next month’s rent.
Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her book, "The Tao of Show Business," garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival, the London Festival, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation, and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work.
For more information about working with Dallas, visit www.dallastravers.com.