WHAT’S THAT RINGING IN MY EARS?
By Miata Edoga and Bryan Scott Bellomo
Miata Edoga is the President & Founder and Bryan Scott Bellomo the Head Coach at Abundance Bound, the premiere financial education company for actors, artists and creative professionals. In the past six years, they have graduated more than 1,000 students from their wealth building seminars. Their mission is to empower and unite a Movement of Artists – all financially secure and confident – pursuing their passions free from the humbling weight of poverty consciousness. They vow to approach each student with empathy, humor and respect and to be artful, willful and truthful in delivering their message. For more information on Abundance Bound, visit www.AbundanceBound.com.
Part One found Miata and Bryan waking to the realities of 2010’s financial situation. Oh, Dear Reader, it had spunk. Read it here. Seriously. You probably should, before continuing on. First, the jokes in the second part will be rather bland and make little sense, or be more bland and make less sense, if such a thing were possible. More significantly, however, Part Two will require that you use the figures you finalized in Part One, and we would imagine that to be somewhat confusing. It’s rather like seeing Back to the Future III without the benefit of II; you’ll be even more bewildered that Marty McFly is stranded in the old west wearing pink chaps.
Now that you’ve read the first article you know how to establish your personal Financial Baseline. This ground-level work will teach you exactly where you are starting financially today so that you can chart a course to move ahead. In a few moments we’ll discuss how to use those numbers to Revenue Model, that is, to decide how much you need to earn and how to go about earning it. But by now you recognize whether you are turning a profit month to month, or if there is a Cashflow Gap that you must meet in order to break even.
Determining your numbers is crucial to your future success as an actor. Should you neglect to understand your money picture today, it’s only a matter of time until that money runs out altogether, at a direct cost to your artistic advancement. Every audition, every performance requires your full relaxed presence, and desperation plays as tension. It shows when you’re stressing about your rent or that latest credit card bill. Knowing that you have a solid plan to cover your expenses takes an enormous weight off of your shoulders and allows you to thrive as both a human being and an actor.
It’s time to wake up, actors. It’s 2010.
(The following transcript is Miata’s account of her first meeting with Bryan in 2010.)
I OPEN THE DOOR to find a worrisome Bryan there, looking all disheveled. “Sorry, Miata. Tried to call but my phone died.”
We sit. I offer tea. He’s already on his second venti of the day. He stands. He sits. He paces and sits again. If I’m being honest, he’s a bit wired, and talking quickly. It’s hard to keep up. He keeps mentioning tigers and diapers – not sure who he’s referring to there – and something about 2007 being righteously awesome.
Sixteen minutes later, he comes to rest. Like, for a while. There is a long pause. I think maybe he’s had a stroke. He holds his face in his hands. I’m concerned: Do I dial 911? Cough to get his attention? Do I move? If I move, I might break his concentration. But I kind of wish I could move. My hips are hurting from that dance routine I was practicing.
And then I hear it, muffled and quiet but plain as numbers. “I need a new plan.”
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! The window has finally appeared. His skepticism has receded as much as his hairline! BRYAN IS READY FOR A CHANGE. It’s my best opportunity to do what I do best: counsel, guide, teach, offer. I wish he had come to me sooner, but it’s never too late.
I take a deep breath, look at him and smile. Then I reach into my purse. “Well Bryan, I’ve been meaning to tell you about my iPhone…”
DOING THE FINANCIAL WORK recommended in our previous post can be daunting. Many of us have avoided this practice because, if we’re honest, we don’t want to know what’s going on with our money. We’d rather focus on the art and let the money figure itself out once we have some. We tell ourselves we’ll look at our numbers “when things get just a little bit better.” It’s important to recognize that there’s no way to gauge what “a little bit better” means until we know where we are right now.
We promise you, and not just from our own experience, but from the experience of hundreds of artists who have gone through this process, that you will feel a strong and almost overwhelming sense of relief and empowerment when you have a clear handle on your current numbers. Strength is gained from the knowledge that no matter how challenging things might appear, all you’ll need is a clear plan and perhaps some guidance and support. With persistence, and steady and consistent steps forward, you will be on the road to creating the life and art you envision.
Change will arrive as quickly as you allow for it. 2010 may start with pocket change but it can quickly grow to those large checks that all of us dream about.
(Following is the text of Bryan’s subconscious during his first 2010 meeting with Miata.)
NOTE TO GORGEOUS SELF: A second carafe of coffee is an uplifting way to start a meeting. Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee. Activity, creativity and productivity increased! Interpersonal connection deepened, and confidence waaaaaaaaaay, way up. Life is so keeeen when you’re high on cafeeeeeeeeeine. With dark roasted beeeeeeeans. And…something rhyming with eeeeeeans.
Oh. Ow. Oh my. Um, rhyming with eeeeeeans…
Ohhhh. Must. Sit. Cannot. Stand. Temples…tightening…cannot… lift…eyebrows. Damn, I must be having a stroke. Wait, no, it’s the crash. The crash! Zounds, death and destruction! Unhappy days. Chuck Woolery. The dark time is upon us. Coffee, how you undo me. I rue the day…I…rue…the day…
system, take note: I have no physical strength this moment whereas the moment before I did; therefore, action is required. Hello? Bueller? Useless.
And now Miata is rambling on about some long-distance provider. Is this another network marketing pyramid thing? What is with that lady? If I had any facial movement right now, I’d have a mouthful to say. And now she’s making all sorts of plans for my year. More stuff I have to do. 200 schools ain’t enough, gal? Damn, why is she so peppy? All those pyramid people are peppy. Tea-drinking pyramidey pepmeisters. I don’t trust her any farther than I can spit. Or, in this instance, drool. Note to irritated self: buy some pepper spray for the peppy one. Let’s see how peppy she is with a mouthful of my mace. Probably won’t be selling me any more iPhones.
Oh, right, I can’t afford pepper spray. Hmmm. Broke still. Man, that’s sad. If only the Universe didn’t conspire against me by giving me such extraordinary talents with no cash. Or motor functions. I am such a tragic figure. Like Chuck Woolery. Or King Midas. The gold is everywhere and I can’t grasp it.
I must be mathematically challenged. I hate numbers. They’re all in a line, and they never seem to add up to the amounts I need. Hey Universe, yeah, all of you, it’s 2010. Time for me to stop being a not-for-profit. Something’s gotta give. You’ve failed in your job to bring me wads of cash. I gotta pay for headshots next month and a boy’s gotta eat. So let’s negotiate: You go ahead and manifest me back my nerve endings and I’ll manifest myself some green by calling every one of those 200 schools myself. Capice? Hello? Bueller? Useless.
Hmmm, maybe I should’ve been more peppy.
ONCE YOU KNOW what it actually costs you each month to live, it’s within your power to determine how you’ll acquire this income consistently. You can now decide (in advance) how much you will earn and how you will earn it. This is the hardest and most unpopular step of a financial wakeup call.
5-4-3-2-1. RINNNNNNG, Actors.
Income is the place where many actors tend to completely relinquish their power. We wait (and wait) for someone else to give us permission to earn money. Most of the time we don’t know when or even if we are going to get that permission.
This is an impossible way to live. After determining your Financial Starting Point, you now know what it costs you to live and to pursue your career. You can’t pretend anymore that you don’t have those exact figures. Now you must take control over how that revenue is going to come in. That is the key to having the sense of security and peace in your life that will allow you to actually flourish and not just survive.
At the start of every month we want you to go through a process called REVENUE MODELING. Take the amount of money you need to make and start playing with different numbers and formulas as to how that income will be generated.
It simply isn’t enough to pray that the phone is going to ring with that great role in a national commercial that will run for months generating you thousands of dollars. We want you to continue to believe that the phone will ring, to take the necessary steps to generate and be available for every possible opportunity and, in the meantime, to create and implement your plan for earning the money you need even if that call doesn’t come this month.
Let’s imagine that you have determined $2,000 to be the required monthly income to meet all of your living and business expenses. This breaks down to $500 each week. Here are a few examples of how that income might be created:
- Hourly salary. If you obtain a part time job paying $15 per hour, you will need to work at least 35 hours each week.
- Tip-based job. Someone waiting tables or bartending might determine that for every 5 hour shift, they earn $25 in salary and an average of $75 in tips. This person will need to ensure that they are scheduled for at least five shifts each week.
- Side business. One example would be a personal training business where the actor charges $50 for an hour private session. This individual will need to build a list of at least 10 clients committed to one session per week or 5 clients scheduling two sessions per week.
Unless you are independently wealthy, you have to earn money until you are working full time as an actor. This may seem obvious, but the truth is that most of us need to not just hear this but to actually act on it. Let’s be honest. We don’t want to work outside of our acting careers. It sucks that many of us have to. But it’s our refusal to accept our financial responsibilities and to make our financial stability a priority in our lives, that often results in a direct cost to our art and to who we are able to be in the world.
We cannot pretend that financial stress does not have an extremely negative impact on us as actors. Be honest. Have you ever caught yourself driving to an audition listing in your mind all the bills you could pay if you booked the job? Whether you believe it or not, you carry that desperate energy into the room with you and it likely keeps you from getting roles. What about the new headshots you know you need but put off getting because you’re worried about the cost? Or that acting class that would really sharpen your skills – if only you could afford it? Taking the time to handle your financial situation will give you more time, energy and resources to focus on your career.
(The following is a transcript of a recorded call between Bryan and Miata.)
BRYAN: Hey Miata, it’s Bryan…
MIATA: Hiiiii, B.
BRYAN: …calling from my new iPhone.
MIATA: That’s great, Bryan. (Beat.) You know, you don’t have to greet me with that each time you call.
BRYAN: So I have some news. Ready?
MIATA: Good news? Of course!
BRYAN: Oh, no, it’s not good news. I mean, I guess it’s good. Well. I mean, it’s not bad. Not really. But it’s not good.
MIATA: I have good news, too.
BRYAN: Really. Why am I not surprised? What’d you do, join a new network marketing company selling Happytime Tea?
MIATA: Like a month ago, but no, this is so much better.
BRYAN: I’m listening.
MIATA: No, you first.
BRYAN: I’m not 5. Please just tell me.
BRYAN: Spill it, Miata.
MIATA: Okay. So you remember how I’ve wanted to be on GLEE for, like, ever, right?
MIATA: You don’t remember me telling you all about my dream to play Eponine?
MIATA: You don’t remember me singing “Good Ship, Lollipop” in my living room to you?
MIATA: Or tap-dancing to Mr. Bojangles? You’ve got to remember that.
BRYAN: I do vaguely recall that image from my nightmares, yes.
MIATA: Well, I am so happy because my 2010 quest for GLEE is progressing. This week I went to three casting director workshops – one with Robert Ulrich, one with Eric Dawson, and one with Carol Kritzer. I am just SO thorough! Anyway…they liked me…they really liked me!
BRYAN: Wow. That’s great Miata, using your merits to accomplish something. Good for you.
MIATA: And what’s your big news?
BRYAN: Nah, it’s no big deal. I booked us our 40th speaking engagement of the year is all.
MIATA: Get out. Oh, that’s just wonderful! What a day!
BRYAN: They referred us to another few schools, too.
MIATA: Wait, why isn’t that good?
BRYAN: I’ll give you a second to come to it.
MIATA: I don’t underst—
BRYAN: What’s your next thought, Miata?
MIATA: Well, I was just thinking that since we have so much more time left, we should probably add another 200 schools to the list before the end of the summer, right?
BRYAN: And there it is. Every time I do something good, you want me to follow it up with something equally good. So much pep. What’s that about, Tea Lady?
IF YOU ARE TALENTED, if you are committed to your continued growth as an actor and to pursuing success in the business with focus and determination – we believe that you will ultimately be able to make your living with your craft. What we do not know (and anyone who says that they do is a big fat liar…) is how long it is going to take for that to happen. It could be 5 months, it could be 5 years, it could be 15 years. The question we must all answer is: Will I still be here? Will I make the choice to learn what I need to learn, and do what I need to do, to financially sustain myself until I get my break?
So now it’s in your hands. Will you choose to hit the snooze button, or will you leap out of bed ready to take your financial situation head on in 2010? For all you leapers (and yes, even you stragglers), we commit to being there with any help and guidance you need.
Wishing you happiness, success, laughter and much prosperity this decade,
Miata, Bryan & The Abundance Bound Creative Team
PERHAPS NOT-SO-OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER
Abundance Bound holds no affiliation to Apple or Steve Jobs, nor do we recommend iPhones in particular. In fact, none of us own the iPhone. So buy what you prefer, of course, after exhaustive research for the best plan (and revenue modeling how you will pay for all of those apps without credit cards).
Be sure to visit Abundance Bound to learn more about their upcoming seminars and workshops.