046 – Cutting the Subscription Bloat

046 – Cutting the Subscription Bloat

Spending can easily get out of control, even if it is spending on seemingly helpful, worthwhile tools and resources. Sometimes it’s necessary to cut back.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares how cutting your subscription bloat can free up energy.

Sponsors:

Highlights:

00:17 – Cutting costs is often a necessary aspect of business
00:38 – When pride gets in the way
01:12 – Successful entrepreneurs are willing to cut expenses if necessary
01:38 – A time to reevaluate
02:07 – Giving up pride
02:47 – Cutting costs will free up energy
03:34 – A helpful app
04:02 – Get good at managing your finances

Transcript:

Entrepreneurs sometimes must cut costs. If this weren’t true… Just look at the big businesses out there that sometimes lay off employees in droves. Sometimes for a business to survive, it’s got to cut away at the fat to be able to survive.

But sometimes it is so easy to fall into a sense of pride, like, “I know what I’m doing, things are okay. I don’t need to cut costs. I just need to be more consistent and make more money.”

And, I mean, how many times have I or someone else or people in general thought that way that they could just go and make more money and solve all their problems?

It’s partly right. But many have had that experience where they weren’t able to generate that amount and found themselves treading water because their income stayed about the same. Their expenses also stayed about the same or just went up.

But if you think about the fact that successful people are those who are willing to do what others are not willing to do, that means successful entrepreneurs are willing to cut expenses, even if temporarily, if need be.

Now I’ve heard people do insane things just to be able to meet payroll at times. I think in those cases it pretty much paid off, but I don’t know how much I could recommend being reckless in that sense.

But I do think there’s a time and place to evaluate your finances. Look at all the subscriptions that have stacked up. Do you need those right now? Are those contributing to you? Are they helping you make more money or are they just eating away at cash reserves?

As someone who’s had to file for a consumer proposal, I can tell you that it is possible for those to keep eating away at your cash reserves to put you into debt.

Subscriptions may seem harmless, but they can add up and even put you into debt. Share on X

So, we must give up pride. And I say that as if it’s always an easy thing to do and it can be hard at times. It’s like, “Oh, I know what to do. I’ve got the Midas touch, man. I’ve got the golden finger. Everything’s going to work out.”

Well, sometimes it doesn’t. And we can have a bias towards our success and that’s a good thing, but sometimes we can go from success to success to success and suddenly encounter failure and go, “Well, that was the anomaly.”

But the reality is that it’s usually a mix of failures and successes on the way to your eventual success.

And I think this is what I recognized about cutting expenses. What it does is it frees up energy. And this is something I noticed this last time I went and cut a few costs that were idle and not doing anything for me. When you trim away the fat, you don’t have to think about it anymore.

Cutting expenses frees up energy. Share on X

Then you can free up yourself and free up your mind to concentrate on ways that you can improve your financial outlook and improve your income. And what matters is your takeaway or your profit, right?

So, if you haven’t done some purging recently and things don’t appear to be going well, it might be time to explore purging to look at what you can do to cut away some expenses that aren’t serving you.

And while I’m not sponsored by them or anything, maybe I should be. This app is primarily serving U.S. customers, but there are apps like Rocket Money that will help you identify your monthly subscriptions. All you’ve got to do is connect your bank account and it will start to populate all the things that you’re sinking money into each month and then you can choose the ones that you don’t want to keep anymore. I think this is a freaking great idea. We need that in Canada as well.

But app or no app, get good at either creating a document or a ledger or spreadsheet with all the things that you’re spending on, so you know exactly what you can cut, or you’re pretty much stuck with having to do the process completely manually, which may not be that painful, but you do usually requires you having to dig into your bank account and figure out your monthly costs.

023 – Musicians: Stop Resisting Multiple Sources of Revenue

023 – Musicians: Stop Resisting Multiple Sources of Revenue

How many income streams do you have as an artist? Do you often look for ways to monetize your career outside of live performance, merchandise, and streaming royalties?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David highlights the importance of thinking like an entrepreneur.

Sponsors:

  • Clean Slate: The most exciting and inspirational New Year live music and multi-media event you’ve ever been to. Get your tickets now, before they’re gone!

Highlights:

00:17 – Resistance to earning additional income streams
00:41 – Why you need to begin thinking outside the box
01:24 – The soft skills and hard skills you develop as a musician
02:58 – Making an income from music in 30 ways?
03:22 – Limiting mindsets won’t serve you
05:03 – Be willing to explore the opportunities as they arise

Transcript:

I’m kind of amazed at how many musicians are resistant to creating or having revenue streams that aren’t somehow directly connected to their music. Like if it’s not gigging and live performance, and if it’s not streaming royalties, and if it’s not merch sales, and maybe sync licensing would go in that category too, “Then I just don’t want it.”

I mean if you want to create a sustainable and profitable career, you may need to start thinking a little outside of those categories, because I don’t think you’ve done the math. I don’t think you’ve looked at the odds.

And we all hate that right? Like we’ve all been told by people “Oh, you know the odds of becoming a successful musician,” but that’s not what I’m talking about.

We need to practice accurate thinking and accurate thinking requires that we look into not just statistics but gain a very deep understanding of markets and audience and customers, so that we can create a strategy that is going to get us to where we want to go.

I remember reading an article many years ago and I wish I could remember who it was because I would credit him. But he was talking about how you’re developing a lot of soft skills and hard skills as a musician.

If you’re committed to your growth, and I think a lot of people still aren’t committed to “Let me invest in myself first, and then I’ll become the kind of person that naturally attracts opportunity.”

But those who are continually developing themselves are aware of this. They become aware of the many opportunities available.

The more you develop yourself, the more you become aware of opportunity. Share on X

And so, the skills they gain along the way, they’ve realized they could write articles, which we might be at the tail end of that reality now, like making money on articles. We’ll see. Like I said before, demand is still going up for me, but the reality is this could be the beginning of the end because of AI.

You could take on public speaking engagements, you could do something as obscure as build a lead generation business. There are so many skills you’re going to learn along the way, whether that’s setting up a website or writing a bio or editing a video or putting together a logo.

And ideally, yeah, we wouldn’t do all this ourselves. We would find people and professionals that can handle that on our behalf. And with AI coming in, I mean, some of those tasks are going to be handled by AI moving forward.

But you’ve gained the skills to be able to do many things well, and there may be lean times. There may be times when you need a little bit of additional income to make your gigging and career dreams a reality.

I’ve talked about how I’ve made money from music in 27 ways. It’s honestly probably close to 30 by now, with all the things that I’ve done. And sometimes people just scoff at it, right? They’re like, “Oh, well, that’s not live performance, and that’s not making music and writing songs.”

And I’m like, “Well, okay, so first, all those things are on there. But secondly, if you’re thinking like an entrepreneur, you can’t help but seize the opportunities that come.”

I think what happens is we easily get stuck in limiting mindsets that don’t support us getting to where we want to go. There’s something to be said for focusing on two or three revenue streams and establishing them before trying to do a whole bunch else.

Don't get stuck in a limiting mindset that doesn't support you in getting you to where you want to go. Share on X

And at the same time, if you’re limiting yourself and avoiding opportunity and not thinking outside the box, it’s kind of like this story that’s been told and retold, and I’m probably going to butcher it…

But there’s a pastor or a priest sitting at a church, and then he hears news of a coming flood. So, he prays to God and asks God to save him. And then the flood is getting so bad that he’s forced to go all the way on top of the roof, the steeple of the church.

And then someone comes by with a rowboat and says, “Hey, pastor, it’s getting worse. You’ve got to get in now. There isn’t much time.” And he says, “No, it’s okay. God will save me.”

And then a motorboat comes by, and they say, “Pastor, there’s no time left, the water’s going to keep rising, you’ve got to get in and save yourself.” And he says, “No, it’s okay, God will save me.”

And then a helicopter comes, and the pastor, the priest, is at the very top of the steeple, on top of the cross now.

And they’re saying, “Pastor, this is your last chance, you’ve got to get out now, the water’s getting higher, you’re not going to survive. You’ve got to get in and get out.” He says, “No, it’s okay, God will save me.”

So, he ends up dying and going to heaven, and he asks St. Peter, “I kept asking God to save me, what happened?”

And St. Peter says, “Oh, he sent you three opportunities to be saved.”

Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, we’re praying for things that are already in our midst. We’re just refusing to look around. Don’t pass things up because they don’t seem to fit into the narrow little box that you’ve created for yourself.

Most of the time, we're praying for things that are already in our midst. We're just refusing to look around. Share on X

Really take the time, explore them, examine them, figure out what the opportunity is, and if it makes sense, take it on.

How to Achieve Artistic Freedom by Living BELOW Your Means

How to Achieve Artistic Freedom by Living BELOW Your Means

What can CD Baby founder Derek Sivers teach us about being frugal? How did he manage his finances? What was his mentality around income? In this video, David recounts what Sivers shared with him.

Transcription:

In 2009, I got to interview the founder of CD Baby, Derek Sivers. At 22, Derek quit his job, became a musician, and never looked back.

Now, I asked him how it is that he was able to do this, and what he told me was that he lived within his means. Many of us will interpret that to mean we should spend every dollar we make, whether we know it or not.

That’s how we think about living within one’s means, and that’s not how it works at all.

Derek said he didn’t get a car, he always took the subway, and he never went out to eat unless someone was treating him.

This is a commonality among many successful people I know, that they live below their means.

When you’ve got a year’s worth, or maybe even two year’s worth of expenses saved up, you don’t have to say “Yes” to projects that you don’t want to take on anymore. It’s a form of freedom you can’t earn any other way.

So, if you enjoyed this insight and you’d like more like it, check out my new book, Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

Personal Development Could Be the Key to Financial Abundance: Observations & Evidence

Personal Development Could Be the Key to Financial Abundance: Observations & Evidence

Looking to create financial abundance?

Most of us HOPE we can make more money than we’re currently making.

Income isn’t everything, but all things being equal, a better income would mean more choices and more freedom.

As I’ve heard many wealthy people say:

99% of the problems you’re experiencing right now can be solved with money. You can tackle the other 1% with your newfound freedom.

But how can you attract and create financial abundance?

Trying and Failing

If you’ve been on this journey for a while, chances are you’ve already tried a lot of things to increase your income.

Maybe you started an Amazon FBA business…

Or tried affiliate marketing

Or gave blogging a go.

Perhaps you’ve read some books or have taken some courses on generating an income online.

But there’s a good chance one of the following happened:

  • You created a plan but never got started
  • You created a plan and got started but gave up shortly after
  • You created a plan, got started, and even made some progress, but something got in the way and you stopped
  • You created a plan, got started, and even stuck with the project, but in the long run it fizzled out and you were no better off

You’re not alone, and it’s not your fault.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a project, book, or business in progress that completely stalled out for no apparent reason, sometimes never to be finished!

You can be driven, determined, consistent, persistent, even resilient beyond the level of what most would consider reasonable…

And STILL encounter seemingly insurmountable obstacles that prevent you from attaining the wealth and success you truly deserve.

So, I Reflected on My Most Successful Years…

And I noticed something interesting.

There were specific things I was doing very consistently during those years.

I wasn’t making more cold calls, applying to more jobs or gigs, producing more content, or anything of the sort.

But there were certain behaviors I’d adhered to.

So, let’s look at what those habits were.

Read 52 Books Per Year

In 2015 and 2016, I read 52 books per year or a book per week. That’s a total of 104 books over two years.

I say this because 2015 and 2016 were some of my best years for attracting opportunity.

At times, my work life got a little out of control, but…

Momentum was on my side, and I couldn’t halt the flow of income opportunities if I tried.

I primarily read books on the topics of business, personal development, marketing, writing, leadership, spirituality, money, and investing.

Books like Think and Grow Rich, Beyond Positive Thinking, Smartcuts, The War of Art, The 4-Hour Workweek, The Secret, Life is Tremendous, and so on.

And probably without even noticing, I was being imbued with ideas to help me manage my income and increase my wealth.

I did learn some things I ended up applying and implementing…

But more than anything, what the books did for me was keep me in a state of flow and idea generation.

Document the Journey

In my most prosperous years, I was using hardcopy calendar pads to manage my schedule and log my income in the “memo” section.

The fact that I was physically writing down my income on the calendar pad was key because it helped me focus on the money that was coming in.

It only happened a few times, but I can even recall filling up the memo section and running out of space to log all my income sources.

But this is key:

I have tried too many solutions, both physical and digital, to know that digital tracking simply doesn’t produce the same effect.

Physically writing down your income sources is what has this work.

Go to the Bank

How do people pay you?

Nowadays, it’s more common than ever to be paid via direct deposit, am I right?

That’s no good, at least for our purposes. The more reasons you can create to go to the bank to make deposits, the better.

As much as possible, you want to be paid in cash or checks, so you can physically handle the currency.

Going to the bank all the time could negatively impact your productivity, so you may choose to mail in your deposits or use other alternatives.

The point is you want to handle, with your hands, all the income that comes in. You want to be able to shuffle the bills and checks.

And when you do go to the bank, get a receipt printed up so you know exactly how much money is in your account. NEVER fear facing the truth about your financial life.

NEVER fear facing the truth about your financial life. Share on X

Pay Yourself First

One of the things that people don’t do / hate doing / resist doing most in their financial life is paying themselves first.

But it makes VERY GOOD financial sense.

So, what does it mean to pay yourself first?

It means taking 10% of your income, the moment it arrives, and locking it away in a savings account, investment, or whole life insurance plan (take your pick).

It helps to put this process on autopilot, so you don’t even need to think about it.

Over time, if you can increase that amount to 20, 30, 40% and beyond, even better.

Regardless, the more income you have stored away, the better, because you’ll be in a better position to turn down projects, offers, or clients you don’t want to take on.

But don’t become attached to your savings. Emergencies, investment opportunities, and vacation plans will come up.

Affirm Your Successes

It may sound silly…

I have NOT been a big fan or believer of affirmations in recent years (I can recall putting them to the test on multiple occasions to no avail).

But there was one affirmation I found myself saying repeatedly from 2015 to 2016, and it was from T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

It goes something like this:

I am a money magnet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You want to say this phrase whenever money comes in, no matter how little.

Acknowledging the fact that money is coming in will reprogram your subconscious mind.

More to Come in Financial Abundance…?

The above are the behaviors that I can recall adhering to from 2015 to 2016.

But there could have been others that led to my financial abundance

So, I will be updating this guide as I’m reminded of other things, I did to produce financial breakthroughs in my life.

If you found this helpful, and if would like to see more training like this in the future, then consider pre-ordering my Money Secrets Mastery course now.

Making Money in Music is Hard, Part 1

Making Money in Music is Hard, Part 1

I have a friend who’s been burning the candle on both ends chasing his dream.

I don’t think he sees it as a sacrifice. He loves what he does, he’s worked hard to get to where he’s at, and he’s achieved a degree of success in his endeavors as a teacher, producer, and artist.

In his own words, he’s achieved “mid-tier” status with Spotify. The reality is, if you’re making any money on Spotify, you’re doing well. So, he’s correct in his self-assessment.

But the only way he’s been able to get to that point is by reinvesting into his music. Heavily. His takeaway isn’t anything to write home about.

“Making money in music is hard,” he shared with me in one conversation.

I know well what he’s talking about. I don’t just have personal experience or anecdotal evidence to back it up. I’ve looked at the cold, hard numbers and have seen exactly how hard it is to make anything close to a living wage from Spotify.

But I must emphasize, from Spotify.

I know how heavily the industry is invested in Spotify. It trickles all the way down to the smallest of independent artists attending music industry conferences in hopes of finding their own path to success in streaming.

I still remember when Canadian blue-eyed soul artist Remy Shand came out of hiding after a long absence to begin releasing music under the pseudonym Canary, and eventually Remy Shand.

I was lit up by what I heard, and I think it’s one of the reasons I got so excited about releasing singles and EPs again in 2016 and beyond. Shand was releasing sketches and demos, and that gave me the courage and permission I needed to do the same. Showing up consistently became my new M.O., not trying to do it right.

“If I just released more prolifically, maybe I’d have a chance at making a decent income in streaming too,” I thought to myself. Of course, I had no idea whether Shand himself was earning anything either.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s human.

And even though releasing more prolifically will give you a better chance at growing your Spotify following, it’s a long road to the bank. Plus, it’s the furthest thing from strategy, especially if you don’t have other pieces of the artistic career puzzle already slotted together.

The recipe for artistic success is out there, and it is possible to reverse engineer it, but the couch to big screen dream tends to blind young artists from the realities of exploitation. As I shared yesterday, finding a good musician coach is not as straightforward as following the first face you see on Instagram, unless you’re especially lucky. Shills and charlatans, sadly, are often the most visible.

There’s a bridge we need to cross as artists. Unfortunately, it’s not easy because it requires a paradigm shift.

Having gotten to the other side of it, it feels to me like a quick jaunt across a suspension bridge at the park. But to artists who’ve come this far trusting the often-empty promises of the music industry, it will appear more like a long, lonely, treacherous journey across a tightrope over the Grand Canyon.