The complete guide on how to improve your finances

Illustration by Christian Leborg


21 Ways to make more money as a professional creative

To make more money as a creative is not about having many streams of income. It’s about managing money better.
These twenty-one tips are activities from your competence portfolio that you may use to make money. There are also tips on how you can establish a strategy for expenses, savings and investments.
1. Define what you like to do
Express what you like to do. “Expressing” can be anything from saying it out loud to yourself, saying it to others or to writing it down.Doing the activities physically is to remind yourself that: “Yes, I like to do this” and it is to familiarise yourself with what “this” is.
If you are not sure what might be smart to do, look back at what you did when you were a child or teenager. Try to remember what activities you used time and effort on. It doesn’t have to be concretely the activities you did.
For example, if you enjoyed watching TV, you don’t need to become a TV producer. It might just be a signal that you want to focus on something that involves creating or conveying visual stories.
Instead of pursuing a normal career in television, you can start hosting a youtube channel about something that interests you. You may earn money if your channel gets a large audience.

Book: YouTube Secrets

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Following and Making Money as a Video Influencer.

How to grow a following and make money with the power of video. The framework to convert your vision into a YouTube channel, and build a community that brings revenue.

2. Calculate your debt and the income you need to get rid of it.
Research how much you have earned during your career.
What have you created during your career?What did you have to invest in to develop the work you have done? For example, as a radio producer, you can invest in education in digital marketing and media production management. Radio also involves research methods and consumer behaviour. The industry uses human resource management and project management. It involves international media marketing and popular culture studies. As a radio co-producer, you may have worked as a broadcast journalist, with music, entertainment or news. You may even have been a podcast editor and presenter. Your current occupation as a presenter is on a morning show, which means your working day starts early in the morning.
Another way to become a presenter is to start a podcast. If you get enough listeners, you can also get some income through ad sales, payment from subscriptions or affiliate sales.

Book: The Business of Podcasting

How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional

The Business of Podcasting is about the business side of podcasting. How to position clients' expertise through podcasting, the best business models, how to find clients, contracts, legal reviews, and much more.

3. Find out what people are willing  to pay for
Talk to people you think are doing what you’re interested in and ask them about the path they followed when they became more successful.
Approach professionals and ask them how the sale of their products or services takes place. For example, if you want to write for TV or film, contact producers, directors and screenwriters and ask them how the system works. Focus on the customers and producers who buy/sell the most and get the highest payment. How to make it and sell it and some services are more popular and valuable? Describe the activities and the interaction with customers. Does it overlap with your work values? As a user experience designer, you study how people relate to interface design and what makes them behave in a way that makes the customer earn money. The users’ motivations and the customers’ goals can be far from each other.
To gain a greater understanding of your customers, you can work on answering surveys.
The surveys are often about online services because marketers need to create better services. Examples include surveys on advertising effectiveness, brand recognition, and product appeal. This can even generate a little extra income for you.

Book: Designing Surveys

A Guide to Decisions and Procedures

An account of how modern surveys are actually designed and conducted. Designing Surveys shows how principles and recent research guide decision-making.

4. Decide what you need to excel at to get paid
By talking to stakeholders in your preferred niche, you can concentrate on subjects you need to be proficient in and then master.
Interview masters in the field and ask them how they achieved their career success. If you want to write feature articles, interview professionals you admire who have obtained a lifestyle you want to have. What actions did they take? What did they have to learn? What do you think is the right thing to focus on now? Do you know what you need to know to do the work?
Consider how the work tasks fit with your preferences and values.
Before getting employment with media outlets, you can write articles as a freelancer. You can also write guest posts for magazines that are not so well known, to first excel as a writer and then earn some money.

Book: The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing

How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms

From breaking into navigating the basics of the business, this book is a road map to a fruitful and rewarding freelance life. The book will show how to survive your freelancing writing career--it will teach you how to thrive.

5. Learn how to get paid properly
What is your work worth?
Calculate your fixed costs. As a copywriter, it is advisable to map out how much you want to work, how quickly you can produce and what income you have to have. Compare this with what the agencies are willing to pay. If those positions are too far apart, consider how you can produce more efficiently. Approach other customers who pay more, and reassess what you need to earn. You can also negotiate with customers. Be confident about your price.
Another path towards making a living with copywriting is to produce content for social media. Publishing online teaches you what your audience wants. And you can even get an income from it.

Book: Influencer

Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

Learn core influencer principles, such as creating double-tap worthy content, leveraging hashtags, following FTC guidelines, and tracking metrics.

6. Create learning objectives and outline a training plan
Create a schedule for when you want to have reached a desirable level of your skills. You are a landscape architect and you may want to specialize in an area related to issues surrounding urban planning. For example, you want to know the ability of plants to regenerate soil and purify water, and how these plants also represent local vegetation.
One of the best ways to do deep learning is to make it your own to teach others about it. One way to experience and learn and master a subject is to teach it.

Book: Teach Your Gift

How Coaches, Consultants, Authors, Speakers, and Experts Create Online Course Business Success

Online courses have an incredible ability to turn experts into business owners. The things that work for making online courses work for you.

7. Keep track of all the money that comes in and goes out
Set up money management routines, which automate withdrawals from accounts for regular expenses.
As a writer or as a self-published author, you can get income as royalties from publishers, income from digital sales, keynotes and articles. Create an overview of existing expenditure items such as rent, loan payments, groceries, office equipment, and apps.
A good way to learn all the aspects of the publishing business is to write and self-publish an e-book. You will learn how to research, write, edit, design, publish, market and sell the book.

Book: Successful Self-Publishing

How to self-publish and market your book

There are thousands of new books being published every day. Many authors are frustrated because there are so many options for self-publishing. This book shows the most effective way to publish and market your books.

8. Get better at what you do with deliberate practice
Check your skill level by conducting tests of yourself in reality-like situations. For example, as a freelance dancer, come up with ideas about where you can perform what you’ve practised to get feedback. Feedback from mentors, feedback from other practitioners or feedback from an audience. Do this in dance workshops, such as street dances or online videos.
One of the best ways to learn is to be part of a group where all you want to improve. By organising a workshop on this topic you can learn by teaching. Here you can get feedback and learn from them. By hosting the workshop, you can charge a little for it and make some money.

Book: The Secrets of Facilitation

The SMART Guide to Getting Results with Groups

Getting Results with Groups. Techniques for facilitators who seek effective, consistent, and repeatable results. Achieve results when managing, presenting, teaching, planning, and selling.

9. Where does all the money go? Make monthly tabulations of income and expenses
Figure out how you can redirect your money away from investments that don’t generate value. Put them into something that gives you more value over a longer period. Start a savings account for an emergency fund.
As a game creator, you know how to turn any task and purpose into a game. Construct a feedback loop with positive and negative feedback on the player’s actions. Doing that, you will design behaviour for yourself or someone else you want to influence.
Investing in the stock market and funds perhaps you are developing such a ‘game’. First, it may be a fantasy game, and later it may be a “real” game.

Book: Finance for the People

Getting a Grip on Your Finances

Finance for the people asks you to examine your beliefs and experiences around money—blending extremely practical exercises with mindfulness. , a wise guide who invites readers to change their relationship with money.

10. Market, sell and distribute as you always do. Do your creative work in a new way
As a screenwriter for film/video, you know how to create a world where things are different and describe it as a natural and normal state.
Become a virtual assistant to gurus in your niche and learn from them how they work differently while making some money doing it. You can collaborate with the mentor or the guru to create a description of his or her way of working.

Book: Become A Successful Virtual Assistant

Learn the Business Side & Ditch 9 to 5

Change your life and your lifestyle by becoming a virtual assistant. Grow, scale, and reach virtual assistant status generating income through several different sources all without being chained to a desk.

11. Execute as you always do, but market, sell and distribute it in a new way.
Marketing is changing rapidly because of new technology and developments in markets.
Connect with an artist who has engaged in a new type of marketing.As an artist, the way you work has always been a part of you, but you have distanced yourself from the marketing part of the business. By selling work as “Non-Fungable Tokens” you will have established a new way to get to market, sell and distribute the artwork. 

Book: How To Make Money with NFT

Crypto-Art on Blockchain: how to Invest, Create, Sell and Buy Non-Fungible Tokens

Lists the best marketplaces and the creation, buying, and selling process of NFTs. Discover this innovative and exciting digital asset and see how you can profit from this new emerging trend.

12. Get your money from where your knowledge is
As an exhibition designer working in the event industry, your work is both something you enjoy and learn something from. It’s kind of the same with money. With a pension, you can only concentrate on engaging in hobbies, but you can also continue to study and develop yourself.
As a user experience designer, you work with many processes and tools. With knowledge of graphic design and user interface design, you can earn money by recommending design tools. There are tools for product design and architecture as well. You can do this on your blog, or develop a “how-to” blog. This is called affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement where affiliates receive a commission for every visit, registration or sale they generate for a merchant.

Book: Affiliate Marketing Secrets

How to start an affiliate marketing business and generate passive income online, even as a complete beginner

Helps you to understand the benefits of affiliate marketing from strategies, channels to choose, programs to join, and rookie mistakes to avoid.

13. Collect information about your area and build a private knowledge archive
Create a knowledge bank, where you generate compound interest from your knowledge. Save information and content such as highlights, quotes, bookmarks and favourites. You collect it reading notes, recorded notes, meeting notes, photos and takeaways. This collection is like what museums and archives do.
As a curator at a museum, you decide what to collect; What is of such high value that it is important to convey it to a general audience for the future? It is the same with building a “Personal Knowledge Management System”. It will soon become a device that is valuable to you personally. In the end, it will become a resource for all your stakeholders. By starting a blog about all or some of the things you collect, you will establish a structure for your knowledge. You can make money from this knowledge as a blogger.

Book: ProBlogger

Secrets for blogging your way to a six-figure income

If you wonder how you can earn an income from your blog, this book gets you up to date on what happens in the blogging-for-business landscape. It shows the new ways and tools to grow your audience and expand your business beyond your blog.

14. Organise information in your “Personal Knowledge Management System”
Design a space for your ideas in a way that helps act on them. Save your notes in a way that makes it easy to turn them into active projects. Projects: These can be projects at work, personal projects or side projects. Areas: What I am committed to, or what I am interested in right now. It can be activities, people, standards, departments or teams at work that you handle. Resources: Things I will refer to in the future, such as topics you are researching, the information you want to access, and passions you have. Archive: Things I’ve completed or put on hold.
As a radio presenter or podcast host, your day job is to collect and communicate these things. Find and promote books by uploading audiobooks which will give you an association with these books and they will form your resources. You can also earn money from doing the work.

Book: Storyteller

How to Be an Audio Book Narrator

If you want to get started in the audio book business or want to learn more about what they have to do to get there. It's also a guide for narrators already in the business, who might pick up a few techniques to help them become even better at their craft.

15. Are your expenses consistent with your values?
If you log all your expenses, you will quickly ask yourself: does the amount I spend reflect something important to me? It has been a lot of hard work. Does this work result in the joy that outweighs the effort invested? After logging all your income and the various expenses, you will soon recognize if these cash flows reflect your personality.
As a songwriter or music producer, your knowledge of how to monetize music is valuable to the music industry. You can earn money by communicating your knowledge by answering professional questions. The advice can be in the form of articles, coaching or consulting that you can earn money from.

Book: The Coaching Habit

Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

If coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact. Ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide and answer, or a solution.

16. How would your expenses change if you didn’t have to work for money?
Imagine that you had the capital to be able to have a good life without working. What would you spend your days doing and what would your expenses be? It makes you think carefully about what is important to you, spend your time on it, and happily spend your money on it.
As a product designer, you have spent a lot of time researching what products and their features people want and need. So much so that you now actually have the expertise to invest in startups that you think have the most potential.

Book: Angel

How to Invest in Technology Startups

A guide through the process of how investors prioritise and make the decisions that results in profits. Revealing how investors evaluate ventures, calculating the risks and rewards, and how startups leverage relationships with angel investors.

17. Spread the knowledge you collect as drips of found information
Collect and keep what resonates. Collecting isn’t about doing more, it’s about logging the experiences you already have.
Organise and store to make the material possible to use. The goal is to clean up your virtual workspace and collect all the items related to each of the active projects in one place. Once you’ve done that, you’ll gain the confidence and conviction to do something with the ideas, rather than let them pile up unused.
Distill by finding the essence and your expression by showcasing your work. The more you exercise your judgment, the more efficient and enjoyable your notes will be because you know that every minute of attention you invest creates lasting value.
Express yourself by showcasing your work. It’s not necessarily about becoming an artist, an influencer or a business owner. It is about taking ownership of your work, your ideas and your potential and that will contribute to something no matter what arena you find yourself in.
As an editor for newspapers and magazines, you can sell products by productising your services.

Book: Building a Second Brain

A proven method to organise your digital life and unlock your creative potential

Shows how you can easily create your own personal system for knowledge management. A trusted and organised digital repository of your most valued ideas, notes and creative work.

18. You are approaching the intersection of accumulated capital and competence
When you have had an overview of your finances for a while and managed to save and invest surplus money. You have also worked diligently with your personal knowledge management system. Your “automated collection of competence” works. This has helped you gain attention for your way of working, and the opportunity to use your knowledge in a way that is good for your customers.
You, as an SEO consultant, work for marketing and branding companies and companies. They create user interfaces and user experience solutions for businesses. You have sold through these retailers, but now you want to sell directly to companies online. You want to start and grow your own company.

Book: Passion.Purpose.Profit.

Sidestep the hustle and build a business you love 

Gives you a clear understanding of where you’re going and exactly how you’ll get there. With tips and templates, case studies of successful creative business owner that will empower and get you excited about business.

19. Express what you have learned with your new work processes
By manifesting information you have absorbed, you will automatically make it your own expertise. This is also a way to get better pay because you show the breadth of your knowledge by experimenting, so you get increased skills. This gives you more services to sell and also increases your reputation as a highly competent supplier.
As a 3D artist working for several creative companies, this is one of the solutions you might want to explore to get a higher income from your services.

Book: Ultralearning

Master hard skills, outsmart the competition, and accelerate your career 

The challenge of learning new skills is that you think you already know how best to learn. To counter that, is strategies to break you out of those mental ruts and introduces new training methods to help you push through to higher levels of retention.

20. Prove you have solved the meaning and money problem
Manage both creative automation and financial automation. You combine your personal knowledge using an automated knowledge repository. Besides, you process all your income and main expenses with an automated financial system.
As an animator in the games industry, you make a living by producing products (animations) for activities (tasks) or stories in games. Your expertise lies in delivering animations. Your stakeholders are increasingly interested in the way you do the work and how it affects the finished products. You increasingly hold workshops, coach and teach the way you do things. You sell professional services, but before your main income was products. 

Book:  How to Find Fulfilling Work

School of Life Book 2

The desire for fulfilling work is one of the great aspirations of our age and this book reveals how one might make it a reality. The book explores the competing claims we face for money and status while doing something meaningful and in tune with our talents.

21. Financial self-reliance and professional autonomy
As a publisher of non-fiction, you communicate with many people who have special knowledge about something. So much so that you can, and will, write books about it. To expand your experience in areas of work that seem interesting to you, involve yourself in part-time work as an intern in a niche that is new to you. By gaining experience, you get better at what you are doing right now, or at the other extreme, decide to change your career.

Book: Your Money or Your Life

9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

The book applies to people of all ages and covers modern topics like investing in index funds, managing revenue streams like side hustles and freelancing, tracking your finances online, and having difficult conversations about money.

The autonomy you want as a creative professional result in your changing habits. Change the work and the networks that lead nowhere. Our happiest moments come from creating something and contributing to it, and we want more time for what makes life truly meaningful.