It’s the weirdest thing. A lot of folks seem to think I come from money, or that I have a lot of money. True, I do live in an affluent community, and I worked for one of the world’s most powerful financial services firms for little over 10 years, total. I am the executive producer for a nationally syndicated radio show that’s been on the air since October, 1996 (17 years, as of the beginning of this month), and I have been running my own independent business(es) on the side since 1993. I’ve published books, I’ve had my artwork exhibited, I’ve produced two singing group tours to England, I’ve led workshops and organized/managed more community events than I can count, and in all honesty, I’ve probably lived out just about every one of my personal aspirations in one form or another, thus far (with more to come).
But seriously, dude. I’m not rich.
See, here’s the thing. If you know how to get things done, and you know where to look for deals, and you’re ultra-crafty and clevah, you actually don’t need to have a lot of money to do all of the above. With time and effort and brutally economical resourcefulness (as in, heck no, I am NOT paying boo-cou bucks for a huge stretched canvas — that cotton duck drop cloth from the hardware store works just as well with a bunch of gesso on it), and a willingness to improvise — and not feel self-conscious about it — you can do probably more on the cheap than you can do by going the pay-as-you-go route.
Sure, some things cost money. The public radio satellite system that puts out Women In Music each week to a network of over 400 public radio stations, doesn’t run itself for free (that’s for sure). But when it comes to doing things like producing events, making art, publishing books, and starting new businesses, there are a ton of free and low-cost options and alternatives that work just as well as — if not better than — their pricey mainstream alternatives.
So, yeah, I’m not rich in the tons-o-money sense, but I get it done anyhow.
Now, just so you know, I’m not the kind of person who likes to reveal the state of their personal finances. Talking about money, for me, is like talking about sex — and believe me, I am pretty much of a prude. Some things should not be discussed in public, including my personal financial status. Suffice it to say, I am not rich.
But I’m doing it all, anyway.
Case in point: I have been known to make art. I have been known to publish books. I have also been known to build tools that help people clear their driveways of leaves and snow in record time. I have a large studio with amazing light, a book design and publishing office, and I have a design and manufacturing studio. I just don’t have them all at the same time, all the time. My garage is my art studio in the summertime, when there is amazing light and I have plenty of room to create my large-format paintings. When I’m not painting, it doubles as my fabrication space for manufacturing. My basement is both a workshop and a warehouse, and sometimes, like tonight, a writing studio. And my extra-bedroom study is where I design and produce my books (with on-demand publishing), and I paint and draw when the weather won’t let me work in my garage.
My house isn’t huge, but I make the most of the space I have. And I save a lot of money and time on going to a gym, by working around the house and in my yard. Yesterday I moved a bunch of old firewood from one point to another, thereby giving myself a whopping workout, and also making my space more liveable.
So, yeah — living the dream. And doing it on the cheap. As much as we’re constantly told we need to spend money on this or that, in order to get things done and make them happen… to buy your way into the right circles with the right connections… if you have your heart set on doing something, you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to make things happen. I’m living proof.
That being said, this is the first new post of my refreshed blog. I was looking through all the old posts, not being terribly impressed by what I was finding. So, I took it all down (after saving off the xml backup file, of course), and I’m starting fresh. Talking about living the dream — on the cheap. Because your dreams and your happiness should never be taken for ransom.
Don’t have a lot of money? Do it anyway. You can probably find a way.