There is always something in the way of your success. And there always will be.
I know. I’ve been there.
You may have a goal to put away a sum of money and use that to break free of the daily grind. That money will always disappear. The car will break down. The kids need something from school.
You may have a job you hate, and you struggle with it year after year waiting for your big break into photography. Yet that never comes. So the wait continues.
In both of these examples – and really if you look at every reason that is holding you back from photography – your reasons ultimately depend on money.
Emotionally you want to follow all of the experts advice, break free from the daily grind and work at you passion for the rest of your life.
Yet financially you just can’t get ahead. Your job gives you just enough to get buy what you need each week. Your spending habits mean you have to keep working – people depend on you.
And if you followed the experts advice, its easy. Simply spend less than you earn. The more you do it, the more you’ll save.
And that’s where the conflict lies.
We know in our minds we simply need to save. Yet if we want or “need” something, we simply buy it. And the cycle starts all over again.
With all of that in mind, here are 5 reasons your photography dreams may never be affordable … or attainable.
1. You are in denial
This is the easiest trap to fall into and where most people live on a daily basis. If you don’t admit to having a healthy financial picture that will allow you to do what you want, you don’t have to admit your failures. If you truly knew where you stand, you might have to change your habits and say no to some of the things you are currently doing. Who wants to do that?
2. You are a dreamer
There is a part of you that sees your future success. You can see yourself living the life of your favorite photography mentor. You know you’re good; success will ultimately find you. You just have to wait casually by until someone “finds” you and all of your troubles will wash away.
3. You have no family support
You dream of the day where you can live your life exactly how you choose. You even discuss your dreams with your spouse. Yet as soon as you’ve saved up $1,000 for investing into your photography business, it disappears because your spouse found a new desire. If they don’t see your dreams and are willing to sacrifice too, you’ll never get what you desire.
4. You have no budget
Budget, what’s a budget? The word is thrown around like everyone in the world has one. And it’s a great thing to talk about. Yet how many truly live within their budget. Budgets are boring, limiting and definitely depressing. They are great to have, look great on paper, but do little for you when your “needs” outweigh your budget. Its easier to ignore and do what you want.
5. You waste money
This is the easiest one to see and the hardest to control. Every day you waste money on a variety of things. You stop for coffee on your way to work. $4. You head out to lunch with the gang. $10. And on and on. It all adds up over time. $4 probably doesn’t seem like much. But if you figure 5 times per week, 4 weeks per month, that ends up being $80 over the course of a month. And $960 a year! Now we’re talking some serious money.
In many cases, when you start tracking what you do, it allows you to look at things in a slightly different way. And when you track it and learn from it, you can apply it to your life to get what you’ve always wanted. And start making a few changes.
The first and most important step is being willing to change. If you have to sit down and talk with your spouse, do it. Come to an understanding about what is important to you and your family. Where do you want to be in five years? The only way to make a change is commit to making a change.
2. Set up multiple savings accounts
The easiest way I’ve found to save for the things I want is to make it happen automatically. I use ing for the sole reason I can set up all kinds of sub-accounts within my savings, allotting different amounts towards different goals. I have a car expense account, a travel account, college savings for my daughter, entertainment accounts and a whole lot more. Every month I have an amount automatically transfer into each account – if I don’t think about it, I’m more likely to save for it. Then at any time I can pop in there and see if I’m reaching my goals. I don’t spend it if its not there to spend. This is just one example – do whatever you need to do to separate things out and only spend when you’ve achieved enough to justify the expense.
3. Use cash only
Credit cards are easy to use. But the bills quickly add up – and the interest rates! Yikes. Very quickly your charge of a “few dollars” multiply, and you’re faced with multiple thousands in debt. Then you get into fees for overdrawn funds, late payments and more. But if you have money in your account, and you know how much you have to spend, cash allows you to get what you want without any of the penalties. Yes, you have to save and work up to the point you can pay cash. But it feels great knowing you have what you want at a price you can afford.
4. Cut your expenses
This is the easiest to understand and the easiest to do. Question yourself before you buy anything. Is this $5 popcorn at the movies really going to bring you closer to your goal? Enough said.
Financing is boring. Budgeting is tedious. And the whole concept is anything but exciting. But the more you learn about it, the more you watch your money … and your dreams … grow, the more exciting it is. While you might have to live a few months or even years in a way you really don’t desire, it will lead to something much more exciting for your future. That should be reason enough to start it now.