A story from Jess
"If you give up on your dreams, you’ll never know if all you needed was more time to achieve them."
This story authored by Jess Perez was originally published in a blog post for Women In Music.
I’ve been working as a fashion model for almost 15 years. The majority of my friends are freelancers--models, photographers, musicians, artists, writers, the list goes on. Even though what we do for a living is varied, we share some common problems: inconsistent work, variable income and the one that makes everyone cringe - calculating taxes. As for me, I didn’t want to just model, I wanted to be successful too. Through experience, I realized taking control of my finances was going to be key to my success. To this day, I firmly believe financial management can make or break a freelancing career.
1. Try A Little Worst Case Scenario Thinking.
I spent a good part of my career making just enough money to make ends meet. The reason I didn’t give up is that every year I was able to do just a little bit better than the year before. When I made more money, I didn’t elevate my lifestyle; if I could afford a one bedroom apartment, I lived in a studio. I used any extra cash I had to plan ahead for lulls in work and give myself more breathing room for when clients didn’t call. It turns out that ‘worst case scenario’ thinking is a great philosophy to live by if you’re a freelancer. Living below your means and saving money when you can will prevent you from having to run out and get another job or accumulate unnecessary debt.
2. Don’t Give Up.
The media usually makes success look like it happens over night. All it takes is watching an old commercial of Brad Pitt eating a burger to remember that we all had to start at the bottom Drake style. As for me, I had been modeling for almost 7 years when I got my big break--Victoria’s Secret hired me for a job. What many people don’t know is that I had spent almost 3 years going to castings at their offices before they booked me for the first time. Before that moment, I had even joked to a friend that they should start paying me a part time salary for how much time I had spent meeting with them. The truth is, if you give up on your dreams, you’ll never know if all you needed was more time to achieve them.
3. Financial Awareness is Everything.
When I was modeling full time, being diligent about how much money I earned and who still owed me money played a huge role in my financial decisions. Knowing exactly how much I earned allowed me to check in throughout the year and make sure I was saving the right amount of taxes. Knowing who still owed me money enabled me to make sure payments didn’t slip through the cracks. The fact that it was stressful and confusing to keep these numbers straight is the reason I decided to build Tycoon, to help creative freelancers record their jobs and stay on top of their payments. The more awareness we have about where we stand financially, the better choices we can make moving forward. I believe that financial management, not only passion and talent, determines our success as freelancers. I encourage you to take control of your financial life, chase your dreams and succeed!