It's Your Responsibility

No one will look out for your money like you will. (Excerpt from Have Fun, Get Paid: How to Make a Living With Your Creativity)

There’s an aspect of running your creative business that might be unpleasant to consider, but it’s too important to leave unsaid. At the end of the day, the only person responsible for your money and legal obligations is you. If things don’t get handled properly because someone else didn’t take care of business, tough. It’s still you who takes the heat. This means you need to accept that responsibility and adopt an attitude of accountability as well as an unwillingness to pass the buck.

When money is involved, people get weird. The larger the amount, the greater the capacity for bad behavior. The stories are common in the arts. Your booking agent was supposed to be depositing all the checks but was instead skimming off the top and reporting bogus figures. The accountant was supposed to send in the check for your taxes but bought a new boat and sailed to the Bahamas instead. The IRS doesn’t go after him. They come after you, since you’re the one who owes the taxes. You’ve had a great year and made a ton of money. You come home from the road only to find your bank account empty and your manager long gone. The scenarios are endless.

The alternative is to stay active and involved in your business affairs, even the ones you farm out to others. Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening, review paperwork and figures frequently, and make sure you understand what’s going on. If you don’t, ask questions. If you don’t feel comfortable with the answers, immediately transfer that power to someone else, even if you’re taking it away from someone who you consider a friend. Especially if it’s a friend. Better to have a week of awkwardness than to leave someone in a position that will ultimately result in you losing him forever.

It’s your business. It’s your responsibility. Take it seriously and your risk of things going south on you will diminish significantly. You’ll also enjoy the feeling of being well informed and in control of your own life.

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