@ Zoo Riot London Dance Co.

Overstretched and Underpaid: Improving your finances as a dance professional

Unless you’re running around like a headless chicken from job to job, worried about making it to the end of the month, you haven’t had the authentic dance professional experience yet. We all have to go through to really appreciate “the climb” of our careers. But this “phase” should not turn into normality. Here are 10 ways you can make 2017 more fruitful and relaxing.

Know when to say NO

Sometimes the industry can make us feel like we owe our employers. You take a job because it’s good for “exposure”. In 10 years of managing dancers and fitness professionals, I can tell you one thing for sure: 3-5 good jobs on your CV is more than enough street cred with clients. You don’t need more. Next time you’re offered low paid work for “exposure” know that the only thing you’ll be missing out on is energy and potential earnings. PLUS you’re contributing to the vicious circle of under-cutting, under-paying in our industry. Don’t let the FOMO tempt you, unless, of course you really want to take the job for shits and giggles.

Work smart You take the job because it’s regular work. But dancing and teaching is hard work: don’t undersell yourself for the sake of hard work. Go for QUANTITY rather than volume. For example: 6 hours of teaching 1hr with 1.5 hours commute and 30min to get ready means that every hour really takes 3 hours of work. More clients / jobs also multiplies the amount of admin and chasing, so having “lots of work” can be a curse rather than a blessing. Spring-clean your low-yielding activities to give you more time to look for high-yielding jobs. Remember the Pareto rule: 20% of the input creates 80% of the result. In our terms, 20% of your activities are really useful to your cashflow and your career. The other 80% of your time is spent doing things that have almost no value at all…. Work SMART!

Get appy! If you’re wondering “where is all my money going”!? About five times a day, there’s an easy fix for this one and it takes minimal headache. There are a few apps out there that SECURELY sync into your bank feed and help you analyse and budget what you spend your money on. You need absolutely no techy / financial understanding to work this and it’s an absolute godsend. The app OnTrees by MoneySupermarket syncs with most banks all over the world and probably the most useful app I started using in 2016.

Cashflow management As a dancer, you’re probably more concerned about the status of your pirouette than you are about your P&L (ie your profit and loss projection document). And THAT’s why you’ve chosen a career in dance, rather than in an accountant’s office. Yet every month, you’re complaining that you’re poor.