Monica Davidson has been self-employed in the arts since she was a teenager as a writer, journalist and filmmaker. Her work includes training, mentoring and consulting to practitioners, larger arts businesses and government organisations. Monica wrote the Australian version of Freelancing for Dummies.
You’re a creative with a flair for business. How did your career develop into this unique niche?
I started my career as a freelance journalist and filmmaker, and I made lots of mistakes. I experienced poor rates of pay, signed some unfair contracts and generally endured some unpleasant clients – in other words, I learned about business the hard way! When I realised that my experiences were not unique, and that most creative people had ensured similar business challenges, I thought I could use my experiences and my acquired knowledge to help others.
You were the first NSW Creative Industries Business Advisor. What did this role involve?
I was responsible for developing programs and providing business advice and training to creative professionals through the SmallBizConnect program. It was the first time that creative industries had been specifically funded through the NSW Department of Industry, which was a real coup in terms of us being taken seriously as an economic force.
What’s one key tip for writers learning to manage their irregular writing income?
The ‘famine and the feast’ of income is fairly standard for freelancers, but I always say it’s not the irregularity of our income that’s the issue, it’s the regularity with which we’re expected to spend the money. We can learn to adapt and prepare for this irregularity by taking a more proactive ad responsible approach to our budgets and our cashflow.
Join Monica Davidson for her seminar Financial Fundamentals for Dummies on Tuesday 10 October, 6:30-9:30pm, at the Centre.