Free Ebook: 5 Big Mistakes Creative People Make with Money

This post is part of the Creativity and Money series.

Ebook cover: 5 Big Mistakes Creative People Make with Money

Creative people are terrible with money

We’re dreamers, pie-in-the-sky merchants.

We’re no good with numbers.

We’re an accountant’s nightmare, turning up with a shoebox full of receipts – and half the receipts missing.

We don’t have a head for business. So we end up working for peanuts.

What money we do get, we let slip through our fingers.

And secretly, this is the way we like it. Better a starving artist than a suit or a sellout.

At least, that’s the received wisdom.

But if you like challenging conventional wisdom, you may enjoy my new ebook, 5 Big Mistakes Creative People Make with Money.

It tells the story of two creative people and their relationship with money (and other things).

By following the story of Jay and Oscar, you’ll see how a few small decisions and actions can have big consequences – creatively and personally as well as financially – as the years go by.

The book concludes with an explanation of the 5 Big Money Mistakes you need to avoid if you want to succeed as a creative business owner – whether you’re a freelancer, independent artist or creative entrepreneur.

So if you want to sidestep these mistakes and achieve your creative and commercial ambitions, download the ebook and read it right away.

And feel free to share it with anyone you think might find it helpful.

The ebook is part of a new project I’m doing in partnership with Sarah Thelwall, founder of MyCake and an expert in finance for creative businesses. Sarah has a very unusual combination of creative and money skills, and I’m thrilled to be working with her.

“OK so what do I DO about the mistakes?”

I’m glad you asked that. πŸ™‚

For some free advice on how to reverse these classic money mistakes, visit this page and claim your free copy of the audio seminar I’ve recorded with Sarah: 5 Essential Money Skills for Creative People. In it, we’ll go through each of the mistakes and tell you what to do instead…

And if you want even more help getting on top of the finances of your creative business check out Money for Creative People, our new course for creative artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs, teaching you the mindset and money skills that will help you succeed commercially as well as creatively.

How to get creative work done in an "always on" world

Productivity for Creative People

Mark McGuinness' latest book Productivity for Creative People is a is a collection of insights, tips, and techniques to help you carve out time for your most important work – amid the demands and distractions of 21st century life.

β€œOf all the writers I know, I have learned the most about how to be a productive creative person from Mark. His tips are always realistic, accessible, and sticky. It’s not just talk, this is productivity advice that will change your life.”

Jocelyn Glei, author and Founding Editor, 99U

More about Productivity for Creative People. >>

Responses to this Post


  1. I am so ridiculously excited to be launching this work with Mark. We’ve been slaving over hot computers for the last six months putting all this together so we look forward to your comments and thoughts.

    The accompanying audio on the solutions will I hope ameliorate the pain/embarrassment/shame/frustration of the 5 Big Money Mistakes.

    It won’t surprise you to know that there is more to come…

    • Likewise, it’s been a lot of fun putting this together, looking forward to sharing your knowledge – as I know there are a lot of people out there who can benefit from it!

  2. Dear Sarah & Mark,

    I just finished reading the book & got my guy to read it too. He thinks I care too much about the pie in the sky than about money, & I design processes! It’s tough to admit, but #3 is my biggest mistake – and I don’t fare too well on the others too. So I’m looking forward to the audio seminar & to get cracking.

    Thanks very much for the just-in-time clarity.


  3. This is really cool and really generous of you both. I read the ebook yesterday and thought it quite well done. And the topic itself is, of course, a massively important one.

    Thanks, Mark and Sarah! I’ll look forward to those hinted-at future projects.

    • Quite well done eh! I’ll take that as a compliment rather than damning us with faint praise πŸ™‚

      Have you had a chance to listen to the audio seminar too … the ebook sets the scene with the problems but hopefully the seminar doesn’t rub salt in the wound but instead talks you through the solutions.

      After all we wouldn’t just want to spell out the issue in large letters and leave you to ponder it alone!

    • Thanks Matt, glad you liked it, more on the way soon…

  4. It is my mission to change the starving artist stereotype! I hate this generalization…and yes, hate IS a strong word. It all starts with mindset (that’s probably one of the mistakes, or something to that effect). Its unfortunate that a lot of artists have a negative relationship with money, whether this was learned from growing up or just from social norms, and this prevents them from thinking creatively about money and how it can work for them. Thanks for this post, Mark. I’m going to download the book now πŸ™‚

    • Auret, I am so pleased you are on a mission to change the starving artist stereotype and yes it is entirely unhelpful that a lot of creatives have a negative relationship with money. When I’m working with creative businesses one of the things we spend quite a bit of time on is ensuring that folks understand how money flows in their business and what they are doing as business owners to help (or hinder!) this … and of course what is driving those behaviours.

      One of the key learnings for any creative is to see how they can use money to achieve their creative goals.

      Let us know how you get on with the book

    • Thanks Auret, glad to hear we’re not alone in our mission. πŸ™‚

  5. A good read guys, liked the post script analysis esp in point 4 where Jay sacked clients because they were not worth it. I also thought the following point was good that her headspace was her workspace and couldn’t have it occupied by riff-raff – classic!

  6. Fritzie says:

    The 5 Big Mistakes book is very creatively presented. I am definitely one of those people who doesn’t like to read about money, but I like Mark’s work so much, I had to see how this would be handled.

    It was a fun, fast read.

    I feel like I read too many things in too many places that are uninventive presentations of very familiar ideas.

    Thanks for a creative spin on this topic!