Stop stressing about money – start using
it to achieve your creative ambitions

Update: Due to the impending VATMOSS legislation in the European Union, The Creative Money Manual is temporarily unavailable. We hope to have it back on sale early in 2015. Apologies for the inconvenience meanwhile. Mark and Sarah.

As a creative freelancer or entrepreneur, you have different values to the average business owner:

  • You’re motivated by more than just money – you want to create something amazing
  • Time for creative work feels as precious to you as money in the bank
  • Spreadsheets make your eyes glaze over
  • You want to avoid ‘selling out’ at all costs

But you also know that the ‘starving artist’ stereotype is no fun at all. If you can’t afford high quality equipment, raw materials, training, inspiring experiences – or if you’re simply too stressed about money to think creatively – you risk falling short of your creative ambitions.

So you’ve probably come to realise that selling yourself short is as bad as selling out.

But if you can master the money side of your creative business, it can give you the time, resources and mental bandwidth you need to do your very best creative work.

That’s where The Creative Money Manual can help you.

From two creative business specialists –
a Money Manual tailor-made for creative people

I’m Mark McGuinness and I’m pleased to introduce a money manual that’s specially designed for your very particular needs as an independent creative professional.

It’s a plain-English guide to managing the finances of your creative business, that respects the fact that you see spreadsheets as a necessary evil, rather than something to get excited about. As a writer and poet, I know exactly how you feel when you have to spend time crunching numbers instead of creating something new.

I’ve teamed up with creative business finance wizard Sarah Thelwall to help you tackle the money challenges you face. While I can help you get past the mental and emotional hurdles to dealing with money, I’m a wordsmith and a people person, not a numbers guy.

That’s why I’ve joined forces with Sarah, who will show you how to see the wood from the trees when it comes to numbers and data. (She also does the funky illustrations, so you can imagine she’s not your typical financial management consultant.)

The good news is, money and creativity don’t have to be always in conflict – at least not in your case. We’ll show you what you need to do to make your business profitable and sustainable with the minimum of time and effort – freeing you up to spend as much time as possible on your creative work.

If you’re struggling to balance
money and creativity, we can help

We understand how hard it can be to get your head around money issues when you’re working incredibly hard to keep your clients, customers and Muse happy. Accounting feels deathly boring and against your artistic instincts – you’d much rather be doing the work you love instead of fiddling with receipts and bank statements.

Taking time away from creative work and thinking about money brings up all those feelings you’d rather not experience – resistance, overwhelm, and the fear that you’ll never get the numbers to add up, however hard you try.

We can help. We know what it’s like – we’ve been there ourselves, and we’ve seen it over and over in our clients’ businesses. We know the critical problems you need to fix – and that, once fixed, will make your creative business profitable, sustainable and enjoyable.

We’ve used this material over and over again with our clients, and heard the sighs of relief when they finally get a sense that they’re on top of their finances. The best part is the moment they realise money isn’t the enemy, it’s not an intractable problem – and it can in fact help them achieve their creative ambitions.

If you’d like to experience that feeling yourself, here’s how The Creative Money Manual can help you do it.

The five critical skills you will learn
from the Creative Money Manual

The Creative Money Manual will teach you the five most important things you need to do to reconcile money and creativity in your business and get them working together.

We’ve spent a lot of time making sure the Manual has everything you need, explaining it all in plain English, so you don’t need to be a financial wizard to understand it.

We know you’re not interested in financial management for its own sake, so we only focus on the essential things you need to know to run a profitable and enjoyable creative business.

Here’s what you’ll learn.

The Creative Money Manual covers the critical money skills in five sections, each building on the one before and setting the finances of your creative business on a firm foundation for the future.

1. Adopt an empowering mindset about creativity and money

Yoga practitioner balancing money and idea symbolsThis is about getting creativity and money in proportion, so that you avoid compromising by either selling out or selling yourself short.

Once you understand the real relationship between creativity and money, you’ll avoid the damaging myths perpetrated by the starving artist mindset.

The key to this is The Creative Money Mindset – an attitude and set of thinking patterns that will empower you to achieve creative and commercial success.

In this part you’ll discover…

  • Why starving artists are barking up the wrong tree
  • The real relationship between creativity and money
  • What Michelangelo owed to the double-entry book-keeping system
  • When – and how – to think about money
  • How to do outstanding creative work under pressure

2. Get a team of experts to help you
(without breaking the bank)

Team gathered around a tableEven if you’re a one-person business, there’s no need to go it alone.

You can benefit from the advice of a team of specialists – including an accountant, bank manager, book-keeper and others.

We’ll explain how to get the best out of each relationship without spending more than you can afford. We’ll also explain different types of company structure and help you decide which is the best fit for you.

In this part we’ll explain…

  • The difference between a good accountant and a great one (yes, they exist!)
  • How to make the most of your bank manager
  • When – and how – to delegate doing your accounts
  • The pros and cons of different business structures
  • When to consider setting up a limited company

3. Get a grip on your cashflow

ScalesThis is about getting a grip on the numbers, by recording your income and expenses, and budgeting for the future.

On the surface, this looks like a mundane task, which you may be tempted to put off – but by making it a regular habit, you can reduce your stress levels and set yourself up for success.

Firstly, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re on top of your finances, and there are no nasty surprises waiting for you.

And secondly, when your records are up to date, they act like a dashboard of your creative business finances – so you always know how much is in the tank, how fast you’re going and whether you have enough to complete your journey.

This is where you’ll learn…

  • How to motivate yourself to do your accounts
  • What to do when clients don’t pay their invoices on time
  • How to know whether you can afford to splash out
  • The critical difference between direct and indirect costs – and how to budget for both
  • How to plan ahead when your income is irregular

4. Spot critical patterns and use them to make
your business more profitable

Pie chartThe figures you learn to record in Part 3 stage are a potential goldmine – as long as you spot significant patterns and use them to make smart decisions.

So it pays to take time out to analyse which products, services and clients are bringing you the most money for your time and effort – and which are not worth your while.

You also need to analyse your business expenses and be prepared for these going up or down in future.

In this part we’ll teach you…

  • How to identify your best clients – and sources of clients
  • 8 different ways to set your prices
  • How to know which products/services to trash, and which to persist with
  • Which expenses are the best (and worst) investments in your business
  • How to use discounts without looking cheap

5. Make sure you’re earning what you are worth
(and not paying over the odds)

Two identical dancers side by sideAnalysing your business in isolation is all very well, but it doesn’t give you much of a clue about its real potential.

By comparing your financial performance to other businesses in your field, you can get a valuable perspective on how well you are doing. You can then use the stars in your field as a benchmark and work towards emulating their success.

You can also find out whether you are paying more than you need to for things like rent, equipment, marketing and other business expenses.

In this part you’ll find out…

  • How to find out what your competitors earn
  • Who you should really be comparing yourself to
  • How to know if you’re cheap or expensive (or just right)
  • How great creative businesses balance stability and daring
  • How data can help you raise the bar – creatively and commercially

To start sorting your creative business
finances once and for all, get your copy
of the Creative Money Manual

The Creative Money Manual will teach you the five critical money skills you need to run your creative business profitably and sustainably – for just $39.

Price: $39

… and of course, the Creative Money Manual comes with a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee.

If You want even more help, get the Manual as part of the ‘Money for Creative People’ Pack

If you want even more help, the Money for Creative People Pack will give you audio lessons, a guided visualisation, practical worksheets and non-scary spreadsheets to crunch the numbers with ease – all for a one-off fee of $139.

Price: $139

What extras are in the Pack?

The Money for Creative People Pack contains the Creative Money Manual plus a step-by-step multimedia learning program that expands on the Manual and gives you worksheets and templates to make sorting out finances much, much easier.

  • Audio discussions between Mark and Sarah (with full searchable transcripts) – where we expand on the ideas in the Creative Money Manual and help you overcome the challenges you’ll face
  • A guided Creative Money Mindset visualisation – a special audio recording in which Mark talks you through a powerful visualisation sequence that embeds the Creative Money Mindset firmly in your mind
  • Practical worksheets – taking you step-by-step through the process of sorting your creative business finances
  • Non-scary spreadsheets – to record the numbers and save you having to fiddle with a calculator

Audio files are in MP3 format, making it easy to listen on your computer, tablet, smartphone or digital music player. The spreadsheets are in Microsoft Excel format, and worksheets come in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats, so you can choose between printing them out or completing them on your computer.

As well as these learning materials, the Money for Creative People Pack comes with two special bonuses:

  • 2 months’ access to MyCake Financial Management (retail price: $56) – the online accounting and benchmarking toolkit specially designed for creative businesses
  • The SMARTSTART Guide to Pricing (retail price: $39.95) – a 74-page guide and 40-minute audio seminar that teach you how to set prices that are both profitable and competitive

Which option works best for you?

Both the Creative Money Manual and the Money for Creative People Pack will help you feel better as you understand how to take control of your creative business cashflow.

If you just want the easy-reading, 130-page PDF to guide you on your way, go for the Manual. If you want the Manual plus the full multimedia learning program with additional worksheets and templates, then pick up the Pack.


“I took Mark and Sarah’s course on Money for Creative People last year. It opened my eyes to the fact that I need experts to help me and gave me permission to hire the help I needed. (I got both an attorney and a CPA!)

“It also gave me a clear understanding of where I needed to make changes in my thinking, emotions and habits. My relationship with money became much less hostile and more civil. (We might even become friends soon.) I saw how that relationship affected many many aspects of my work and life. Instead of hiding from financial issues that made me uncomfortable, I now had tools with which to approach them.

“Best of all, I was able to resolve my conflict between working to express my creativity and working to pay my bills. We’re exploring new directions for our business and I am planning to work through the course again on my own. Thank you Mark and Sarah, for seeing into our world and providing such a rich resource!”

Anne Sallee Miles, Owner,

“Thank you Mark and Sarah for the Money for Creative People course and how much I learned from it. I found it very clear, grounded and extremely helpful.”

Ahrabella Heabe Lewis, Artist –

“It was an excellent course, I’ve found it so helpful, thank you. It helped change my consciousness about my relationship with money, each of you brought fresh perspectives. Earthed but inspirational thinking.

“By the way your voice and Sarah’s giggle brought a very human touch to the business of money matters. Both very warm in feeling.”

Sheena Devitt, Stone Letter Carver –

“My experience taking the Money for Creative People course was a pleasant one. It was my first time taking an online course, and I thought it would was such a DEAL since I’d be hearing Mark and Sarah take on such topics as bench-marking and finding the right people to be part of your ‘administrative team’.

“The course is a great guide on how to set up your professional creative career. Sarah and Mark take you through the possible difficulties you’ll encounter in your journey and give you tips on dealing with these.”

Teresa, Designer-Maker, Philippines

P.S. If you’ve read this far we’re guessing you have the feeling that you need to get your financial house in order. But you also don’t want to compromise your creative vision.

The Creative Money Manual solves both of those problems and you won’t break out into Spreadsheet Rash even once. If you’ve been waiting to feel better about money and creativity, this guide was specifically written for you. Give it a try risk-free and start feeling better today.