What I Believe About Money

What I Believe About Money

I had a conversation last week that really sent my brain humming.

It was about separating what we ‘believe’ about money from what we ‘know’.

That might not sound exciting, but the more I thought about what I believed about money, the more I got into some really vulnerable places.

It’s kind of crazy. As I was jotting them down today I had so much trouble actually putting them down in black and white. My hand didn’t want to do it. My heart started beating fast

I’m not sure what’s all going on, and maybe it’s just me. But there’s something about these beliefs that’s powerful.

And that’s what I wanted to share with you today, in a much longer than normal email, a few of these panic inducing beliefs and how they’ve shaped, and continue to shape, my thinking.

I’ll be curious to know if any of you will find them familiar…


I used to believe that making more money will cause stress in my relationships

Back when I was a poor student, so were many of my friends, and the experiences that we had in our shitty apartments scraping by from week to week were a huge part of our relationships. It was one of the big things we had in common. Everyone was struggling with money.

And so 7 years ago, when I started to face my money fears this was one of the first core beliefs I came up against.

I was so scared that if I wasn’t struggling… that I wouldn’t relate to my friends anymore. Maybe I’d find myself on the ‘outside of the club.’

What I learned: my experience with this belief has been largely positive. The better I got with my money the more I’ve been able to open up a conversation with friends who feel really isolated in their struggles. But there are friendships that I have lost because we have less in common, and I still struggle being open with some of the people in my life about the fact that I’m not struggling anymore.


I used to believe that money is a barrier to what I want to do

“If I had the money to go on all the auditions, then I’d be more successful”
“if I had the money to travel more, I’d be happier”
“If I had the money….”

But then when I got more money… it didn’t unlock all my financial struggles. I was blaming things on not having enough money, but the actual problem was way deeper than that.

What I learned: Slowly, I learned that the barrier was my fear of money. The barrier was my lack of tools to use my money effectively. Those barriers have largely been broken down, and these days I don’t see money as a barrier… I see it as a tool.


I sometimes still believe that getting paid for being an artist validates my ability as an artist.

There aren’t a lot of success metrics for opera singers. This business is so subjective… one person’s favourite singer will be hated by someone else.

So I turned to the idea of ‘making a living’ or ‘amount earned’ to measure whether I was successful or not.

I clung to the belief that as long as someone was paying me for the work I was doing… it must mean I was good.

What I’m learning: It’s dangerous to link artistic satisfaction with something like earnings. As I work in the opera industry less, I’m forced to make to set my own goals and define my own success. It’s hard, and I’m still struggling with it. But I know so many amazingly talented singers and artists that don’t monetize their abilities at all. It doesn’t make their ability less, so why do I think it should make mine less?


I sometimes still believe that I have a unique financial life and that the conventional rules of personal finance don’t apply to me

I’ve never felt like my values or lifestyle are particularity well understood by the financial industry. I know lots of you feel that way too. It’s one of the main reasons I started R2R to begin with.

The problem that this belief has caused me is that I’m quick to ignore or discount tried and true financial fundamentals. And then, after months of inventing my own wheel… I realize that someone else has already done it.

What I’m learning and relearning: Yes, my situation is unique, but there is a lot of tried and true wisdom in the world. I don’t have to reinvent everything. Often I just need to tweak it a bit.


I begrudgingly believe that I should be able to be 100% independent financially, and anything less than that is failure


I don’t believe this about anyone else, but I do believe it about myself.

We’ve got something in our North American culture that glorifies independence and demonizes the reliance on someone else or a community.

Financial planning for lots of people needs to include the strength of a group because the numbers can’t work on your own.

The flaw at the heart of this belief is that somehow independence is better than dependance. Intellectually I don’t believe that, and yet it seems to be something I insist on for my own situation.

What I’m learning: I am not independent. No matter how I paint the picture, I am where I am because of the privilege I was born into and because of the generosity of my family, my friends, and my mentors. My independence is a myth, and my ‘pride’ in it is a trap. I am not ‘doing it all on my own’… and that’s not failure. I know this… but I’m still working through it.


What do you think? Anything sound familiar? Got any other ones you’re carrying around. If something comes to mind leave me a comment or come talk it over in OFFICE HOURS.

Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon

Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.

She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.

Email Emily at emily@ragstoreasonable.com

Want to start getting control of your money? How can I help?

What crippling stage fright taught me about money

What crippling stage fright taught me about money

Who it’s for: Singers, Actors, Musicians (Performers)
What it’s about:
 How building a solid technique solved my stage fright, and can do the same thing for your money.
What you get
: Three places to start building a solid money technique.

For the last 5 years I’ve been battling some fairly serious stage fright. 

It started off mildly enough, but slowly grew into a completely debilitating force that took away any joy I used to have for being on stage.

One of the many thoughts that started taking over my head was …

“What if I open my mouth and my voice just… doesn’t work?”

Not a great mental dialogue for a professional singer.

And the truth was… sometimes I opened my mouth and my voice really didn’t work.

It came from a mix of mental and technical problems, and normally I got through the show. But eventually it got bad enough that I completely crashed. It was not a great time in my life, and it sent me running.

I ran to my family farm. I sat on a tractor for 2 months and thought about how much I wanted to quit.

But I just couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t leave this thing that used to bring me so much joy… at least not like this.

So. I found a new teacher and we got to work…

… by painstakingly building up my technique and my shattered confidence.


A director once told me: ‘technique is for the times when things go wrong.’ His theory was that when things are good… you don’t need it… but when shit hits the fan, you have something to fall back on.

That might be an oversimplification, but here’s what I know.

After 2 and a half years of technical work… I’m actually enjoying performing again.

Hours of work doing onsets, breathing, and encouraging my soft palette to lift just a little bit more, has given me a technical base that I actually trust.

And somehow knowing that I have that base has slowly (and I mean slowly) decreased that stress and given me the confidence to do my thing.

For the first time in years I’ve had a run of stress free performances.

I can’t tell you what that means to me.


And so, as I was sitting backstage last week, about to put on my 2nd dance belt and pretend to be a greek demigod… I couldn’t help but see the parallels between my two worlds: art and money.

Money is a huge cause of stress for so many people (especially variable-income, no-safety-net opera singers).

The stress that surrounds money can completely take over your life. The only problem is you can’t run away from money (at least not as easily as I ran away from opera).

Luckily… the solution is the same.

Building up a money technique.

And I know that might not be what you want to hear. You might be like me… just hoping that every day you might wake up and things will be okay. That things will just get better.

You might think you don’t have the skills to build a money technique… that you’re not good at math, that you can’t budget…

But I promise you. If you can go through the painstakingly slow work of building up an artistic technique… you have everything you need to build a money technique, too.

A money technique is built in the same way, by investing hours of time into building solid fundamentals. Instead of breath, it’s cashflow (the daily ins and outs of your money), instead of onsets it’s deliberate decision making (learning to stop making default money decisions and make the ones you really want), and instead of working with someone to lift your soft palette, you work with someone to find one of a thousand little ways you can make your money life easier (by building a safety net, learning to save, and eliminating debt).

And, let me be clear, that technique isn’t about becoming rich and it’s NOT not about finally becoming ‘an adult’.

Just like building my singing technique wasn’t about becoming the greatest tenor of my generation (because I’m really not).

You build a technique so that you can forget about it and just … live your life… knowing that if something goes wrong, you have a system to fall back on.

Where do I start?

Okay, that might sounds good? But where do you start building that kind of technique?

I’m not going to just serve up a bunch of nice ideas and a fun story about a tenor who likes to sing opera again… that’s why I build a quiz to help find the perfect place for YOU to start. 


You’re a few questions away from the perfect next step for you and your money. 

And if you just need someone to talk to… I have weekly office hours… where you can schedule a free 30 minute Skype session to talk to a real person about your money. It’s a great place to come to if you really don’t know what to do first.

come chat with me about your money (for free)

Low key (and free) money coachings over skype.

It’s not impossible

Despite what that voice in your head is saying, it’s not impossible.

That’s how I felt as I drove my tractor up and down the fields wondering how I would ever step out on a stage again.

But I did.

And it wasn’t better right away, there were lots of bad days over those two plus years… but eventually everything changed.

I got my joy back.

Want to start getting control of your money? How can I help?

Chris Enns

Chris Enns

Financial Planner/Opera Singer

Money never came naturally to me. In fact… I was a bit of a disaster. I remember (very clearly) what it feels like to be ‘financially out of control’.

And honestly, I still get stressed about money… that doesn’t stop… the difference is that now I have the tools to deal with that stress.

And those tools are what’s made it possible for me to build a life full of the things I want: art, creativity, travel, family and more.

If you want to start getting control of your money I’d love to help. You can start with THIS QUIZ, visiting my GETTING STARTED PAGE by checking out my SERVICES page.

How I made a thousand dollars ‘on the internet’

How I made a thousand dollars ‘on the internet’

Thousand Dollars on the Internet - From Rags to Reasonable

I haven’t been thinking much about making money these last two months.

But that doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned my ‘turn R2R into a mega-income-making-machine’ plan (even though the ‘mega’ part of that has never really been the plan).

One of the big lessons that I learned during the first few months of trying out a few income methods was that I was most drawn to the idea of working with people one on one.

I’m less interested in making a product that helps thousands of people (although as I type that… it does sounds epically cool).

But I am fascinated by the challenge of helping someone figure out their own unique circumstance..

..how to help someone really connect to their money and turn it from a major stress to a major tool.

Thousand Dollars on the internet - From Rags to Reasonable

It might not sound as huge as it is, but knowing what kind of work I want to do is a MASSIVE piece of information in the process of building this business.

Turns out it’s hard to get what you want when you don’t actually know what you want….

….but it’s also a big indicator of how I want to be earning my income.

From realization … to laying the ground work (more…)

How I made 2 dollars on the internet

How I made 2 dollars on the internet

This is part 3 of a series documenting my attempts to make money on the internet… if you want the whole set up you can find it HERE, and if you’re curious how I earned my first dollar (and also 10 more after that) go HERE.

2 dollars. That was my goal for February.

In month number one of my income making experiment I shattered all my hopes and dreams and came in 1100% over target. That’s a lot of pressure to be taking on as I headed into my second month.

Did I make it? Well, before I let that cat out of the bag…. (more…)

How I made my first dollar on the internet

How I made my first dollar on the internet

A man with a ponytale sits at the computer, the text reads "How I made my first dollar on the internet'

A dollar buys you nothing.

Well… a dollar can buy you some things… in fact there’s a whole menu of choices at your nearest Taco Bell.

But I think we can all agree that a dollar isn’t really anything to write home about.

Whether it’s a lot of money or not… I have to say that making my first dollar online felt like a real accomplishment.

How did I do it?

In late January I wrote a post about “how you make money on the internet’. In it I sketched out my plan to finally turn this site from a time consuming hobby into something that resembled a business (or so I hoped).

Step one was to earn my first dollar. (more…)

How do you make money on the internet?

How do you make money on the internet?

Money on the internet - From Rags to Reasonable

This is not a how-to.

For those of you who may have only skimmed the title, you’ll find no answers here. This is just a second year blogger honestly wondering “how the heck do you make money on the internet?”

I started Rags to Reasonable just over a year ago, and it wasn’t just because I wanted to spend 20+ hours a week making pictures and writing about finance. I was trying to start a side business. Something that would help supplement my life as an artist.

On some levels I’ve been successful. I did start …. something. I wrote articles (I think some of them might have even helped people) and 10s of thousands of people passed through my little corner of the internet this year.

But it’s not really a business.

Businesses make money.

Wait… no… that’s not entirely true. Not all businesses make money… but all businesses are trying to make money.

The things that I haven’t told you (more…)