Congratulations! You just made $1,000 in a night. Sounds like a good start, right?
But the next day it's your friend's birthday/a music show/a "slow night" of the week/you're hungover and just plain don't feel like going in.
That $1,000 night just became a $500 average over two days.
Still don't feel like going in the next day? You're down to a $300 average per night. Over a year, this can make the difference of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Assuming you plan to work 300 nights in a year, these averages could look like:
$1000 x 300 = 300,000
$500 x 300 = 150,000
$300 x 300 = 90,000
That's a pretty huge difference. It gets bigger when you consider the expenditures that inevitably show up when you start taking time off. A dinner out with friends, a ticket to a movie or an outfit you impulse buy all add up at the end of the year. And it's much easier to spend if you give yourself the leisure time.
Better Habit: Set and Keep a work schedule.
How much you work is ultimately up to you. There is no correct number of days, shifts, or hours that will work for everyone. The only golden rule is that you will get back out what you put in. If you only work one or two days a week, dancing will never function as a full-time job. The only way for it to pay like a full-time job is if you work full time.
However, many of us have different goals that can affect what kind of schedule we stick to. Usually it helps to work backwards from your goals and figure out what kind of a work schedule matches your financial wants and needs for the year. This takes a bit of tracking, but it's worth it in the long run.
If you're keeping good track of your weekly averages, net income, gross income and tax deductible expenses, then deducing how often you should go to work becomes a lot easier. If not, I'd refer you to the worksheets available under the Education section of Racks to Riches. They'll help you keep organized, and aid you when planning your weeks out.
First, it helps to figure out how much you're already making with the days that you're working every week. And the more data you have, the easier it will be to figure out. Either on paper or (highly recommended) on a spreadsheet, figure out how much you earn per shift on average.
So, for example, if I earned 4,000 in a week and worked for five days of that week, I would take:
4000/5 = $800 average per shift in a week.
total/days worked= average per shift
Or, if I knew that I made 25,000 in a month and worked for 22 days I could take:
25,000/22= $1,136.63 average per shift
total/days worked= average per shift
Now, we could work backwards from our goals into the number of days we want to put on our schedule. If my goal was to earn $300,000 before taxes in one calendar year, I then could divide $300,000/1,136 to get 264 days.
That means if I can keep a consistent average of 1,136 per shift, then in 264 days I will meet my goal of 300,000. However, this simple calculation doesn't account for all the other factors that come with day to day work. A few to consider when making your final scheduling goals are:
- averages may change over time. Is work in your city seasonal? Will there be slower or busier months?
- your earning potential may change depending on how many days you add. Do you have the stamina to take on more shifts without it affecting your potential or mood?
- wiggle room for sickness, family emergencies, cramps, personal circumstances, etc.
- the tax deductions that will affect your yearly total, and make your totals go down in size, and
- how much you usually spend per month
It's always useful to plan for more days than you originally expect; give yourself some room to be human. The exact number of days and hours is up to you. However, even if you only work one or two days a week, the habit of setting and sticking to a weekly schedule keeps you accountable to yourself and to those who depend on you.
No more relying on your mood to dictate your money. Let your money making dictate your mood.