Secure The Bag.
1. You're a business; so invest in it- envision yourself as the CEO of a business. You're responsible for its operations, its end of the year finances, and for all of its employees. You are the sole operator of Dancer, Inc.
Now, if you were an investor, would you invest in your business? If you were a customer, would you think that you are the best product on the market? The most qualified? The most likely to make a memorable experience worth thousands of dollars per day?
If you don't think that you're the best product on the market, then the market will not reward you as if you are. And to be the best product on the market you have to be the most innovative, the most driven, and the most available. Starbucks, Google, or Apple don't open for business for 18 hours a week, or only when they feel like it. By showing up consistently and in your best hustle mode, you're becoming the kind of business that your customers will invest in.
2. Money is a jealous lover- ever left work with a big fat pile of money only to be short on a bill only a few weeks later? Where did it all go?
Money wants your attention. It requires that you spend your time and energy growing it, thinking about where it will go, and getting more of it. And the more you care for it, the more of it will be available to you. It goes the other way, too. If you don't give it your time and attention to keep it happy, money will take up your time and attention by making your life difficult.
Bills, emergencies, and difficulty will find you when you don't mind your money and take the time to care for it.
To be clear, money's only paper. It's not the only thing that's important in life, but it does facilitate many of the very important things in life. What you do with money and the way you exchange your energy and effort with others is what gives it value. By keeping your focus on it, you can make sure that it grows and supports you; instead of having the stress and fear of being without it consume you.
3. Compound interest- Here's the short version; the more you invest when you're young, the better you'll be rewarded. When you invest money, your money grows through time. And the more time you give it to grow, the better it will do for you.
But that's not where it ends. When you invest, there is a phenomenon known as compound interest that grows your money far more than you might expect at first sight. This is because when you find investments that compound interest, your original money invested and the money you are earning every year, are both working on your behalf. The mechanics behind this merit their own article, and for now I'll link to a nice visual guide to how this phenomenon works here, but the point is, the earlier and the more aggressively you can begin investing, the more likely you are to see high rewards. So, don't just work for your bills. Work for your future tonight :)
4. We're reaping the rewards of massive economic growth- When the economy goes into a depression, people lose confidence in the value of money. They start to worry about their jobs, their families and their homes. And fun purchases like two hour rooms at the strip club become far less common. BUT, luckily for us, as of the time of this writing, we have been in the middle of an economic boom that is creating jobs, opportunities and disposable income on a massive scale. People have the time and money to go out, have fun, and then do it again.
Let the good times roll! ....right?
The thing about long term economic gains is that they're always followed by a market correction. Growth can't simply continue unchecked, so at some point in the future there will be another contraction that reigns in all that fun spending on dancers and champagne bottles, and puts us back to the 2008 market where many dancers saw their income margins drastically drop.
The point isn't to get you scared, but to get you motivated. Being smart and maximizing your income in the good times means the next time the hard times come around you'll be prepared to support yourself through them, and to make smart investments that will grow your money exponentially by the time the market starts to go up again.
And for now, you can rest assured that you can convince your customers to spend more than they ever have before. After all, if they won't do it in the midst of a great economy, when will they?
5. The unexpected. It's Murphy's Law: Everything that can happen, will happen. And at least some of it, sometimes, will be happening to you. Car problems, a landlord that ends your lease early, an injury that keeps you out of the office for who knows how long. All of these are possible, and more than likely at least once in your career. Why not prepare?
Take every night that you are healthy and capable as an opportunity to set yourself up for the inevitable times when you won't be. It's easy to have a great night and assume that things will continue to stay the same into the future, but life always has a way of throwing a curveball. Going in tonight is your way of storing away for the rainy days, so that you can move past them back to the sunshine.
6. Tax Season. What do Martha Stewart, Al Capone, and Lauryn Hill have in common? You guessed it. All of them were prosecuted for tax evasion, and lost.
Maybe you file them, maybe you don't. But whether it's now or later, the two certainties in life are death and taxes. Even though some clubs won't report what you make on your tax documents, if you ever decide to make a large purchase (car, house, business), you'll have to have records of your income, and of consistent tax payments over time. And even if you don't plan on these things, nowadays it's hard not to leave a paper trail. One way or the other, the IRS usually finds a way to collect.
Even if you're not planning on filing this year, it pays to get in a good position for the next cycle; and in order to do that, you have to plan for a sizable chunk of your income to disappear on April 17th. If you are planning on using dancing as your retirement plan, then starting to work as if 20-35% of your income is going to disappear once a year might make you reconsider playing hookie.
7. Health Insurance. Because we're naked stunt artists that sometimes hover upside down in a spin after three tequilas! As of this writing, I'm not aware of any club that offers health benefits for dancers or for their families. As contractors, we're responsible for making sure that our health needs and those of our dependents are met. Part of this responsibility involves making sure that we have a nest's egg stored away for any potential loss of work.
Twist your ankle? Get elective surgery? You'll need at least months of income and expenses stored away to comfortable survive. And by consistently working those nights when you'd rather stay home, you'll have it put away in no time.
8. There's no such thing as free money. We've all heard stories of amazing nights, weeks, or months from other dancers. They seem to have a never ending stream of regulars, endless luck on the floor, and no bad nights. But the secret is that they are getting successful because they have been putting in the hours and the effort consistently. It's just that the only part you're seeing is the fun, after-years-of-learning part.
Sure, there are exceptions. Anyone can have a good night, or even a few in a row. But those who are building wealth are doing so by building habits that will keep money in their hands; not by calling it early.
Which brings us to....
9. That One Night. Your best night could be any night. I'll repeat that. Your best night could be any night. Some of my best nights ever have been:
Sundays and Mondays
The slowest week of the slowest season in a given city
Nights where there was only one VIP room in the house
Never assume it's not your night. If you approach your job as if it will reward you, and your customers as if they're going to pay you, any night may be the night that you get to gloat about for years to come.
8. $ati$faction. This is the last one, but it's a goodie. The reason we, as a society, trade money, is because it gets us things we want. You may lust after travel and experiences, or your favorite days may be mall days. Are you a foodie? Do you want a fancy new Maserati? A condo on the beach? For your grandchildren to have college paid for?
In short; do you deserve to have what you want?
To deserve is defined as : do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment).
Which means that in order to deserve it, you must do something, have something, build or create something that brings those goals closer to you. Make tonight bring you one step closer to the things you want. Earn the life you want to lead with your actions, and you will be deserving of everything that you receive.
You're awesome, you're smart, and you're gonna get what you want.
Now, get to work!