As an artist, performer and athlete, everything feels really good when I have work! I have a life, I enjoy working with my partner, and it feels like we’re doing something useful. We do what we love, we make art, we practice, grow and learn together. We have a place to live provided by our client. We have an income, we have fun and we have a life worth living.
But then, BOOM! The contract ends and from one day to the next everything is gone! My friends are gone, my job is gone, my home is gone and my income is gone! My life is gone. Suddenly I sit alone somewhere at home and I have what I call location jet lag.
I feel empty. On top of that, all the glorious fame and applause is gone as well.
The unemployment periods are mentally very challenging for me. I sometimes don’t know what the next months will bring, or what happens next year. It is a shitty feeling to sit at home and wait for the email with a job offer, that may not come.
I have been struggling with this for the last 5 Years. I feel embarrassed to tell my parents, friends or other artists that I don’t have a job for 5 months. Because I love to work, I need to work! It took me a while but then finally I realised I need a second income stream. Something to fill the time I spend between contracts.
I felt really lucky when I started teaching in the most awesome youth circus school. It made me really happy, but then I realised that I was teaching more than I was performing. That realisation was again a big motivation to keep my eyes and ears open for the something else that allows me to tour as much as I can and still provide me with the security of a stable second income.
I live after the motto that the right things come to the right time and your heart will tell you what to do. When I come across a Facebook advertisement from a musician friend, who started to coach business to people my intuition told me to sign up and I paid 2000 euros for 8 hours of her time. Yes, a big commitment to pay! Together with my business coach we created sexybadass.com where I offer a five hours coaching program that helps young women to train, trust and unleash their true inner strength, by combining physical exercises with mindset training.
Setting up this website and program has been a big journey for me. I had to grow very quickly into a more developed version of myself. For example, I had to expand my “share tolerance” on social media. I’ve had to figure out how to create content that is interesting and delivers value to people. It’s like creating an act. An ongoing process. It’s never perfect and there is always potential to become better at it.
The most interesting fact I discovered was that there are “online businesses”, and they are location independent.
That led me to find out about digital nomads. There’s a whole community of people who are travelling the world and working location independent over the Internet. I am a curious bird and I like to learn, so I signed up for every free online course I could find (and there is plenty of them) to gain more knowledge about online businesses. Basically it comes down to finding your niche, to brand yourself. Then you create content and gain more reach and launch a product. It sounds quite OK but it’s big-time science.
I followed the Digital Nomad Girls community on FB and Insta. I signed up for access to the inner circle; an online Digital Nomad community that serves as a tight nit professional network. One night I listened to their stories. A Digital Nomad Girl explained why she joined the community. She talked about the isolation of working alone from home brings along. How her friends at home don’t understand her lifestyle. That travelling a lot can be lonely and it’s difficult to settle into a new city and be productive straight away. She explained how she meets other digital nomad girls online in zoom and they work, learn and grow together. They chat 10 min together and then work 25 solo, this is repeated 4 times. She mentioned how much it helped with accountability, loneliness and moral. How it kept her focused on her goals and how it fast-tracked her overall progress.
There it literally hit me! I thought there is such a big parallel to the performing arts world! Our unemployment periods are mentally tuff. Some of us train isolated at home day by day. And this co-working is just what we need. Of course we name it co-training. In my mind I see us Circus Folk meet online and do splits together or exchange knowledge on how best to find and apply for jobs. Motivating each other to be productive!
Also, It helped me so much to have a second income stream. I could stop worrying about getting by and how to afford new props and aerial workshops. I would love to help other artists to create a location independent online income, they can peruse while on or off tour. I mean if we warm up one hour a day, and train our speciality 2 hours a day and stretch for one more hour, that makes for hours. There is definitely space for two hours of online research and growing an income stream. Business is not dry and grey like many may think. Business is highly creative and liberating. If we do business with the passion we bring on stage we can move the world. A financially free artist has more resource to go bigger, deeper and move more energy in a positive direction.
Can anybody really to this? I am really wondering if I am the only one struggling with unemployment periods?