Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Shoestring Budgets" Offer BIG Bonuses

If you have a dream (or an idea) but you don't have a big budget, try getting creative with what you DO have! Along the way, you'll discover a few bonuses that prove to be very valuable. (And just so you know, I wrote this post long before the COVID-19 virus was in full force but I still feel like these thoughts are relevant—especially now.) 

Believe me, I've had to follow my own advice and wouldn't you know, I'm already re-experiencing these bonuses. 

Shoestring budget bonus # 1:

1) You cultivate creativity.

My first attempt at a public concert was over 20 years ago. I was operating on a very tiny budget. In fact, I'm not even sure I had a budget. I don't know that I had much of a dream either. I just happened to have some songs that seemed to resonate with people and an opportunity to record those songs. So I decided to put on a concert to help pay for the recording.

I picked a venue, date and name: "A Journey Through Seasons" since that seemed to correlate with the songs I was planning to share.

Since I'm a visual person, I wanted some "props" to go with my themed concert. When I found a cow skull along the road on my walk one day, I brought it home thinking it would be the perfect prop for the "desert scene" in my concert.

My husband was horrified that I was now collecting skulls from along the roadside.😂  I simply viewed it as getting creative.
You can see the skull in the picture on the right.
I borrowed the other props from the church venue.
I discovered that I really enjoyed planning a concert, so I kept cultivating creativity over the years and paying attention to the desires of my heart. After recording my Christmas album, I started wanting to step things up a notch...well, more like, quite a few notches.

Portraits of White 2018
The fourth year into my Portraits of White concerts my stage props were a bit of an upgrade from the cow skull days—I didn't find them alongside the road either. They were gorgeous white trees (made of shower curtains) and snowflakes (made of styrofoam) hand-crafted just for the Christmas concert. After the concerts, people wanted to buy those trees. I wonder why no one ever wanted to buy the cow skull?! LOL!

Yes, my stage props have changed but having to use my creativity and ingenuity has not. The need to limit what I spend always forces me to be creative and it's a BIG bonus, though sometimes a challenge too.

Now that I am facing the cancellation and postponement of concerts, I've had to get REALLY creative.

Thanks Facebook. Now I'm able to give a concert every afternoon if I want and I can still share my music with people. It's just a different format.

Shoestring budget bonus # 2:

2) You get motivated.

When I went into full-time songwriting and concert performance, I found it to be an incredible motivator to sharpen my skills and find new ways to share my music. Loss of income, whether planned or unplanned, can be a huge motivator.

I am still learning that there is a fine line between planning something that serves as motivation and being completely overtaken by something. Like my virtual mentor, Jim Rohn, once warned: you might start out in control of your dream, but your dream can start to control you. So be careful not to plan more than you can manage. Only you know where that line is and you'll find that it might change over time as your dream grows.

Flexibility comes in real handy as things change and motivation never seems to disappear from the list of tools needed when working away at your plans.

Last but not least: one of the biggest bonuses from a shoestring budget is one that kind of snuck up on me.

Shoestring budget bonus #3:

3) You learn to cultivate contentment.

At first, it seemed like achieving my goals didn't allow room for contentment. But that's probably because I thought contentment would come once I accomplished my dream. And there IS a sense of accomplishment, but contentment goes deeper than accomplishment. In fact, cultivating contentment is the most fulfilling thing I've done while working toward my goals and dreams.

I often feel a deep satisfaction because I have attempted to do what was in my heart. It still might not look exactly like what I envisioned, but as I learn to cultivate contentment I feel at peace. Now that's a bonus I can use every day!

Don't worry, I still have my days of emotional upheaval as it relates to my dreams and goals. But I've learned that while my concerts are over within a couple of hours, contentment can be a constant companion and I'm embracing it more as I get older—both in age and in experience.

Contentment starts with changing your thinking patterns and can be cultivated AS you walk toward your dream. I've come to realize that it's a posture of the heart and mind. Its dividends are priceless.

I wish you well as you cultivate creativity, get motivated and cultivate contentment, especially during this tough season we are all facing.

Stay connected with me on Facebook and watch for the "LIVE" concert events.