The Income Clarity Calculator

Ready to rip off the band-aid? Let's go!

What is your monthly income goal?

This is your goal within the next year or two. The number should be meaningful, in that it would meet your needs, whatever those are.

How to arrive at this number:

If you don’t know what you spend now, that’s definitely where you want to start. After all, you can’t design a solution that meets your needs if you don’t know what your needs are!
The myths we’re fed say you’ll never have enough money, you’ll never have control over what you earn, so why bother trying. That’s just capitalism cutting you off at the knees. You don’t have to listen.

Here’s a starting point:

Take what you spend in an average month (look at spending in your checking account and your credit cards and average the last 3-6 months. Include your business/creative expenses as well as personal expenses.)
Add 25%. (You can add 50% or 200% if you want to!)
If you want to replace a full-time corporate income, use your annual salary + benefits package divided by 12.
If you only want to make an additional side-hustle income, you can pick some other number that would be meaningful for you.

You can run this calculator as many times as you want and play with your numbers.

How many hours a week do you want to devote to your creative business?

This is your goal for when you're making the income number you named above. This could mean hours you currently spend, or it may be a lot fewer hours. If you want to project what it would look like to do this full-time, how many hours would that be for you?

For the purposes of our rough estimate, this should include all the time you have available to work on your business, not only “billable” time when you’re actually creating your thing or delivering your service. It’s also the time you have available to invoice, do marketing, do email, and line up at the post office.

And I know you’re a hard worker, but I encourage you not to use a number higher than 40. You’re not a machine, and you don’t want to design a business as if you were.

What do you charge, on average, for each unit of what you make or do?

This is the hardest one to pin down, as most creatives I know might be selling an ebook for $3.99 and a coaching service for $1500.

Again, you might either run multiple scenarios, or use an average. For example: If I sell 3 prints at $125 for every one commissioned drawing at $500, that averages out to $218.

In any case, as you’ll see, exact numbers are not as important here as orders of magnitude.

Now, check out your results below!

This is amount of money your work needs to generate for you every hour you’re working:

Remember: this is all working hours, not just “billable” hours. That includes all the back end work of running the business, like admin, shipping, invoicing. This is not what you’re charging clients, this is what you need to be paid for every hour you work.

REFLECT: Do you know your effective hourly rate? Is it close to this number? If not, do you have a plan to increase your rate?

This is how many of your product or service you need to sell in order to meet your financial needs:


REFLECT: How many of your product or service are you selling now? Do you have a plan to close the gap?

Want to try again with different numbers? Just update your fields and hit that calculate button again!

→ This is not a prediction machine. It’s just connecting dots you might not have realized you needed to connect.
→ There’s no way to fully reflect the complexity of an average artist’s professional life in a simplified calculator like this. This isn’t about forecasting income. It’s about indicating actions you might want to take, and changes you might want to make.
→ Get help to improve your numbers (and a more powerful calculator) Click through…

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