Money mindset: what it is and why it matters

Money mindset is a set of beliefs and values about money. Everyone’s money mindset is unique to them based on their experiences of money from early childhood.

Our parents, friends, partners and colleagues all have influence over our money mindset. Think back to your childhood. How did your parents treat pocket money, or presents? Did they have no problem finding money for some things, but not others?

This translates into how you feel about money now. Think about your own spending. Do you happily spend £100 on an instrumental lesson, say, but battle with the decision to spend £20 on a jumper? Is that because the instrumental lesson feels like a necessary investment in your work, but the jumper feels like an extravagance?

We all have different levels of acceptability when it comes to money and, specifically, value.

This goes much deeper when we consider how our money mindset impacts our sense of self-worth.

As a musician, setting your fees and your aspirations for your career feels like setting your own worth. I have discussions with musicians all the time about what to charge, how to judge the level to pitch fees at, and so on.

I’ve found an enormous change in my own sense of self-worth – and my income – from looking in detail at my money mindset, and I really encourage you to do the same.

The scarcity mindset.

If you have a scarcity mindset, setting a reasonable and realistic level for your fees is so difficult, because you’re trying to predict the money mindset of the people that are hiring you, and that is as variable as their own experiences. So exactly what is that?

A scarcity mindset is when your mind is set to believe that there isn’t enough to go around. This could refer to anything, but for musicians it relates to money. This is a huge problem for the industry – how often do you hear “there’s no money in music”?

This belief circles the industry like a spiral staircase. People climb the staircase of their careers, but they keep returning to this place of scarcity. This is because there is always someone that is willing to do it for free, so the organisations that produce music opportunities often don’t need to pay for it properly.

I’m always careful when I talk about this because I think it’s possible for musicians to feel that it’s their fault, particularly when I talk about changing the mindset. This isn’t the case – it’s come about because of a cycle of events that leads to music not being budgeted for properly. Then, anyone going into the industry is told there is no money in it, and so it goes on.

What can you do to improve your money mindset?

  1. If you’re in a bad mindset place, be understanding with yourself. The money mindset of the industry is very damaging. Add into that the nearly impossible task of creating your own sense of self-worth… I think this is one of the hardest things musicians are tasked with.
  • Notice the money messages you are receiving from others, or messages from your past. What do you place value on? Essentials? Treats? Holidays? Music? Gifts for others? Most of us give different values to different things.
  • When you’re noticing these money messages, think about where they’re coming from. Are they from the past or from people or situations in your life now?
  • For anything in your life now, think how you can change it, or at least stop hearing it. Do you have an assumption about a fee level for some work that’s in the pipeline? Ask for double what you had in mind and see what happens!
  • Do what you can to surround yourself with people who think like you do. It can be really hard to have a different mindset from your friends and family. Struggling with people telling you you’ll never make a living? Stop engaging in that conversation or, better still, talk to them about how this feels. Maybe play them the micro-podcast episode and ask them to see things differently!

If any of this resonates with you and you want to do something about it, but aren’t sure where to begin, try a free 30-minute coaching taster call with me, Katie Beardsworth.

Let us be a part of the network that changes your mindset message. Book your session here:…/ What’s holding you back?

You can hear an expanded version of this as a micro-episode – MWM 1 – in the Music Works podcast which you can find here on the website: or you can listen on all the usual podcast channels.

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