Are you a creative entrepreneur who is passionate about your craft but uncertain about handling the financial side of your business? If so, you are not alone. Meet Christian Brim, the visionary behind Core Group US, an accounting firm that has carved out a unique niche by catering specifically to creatives. In a recent episode of The Coach Yu Show, Dennis had an illuminating conversation with Christian, shedding light on the intricacies of accounting for creative entrepreneurs and how Core Group US is helping transform how creatives view and manage money.
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Christian Brim and His Journey
The interview began with Dennis and Christian discussing the fascinating journey that led Core Group US to specialize in serving creative entrepreneurs. Christian shared how the firm stumbled upon this niche and, through circumstance and insight, recognized the unique challenges and needs of creatives in the financial realm. Many creative individuals possess right-brained thinking, focusing on passion and innovation, while traditional accountants tend to be left-brained, analytical, and often lacking in relatability.
The Truth About Creatives
Creatives do not see business the way right-brained people do. Christian’s daughter, for example, went through four years of college to earn a degree but did not want to become an employee. She wanted to be an artist. So Christian naturally asked, “Okay, what will you create? How are you going to price it? Who are you going to sell it to?” She responded, “I do not know. I just want to paint.” Those analytical questions are foreign to her, and that is how creatives tend to think. They want to pursue their passion.
Then Dennis asks, “How do creatives view money?” Christian explains that for creatives, money is just an outcome, not a motivator. Of course, everybody needs money to survive. Creatives are aware of that, but it does not motivate them. Conversations about money do not come naturally to them.
Many creatives face financial anxiety, viewing numbers and taxes as daunting and overwhelming. Christian highlights the challenge of helping these individuals overcome their fears and connect with the financial aspects of their businesses. Core Group US empowers creatives to conquer their financial apprehensions through practical guidance.
Christian adds, however, that creatives who are content to subsist are not the people they are trying to help. They work with creatives who want to make money, maintain a certain lifestyle, and have freedom but are unsure how to get there.
Advice to Creatives
Dennis asks, “If you could give three pieces of advice to a creative about their accounting and money, what would those be?” Christian explains that the 80-20 Principle comes to mind and is a valuable concept of leveraging your time for what is most valuable to you. The idea of doing everything yourself, such as your accounting and taxes, is inaccurate. Creatives should ask themselves what value they can bring and how much money they can make doing that and leveraging their time.
Christian delves into the importance of niche specialization for creative entrepreneurs. Just as a videographer might choose to focus on drone shots or food photography, creatives should find their niche and dare to say no to projects that do not align with their core strengths. His advice echoed that of the entrepreneurial world – narrow your focus to expand your impact.
The last one is general advice. Some creatives wonder if they should form an LLC. They hear the term and think it is something they need to do. There could be valid reasons to have an LLC other than accounting and tax purposes. Most businesses do not need it. They are not making enough money to take advantage of it from a tax standpoint.
How much should creatives charge?
Christian thinks business owners and creatives undercharge in general. The customer drives the price based on the perceived value, so it does not matter. The time, energy, effort, and expertise it takes to deliver are the things that matter. It is all about what you are delivering. Most of the time, you could get rid of most of the work because it is just labor-intensive, time-intensive, and you are not getting paid enough.
When you are first starting, you need every dollar to survive. But there comes a point where you reach your limit or stress level and decide to do something differently. Just raise your prices.
Dennis adds that many people start from the cost up. They will charge $50 to $100 an hour instead of $20,000 for a project, thinking nobody cares if it takes a hundred hours to complete for as long as the project is delivered.
Christian says that is the old negotiating term, BATNA (best alternative available). Instead, consider the pain you are solving, the cost you are saving them, and the value you are bringing to the table. That is where you should start.
How many of your clients charge by the hour vs. by the project?
Christian explains that it is standard to do it that way, to charge by the day instead of looking at the outcome. The thing about focusing on it is that you can start to bundle and add to it. If there are things you do not provide, you can partner with others. You will only be able to capture more value when you start focusing on the outcome instead of how much time you put in.
What do creatives need to know to get away from being constantly broke?
Christian says that aside from raising prices and leveraging your time, it is understanding what the client wants and what they are getting out of it. The value should be the driving factor. Creatives should focus on the outcome they deliver and the problem they solve rather than fixating on hourly rates. By understanding the unique value, creatives can set prices that reflect their impact and expertise.
Breaking the Stereotype
One of the most striking aspects of Christian’s approach is his commitment to bridging the gap between left-brained and right-brained thinking. He emphasized that effective communication is the key, and his team invests significant resources in soft skills like communication and understanding client preferences. It is a refreshing departure from the typical aloofness associated with accountants and financial professionals. Dennis likened Christian’s approach to that of renowned chef Gordon Ramsay – someone who has mastered the craft but remains approachable, personable, and on top of things.
Unlocking Growth Through Leadership
Christian revealed the challenges he is currently navigating as Core Group US grows. He is transitioning from being the primary leader to nurturing and developing leaders within his team. This shift from leadership to mentorship underscores the importance of empowering others, delegating with authority, and fostering an environment where creativity thrives.
Core Group US: Your Financial Guide in the Creative Realm
Christian Brim and Core Group US represent a transformative force in creative entrepreneurship. By marrying financial expertise with relatability and passion, they redefine how creatives approach accounting and money matters. As Christian continues to inspire and educate through his unique perspective, creatives can look forward to a future where financial success becomes a natural extension of their creative journey. So, if you are a creative entrepreneur seeking financial empowerment, discover the liberating potential that lies within mastering your financial landscape.
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