Hey, creative. Do you struggle with anxiety? Are you like most creatives and you’re really, uh, kind of a nervous nelly or worked up anxious about your art form, about your business, about your life? Um, well join the club. Uh, me too, <laugh>. I, uh, I’m a naturally anxious person. Forget being creative. I’m just a naturally wound up, anxious guy. Always have been since I was a little kid. And so I struggle with it just like a lot of, a lot of you do. Um, and so I want to, in this episode, share a few ways that I have found that that helped me. They don’t make it go away. I think it’s alive for anybody to tell you that you’re, you sort of, if you’re a nervous high-strung person, if, if, if that, that’s gonna go away somehow. It’s not. It’s who we are. And in a way, you know, what do you really want it to?

Um, it, it can make some, it, it makes fuel for you. It makes energy, it helps us to focus our creative energies. But, but I do understand what it feels like for it to get out of control. And I understand what it feels like to be overwhelming, and I understand what it feels like to be paralyzed by this anxious feeling, um, that you’re gonna fail or that’s not gonna work out or whatever, whatever it does for you. So I want to give you three ways, three that I use regularly, daily to help me cope with my personal anxiety and my personal high strung nature. And by the way, if any of you ever know, any of you know, Courtney, my business partner, she, she can tell you the truth, or my wife for that matter, they will tell you what’s up. Um, I’m a high strung dude, <laugh>.

So I, uh, I, I have really worked on this a lot and here are three techniques. I’m not, I’m not in love with the term mindset, but three mindsets, three ways of thinking, because our thinking affects all this stuff. Three ways of thinking that have helped me cope with my anxiety and continue to as I go along through this creative journey. And so I hope they help you. The first one is one I call, what would 80 year old you tell you? What would 80 year old you tell you? We’ve all seen these articles. These, they come out every year with these people who hit a hundred years old or 110 years old or whatever it is. And, um, they’ll do this article and they’ll say, Hey, what’s the secret to life? And they ask these people what, you know, what’s the secret to longevity in life?

And looking back over your life, what do you wish you had done differently? And all that stuff. And the answers are almost always, uh, similar. They’re always kind of the same. What do they say? They say, take big chances. Go for it. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t be afraid. Don’t wait. Move forward. Right? They, they never say, um, man, just make sure you’re keeping all that keeping, uh, collecting money for that 401k. Boy, make sure you, you save up all that leave time that they don’t do that. And they also have perspective on the things that caused them prob problems when they were younger. They look back on their life and go, you know, most of the things that I super worried about in the moment didn’t matter that much in the long term. They really didn’t. And I wasted a big chunk of my life worrying about things that either never happened, or if they did happen, weren’t as bad as I thought.

So a little mind game, I play with myself as, when I get worked up like this or I’m in a situation that I’m really getting anxious and I’ll, I’ll go, okay, Kevin, when you’re 80 and you’re 85 or however old I happen to be on my deathbed and I look back over my life, will I tell myself, will I tell 48 year old Kevin, this is something worth worrying about, Kevin. This is something you’re never gonna get through. This is something that’s gonna eat up your life and make you a complete failure. Will 80 year old Kevin tell me that? And the answer is almost always no. Of course not 80 year old Kevin’s gonna be like, dude, hit the gas. Uh, these things aren’t as big as they feel in your head. You should keep pushing forward. You should take a longer view. This is gonna work out just fine.

We al and by the way, we already do that in our lives. I don’t care if you’re 25 years old or 45 years old. You look back over things that stories we tell, we tell them as funny stories in retrospect, don’t we? We look back and go, Hey, remember that time, uh, when that thing happened? I thought it was so bad in the moment, but it ended up not being that bad. Actually, it might, it ended up being a good thing for me usually, right? We talk like that in retrospect. We, we all smile and we see those events as being valuable to us. Well, why don’t we start thinking like our 80 year old selves now? And looking back, looking back in your mind, go, okay, if I’m on my deathbed and I look back, am I gonna go, this is something that should stop me.

This is something I sh and it helps, it helps, it helps pull some of that pressure off of, you know what, okay, it makes me take a longer view of this short-term problem, this immediate problem, and it helps me get perspective. I love it. So that’s my first tip is, uh, what would 80 year old you say to you? Um, the, the second one is I look, uh, when I get really worked up and I’m trying something hard and I’m getting anxious, I look around the world and I go, has anybody else ever done this before? Has anybody started a business, a video production company? In, in my instance, I’m also working on a film festival, documentary film festival. And I go, is any, I’ve never done that before. So I look around the world and I go, has anybody ever done this? Has anybody ever had built a film company the first time?

Has anybody ever struggled to figure out how to do billing and invoicing and payroll? Has anybody ever struggled? And the answer is obviously yes. And not just a few people, hundreds of millions of people have done <laugh>, done this. There are in America, I don’t know what, like 30 million people, small business owners right now, 30 million people currently just right now are doing this. So based on those numbers, doesn’t it just make sense that you could figure this out too? Doesn’t it make sense that if you’re of average intelligence and you have an average work ethic and you have average smarts and average common sense that you could have the results that all these other people have had, and who knows, you may have outsized results, you may end up a with really big results. So I look around the world and I go, okay, has anybody ever had this problem and overcome it?

Has anybody ever felt like this and gotten through it? Has anybody else not known what to do in the moment, but then figured it out and gone on to great success? Of course, there’s stories everywhere, and these people aren’t different humans than you and I. They are not. And if you listen to them, if you listen to entrepreneurs talk, they will tell you, no, I’m no different than anybody else. I followed the basics and I work through it. And I, it’s, it’s actually boring when you hear them tell their stories because they’re so common. They’re just like, no, I just did business stuff and I made it through and I failed and I tried again and I failed. And I tried again. And then I learned. And I, you you’ve heard the story over and over again. Well, if it happens over and over again, it can happen for you too.

And I, so I tell myself my second tip is like, okay, has anybody ever done this? And am I at least as smart as those, as those people? Am I at least as hardworking? Yeah. Yes, of course. And so that helps with some of that anxiety. It pulls that pressure off that like, I’m the only person who’s ever felt this problem. I’m the only person who’s ever had this situation. No, you’re not. And neither am I. And we get so self-centered. So it helps pull you, pull yourself out of your head and look at the success of others and then go, Hey, actually, yeah. And then when you meet some of these people, if you talk to them, meet ’em, you realize, oh, actually, like I might be more capable than them. I might be luckier than them. I might have more resources than they had <laugh>.

Okay? So that’s tip number two. Number one is what would 80 year old you tell you about you in the moment? Um, the second one is, look around the world. Has anyone ever else, anybody else ever done this before? Been through this situation. And the third one is work. Work action. Anxiety, at least for me, usually comes with a lack of competence. I don’t feel like I know how to do this thing I’m trying to do, or trying to sell, or trying to make or trying to get through. I don’t know how to do it. And this, and I know, I know this is a fact for, uh, creative business people, or some of these business structures like LLCs and taxes and all that stuff, scare the fool outta you. And so you’ve been putting ’em off because you’re, you don’t think you can do it.

And ignorance breeds anxiety. Ignorance makes us feel weak. It makes us feel scared. It’s like darkness. Ignorance and darkness are very like the same thing. They, if I walk into a dark room, I’m, I’m automatically nervous. Well, think of it as a dark space in your brain. You don’t know what you need to know, therefore, you’re afraid. Therefore, your anxiety goes up, you procrastinate. You let whatever it happens to be. And so by taking action toward it, go learn it. Watch YouTube videos on it. What’s that thing? What’s the, what’s your real fear? You’re, and it’s probably a competence. You feel like you don’t understand enough about this to be good at it. Well, getting good at it. It’s never been easier to get good at stuff for goodness sake. We can spend a few hours. Why don’t we do this to ourselves? We can do, we can spend a few hours on and know more about that thing than almost anybody in history has ever known.

And probably an hour, cuz we have YouTube and we have all these other outlets that we can go to. We have friends, we have people who have done this before. Go ask them. <laugh>, those three things help me. What would 80 year old you tell you Kevin, when he’s anxious? Like this is 85 year old Kevin gonna care? No. Um, has there anybody else ever gone through this? Anybody else ever dealt with this situation? Yes, of course they have. Have they gotten through? Have they been successful? Yes, of course they have. Were they nervous when they were doing it? Yes, of course they were. Just ask them. And then last is take action. Inaction breeds ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear. And fear of course is breeds anxiety. So if you take action, start learning, start equipping yourself with whatever it is that is that hole in your mind that’s giving you that massive anxiety, really it helps me.

It helps me and I think it’s gonna help you. So try one of those three. Try all three of those. If you have another one, I’d love to hear about it. Cuz I’m still a pretty anxious dude and I struggle with this. It’s a mental health issue and we should talk more about it as creatives. We should put it out there that even successful ones out there, um, and people who are way more successful than I am. I’ve, I’ve spoken with them and they tell ’em with the same thing. So let’s help each other. Let’s share a little bit, okay? Um, I hope this helps you. Oh, and by the way, I wanna give a shout out. Check out my rad purple hat. You see this hat? It’s from Sun Jammers. It’s is a great store in Panama City, Florida. It’s an outdoor store. They sell kayaks and flip flops and yeti coolers and like amazing stuff. Awesome store, store in historic St. Andrews, um, in Panama City, Florida, where I’m from, where I live. And Brad Stevens, the owner, is a friend and he gave me this hat. Check this thing out. Is it red or what If y’all are in Panama City, stop by Sun Jammers. It’ll make you feel less anxious because gr like, Brad’s like the sweetest dude on the planet and his store is awesome. So try these techniques. Go to Sun Jammers. Let’s all take a deep breath and relax. You can do this. I love you.

Hey, creative, what do you think about retainers? You know what a retainer is. Do you do retainer pricing? I have thoughts about this, and I get questions about retainers pretty often from other videographers, and I don’t, uh, know if that’s the case in your world and your creative outlet, but I wanna discuss retainers, what they are in case somebody does approach you with a retainer idea. And, um, at least my thoughts on, on whether you should do that, that kind of work. Or if you do decide to do retainers, what I would recommend you, uh, the things you think through and put in place before you sign on for a retainer. What is a retainer? Well, it’s like, think of a, uh, the most common profession I think that uses retainers are lawyers, right? Like corporate lawyers. Here’s what a retainer is. You, uh, a client comes to you and they say, Hey, we want you to do work for us consistently over time.

So it’s not gonna be a one-off project we’re gonna do in our world. It’s video, right? So we’ll say, let’s do, we’re gonna do a all of our video content for a year. And so what we’re gonna do is pay you a certain amount of month, a certain amount of money every month, a retainer to retain you as our, uh, creative person as our video person or company. And then over that year, you’re just gonna produce things we need. Maybe you go to an event, maybe we do a commercial, maybe we do a, uh, whatever it is. And, but, uh, but the money stays the same every month. You’re gonna get the same amount of money every month, and you’re gonna do different work every month, depending on what’s going on. Now, our retainer’s not necessarily a bad thing, and in, in, especially in creative fields, it’s very hard to set up regular revenue streams.

It’s usually project by project, by project. So we’re always living and dying by our latest project, right? And always hustling for new projects. And I understand the strain of that firsthand. And so a retainer can sound like a very attractive thing because now somebody’s saying, I’ll sign on the dotted line and you will get this much money every month, and it will go for the whole, whole year. And you go, this is awesome, and it can be awesome. Here’s the trick with the retainer though, is especially businesses that are starting out, you are so excited that somebody’s offering this much money to you and that you’re gonna, you don’t con you don’t get into the details of what that work requires, how much you don’t put bumpers on it, you don’t put any parameters on it. You’re like, oh, this is awesome. Let’s, let’s just go.

And then a lot of times what happens, and, and by the way, this is not, this is not because clients are bad people. They are not. They’re just doing what everybody does is they’ll pay you money and they want value for the money. But if you don’t define clearly what you’re going to do for that money every month, whether that is in billable hours, whether it’s in specific, like in, in our case, it’d be videos and shoots, different shoots we have to go to. How many shoots do I have to show up for every month? How many videos will we make out of that? It, and if it can’t be exact, at least put a range on it. So if you’re considering doing a retainer, make sure you get a very firm, clear scope of work. They call it a scope of work and put, put parameters on it.

Say, we will do at least this much, but not more than this. And if it goes over this, then put in some financial, like, we, you will pay us this much more every month or pay us per item after this many i, whatever it is. And in that way, um, it brings clarity to the retainer and then retain a retainer can be a great thing. But the biggest mistake with signing a retainer is not having a clear scope of work for that retainer, or at least, uh, a certain number of hours you’re going to give to the, those folks. And it can get sketchy. Uh, because what if you’re thinking you’ll do, you know, you’ll spend 10 hours a month on this thing, and they want you for 38 hours a month. You don’t have a contract, says that you’re not allowed to do. They, they can do that, and they’re perfectly within their rights to do that.

So make sure you’re clear on this kind of thing. A little side note on, on retainers and hourly things is, um, I don’t like billing by the hour. It makes me nervous as all get out because I like firm prices on firmly, um, scoped out items. So in my case, videos, and here’s why. It’s because you will work hourly and you’ll send, you can send a client a certain amount of hours with your bill, and then they’ll say, well, I did it Really take that long. Because again, these are not bad people. They’re just trying, they have a bottom line they have to look out after too. And the, and you’ll get this question, well, why? Wow, four hours really to do that? I didn’t think it would take that long. See, now they’re questioning you. Now they’re questioning your ethics. Are you cheating? Are you inflating your hours? Don’t get into that conversation. It’s not good for anybody. It can turn really bad really fast. So, clarity, clarity, clarity when you’re talking about retainers, and certainly if you’re talking about an hourly retainer every month. All right, so I’m not saying no, you can probably tell I prefer firm fix clear projects that, you know, one-off projects that have a, I’m not saying no to retainers. I’m just saying be careful. Be clear. All right, you can do it. I love you.