Tag Archives: acoustic

Nothing’s Binary: The Song & Beyond

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted here, but don’t worry, I’ve been busy producing plenty of other content for you to enjoy in other mediums. Check out the Symphony For Happiness Vlog and Kimwei’s music Youtube to see what I’ve been up to in the last month, including my 7 day vlogging challenge, and plenty of new music videos.

In the past week, this original song which I recorded as a duet with Billy Bottle has been doing really well on Facebook, with over 6k in views and 100 shares. We created the video to co-incide with Exeter Pride (13.05.2017). It’s about being non-binary, but also celebrating LGTBQ+ as a whole. This goes out to anyone who seeks to be seen for who they truly are. When we accept each other, we love each other, and when we love each other we change the world.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and thrilled that the message has been so deeply received. We believe that expanding beyond the binary notion of gender is not just relevant to those who identify as trans, but to everyone, because we are all affected by the expectations of a society that sees gender in binary.

Now it’s time to take the phrase “Nothing’s Binary” even further. We want to put on events, entitled “Nothing’s Binary”, which are celebrations the full gender spectrum. We envisage a Post-Binary world in which anyone can freely inhabit any part of that spectrum and be seen, accepted and loved. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

Please do keep sharing this video, whether on Facebook, Youtube, or this post itself. You can also view/share this info through kimwei.com. I’ve created a special “Nothing’s Binary” page at kimwei.com/nothingsbinary

THE SONG: Click HERE to download for FREE!

THE MUSIC VIDEO:

THE VLOG:

-Kimwei

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What Makes The Perfect Gig?

For years I’ve been searching for the perfect gig and last week, I experienced it.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been many brilliant gigs in my career, but what makes a perfect gig? Is it about getting hundreds of people to turn out? Is it about getting paid a wadge of cash and getting M&Ms in the rider?

Actually it’s quite simple:

  • Everyone involved enjoys the music and each other.
  • The organiser, venue and performer get paid enough.

This means I enjoy performing and the audience enjoys and engages with the show. In other words ‘people get it!’ They get the music and ideally I can get to know them too.

In order for the gig to be viable for the organiser/venue, enough people need to attend to make it financially viable. This means I too get paid enough to represent a fair recompense for my effort.

Last Friday I was lucky enough to play at The Jellyfish Productions Gallery in Buckfastleigh (Devon), as the sole performer in a gig organised by Ami Lee of the captivating acapella trio The Hummingbirds.
Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 12.32.32

Let me tell you some of the wonderful things about this gig. 15-20 people attended which was the perfect amount for the beautiful gallery setting. I got to meet each of them before I played and chat to them afterwards whilst browsing the artwork. I knew who I was playing for. Two long time fans had made requests, which I practiced especially and performed. The space was just right to play unplugged and the whole audience were just so responsive it was unbelievable, even singing along unprompted. Almost everyone who heard me for the first time that night liked the music so much they walked out with a CD. It was a wonderful night!

In 10 years of performing there have been gigs with no good side. I wasn’t paid, the audience would rather I wasn’t there because they wanted to talk to their friends without having to shout over some music, and the venue held me personally responsible for low turnout. These are bad gigs. Why? Basically because the music may be good but all the relationships are either negative or disconnected. At Jellyfish Galleries all the relationships were brilliant! The gallery owner, gig promoter, performer and audience members all respected and appreciated each other hugely. They connected and shared personal ideas, opinions and feelings.

But even a gig where one thing is out of place can be a horrible experience. Being well paid but musically ignored is demoralising, and having a warm fuzzy gig which sets you back £50 in fuel with no payment, simply leaves a panic about how to pay bills. Even a gig in which they audience is suitably impressed but fails to ‘get’ the music can feel a little sad.

So, my message to frustrated musicians out there is that the ideal IS possible! Jellyfish Productions was actually not my first nor my only perfect gig since I made the decision to create gigs that have the potential to be wonderful evenings for all involved. After years of oscillating, I’ve pretty much given up noisy pub gigs or anything where I’d be considered background music. Instead, I’ve focused on unplugged environments and listening spaces. It’s finally paying off, because when people listen, they hear.

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Response To The “Musicians & Their Day Jobs” Article

It was refreshing to read Hannah Ewen’s exposé, revealing that many musicians from the current UK charts work  minimum-wage day jobs. Of course this makes sense, because such jobs can be temporary and can be jacked-in to go on tour. It seems like many bands simply slog it out… work 9-5 for minimum wage, followed by evening & weekend rehearsals, plus endless promotion & pushing. Sounds like a grind!

This weblog was conceived to show one musician’s solution (mine) to exactly this problem: original music doesn’t pay the rent. In an economic climate rife with wage poverty, even those working full time are struggling to make ends meet. What hope is there for those who wants to fit a few days of art into each week?

My current home - a winter let near Exeter at very low cost since the room is in the middle of being re-decorated to be let "properly" next year.

My current home – a winter let near Exeter at very low cost on account of the fact that the room is in the middle of being re-decorated to be let “properly” next year.

My solutions in the past 6 years have centred around living in alternative dwellings, to save on rent. Thus I survive working part time and making time for music. And of course, the best way to have a reliable part time job is to be self-employed. Honestly, I don’t know why bankers have so much against it! People are being made redundant all the time, but I’m never going to fire me!

Musicians also talk about “the teaching trap”. This is when you lose sight of wanting to push your own music because teaching is so much easier and more rewarding. As a teacher, you’re generally much more appreciated than you are as a performer, but don’t let it extinguish your lust to be creative!

Hannah’s article points out that rock-star’s fans don’t imagine their heroes working in McDonald’s. Even she, a music journalist, didn’t know that most musicians have day jobs until she researched the article.

It’s often commented that people should make music for the love of it, not the money. But I think that’s flawed logic because that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be paid. Just think how much more productive each of those musicians would be if they had those 40 extra hours per week to make music instead of working!

I’m glad she wrote the article, as it will help non-musicians understand the situation. Although my extended family are very good to me, some aspects of my life are hard for them to grasp since they’re not musicians. On their terms I’m simply not as successful as other family members my age. Of my 3 cousins, 2 have the same teaching qualification as me and teach full-time. It’s hard for older members of the family to understand why I don’t have a full-time teaching job too. The years I’ve spent teaching on a BTEC and lecturing on a music degree don’t seem to register, maybe because it’s always been part time. I can only imagine that my music career registers with them as “failed”, since they haven’t seen me on TV.

But Hannah’s article also serves to make me aware that just because my original music doesn’t pay my rent, that doesn’t mean my music career is a failure…in fact it’s a success! Three self-released and self-produced records in the past 6 years, regular gigs and a good reputation is a success. Not to mention my work as a producer (goldflowerstudios.com) and teacher. I’m not saying so to blow my own horn, but to encourage anyone out there in the same boat. The impossible task of celebrity rock-stardom is so often held out in-front of us like it’s the bar. It’s as if Adele & Coldplay are the only artists who are considered “successful” and the rest of us haven’t “made it” because we still have day jobs. Rubbish!

If you make music every day, you’re a successful musician! Simple as that.

Pass it on!

Kimwei

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei ,

watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom ,

interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom & @kimwedotcom

everything at kimwei.com

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Running out of money was such an anti-climax, I just had to go to Harrods

Because the idea of running out of money held so much fear for me, I decided to deliberately let my bank account run to £0 and then work my way up from zero. It was almost as though I thought I would die if I ran out of money and had no work planned. At the very least, I imagined myself abandoning all else to stand in the street and sing for my supper, then going home to the van and hatching plans to tout myself around for as much work as possible.

Would Harrods be a good place to busk? This Big Issue seller seems to think it's a great spot.

Would Harrods be a good place to busk? This Big Issue seller seems to think it’s a great spot.

The reality was much less dramatic – almost disappointingly so. On June 18th I ran out of money, spending my final pennies at the sweet shop in order to get to exactly £0. I still had some groceries left and some fuel in the tank. Would more money come in before those supplies ran out?

Well…Yes.

It was very easy. That same day, someone contacted me about doing enabling/care work for them so I booked couple of days at the end of the week. Rather bizarrely, later that day someone else contacted me about the same thing, so I booked a day with them for the following week. With a little busking to top it up, I realised that’s all I need for now.

So there you have it… the anti-climax.

Quite profound don’t you think? My attempts to put myself in a desperate situation have failed. It’s proved impossible for me to do so. I’ve learned that living abundantly is not about money but resources – it’s just that we’ve been conditioned to believe that money is the only resource.

Since running out of money 2 weeks ago, I have been working my way up slowly, but funds are still low at best. A highlight of my week was singing in Chichester market square with a sign saying “Busking for tickets to the opera”. The experiment has changed me permanently in ways I could never have predicted, and how I make a living from now on will be totally different. I won’t give too much away, but lets just say that I have exciting plans to create my future as business failure.

I put on my most expensive outfit so as to blend in, although I felt a little conspicuous getting changed in the street outside harrods and tying a tie using Starbucks' window as a mirror.

I put on my most expensive outfit so as to blend in, although I felt a little conspicuous getting changed in the street outside harrods and tying a tie using Starbucks’ window as a mirror.

In my last post, I showed my reaction to going to M&Ms World – a wildly consumerist shop in Leicester Square. How then, having recently gone to £0, would I respond to being in Harrods?

I had to try it.

In Harrods, pricetags are hidden. In Harrods, the staff wear suits. In Harrods, the toilets provide free perfume as well as soap. In Harrods, there are many expensive things, like a rucksack for £900 or a chair for £4000, or even a box of tea for £7 or a plastic biro for £5. I was appalled by M&Ms world, but I surprised to find that Harrods did not appal me.

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A £175 shirt… I have one that looks quite similar, but of course you can tell the difference at a glance because mine is blue.

Why? Well, in Harrods it seemed like there was no trickery or coercion. Stuff was for sale and you could buy it if you wanted to – isn’t that how shops should be? Items were on display, but prices were hidden, so you had to take a liking to something based on what it was, not on its price. Everything expensive that I saw seemed well made. Even where things were clearly overpriced (£175 for a shirt – well beyond the cost of its materials and labour), it seemed as though this was very plainly declared. M&Ms World, by contrast, was laid out to try and milk as many purchases as possible out of each customer, regardless of whether they would get good use out of them. Someone could of course buy a £175 shirt from Harrods, and consign it to the bin after 3 months. But being well made, it could also last them for 10 years or more, or be worn 2nd, 3rd and 4th hand for years to come. Products from M&Ms World on the other hand, were so cheaply made that they would quickly break, have no 2nd hand value so would soon end up in a landfill for sure.

 

Take part in Kimwei’s Music Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XNDwS7wUwE

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

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Letting Go / Standing On The Edge

It’s over a month since I last looked for work. I am self-employed and am deliberately letting my money dry up, to face my fears about running out. We’re still only in phase one of the experiment – allowing my bank balance to run to £0… and it’s not a zero yet.

But am I letting go of my fears about money?

Well, a friend played a practical joke on me by putting a fake parking ticket on my van. Despite the fact that the fine would have absorbed around 20% of the money I had left, I was surprised that I had no reaction to the prospect of being fined. When I found out it was a joke, I wasn’t angry either. What strange behaviour! Guess I am changing.

Picking up Chris the hitchhiker made a difference too ( https://symphonyforhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/the-wisdom-of-supertramps/ ). What I didn’t put in my previous post is that 10 minutes before I was due to pull over and drop him off, I said to Chris “Mostly everything I own is in this van. If there’s something you need, ask me for it. If it’s in this van I’ll give it to you”. I surprised myself in saying this, because I knew that I would honour it, even if has asked me for something expensive or important to me. I have so few possessions now that I only keep what’s important to me. But having so little, it occurred to me how much more difficult it might be for Chris to have even less. So whatever he asked for, even if I didn’t immediately have the money to replace it, I had more than him so what did it matter? As it turned out, all he wanted was some food and a tarp.

Just to get it straight, I’m not writing about my virtuous behaviour in order to paint myself in a good light, or be the hero of my own stories. In fact, as a Buddhist, it makes me uncomfortable to mention such things. However, I do believe that it’s important for us in the first world to re-examine the concept of money. Cataloguing my personal quest to face my own fears surrounding money is part of my contribution and therefore I feel the need to be honest about how this changes me and share it.

Out and about in London, with guitar and bike.

Out and about in London, with guitar and bike.

After conceiving the £0 challenge the first thing I did was go on holiday with the intention of running out of money. I went to London, to visit friends whom I hadn’t seen in years. My plan to run out of cash backfired when, being so pleased to see me, my friends wanted to pay for most everything. Even my hosts struggled to accept my contributions towards food, without even knowing about my £0 Challenge.

I struggled to spend money whilst out and about by myself because London is so abundant in food waste. Another way I’ve changed is that I’m developing a new resourcefulness, allowing me to operate with less money. My “wombling” skills have increased. One day I forgot my wallet entirely. Hungry at a food court I decided to eat whatever I found that looked safe and intact. Half an hour later, I actually had to stop because I was full, having found 3 half eaten foil containers of chinese takeaway, a bun (still in it’s wrapper), some chocolate, half a fancy cupcake and drunk an unopened bottle of softdrink. Later, when it got cold I found a jumper sticking out of someone’s bin. I wore it all week and then gave it to a charity shop, feeling good about having rescued something that would have gone to the landfill.

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Standing on the edge of some stuff.

The best result of this challenge is that I’ve been forced to come up with a way to make a great music video for free. For years I’ve wanted the money to make a slick music video, but it’s been out of my budget so out of the question. But now, I’ve come up with a great idea for a video for my song “Standing On The Edge”, that isn’t diminished by being low budget – in fact, it works BECAUSE it’s low budget, so anyone with a camera-phone can contribute. Whilst it won’t be “studio quality”, it will be great to watch, get lots of people involved and having fun in the process, and it’s totally free to make. Anyone can be IN my new video – all you have to do is send me some footage, as per the guidelines in this link to the “preview video” I’ve created ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XNDwS7wUwE ). 14 people have already contributed!

I’m getting more peaceful and less fearful overall, but not peaceful enough to simply give my remaining money away. Best to let these things happen in their own time. However, something is about to happen that could absorb my remaining money in 1 day. Watch this space…

 

 

 

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What to do in the meantime? Shoot videos, make websites, build kickstarter, but I’ll need your help…

Although I started this £0 Challenge on May 20th, the actual date that I stopped earning money was May 9th (about a month ago). I gave up all my remaining private guitar students to go adventuring in my van. After filling the tank with diesel I had £200-300 in the bank. A month later, I have been to the coast, to Oxford and London and somehow my bank balance still reads £200-300. I don’t know exactly what’s going on. When I started my challenge, I thought my remaining money would last me a week or two. A whole month later, I’ve still got the same amount as when I started?! ( https://symphonyforhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/im-taking-the-0-challenge/ )

So essentially I’m getting bored. A month of holiday was great – travelling around the country, seeing friends and not worrying about having to look for income. But now, I want to release the acoustic album I finished at the end of April, seek gigs, go busking and all that other singer-songwriter/independent musician stuff. But according to my £0 Challenge I can’t do any of those things until my money runs out, because they count as “seeking work”. I suppose I could just make it run out today by buying something I don’t need, or give it to charity, but as already discussed in previous posts, that defeats the point of the exercise.

Ninja Video Standing On The Edge

Stills from my “test shoot” for the upcoming music video shoot on June 14th. Thanks to Abi Crisp for giving up her time to film me standing on the edge of stuff.

Here are some of the things I can do in the meantime however:

  • Make music videos – I’ve got a great idea for a music video that you yourself could be in! It’s for the song “Standing On The Edge”, from the album Refraction & Redemption which I’m due to release this year. Be a part of the filmshoot in Exeter on June 14th. Alternatively, you can send in your own footage from anywhere in the world. See the event page for more details  ( https://www.facebook.com/events/1458751301038571 ) or facebook PM me if you’d like to contribute remotely.
  • Make a CD of acoustic covers that I could sell when I do go busking later this summer.
  • Update my website (kimwei.com) which I’ve just stripped down. I might even replace the section about my recording studio and production services with a whole new “Goldflower Studios” website, since it was getting a bit to big as my production portfolio has grown over the years.
  • Design album cover for my new album, soon to be released.
  • Write (but not launch) my Kickstarter page in order to release said album. For those of you who don’t know what kickstarter.com is, it’s a website which provides a great framework for an independent album release (among other things). Basically, you sponsor me as an artist by donating money – any amount. For a small donation you’ll be sent the new album as a thankyou. Sounds just like buying the album online right? Not quite. Because you can pledge any amount and there are many rewards to choose from. For example, a signed original lyric sheet (complete with crossing outs, missing verses etc), or a £100 might gain you a living room gig with the artist, in which you can pick your favourite songs. Some bands even include the guitar strings that were used to record the album, as a reward for a certain donation. I’ve still got mine on the guitar so that’s easily done. The artist uses the kickstarter money, either for a specific music project, or simply to keep on making music.

What rewards would you like to see on my Kickstarter page? Do comment / write to me with suggestions. The album is called Refraction & Redemption and the taster tracks can be downloaded from reverbnation.com/kimwei

Kimwei x

 

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

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…And So The Bank Balance Diminishes

With only a couple of hundred in the bank and having stopped seeking work until my money runs out, it’s been interesting to watch my own thoughts. Sometimes I want to spend/give away all that money at once, other times I want to make it last as long as possible because I’m afraid of running out.

Basically, I’m oscillating between “must spend” and “must save” – two intrinsic compulsions that money provokes in people, both of which are quite destructive and unbalanced. Observing these compulsive tendencies in myself further convinces me of the importance of facing my issues surrounding money by taking up this £0 Challenge.

Two compulsions...

Two compulsions…

Why not give all my remaining money to charity? Whilst this seems like a good idea, the point of the £0 challenge is to face my issues. Therefore, watching my reactions as my bank balance diminishes and working through my fears as I get closer and closer to zero, is an important part of the process and I should let the money run out in its own time. With any luck, I’ll end up less afraid of lack and be a more naturally generous person in the future anyway (which is worth much more in the long run than the small amount I could give to a charity today).

How should I manage the decline to £0? Rule 1 of the £0 Challenge ( see – https://symphonyforhappiness.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/im-taking-the-0-challenge/ ) I’ve set myself is to stop seeking any type of paid work until my bank account reads £0. I made this rule on the assumption that if I stopped seeking work, then none would come my way. But what do I do if I’m offered work before my money runs out? Well, the aim is to mimic what would happen if my business dried up, so I should take work as it’s offered, but not seek any. Surely my money will keep declining anyway?

But what if it doesn’t? What if I don’t promote myself, take no steps to seek gigs, students, clients for my recording studio, CD sales etc, and yet it simply refuses to dry up? That’s when I realized the beauty of The £0 Challenge. If I run out of money and then show that I can build a living for myself from that point, it’ll be a valuable journey for me to experience and for you to read about. If I try to go to £0 and find that I can never get there, in some ways, that’ll be even more profound! It would release my fears of running out of money in a completely unexpected way and it would be an anti-capitalist revolution.

Lets see what happens.

 

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

 

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The Wisdom Of Supertramps

It’s funny how starting on a particular path leads you to immediately meet likeminded souls. Having decided to take The £0 Challenge (in which I let my bank balance run to zero before I’m allowed to start seeking work) I met Chris almost immediately.

Chris is a 66-year-old professional houseless man, who subscribes to the-Gandalf-look hair-wise and the skip-diver look, clothing-wise. I picked him up in my van as he was hitchhiking to Wales and he informed me that he had been travelling around, living out of a rucksack for 30 years. During that time he’d no income, nor drawn benefits. He currently chooses not to take his state pension because it had been his own choice not to work during his eligible years. When I asked what he did for money he simply said, “I struggle along”, which could be a euphemism for begging, but I sensed he was not a standard tramp. For a start, he didn’t hang around in cities sleeping in doorways, but saw houselessness as a way to stay in nature, where begging would of course be more difficult.

Naturally I was fascinated at the idea of someone getting along in the world with no form of income. I asked him everything, from what was in his rucksack, to what he ate, where he’d travelled. It seemed that he got around mostly by hitchhiking, taking more than twice as long to get a ride than my young blond friend Jane ever does (which is a useful thing to know). He said “yes, young girls always get picked up easy, mostly because most blokes have a daughter that age”. Chris said his most important possession was his bed: a 4 season down sleeping bag and bivi. He claimed tents were too conspicuous and no use unless you were staying somewhere for several nights

It was clear that Chris could get along in the world with fewer possessions than most, but that’s also because all he wanted from life was ramble to around the countryside, sleeping outdoors. Naturally, all he’d need to do that was a rucksack’s worth of stuff. I asked him if he ever ran out of food and money. He answered “Yes, but you just keep going”. It was obvious then that Chris’s success at this way of life depended heavily on being able to accept going without his basic needs being met for short periods of time, without panicking.

Unfortunately what I want in life includes a wider range of activities than walking in nature. My drive for performing and recording music, necessitates a wealth of kit that just won’t fit in that rucksack. Although maybe this guy (below) is doing exactly that!

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This is not Chris. I didn’t take any pictures of him to preserve his animosity. This picture was taken from https://twitter.com/grumpy_oldbloke

However, this raises an important point – Chris proves that to live and be in nature is perfectly possible with the minimum of resources (although I don’t know what happens when he falls ill or needs dental work etc.) So why aren’t I doing the same thing? Well, it’s because I want to continue to engage with the modern world, socially, professionally, musically, use computers, phones, the internet and more.

It’s very important to recognise that this is my choice. It reminds me that each time I panic about running out of money, it’s not my survival, but my connections to the lifestyle I’m used to that’s threatened. One of my fears is that my computer/phone, which I depend on for work and enjoy for entertainment, breaks and I am unable to replace it. Even in the UK, people are running out of money for food but still refusing to sell their car or cancel their mobile phone contract. Why? Because doing so would cut them out of the game of getting another job.

Wait a minute! Panicking about having no food or shelter is sensible, but panicking about computer breaking is 21st century madness. Chris, and other’s like him serve to remind us of alternatives to the norm, where the norm has become as crazy as this: A computer is more important than food. How powerful are we willing to let Apple and Microsoft become?

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

 

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I’m Taking The £0 Challenge

As a self-employed musician, I have always been afraid of running out of money and having no work booked. I plan to face my fear and overcome it, by deliberately letting my money run out. Essentially, it’s about going to £0 and then trying to make it back to a healthy living from that point.

So what are the rules of the experiment? Well, they are dictated by what I’m trying to learn through this experience. I’m trying overcome a fear that many self-employed people harbour: what will happen if my work dries up? I don’t actually fear that I’ll starve, but my fear of running out of money is totally out of proportion. It almost feels as though I might die if I run out of money, even though I know that isn’t true. That’s how I know I have to overcome this fear.

The rules mimic what would happen if I simply ran out of work:

  1. To stop seeking any type of paid work until my bank account runs to £0.
  2. Once £0 has been reached, I can start taking steps to make my living through self employment.
  3. No begging, borrowing or stealing.
  4. No relying on handouts or state benefits.
  5. The accepting of gifts is permitted, as long as the giver is not influenced by this challenge.
Me, as a student, following an experiment where I busked with a watercooler I found in the street until I could afford to buy a djembe with the takings. I wanted to find out if it was possible to work up from having no money, to buying and instrument.

Me, as a student, following an experiment where I busked with a watercooler I found in the street until I could afford to buy a djembe with the takings. I wanted to find out if it was possible to work up from having no money, to buying an instrument.

When does the challenge end?

To face my fear, I don’t think that I need to carry out this experiment for very long – 1 or 2 months at most. That’s all I’d need in order to establish whether or not I can work up from £0. If I feel that my income is steadily increasing and that £0 no longer holds fear for me, I could end the challenge in order to, for example, borrow some money to invest in some music gear that helps me to make more money. Borrowing would be ok if I finally felt confident in my ability to make money, because I’d be confident that I could pay it back.

Another reason I might end this experiment is because of an extreme life event. Someone suggested that the challenge would be workable until an emergency happened to me or a friend or relative. This is a good point. What if my only remaining Grandparent fell ill and I missed out on valuable time with her because I couldn’t afford to travel to see her? I’d see that as going too far and would end the challenge in order to see her, if it meant breaking one of the rules to do so.

 

To answer a few questions:

A few people have asked me why the challenge I’ve chosen is so extreme. Others are saying it’s not extreme enough. I don’t think I’m doing a radical thing, when you consider that most self-employed people go to £0 sooner or later when work dries up. I’m simply creating that situation on purpose in order to face it now.

Keep in mind that the situation I’m creating must mimic what would happen if I ran out of freelance work. That principle shapes the rules that I’m giving myself. There’s no need to go to absolute zero with no money, no possessions, no food and be standing in the street naked. As with any challenge to do with conquering fear, its about going to the situation that I myself am afraid of. For me that’s about having £0 in the bank, with no job and no work booked. I’ve been in debt before, like many people, but each time I had work booked for the next week or so. Not this time.

 

Would I use the NHS and other taxpayers services?

I wouldn’t draw jobseeker’s allowance, because I have chosen to give up my job and so should face the consequences. I also wouldn’t feel comfortable taking state benefits if my business failed, because that would be my responsibility, not the state’s. However, I would still use the NHS and other taxpayers services unless I truly went moneyless and therefore stopped being a taxpayer. I’ve always declared all my income and paid tax when relevant and that wouldn’t change upon taking up this challenge.

 

Why not beg, borrow, steal or accept handouts?

The point of the challenge is to try and “earn” my way back from £0. That’s what I want to learn. I’m not aiming to learn how to apply for a bank loan, or how to persuade my friends into helping me out. I’d rather learn to catch my own fish. Once I’ve finished the £0 challenge, and am convinced of my own ability to make my way back from zero, I might be more comfortable with the idea of borrowing or even accepting gifts of money. Why? Because I’d know that I could pay borrowed money back. If someone really wanted to give me a gift of money I could accept their kindness because I could guarantee that their money wouldn’t be “wasted”. It’s like the parable of the careless man who loses all his money and asks his rich friend for help. His friend is very rich, but refuses to give him any money at all unless he can tend a flock of sheep successfully for a year without losing a single one. The rich man wants to be sure that the money he gives his friend won’t be carelessly frittered away.

 

If that’s the case, how can you justify accepting gifts?

One of the rules is: The accepting of gifts is permitted, as long as the giver is not influenced by this challenge. I don’t wish to stop people being kind or generous as normal. I might be more generous if I wasn’t so afraid of running out of money, so part of spirit of the challenge concerns encouraging generosity. So, if I went to stay with my Dad for a few days and he bought all the food, that’s ok because he normally does that when I visit. But if my Dad suddenly invited me to stay for a month, or sent me money because of this £0 challenge, then that wouldn’t be ok.

 

Would I break any of my rules if I was starving?

I don’t know. Let’s find out.

Footnote: I’m sure people will challenge or ask me to clarify EVERYTHING I’ve written as time goes on, so this post may be subject to additions and footnotes in the future as the fundamentals of the matter are bashed out.

 

 

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei , watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom , interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom , everything at kimwei.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facing Fears Surrounding Money By Going To £0?

So what would happen if I ran out of money, with no job and no freelance work booked? It’s something I’m afraid of but it’s never happened to me. What would happen if I went to that point on purpose to conquer my fear of going to zero? It would be a lifestyle experiment.

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Stuff that I may have absolutely none of soon.

 

In my last post, I asked myself why I gave up a steady job as a University Lecturer in order to live in a van, with no current income planned? Let’s be clear about this – I also refuse to draw benefits. What right do I have to ask for state benefits when I can work, but have chosen not to? This leaves me in a very insecure position, with a van to run and only a couple of hundred left in the bank.

One reason that I quit my job is that even though it was only part time, it still didn’t leave me enough time to spend being creative as a singer songwriter. I had spent 5 years working on the same album in fits and starts, but after giving up my teaching job in March, I finished the album within the space of a month by working on it full time. Soon, I’ll start the process of promoting and releasing it by working full time at that… but first, a lifestyle experiment.

Here are some lifestyles I could have:

  1. Being employed part time = have enough money but not enough time for creativity (I already gave up this lifestyle at the end of March 2014)
  2. Having no job = have enough time for creativity, but where will the money come from? (this is where I am now)
  3. Doing freelance work = likely to be the same as option 1. In my experience, being self-employed takes up more time than a part time teaching job. (done this before)
  4. Being picked up by a record company or publisher = Being paid to be a singer-songwriter – but only if the deal is right! (If it’s going to come along, it will come along in it’s own time.)

I’m currently living in option 2 and wondering if a better version of option 3 is possible. Is it possible to make a good living from freelance work and have enough time to be a singer-songwriter? It would have to be done by either living on less money, or earning more per self-employed-hour.

But all 4 ideas are about earning enough MONEY to live on. There is another option – go Moneyless.

The Moneyless Man (Mark Boyle) lives without money and has devoted his life to helping others do the same. He lives an modest life and has everything he needs, but he gets what he needs without using money.

At first, I couldn’t see what the difference was between getting what you need with money or without it. Then I took a closer look and realised that money encourages a lot of negative tendencies in people that don’t exist with trade. Money can be hoarded (it’s called “saving”), an obsession with profit or gaining status through money is likely. People are constantly afraid of running out of money.

I am constantly afraid of running out of money.

I’m not planning to go moneyless, but what would happen if I let my money run out on purpose? Once my bank account reached zero I could begin to seek sources of freelance income, but not until then. The rule would be that even if I was struggling, I could neither borrow, beg nor steal, neither could I start living on hand-outs. I would have to earn, trade, or womble (to womble: to make good use of the things that the everyday folks leave behind) in order to make a living and work upwards from there.

The purpose of the challenge would be to try and dismantle the fears that I have around money. I can’t decide if I want to go moneyless or not, but if I AM to keep using money, I must stop being afraid of it. I could start trying to build a freelance business for myself right now, whilst I’ve still got money in the bank, but if I did, I’d always be afraid of going to £0. If I take this opportunity to go to £0 now and find that I can work up from there, then I can stop being afraid.

Just to be clear, this is not about some middle class kid irresponsibly running out of cash, having a hard time for a month or two and then thinking they know all about what it is to be poor. I would never presume to understand how poverty affects people just because I’d carried out a brief lifestyle experiment. This challenge would be solely about facing my own personal fears and issues surrounding money.

So what do you think? Should I do it? Comments welcome.

 

 

 

 

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