Rich Dad Poor Dad

About eight months ago, I picked up this book by Robert Kiyosaki called "Rich Dad Poor Dad". I highly suggest you read it. It's a business book, but it's not dry. He tells this really great story about how he had his father, who he calls Poor Dad. (And it sounds really insulting, but you'll know why in a minute.) and then his best friend's father, who he called his Rich Dad. 

Now, his Poor Dad was not poor by any stretch of the imagination. He was a teacher, tenured at a University, and he made a decent living. They were probably a middle-class family in Hawaii…where things are expensive anyway! His father (Poor Dad) had a certain set of principles and beliefs:  As a teacher, he believed that you should go to school and get a degree and a good job.

His best friend's father (Rich Dad) owned a very large, very profitable company in Hawaii with lots of employees. Rich Dad had his own certain principles: You don't necessarily need to go to school in order to do a good job. You should have employees, you should do X, Y and Z.

I’ve always had this really fun, artsy, creative brain. Obviously, I'm a performer, I’m an artist. I remember sitting in high school economics class and thinking, “Why the heck am I here?” I really felt like a fish out of water in most of my classes. They had nothing to do with what I loved and was good at. It wasn't until I went to college that I really started to get the classes that I felt were in line with the my talents and my desires.

It was maybe fourteen years ago when I bought Kiyosaki’s book and I thought, I should definitely read this. I was struggling at the time, I knew that I needed to learn something about business and money and how to make it all work. It tells a very interesting story about the difference between each Dad’s mindset and that the way they operated.  That the mindset made all of the difference in how much money they made and the joy that they had in their day to day life.  The joy that they derived from their work and the people that they were able to influence positively. When I read this book it showed me how many of the things that I thought about money, the things that I thought about schooling and education that were the problem. They were what was keeping me from attaining the level of success and the level of income that I knew that I deserved to have.   That I, like you, have worked very hard for! Many of us are born with with these talents, and we're kind of good at it. But it's not until our parents or somebody says, “Hey, you know what? I think you’ve got it. We're gonna give this person a coach or give them lessons or give them something to help really deepen and train and develop these skills.”

So in reading this book and then in the second book, it really truly hit me that no matter how high I ascended I’m just an employee.  Regardless of whether I was winning Tonys, doing a national commercial campaign, which I absolutely love and is a huge source of income for my family, the six Broadway shows that I have been in, the live red carpets that I do for the hosting gigs or the speaking engagements, I am just an employee.  In some cases, not only am I the employee, but I am treated like the hired help. Have you ever been treated that way? I bet you have! Where the people who have the power and the money or are in charge, treat you and me like we are just cattle on the market to be bought and sold. They treat us like sometimes where the goo on the bottom of their shoe and if they don't like what we do, they just fire us or get rid of us and they find somebody else. One of any millions of  people who are standing in line behind us who can do the same exact job to a greater or lesser degree.

How you ever felt that way?  Now… I certainly have and it's not only just in performance, In life at your job or whatever you’re “survival job” is…I realized that I am just the hired help. What do I do? Even with the national commercial campaign when the company says, for whatever reason, we're not going to do any more of these commercials… I'm out of a job.

If the audiences don't come or the producers or whomever says, this Broadway show isn't really doing it anymore.. time to close it up. I'm of a job! I'm not in control. I'm just a hired gun and boy do we know what that feels like to be a hired gun.  Especially as performers and artists in the theatrical space. I bet you've got hundreds of stories feeling like that. I know I do. 

Well, the next book in the series of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich dad Poor dad was something called the Cash Flow Quadrant. Now that sounds boring, but it isn't. It really isn’t! Stick with me, the Cash Flow Quadrant.  I was really good at Geometry. I was okay at Math but I was good at Geometry because I could see it.  I could visualize it.

Being artists, whether you're a dancer, a singer, an actor, all three or some variant of the three, I think we all pretty much have good imaginations. So I'm gonna ask you to use your imagination.  If it's been challenging for you, just stick with me, I'm going to help you out. If you're not driving (listening to the podcast versions of this) operating some sort of machinery or in a dangerous place take out a piece of paper and write this down. I want you to write down or imagine in your mind a plus sign. A simple one line down one line across Now instead of seeing that as a plus, I want you to see it as two lines that break up four squares. There's a square on the top left, there's a square on the top right, square on the bottom left, square on the bottom right.  Sort of half of a Tic Tac toe game, right?

Now that you have it in your mind or have that on a piece of paper, you see those four squares.   At the top left in your mind or on the paper, I want you to put the letter “E”.   E stands for Employee. At the bottom left. I want you to put an “S”. S for self employed.  At the top right, a “B” for Business owner and the bottom right “I” for Investor. It should read “E”,”S” from top left to bottom left, Top right to bottom right “B” “I”.  Okay. You got it.  So what that is is the cash flow quadrant? It's Robert Kiyosaki's way of showing the four different types of ways to earn money. The “E” at the top left is what most all of us have either been in or are still in. Most of the people you know are still and will forever be in the E..the employee quadrant. That is, I go to work, I work for a paycheck, I have a boss, that's it. I can ascend to a manager position, but there's still somebody over top of me. I work for another business or I work for your business owner and I work for a paycheck. That's the life most people in the world live in. Is there anything wrong with it? Absolutely not. We need employees, we need jobs, we need all those things. It's great. There's nothing wrong with any of this. But if you truly want to ascend to a place of power, because the employee alone rarely has any power you pipe up, Right?  You do something, you try it, you rock the boat and they just throw you out of the boat and they put somebody else in your spot, right?

You're just an employee. You can be hired, you can be fired, you can go pound sand for all that the people in power care. Cause there's bajillion of you.  They just have to pluck one, two or however many they need from the pool of people all saying, please get me a job! That's across any business, in musical theater, in fast food and any business.  
So let's move down now to the bottom left, which is S for self employed.  This is the next level up in terms of ascension of power and having more ability to control your destiny. Remember that an employee has a limited scope in terms of controlling their destiny. If you want to take it in a musical theater perspective, it's like, I'm going to get prepared for my audition performance and I'm going to go in and I'm going to give my best and if I get hired I get hired. It's just an interview like any other interview, right?

Okay, you get hired Boom! Now you have to work within the system of the show. You can, if you're an ensemble member, have an opportunity to understudy the lead and then over time ascend to the lead or a swing or something like that. Even as the lead, when the show's over..the show's’re fired. When you close, you close and you're done. It doesn't matter if you're the lead, the employee, the stage manager or whomever, when the show is done, you're done. 

Moving back down into the S for the self employed, now this is your mom and pop shop. This is your side hustle if you will. A lot of people will do network marketing things like Mary Kay, selling supplements or whatever.  People who are self employed, like the mom and pop shop which is not a cooperate entity.  If you live in a small town, have ever lived in a small town or are lucky enough to have a beautiful local shop of some sort that someone owns, then you will know that self employed people are usually just wonderful.  They're also really stressed out because the business that they own usually owns them.  Because without them running the shop, the business doesn't work. So let's take the mom and pop store.  A little grocery store, a mom and pop sort of corner store, Bodega, whatever you want to call it. Especially in New York City.  You go in and you see the same people working there. Usually it's the same family working there. You're a self employed business owner and so you have more responsibility. You have to deal with all of the employees, or just you're yourself, right? You have to deal with all the taxes, you have to make sure that the store opens and the store closes. If you're selling supplements or you're selling Mary Kay, you're responsible for going out and getting the people in. You're working, you're working, you're working, you're working, you're working, YOU ARE WORKING. In essence, in musical theater, we fall somewhere in between those two places.  We do all the time.. we're employees but we're also kind of self employed. Some of us have taken the onus on ourselves and said, okay,'m gonna make sure that I'm going to school and I'm learning a trade or I'm doing something that is a fall back.  

So the self employed has more power, has more ability to control their destiny than the employed person. With that, self employment comes with a tremendous amount of stress. It's all on you. You can't just go. like a mom and pop, on vacation for a year and then come back and have the business not only be functioning the way it was when they left, but have the business grow and be better than when they left. It's rare. it can happen, but it's rare.  Think about the people in those shops and how you sometimes seen them harried. Because it's all on their shoulders. Everything is on their shoulders. 

Now let's move over and wind it up here, cause I don't want to get too deep into this. You can read the book if you want to read it.  The “B” the business owner. This is the place where your CEOs, your producers, your directors, your people in power live. The people we work for in our shows, our jobs in our restaurants our whatever they would be, they all live over in the B quadrant. The top right quadrant. Those are the people who have at some point been an employee and then move down to self-employment Let’s take a producer. A lot of producers will go work for another producer as an employee. Casting directors will be associate casting directors underneath a bigger casting director and then over time they will branch out into their own production entity, their own casting office, their own associate director into starting to  direct their own shows. That is self employment right there. How many times have you been in those small casting director offices where it's literally two rooms, the waiting room and the place you audition.

Over time, given success and with the right skill and mindsets, they ascend to the top right quadrant, which is the business owner.  The difference between being self employed and a business owners is that you have employees or one of the differences anyways is that you have employees. 

You have managers and you are not doing every single thing. You are not responsible. Ultimately you are responsible but you are not responsible for the day to day. The minucha of things going on. So your director has an associate director that will do different tasks that the director doesn't need to focus on because the director is focused on the big picture. You know, it's kinda like Michael Scott and Jim in The Office. Remember that Michael Scott was dealing with the big picture and Jim was the day to day. Well it's sort of the same thing. A casting director, for example, has all these associate casting directors and they have secretarial workers and people who clean the casting office. My encouragement to you is, and the reason why I bring all this up is that I want to help you make the shift from employee to entrepreneur.

Now I've taken you through this whole concept of of Robert Kiyosaki's cash quadrants in the rich Dad, poor dad, for a reason.  So that you see the real businessy side of it.  You may not want to have a business with employees and payroll taxes and all the overhead that comes with that. I don't blame you. It is not for everyone. However, the reason why I brought that all up is because I want you to start making the shift in your mind from being just an actor, just a singer, just a dancer or just an artist to an actual business entity yourself. You are a business and like a business, you need to run in a way that is efficient, well thought out and well planned out.  You need to create a system that serves you if you want to go from being the hired help to being one of the players that you look up to, one of the people who are successful, who are hitting it, who are the big fish.  

Now mind you, you don't necessarily need to be the big fish. You know, there's only going to be so many Beyonces in this world. I mean there's only one Beyonce. Let's be for real. But you know that you cannot be Sutton Foster. You cannot be Ben Platt. You cannot be these people. They are them. They have their own specific paths. But, you can be you and you can operate at that level. Maybe not in New York City, but in your town you can be the big fish in the little pond. You do not need to be a super mega global star in order to be successful. It's statistically unlikely. 

I'm not saying you can't have that if that's what you want. Do not allow me or anybody else to discourage you from that. The beginnings of that level of success and a much easier road to it is making a shift in your mindset and then in your skill sets from being an employee, someone who was begging for a job all the time, to an entrepreneur.

Now, what is an entrepreneur? How do you define that? An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. It's like the story of our lives, isn't it? I mean, how many people have parents who kind of went, okay, when you told them that you want to be an artist?

Yeah, not surprised. Happens to a lot of us.

So a person who organizes and operates a business, and if we are our own business, since the business is show business, that requires a shift in perspective and a shift in our mindset, mindsets and skill sets in order to truly harness the power that is within us. Everybody goes around thinking, okay, I gotta go get a job. I got to have a survival job Then I'm going to audition and hopefully somebody is going to hire me. And that works. That's great. There's nothing wrong with that. But I believe that you can achieve greater success in your business if you begin to run and operate yourself and think of yourself as a business from the financial perspective.  From how you market yourself, from how you operate and your skill sets. What are your skillsets? Where are they weak? Where do you need to strengthen them? What are the day to day operations? What time do you need to go to bed? What time do you need to get up to? How much do you to exercise? Do you have a warmup? Are you flexible?

And believe me, I hated business. I really did. I really, really truly did.  I've always had this artsy brain like I said in the beginning.  Bringing it back around, I've always also had this really tech logic brain. When it comes to my birthday and Christmas, people always know to buy me techie gifts cause I love it. I'm so into it. My stepfather was an electrical engineer and a Physicist. He had two degrees, which is like, OMG. But it's true! Doing math with him for my homework was like being tortured because he's this math genius and I was so terrible at math. So, he gets so frustrated with me but that's neither here nor there. He also taught me how to take things apart, how to put things together, how to fix things, literally how things work.

And I'm fascinated by it. He taught me computer programming. He taught me all these cool things, but I've never ever had the opportunity or the thought like, oh, I'm going to put my arts brain and my logic brain together. I'd love that. They were two very separate things and I hated business. I was always like, you know what, I'm just going to be an artist and I'm going to do what I do and I'm going to leave all the businesses stuff to someone else. Either to my manager, my agent or my publicist. If you are lucky enough to have a manager, an agent, publicist or any combination of that, you'll know what I mean. We just want to show up as artists and do our thing and let the accountants, the bean pushers push the money around. I just want to make art. It's a beautiful, beautiful thought but it also is the thought that cages us and keeps us bound to the people who crap all over us at the drop of the hat.  You know who I'm talking about now. They're not all bad, but many of them are and they just know that they can do what they do because they are in the position of power. We, like cattle, are just numerous and able to be bought and sold at will. However, if you want to be one of the players, if you want to be the big fish in the big pond, the days of leaving it to someone else are over.

It's done!

It does not work. Or if it does work, it works much less efficiently. Look at football players. The league minimum for the NFL is $300,000. Most of the people who are making that are on the practice squads, which are basically like, and I don't mean to be in this in a bad way, but they're like the dummies that the players, who are on the field actually starting, hit.  Now, they're not dumb. You know what I'm saying? Here they are, the people, who are the live bodies that the starters get to work with and work around and those wonderful people who are the live bodies very often get to ascend to the starting squad or play on special teams. They are all valuable, don't get me wrong, but those people are making $300,000 a season or a year for 16 weeks worth of work plus training camp. The superstars are making millions, some tens of millions a season. Do you know there's some staggering statistic out there? I think it's 40% or it might even be over 50%.A staggering percentage that you would not believe of football players who have made hundreds of thousands of dollars over a series of years end up, when they are retired, when they're up forced out because of injury, they end up broke. You, me and everybody else would love to be making that kind of money doing something fun.  But why did they end up being broke

Because they do not run themselves like a business would run themselves.  Rather they leave it up to someone else or they think the money's just going to keep coming forever and they spend and they spend and they spend and they don't track. 

What is it that we need to do in order to run ourselves like a business? I'll give you the clues. The clues are here. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, big one. Big Clue! Get the ebook.  I have no financial stake in this. I really just want to see you be successful and I want you to understand and I want the wave of realization to crash over you like it crashed over me. We are just the hired help and we need develop our skill sets and our mindsets and start to treat ourselves like we are a business. Because that's exactly what we are. We are going to achieve the success that we deserve and that we've worked our fannies off to get.  Worked our fannies off to have the shot at. 

So I'm gonna wrap this up here and just start with one tenth of what it takes to start to shift your mindset from employee to entrepreneur. The mission statement. One of the first things that you do when you are creating a new business is that you define your mission statement.  Let's define mission statement. Mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization or individual. A mission statement is where you're going, your target, the values, what you believe in, what you hold dear of a company, organization or individual. 

So my question to you is, what is your mission statement? Where are you going? Not just in general, but I want to know where you're going in the next six months? Between now and the next six months, where are you going to be? At that six month marker, where are you going to be at that year marker? Where are you going to be at that two year marker and where are you going to be at that three year marker? Why is this important? Clarity is power. Being clear, getting clear about where it is that you are going. 

I just want to be rich and famous. That’s a common one.  I think it was Jim Carey who said, I wish everybody could be rich and famous for a week or even a day because then they realize that they don't want to be rich and famous.  Take it from me. I've been rich and famous. You do not want to be rich and famous. That is not what you are after. Many of the rich and famous people that you and I know are miserable, many of them ended up dead because of their richness in their famousness. Too much money, not enough sense is what I like to say. 

So clarity is power. What is your mission statement? I would encourage you to write it out. Where are you going in the next six months, in the next year, the next two years, in the next three years. It can be as fantastic as you want it to be. There are no limits here. It's like if you were to say, I'm going to go on a mission to Mars in six months…okay. That's going to take year's worth of training. I mean, let's be reasonable. There is absolutely no reason why it is not possible that in a year you could be in New York City and be in a Broadway show or two years or three years from now, it's possible. It's not going to happen overnight. You have to work every single day, but it's like a business. You just build it brick by brick. 

At the end of the day, as you build brick by brick, step by step, every single day you get closer and closer and closer and closer to your target, to your aim. When you are clear about your aims, what you believe in, your values, what you hold dear, and where you're going rather for your aims, it’s much easier to get there. Hold that vision in your mind and every day take one baby step towards it. 

Some days you'll take a leap. Most days we will take a baby step. Some days you will even take three or four steps backwards. But if you hold onto that vision in your mind and you really start to train yourself to move forward, to grow and to expand every single day and to shift your mindset from being an employee to an entrepreneur, I guarantee, you will see amazing changes in your life. 

If you can dig deep every single day and begin to see yourself like a business and I double dog dare you to look up what it takes to start a business, you can adjust those things to your artistic life. Obviously you're not going to go buy an office or a space with from which to sell yourself.  But a funny thing happens when you start to shift your mindset to a more entrepreneurial mindset. When you start to see yourself as a business as opposed to an employee. Someone begging to work for someone else's business. You begin to see things come into your life that are opportunities for you to learn and to grow. When you pick up, if you pick up Rich Dad, Poor Dad and read it, then you pick up Cash Flow quadrant it pulls the wool off of our eyes. It shows us who's really been in charge and how they have been keeping us down using the things that we love to do it and how they, and we, have participated in this culture of being less than we are. Accepting less than we deserve. So I challenge you…Attempt to shift your mindset from employee to entrepreneur and see what happens. 
The first step is to write your mission statement. What is it that you value? What is it that you believe and what are your targets? Not Goals but your targets that you are going to do everything you can to hit every single day and to march, foot by foot, inch by inch….towards six months, one year, two years, three years.

Take the clarity of purpose and turn that into power that gets you there day by day. Sometimes you might not get to ultimately where you're think you're supposed to be going, but along the way something will happen that will show you the other path to go to.

Shift your mindset…shift your skillsets…and see what happens!