Hey gorgeous.

Let’s do some magic wand work.

I hand you $500.

(You’re welcome.)

But then I tell you that you have to spend it on your acting career.


What do you choose?

Do you shoot new headshots? Hire a professional copywriter to overhaul your bio and cover letter and resumé? Have your reel re-edited so it’s more appealing to your next-tier targets? Get your website redesigned? Consult with a social media expert? Renew your memberships in unions and at actor submission websites or re-up with CastingAbout and IMDb-Pro? Hit the bookstore and go nuts with all the books and plays you’ve been craving for your library?

Do you invest in your at-home self-tape studio? Maybe you finance the scene you’ve been eager to shoot? Send money to the sound guy who saved your bacon on that last passion project of yours? Pay for submission fees to enter your creation into film festivals? Fly yourself out to attend one of the festivals in which your project is screening? Hire a designer to create poster art for your on-brand film?

Do you upgrade your image? Get minor cosmetic enhancements? Meet with a personal trainer or nutritionist? Hire a stylist to do an on-brand wardrobe audit? Consult with a coach to get red-carpet ready with your Brandprov strategy? Meet with an expert in tackling power meetings so you’re prepped for all the next-tier rooms you’re about to enter, poised to confidently “yes, and…” while always remaining on-brand?

Do you travel to another market where your brand aligns beautifully with target projects in production, and in which your agency has an office? Do you enroll in a craft class with that guru you’ve always wanted to learn from? Do you take off a week of work to wall yourself off in your writer’s cave so you can finally finish your screenplay? Do you invest in ongoing mastermind sessions with me? Do you get trained in an on-brand special skill that’s previously been out of reach?


That’s a lot.

And that’s just off the top of my head.

I’m willing to bet you just came up with another dozen or so things for which five-hundred dedicated dollars would be a great investment.

(Share your list below. I’d love to “yes, and…” this with you!)

Why did I have you do this?

NOT so you can throw yourself a pity party for all the things you can’t afford right now.

(Sweet JEEBUS do *not* take a list of things designed to get you aligned with what next-tier you will excitedly invest in REGULARLY and turn it into a flogging device.)

I want you thinking toward next-tier you, who *consistently* has money to reinvest in your creative career. And I want you to start building up a sense of ease toward the act of doing so. I want you to have ranked these things in which you’ll invest so that when you can, there’s no dilemma. You plop down the bucks to lean *into* momentum that absolutely makes a difference… while the timing is crucial.

I know this works because a while back, I was asked what I would do if I had a certain amount of money to spend on marketing.

Now, I don't spend money on marketing. I've built my empire counting on word of mouth to do the trick. So this question was a tough one for me because it not only meant I had to imagine a world in which I had a not-small amount of money sitting around but also one in which — if I *did* have that money — I would spend that money on marketing. Something I don't spend money on. Ever.


I went along with the exercise because I'm game for most things that challenge me and, what the hell, magic wand work is always something I can get behind. It's good for the creative brain to dreamscape. Fantasizing is a big part of HOW we create our reality, as artists.

And because the stakes were low (I mean, when was I going to have this money to spend… and on… *bleh* marketing?!?), I dispassionately looked at what others who market in ways that don't make me want to puke do and saw sexier "sign up for stuff" pages with sweet confirmation systems and unobtrusive but shareable Facebook posts. I did the next step for my magic wand work, which is to create an image file (you may prefer a Pinterest board) with those realities. Sexy sign-up page. Confirmation system. Promoted Facebook post. Okay… there. That's what I'd do.

And holy shit, y'all.

That’s what I’ve done.

Um… and to say that I’ve gotten confirmation that “It takes money to make money” is an understatement.

You deffo want to lean into momentum when you’re next-tier adjacent. And that means being CLEAR about how you’ll do it before you get there.

Meaning, I want you to get super specific about how you’ll spend this five hundy that you have to invest in your creative career because soon you’ll have not only that money TO invest but the specificity with which to do it. Followed by a return on that investment that will blow you away.

The *ease* with which you’ll invest in YOURSELF will be repaid with inspired collaborations and immediate bookings and delicious tier jumps and superfun “yes, and…”-s that feel amazing!

Because cleaning up our “money stuff” ALWAYS pays off beautifully.

Share your list with me below. Get specific. The universe loves that shit.

PS — Have you checked out that badass free voiceover training series I told you about? It’s ON right here right now and you do not want to miss out on these booking tips that WORK! Learn from the dude who’s cleared nine million in voice work… talk about having your money stuff all nice and tidy, right?

Invest in yourself, lovelies. If you don’t have the bank account for it yet, you sure as heck have the ENERGETIC balance to contribute to an account that’s gonna pay off, big time, someday!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Jaye December 5, 2017 at 1:19 am

    I’m going to get caught up in my union dues, buy a pair of black, low heel Capezio character shoes, buy: slacks and a skirt with a jacket that goes with both; long-sleeved light blue cotton button down shirt; assorted colors (black, navy blue, red) of Old Navy short-sleeved cotton tees.
    Thank you!

  2. Mig Lopez December 5, 2017 at 3:32 am

    New headshots is the first thing that came to my mind, just because of the price, but a new acting class would be a better option. Third choice would be to put it in my SAG-E fund.

  3. Ciara Mashea December 5, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Just bought my Neumann mic, which is totally the $500 I had saved for acting-only spending. For me this means better sounding VO, more jobs, and a higher rate now that I’ve invested in my career! My next $500, I would spend on producing a passion project I’ve had in mind for a short film! Thanks for the mindset magic, Bonnie!

    1. Judith Alexander December 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I’d use it to pay for train and accommodation so I could go to London on one of the amazing training events my agent organises. I’d prearrange some networking and kill two birds with one five hundred dollar stone.

  4. Kenny December 5, 2017 at 5:16 am

    I just enrolled for ongoing scene study. This amount would cover one month of classes and I would use the remaining balance to buy the Kindle ebook, “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide” by Jenna Fischer and other reading material.

  5. Laura December 5, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Mmm, I would love to spend that on new wardrobe items. Right now I’m always buying clothes for auditions and returning them after. Really need to invest in a few great pieces that will work for a variety of things!

  6. Tischa M. Culver December 5, 2017 at 7:56 am

    I am going to invest in this great commercial class I’ve had my eye on. I’m going to chip in with some other creatives to get my webseries off the ground.

  7. Tonya Kay December 5, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I love creative visualization prompts!

    Well, my iPhone got stolen this week AND my car broken into. So I really genuinely need that $500 to go towards the $2000 theft setback recovery. As much as I don’t want to admit this, it’s nearly impossible for me to do business (at the level I was doing it) without a smartphone and without a stereo in my car (I use it to work musical acts out on the way to gigs, plus make biz calls while driving – oh and GPS to strange locations). So there’s that.

    But that’s so no fun.

    So if I’m gonna just visualize here and the reality of what I need that $500 to start towards isn’t important for this visualization … it’s so much more fun to imagine using $500 toward a $1000 Women in Film membership. I want to join this organization, attend the meetings, events, support the cause and meet other women supporting other women’s successful careers (while media is still focused on bringing badguy perps down). I’d like to be in what I see aaa the unstoppable entertainment industry women’s club.

  8. Marta Rymer December 5, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I would buy a lav mic to step up my self-tape set-up, there’s one on Amazon I’m considering for $22.22. Then I’d take about $100 to go shopping at the super affordable and sassy stores near me to beef up my on brand audition attire. I would update my reel, break it into a couple clips and ditch most of it that doesn’t serve me and pay the $22 per minute to upload them onto actors access. The rest would be spent on at least 2 vocal coachings at $90 each, dance and yoga classes, and maybe finally finding somewhere to try out Muay Thai.

    1. The Actor's Dojo November 9, 2022 at 11:11 pm

      Oooh… So good! So specific! Out of interest Marta, how many of these have you checked off in the time since?

  9. Laila Abdo December 5, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I would spend the money on more training. This fall, I saved to afford taking improv at UCB. With additional money, I would take dance classes and get a home lighting kit for self tapes (but for now I have a ninja who is awesome enough to let me self-tape with her stuff).


    To invest more in my company Free Pizza Productions (freepizzaproductions.com). With $500, we would be able to focus on marketing & distribution for our passion project that is filming next week!

  10. Jennie Olson Six December 5, 2017 at 11:21 am

    This money would actually allow me to do another improv class AND it would get me into a program that I’ve been wanting to do for a while that would help me market and present my best self. 😉

  11. Sean Frost December 5, 2017 at 11:43 am

    1) GIGNT
    2) After that, as much masterminding with you as the other 200.00 would buy—focus of crystallizing my brand if I haven’t done so already.

  12. Abbie Georganna December 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    For Christmas I’ve actually asked my family to give me money towards this, but with $500, I’d invest in new demo reel scenes with https://www.relentlessfilmworks.com/home ! I already have one amazing scene from them but I want at least 3 with characters that I can currently be cast as. So many of my past clips aren’t my brand to a T, and I really want to market myself the best I can in 2018 with high quality scenes that look straight from TV and movies! And that would use all my $500 and more =P

    Second choice would be to put the $500 towards my initial SAG dues to join! (:

  13. Julie McNamara December 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I’d first use it towards content creation. I’d hire the space to shoot the short I’m writing, and use the rest to pay the actors. Another option is to put it towards producing a cabaret I’ve had dreams of for a while. That would pay for the rehearsal space and the pianist at the least.
    Aside from these, I could finally take the on-camera course I’ve wanted to, and use the leftover to re-subscribe to all my online profiles.

  14. Destiny December 5, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Wow! What an exciting visualization! I have to admit that so many thoughts came to mind, from more classes, to investing in a new, laptop so that I can write more often. I’ve had this desire to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in January, so that I can indulge in the experience of artistic and possibly ground-breaking film, the Filmmaker Insights seminar I would love to attend, and all of the people I would have the opportunity to meet. I would put my $500 towards a festival ticket for myself and gas money to drive!

    1. The Actor's Dojo November 9, 2022 at 11:09 pm

      Out of curiosity Destiny, did this visualisation manifest? Did you end up getting to the Sundance Film Festival?

  15. Krystal Fields December 6, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    First up would be a mic so I can complete my setup for filming my comedy shorts and getting on that sweet self-producing train, then use what is left to get coaching or take a class with one of the gurus on my list.

  16. Kelly December 7, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I’ll take the music theory for actors class I just learned about and put any left over into producing the video for the song I recently recorded.

  17. Judy Clark December 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    What a wonderful exercise. I actually spend some time on this, took around about journey and landed with the following:

    Here goes:
    1.someone to build and maintain my websites – ie keep the momentum going so people are constantly engaged.
    2.pay an accompanist so I will have music in my key, the way I want it available for practice and performances
    3.buy a good camera for self filming so I can stop using my phone (I feel so cheap)
    4.purchase a good sound system for my performances
    5.enroll in mastermind sessions with you
    6.hire someone to help me with my self tapes
    (When I start really making money at this)
    7. hire a housekeeper so I have more time to spend on my art
    8. hire a driver – because I really get tired of driving all the time.
    9. leaving an option open for more ideas I come up with after I hit ‘send’

  18. Aerial Nicole December 11, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    YAY! I fun day for me to really explore some of the things Next Tier Aerial does/has.

    How I spend my $500.00

    1. 4-week session with an acting coach-private. (intense scene study, breaking script down, really working one on one with me to fine tune some things and explore some new depths for me)
    2. Go get a facial ( There’s a place about 15 min from me that is running some ridiculous holiday specials and I want in LOL)
    3, Get my teeth whitened again

  19. April Sugarman December 16, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I would hire someone to create my website. Or I’d create reel for myself. Or I’d set up my self-taping set-up.


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