Teaching Artists powerful money skills

so you and your creative practice can thrive for the long-term

“It seemed like most artists were completely broke.”

At least that's how it felt in 2007, while bouncing between expensive San Francisco sublets, finally landing in a sketchy  warehouse with 7 other artists.


I was in the middle of getting my MFA, and became obsessed with the question, “How do artists make it work financially?” It was something I asked of every professor, advisor, visiting artist and was never able to get a straight answer.

Eventually, I moved in with friends who were determined to live a reasonable life (one that was more than just ketchup sandwiches) with the ambition of doing the work we had spent years training to do: creating art.

"I've learned how rich people handle money... and was shocked at what artists are missing."

I started reading books and taking professional finance classes and quickly I began to see a clear picture of how things worked outside of the art world.

I sat through 100’s of hours of insurance, investing, retirement planning and tax lectures — all under the umbrella of wealth management, because as it turns out there weren't classes called how to thrive while barely scraping by —  to learn about money I need to study the rich.


I'd go to a class and each week and feel like an accidental spy who had found their way into the wrong meeting, coming back with what felt like secrets only rich people knew about. “Guys! We're doing things the hard way!”

Over the past decade, I've gone down every rabbit hole you can think of to understand how money works.

Tax strategies, retirement savings, portfolio design, and what the heck are annuities? — I just wanted to know.

I was getting a clear picture, not only of the structure and complexity of money, but of a financial industry that exploits people's lack of knowledge and and lack of confidence. I was seeing people trying to make the right moves — but were instead being manipulated and never getting ahead. And it lit a fire under me.

All of a Sudden I had a new mission

While this was going on I was inside the creative community, working as an artist, along side other artists, figuring out how everything I'd learned could be applied to us. I now had the formula to grow assets at any income level.

And that, my friend, is what Money Bootcamp is all about: giving you a easy to follow 8-week course that explores the secrets and frameworks that the rich use to become wealthy, but applied to artists.

In other words, this course is the solution to doing the creative work you want to while building the financial frame work to build your own assets, and live a great life.  


Is this you?

Even though our creative practices are all different, many of us are struggling with the same problems…

  • I want more time in the studio, but I can’t afford it.
  • I haven’t started saving for retirement, and I feel like I'm already too late.
  • I know I should be investing, but I have no idea how to start.
  • My creative practice is going really well, but I still can’t make ends meet.
  • There are so many holes in my financial life, I don’t know which one to plug first.
  • I never know how much money will be coming in next month, let alone the long-term.
  • I don't want to look like a sell out, but I'm not making ends meet. 

This class is different from any other, because it was developed by two business-savvy artists who have each been running their creative careers for over a decade. 

**We're not going to tell you to get over your mental blocks,
and the money will magically manifest**

There's no hocus pocus in this class. Instead, we're going to help you apply real financial strategies to your specific situation, as well as open up our business playbook so you'll be getting your financial and creative business house in order. We understand money, business, and art — and we want to share our secret sauce with you!


What you'll learn

Real finance tailored for artists and creative entrepreneurs

  • CRAFTING CLEAR GOALS: You'll start by defining what you want to achieve in your financial life, which means describing the details, assigning costs, and designating a timeline for what matters most. With a clear outline, all of a sudden you're no longer just day dreaming, but moving forward towards clear, quantifiable priorities. Got a bucket list — bring it!
  • SELF ASSESSMENT: Next you'll take an unclouded picture of where you're at right now. This can be exciting or sobering, but in either case you'll be planting a flag at your starting point so that you can move forward with measured progress. For some, this is the most difficult part of the course, but soon you'll see starting Money Bootcamp as the beginning of a new phase of positive progress. 
  • DUMPING DEBT: You'll be learning efficient strategies for ditching bad debt, chipping away at it from multiple angles so you can clear the straightest path towards your goals.
  • GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: First and foremost we are entrepreneurs, and see creative business as an artist's edge in finance. We'll share our playbook for creating multiple streams of income from a creative toolbox, so that you can use your well honed skills to smooth out the volatility of an artist's fluctuating income.
  • IMPECCABLE SAVINGS STRATEGIES: We've perfected the art of saving, and will show you our tested method to build long-term assets using simple and productive money habits. 
  • ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: With 8 weeks of live classes, this course includes a lot of face time with your expert instructors. Between them, Christina and Mati have more than 24 years of creative business and entrepreneurship experience and are ready for your toughest questions. As a Fiduciary and a CFP® professional Christina can get to the bottom of every money mystery, and loves to share her infectious enthusiasm for mechanics of finance. Her goal is always to empowering you with real information, pulling back the curtain on the financial industry to show you what's really happening.

    √ Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about a Roth IRA? Christina's going tell you all about it.
    √ Have you ever tried decide whether you should pay off debt or save for retirement? We're going to make that decision crystal clear.
    √ Do you ever feel like you're starting too late? Don't worry, now is the perfect time to engage with your money.


Who are our students?

  • Artists, Illustrators, Designers, Crafters, Makers, Doers, and others who are seriously invested in their creative practices.
  • Folks who don't necessarily fit into the box of a 9 to 5 job.
  • Creative entrepreneurs with their own unique vision for their work and life.
  • People who feel alienated from the financial services industry and want a trustworthy source of information.
  • Individuals that want a financial mentor who gets why they do what they do.
  • And, people who crave the understanding and confidence to make their own well-informed decisions about their money.

Just imagine how your life would change if you could cut out nagging stress of not knowing what you're doing with your money, and replace it with the peace and confidence of feeling in control.

Smartly Academy was built to serve creative people, who have decided to create a clear and productive relationship with their money. Artists who want to go beyond magical thinking and craft practical financial habits that will move you forward towards real and definable goals. 

We have been amazed at what our students have accomplished:

  • Outcome 1.
  • Outcome 2.
  • Outcome 3.


OMG since embarking on my Money Bootcamp class with Christina Empedocles of Smartly, Art + Personal Finance I'm now saving $1059 a month by making some small and big financial hacks! That's 12, 708 a year!!! I'm biased of course, but this class is definitely worth every penny.

What happens if you wait?

A lot of us are waiting — waiting for the right person to come across our website, waiting for the right opportunity for our work, waiting to be discovered... And I don't doubt that all of that will happen, but in the meantime we could also be making progress with our money, so that either way we'll be good.

What I see frequently are people who spend so much time waiting, that they dig a financial hole that is so hard to climb out. Then one small thing goes wrong, and their world are thrown into chaos — I don't want that for you. 



Built around a community

Most of us feel alone and in the dark about money — but after teaching this material for years we've found that many of us are struggling the same issues.

Because we keep quiet, we're not able to learn from each other, which is why in Money Bootcamp we meet every week live through video conference, and talk through anything that people are struggling with. Even through we may be across the country, or across the world from each other, it feels like we're in the same room, and all of a sudden none of us are alone anymore. We share strategies, provide support and celebrate each other's small and big wins.

Created by Artists for Artists


And after having hundreds of conversations with creatives about their money, we know what hurts the most — and we’ve made it our mission to find solutions. 

Yes, we’ve been there! We’ve made our own mistakes, learned from them, and built this class to be a non-judgmental, supportive community.

Early on in our lives as artists, each of us developed strategies to deal with the uncertainty of a creative career. Over the years we’ve tested those strategies and refined them, and now we have a set of well-honed tools to share with you.

Meet our Instructors:


"I've learned how rich people handle money...and now realize what most artists are missing."

10 years ago, around the time I graduated from my masters program in painting and drawing, I began obsessing over a simple question: how do artists make this all work financially?

Just as I obsessed over my art, I couldn't stop thinking about this. Like many artists, I knew what I wanted to do full-time...bad I still had to figure out how to make it work in the real world.

I interviewed 100's of artists and professors, and spent a decade searching for the answer. During this time, I took financial classes, lived with dozens of other artists, and learned how rich people handled money. The answer? It's not about how much you have, but how well you leverage your time. 

Most artists think next week, next month. But rich people? They think generations ahead.

I'm Christina Empedocles, CFP®, MFA, a licensed Investment Advisor and principle planner at Insight Personal Finance and most importantly, an artist...and I'll be one of your instructors!

Over the next 8 weeks I'm going to show you all the secrets I've learned. The course will be tough and an emotional challenge...but it will be empowering! Over the past few years I've fixed the finances of 100's of artists. I know the challenges you're facing, what obstacles you need to overcome, and how to win. 

Ready to give it a shot?



Mati Rose McDonough is a highly successful Bay Area-based artist, illustrator, teacher and author of “Daring Adventures in Paint” who believes it's possible to thrive as an artist and entrepreneur. Her creative business has spanned dozens of exhibitions; international teaching opportunities; commissions from top clients including Patagonia, University Games, and Pier 1; celebrated children’s books; as well as her own home decor line with Creative Coop and Signature Dress line with VIDA. As an Instructor for Smartly Academy she'll share her portfolio of business savvy practices with you.

"I don't want to know how bad it is..."

We know this might not be easy for you. Money is an emotional topic, and it can be a challenge to face what you may have spent a long time avoiding.

The fact of the matter is, most of us didn't learn productive financial habits from our parents, and we didn't learn anything about money in school — so lifting the lid on our money and taking a long look at what needs to be done can be scary. 

But having taught hundreds of artists best practices with their money and businesses, we know the stumbling blocks, and are determined to see you through to the other side of success. Our students find the tough moments easier knowing they aren't alone, that they've got experts in their corner, and a supportive community to cheer them on. 



I can describe Money Bootcamp in one word — wow! Christina has a gift for breaking down concepts into manageable, entertaining, and doable bites. The worksheets are actually fun and helped me gain a real-life perspective on the state of my finances. I cannot recommend this course highly enough — every cent it costs came back to me in dollars of control.

Outcomes you can expect:

  • A defined set of long-term goals for your financial life. 
  • A creative business plan.
  • A clear understand of your current level of financial risk, and a plan for how to balance it.
  • The benefits of a rigorous and insightful spending audit, freeing up funds for debt, savings, or creative business.
  • A realistic budget that is base on your actual spending.
  • A step-by-step action plan for creating multiple streams of income. 
  • A new understanding of why debt is holding you back.
  • An ‘Bad’ Debt pay-off plan.
  • Strategies for crowdfunding student loans
  • An ideal account set-up plan for building assets
  • Tax strategies for creative business
  • And understanding of which business structure is going to work best for your creative practice.

The financial industry wasn’t built to understand the weird, unpredictable, and sometimes counter-intuitive money issues that artists are dealing with
— but we do.

The Right Stuff

These materials we use in Money Bootcamp are beautifully designed, easy to follow, and laser-focused to help you put your plan into place. We wrote and crafted everything ourselves, so there’s nowhere else you’ll find them! In this latest launch we're excited to add a powerful, intuitive software package that will make it even easier for you to the work at ne extra cost.


We’re 100% confident that you’ll get your money’s worth and more! 
Here’s our guarantee:

If you go through all the materials, do all the work, and don’t feel like you’ve made progress, we’ll jump on the phone with you, review your materials and pinpoint exactly what’s going wrong. If after that, you don’t feel like you got anything useful our of the class, we’ll refund your payment in full. Returns must be made within 15 days of the last live class.

If you’re ready to change how you deal with money we hope you’ll join us for this fun, transformative Money Bootcamp for Artists and Creatives!