Teaching Artists powerful money skills

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

Learn everything you weren’t taught in art school about money

Hate thinking about your finances? I've got a secret to tell you:

Learning how money works, so that you can create a short-term and long-term financial plan focused on your goals will ultimately allow you to spend the least amount of  time worrying about money.

At Smartly Academy, we want you to be focused on what you do best — creating — so we built Money Bootcamp to specifically help artists and creatives understand the mystery of long-term financial well-being and balance as a way to keep creativity alive and well. We do this with simple lessons, hands-on help, and a positive, supportive community.


Sound familiar?

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.
  • If I start focusing on my finances I'm worried people will thing I have sold out. 

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 understand money, business, and art — and we want to share our secret sauce with you!

I didn't want to look like a sell out, but I'm not making ends meet

A lot of us feel like there are things we can and can't do in our work if we want to be viewed as authentic. We want to take some of these assumptions and update them for today's reality. There's no wrong way to support yourself as an artist, so let's reassess some of the unwritten rules that keep us struggling.


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. 


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.

Because the world would be a better place if artists had money

Your creative practice is important, and you deserve the time and ability to focus on it. At Smartly Academy we want you to give you the tools to:

  • Invest in yourself and your long-term goals
  • Build safety into your finances, so you can stop 
  • Stop worrying about what you're not doing
  • feel in control, and confident in your own financial decisions

We think artists are actually great with money — and with the right tools, they're unstoppable.



Built around a community

Most of us feel alone and in the dark about money, but after talking to hundreds of other artists and creatives, 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. But the community focus in Money Bootcamp allows us to share strategies, provide support and celebrate each other's small and big wins.

Where do you go for a high-five after you've finished your taxes? The Money Bootcamp Community. Who pops the virtual champaign for you when you finally raise your prices? Your fellow Money Bootcampers — that's who. Knowing you have your own cheering squad builds the momentum, and sparks real enthusiasm for what can feel like an intimidating journey.

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?

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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.

The Elephant in the Room

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. And what we've learned from our students is that just getting started can be the hardest part. 

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. 


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.

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.


Goal Oriented

We understand what drives you, and the plan you craft will be driven by what you want to accomplish. 


Real Tools for success

We'll leave magical thinking to the non-experts. In Money Bootcamp we only teach time-tested, best financial practices.  


Celebrating your wins

The Money Bootcamp community is a positive engine that will motivate you to do the hard work.

The Right Stuff

Money Bootcamp puts together instructions for specific, actionable strategies that we’ve used for years while running our creative businesses. These materials 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!

We’ll provide the stuff you weren’t taught in school, but could only learn from professionals who are actually making it work. You’ll get:


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!