Sell Yourself would be a talk given about alternative experimental concepts in income generation for artists.
Corporations have long been given the benefits of individuals.
In the US, it was originally in the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, that the Supreme Court recognized that corporations would be recognized as persons for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, giving them the right to sue “real” people. More recently, Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s bluntly asserted “Corporations are people” to the jeers of his audience. His reasoning? Because the money from corporations goes to people.
Well if corporations can usurp the rights of individuals then I say it is high time for individuals to take the rights of corporations.
At its outset, a corporation often has an idea that cannot be realized without the support and, specifically, money, of investors. These investors, for risking their money, are generally given a percentage share in the company; the terms being set out in recognized legal documentation.
My talk will deal with the concept of legally turning your own self into a corporation. I am currently working with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organization to deal with the technical side of this procedure, but essentially you would sell shares of your own income as well as of your final estate upon your death.
In other words, say you are 25 years old. You sell a 1% share in yourself to an interested investor. This investor then will be paid 1% of your income for the rest of your life (this is in effect a dividend payment). They are also entitled to a 1% stake in the final value of your estate upon your death.
If we, conservatively, assume an average income for a given individual over the next 40 years of $50,000 and a final estate value of $500,000 then the investor would, over the life of the investment, receive a total of $25,000 ($500/year as 1% of income, and $5000 from the final estate).
If the shares were sold at a price of $10,000, this would be, on average, equate to a 5% dividend payment each year (which is very high for a dividend).
If one were then to sell a total of a 20% stake (in 1% increments) in ones own person/corporation that could generate $200,000 in initial investment.
Often the period of one’s life when one has the most energy, flexibility, and is least risk-adverse falls around the ages 25-35. Yet, often what happens during this time is that we get stuck working jobs just to “get by”. This lump sum of money, at the beginning of this time period, would enable one to engage in activities and projects dictated by interest rather than immediate economic utility.
This can be seen as either a thought exercise or as a viable economic model. I view it as both.