Most performers focus on the "show" aspect of show business, often relegating the second part to an afterthought. But in the midst of a temperamental economic landscape and an industry that's increasingly commercial, ignoring the "business" can leave you in dire straits. "Each individual performer is a business owner," says Bailie Slevin, a financial adviser at Forest Hills Financial Group who specializes in working with performing artists. "You're your own product. But artists aren't taught how to handle themselves -- and their business -- financially, even though it's crucial to success."
Slevin has insight into both art and finance. A graduate of Emerson College with a degree in theater management, Slevin worked as a stage manager and at a talent agency when she first moved to New York City. When a car accident waylaid her work, "my father, a financial adviser for 30 years, suggested I learn his business at a certified financial services firm," she says. "I realized I had forgotten how much I love money."