Creative entrepreneurs globally are leveraging the internet as a means to boost their public profile and expand their following. However skilled you are, though, there’s plenty of others just like you competing for attention, and it’s easy to get drowned out in the crowd. That’s why, as a musician, you also need to work and develop your business skills. It can be tough, but will be a very rewarding experience, and set you up with a powerful skillset to leverage in the future, too!
Learn How to Think Business
Dreams are an essential part of success, but you can’t build an entire career on a dream. You need to also be able to view your dream as a career, one which you will take charge of building. As with any other entrepreneur, this means wearing many hats- and the business aspect will be of critical importance.
Firstly, pin down what you want to do in the music industry. Are you looking to gig as a performer, or grow a rich career doing session work? Do you want to develop jingles and music for the ad industry, work in movies, or do sound for video games? Do you want to be signed to a label, or maybe even work for the label or start your own? Do you want to produce other musicians?
Once you’ve pinned down how and where you want to work, you need to develop a sustainable business plan. We won’t go too in-depth into this here, as you can find plenty of resources online and each will look a little different depending on your intentions, but make sure your ambition to thrive is paired with clarity on your goals and a tailored business plan.
Leverage the Internet
Marketing is another hat any entrepreneur ends up wearing. As you grow, you may want to bring in outside help to make the most of this, but you’ll likely start off handling this alone. The internet has become a great way to level the playing field and get noticed, no matter where in the world you are based. But with that comes a lot of ‘overcrowding’. Maintaining a presence on social media will be essential to your plans, and it will need a solid plan of action to build you up there. At the least, you should be using video content platforms (think YouTube and maybe TikTok), industry-focused blogs, and social channels that appeal to your target demographic.
Understand It’s Tough- And Keep Your Passion
Launching a new career needs a hefty dose of entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a lot of risk involved, but a lot of reward could follow. You need to be tenacious, with the drive and passion you need to be resilient against setbacks that will come. Hard work lies ahead, so make sure you’re ready to meet it, and that you’re not just swimming in dreams and wishes. You will need to work tirelessly on your business and networking skills, and stay the course.
Artistic growth will be a must, too. One good song is not enough to build a career. You need to keep your passion for the creative aspects of the music industry, and apply that same work ethic to your skills. It’s easy to get despondent or complacent when things go wrong, but your ability to evolve as an artist and a business person are a critical part of your journey to your goals.
As well as leveraging digital platforms, you want to make the very best of your in-person and online networking, too. Consider joining a networking site for musicians (there’s one you can check out here) and make real connections with people in the industry. Don’t just think of other artists, either. Labels, managers, tour managers- you need to connect with them all.
And don’t let your role as ‘artist’ go to your head, either. You don’t want a reputation as ‘that guy (or gal)’ who only schmoozes where they think people are important enough. Everyone currently working in the industry, from the stage techs and roadies to the sound engineers, is as important as you are as a fledgling wannabe. Each has a network and experience you can leverage to help you grow, and how you treat them could be the difference between getting access to that network, or getting a bad rep. No one likes ‘difficult’ talent, even when they have established careers- and you’re not quite there yet, either. Your reputation in the industry could be the make-or-break difference between career traction and nothing, so always play nice and network where you can.
Watch Out for Imposter Syndrome
We all have days where our belief in ourselves is low. Especially when you’re struggling to build a reputation from the ground up. No matter how hard you are working, it’s common to feel like you just don’t have what it takes. Don’t surrender to that inner negativity, however. You don’t want to undo all the hard work you’ve done.
Take care of yourself, too. When your body is resilient and healthy, you have the resources you need to give your all.
A full-time career in a creative industry like music can be incredibly rewarding. Imagine being able to tell the world you truly love your work, no matter what trials it brings. But as with everything in life, it’s not all going to be plain sailing. If you’re not working with a smart business mindset, you risk being taken advantage of or encountering disappointments that were avoidable.
By working not only on the creative side of your passion, but learning the business skills to help build it to new heights, you’re setting yourself up for a ton of personal growth as well as giving yourself the tools for success. If you’re looking for your big break, this could make the difference between success and failure, so continue to invest in yourself and your skills. Who knows? One day it could be your name up there in lights alongside the greats!