I recently read a blog written by an indie artist about how she had been praying and hoping that a manager or label would come along to move her career forward. Once she realized all she was doing was waiting, she said ‘screw that’ and got in action. Bingo.
It’s a career suicide to think that someone is going to come along to put it all together for you. It’s just not gonna happen – nope, nada, niente. Those days are dead and gone. In the new music business you have to not turn a blind eye to the business side of your career and do the work yourself first. Not to do so is career death by ignorance. We’ve all heard those stories about artists getting ripped off, right? Besides, no one in the industry wants to work with someone who wants someone to do it all for them. #clueless
Step 1: Up Your Engagement on Social Media
It’s not just about numbers people! Everyone including industry can see right through that. Spend time making genuine connections with real people every day on your social media. Everyone likes attention – give a little. Once you realize that these relationships (with some tender lovin’ care) will translate to genuine support and even funding for your career, it takes on a whole ‘nother level of dedication (and heaps o’ gratitude).
Step 2: Get Your Sh&t Together in the Administrative & Managerial Aspects of your Small Music Business
Even if you suck at it, it’s better to crawl your way to doing it better rather than ignoring it which keeps you a victim (and just prolongs the inevitable). And even if you hire a VA (Virtual Assistant), it’s best if you do the job first so you know what you’re delegating. This will build a way stronger business and team (how can you lead if you don’t know the job you’re leading?).
Step 3: Become an Expert At Managing Your Time, Money and Yourself
It’s the only way to run a successful anything. The best advice I can give you is to have a “growth mindset”, which says “even if I suck at something I can improve, I can get better, I can even ace it with a little practice and attention.” Then get help to learn it. Work with a music business coach (not just any coach – the music biz is way different than other businesses) to learn the ropes. And then open a separate business account (when you have some dollars coming in) and track it with Quickbooks Online (love me some financial software!).
Those are the first 3 steps to rescuing yourself and becoming an artist that not only fans will admire, but industry will want to work with. Rinse and repeat the above until things are running smoothly, you’re less panicked and you’re actually bringing in some cash (enough to live on) and BINGO, you’re on your way to more success.
Next, set your goal post for $50K, or $25K higher than where you are now. Shows, colleges, house concerts, opening act slots, merch, and other inventive creative ways to turn a profit.
Once the money starts to flow (and believe me, it will) then suddenly, all those doors you couldn’t open before, will open. Matter of fact, people may come out of the woodwork to seek you out. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Truth is, people want to work with people who have their sh&t together ~ period.
So if you want to make things happen, it’s you that brings home the tofu, not your savior.