Hey everyone, today I wanted to talk with you about an incredibly important subject that I see a lot of independent musicians struggling with: business.
In most cases, the #1 reason why musicians are struggling to make a living isn’t due to a lack of musical skills, but a lack of BUSINESS skills. And I whole-heartedly believe that the key to being able to make money and sustain a career with this type of a profession lies in building those skills and using them to create a business around your music. Business skills are seriously the biggest thing I see separating successful musicians from struggling musicians.
There are SO many talented musicians out there, and while I think a professional level of skill is really essential in order to earn money with your music, talent and skill are not enough to make it in this industry. You could be the most talented person out there but if you don’t spend any time building your business skills, you’re going to have a very difficult time making money and building a career.
It’s VERY unlikely that some random manager or agent is going to come along and somehow discover what you’re doing and offer to handle everything business-related for you so you can just spend your time on music. This means YOU need to step up and assume control of your career and handle your business yourself. You’re going to need to learn how to market yourself, promote yourself, manage your time and your projects, budget personally and professionally, how to stay organized, how to create and sell products, and everything else that goes along with building a successful business.
But how do you do this you might ask? What if you’re not “good at business”? I hear that one all the time, “I’m just not good at that business stuff!” Honestly, I don’t know a ton of people who are naturals here. Usually the people who appear to be “good at business” are generally those who just buckled down and put time and effort into learning and applying business skills to their career. The only way you get better at anything is through consistent practice, which is something that all musicians should be able to relate to!
You might think it’s hard to find resources to learn and practice your business skills, but it’s actually not if you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, which you absolutely are if you’re pursuing a career as an independent musician. There are TONS of books, courses, and other resources out there for you to learn from. If you want to check out some of my personal favorites, I have them listed on my Kit page here.
So the struggle to build your business skills as a musician doesn’t lie within your ability to find resources and actually learn any of this stuff, it’s really about your ability to work hard and stay disciplined with something that you may not be super passionate about. I believe that so much of my own success has come not from my skills as a musician, but from the business skills that I developed and consistently apply to my career.
That’s not to say that musical skills aren’t important, but I really don’t think that anyone would even know about my music to begin with or that I’d be making any kind of living with my music if I hadn’t learned how to turn this into a business.
And I know that sometimes the word “business” can have a negative connotation in the creative world, like you’ve “sold out” or something, but if you want to make a career out of your music, you need to realize that what you’re creating has real value, and that you deserve to be compensated for your creations! I see musicians struggling with that concept all the time and embracing that mentality really helps lead to more financial success, but we’ll save that topic for another day 🙂
In the meantime, if you’re looking for more resources specifically about building your own successful career as an independent musician, be sure to check out the other articles in our blog as well as our free webinar. We also have our full Musician of All Trades program with even more in-depth training to help you build the skills you need to run your own successful business.