Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010 #5 Black and White Thinking
* #1 – Waiting
* #2 – Unreasonable Expectations
* #3 – Poor Planning
* #4 – Comparing Apples To Oranges
*#5a – Black and White Thinking (Day Job)
For me personally, this is the bitch of the bunch. When I hit a speed bump along the road of life like not getting one of my client’s a much needed tour or losing out on a new client to a larger company it is often the case that my thought process and solutions to these problems are far worse than the problems themselves. When I don’t close a new client I really wanted my mind doesn’t automatically jump to “Well, I’d better find some more potential clients to pitch” it jumps to “I’m going to wind up dying homeless on the street in a cardboard box and I won’t even have any pets to love me”. The upside to my having this warped way of thinking is that it is VERY common among musicians and creative folks. Doing what I do it’s important that I relate to this issue and believe you me- I understand.
So what does this look like? Well, in my experience there are three very common topics in a musician’s existence where this thinking really shines through namely in their relationship to their day job, their relationship to their career trajectory and their relationship to the industry.
1. Your Day job.
So this is usually among the younger set of musicians but have you ever heard a statement like this? “I just quit my job so I can focus on music full time”. Now before you rip my head off- yes, in general this is the plan and we all want to be in a place to do this BUT there is a small matter of timing here that is crucial. This transition needs to be well thought out and handled very delicately and with the understanding that you are going to need some source of funding for your life for at least a few years. This is very much an A to Z move so if you just got your Daisy Rock Acoustic Guitar Starter pack in the mail and wrote your first song about your pet ferret George – welcome to letter A – and don’t quit that job yet.
This step is really difficult for many a musician especially if there isn’t some kind of structure in place. Few people take in to account the paralyzing effect of being granted nearly limitless options with your day after having been part of a routine (no matter how unpleasant that routine may have been for you). Back to the black and white part- the point is it is very difficult to jump into full time music without having built something. If you work a job and have a music business on the side that is beginning to make less money because you can’t break away from the day job it may be time to transition from full time to part time at your main gig or to lobby your boss to let you work from home or to find a job with more flexibility (even if it means less pay). None of this is easy but it is possible.
A steady gig has the obvious benefits of stability and insurance but it also provides a regular source of human contact. People often forget how isolating self-employment can be and let’s not forget- you have to invite someone to your shows, right? I’m all in favor of going to music full time but I am also of the belief when you are shifting a car from first gear to overdrive that you will have a much easier transition by shifting through the intermediate gears.
Click here for the next part of this series.
If you missed part 4 you can check that out here