Sunday, June 13, 2010

2 Years In - What I Learned My First Two Years in the Music Business

2 Years In - What I Learned My First Two Years in the Music Business*

I am a recovering Project Management consultant/cubicle monkey for non-profit , government, and Fortune 500 businesses and have been indie in the music business for (drumroll) two years. I have a lot to learn, but sure as hell know a lot more than when I started. So, here it is:

1. If God says yes, don't listen to people who tell you no. Even if that person is you. (Or, as DJ Kevin Connor once told me, "Don't let the fuckers get you down.")

2. ... but don't lash out at them, either. Don't act impulsively on bitterness, anger, or hurt feelings. You'll regret it.

3. Don't read about yourself. Just do your thing authentically and let the "scene" determine for itself where you fit into it.

4. Find your people and build a team around trust and communication. Don't rush or be delusional.

4.a. Don't delegate too soon, but don't be a control freak either.

5. Fight inertia. Unless you are a celebutante, you have to create your own career momentum from nothing, but once it's going, it starts to move on its own. (There's a careful balance between #3 and #5.)

6. Know your boundaries and protect them like a lioness (time, health, relationships, etc).

7. Constantly define and refine your vision of success. Most artists I know unconsciously do this anyway, so then just make it conscious. Write it down.

8. Morning pages work. (reference to The Artist's Way)

9. Ask for what you need.

10. Say thank you and write it down.

11. Understand that ANY path you choose will make you want to cry at some point, so cry. Then get back to work.

12. Use systems for record-keeping, finances, prioritizing work/emails/etc. that work for you and can grow with your business.

13. Remind yourself that THESE are the days you'll look back on saying, "Those were the days."

14. Trust your gut

15. Get a lawyer

16. Live small. You don't need all that crap if your heart is full.

*I wrote this last summer (2009) and forgot about it... Can't believe I've been working this fulltime musician status for three years!!


Rachel H said...

This is a neat post. It's always important to note where you've come from and what you've learned.

Erin said...

This is fantastic ...and very helpful as I'm into my 2nd year in the biz. You've really seemed to follow these guidelines so good for you (add #17: Its okay to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.)