Whether you’re a musician that happens to record music or you are actively recording music for other people, you might be an entrepreneur. In fact, if you’re attempting to make money with music, you are almost certainly an entrepreneur.
This is an uncomfortable realization for many artists. We like to think that all we have to do is exercise creativity and come up with beautiful work. The rest will work itself it out.
Some musicians are privileged enough to just focus on playing and some producers just have to show up at the studio and make gold records, like Bruce Dickinson. They’re generally referred to as rich. They might have managers or employees that handle the dirty work so they can focus on the artistry of what they do best.
The rest of us have to do a little hustling. And guess who the experts at hustling are?
If you’re interested in increasing your exposure or getting more money for the time you pour into your craft, you need to increase your entrepreneurial consciousness.
It’s fun to daydream about being an entrepreneur, running your own show, setting up deals, and being the one responsible for your own success. The reality is a lot of hard work. And it all starts with two terrifying words: business plan.
Business plans are such thorough documents, requiring countless hours of research, that many people skip them altogether. And that’s a mistake. A good business plan isn’t just proof of competence to potential investors: it’s the road map that shows how you are going to succeed. Every step of the way.
So that’s intimidating. But it would be an even bigger mistake to think you need to have a business plan before you can get down to business. Check out this advice from Music Think Tank:
As a lean startup, you need to get your product or service to the market as quickly as possible. It doesn’t need to be perfect—just get it out there! This is where the New Artist Model really differs from the past. It’s no longer about spending a year (or sometimes more) and tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on a full length album. Release small and release often. Start getting feedback from people as early as possible and listen to what they say.
More businesses and entrepreneurs than you think are getting their start this way. And it’s especially important for you to think this way when you’re just getting started. Go for a schedule of releasing material and collaborating that you can keep up so that people remain interested in what you’re doing.
And more importantly, do and share work. Nobody wants to hear about how you have an album coming out in a year. They want to hear it now. If that means just releasing a song at a time, then so be it.
Remember, it’s better to show up than to show off.