Every January 1st, millions of people make new year’s resolutions that are meant to lead them to greater things. We promise ourselves we’ll get in shape, eat healthier, get that promotion, move to that new city, or start that new business—whatever it is that’s been brewing in the back of our mind for just a little too long. We’re fired up, we’re excited, and we’re ready to take action.
Unfortunately, so often we let the chaos of every day life get in the way of moving forward on those goals. These things we really want take a backseat to the things we need to do. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When it comes to your music career, pursuing your talent, your dream, your musical destiny is possible to manage amidst a busy life. Put these 3 tips into action, and you’ll soon find your career blossoming.
Make time for your career
Let’s start with the simplest, most obvious piece of advice. If you want to have a career in music, you need to make time to not just sustain, but grow that career. Otherwise, it’s like wanting to be in shape and just going to the gym every day, but not actually working out. You might feel like you’re doing something, but it’s not going to produce any results.
In order for your career to grow, you have to dedicate serious time to it. And not just the sustainability side (social media, shows), but the growth side as well (long term goals like touring, new recordings, videos, networking). This means setting a schedule and sticking to it and not believing the excuses you put in your path.
For instance, at the start of the week or month sit down and figure out when you’ll do specific tasks. This should be a mix of sustainability tasks + growth tasks. IE: Sunday morning you schedule out social media posts for the week, Monday evenings you write songs for 2 hours, Wednesday you work on networking (and figure out what that means for you. Going to a show to meet new people? Commenting on X number of posts in various music industry FB groups? Something else?). So on and so forth.
Again, don’t forget about the growth tasks. It’s important to keep consistency with the day to day, but in order to really grow your career you need to look at the big picture goals and make time for those as well. For instance, if you know you want to release an album in May, you can’t wait until March to figure out who you’ll record with and how you’ll promote it. You need to get organized on all of that ASAP, so you can begin to map out deadlines for finding a producer, scouting PR agents, booking your tour, etc. Which brings me to…
This is where a lot of people fall off the wagon. It can be really tough to get organized in a way that takes all the ideas, visions, and to-do lists in your head and makes sense of them on paper. But if you try to keep it all in your head, you’ll constantly be tripping over yourself.
Instead, write it all out. All of it. All the things you want to do, where you want to see your career, and then, how you’ll get there. Try to make 3, 6, and 12 month goals to start, but also have an idea of your long term goals. The thing you’re really fighting for. For some people that’s signing to a label, for others it’s simply making a living off of music, or touring 7 months out of the year. Whatever it is, get specific about it. What label do you want to sign to? How much money is enough to live on? Do you want to just tour North America or other parts of the world as well?
Once you have your 3, 6, and 12 month goals, work backwards to figure out how to get there. For instance, if a 12-month goal is to play a major festival (be clear on which one) then you’ll want to figure out how you’re going to do things like grow your social media numbers to capture the festival’s attention, get really good at live performances and bringing out a crowd, network with other artists, promoters, and industry folks who might be able to help get you in front of the right people at the festival, etc. Once you have those mini-goals, you continue working backwards, asking yourself “how do I grow those social media numbers?” “What venues can I play more frequently?” “How do I draw a crowd” and so on and so forth, until you’ve created an almost step-by-step guide to your own success.
Find a mentor
One of the things that surprised me most about this industry is how incredibly kind and loving so many of the people in it can be. For as cutthroat as certain parts are, there are a lot of really good people willing to help you out as you navigate your path and find your career. For an artist, this doesn’t mean you have to find a major label artist to mentor you—it could be an artist that’s simply a few years ahead of you in your career and starting to get to the places you want to be.
It can be intimidating to reach out and make that connection, and you may even get a few people saying “no” before you find one that says “yes” but finding a mentor to help guide you through the chaos and answer your questions, will not only help get you to your goals faster, but it will provide an incredible feeling of support as you do—and truly, that support makes all the difference in your confidence and success.