Contrary to what most people may think, making music is more than a hobby or art form. To make music a viable career means running it like any other business. As such, musicians are also entrepreneurs in every sense of the word — from selling a persona and their music to building a network of collaborators and clients. After all, entertainment is still an industry, and any aspiring musician should not only have the talent and the skills, but also know how to direct and guide their music business to triumph.
That being said, we’ve listed below some essential qualities that make a successful music entrepreneur.
The road to becoming a successful musician is long, arduous, and challenging. While some may find immediate success by going viral on social media, most musicians will have to undergo a rollercoaster of a journey before reaching a career milestone. That’s why you should try to develop patience and strive to persevere despite the challenges you face. According to Inc, reflecting on your mistakes and focusing on the bigger picture is one way to build perseverance in business. Make it a point to figure out your concrete goals and the steps you’ll need to take — whether it means taking extra classes, setting meetings with record labels, or reaching out to establishments to do shows. As a musician, you’re bound to experience failure and disappointment. But it’s your ability to stay focused on your goals despite setbacks that will define your future success.
A large part of being in the music business is partnering with like-minded collaborators, publishers, and record labels. Because of this, it’ll do you well to safeguard your craft by trying to avoid high-risk situations and learning the importance of contracts. With a legal written document, you can ensure that you are compensated on-time and in full, get your money’s worth from business partnerships, and protect your creative and intellectual property.
Additionally, musicians should also understand the value of business structures. Like we said, making music is a business — and you need to put in the legwork to legitimize and protect yourself. For one, being a formal business entitles you to create a corporate bank account in your assumed name, allowing you to easily track your business expenses and even write off tax-deductible expenses. ZenBusiness highlights how becoming an LLC can put a layer of protection over your personal assets in the event that you face legal problems as a music entrepreneur. This is because those who own an LLC are not liable for any contractual obligations of the entity — preventing creditors from going after your personal assets. Before signing any legal document, be sure to run it by a trusted legal advisor to ensure that everything is fair and you won’t compromise your craft.
While it’s fair to say that we all get troubled with doubt sometimes, successful musicians should always have confidence in whatever they put out in the world. Confidence is both a state of mind and is something that can be developed through years of experience. All musicians start at square one, so in order to build your confidence, you should celebrate every small victory and believe in the support you receive from fans, loved ones, and peers. Additionally, Chron notes that self-doubt can also be a symptom of nervousness and anxiety. In order to overcome it, you should develop strategies that help you manage and redirect these negative feelings — whether it’s through practicing breathing exercises before hitting the stage, or finding another creative hobby or outlet when music gets a little frustrating.
Securing your success as a music entrepreneur entails developing and honing the qualities we’ve listed above. While working on your skills as a musician can certainly improve your craft, developing key entrepreneurial qualities can help you further grow your music career. If you’re interested in the business aspect of the music industry, be sure to check our post ‘How to Start Your Own Record Label’.
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