W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial state

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W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial state

Postby sweetsoulmusic » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:04 pm

There is one career that I am made for and one career only. If I even think of deviating from it I get gut-wrenchingly miserable. I've had horrible luck with getting jobs and only end up with "odd jobs" that bring a tiny bit of money. I'm going back to college full time pursuing a make your own degree plan, so that I may gain the skills I need for my career/dream. I moved all the way to the other side of the country to a city that was right for the style of music I do, and had the exact type of audience who would be most receptive to me. I was trapped in a horrible life and I wanted my freedom. I was right and straight out of the gate... My acoustic guitarist and I are already doing a radio interview, getting paid quite a good amount of money, and got booked for a 2hr set at a legendary club. We've only done two shows together!

Also, I'm obsessed with marketing and branding. It's pretty much all I think about. I visit the library every couple of weeks just to check out a huge stack of marketing/leadership/branding books. Which is lucky for me because it goes perfectly with my music. I have pages and pages of plans and social media plans brewing and idea after idea coming into my head. I sit at my computer for hours, save link after link to the Pocket app, make plans for the future, designing merch, making flyers, scripting some cool things to say during shows, learning songs, etc. I'm normally really shy and quiet, but when it comes to music I suddenly turn bold. In fact, just today I went into this hip little cell phone store and told them, "You have a great atmosphere. Have you ever thought about hiring live music?" They told me the insurance won't cover it. One minute later one of the guys comes running down the street to catch me with a pen & pad of paper saying, "We've got an event coming up, and we might just say screw the insurance." I handed them my demo. I'd never do that for anything else.

So how does one... with nothing but student loans coming my way... manage to go full-time hard core head first into making my long-lasting dream happen. I'm nearing 30 (luckily I look 20) and the clock feels like it's ticking. This dream also feels like my only way out of poverty. I have other skills like Web Design and Photography I could leverage, but I hate dividing my interest. I mean, one website a month would pay all of my bills, but is it a good idea to run two businesses at once? Or maybe I should plan to be poor for now, live off student loans and work my butt off to bring in as much income as possible through the music. I'm not sure what's practical and what's the best idea. All I know is I'm obsessively driven toward one thing.

I'll stop rambling now. Any ideas?
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Re: W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial s

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:34 am

I'm pretty security-driven, so I'd take work that would pay the bills and do music along with it. It sounds like you have enough energy for both. But that's me. Reading your post, it sounds like the answer you want is, "Go for it. Follow the music."
You could give yourself a certain amount of time - maybe a month - when you do nothing but music and marketing, and then evaluate the experience. 1. Is it financially viable? and 2. Was it as enjoyable as you hoped doing nothing but music and marketing?

Whatever you decide, it sounds like you will have a big chunk of your dream happening every day. So congratulations!
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Re: W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial s

Postby SquarePeg » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:32 pm

Can you find a full time job promoting / marketing in the music industry? BTW, I've heard one of your songs. Your voice really is very sweet!
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Re: W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial s

Postby skannie » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:18 am

Hi sweetsoulmusic

I think it was a great plan to move to a place where you can surround yourself with people who understand and appreciate what you do. But I find some of what you're saying rather confusing and contradictory.

First, I don't see how it's possible to be a full-time musician and a full-time student at the same time, if you’re doing both of them properly. Do you have some magic time-stretching powers? And I don’t at all understand why you want to go back to college now and lumber yourself with student loans. How is that going to help your musical career? What extra skills do you need to learn? In my experience it’s relatively easy to earn a living as a musician, as long as you start by keeping your living expenses low. It’s going to be much harder if you have big student loan debts to repay.

When I read your first paragraph I thought you were a confirmed diver, i.e. a person dedicated to only one life-long interest like Mozart. But then you say you’re also “obsessed with marketing and branding”. That seems rather unusual to me. Most dedicated musicians I know find that part uninteresting or even hateful. They do it as a necessary evil, or they get someone else to do it for them. So sure, you can apply it very effectively to your music career, but I would say it’s actually another interest, which makes you appear to be less like a diver than I thought.

Then I came to the bit about web design and photography. You don’t say you hate actually doing them, and you were presumably at least interested enough at one time to learn how to do them. You do say ‘I hate dividing my interest’, but I’m not convinced that’s true. With (probably) three interests mentioned, you don’t seem to be as much of a single-passion person as you say. Maybe you’ve just bought into the prevailing idea that you should have only one true passion in life. But that’s not right for everyone.

Well I’m a proud scanner, aka renaissance person, with many and varied interests, as are many of the other posters on these boards, including Barbara Sher herself. To us, having more than one stream of income is perfectly normal. Why should it not be a good idea? And starting with a “good enough job” to pay the bills while doing your important work in your non-job time is another very good way to develop an artistic career.

So I think you’re in an excellent position to make this music career work. But better to drop or postpone college because I think it will only delay you achieving your dream. Do that one website a month for a regular income, plus maybe a bit of paid marketing and branding for other musicians. And spend the rest of your time practising, performing, marketing and branding yourself, and becoming very successful.
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Re: W: To go full-time with my music O: Current financial s

Postby skannie » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:23 pm

Aha! I thought your username seemed familiar. I decided to check your profile to see if there’s a link to your music. (there is, and you are indeed a very nice singer).

But I also found links to posts of yours from 2009, in the scanners forum, where you said you had so many interests you didn't know what to do with yourself. And you've read Refuse to Choose, so you know about multiple income streams and good enough jobs etc.

And then just a few months ago, in another thread, you were talking about four income streams you wanted to set up. Sounded like a good plan to me.

So why are you now trying to convince us and yourself that there’s only one thing you can possibly do for the rest of your life, and that it should be your sole source of income because you don’t want to “divide your interests”?

And you've filed for bankruptcy once already. (See viewtopic.php?f=30&t=23481&p=227742#p227742) So it looks like even more of a bad idea to take on a large amount of debt in order to do a degree course for a few years in which you'll learn some skills to help you with your music career. I think you have enough skills already to be financially successful with music, or to earn a living from other income streams while you work on your music career.
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