I’d like to share a little about my latest mini-book, The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship: 2018 Edition.
In 2011, I had an awakening.
I’d started and ran a couple of businesses up until that point. But as I look back, I can see that I had no idea what I was doing.
I didn’t understand marketing or sales. I didn’t understand networking or communication. I didn’t even understand the basics of treating what I was doing like a business – having a long-term mindset, focusing and committing to my business idea, applying myself consistently, working daily to achieve my goals, and so on.
After all, I was a musician and I just wanted to make music. The business was almost like a side gig or a hobby to me, because frankly I had no clue how else to think about it.
My love of music has spanned my entire life. I was banging on pianos and de-tuning guitars long before I ever learned to write a song, play the guitar or sing. I grew up in Japan, and as result, I listened to a lot of J-pop, which I still love to this day.
In 2011, I started falling in love with business, perhaps for the first time. I started to see it as the ultimate vehicle for personal growth and self-expression. This is how I got into the music entrepreneurship club.
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Who Cares About Personal Growth? (My Beginning In This Music Entrepreneur Article)
My personal growth journey began in late 2007.
I knew, quite intuitively, that school was not equipping me for life. It was equipping me for employment. It wasn't equipping me to be an independent thinker either. It was equipping me to think and act like everyone else.
Employment never sat that well with me. In my adult life, I’ve only been in traditional part-time employment for about six months. That was about as much as I could stand.
Doing the same thing day in and day out. Being told what to do by the boss. Not receiving adequate training. Making no commissions on sales I made. Being paid less than minimum wage. Talk about a dead end.
So, as I began learning about productivity, meditation, veganism, spirituality and a host of other relevant topics, my eyes opened to new possibilities. I saw that it was possible to make a living doing something I wanted to do. And, most importantly, I understood that I could make conscious decisions that could impact the direction of my life.
This is not something I would have ever come to understand if not for engaging in personal development.
As Derek Sivers, former founder of CD Baby says, entrepreneurship is the playground of adulthood.
Once I let myself off the hook for not wanting a job, I found myself free to express who I was – a creative, a musician, a writer, an investor, and yes, an entrepreneur. Finally, I’d found my place in the world.
Why Music Entrepreneurship?
In 2011, I joined a network marketing company. You probably know the kind – it’s a business that grows by referrals. You tell your friends and sign them up and they tell their friends and sign them up and so on. And then you all buy products, and everyone benefits from the commissions they earn from those under them.
I don’t regret that experience because it taught me a lot about business. I don’t necessarily think it’s a flawed business model either. But one thing’s for sure – I never did well in it.
It was the education part that I ultimately needed, and in the network marketing organization I joined, training material was available in abundance.
My four- to five-year stint with it was like an expensive education in business. In retrospect, I probably spent the same amount of money I would have in tuitions for a degree at a renowned University, if not more.
I also realized that what I was learning in business completely applied to building a career in music. It’s just that I was never taught this stuff prior to that! And, that might be the most important takeaway of all.
Once I made that connection, I shifted the focus of my blog and podcast from independent music to music entrepreneurship. My website today is called The Music Entrepreneur HQ, and as you know, the name of my new book is The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship.
What Is Music Entrepreneurship?
Let’s step back and look at the bigger picture of what’s happening in business right now.
There’s a significant growth in independent businesses. And, as an independent musician, you can probably relate to the idea of pursuing your passion, even if it means doing everything yourself.
Building an independent business is just as challenging as building a career in music. So, there is a connection there too.
Business isn’t just about creating a product, just like music isn’t just about making music. There are many other things that need to be looked after, whether it's administration, marketing or building industry connections. That goes for both sides too.
And, just like in the music world, there are big successes among independent business owners. I know some that are:
- Earning six- to seven-figures annually.
- Working fewer hours than most people do in a day job.
- Spending more time doing what they love to do, such as surfing, weekly if not daily.
And, I stress these are independent business owners. Six- to seven-figures would mean nothing to Fortune 500 companies. But it would mean a lot to people like you and me.
These results are available to us too.
Supposedly, the reason David Hooper called his book Six-Figure Musician was not because this is what he saw as being the upper limit of what an independent musician could earn. He said the book could have very well been called Seven-Figure Musician.
The reason he stuck with Six-Figure Musician is because he thought musicians could relate to that number as a possibility. Clearly, he thought it was possible to go beyond that.
Music entrepreneurship is simply a different way of thinking about and approaching your career. You may feel powerless over certain situations in your career right now. But if you thought of yourself as a business owner and took responsibility for your progress, you would begin to see just how powerful you are. It’s not about what others do for you. It’s about what you do for yourself.
Music entrepreneurship is artist empowerment.
How Does A Music Entrepreneur Think?
Have you ever sat down to make a dozen cold calls to venues to book gigs, only to give up on the habit the next day?
Have you ever spent hours at your computer distributing and marketing your music, only to sit on your hands for another month before going back to your computer?
Look, we all have experiences like that. But it just goes to show we weren’t thinking like an entrepreneur when we did those things.
You could talk to entrepreneurs the world over and get a variety of thoughts and opinions on a wide range of subjects.
But there are two things I think most entrepreneurs would agree on – the importance of consistency and a long-term mindset.
If you don’t believe me, check out Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. It will blow your mind.
Bill Gates has been quoted as saying:
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.
What do The Beatles, Metallica and Billy Talent all have in common? No, it’s not their haircuts. It’s the fact that they took roughly 10 years to break.
Business owners understand that it could take them two, five or even 10 years to build a successful company. And, if they don’t make it, they’ll need to ditch their idea and try again. Do you think that’s any easier for a business owner compared to a musician? No, we all become married to our ideas, regardless of what kind of venture we choose to take on.
I think what I’ve just shared with you speaks to both consistency and having a long-term mindset. That’s because they go hand in hand.
See, it’s not about what you do here and there. It’s not about poking at it when it’s comfortable or easy. It’s about showing up every day and working towards your goals. That’s what separates entrepreneurs from employees.
And, I know you have it in you to show up every day and work on yourself and your business. You can do it! That’s what it takes to create extraordinary results.
Can I Become A Music Entrepreneur?
Of course, you can.
In my mini-book, I point out that a music entrepreneur is someone who:
- Takes a business-based approach to their music career.
- Builds a business serving the music industry.
- Is a combination of the above.
Anyone can take a business-based approach to their career. It’s just a matter of willingness.
It will mean making some changes, I can guarantee that. You may need to make some sacrifices. You may need to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. And, you will need to engage in your personal growth, because it can be a major barrier to your ultimate success.
This sheds light on why Tony Robbins says 80% of success is psychological. If you can get your mindset right, the rest will take care of itself. You will persevere in the face of obstacles and challenges. You'll keep going when others give up.
And, if you’re working on something you’re passionate about, that will play a role in your longevity too. The longer you keep at this, and the harder you're willing to work at it, the better the chance you will have at achieving your desired level of success.
No one will choose you. You must choose yourself. And, if you’re choosing yourself, then you must commit to your growth. It’s as simple as that.
I Just Want To Make Music, So Music Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Apply To Me, Right?
If you want to make music on a hobby level, go right ahead.
If you want to get signed to a label, then please do everything in your power to make that happen. As far as I’m concerned, this is not “selling out”. Ultimately, this path is just as hard as starting your own business.
There’s something in between that I think represents a better and more plausible opportunity – independent success.
Imagine making six-figures and being able to keep 100% of what you make. Or, at the very least, imagine knowing exactly where all your money is going and how much you get to keep.
Consider what it would be like to be free of restrictions, starting as many projects and creating as many revenue streams as you want.
Picture in your mind’s eye many labels courting you and wanting to work with you – and you can pick and choose as you see fit.
Imagine being able to work entirely from home, setting your own hours and spending most of your time on your favorite hobby, whether that's art, travel, sports or otherwise.
Sound good to be true?
As I’ve already shared with you, people everywhere are making it happen on their own terms.
Your nationality doesn’t matter. Your age, your gender, your looks, and even your skills or intelligence don’t matter. I’ve talked to enough entrepreneurs to know this to be true.
What matters is you consistently apply yourself to something you love and can see yourself getting good at.
This is the essence of music entrepreneurship. I’m not saying it will be a bed of roses – far from it. You will encounter many challenges and obstacles along the way. You may even want to quit at times.
But I believe you will also live a more rewarding and fulfilling life. You will grow as a person. You will add more value to the world and the people around you.
Becoming a consistent, long-term thinker allows you to create routines and habits that facilitate a happier life over the long haul instead of just seeking pleasure in the moment, which is fleeting.
What Is The Essential Guide To Music Entrepreneurship?
In this section, I’ll do a quick Q&A.
Here’s what The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship is.
How Long Is The Book?
Okay, so you already know that it’s a mini-book. But exactly how long is it?
It’s 11,990 words or 77 pages of content. That amounts to about an hour read, even if you aren’t the quickest reader in the world.
Where Can I Find The Book?
You can find it on Amazon as well as on my website.
I think you may be able to find it on other online stores as well.
What Can I Expect To Learn In The Book?
You'll learn what it means to be a music entrepreneur, why you'd want to, how an entrepreneur thinks, the kind of life and business you can create for yourself, how to apply your creativity to business, why music entrepreneurship is becoming essential in the digital age, investing and acquiring businesses, and more.
In What Formats Is The Book Available?
It is available as an eBook as well as a paperback.
Will There Be Future Editions To The Book?
The short answer is “yes”. As you may be able to tell from the title, the current release is the 2018 edition. So, I do plan on making future editions.
The longer answer is that I may not be coming out with new editions every single year. It depends at least somewhat on the time I have available to work on the project, as well as whether I have any new findings and information to share with you. There also isn't a set release date for future editions.
Are There Any Extras I Can Take Advantage Of?
The book contains several blog posts that were originally published on The Music Entrepreneur HQ, as well as links to many tools, resources and books that you’ll find helpful.
But for a limited time, you can also get the action sheet, audio book and video training. Click on the link at the beginning or end of this guide to learn more.
How To Become A Music Entrepreneur, Tips And Final Thoughts
Do you feel ready to take on the world yet? I hope so.
Look – music entrepreneurship isn’t all about getting motivated. But it’s nice to feel inspired occasionally, isn’t it?
And, if you’ve chosen yourself, congratulations. You don’t necessarily need to follow my advice. There are plenty of other experts out there worth checking out, whether it’s Tom Hess, Tommy Darker or Matt Starr. They all have something valuable to offer.
The only thing I wish for you is the success you desire in music.
So, again, if you’d like to learn more about my book and associated bonuses, you can find additional information here:
Thanks for reading.