Should You Quit Your Job To Do Music? Arguments For And Against

Should I Quit My Job To Do Music? Arguments For And Against

Question: Should I quit my job to pursue my dream music career?

In this article we will look at reasons for and against quitting your day job to pursue music. At the end, I will give you my personal thoughts on the matter, and a solution that could give you the best of both worlds. Please read on to the end, and share on your favorite websites if you find it useful.

Note: Please do not base your decision on reading this article alone. What you do with your life is essentially up to you, and we cannot be held responsible for any decision you end up making.

Reasons Against Leaving Your Job To Pursue Music

OK, first we'll look at some of the reasons why you may not want to quit your job to do music.

Not Guaranteed Money.

Unless you're at the stage where you're already making a decent wage from music and it's a stable income, the money you get from music isn't guaranteed. While a lot of people think they'll have more time to do music so you'll start making more money, it often doesn't work like that. Not having a day job could lead to a lack of income, and poorer living conditions.

You Need Money To Push Your Music Forward.

Life as an independent musician can be costly. It's not simply a case of being able to turn up and perform a song in front of crowds and money will start coming in, often you need to invest money before you can make money.

Studio time, backing tracks, equipment, education materials and marketing tools all cost money. If you're not at the stage of making money from your music, your day job can fund that. If however you haven't got a day job, where are you going to get the money to do these essential things?

It Becomes Your Job.

If you want to focus on music full time, it becomes your job. While this will most likely be seen as a good thing if you're doing well and making money, if you're not, you could start to get frustrated by the whole thing.

When people start out making music, it's often because they enjoy it. When however your passion turns into something which you rely on for an income, the way you look at it changes. If it doesn't go the way you want and quickly, it's easy to become disillusioned with the whole process. It starts to be something you regret doing, and you could soon start thinking about going back to your day job and forgetting music all together.

I've seen this happen many times before; even if you think you love music and always want to do it, relying on it for an income that doesn't come can change the way you feel. In effect, you can kill your passion.

You Need To Be Self Motivated

Money issues aside, here's another reason quitting your day job for music isn't for everyone:

It's a lot of hard work!!

While the idea of doing music full time may conjure up thoughts of performing in front of big crowds, partying all night and sleeping all day, the reality is it's not like that at all. In fact, doing music full time will probably be even more of a graft then working at your day job! So if you're lazy, music may not be for you.

Not only will it be hard work, but there's only you to push yourself. At work, if you're falling behind and not doing what you're supposed to, your boss will always tell you to get your act together. If however you don't record as many songs as you need to or you don't do enough promotion, you've only yourself to blame.

While this won't be a problem for everyone, if you aren't driven enough to be able to keep hard at work by yourself, quitting your day job may not be for you. Here are some other reasons why quitting your job MAY not be ideal for you.

Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job To Pursue Music

Do You Quit Your Day Job To Pursue A Dream Music Career?

OK, so those are the reasons against leaving your job to pursue music full time. But what are the reasons for working on your music a lot more? We look at these below, and give our conclusion on what we think is the ideal solution…

You Need Time

When it comes to doing well with music, you need to invest time to make this happen. Recording songs, writing lyrics, performing gigs, making links and more all require time. If you're working a tiring full time job and / or have kids, it can be hard to find the time to do all that you need. You may be too tired after work most nights, or you might simply not have enough time to do what you want.

Working less hours or not having to work at all will mean you have more time to invest in giving your music a go.

A More Enjoyable Lifestyle

Life's too short. While it's important to be realistic about finances and the like (Especially if you have people that are reliable on you for your income), life is for living. If it's your dream to pursue a music career, you owe it to yourself to at least give this a shot.

Most people work till a old age and never truly try to pursue their dreams. We're told it's not realistic, and stick to earning a ‘stable income'. Because of this, most people don't give their dreams a shot, and end up living in regret.

Do you want to be that person? If not, as long as you're not putting anyone else's lifestyle at risk, you should at least give your dream a shot. Either it works out and you're happy, or it doesn't and you can at least say you gave it a try. Regardless, I'm sure plenty of fun memories will be made along the way.

If you do decide to give your dream a shot, make sure you give yourself S.M.A.R.T aims. This will help you keep track of how you're doing, and make your experience that bit more enjoyable and likely to succeed. You can learn more about S.M.A.R.T aims for musicians here.

Conclusion, Here's A Good Plan Of Action:

Get On iTunes - Free Account

OK, before I let you know what I feel, let me please remind you that I am in no way responsible for any actions you take. You're your own person, and it's essentially up to you what you decide to do with your life. The comments below are just me thinking out loud.

So should you quit your job to focus on music full time? Well, no, you shouldn't. INSTEAD, you should reduce your working hours to part time status. Let me explain.

As I mentioned above, you need money initially to fund your music career. If you're still new to music and are making little to no money, you're going to need to be getting this income from somewhere. A day job can provide this.

Having your job part time though will mean that you can put in more hours per day to make your music career work. You won't be too tired as your day job is less tiring, and you will have more time to make the contacts you need to get your music career going.

Please don't cut down your hours however if you've got people relying on your income (Kids, a dependent sibling, a partner etc). In this case, you'll have to still earn enough to support those in need. If you're the only one reliant on your income though, cut down to part time hours if you can manage on that wage. It may mean you need to make some cut backs (Not going out as much etc), but if you want to make your music career work, you'll be willing to do that.

Just make sure you work out if you can financially survive on your new lower wage before you take the plunge, and you have some money saved just in case the worse happens. Lastly, sleep on it for a few days before you make your final decision.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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  1. This is a pretty cool look at it. Because I have been around a while I can relate to you that it use to not take much for me to leave a job to go and pick. Get a gig with a performing band or put a band together on the side, do a few jobs to get tight then get a booking agent. Yet at that time the work was plentiful, the legal drinking age in most states was eighteen. People had jobs making good bread, the work would be six nights a week steady. With a good agent the clubs would have band trailers or houses, at hotels or casinos rooms would be free and often meals too. On your night off you would go out and holler at the band down the street and sit in with them. On their night off they would do the same.

    None of us thought it would end.

    This was before, if you can believe, the internet. We all just figured if we got out there and did good shows it would happen, and all of these groups were tight and seasoned. You are playing live 300 plus gigs a year. You would play three states away from your lat gig and people from that last gig would show up. “WTF are you guys doin’here?” They traveled from Wyoming to Arizona!

    “We decided to follow you on our vacation! This is a huge social interaction, they pretty much hang with the band, breakfast after the show and all of that” and they by word of mouth in the audience.

    Share to your new audience the crazy adventures of your tour. All of that came to an end. We went from a free society to a repressive one. The money / work was gone. CThe drinking age became 21. Clubs had live music 2 days a week if that. You need to make a hot youtube video. Get an e-mail list.Sell tickets yourself to your own shows. Me? I would be happy to give you the tickets and an autograph if you committed to come to the show.

  2. Great article!! If you stuck between following your dreams and working a 9 to 5 job check this song out. Very inspirational!! Go to Youtube and type in dreams by deem 2 da or click the link in my name.

  3. Excellent article! Thank you so much.
    I also quit my job to pursue my dream of becoming a musician. Now I’m working as a composer and piano player and I’m happy with my life.

    The most difficult moment is when it requires lots of work without any rewards. I think that becoming an independent musician is not just a matter of passion and talent but also perseverance and determination.

    Anyway, I try to find ways to earn money while doing what makes my heart beat. That’s why I also run my web site which presents my compositions to let other people know who I’m and what I do.

    Your faithful reader from France 🙂

    1. I’m so glad it’s worked out for you Solip, just goes to show it does happen!!

      It’s not always easy like you mentioned though, and success in the music industry doesn’t come over night. But perfect your talent enough, get your music in the right and it can happen. Oh yer, and a bit of luck won’t go a miss either 🙂

  4. Great article, and by the way great website!
    I agree it is a difficult one! I have been playing music since I was a kid really, went to music school, music college, music university, and then did an MA in music. Finally managed to become a full time session drummer and for the first years I was really happy. Gradually I started not enjoying it and the reason behind was that I was at the same time song-writing. So it kind of started ”bugging” me as I had to go and play music that I didn’t necessarily enjoy just to pay the bills. And yes being a working musician means that you have to travel a lot, rehearse a lot, it is VERY time consuming…so my song-writing had to be a secondary thing. Took the decision to quit and focus 100% onto my song-writing and my project/band E-MUTE as a singer/song-writer. It was impossible to do both.
    At the moment, what I find ”key” balance is the job that I do to support my music. It was a conscious decision. I work freelance for marketing agencies.
    Freelance is the best option for a musician I believe. You work as much as you want and when you want. So I have periods when I work every single day, raise funds, then chill out and have a ”musical” period where I practise, song-write etc. Of course during the work period I also do my band admin, marketing, gigs, rehearsals etc.
    This way allows you to have more freedom so If you have the option to go freelance I highly recommend it as a… music career move!

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Great story, it raises another good point. Freelance is definitely the way to go if you have any skills you can charge people for, but not everyone does. I usually recommend a part time music based job; do you think that drummer job would have been more manageable if it was part time? Then you would’ve just had time to write your own songs as well…

      But thanks or the share.

  5. Great article! My husband and I are a soul singing duo. Last year, we decided that since being independent was a full time job, I would resign from my position, and work for our band full time, while he continued to work his job. Adjusting to the lower income took some time, because we were used to doing what we wanted whenever we felt like it, but it has panned out to be the perfect set up for us. We are able to get a lot more done for our career this way. And he’s usually free in the evenings and on weekends. So, we can still perform and record our music.

    1. Wow, great story Andrieaish! Sometimes when deciding, you need to think about the long-term over the short term. Yes you may have a lower income when you first make that step, but it can lead to a better lifestyle and hopefully more money in the long term. I’d always suggest you still have some income source or savings to keep you going, but the way you done it was very smart. Good old hubby, taking one for the team. 😉

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