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
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:
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.