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earning money in music

earning money as an artist

earning money as an artist

Many artists and musicians throughout history have struggled with making ends meet. The subject of money was never one that many of us are comfortable speaking about. So why is this the case? Why is it so hard for us to ask for money in return for providing the services or products that we produce in our industry? This boils down to one thing: What do we believe the true value of our product or rendered services really is?

We have all complained at one time or another when we seen others in our field getting paid exorbitantly for what we feel is undeserving to them. They write cliche music, or do one thing or another that we feel is the “easy way out”. Being a progressive metal artist, I can completely empathize with people who feel like they are underpaid/under-appreciated for the amount of work they put in.

Lets take a wider scope on things and ask ourselves if we pushed away our own success when it was knocking at our door. After studying many successful people, you can safely conclude that all it takes to reach great heights is a profound focusing on your strengths, like a laser beam. Now lets dive into that idea for a minute…

Rather than thinking what aspects of your particular art you excel at, lets take a step back and analyze your strengths as a person. What character traits do you possess? How have you acted around other people? Are you good at convincing someone of your way of thinking? Do you have an engineer’s mind? Do you have a great sense of intuition? I will suggest something here that you may not want to hear. What if you realized your strengths would be very conducive to a field or industry you had never consider before, or perhaps had shrugged off at one point? What if perhaps you naturally shied away from doing business, when you actually possessed skills that could make you an amazing leader? Steve Jobs is a great example of this.

As it states in his biography, Jobs was anything but a ‘businessman’ in the earlier part of his life. He was more of an acid dropping, veggie eating hippie who even went to India trying to find himself through Buddhism. Although in his dealings with people, Jobs had a way of getting what he wanted. He also suspended reality often, and had ideas way beyond what was possible at the time. An example of this his vision of a “computer you can hold in your hand like a book” around 1980… Many thought he was nuts! Was he? Sure, but what true visionary isn’t? Steve had a long hard road before he had the epiphany to start “Apple computer company”. If its not clear, I’ve grown to be a bit of an apple fanboy in the past 2 years and am writing this blog on a 27″ iMac.

If you guys are not aware, engineer types are not usually very social people. Most people like Steve would go on to work for a big corporation with a mediocre to decent salary. Steve, instead, became an entrepreneur. So back to those qualities that make us who we are. Do you define yourself as a musician? An artist? How can you use that to supercharge your current art form, or if you are willing, go into a whole new field?

Since this is my first blog here, let me tell you how I arrived at “Artist Health Coaching”. For years, I simply taught guitar lessons for a living. Over a decade of teaching, I’ve encountered hundreds of different forms of “resistance” to quick and healthy musical development in children and adults. Some were physical, others were a matter of life management, such as time commitments, family, etc.

Certain students had all the time and drive to learn but were inhibited by ADHD and other cognitive ailments. Meanwhile I had been getting into self-development books, and had been improving aspects of my body, character and mind and found that many of my students would benefit from what I was currently learning. So as I read and applied more of these principles to my life, from diet & fitness, to meditation, affirmations and visualization, I started to find solutions to problems students didn’t even know they had! Suddenly, my ADHD students were able to concentrate for extended practice sessions. I teach a student currently who was a very quiet guy that almost started gaining his “freshman 40″. He was effectively “skinny fat” and had no luck with girls, since he wouldn’t even speak to them… Fast forward to now, I’ve helped him structure a strength training program, and this guy is moving in leaps and bounds in other areas in his life now. (I read some NASM material for personal trainer certification, but am not licensed yet)

Late one evening at the beginning of this year, after feeling a bit torn between many things I enjoy doing, it had dawned on me… I should be an Artist.. Health.. Coach….? I had made the profession up, I admit it! Google confirmed this. (side note: I have these deep introspective moments from time to time since I do a lot of productivity lists, scheduling, etc.) At this point, the self development route has had me deep dive into meditation and various new sciences of the mind, quantum physics, financial education, business and marketing practices, bodybuilding and strongman, nutrition, and little dabbling in photography, video editing, and I just finished a license course for real estate salespersons.

I’m rambling here a bit, but the reason I expounded upon all that, is to show you that your single art form is perhaps not your only asset. What else do you find interesting? As much as you may find them boring or even repulsive, there are skills that a modern creative cannot neglect. That would include:

  • marketing
  • networking
  • time management
  • financial management
  • healthy eating & fitness
  • relationship management

These are some of what separates the “bedroom guitarist” from having a lucrative touring career or even being fully financially free. They can be running a few passive income businesses that generate income so he or she can be faithful to their art without compromising it for a prettier paycheck.

So what are your “not so artistic” strengths? Cultivate them, and before long, money may not be an issue anymore.