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Get a Job

In my last post, entitled Don’t Be Desperate, I wrote, “…money means survival in today’s world, so financial desperation can literally be a matter of life or death.” The solution: get a job.

Experience

Yes you need money, but don’t just get a job, get a useful job where you can learn skills that will help your music career while you get paid. Skills like sales, marketing, how to deal with people, business principles and hundreds of others. So be sure to make “what can I learn from this job” your number one priority when searching.

Money

A close second behind experience is, of course, money. The key is to make sure the job pays enough to cover at least most of your expenses without paying too much.

  • Enough: Nothing will make you more miserable than working a non-music job that sucks up your time without giving you enough money to live.
  • Too much: On the other hand, earning too much money will make you lazy and unfocused. It could also threaten your long term goals because having a nice, fat paycheck with benefits can be extremely hard to give up. Not that there’s anything wrong with “giving up” and deciding to take a different path for your life.

Flexibility

If at all possible, get a job with flexibility too so you can take (the right) gigs when they come. There are two ways to do this: either (a) get a flexible job like waiting tables (because you can trade shifts with co-workers) or (b) become so invaluable as an employee that your boss lets you do what you want. I recommend ‘b’ even if you also find ‘a.’

Reputation

I know what you’re thinking: “I CAN’T get a job because no one will think I’m serious about my career as a musician!”

Wrong.

  • People will NEVER confuse whether you’re pursuing a career as a musician or a career as a burger flipper as long as you show up on time and prepared for gigs and play, sing or write your butt off. Which leads to:
  • People will ALWAYS be confused about what kind of career you want as a musician if you play, sing or write any and all music that comes along.

The second point is the main reason I failed in the music business. Instead of becoming known as a creatively inspiring pop/rock drummer with a great groove, I became the “any drummer.” Saying yes to every gig killed my career.

Don’t be afraid to get “a real job,” it may be the best music career move you make.