You talk to all your peers about how you are going to make it in the music business. You gig several times a month, work each day on music sites and social media and dream about being internationally known. You say that you want to tour and become a star. Then the phone call comes; you are offered a spot on a national tour and you have 24 hours to get your affairs in order, pack your bags, and kiss your family goodbye. If you want the gig, it’s do or die. Have you prepared for success?
I talk to artists about this very thing every day. Musicians tend to whine and moan about what isn’t happening but they never seem to be prepared for what could happen. This is a huge reality check for every artist.
- Have you thought about what you are willing to give up in order to be successful?
- Would you be willing to be on the road for a year to promote a release?
- Could you give up the comforts of home and family and spend your life on a tour bus with band members that you might not even know?
- What plans have you made to have someone take care of your pets, plants, and your monthly bills each month while you are gone?
- Have you talked to your significant other about how they would feel if you were MIA for an extended period of time?
- What about legal considerations. If an important time sensitive document landed in your lap, do you have a list of credible entertainment attorneys that you could contact for counsel?
- How much money do you need to be making while on the road to cover all of your bills?
- If this is an opportunity offered to your entire band, is everyone on the same page about travel and long terms goals?
- Is your financial and business plan for the year in place?
These are just a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself now, not in the eleventh hour when you are forced to make a decision that could affect the direction of your entire career.
I can feel the panic from all of my artists as they read this. Why do you think we wrote a course on goal setting? This is SUPER important. What do you really want and let’s get in reality, what will you really do to get there?
What about the most important piece of the puzzle, the MUSIC? Have you been practicing every day and are you at the top of your game and ready to put yourself out there on the big stage? There’s no faking it now!
What about your Gear? Preparing your gear for the road will require finding the right balance of preparedness and traveling light. At first it’s better to play it safe and bring too much, but eventually you’ll learn that taking care of your equipment and using professional and reliable gear relieves the need for backup instruments. It’s also a good idea to know the basics of how your gear works in case you run into a problem on the road. Even if you have a tech setting up or maintaining your instruments, when the downbeat hits, you’re the one on stage!
What about staying healthy and food? Eating nutritious, lean and tasty food is key to keeping the energy up and sickness away. Packing healthy snacks before leaving and visiting grocery stores along the way always helps control the quality of food. It also saves me money. It’s fun exploring for local fare, but it can also be risky, especially when the tour is a long one. Even if you opt to eat out several nights in a row, pace yourself, and keep the meals balanced.
What about your mental health? As a musician, touring together means living together. Just as a live performance can be unpredictable, so can life on the road. You need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the journey. You’ll be dealing with other people’s emotions, daily habits, personalities and more. Keeping a positive and professional attitude might be difficult in times of fatigue or frustration. Everyone has good days and bad days. No matter what, you will be up close and personal with the musicians you work with on the road.
Opportunities are one of the biggest reasons that bands break up. Right when that fabulous thing happens that you said you wanted all along, people freak and run for cover. No one had discussed what the reality would look like so the fighting begins and before you know it, all of the hard work you did was for nothing. Happens every day.
One thing that musicians rarely do is take a look at exactly what they want to do, what they have to offer (their strengths) and what it takes to become successful. In short, they don’t take time to evaluate their strengths and goals.
Some musicians start out trying their hand at everything and seeing what happens. Even if you’re just starting out and not sure what direction to take, you should sit down and make some decisions. Decide what it is you would like to do and what you wouldn’t like to do. These goals will change throughout your career, so get used to putting together these lists. This is a better way to go than just trying your hand at everything. This way you can prepare and plan on a daily basis. If you’re just out there seeing what happens next, something may come up that you really want…but if you haven’t taken the time to prepare, the opportunity could pass you by. Being a successful musician is about being prepared and showing up on time. It’s hard to become really good at anything, so it’s best to decide on exactly what you want, rather than being mediocre at many things.
When it really comes down to it, there’s only one person that is really responsible for your success…and that’s YOU. Even with people on your team at Fame Wizard and a very supportive community, it’s up to you to make the most of it. You have to make sure you’re heading in the right direction on a daily basis. Becoming successful takes daily action and goals. It means making the right decisions and taking lead. One poll online recently revealed that one of the top searches made by musicians is “how do I get signed.” It seems even with the advent of the internet and social media, most musicians are still looking for someone else to take care of their career.
- You are responsible for your career
- You must take the lead and make decisions, take action, and follow up
If you’re waiting for someone else to come in and do it for you, step right up and get in line. There are several million musicians ahead of you.