This episode about charting your unique journey as a music entrepreneur was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.
In this episode, Fabiana Claure from The Musician’s Profit Umbrella talks about all things musicians and entrepreneurship. What are the ways that musicians can make money, and transition out of that starving artist mentality that a lot of us started out in? First, let’s find out about how Fabiana started out working in music, and how she transitioned to being online, and encouraging musicians to be entrepreneurs. She also talks about charting your unique journey as a music entrepreneur.
Fabiana was a pianist her entire life. All her degrees were in piano performance. Her parents are from Bolivia and she grew up in different parts of the world — US, Bolivia and Cuba. Several years ago, she moved with her husband from Cuba to Charleston, where they pursued their Bachelor’s, Master’s, art certificates and doctorate degrees in different parts of the country. It was all about performing. They played internationally and won competitions, with orchestras. No one in her family supported her but she decided to go all in.
When Fabiana started adulting, she asked herself how she was going to make a living. All of her education was on full scholarship so money was never an issue going through college. She did not worry about it until the end. When she was finishing her doctorate, she thought about pursuing a university tenure track position and getting a faculty job. She got serious about investigating how the process went and looking at data and statistics. The committee asked him to publish the dissertation so the grim statistics can be shared with people.
That was when she started learning about the music business program and entrepreneurship program of the university. She realized she had been an entrepreneur already without knowing it. She became fascinated with the similarities between music and business, and how traits as a musician can be easily transferable to the business world. She started to think about how she can make her own money and create her livelihood.
Charting your unique journey as a music entrepreneur
After she and her husband attended MTNA national meeting in 2010, they had the idea of building their own music school that would address the gaps that most entering Music Majors have when they start college. It became a process of learning how to put a business plan together and how to create every step of the way.
They also entered a music business plan competition in the School of Business where everyone else was an MBA candidate. People were surprised that they joined. They won second prize for the Best Written Business Plan award and the Best Entrepreneurial Spirit award in that competition and raised almost $10,000.
They launched their first music academy. For the last several years, they have been running it remotely across the country. They moved to Texas when Fabiana was appointed Director for the Music Business and Entrepreneurship Program at UNT, where they needed someone to come in and help musicians build their careers. They needed to restructure their school to continue running it without them physically there. It has been a great journey of learning not just how to create businesses but also how to delegate them and let them run without needing every aspect of involvement in it.
Several years after, she had to quit her full-time job because she wanted to go all-in with her business. It is a big risk but that is something she wants to inspire musicians about, to not feel that they need to hold on to things when they no longer serve them, but to be able to learn how to build their careers in a way that allows them to release whatever they need to release, whenever they want.
In reality, the longer you hold onto things that are going to take away your energy and focus, the harder it is going to be for you to build what you want to build. That “jumping off the cliff” attitude is also going to force you to give it your all when you are building your own business. You are not going to have that foot towards the back that you are stepping back and say, “If it does not work, I could always go back to this.”
Fabiana does not think people need to rush into things. They need to follow their instinct. There isn’t a specific timeline that everyone needs to follow. There are many advantages of keeping your job as you are starting a business because it gives you an opportunity to have relative stability in terms of income and cashflow. It can even give you an opportunity to reinvest some of your income into more support for yourself, into hiring an assistant, into having more support around building all of the different things you need as a business owner versus having to be doing it all yourself.
In order for you to build an online business, you need a fan base and a community. You need to build awareness of your brand. Whether it is selling albums, having a teaching offer or a way for people to work with them as a coach or as a consultant or whatever they decide to put together, they’re doing it on top of a strong brand foundation. By putting all of the things together, it makes it easier for people to get what they are about and set themselves apart.
A lot of the people that come to Fabiana now are in that conundrum. They are trying to figure out how to unite all of the different things that they have been doing. Sometimes we do not know if things are going to work out. You want to give yourself a chance and go all in. She encourages musicians to put a brand together with all of their things.
There is a time and a place for meeting certain standards and being able to get yourself from one learning phase to the next learning phase. That is a great thing, but when it comes to building your livelihood and your career, transferring that from musical development to business development, we need to start evolving that mentality a little bit. We need to be more willing to look at what sets us apart rather than how we can just fit in.
Most solopreneurs initially resist the idea of bringing in people, in addition to the financial concern, is not knowing how to set up their job, how to measure progress, and how to create an actionable plan for growth and scalability. They do not know. They do not want to deal with it. They prefer not to do it. They just do it on their own and keep doing it themselves.
The process of delegation and scaling your business needs to start way before you think about teams. It needs to start in your actual program, service delivery, and how do you serve your clients.
It is a very important mindset because I believe the more you want your organization to grow, the more you need to become a strategic thinker, not a doer and not a producer. You need to become the person who is in the chess game. You’re trying to look at the different pieces of the puzzle and what needs to take place. No one will do that for you. You need to be the mastermind strategic thinker.
To know more about Fabiana, go to her website at FabianaClaure.com.