Musicians sometimes feel there’s a catch-22 on this. They’re not sure if they should go all out on their career in music or if they should have a fallback plan — doing something in the background and helping them make money while they build up their music career. This is not a one size fits all. It depends on a lot of things — your personality, your circumstances, what you already got going, those kinds of things.
On average, most people benefit from having something where they bring in a little bit of security with regard to income. Being a double major in music and business, I did have that as having a plan B. Personally having a corporate job as head of finance did not give me enough time for my music career at the time. What I think is musicians can find a plan B to pay the bills but you can still have time to pursue your music career. If you have a plan B, that secures your mental state that you can still buy diapers or pay your rent. It will eliminate you having the scarcity mindset, wherein you have your merch and your services, but since you think that you really need the money for your basic needs and to pay the bills, that is going to translate across. I believe that you translate a feeling and energy from yourself. If you have that desperation, people can feel it. If you have another source of income that allows you to take care of other things, that makes you more desirable. That’s the biggest reason why it’s better to have a fallback.
Those of you who have online businesses, you have a solid foundation that you have an income even if you cannot really predict how much will come in every month. You do not really know how many people will buy your courses in a month. Still, having that other business provides the stability that you’re good and you can pay your bills no matter what happens. As your music is ramping up, that other thing can allow you to have some time.
The problem is, some people can get stuck on that hamster wheel. While in corporate world, that was the time I was joining different bands and when I also sold my Christmas CD. It’s different when I went full-time in my music career. Some of you may be in a position where you are really doing well in another career or position and what I recommend is you use that time to save a lot of money, so when you decide to get away, you can do that jumping-off point. If you feel stuck in a comfort zone, I recommend you look at this option to have it as a runway situation.
I also wanted to discuss with you a third option which I think would work best for most musicians. It is creating a plan b or a solid foundation inside the foundation of music. You may be a freelancer or producer. You can use your skill to build your career. You can teach your skills to others. I recommend that musicians pick one thing to monetize your experience and your skills. It allows you to stay in the same zone of music. The skills and the work you’re doing all helps you with your own stuff around music. The audiences cross-pollinate each other. It can still play so much into your own mission. You will feel so much more aligned toward your ultimate goal, instead of doing other things.
Some teachers will say that it takes a lot of your time. You can either raise your prices so you can get paid more and you can cut back a little bit. Having that solid foundation of that teaching or freelance work will give you the opportunity to do that.
Consider your own personality and situation and decide which of these things will work for you. Then make a plan. However, I must remind you to avoid doing things that suck your soul.