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Indie Musicians: I love my MUSIC but I need MONEY!


Ever since the world began, all you ever wanted was to create beautiful music and become a full-time musician. Unlike most of us, you figured out what you want at such a young age. You practice your instrument everyday, write captivating songs, and plan endlessly on how you can achieve your dream career.

But then, as you slowly make a path towards your music career, life gives you circumstances that make achieving your goals almost impossible.  You’re expecting a baby or someone in the family is sick and you have to earn enough to buy the medicines. That’s LIFE. So what are you going to do? Just forget about your dreams and work your ass of to get a few dollars to buy diapers? But you’re an artist!

First, you should be realistic. You do need a day job to pay the rent and buy the diapers. If you are faced in this kind of situation, you simply have no choice. It’s not  wise to keep pursuing your dream career if it’s not putting money in your pockets. The ‘struggling, hungry artist” route is not the way to go if your loved ones rely on you financially. Set aside your dreams and focus on solving the current problem first.  But you should remind yourself everyday that this is just part of your grand plan. Having a non music-related job does not mean that you are going to abandon your dreams. Your dreams and passions are just there. They may sleep for a while but it doesn’t take much to wake them up again- trust me.

So you now have a day job, working 9-5 in the office and 7-12 at home. You have a tough time adjusting at first but then you got used to the routine. Well,well,well, It’s not that bad after all! After months of being busy, you get so comfortable that you slowly convince yourself that a career in music is not something that you really wanted, that it’s just an idealistic, childhood fantasy. That you’re okay, that you’re life is just fine right now.  Well, ask yourself : “Do I really want this? Would I still be fulfilled even if I won’t pursue a music career?” If the answer to either one of them is NO, then you are stagnating and eventually you are going to rot in boredom.

Getting yourself a day-job is not the challenge. The real challenge is getting out of the day job.

Once you’re steady financially, be ready to take baby steps towards achieving your dreams.You should talk to your wife and family about this and ask them for help. Tell them that you really want to pursue your passions and that you have a plan to leave your job eventually-without sacrificing the finances. Of course, you will not quit your job just like that. Too much optimism can kill you-literally so don’t rush things and study the pros and cons carefully.

Do not quit your day job unless you’re confident that your music can give you at least 80% of what you’re earning now.  This means, you have to work twice or thrice as hard during transition phase.

If  you’re already a bit comfortable with your day job, start multi-tasking and working really hard on your music. Try doing simple tasks first like creating your band’s website, creating a press kit, performing once or twice a week if you can. Then as you get used to this new load, add a new one. The trick is to do something everyday that can help you improve your music career so that it can give you money so you can afford to slowly let go of the day job.  But this requires a lot of patience and hard work so don’t take it too seriously- don’t take yourself too seriously. Just keep reminding yourself of your plan and do something each day to achieve it. You’ll eventually get there, anyway.

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