The New Stuff


Rich Musician, Poor Musician

A few years back, my mom gave me a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and asked (forced) me to read it. I’m glad she did because I learned a lot about finances and life. The book is basically about a young man who has two fathers: the first was his biological father – the poor dad – and the other was the father of his childhood best friend – the rich dad. Both fathers taught the author how to achieve financial success but with very disparate approaches.

What I love about the book is that it’s not merely talking about getting rich. I realized that we can apply Kiyosaki’s principles of achieving financial success to our artistic pursuits and everything else.

Are you a musician with a day job? Chances are you’re more devoted to your day job than making and promoting your music because although you love your music more than anything in the world, you need money. I bet that, like myself, you spend 8-10 hours a day working for some person or company and only do “music stuff” on your spare time . You’d even work overtime for your day job. Lucky day job for a loyal worker like you!

Maybe you’re a bit pissed and you want to say:

But it pays the bills, you hypocrite! Don’t you know how hard it is to live in this economy? How can I give it #1 priority when I can’t pay the rent and I’m already going crazy doing the music-work-life juggle?

You should. Life is no excuse for not making art and pursuing one’s dreams.

And, trust me. I know how hard it is to even exist in this economy.  Furthermore, I know how hard it is to do what you want because of financial constraints. That’s want to follow Rich Dad’s advice.

I realized that we should not wait for things to get easy and comfortable so we can start making  art or doing something that we love. Things will never get easier. It is part of the challenge and we have to do something about it and not use ‘real life’ as an excuse. Not anymore! I’ve used that excuse a million times already and boy it doesn’t get cuter now that I’m getting older.

Yes, it’s a lot different when we’re talking about making a CAREER in music. Making a career out of the things we love to do is a different story. Making a career means selling our stuff, working our way up so someday it becomes our full-time non-job. This kind of path requires a LOT of time, effort, money, and determination to get more things done in a day so we can cover all bases.

Apparently, creating art is just the first step.


Kiyosaki gave four financial quadrants. First is E (Employee). That’s where most of us are. Those in the E quadrant are people who are working for other people. The next quadrant is S (Self Employed). This quadrant includes people that work for themselves, people who OWN a job. This includes skilled workers, sportsmen, and artists. Then there’s the B quadrant which stands for Business Owner and I which stands for Investor.

Kiyosaki suggests that we work on the I and S quadrant but that’s overwhelming. Right now, let’s focus on shifting from E to S. The process is not easy but changing our mindset is a very big step. If you are not so fulfilled making somebody else rich and receiving a meager salary, if you know in yourself that you want a career in music, if you do not want to grow old with resentment, then it’s time to shift your mindset.

First, we should treat our day job as our second priority and our music career as our #1 priority! We have lots of options to do this. We can work same number of hours on our day job but devote more time to our music (get ready for sleepless nights). We can work lesser number of hours on our day job so we would have more time for our career. We can hire someone to do our “music stuff” while we try to slowly work our way out of the day job. While waiting for the shift, it is a must that we try to incorporate creativity to our daily life in order to nurture our passionate side.

Tip: Kiyosaki is not a fan of frugality and living below the means but that’s my number one tip for those who are in the transition phase. Be careful of how you handle your money and time while you’re still in transition phase. Every cent and every second matters a lot in this phase. It’s tough but there’s no other way to do it. We have to keep pushing and fight our way through.

photo credit: Owen Benjamin

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