The thing I hear most often when people find out I’m a musician is “what is your real job”? They don’t understand that the arts is a career, not just a hobby, for some people. When I tell them that I make a living as a musician, the next most common question is “what is your back up plan?”. Would you ask the same thing to a veterinarian, web developer or carpenter? Why would I need a back up plan? I am doing what I do.
I think the perception in the arts is that if you’re not famous, you must be struggling. If you meet an actor that you’ve never heard of, he must be living pay check to pay check. Wrong. He may not be in feature films, but he’s doing voice work, commercials, teaching improv classes, whatever. This may come as a shock to many, but there is a middle class in the arts. Not just super famous or homeless.
The same is true for any entrepreneur trying to escape the rat race and move out on their own. They wait for fear to subside before acting, but the only way to subside fear is to face it. Fear only exists because it is the unknown. If you begin to experience something, it is no longer unknown and you wonder why it was so scary to begin with.
5 Transition Steps:
Focus on what you want to do (be an artist, start your own business, etc). Seeing someone else successfully do what you want to do gives you a world of confidence, and a good road map to follow. I talk about this in a previous post called “Do the Impossible“.
Research, or talk to someone else who has accomplished what you want to do and ask them questions. Learn from their mistakes so that your journey is a little less bumpy. Reading books on the subject is a great way to get a full spectrum. When you’re reading someone else’s story, you’re basically absorbing their life on paper. You only live once, but by reading other peoples journey, you’re taking their life experience and learning from it.
Start small, and focus on earning revenue. Don’t immediately lease office space and get 30,000 business cards printed. Try to first get clients, gigs, and income. People often put themselves in serious dept with unnecessary expenses. Only expand, when you have the client base to do so. If you can’t find clients, and you need to change your business model, then you haven’t lost any of your initial investment.
Expand slowly while building your business. Improve processes to maximize time & profits. Once you get to a point where you can barely take on more work, apply the 80/20 rule. Typically 80% of your profits are coming from 20% of your efforts or clients. Focus solely on your top 20% and you’ll find you have almost the same income stream, but with far more free time and less headaches.
Once you’ve maxed out your top 20%, and again find yourself with no time and lots of headache, it’s time for a gear change. Take it up a notch. When your confidence is up, it’s time to grow, and get back out of your comfort zone.
When lifting weights, you’re only really building muscle when the tension becomes difficult and you’re really struggling to lift the dumb bell. The same is true in business and in life. You’re only really growing when you’re uncomfortable. Complacency is comfortable, but you never really have an opportunity to grow.
If you’re not getting the opportunities you think you deserve then it’s time to create your own luck. I know it’s a scary world out there, but know that anything can be learned through trial and error, or by simply doing research. Every master was once a disaster. Learn by other peoples mistakes and pursue whatever it is you’re looking for.
Rory Gardiner They say if you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
Singer/Songwriter/Author/Entrepreneur/Comedian/Lactose Intolerant Rory Gardiner has seen the success of his compositions published and performed by other artists, as well as songs licensed and synched in TV advertisements airing daily throughout North America.
Rory has appeared on multiple CMT(Country Music Television) nationally broadcasted reality shows in Canada, and keeps a busy 100+ shows a year touring schedule.
Rory has recently released his first country music children’s record “Yee-Haw” on iTunes, influenced by becoming a parent himself. The album has already been awarded a “Parents Choice Award”, and Rory states “I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!”