So you are on your way to becoming an artist? Awesome.
Did you know that there’s a lot more to being an artist than just making music?
No? Let’s find out.
1 – It’s a Business
Let’s be honest. It’s awesome to be an artist but most of you forget that you’re running a business here. Running a business requires paperwork, paying taxes and other things you probably don’t want to spend your time on. The fact is that it’s something you need to start thinking about because you could end up in deep sh*t if you don’t. Here’s a couple of tips to get you going:
Register your company names a.s.a.p. and get a tax number as well so that you’re able to send invoices. Most of the venues will need an invoice from your side when you play there.
Hire an accountant to do your taxes. This will be an investment but will be worth your while in the long term. Unless you’re a genius with numbers yourself of course…
In most countries, you’re able to withdraw the taxes from everything that you invest in. To explain this in an easier way, in the Netherlands everything get’s a 21% discount. (depending on your tax rate)
2 – Surround Yourself With Positive People
This one is underrated. It’s ridiculous to see how enormous the damage might be when you have negative people around you. You need people that support you in your choices and people that help you wherever needed. Do you have someone in your closest friends or family that projecting all of his negativity on you? Get rid of them and find a positive friend! You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3 – Stay Healthy
I feel like a fifty-year-old dad telling you this but, we can’t deny the fact that this industry has any drugs, alcohol or fast food in it. There are multiple examples of artists that collapse because of the maximum use of it. You are not gonna change the world, so fighting this fact is gonna be worthless but you can keep yourself clean. It’s a cliche but take good care of your body. Being an artist is a full-time job and has a big impact on your mind and body. To process all of this in a proper way you need to be 100% healthy.
Eat healthily, don’t drink too much alcohol and stay away from drugs.
4 – Listen To Yourself
Everyone on this world has an opinion. That’s a beautiful and a bad thing at the same time. Sometimes it’s great to get someone’s opinion on something but most of the time you’re just looking for approval to do or to not do something. Be smart enough and listen to yourself! You are the only one who knows what’s best for you. Recognize the moment when something feels off… Don’t ask other people what to do but with it but make this decision yourself.
When you stay close to yourself, you will never regret any choice you’ve made.
5 – Cry Now, Laugh Later
When you’re getting into becoming an artist at a young age (16 years and younger) you should know one thing. Spending all of your time in the studio and working on your career is the best investment you can do at this point in your life. You are so young! Think about it… Even when you put in two years of hard work and it doesn’t pay off, you’re still only gonna be 18 years old!! You will still be able to go to school etc but at least you gave your dream a real chance.
It’s better to regret something that you have done than something that you haven’t done.
6 – Start Building Your Network
You really can’t get started with this early enough. As you may have read in my previous articles or have heard in one of my podcast episodes: “Network is key in this industry”. Without a network, it’s really really really hard to make any steps forward in your career. So spent a lot of time connecting to people from the industry, online and offline. Make sure they know you and vice versa. Every person may come out very useful to you, somewhere in your life.
7 – Toughen Up
This industry isn’t built for people who are too emotional. It’s a rough world! You will get feedback that you don’t like or don’t agree with. People will tell you that you suck and are never gonna make it. Don’t let all those things break you down. Let this be the fuel for your engine! Use this feedback and negativity to show them that you ARE capable of pulling something like this off.
8 – Collaborate
One of the best ways to gain a bigger musical output, expand your network and get a bigger audience is by doing collaborations. I can highly recommend you to start doing collaborations from the beginning. It’s amazing how much you learn from being in the studio with someone else. They might have different perspectives on how you should use several plugins etc. which will help you in your creative process. Besides learning in the studio it’s also great to get to know to another person better and your name will be dropped on that person’s social media pages as well.
9 – Do Stuff For FREE
People might have already asked you to play for free or to do a remix for free. That’s actually something that is quite common in this industry. Whenever you still need to build your brand it’s a great idea to do as many things as possible, especially whenever it’s a great opportunity but when there’s no fee involved. Take every opportunity and get the most out of it! This industry. requires you to first prove yourself and then start talking about fees. There’s just one downside to this, some people are trying to make use of this too much, so stay alert for that.
10 – Set Goals
When you’re building your career it’s really hard to recognize the goals that you’ve already achieved because of all the things that you’re doing at the same time. Myself for instance never could enjoy the achieved goals because I didn’t know I already achieved them. I was already working on my next goal.
Setting up goals before you start will help you recognize the growth that you’re going through as an artist. Checking boxes at the end of the month always gives you an ego boost. That’s something that gives you positive energy and positive energy is something that you’ll need to get over the finish line.