You’ve dedicated yourself to becoming the best musician you can be.
And you’ve even achieved a certain level of success from the outside.
But your income still isn’t where you want it to be.
Maybe you’re juggling multiple income streams and are overwhelmed. Maybe your day job isn’t fulfilling. Or maybe you’re not getting paid enough for the gigs you get.
Some days you wonder if you’re aiming for something impossible.
You CAN make a great income doing the work you love.
I’ve learned this in my own life and from working with thousands of musicians.
But getting where you want to be requires building a new set of skills.
If you’re a musician who’s looking to step into a career that’s more fulfilling and more financially rewarding, keep reading.
Money and your mindset
You’ll hear me say this often:
The future you want is only as possible as what you can envision for yourself.
In other words, your mindset matters when it comes to building a career you love, networking successfully, posting on social media… all of it.
And of course, your mindset certainly comes into play when it comes to money.
If you’ve had a challenging history with money, or it’s been scarce for you, being mindful of your mindset is important.
That isn’t to say that mindset is everything.
There are some people, who, due to circumstances beyond their control can’t get out of a crappy money situation.
We’re not here to say that your mindset is the root of your problems, or to minimize or de-legitimize the very real financial challenges you may have experienced (or are currently experiencing).
Instead, we’re inviting you to understand how your mindset can make things easier or harder, no matter what position you’re in.
Tip #1: Practice gratitude
Look at your bank account, wallet, PayPal or any other accounts, and simply practice respect and appreciation for any money you have, no matter how little there is.
When I do this, it quickly moves me from a place of being nervous or anxious to being grateful for what’s there.
Tip #2: See yourself as a person who’s capable of making money
Next, you must believe that you’re capable of making more money and offering services that others will value.
This can be especially challenging if money-making wasn’t modeled in your household and/or if you’re a member of a marginalized community.
If you suffer from feelings of low self-worth, please know it’s not your fault.
We often work with musicians who struggle self-acceptance, self-confidence, and a sense of self-worth, as well as the resulting feelings of shame and embarrassment.
When you’re experiencing the depth of these emotions, it can be hard to believe you will ever feel differently. Having a supportive coach or mentor in these moments is incredibly helpful in cultivating a more productive set of beliefs.
Know that you ARE worthy and you do bring value to the world simply by being you. On top of that, you deserve to be compensated for the skills you bring into this world.
Which brings me to the next tip…
Tip #3: Understand that you provide value
Some musicians are uncomfortable with the idea of “taking” other people’s money, especially when it comes to crowdfunding, fundraising, charging fees, or any other role where you’re asking people to support you.
At the same time, you need to pay your rent and feed yourself, so “taking” money is a necessity.
As you can see, asking for money brings up a complex web of emotions.
If accepting money is a challenge for you, take time to think about what you’re providing in exchange for money.
You put time, effort, and mental space into the work you do—all of which merits compensation.
On top of that, your work can open up countless possibilities for the person who hires you.
How can you most fully understand the value you bring from their perspective, and can you expand the scope of value you provide to them by helping them understand more about your work?
Tip #4: Think beyond music
Yes, ideally you want to make money through music.
But I invite you to brainstorm of all the different ways you could be making money: babysitting, getting a full time job, arranging, etc.
Then, make an informed choice about which one you want to engage in right now.
This might look different from what you ultimately want to be doing. And that’s okay!
We’re here to help you transition from where you are to where you want to be. But first you have to be in a place where you don’t feel completely strapped for cash.
So look at what’s already working for you, and do more of that until you can transition into making a full-time income in music.
We encourage you to assess your options based on the exchange of time and money.
For instance, what type of work will pay you the most for the least amount of time spent? Then, assess your options from the standpoint of which types of work you enjoy most, or that are most rewarding for you.
Tip #5: Expand your connections
To find more money-making opportunities, you need to find and connect with people.
Hint: This won’t happen if you’re just tweaking your website site or sitting in your room practicing!
You must actively put yourself out there.
One way to do it:
Set a goal for how many people you’re going to reach out to daily or weekly.
Yes, it may feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first but it’s one of the most valuable skills you can develop. You must use your voice—for yourself, for your projects, and for your work.
As you continue to develop these skills, your confidence will increase, doors will open up, and you’ll be well on your way to creating the career—and income—you’ve always dreamed of.