When it comes to your music career, how often do you play it safe?
How often do you stay in your comfort zone?
How often do you choose the familiar over the unknown?
It’s human nature to prefer the routine and predictable. But staying comfortable for too long can kill your music career.
That’s why, as an entrepreneurial musician, it’s important to develop the one crucial skill that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest: risk-taking.
How can you get better at diving into the unknown? Read on to find out.
The Rise of the Arts Entrepreneur
Musicians and schools are readily embracing the term “entrepreneur.”
CD Baby founder Derek Sivers says, “The skills needed to make a living as a musician are the exact same skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.”
What is at the heart of the entrepreneur mindset?
Contrary to what you might think, entrepreneurs are less attached to the result (starting a business) and more excited by the thought, “I’m going to try this and see what happens.”
For musicians, this requires a mindset shift. No longer are you a musician for hire. You are the visionary and creative director of your future.
Bringing your vision to life requires action, experimentation, and — ultimately — risk.
How can you become more comfortable taking risks in your music career when it seems like so much is on the line?
Successful Entrepreneurs Take Risks
First realize that not taking risks is actually more risky than taking them.
Here’s what I mean.
Successful entrepreneurs know that there is danger in spending too much time creating something before testing it. (What if you release it and realize that nobody wants it?)
Instead, they put a small amount of effort and money into an idea then test it out to see what kind of response they get.
The same goes for the choices you make in your music career. You must get comfortable with trying new things and testing the waters. (This can be hard for musicians who have been brought up practicing something until it’s perfect!)
The second thing to understand is what’s actually at stake when you take a risk.
Ultimately, there are two things you risk facing: failure or success.
Failure is inevitable
I’ve experienced pangs of fear before sending an important email. I wish I could predict the future and know that everything will work out in my favor after I hit “Send.”
One day, my coach asked me if I think it’s okay to make mistakes. A lightbulb went off! I realized hadn’t ever really given myself permission to fail.
But failure is inevitable. In fact, you learn the most when you fail at something.
Now, when I send an important email I allow myself to feel uncomfortable about it. I tell myself, “Maybe this will be a mistake. But I’m allowed to make mistakes.”
Wild success is possible
Fear of success is a real thing.
Once you achieve what you’ve been dreaming about, lots of thoughts rise up.
Can I handle this?
Will I be able to deliver what I promised?
What new things will be expected of me?
Getting to the next level of your career requires that you reach a new level of inner strength. The fears don’t ever go away (and some might argue that the more successful you become, the louder your fears get).
You Won’t Achieve Your Dreams By Playing It Safe
Being an entrepreneurial musician requires you to be uncomfortable. You must risk putting something out there that people might not like or understand. You must be tenacious enough to get back up after you fail. And you must be strong enough to handle the new challenges that come with success.
The good news is, the more risks you take, the more you learn what you’re capable of. And you might be surprised by just how much you can achieve.