Fabiana Claure on What It Takes to Turn Your Craft into a Viable Business

Meet Dr. Fabiana Claure, a multifaceted concert pianist, educator, and entrepreneur.

As Director of Career Development and Entrepreneurship in Music at the University of North Texas and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Superior Academy of Music in Miami, FL, Dr. Claure is a leader among entrepreneurial musicians — and a great inspiration for all of us at iCadenza.

Her fantastic Coro micro-course, Developing a Music Business Plan, is available on Coro now. Join Coro here.

We were thrilled to interview her and ask her about her experience as an entrepreneurial musician and what it takes to turn your craft into a viable business.

What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneurial musician?

To be extremely proactive and self-driven. To see obstacles and challenges and find a way to turn these into opportunities. To find a way to connect your craft to a need in society.

To be able to solve a problem for a specific group of people through your music, products and services. To be willing to learn not only from your specific field but from other fields outside of your area.

What have you learned about yourself and your skills in running your music school?

I have learned that no matter the level of mastery in your musical craft, if you don’t find a way to implement this into a viable business, then you won’t be able to make a career in music.

I focused most of my life on developing my skills as a musician, pianist and educator, and wish I would have started learning about business much sooner.

I probably would have made fewer mistakes. I think it is ok to make mistakes as long as you always find a way to learn from them and improve the next time.

It took me a while to learn to let go of the challenging situations and inevitable mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting a business, especially when it comes to dealing with customers and seeing things from their perspective.

What do you wish you knew when you were just starting your music career?

I wish I would have known about the importance of being able to communicate the value of your business and being able to clearly explain how it can help the people you are trying to serve.

It is very common for musicians to focus so much on their craft and themselves that often times thinking from the audience or client’s perspective can be difficult. Especially because most of the time, the audiences or clients won’t necessarily be experts in music, it is critical to be able to communicate the value of what you are offering in a way that will be easy to understand and clear.

I also wish I knew how important it is to be able to reach the people who will most benefit from what you have to offer as opposed to trying to please everyone.

Reach the people who will benefit from what you offer instead of trying to please everyone. @FabianaClaure Click To Tweet

A lot of musicians struggle with how they relate to money/business. How did you come to adopt a positive mindset when it comes to business?

I’ve learned that there is no single way to do things and, just like in music, what matters is keeping a positive attitude and embrace uncertainty.

I’ve learned to be ok with not having a clear map and instead take my tasks and tackle them a day at a time. Little by little things fall into place and I’ve learned to trust the process, even though it can be daunting at times.

What advice do you have for musicians who are struggling to market themselves and their music?

I would recommend figuring themselves out first. Unless musicians know themselves what their message is, then they won’t be able to communicate it clearly in marketing.

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with the different ways to market and to get lost in the abundance of options and channels: social media, traditional print, online marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, free publicity opportunities, etc.

So, figuring out first and foremost what you want to say/do/offer and who will benefit is key before implementing any marketing strategy.

Figure out what you want to say before implementing any marketing strategy. @FabianaClaure Click To Tweet

This takes a process of internal assessment as well as an external analysis of where you and your craft fit into the world. Being honest and realistic is very important as it will allow you to develop objective goals and strategies based on this analysis.

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