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You were born to create works of art. As far back as you can recall you have possessed a talent, a gift, to create music. There is a freedom that comes from creating. You want the world to hear, see, feel, and experience your gift. In your giving there are five things that you don't know or don't do that risk your career. There are five things that can block your gifts and silence your musical voice.
Risk 1: Not conducting yourself as a CEO and entrepreneur.
Study the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs. What are the things that they have in common? What traits and characteristics do they possess? What drives and motivates them? How did they become successful? Who makes up their inner circle? What good habits do they possess?
If this is just your hobby then great, be casual with it. But if this is your career then you need to think, act, and conduct yourself as the CEO of your company--whether you have one or not. If you have a nonchalant approach to your career then your career will pay you and treat you accordingly. People will treat you the same way that you carry yourself. Be about your business and you will be rewarded handsomely.
Risk 2: Not creating a healthy space to create, breathe, and explore your talents.
It is nearly impossible to create great and meaningful works in a toxic environment. How can you dig deep and bring out your best when your mind is cluttered with the chaos of other's drama? How can you be free when you're feeling trapped and suffocated?
Find the space to create. It doesn't matter how big or how small the space is, as long as it helps your creative "juices" to flow, embrace it. Make sure that you rid your space of negative energy and negative people. It is important for not only your professional journey but for your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Risk 3: Not surrounding yourself with people who enhance your creativity, support your work, constructively critique you, and bring added value.
Not everyone you "come up with" is meant to continue the journey with you. Just like any other small business startup you need to assess your inner circle and those who want to be a part of it. Not everyone will bring added value to a relationship with you. If the people who you spend time with aren't enhancing your creativity, sharing ideas for your creative growth, helping you to save money, reducing the negativity around you, and giving more than taking in your relationship--it is best to limit your contact with them.
You need to be mindful of those you call "friends" and you need to establish boundaries with family members and friends who may knowingly or unknowingly attempt to hitch a ride on your coattail.
Your path is yours and it is through your hard work, sacrifice, dedication, determination, and skills that you are making progress along that path. Any person who isn't aiding in your growth needs to be placed in a special section in your life that does not distract or detract from your mission and goals.
Risk 4: Not being disciplined enough professionally and personally
No one is expecting perfection, but discipline is necessary in order to succeed, be competitive, and thrive. If you're a procrastinator then you need to seek out assistance from others who can help you to devise a system to keep you on time, ahead of deadlines, and focused. Create a work schedule and try to stick with it. It doesn't matter if it's early morning or late night. Find time to set aside and focus on your craft. Outline your professional and personal goals, and track your progress throughout the year.
You need to also be disciplined in your personal life. One thing that "stars" find out fast and hard is that once the wave of success hits you either need to have a sense of structure and stability in your personal life to sustain the pressures and demands, or you will find yourself drowning in the sea of rehearsals, travel, performances, appearances, etc. Additionally, your personal discipline is necessary when handling personal and financial obligations. You need to be well-trained both professionally and personally. And where you are weakest you need to request the assistance of someone who is stronger in those areas to help fill in those gaps. If you fear certain temptations tied to sex, alcohol, drugs, or any other vice then you need to position yourself now with a support team that can steer you away from the trappings that are easily accessible in this industry.
Be the man/woman that you claim you are, that you claim that you want to be one day. Be a professional. Arrive to appointments early. If you say that you're going to do something then do it. If you realize that you can't do it then speak up with advanced warning so that there is ample time to come up with a backup plan. Let your actions speak for you. Your brand is not built on what you claim, but what you do. One thing that is difficult to salvage is a bad reputation. Establishing a strong discipline will help keep you laser-focused on your mission, goals, and dreams.
If this is merely a hobby then fine, be lackadaisical--you have nothing to lose. However, if this is your career then take it seriously--because you can risk losing it all.
Risk 5: Not knowing the business of the music business
As a creative it is easy to convince yourself that you don't need to be concerned with the business side of the music business, but that is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. Don't leave it to the "suits" in the offices and definitely don't leave it to your manager, lawyer, and accountant. They work for you. So you should know as much if not more about your business and your role within this industry, and you should clearly understand the practices, terminology, and nuances of this industry. Do your research. Read books, search online, connect with seasoned professionals who can assist you. Ask plenty of questions--you can never ask enough.
It's your career, it's your livelihood, and you deserve to know the ins and outs of the industry you're working in and the companies (and individuals) that you are affiliated with. You need to know about publishing, distribution, marketing, PR, touring, licensing, the various ways you can make money, and the many ways that you can lose money.
If you don't know the business then you aren't in business, and you will never truly be free to navigate throughout this business, because you will be a slave to an industry that isn't for the weak. The music industry has a revolving door of wannabes, has-beens, one-hit-wonders, and it has no problem kicking you out on the curb.
There should never be a time in your career that you don't know the details of your contracts, the inflow and outflow of your bank accounts, and what everyone on your team is working on to help your career. If you don't know the business then how can you possibly be the "boss" and have a clear mind to create?
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