Taking A Risk
Becoming a musician is taking a huge risk. You've probably been told how hard it is to make it or that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming famous. Most of the time you might be thinking "ya, whatever". The fact is that trying to make it as a musician is actually taking a big risk as far as careers, finances and you future goes. That being said, becoming successful takes even more risk. There are some decisions that you're going to have to make that will be tough. Let's face it, it's your career you're dealing with. The good news is that once you get used to taking risks, it gets easier. But to make it, you're going to have to take risks on a regular basis. Marketing, touring and even putting out a CD is a risk. All of these things take time and money, both of which must of us don't have a lot of. Get used to taking risks. The more risks you take, the more chances you'll find new fans and new outlets for your music.
Evaluation and Goal Setting
One thing that musicians rarely do is take a look at exactly what they want to do, what they have to offer (their strengths) and what's involved to become successful. In short, they don't take time to evaluate their strengths and goals. A lot of musicians start out just pretty much trying their hand at everything and seeing what happens. Even if you're just starting out and not sure what direction to take, you should sit down and make some decisions. Decide what it is you would like to do and what you wouldn't like to do. These goals change throughout your career so get used to putting together these lists. This is a better way to go than just trying your hand at everything. This way you can prepare and plan on a daily basis. If you're just out there seeing what happens next, something may come up that you really want but you haven't taken the time to prepare and end up not getting it. Being a successful musician is about being prepared and showing up. It's hard to really good at anything so it's best to decide on exactly what you want, rather than being mediocre at many things.
When it really comes down to it, there's only one person that is really responsible for your success...and that's you. Even if you have people on your team or a very supportive community, it's up to you to make the most of it. You have to make sure you're heading in the right direction on a daily basis. Becoming successful takes daily action and goals. it means making the right decisions and taking lead. One poll online recently revealed the one of the top searches made by musicians is 'how do I get signed'. It seems even with the advent of the internet and social media, most musicians are still looking for someone else to take care of their career. You have to be responsible for your career. You have to take the lead and make some decisions, take action, and do a follow up. If you're waiting for someone else to come in and do it for you, wait in line. Their is a couple of million musicians in line ahead of you.
Failing to Market
Yes, I left the best for last. Marketing is like songwriting and playing an instrument; it must be done everyday. It's all too easy to lock yourself away writing and recording just to finally get that new release out and see nothing happen. There's an old saying about making sure you put a certain percentage of funds right marketing or it'll be doomed to fail. The same goes for you. It's about taking time everyday to figure out how to get your stuff out there. There should also be a budget as far as how much (and where) to spend your money. Make no mistake, a lot of musicians are reluctant to spend money on marketing. Mostly because they may not have funds available but also because they aren't informed about the how's and why's of marketing. Even if your marketing is just setting up a website and Facebook page, there is time and money involved. There should be lots of other things involved in marketing. If you're not sure about what to do, start with Google and go from there. There are more than enough websites and free information out there about how to market your music. Start with one or two strategies and go from there. You'll find that the most successful musicians seen to be marketing all the time. You should be there too.
Becoming a successful musician isn't easy. You're going to have to take charge of your career if you want to make it anywhere. This is true for most careers but all the more important for musicians. Decide on what you want, plan for action, evaluate the market and your strengths and weaknesses, then market yourself and your music on a daily basis. Follow this regimen and you will succeed. I'm not saying you'll become famous, but something will happen.