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Leaving a Steady Pay Check To Produce Music

January 15, 2020 4 min read

Leaving a Steady Pay Check To Produce Music

As producers wanting to quit our corporate jobs, we all have to battle this one fear.

In this post, I want to talk to you guys about the fear of leaving a steady paycheck to follow your music producer dream.

Even if we hate our day job, the peace of mind a steady paycheck brings in our lives is second to none.

But what if I told you this fear, looking in from the other side, seems trivial at best.
What if I told you that everyone who ever quit their rat race job feels that way too?

What if your greatest fear isn’t that of going broke, but of actually making it?

I was reading an article by Moira Forbes on the Forbes website, and she brought up some great points about the fear of leaving your steady paycheck, and what you need to know to make it work. I’d like to relate these points from a music producer’s perspective.

Leave And Never Look Back

This is such a cliche. But you know what they say about cliches: they’re true!

I mean… How do NOT look back?

Well, for me, the trick was to quit my job art the right crossover point. I had built my beat-selling business on the side for several years at that point, and the math was simple.

15hrs/week = X amount of money

IF

40hrs/week = the right amount of money based on my new budget

THEN

I can quit!

As I have said many times, you need to prepare for this by building your business and product on the side, and by changing your spending habits. At least, do it for the first few years! You don’t have to be a minimalist like me.

The goal is to make the leap of faith as safe as possible.

In my first year, my income was DOUBLE was I had projected. I even made more money than at my previous corporate job.

Now THAT is the easiest way to never look back.

Have A Financial Fall Back

I’m not a big fan of preparing the jump with a side job because that might stop you from going all-in on your music career. But sometimes, it’s necessary to make ends meet in the beginning.

Now that I think about it, I still kept my biggest client as a user experience consultant when I quit. This client made me 20% of my income during my first year as a full-time music producer. In retrospect, this acted more as a mental insurance policy than anything else.

The very next year, I told them I was “too busy” to take more work from them. We had a great relationship, they knew about my career change, and we parted ways in a very respectful and professional manner.

So you might have to take a part-time waiting job.

WHO cares?

The goal is to make more time for your music career NOW.

Another great way to make your jump less stressful is by preparing an emergency fund. Again, put together a budget and make sure your emergency fund covers 3 to 6 months of full expenses.

That way, you don’t lose your mind if the beat sales do not grow at the exact pace you envisioned.

 

Stop Second Guessing

I found this fascinating quote online:

“When creating something out of passion, excitement, love, and conviction - your instinct (with a lot of thought, of course) is the only way to go.” - Unknown

I second guess myself ALL THE TIME.

For my beats, my product ideas, my business partnerships, EVERYTHING.

But that’s ok. At the end of the day, I seem to always go with my gut feeling. And you know what? It has served me exceptionally well so far.

Of course, you will make mistakes. In business and in life, we make more mistakes than we get actual wins.

The goal is to get better at taking CALCULATED risks and live with the consequences.

That’s how you gradually stop second-guessing yourself.

 

Grow Up Before You Go Big

To be successful, you need to take as much time as you can to develop your product.

Your product is your songs.

I see a lot of inexperienced producers rushing to start selling beats. They put together a bunch of social media pages, give crazy discounts, and even with that, wonder why they don’t get sales.

When your product is undeniable, it sells itself.

That’s if you use the power of marketplaces to bring you traffic. If you want to do everything on your own, then your product becomes you. It’s a very different strategy. The upside is significant, don’t get me wrong, but when you start out, and your passion is music, you might get deterred having to spend more time marketing your beats than actually making them.

 

Embrace Your Story

We all feel a need to compare ourselves with our peers to know where we stand.

We want to validate our efforts.

When we compare ourselves, usually with people who are further along the path than we are, we go about rewarding ourselves the wrong way.

They didn’t have the same challenges you did.

Maybe they struggle with something easy for you.

But you don’t know that.

One thing I realized when I wrote my book was that while my story was unique, a LOT of producers worldwide resonated with it. I got several DMs telling me how MY account was theirs!

Never underestimate YOUR story.

When it’s all said and done, all you can do is look back and enjoy that ride one more time.

Make it count!


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