How To Make It In Music By Eliminating Your “Risk”

How is it that many people cannot seem to achieve success as professional musicians, while some people quickly build and develop highly successful music careers? Find out by reading this article…

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How To Make It In Music By Eliminating Your “Risk”

By Tom Hess

Tom Hess, international music career mentor and guitar player in the 1.5+ million album selling operatic metal band Rhapsody Of Fire discusses what it takes to achieve success as a pro musician.

How is it that many people cannot seem to achieve success as professional musicians, while some people quickly build and develop highly successful music careers? One of the ideas that I continually stress in my articles is how your success as a professional musician is directly related to your ability to build value while minimizing risk (if you are not familiar with this concept, take this music career success building test now before reading this article). Once you have become familiar with this idea, your potential for success in the music industry will increase tenfold. However, to get everything out of your potential, you must do more than simply ‘know’ about this concept.

As a trainer to musicians, the main thing I train people to do is to learn how to become effective at offering maximum value with minimum downsides/risk with every action taken. In my experience I noticed that most musicians easily grasp the idea of lowering their risk in conventional/obvious ways, however many people do not realize that even their ‘positive’ traits and skills can hold elements of severe music industry risk. This lack of awareness makes it much more difficult (if not impossible) to reach lasting success in one’s career as a professional musician.

To end up as one of the few highly successful musicians, you MUST find out how to reduce the inherent weak points that lie on the opposite extreme of your music career strengths. As you read the rest of this article, I will demonstrate how to do this and explain how this analysis will bring you closer to the music career success that you want.

The Introspective Character Of A Professional Musician

In the process of working towards a music career, you have no doubt spent a lot of time to acquire skill sets with intention of using them in your musical projects. At the same time, if you are like most musicians, all your skills were acquired in a random fashion, lacking an underlying plan of how these ‘assets’ will fit together to enable you to build a music career. As a result of this random planning, it is more than likely that your positive pieces of value will also contain contradictory weaknesses that can be interpreted as damaging elements of risk if they remain unchanged. I observe this unfortunate scenario very often in musicians in all areas of the music business, and the most frustrating part is that this frequently happens without them being aware of it.

To accelerate the advancement of your career as a pro musician, learn to get the most from your positive attributes while minimizing the negative/opposing weaknesses that they create in your music career strategy. All musicians with a thriving career do/have done this at one point or another, while those who fail to become successful continue to wonder why some musicians can ‘make it’ in the business and they can’t. The good news is that it is possible for anyone to get on the right track with their approach and I will explain how to get started as you keep reading.

To begin, see the table below that lists (in the left column) several music career assets/strengths that musicians typically have. In the adjacent column, is an illustration of how a seemingly positive attribute can frequently contain elements of risk/weakness that lies beneath the surface. While giving music career training, I come across the issues listed below on a continual basis (among many others) and these are the reasons why a person typically struggles to make it in the music business even though they possess many great skills and accomplishments.

Note: Of course as a general rule, the items you will read about in the left column of the table are good/positive (at least when taken in isolation). However as you will see, when taken in context of your specific goals they also often contain unexpected weaknesses that can hurt you unless you take proper actions to prevent this from happening.

Your List Of Music Career Values And Assets

Your Assets’ Matching Element Of Risk

You are very friendly and considerate of others.

Musicians who go out of their way to be too accommodating often get taken advantage of when negotiating contracts and business deals (that happen all the time in the music industry).

You have played, performed and toured with many different bands.

This seemingly positive thing can often be misinterpreted (by other people) to mean that you lack loyalty or dedication to a single project (particularly as you seek to enter a new, more successful band). Ironically, your true amount of commitment and loyalty may be in fact very high, but the credential of having played in many bands can often be perceived in the opposite way from what you intend.

You easily come up with new plans and ideas.

Musicians to whom this description applies often have a tendency to begin a number of new and exciting projects, only to let them wither away, unfinished. Over time, this leads to not only extreme frustration and overwhelm but also to a vicious circle of taking actions in your career based largely on emotional impulses rather than rational thought.

You are a musician who plays multiple different styles of music.

Unless you want to make a living mainly as a songwriter for hire, it will be better for you to establish your musical reputation as a specialist in a single genre of music. Most bands and record companies prefer to work with someone who is an expert in the specific music they do. Think hard about where you want to see yourself in the music industry and take actions appropriately.

You are a jack of all trades player on many instruments.

While having skills on many instruments is often (but not always) important for being a session musician, if you want to do anything other than work in the studio, in most cases you will be better served by becoming an expert on your chosen (one) instrument. Here you need to determine by yourself what it is you want to be known and perceived as in your music career and act congruently with that vision.

Note: I don’t mean to imply that having general knowledge of more than one instrument is ‘bad’, but there CAN be a problem (depending on your goals) with trying to communicate to others that you are trying to make a name for yourself as someone who plays many instruments.

You are good at thinking things through.

People who are too analytical in everything they do have a tendency to get stuck for too long in ‘planning’ and spend too little time actually ‘doing’ the things that will move them forward in their music careers. Although it is good to analyze issues from all angles, it is important to keep this quality balanced with the ability to take consistent action on a regular basis.

You very self-reliant and dependable.

As valuable as it is to be resourceful and independent, musicians who spend too much time working by themselves often have a hard time working on team-oriented projects. This can be very damaging for your music career, because being a professional musician will require you to collaborate with MANY different people on a variety of projects. Moreover, no matter how skilled you are, you simply cannot do everything you must do in your career ‘by yourself’. To succeed in the music business you must learn to love teamwork.

You have a high level of work ethic and persistence.

All too often, people with the best work ethic can become too stubborn to change the course of action in their music career, even when the actions they are taking are not bringing them the desired results.

You have great musical skills.

Many musicians are completely out of balance with the amount of time they spend developing their musical skills and the time invested into building their music career. While having high level skills on your instrument is definitely a requirement, advanced musical skills by themselves will not give you the successful music career that you want.

You went to college for music.

Unless all you want to do is teach music as a professor in a college, a music degree is hardly worth the MASSIVE investment of time and tuition money if you want to be a professional musician. The reason is because in music school you are not going to learn anything about building a successful career at the end of your education. In the vast majority of cases, your resources will be better invested into actually expanding your music career directly and receiving ‘specific’ music career training from someone who is already a pro in the industry.

After having seen how and why your music career assets can also become your weaknesses, there are a few things you need to do right now to maximize your chances for success for doing music as a career.

1. Understand that not all elements of music career value are ‘positive’ when taking into account YOUR long term music business goals. Certain elements that may at first seem overwhelmingly positive can very often do more harm than good (as you have seen in the above analysis).

2. Make it a high priority to get the clearest understanding of your current risks and values in your music career. To get help with this, fill out this quick music career success building test.

3. Organize a music business plan detailing the goals you want to reach. In the process, list the assets (elements of musical value for the industry) that you will need to acquire and also make a plan for how you will minimize their opposing negative side effects. To get help with doing this, you should work with a proven music career coach who can guide you effectively through this process. Additionally, through music career training you will often discover new and powerful ways to make yourself more valuable in the music business that you have not considered before.

4. Keep in mind that compiling a comprehensive plan for reaching your music career goals demands having a clear image of what you want to achieve and supplementing that vision through ongoing training. Fact is that the majority of musicians are not hard-wired for thinking in this way. They, as most creative business minds, tend to act on impulse and intuition. Although it can be helpful to rely on your gut feeling occasionally, doing ‘only’ this will make your music career results unpredictable and random.

Last but not least, remember that in your quest to build new pieces of value for advancing your music career, your actions will be of limited use until you complete the self-analysis of your strong and weak areas in the way I explained here. After learning how to get the most from your current potential, your progress towards a successful music career will become greatly enhanced.

To help you learn more about your current potential to build a successful music career, fill out this free music career success building test.

The Growing Trend of Online/Distance MBA.

More and more people are turning to distance education in order to gain the skills and knowledge they need for their careers. This is because it offers many benefits that traditional education does not. For example, distance education allows you to learn at your own pace, makes getting a degree more affordable, and provides you with the opportunity to learn from world-renowned experts. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly easier to access quality distance education programs, so there is no reason not to consider them when making your educational choices.

The number of people getting their education online is growing every year. There are many reasons for this: people can learn at their own pace, they can get an education from anywhere in the world, and the cost of tuition is often lower than in traditional schools.

There are now more than 5 million students enrolled in online courses, and that number is expected to grow to 30 million by 202. There are many different types of online courses, such as Online MBA Courses, Diploma Programs, Certification Courses, PG Programs, UG Programs, etc.

The trend for Distance MBA in India is rising exponentially therefore the Top Distance MBA Colleges in India have a rise in admission.

Advantages of distance learning
1. You can pursue a job along with your studies:

A major chunk of students who actually opt for distance education is those who don’t want to give up their jobs but want a higher education, too. Distance education comes as a blessing for such students. You can study on the weekends when you’re back from work or even in the middle of the night. You get to learn while you earn!

2. You can save money:

For any given program, the fee of a distance education degree (online or otherwise) may be much more affordable than the fee of a regular on-campus degree. Students who are looking for economically viable options can go for a distance learning program.

3. You save time:

There’s no time wasted in going to and from college, no time wasted waiting for a bus or train. In a distance learning program, your classroom is right in your bedroom – the study material on your desk or the e-material on your computer. Students who don’t have enough time on their hands can turn to distance education as an option and pursue it from the comfort of their homes.

4. You can learn at your own pace:

The prospect of going back to classroom education can be intimidating for many of us. Asking a question or revealing that you are unable to grasp a concept in class can be quite embarrassing for many students. Distance education comes to your rescue here!

If you are self-disciplined and self-motivated, the best benefit of distance education is that you can learn at your own pace. It’s a known fact that different people learn in different ways and at different speeds. In a classroom, when everyone is being taught together, it is often difficult to have every student on the same page. Some students are too shy to raise their doubts in class. This is where distance education has an advantage over a regular campus program.

Since you are given all the coursework beforehand, you can study as much or as little as you want every day, as long as you complete your study material within the stipulated time. If you’ve doubts or queries, there are discussion forums, chat facilities with faculty, and complete support from the distance education provider.

5. You can study whenever, wherever:

Except in scenarios where you have to attend an online tutorial at a given time or a lecture through videoconferencing, you can pretty much study whenever you want to, wherever you choose to. You need not be stuck in a classroom, but can go study in your garden, on your living room couch, or in the comfort of your own bed. Irrespective of whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, you can choose an optimum time to study whenever you’re at your productive best.

6. Gaining recognition among employers:

Distance education over the years has finally found some acceptance and recognition among employers, which is an encouraging sign. As long as the distance learning program is accredited, you need not be worried. In India, all distance education programs that are approved by the Distance Education Council (DEC) stand automatically recognized for the purpose of employment in posts and services under the Central Government. Private-sector employers also value a distance education degree now and even encourage employees to pursue higher education along with their job so that employees can develop skills and expertise in their field of work.

Distance education is quickly becoming the norm. More and more people are choosing to get their education online. This article discussed the growing trend of distance education and what you need to know to get started. To learn more about distance education, visit SimpliDistance.

Mastering an Art of Email Writing

Emails are ubiquitous. Approximately 183 billion emails are sent every day, which translates into two million emails every second. A poorly written email leaves a paling impression. As a freelancer, when your source of income is entirely dependent upon your relationships with clients, often grounded in your email correspondences, you absolutely cannot afford to be less than stellar. The art of email writing is rarely discussed, but if you master it, You’ve won yourself a goldmine.

Tips for Effective Writing
Respond within 24 hours
Whether it’s a quick response, or you need time to think it over, get in the habit of responding very promptly to emails. A recent study found that 52% of people who send work-related emails expect a reply within 12-24 hours, and nearly 60% wait at least two days to reply.

Need time to think of a response? No problem! Respond and let them know you’re aware of the request and are looking into it. Use a tool such as ‘Gmail’s Boomerang’ to schedule the email to be sent back to you within a specific time frame so that you don’t lose track of the need for a response.

Keep it short and sweet
Brevity is the key! Keep your emails brief and concise and stick to the point. If you have numerous requests that need to be addressed, use numbered lists to reduce attrition, and make it easier on the recipient when reading. Break up paragraphs, use styling elements, and even include images to make the text easier to read and take action. Do note in most cases the end-user has little to negligible attention span.

Copy, paste, and repeat
Is it becoming increasingly difficult for you to think of the right set of words when keying down that business mail? Well! Once you have made your match with the words, save that email as a draft, and use it as and when you need to. Tweak a few words around rendering an individualistic personality to the written email. This will keep you from going back and forth with words, and will help save time. The sooner you start using Google’s canned responses or similar email template tools, the sooner you’ll be on your way to gaining back those wasted hours.

Avoid poor spelling and grammar
Let me begin with the bad side of writing an erroneous email. Well, the world is filled with judgemental people. Hence sadly to keep the gossip and prying eyes at bay, the ‘Grammarly’ app surfaced, to our rescue making our lives a piece of cake. Win that deserving credibility and trust, by simply spending a few minutes to re-read the e-mail, and check for any errors. This also means checking for punctuations. Wrong punctuation could lead the end-user to misconstrue the message.

Imagine your erroneous email being read by your clients or your boss! Or perhaps sending out that email, where the punctuation is incorrectly placed. The results of both can be very unsettling!

STOP YELLING!
We are well aware of the fact that heart ailments are on the rise. This is precisely why we need to be kind and ensure that we do not misuse the caps-lock key or the exclamation mark. Picture a room full of stressed individuals simply because you have unknowingly sent out an email, riddled with caps lock, and exclamations. We need our team to be healthy, and all have their hearts beat on a happy note!

Define the action items.
People are busy. They need to move fast and get more done as quickly as possible. Save people time by defining roles and responsibilities if you are communicating about a project over email. Clearly stating an individual’s action items will ensure that everyone knows who is doing what and by what date. From personal experience, I find that this works particularly well with group emails. Try emboldening and clearly defining each of the action items at the bottom of an email.

Be proactive
Short conversations can quickly pile up an inbox with back and forth messages. When you’re sending or replying to an email, save yourself and your client’s time by anticipating any questions or concerns your message may elicit. If you’re asking questions over email, supply all the necessary information to keep the back-and-forth conversation to a minimum.

Have the last word
A signature at the end of your email, containing your contact and other relevant information, provides a great touch of professionalism. A call to action tells the reader how they should respond to your email. Whether it’s a “received” confirmation for an attachment or writing a response such as “it’s my pleasure” or “thank you,” have the last word. Practicing this habit keeps everything in check, reassuring the client that you’re on top of it. I know I’ve thrown a lot of information your way, but trust me: it’s all essential for mastering the art of email writing.