If you're just starting out or are gaining a following, what do you do when you don't have a manager yet? Trying to make it big as an artist is a rough ride met with a variety of good and bad experiences. It's even harder when you're an indie musician and trying to manage yourself, build your following, write your music and, on top of all of that - book shows. Moreover, if you're not earning money yet, you're probably in school or working a part-time job, so, what do you do when you don't have a manager or friend with enough free time to try and organize your life? Sure, mastering the art of DIY band management can go great, but you probably want to have a manager - so how do you find structure so you can get someone to notice your potential? PledgeMusic did an interview with band manager Gav McCaughey, where he discusses the relationship between a band and their manager. But, maybe before you let someone invest in you, you should take a moment to assess a few things about your career and find structure so you understand how someone could help you:
1. Where are you at? If someone reached out to you today, what would be the first thing you'd want them to help you with? Let's start simple: Do you even have an EPK? Are you trying to build your online presence? Maybe you're looking to build a strong YouTube page and need help figuring out what that is? Ask yourself these questions and determine which is your starting point. Figure out where you're doing well and where you need some work so you can focus in on where you're at and how to get where you want to be.
2. Time and Money It might not be the most comfortable conversation, but this is something you should talk about in a honest conversation with yourself or your bandmates. Ask yourself how much money you are willing to spend on your music. What are you spending it on: studio time, web stuff, design/branding or travel expenses? What's making you money now, anyway? Similarly, how much time are you willing to devot to your music right now? Are you playing enough shows? Is your time unbalanced between actually creating music and managing your social media life? Just be honest with yourself about where you're spending your time and money; take a step back and look at what you're investing yourself in - that will help you figure out what you should be investing in.
3. What brings you down? The point of this blog is to get you thinking about your weaknesses and strengths and then to do something about it. So, ask yourself "what is it that's bringing my career down?" Is it a lack of motivation? Are you not getting enough gigs or not hearing back from venues? Do you want someone to be that buffer between hearing a "no" so you're not feeling those emotions at full force? Do you feel like you need a manager to organize your life or just because you need someone to root for you on the sidelines? If you don't fully understand where your discouragement is coming from, how can you explain what you need help with?
4. What keeps you motivated? Now, think about what keeps you motivated. Let's be honest for a second: why are you a musician? Maybe that's silly to ask, but, reminding yourself of that answer could be the trigger you needed to pick yourself out of this mess. What is it that you love about performing? What's your ultimate dream - do you want to win a grammy or open for your favorite band? Think big and small; it doesn't matter how far-fetched your goal may seem because, by asking yourself these questions, you're determining how serious you are. The more you understand your own motivations or those of your band members - the better your work ethic will be.
5. What is the next step? Ask yourself three questions: who are you, what do you want and what is the first step. This sounds like a cheesy, motivational stepping ladder method, but, maybe that's what you need to do in order to get yourself to actually take that first step. If you want a manager but don't have one now, you're probably more likely to get help from someone if they can easily recognize your potential. And if you don't recognize your own potential and start taking chances on yourself - what reason are you giving anyone else to? Maybe that was harsh, but in all honestly, you should be thinking about those things if you're really serious about your career. I think musicians are an interesting form of entrepreneurs because you're not just investing in an idea you've had, you're investing in yourself, fully, completely and you're trying to get others to do the same. That's a big dream to chase after and it's obviously going to be discouraging at times. Structure and organization can help keep you motivated and sends a message that you're a serious investment. If you want a manager, an agent, a label or a a fan to commit to you, make sure you understand what you're aiming for, so they can to. But, remember that so many people look up to and admire artists not just because of how great your music is, but because you, as a person, have devoted your life to your craft. When someone sees that part of you, they'll jump at the opportunity to help you out.