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There are literally hundreds of tips on making it in the music business, and we all know how overwhelming that can be. If you're wondering which ones you should try to integrate into your daily life starting today, these 15 basic guidelines – from marketing to networking to self-affirmations – are all you really need to focus on right now to get started. With the right timing and a lot of luck, you just might strike it really big.
- Focus on your craft first. Put in your time, and be great. Write amazing songs and be amazing onstage.
- Give fans a reason to care about you. Help them identify something important about themselves in your brand.
- Strive to make the audience want to emulate you, both onstage and offstage, with your genuine poise and personality.
- Promote your music both online and offline, and never stop telling people that you exist. Promotion is an ongoing process and not a one-time task.
- Hang out with like-minded people. Support other bands and form powerful alliances.
- Create the clique of the future. Remember that the musicians you know now will likely be heavyweights later (and you'll be best friends).
- Learn how to bring in income on your instrument (give lessons, play weddings, produce local artists, etc.) so that you don't have to kill yourself for too long at some random, energy-draining day job.
- Set yourself up for the long haul so that you can maintain some level of sanity and calmness. Not being able to pay rent every month can make you desperate. And desperation is repulsive.
- Have a vision and a clear strategy to get where you want to go.
- Stay away from the haters. Remember that haters are vampires and will drain your spirit.
- Always stay positive and never whine!
- Believe in yourself for many, many, many years.
- Wear a smile and always be nice. People hire people they like!
- Develop an exit strategy, but execute it only when you know you’ll have no regrets.
- Be grateful for loving music. Always remember that having a purpose in life is one of the greatest gifts that you could ever have.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books" or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.