The struggle is real.
Balancing Life/Music Career is tough. As an artist who wants to stay engaged, relevant and growing you must live and breathe your music business. To grow I must work all day and all night, right? How do you do this and still have a family to come home to?
Ask yourself, "WHY"?
You really need to find the answer to this question before you devote one more second to your music career. Do you do it just for the love of music? Do you push yourself so hard because "it's what's inside you?" Do you feel you have been "called by God" to do it? Maybe you just like the attention stars get? Are you wanting to make life for yourself and your family stable and amazing? My guess is that your answer will be a combo of a few of those. When you know the answer for yourself, only then can you really be successful at growing your career and improving your family life at the same time.
Balance is Everything!
If you have a family at home, friends who need and want your time and your own spiritual needs, don't dare spend one more unplanned day neglecting them. There have been many days I started working in the studio at 10am only to look up and it's turning daylight the next morning. It's unacceptable. Yes, as everyone in the music business (or any small business owner for that matter) knows, there will be many days we will work just like this. However, run your career. Don't let your career run you. That's a lot like the tail wagging the dog. It becomes chaos. It becomes a mess. It eventually becomes burn out.
Burn Out is cancer to your music career.
One of the best examples I have seen of a HUGE, WIDELY SUCCESSFUL artist who is damaging his career due to burn out is Justin Bieber. To get where Bieber is in his career took very hard work, long hours and focus. Maybe too much. I have seen many recent live performances where he basically looks bored to death on stage. He looks like he HATES being there. Background dancers, singers and band are lively, smiling and energetic. The lights and sound are spectacular. Justin Bieber pretty much just mopes around the stage barely singing, not dancing and definitely not smiling. In the following video Bieber storms off stage and ends his show because he got angry at his adoring fans in the front row. The same fans who put him where he is today.
I'm certain that after this blog I will never be called to produce a JB track. I don't know, maybe he will get bored with Skrillex and Diplo too?
"GET TO THE 5 TIPS ALREADY"! I hear ya. Here we go.
1. Set Career Hours that actually FIT into your life.
It's not as easy as it sounds. Not by a long shot. You will receive unscheduled emails, calls, social messages and gigs. Musicians will reschedule and cancel rehearsals, gigs and studio sessions. You will be sucked into social media and other career related things like a black hole and you will never get that time back.
Instead if saying, ok I work on music career stuff Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-7 and on weekends when I have gigs. Analyze your actual schedule. If you work a regular job scratch off those hours from when you are getting ready to go, commuting to and from and at your job. Those are dead to your music career. If you have family at home look at every single day of the week. When are you absolutely needed to do specific things like taxi the kids around to school and extracurricular activities, housework, homework and date nights? Yep, scratch those off too. Next is ME TIME. What do you need and want as far as time just for yourself. Don't laugh. Me Time is extremely important to avoid burn out, with anything.
Go with the flow of Life!
Life is something you can not schedule. It simply just happens. So, let it it. When you see you will have some time with no distractions put it down in your planner for your career. Tell people that you are working and that you are not to be disturbed. Families often don't seem to take music careers as important. They look at them as hobbies. Don't try to change their way of thinking. However, do lay down the law when it comes to that time you've scheduled to build your career. Eventually, they will start respecting your music career too. This may mean you have to work while everyone else is asleep but you will suddenly see that you are completing tasks instead of starting many and finishing few or none.
2. Automate Almost Everything!
Automation can grow your music career, your photography business, heck even your dog walking service much faster than you will ever do working 24hrs a day everyday. The music industry today, and business in general, are driven by technology. The internet and social media rule. If you don't know what you are doing with the web and social media you are destined to fail. Learn it. Embrace it. Act like you love it. But for Pete's sake AUTOMATE IT. At least automate most of it. With one of many free social media apps you can schedule future social media posts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. You simply create your post and select the day and time you want it to post and the social platform or platforms you want it to post to. In 2 hours you can have a couple of weeks worth of posts for all of your social accounts automated. A job that if done manually could take 7 days. BUFFER is by far my favorite FREE Social Automation App.
3. Schedule your whole day, everyday.
Take all of your responsibilities for the day (and don't forget ME TIME) and block out uninterrupted time to get those things done. Sound too strict and boring? Trust me, when you are organized and run your life and career instead of the daily events pushing you around your entire life will improve. When you have a million tasks you probably find yourself with 50 browser tabs open, social, email, calendar and many more. You are probably also simultaneously on the phone arranging things, scheduling and returning calls all while braiding your daughter's hair for her piano recital that starts in 30 minutes. wouldn't it be better if that hour before your daughter's piano recital could be spent telling her how proud you are of her, getting her ready and encouraging her for her performance? Wouldn't returning and making all those phone calls be much better in a a quiet place, sitting in a comfy chair with a note app open and a cup of coffee? What do you thing the actual quality of the tasks you are cramming all together in that chaos will be? My guess is not very high and not really effective. I am also certain that you will make errors and forget things. Blocked Out Time/Devoted Time will make EVERYTHING much more efficient and garner much higher quality outcomes.
4. Automated Email Responses
I know, I know. This sounds cold and impersonal. Customers don't like that. I agree, to an extent. If you find that you receive the same question over and over again and find yourself answering the same way many times per day or week create a script for those questions. A fast response with a well prepared reply could be the difference between the outcome you want from the contact and wondering why you stopped hearing from them. For example, if you are a band and you get the "How Can I get Your Band To Play At My Goldfish's Funeral?" type emails a lot. It would be nice to have a prepared email with some basic booking info and stating how excited your band is about playing at their dead goldfish event.
5. Prepared Facebook Business Page Message
Often someone will visit your Facebook Business page and message you....while you are asleep or extremely busy. This suggestion is FIRE!
On your Facebook Business Page click "SETTINGS", the "MESSAGES" and then "RESPONSE ASSISTANT".
Draft an awesome response that show the personality of the band or yourself. Include a newsletter signup link that gives them a freebie song or something. This way you quickly reply to them and get their email address for your list. Then save it. This will reply to any message while you have it enabled giving you time to get back with them. But definitely get back to them quickly or in todays world you will be forgotten.
These are just a few powerful tips you can implement to free up a lot of time and make your time management much more effective. How will you use these tips? Do you have any tips you'd like to share with us? Just drop a comment below!
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