I've met so many incredibly talented, creative and skilled musicians who have a poor understanding of how to manage their finances. Unfortunately, most of those people are unable to sustain themselves through their music. In order to make your living in music, you first need to find the ways to make the income, and then you need to know how to manage that income. The tips below will help you with both of those aspects.
1. Develop Multiple Income Streams
You may have heard this before but it's worth you hearing it a hundred more times. In today's music industry, it is completely essential to have multiple income streams - even top 40 artists rely on multiple sources of income including streaming, downloads, ticket sales, merch sales, royalties, CD sales, etc. You need to discover what YOUR income streams could be. Be prepared to think outside the box with ideas like: transcribing music, recording as a session musician, helping an artist with booking, mixing other people's music, teaching, Patreon/crowdfunding, etc. Or stick with the aforementioned revenue streams that are a little more standard for artists, plus things like TV/film placements which can result in great royalties coming your way.
2. Sign Up For A PRO
PRO stands for Performances Rights Organization. Examples in the US include BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, but each country has its own equivalents. These companies collect and distribute royalties to you on your behalf each time your original music is played in a public space or on a public medium such as radio, TV, Internet Radio, Spotify, etc. You even get royalties simply for performing your original music live in most venues! There's no reason not to sign up - you're missing out on royalties you are entitled to if you don't. I'm with BMI and it's totally free except perhaps a small sign-up fee, but no regular charges.
3. Set Financial Goals For 2019
You will feel a great sense of optimism and excitement after you set a figure for 2019. Take a look at your current income streams, then think about your future income streams, and how you are going to make those happen. Then set a numerical goal that is going to stretch you but not paralyze you. If you set your goal too low, you aren't maximizing your potential, but if you set it so high that you'll never achieve it, the goal is worthless and you will abandon it, defeating the purpose of setting it. Once you have figured out your target income for 2019 divide it by 12 to see what your average monthly income needs to be in order to achieve your annual goal.
4. Create A Financial Spreadsheet
This is an absolute MUST! Your income will be very varied and inconsistent compared to someone with a standard job, and will be coming from all kinds of different sources, so you need to be carefully tracking your earnings if you can ever hope to achieve your financial goals. If you have some basic skills in a program like Excel, use columns and functions such as "SUM" to automate the spreadsheet as much as possible, so that when you play a show, get a royalty payment, etc., you can simply enter the value in the spreadsheet and it will be added automatically to the monthly and yearly total.
Commit to making 2019 a substantially better financial year than 2018. The above tips will help a lot if you execute them properly and creatively. Good luck!
Even the most successful musicians and artists have moments where they doubt themselves. I'm going to share some information, facts and actions that will help you overcome those anxieties and focus on achieving your goals.
1. Everybody Doubts Themselves
Every artist and musician I have ever met doubts themselves to some degree. The question is: will you allow your self-doubt to paralyze you and force you to give up, or will you use it to motivate you to work harder? Those who are successful never allow self-doubt to stop them from improving and working on their goals.
2. You Don't Need To Be "The Best"
A major source of self-doubt is the assumption that in order to be successful, you need to be the best in your genre, category, etc. You are basically telling yourself that you need to be in the top 0.001% of the tens of millions of artists in order to be successful, which is a very stressful thought. This is not true in music, because there is no definition of "best". Your uniqueness is what sets you apart from the rest, so you just need to be the best version of yourself. Develop your strengths and practice your weaknesses until they are no longer a hindrance.
3. Action Destroys Self-Doubt
The best way I have found to eliminate self-doubt is to take constructive action towards your goals. Use a calendar app to schedule slots in the day that you will dedicate to these actions. For example, if you are an artist you should schedule a 1-hour slot for sending out booking emails, a slot for writing a new song, a slot for posting on social media, etc. If you are truly going all out and working as hard as you possibly can on your goal, much of your self-doubt will be eliminated as you can rest assured that you are doing all you can.
Ultimately, you need to have a conversation with yourself and decide: how much does this mean to me? If you feel as though your life needs to revolve around creating music, then you simply MUST forget about the possibility of failure and work as hard as you can on making that life a reality. You will enjoy the process of working hard much more than the self-doubt and sadness that comes with knowing you're being half-hearted and will probably never do what you love. If you just want to make sure that music is always present as a hobby and passion, you will still need to work hard to make sure that happens in the long-term.
Best video for overcoming self-doubt: https://youtu.be/W6nT2yFc5UA