4 Things That Kill Your Music Career And How To Avoid Them
by Tom Hess
What do you think is the #1 thing that holds people back from starting and growing their music career? Is it lack of musical talent? Lack of music industry connections? Lack of opportunities? Lack of money? Not living in a big enough city (or country) with a huge music scene? The answer is a huge NO to all of the above. Although there are many reasons why musicians fail to make it in this business, the above things are nothing more than cover stories for the truth. One of the TRULY most common reasons for failure in the music industry is… FEAR.
Most musicians self-sabotage their own music careers by letting their fears control what they do (or don’t do). Some fears are felt on a conscious level, while others are subconscious and are only obvious to the trained eye. Yet the results of fear are as predictable as they are ironic: the very things that you are afraid of end up ruining your career. As a music career mentor to hundreds of musicians, I have seen this scenario play out countless times.
Here are some of the most common fears that musicians face, how they end up sabotaging your career before it even starts and what to do instead to NOT let this happen:
Musician Fear #1: Fear Of Going Broke (Not Being Able To Make Money As A Musician)
What’s the most common warning you hear from friends and family about starting a music career? Usually you are told things like:
Although the above statements are generally told to you with good intentions, they could not be further from the truth (I explain why this is so in great detail in my other music industry articles). Fact is, it’s really “not that hard” to make a VERY good living in the music business if you know exactly what to do to earn money as a musician (and actually DO it). That being said, it’s precisely because the above myths about the music industry are so common, that they condition many musicians to be afraid of (and actually EXPECT) financial struggle in their careers. As a result, this fear leads most to start taking actions that are exactly OPPOSITE to the steps you NEED to take to ensure financial security in this industry.
Here is how “trying to avoid” financial hardship in the music business (due to fear of going broke) ensures that you WILL struggle to make ends meet as a musician:
How To Not Let This Fear Ruin Your Music Career:
1. Realize that the belief that all musicians are destined to struggle financially is false and it does NOT have to be this way for you. This realization alone will empower you to move towards what you WANT in your career, instead of what you “fear”.
2. Instead of worrying about how to “not struggle financially”, commit to learning how to BECOME financially successful as a musician. There is a VAST (and fundamental) difference between these two mindsets and the results that each one leads to are polar opposites.
Musician Fear #2: Fear Of Failing In Your Music Career
Too many musicians self-sabotage their music careers by being afraid that:
Besides the overwhelming number of reasons why these fears are COMPLETELY irrational (I’ve explained why in great detail in my other music industry articles), realize the following:
Musician Fear #3: Fear Of Success In Your Music Career
Think it’s impossible to be “afraid of success”? Think again. While the above fear of “failure” is common to less-experienced musicians who are just entering the music business, fear of “success” is common to more experienced musicians who are just on the brink of a huge breakthrough in their music careers.
These musicians can sabotage themselves by worrying about how their lives will change as they become successful pros in music, what other people will think of them, how hard it will be to maintain their success or thinking subconsciously that they do not “deserve” success. As a result (as crazy as this sounds), many musicians begin to intentionally do things that they themselves know are against their own best interest (such as turning down opportunities to join bands, go on tour or get the training that they know they need that will lead them to success).
How To Not Let Fear Of Failure (Or Success) Ruin Your Music Career:
1. Realize that all the stories you tell yourself about why you can’t have a music career in your situation are just that…stories. You have infinitely more potential for success as a musician than you realize, no matter how old you are, what your musical background is or where you live. Read my other music career articles to learn the steps for building a music career.
2. Think like successful musicians think. As explained above, there is a fundamental difference between “playing to WIN” (in one’s music career) vs. playing “not to lose”. Successful musicians do the former and they do not base their music career strategies on “avoiding fear” - they focus on “achieving success”…and so should you.
3. Stack the deck of cards in your favor. You will maximize your odds of success in the music industry (and overcome your fear of failure), if you don't navigate the music business blindfolded. Instead, speed up your progress by getting guidance from an expert music career mentor who has already helped hundreds of musicians build successful music careers.
Musician Fear #4: Fear Of Being “Screwed” By Record Companies, Promoters And Other Music Industry Executives
The music industry is full of stories of failed musicians who claim that someone in the music business has forced them to sign an unfair contract, refused to pay them more money or in one way or another “screwed” them - causing their careers to fail. Stories like this make many musicians fearful of entering any business deals in the music industry and often prevent them from pursuing a music career entirely.
Here is a big music industry secret that nobody will tell you that will turn this fear into a golden opportunity for music career success:
It’s not the “musicians” who should be afraid of being taken advantage of by companies in this business - it’s the COMPANIES who should be (and are) afraid of being “screwed” by the MUSICIANS they work with. Contrary to popular belief, most music industry companies are NOT out there to rip off musicians. Instead, they are HUNGRY for new talent, for win-win partnerships and for ways to leverage their resources (with the help of musicians they work with) to grow everyone’s career in a mutually beneficial way.
At the same time, these companies are also fearful of investing HUGE sums of money into musicians who:
…and a huge list of other factors (take this test to learn what the music industry wants from you).
Fact is, music companies put up HUGE amounts of time, money and other resources at stake every time they work with new musicians. They have a lot more to lose in an unprofitable business venture than most of the musicians they work with do, so it’s natural that they are carefully selective of the musicians they work with. It’s just as natural that they refuse to act against their own best interest and work with musicians who they consider to be risky investments or give them more money than they have earned or are entitled to.
How To Not Let This Fear Ruin Your Music Career:
Realize that what you just learned is a massive inside tip into how the music industry REALLY works that can make all the difference between your success and failure. Instead of being afraid that the companies in the music business are out to scam or rip off musicians, realize that you have a huge opportunity to get miles ahead of the competition in the music industry. What you need to do is:
When you do this, music companies will fall over themselves to work with you on opportunities that other musicians will only dream about (and will compensate you handsomely for the exceptional value you provide).
Now that you know what fears hold so many musicians back from starting and growing their music careers, take mental inventory of your thoughts and beliefs regarding working in the music business. As you become aware of the fears that have been holding YOU back, take action to change your mindset (using the resources and tools discussed in this article). When you do this, you will see your fears melt away as your music career begins to take off exponentially.
To get on the fastest path to success in your music career, read this page right now about music career training.
Build a highly successful music career by training with a music career mentor.
© 2002-2018 Tom Hess Music Corporation