7 Things Musicians Do Out Of Order - Strategic Mistakes That Lead To Music Career Failure

by Tom Hess

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Industry Looks For In You?
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To build a successful music career as a professional musician, there are many things you need to know and do. This includes:

  • The right steps to take to become successful in the music industry and reach your specific goals.
  • How to take each step in the best, easiest and most effective way to get the results you want.
  • What order to take the steps in, so you can build your music career most quickly.

Many musicians take the steps out of order and do the right things at the wrong time. Their music career decisions are guided by fear, wrong assumptions and advice from non-experts vs. a proven strategy. 

Do You Have What The Music

Industry Looks For In You?
What Does The Music Industry Look For In You Assessment
2-Minute Music Industry Quiz
2-Minute Music Industry Quiz
Take It Now

These music career mistakes make it hard to reach your goals in the music industry:

Mistake #1: Contacting Record Companies For Record Deals Too Early

Many musicians want to get a record deal, but few understand what record companies actually look for in musicians they work with. Record companies invest money and resources into musicians the same way people invest money in the stock market.

Investors in the stock market look for businesses that show proof of success (profits) and potential projections for future growth. Empty promises and emotional rhetoric don’t attract investors… track record of profitability does.

It's important to provide verifiable proof of your music career accomplishments and your potential to achieve future success to record companies you contact. This makes record companies confident that their investment into your career will be profitable for them. Contacting record companies before this proof can be established is a waste of your time and theirs.

7 Strategic Mistakes That Lead To Music Career Failure

Your music career accomplishments don’t need to be massive before you contact record companies. However, your achievements need to leave no doubt about:

  • Your ambition to become successful in the music industry.
  • Your work ethic (your ability to actually get things done that move your career forward).
  • Your perseverance (your ability to keeep going and not give up in the face of challenges).
  • Your business mindset (this includes your worldview about business, money & capitalism, as well as your general business skills).
  • Your ability to sell your music to your existing fans
  • Your ability to get gigs in your local area (if this applies to your music career)

Mistake #2: Trying To Master Your Instrument Before Starting Your Music Career

Many musicians are afraid to start building a music career because they don’t think their musical skills are good enough. They want to reach musical mastery on their instrument before they feel ready to enter the music industry. This mindset cripples your chances for success, because:

  1. You need a lot more than good musical skills to build a career in the music industry. Too much time spent practicing your instrument takes away time and energy from working on other aspects of your career.
  2. Musical mastery is a goal, not a destination. No matter how good your musical skills are, you always feel that you want to be better than you are right now.

Start building your career when your musical skills are at an intermediate level or higher. Keep improving as a musician while you’re building the rest of your music career.

Question: “Tom Hess, how much time should I allocate to my musical skills vs. other aspects of my music career?”

Answer: This depends on your specific music industry goals and your current skill level as a musician.

Determine an objective level of musical proficiency needed for your specific music career goals. (An expert music teacher helps you do this.) The closer you are to that threshold, the less time you need to work on your musical skills. The further away you are from that threshold, the more time you can spend developing as a musician.

As a general rule, at least half of your music-related time needs to go towards building your music career.

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Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long To Get Music Career Mentoring

Most musicians have zero training on how to become successful in the music industry, because:

  1. They aren’t aware that music career success training exists.
  2. They lack ambition that’s needed to become truly successful in the music industry.

This mindset is wrong.

Music career mentoring is an investment into your success, not an expense. It helps you earn a lot more money than you ever invest into it. Here is how:

  • You take out all guesswork from the process of building your career. Having a music career mentor saves you time, money and effort you waste trying to build your career through trial and error.
  • You learn how to promote yourself and your music most effectively. This helps you earn more money in your career with or without a record company.
  • You learn how to create your own music industry opportunities out of nothing. This makes your career a lot more secure and puts you in total control of your success. 

Disclaimer: You may know that I mentor musicians to build successful music careers. So you may think that everything above is only written to attract you to join my Music Careers Mentoring Program. If you think this, you are only half right. I do want to help musicians like yourself become successful. But the benefits of music career mentoring are undeniable whether you work with me or not. :)

Mistake #4: Not Training Your Mindset For Big Success At The Beginning Of Your Music Career

Your mindset determines your success or failure in the music industry. If your mindset is not rock-solid, you won’t do the things required to become successful. 

Fact: your mindset is much more than positive thinking. Success-focused mindset trains you to:

  • Persevere in the face of obstacles that cause most musicians to give up.
  • Easily transform problems into opportunities for success in the music industry.
  • Take responsibility for the results you get in your music career instead of blaming other people or circumstances.
  • Do the work other musicians are not willing to do, so you can achieve success other musicians only dream about.

Start training your mindset from the very beginning of your music career. It builds the same foundation pro musicians built for themselves in order to take the right actions for success.

Mistake #5: Focusing On Getting Fans All Over The World Before Becoming Well-Known In Your Local Area

Record companies are much more impressed by the number of fans you accumulate in your own town/city. It’s much harder to build a loyal local following than it is to acquire a few thousand followers scattered around the world. It’s also much harder to fake having a local following vs. a high number of likes on Facebook or views on a YouTube video. 

Mistake #6: Waiting Too Long To Build Freedom Of Time And Money For Yourself

You need freedom to accept music industry opportunities when they come up. This requires both money and time.

Most musicians don’t think about this until it’s too late. They go to work at non-music related day jobs and try to work on their music career during nights and weekends.

Most day jobs require you to work on a strict schedule of 40-60 hours per week. This makes it impossible to create music career growth opportunities and increase your music career income. The majority of musicians get stuck at their day jobs until retirement and never go into the music industry full-time.

Focus on gaining control over your time and money as soon as possible (from the very beginning of your music career).

The best ways to create freedom of time and money for yourself include:

  1. Building multiple streams of music career income. This makes all your efforts congruent with your music career goals. If you need a short-term part-time job on the side, find one with flexible hours that you can easily quit at any time. This eGuide helps you make more money by selling your music.
  2. Teaching your instrument. This is the best, most flexible and most lucrative way to support yourself in the music industry.

Question: “Tom Hess, how do I earn more money in the music industry besides teaching?”

Answer: This video shows why some musicians make a lot more money than others in the music industry:

Mistake #7: Planning Your Music Career Forward Instead Of Planning Backwards

Plan out your music career with the end in mind. Ask yourself what your ultimate goal is and plan backwards to where you are now. This lays out the exact path you need to follow to get where you want to go.

Most people do the opposite in the music industry. They look at where they are now and try to plan out the next steps to take. This kind of planning often paints you into a corner and keeps you from achieving the success you want.

Want to get on the shortest path towards your music industry goals? Get music career training that makes it easy to break into the music industry and live the life you've always wanted for yourself. 

Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He trains musicians how to leave their day jobs and build successful fulltime careers in the music industry.

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