Tell me this: What’s the most significant reason why so many musicians don’t succeed with a career in music? Is it that they have poor musical skills? No musical connections? Not enough money? The answer: none of the above. Sure, there are countless things that prevent musicians from becoming successful in this industry, but the biggest, most fundamental factor is... FEAR.
Most ruin their own music careers by letting their fears take over every aspect of what they do (or neglect doing). Some fears occur on a conscious level, while other fears are below the surface and are only observable to those looking for them. Unfortunately, whether you are aware of them or not, your fears can be very devastating to your music career. As one who trains musicians on how to build a successful career in music, I’ve seen this endless times.
The following are some of the frequent fears that devastate musicians’ chances for becoming successful and how to overcome them so that you can quickly move your music career forward:
Fear #1: Fear Of Becoming Broke (Not Being Able To Make Money Through Music)
What’s the most frequent warning you hear from friends and family about pursuing a music career? Chances are, you’ve been told things such as:
-“You’d better have a safe and secure job as a backup plan for a music career.”
-“You can’t make a lot of money as a musician.”
-“All musicians have to play on street corners just to get by.”
However, these ideas are totally false (I talk about this a lot in my other articles about breaking into music). Fact is, it’s really not so hard to make a VERY good living in the music industry if you know what to do to earn great money as a musician (and actually DO it). With this in mind, it’s exactly becausethe above false beliefs about the music industry are so wide spread, that they cause many musicians to fear not being able to make money. They then do things that lead to the exact OPPOSITE of what is needed to earn a good living.
Here is how working with a mindset of “avoiding” financial struggles in this industry guarantees that you WILL have a hard time making money in music:
-You never really try to make good money in your music career. The worst thing possible is to expect to struggle making money in the music industry. When you do this, you live into your worst expectations.
-You go in the exact opposite direction of your music career goals. By expecting failure in terms of making good money, many musicians start thinking they’ll be better off going to college to get a degree in a non-musical field, working at a “secure” job and THEN going after their music career dreams in their spare time. Find out why this is a bad approach by reading this article about making a music career backup plan.
-You eat the goose that lays golden eggs. Note: What is written below could seem like “self-promotion”, since I mention how I mentor musicians as an illustration of a critical point. Of course, there is a very important lesson for you to learn here, and my words are true regardless of whether I am selling something or not. The lesson for you here illustrates how merely being AFRAID of becoming broke causes you to forever remain broke as a musician, until you make a significant change.
I sometimes hear from the musicians who have reservations about joining my music career success training program or going to my music business money making event (where I help musicians learn how to make tons of money in music). Even when I show them the proof of how all my programs have completely transformed the lives of musicians I’ve coached, they are STILL uncertain and full of fear. This doubt is rooted in the exact same mindset I discussed above - that it’s pointless to even “attempt” to become financially well off, since all musicians struggle to make ends meet. Ironically, by passing over training (that is PROVEN to work) for the sake of saving money, you guarantee that you will never make a lot of money with music. This is referred to as “eating the goose that lays golden eggs” because you decide to eat the goose now rather than wait for golden eggs to appear later. Rather than learning how to earn money in your music career and building toward the future, you give in to your fear... guaranteeing that you will never make progress to move your career to a higher level.
How To Not Allow This Fear To Destroy Your Music Career:
1. Know that the belief that all musicians struggle to make money isn’t true and it certainly does not have to be your reality. This understanding will motivate you to move closer to the things you WANT in your career, instead of closer to the outcomes you “fear”.
2. Instead of stressing about how “not to struggle with making money”, dedicate yourself to learning how to make tons of money as a musician. There is a clear (and rudimentary) difference between these 2 mindsets and the ends that each one leads to are complete opposites.
Musician Fear #2: Fear Of Becoming Successful In Your Music Career
Does it sound ridiculous to be afraid of becoming successful? It’s not. While the above fear of “failure” is a frequent occurrence for musicians who are new to the music industry, the fear of “becoming successful” is common for more seasoned musicians who are close to making a major breakthrough in their music careers.
These musicians can easily self-destruct by worrying about how their lives will be different when they become successful, how others will view them, how difficult it will be to continue their success or believing below the surface that they do not truly “deserve” to be successful. This causes many musicians begin to intentionally sabotage themselves by NOT doing things they know are in their own best interest (such as joining bands, going on tour or getting the training that they know they need that will build their career).
How To Not Let Fear Of Failure (Or Success) Destroy Your Music Career:
1. Be aware that all the negative things you say to yourself about why you can’t have a successful music career are all (false) excuses. You have a GIGANTIC amount of potential for success as a musician, regardless of your current age, what your musical background is like or the location of the town you live in. Read my other instructional music career articles to discover more about building a successful career in music.
2. Use the same mindset as successful musicians. As I explained already, there is a very distinct difference between “anticipating success” (in your music career) vs. “anticipating failure”. Successful musicians expect to succeed and do not focus on the possibility that they might fail - they focus on “achieving success”Öand you should do the same.
3. Stack the deck of cards in your favor. You will greatly improve your odds for success in your music career (and lose your fear of failure), by navigating the music industry with your eyes open. Speed up your progress by getting training from a music career trainer who has already helped tons of musicians grow successful music careers.
Musician Fear #3: Fear Of Not Succeeding In Your Music Career
Countless musicians screw up their music careers when they fear that:
-They aren’t young enough to have a music career
-They don’t have enough talent to make it in music
-They don’t live in a big enough music city
-The musical genre they want to write for is not popular where they live
-There are not enough dedicated musicians to work with in their local area
-If they fail, they will feel stupid in front of all their peers and people who they confided in about their musical dreams
-They don’t have a university degree in a musical field
On top of the various reasons why these fears are irrational (I’ve gone into more detail about why in past music career training columns), know the following:
1. The thoughts that dominate your mind, become your reality. If you adamantly believe you can’t become a successful musician (because of any of the things mentioned above), you will rationalize this and use it as a way to NOT move forward in your music career. After doing this, you are GUARANTEED to not succeed in the music business. The opposite of this is true as well: once you strongly believe that you are destined to achieve success as a pro musician, you will naturally do whatever it takes to reach your music career goals. Obviously, the latter mindset will have a MASSIVELY higher rate of success (both in the music industry and in life).
2. If you don’t even attempt to grow a successful music career - you have failed. Even worse than this guarantee of 100% failure, is you are going to regret not taking action to do what you dreamed of with music when you look back at all the opportunities you missed.
Musician Fear #4: Fear Of Being Treated Unfairly By Music Companies, Promoters And Other Industry Executives
The music industry is filled with tales of woe from (failed) musicians who say that someone in the music industry has forced them into an unfair contract, refused to pay them the money the deserved or “screwed” them in some other way – causing their music career to go south. Tales like this make many musicians scared of getting involved with any business deals in the music industry and sometimes prevents them from even attempting to pursue a music career.
Here is a major music industry secret (that no one is going to tell you) that will transform this fear into massive potential for achieving success:
It’s the COMPANIES who should have a fear of being taken advantage of by the MUSICIANS they work with. Fact is, most music companies are NOT out there to screw the musicians they work with. Instead, they are really HUNGRY for new talent, for “everyone wins” partnerships and for ways to best use their resources (with the help of musicians they hire) to help everyone involved prosper.
Simultaneously, these companies also fear investing enormous amounts of money into musicians who:
*Are emotionally or mentally unstable
*Feel “entitled” to receive the company's money and resources simply because they may be good musicians
*Are unambitious and can’t be depended upon
*Do not help the company make more money in a way that is universally beneficial
Öand tons of other factors (test yourself to learn what the music business is looking for in you).
Truth is, music companies invest tons of time, money and other resources into the musicians they work with. They have a lot more at stake than most of the musicians they work with do, so they have to be very careful about doing business with the right musicians. They are inclined to refuse to act against their own best interest by working with musicians who seem risky (as investments) or who ask for more money than they have earned.
How To Not Let This Fear Destroy Your Music Career:
Be aware that all the things you just learned are inside knowledge into how the music industry truly works and make all the difference in the world between succeeding and failing. Instead of fearing that music companies are out to rip off musicians, know that you have a massive opportunity to put yourself miles ahead of the competition in the music industry. This is what you must do:
*Learn PRECISELY what the music business is looking for in you (this goes way beyond your musical skills).
*Get the pieces of value you are lacking to transform yourself into the #1 choice when music companies are looking for someone to invest in/work with.
*Clearly display your value to the companies you want to work with by developing a rock-solid reputation for yourself as a risk-free musician who adds value for others.
After you have done these things, music companies will knock at YOUR door to give you the chance to do things most musicians only dream of.
Now that you have a good understanding of what fears hold so many musicians back from developing their music careers, take mental note of your thoughts and beliefs around working in the music industry. Once you become aware of the fears that are keeping YOU back, take action to transform your mindset (utilizing the resources and tools mentioned throughout this article). When you do this, you will find that your fears dissolve away as your music career starts quickly going in the right direction.
To understand exactly what you must do to achieve your goals in the music business, work with a music industry success mentor.