The Top 10 Career Mistakes to Avoid as a Musician

Today you’ll learn the top 10 mindset mistakes I wish I knew when I started producing that deeply affected my music career.

After 10 years on the road and many releases on labels like Armada, Enhanced, and SONY, these are the most valuable mindset tips I want to share with you so you can avoid making these mistakes yourself.

Back in 2017-18, when I implemented these tips with the help with several books I mentioned in this post, my career went from minor to big label releases and they played a HUGE role in my development. If any of these are not yet embedded in your brain, do it as soon as possible.

Today, we’ll talk about the following topics:

  1. Focused on Quality over Quantity
  2. Released tracks too fast
  3. Never shared my tracks for feedback
  4. Never gave feedback to anyone
  5. Thought I was “too big” to collab or help someone
  6. Wanted to drive in the fast lane
  7. Thought plugins were the solution
  8. Avoided Learning
  9. Focused too much on being original/finding my sound
  10. Underestimated the importance of Health

Let’s dive right in!

Top 10 Career Mistakes

1. Focused on Quality over Quantity

This is something I wish I’ve read as a young producer. I was always trying to make one song perfect instead of multiple tracks, and that’s a big mistake. “What about that one tweak here, another one there”.

It turns out that working on more tracks and focusing on quantity over quality makes your quality get better a lot faster than focusing on quality. The fact that we’re constantly being exposed to different scenarios teaches us a lot more than trying to perfect that “one thing missing in my track”

TIP #1: Quantity over quality since quality comes with quantity. Actually, you need Quality & Quantity, but you’ll only be able to deliver that if you focus on quantity first. Create everything, try everything, don’t be afraid to create crap. There’s an amazing example of this in this post on why you should fail often as a musician.


2. Released tracks too fast

When you’re starting, you want to show the world fast what you’re making, even though most of the times when you compare our tracks with what is out there, our tracks sound like they are lacking something.

The first track I released was Everything I Got, in 2015, and I wish I could have waited more to release it. Do I regret it? No, but if I waited a couple months more, it would have been a lot better, not necessarily with this track.

TIP #2: Resist the urge to release things early. Aim high, always compare your creations to others and release when you feel you can compete with other established producers.


3. Never shared my tracks for feedback

I remember being overprotective with my tracks because I didn’t want anyone to know my ideas and wanted it to be exclusive when it came out. Turned out I was depriving myself of some helpful feedback that could enhance my track.

TIP #3: Sharing your work can be valuable if you share it with the right people. Most of the producers out are good people who would help if you asked for their help. So, just ask someone for an honest feedback (and be willing to give as well) and I’m sure it will help you develop your track.


4. Never gave feedback to anyone

“Why am I going to spend my time helping others if no one helps me?”. That was my thought back in 2015. Little did I know that giving feedback would help me get feedback when I needed it and learn what to do/not to do in my tracks from listening to others.

TIP #4: Be a constructive feedback giver! Not only will this help you build stronger relationships, but it will also help you understand more of what would work for your tracks. In addition, it could be a good source of data for new ideas. I talk more in depth on how giving feedback can help you develop a better network in this post.


5. Thought I was “too big” to collab or help someone

“Why am I going to collaborate with someone or help someone smaller than me?”. Again, this was the selfish mentality I had back then, which led me nowhere. If someone who has just started producing comes to you with an outstanding melody which you’ll probably have to do 90% of the work, would you work on it? Well, why not?

TIP #5: Have clear in your mind reasons you would collaborate with someone, which should probably be something like:

  • The melody is outstanding;
  • You’ll learn a lot;
  • It will be good for your career from a marketing perspective.

As for helping, give more than you receive and you’ll be golden. Help without asking for something in return and good people will surround you. Not only this, but they’ll be willing to help you back when you need it.


6. Wanted to drive in the fast lane

I wanted fast success. Do one song, bam! Next Martin Garrix. Again, little did I know how long the journey would be. When you start, you sometimes focus on the destination instead of focusing on the journey to the destination.

Music production, unless you’re paying for ghosts and for a lot of marketing, is a lengthy journey that requires a lot of work

Long Way To The Top

TIP #6: From Krewella’s track “Cause if it’s fast or slow, All I really know is I’m gonna enjoy the ride”. Sit back and enjoy the process, not the destination. Learn how to enjoy more the process of creating a track than the release itself.


7. Thought plugins were the solution

If producer XXXX showed me that he did a trick with UAD plugins, man, I needed to get that same UAD plugin to achieve that result. That’s one of the biggest mistakes that made me spend a lot of money on plugins that I barely use nowadays. It’s not the machinery, it’s the conductor who operates the machinery.

TIP #7: Understand the concept of what that VST is doing and you’ll probably be able to emulate the same effect with a stock plugin from your DAW. Most of the time, you don’t need plugins if you understand the concept behind the actions.


8. Avoided Learning

I wanted easy fixes that didn’t require that much effort, but made a big impact. As said, I wanted to drive in the carpool lane and this was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made.

Learning is what I most love nowadays about music production and how often we learn stuff. Even if you’re working on your 1000th track, every new track is a new scenario and something you did before may not work this time.

TIP #8: Enjoy learning new things and make it part of your process since it will be with you in your music journey for a long time.

Loving The Learning Process

9. Focused too much on being original/finding my sound

When beginning to produce, we want to “find our sound”. At the same time that I wanted to ride in the carpool lane and avoided learning, I wanted to create something outside of the box.

Your sound will come with time, and not by forcefully trying to find it. Sometimes you can be so obnoxious about finding a production style that you end up sounding weird or blind yourself thinking you’re being unique when you’re just copying someone.

TIP #9: Originality comes with time. To achieve it, you will go through a lot of thinking inside the box to later think outside of it. In addition, it’s in the times we least seek for something that we end up finding it. Let it go and your sound will come with time.

My best recommendation to you is to copy a lot of what you like and from a lot of sources, and by combining this with that, maybe you can give birth to your originality. That’s how Quentin Tarantino got his originality.


10. Underestimated the importance of Health

For a moment in 2015, music was my only job. Since I wanted things fast but wasn’t getting them, this led me to anxiety and I remember my best friend constantly telling me to seek professional help, which I refused. In addition, if we top that with sleep deprivation that I had, it was the perfect recipe for terrible results. And that combined, was a huge mistake.

Problems being said, I was never the guy who stayed at home all the time and I always loved sports. Although it wasn’t a problem to me, I can’t stress enough the benefits of eating healthy and doing exercises to our brain as well.

TIP #10: Don’t underestimate the importance of being healthy, physically and mindfully. If you’re not in a good state of mind, not doing exercises, eating healthy, and sleeping at least 7 hours per night, you are most likely not unlocking your fullest potential.

You Need To Sleep

Now it’s your turn

There you have it: my list of 10 top mistakes that I would have avoided if I could go back in time.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which mistake from this list are you going to implement first?

Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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Brent Betit
Brent Betit
1 month ago

This is great LEO !!!
As I am reading this, I find myself literally walking in your shoes in many aspects of my career and personal life. It’s very comforting to hear that someone as accomplished as yourself is or has gone through the same struggles.

I look forward to reading more

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