Becoming a full-time producer was a dream of mine, and I was able to achieve it in 2021. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned over the 10 years I’ve been trying to achieve this so you can reach it a lot faster and without the same mistakes I made.
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Don’t let go of your job until you have a good and solid income from music. I’ve already mentioned this before, but ‘Taking the leap’ is horrible advice, even though it works for some people. But, it can be terrible if you don’t have enough money in the bank because making a solid income from music is HARD and the lack of it will drive you crazy, which could also affect your music. Back in 2015, I took the leap, and produced every day for 6 hours and it was amazing… until 3 months later when bills started to kick in. Even though I had a “plan”, it was taking me longer than I expected and that made me miserable, anxious, and, because of that, my production, motivation, and creativity suffered greatly. However, in 2021, when I migrated from a 9-5 job to full-time producer, I was already making more as a producer than with my 9-5, so (1) ‘taking the leap’ didn’t feel like a leap, and (2) my production only improved from there. Instead of taking the leap, focus on (1) finding a job that gives you time to develop something on the side and/or (2) adapting your schedule to have time to develop that business on the side. You will need to make sacrifices, but I guarantee you that the payoff is phenomenal.
2. Develop multiple sources of income to prevent depending too much on only one. When starting your music career full-time, you need to rely on multiple sources of income to avoid any problems in case one of these sources dries up. For example, I know multiple producers that rely only on Gigs, Merch, and Royalties to live, but you can also do services (mixing and masters), teach lessons to up & coming producers, develop sample & preset packs, develop plugins, be a content creator on youtube. The less you rely on one source, the better. For example, never let one stream become more than 50-60% of your income, or one single client become more than 30-40% of it as well because… what if they disappear? Not only this, but it will be easier to compose a decent income if you’re doing more than one activity as (1) it takes time to make one solid income source and (2) they help each other grow so you can grow faster by doing multiple things (some mixing clients could later become students, or vice-versa). Therefore, start planning at least 4 ‘income generating activities’ that you can pursue in your new venture and you can learn more about 4 different sources of income in this post.
3. Start building an audience right after you decide what core activities will be as this will help you spread out your music, your business and could also become a source of income! There are multiple ways to build an audience, and that will vary greatly depending on how you plan your income streams. For example, if you’re planning to be fully focused on making money out of your music from your artist career, then you’ll need to find a community of true fans by making AMAZING songs, doing meet & greets on your shows, playing live gigs, etc. However, if you’re planning to develop plugins or packs, you’ll need to find ways to showcase your new products, and that could be through your own youtube channel, reaching out to youtube channels for promos, or selling it via platforms that already have an audience. The good thing is that both examples given can help your artistic career and your music business career, so definitely something to keep in mind as they could overflow into each other. Therefore, after understanding what you’re planning to do, think about who your audience is and how can you start ‘serving’ them as soon as possible.
4. Network as much as you can and be helpful as this will open A LOT of doors to your music and to your business. As with anything in life, the more doors you open through networking, the more opportunities you’ll have to grow. For example, a producer you’ve met online could later recommend you to an artist looking for a sound designer. Or, feedback that you’ve given to someone could help you later meet an A&R from the label that your friend signed to. My main recommendations here are: (1) be as helpful as you can… be the person that you wanted to be there for you without expecting anything from anyone, and kindness is returned with kindness; (2) Be active and present around your environment. Who is not seen, is not remembered. You can make it in music without networking, but it will be significantly harder since networking will lead you to several opportunities, which could then lead you to other opportunities, and so on. After finding your niche and your income streams, create your discord/forum and try to interact with the people that support you as this makes your business more reachable, which will help you not only further build your audience, but also strengthen it and develop your true fans, who can further build your audience.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What is your main goal with music?
1. Is it your hobby? Well, all these comments will serve really well for your main career as well, and when you plan to release your songs as well!
2. Would love to have a song released on a major label? Again, having an audience can help your ‘pitch’ to a label, and meeting new producers and networking can be your way to find and contact a major label. For example, I met someone that might sign me to a Major through networking.
3. Do you dream of living full-time with music? Then, make sure to check out this other post we made as well as they will help you further with this.