Self-Care For Entrepreneurs & Indie-Musicians.

One of my absolute favourite entries that I’ve written so far is: The Glorious Hustle.

In fact it might be my number one favourite blog entry.

The funny thing about hitting the wall health-wise is that you easily end up going back into the same patterns of behaviour once you feel better.

This month I’ve had the flu but I’ve still been “hustling” and only stopped once I was forced to physically.

I guess that should turn me into a 21st century icon especially if I die of exhaustion.

When you exit the system and become an entrepreneur your rights are directly linked to whatever portion of the market you are able to reach.

There is no union or government department ensuring that you only work so-and-so many hours or that you have an x amount of paid holiday days or sick days.

Whatever percentage of the market that you manage to reach and expose yourself to decide as a demographic whether or not you deserve a holiday or time off due to their purchasing power.

The best thing that can happened to you as an independent artist is that the entertainment establishment gives you a call and want to hire you to do some work for them, this gives you a proper salary and you’ll know upfront what you are dealing with.

It will also give you a spike in online engagement and sales if a major outlet writes about you. This will be instant and very noticeable.

Most of the time though there will be a direct relation between how much time that is spent online and how much money you make. 

I’ve been very lucky since I don’t work alone but have a manager and representation, however these last few months I’ve had to be very active online myself since there has been lots of health issues within my family. This means that I’ve hardly touched my instruments since I’ve been busy promoting my videos and music online in addition to spending time reading and watching videos updating myself on all sorts of changes in the music world.

Pledge Music for example now find themselves in the middle of a scandal and Spotify has changed some of the services that they offer unsigned artists, which are things that I wouldn’t know about if I hadn’t been reading myself up on certain things.

My sponsored video was also the result of me finding out about an online site connecting brands and YouTubers, a site I didn’t even know existed.

Posting updates and being active online raise awareness of your product and results in tangible sales, this then obviously means that you lose out on potential sales if you turn off your gadgets and don’t engage! You also need to have something to sell and this should be of the best quality possible which means lots of blood, sweat and tears when it comes to creating quality content….

Being accessible and “open” might result in extra opportunities and work coming your way since people who follow you gain insight into your charity work or interests, so cutting yourself off from the online world as an artist is a bad idea especially since fans and followers love to connect directly with you as a creator.

So how on earth do you then manage to have some me-time?

  1. If someone offers you some sort of establishment contract you’ll have some sort of financial predictability. You’ll have access to infrastructure and increased exposure for your brand, in addition to the networking-opportunity that comes with it. Considering how much money the establishment have access to I personally see this as the best option, even though you’ll probably have to deal with difficult attitudes and personalities if signing a record-deal.
  2. If more of your followers sign up to your Patreon and/or PayPal. If 10.000 of my subscribers on YouTube signed up to my Patreon for 1$ each it would change my life, sadly though I’ve seen people with millions of subscribers on YouTube have only a few hundred signed up to their Patreon. Whether you engage in crowdfunding or a sign up model you’ll never get the majority of your followers to sign up, not even half of them. We started my first crowdfunding campaign due to suggestions from Facebook fans, but we got a bit annoyed afterwards when we had to persistently campaign in order to reach our goal (which we did) since the majority of those who had suggested crowdfunding did not sign up for it… What happened to all of those who promoted this as a good idea? Much talk, not much action.
  3. The only immediate solution that I see when it comes to me-time is: AUTOMATION. The other day I decided to try Facebook’s scheduled posts. While I was officially active on my profile I was actually keeping my brother company as he was eating his afternoon supper. I was reading a bedtime story for him, but officially I was posting online. Likewise this morning I woke up to a spike in statistics here on my blog since my latest blog post was scheduled to be published at 01:11AM, which I’ve now set as my “publishing time.” In an ideal digital-world it would be possible to automate across all of your various social media profiles for free. Sadly that isn’t the case yet.

If how much money you make is directly linked to how much energy you spend online (without your reach being restricted on social media) then it goes without saying that you can never disappear.

I’ve now heard it repeatedly said that the old model of artists creating something and then vanishing for a couple of years is over.

Just like your social media activity has to be consistent well so does your artistic output. This works well for those who just put things out there, not so much for perfectionists who believe in quality over quantity.

It might even make it less common with creative “masterpieces.”

The whole aspect of you having to be a “social media” person as well will reward characters that aren’t totally socially retarded which also might reduce the amount of masterpieces produced in our time since it is unreasonable to expect that talent or genius should go hand in hand with “agreeableness,” “openness,”etc;

I also see an increase in individuals online becoming upset if they do not get an instant reply when they contact an artist/business. It is in fact very telling that Teespring (the company that I work with on t-shirts) have a system in place that makes the service as close to instant as it gets.

Because of people’s detachment to the production and delivery of goods they seem to think that no effort is required in the stage of production or delivery. Everything ought to be instant!

I receive lots of videos/music from other musicians all the time and that has always been the case. We as a team have also been approached by people who seem to believe that we have the power to get people endorsement deals, even record deals.

Sometimes people have reacted in anger as if thought they are entitled to priority time-wise when we have so many other things to be concerned about both in business and privately.

Every single revenue stream has to be monetised when you aren’t part of the system and it might even prove to be a good idea to share pictures and updates about your life outside of music. I started a blog because there was a demand for it.

This obviously blurs the line between who you are as a person and who you are as a professional person, I see no way out of this because what people expect from their artists and public people have changed so dramatically. Even sharing your artistic process and recording sessions is now a thing. It is all about being accessible as an individual.

The establishment is not static either and have suffered enormous financial losses these last few years due to the digital revolution. Everyone regardless of stature has a social media presence and I do get the overall impression that you somehow have to be extra-likeable and extra-nice if you are very skilled professionally or famous as if thought people are looking for asshole-signs.

People are weird, yet what people want colours where businesses go.

Once again I see AUTOMATION as the solution to me-time.

It will also satisfy the market’s desire to get instant replies and attention once social media platforms offer more diversity when it comes to automated responses.

AI to the rescue.