Why It Pays To Be Business Minded
Let’s talk business! Not all of us are business-minded, and many of us in the audio industry lack the foundational skills to be able to take our hobby or passion to the next level, and we just don’t know where to start.
I’m a lecturer in business to around 40 students per week, and it’s astonishing how many upcoming producers and artists don’t take their work seriously or treat their career as a business.
Lacking foundational skills could have you losing lots of money and opportunities, signing bad legally binding contracts, always working for free or being taken advantage of and worst of all, never turning your passion into a full-blown money-making machine (If that’s your goal of course)
If you consider yourself business minded then this article may not provide value, and I promise I’m working on some content just for you!
Why does it pay to be business-minded?
Well, we all have personal, financial, and career goals we want to achieve, and in order to achieve those goals, there’s a bunch of really important skills you need to learn.
It’s essential to get paid for the work you do, and it’s important to deliver quality work in a timely manner in order to keep your clients and customers happy.
But first and foremost, we need to master the art of goal setting and learn some really basic business skills.
Do you ever feel like you’re working hard but not getting anywhere?
Setting goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. Sometimes we need to get back to the fundamentals of how a business is formed and work on developing our core skill set.
I’ll break it all down for you now, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing more articles to give you bite-sized and easy to follow content to assist you with building up your business skills in the Audio Industry.
Small Business Skills
Accounting – Accounting software, incoming/outgoing, keeping track of expenses and purchases such as; gear, studio rent, utilities, travel, software, internet, training, subscription services.
Communication – Negotiation, networking, dealing with stakeholders (suppliers, sponsors, clients, etc.).
Organization – Time-management, keeping a diary, self-discipline, self-motivation, self-care
Law – Copyright basics, legalities, contracts and contract templates
Marketing/Promotion – Social media skills, planning/strategy, basic graphic design skills, branding, basic video skills, basic photography skills
PC/Mac Computer Skills – Word, Excel (for budgeting, etc.), Email/Mailing List management such as Mailchimp, Webinars, or Virtual Meetings using programs such as MS Teams or Zoom, etc.
As a small business owner, I know that it pays to be able to do most of these things myself; it saves me a lot of money. The experiences and knowledge I’ve gained while learning how to do all of these things has got me to where I am today.
However, it’s important to know that you can outsource a lot of these things such as Social Media Marketing, Graphic Design, Accounting and even hiring a Lawyer to look over contracts (which I highly suggest doing if you are ever in that situation)
You don’t need to do EVERYTHING yourself, but if you have a passion to learn about a particular skill so that you can do something yourself, I highly recommend learning!
You can go through the Small Business Skills list and choose one of two skills and dedicate some time each week to learning how to improve in that particular area.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting
What is S.M.A.R.T all about? And why should you know this?
“I approach everything step by step … I had always set short-term goals. As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one.” — Michael Jordan
SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal-setting process.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting clarifies the difference between ‘I want to go viral and become a millionaire’ and ‘I want to make $__k a month from Production clients, $__k per month in Publishing royalties and sell 5,000 copies of my eBook within the next 12 months.”
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Which resources and/or limits are involved?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
Your business goals need to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
An achievable goal should answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
Relevancy means ensuring that this goal is important to you personally. A relevant goal should have you answering ‘Yes’ to these questions:
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment? (Keeping in mind that some goals may not be realistic right now due to lockdowns and social-distancing which means you may need to slightly alter your initial goals or move them forward)
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
Every goal should have a deadline. A time-bound goal should have you thinking about the following questions:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
Keep in mind that even the smallest steps count as long as the steps are in the direction of your goals.
So, what now?
Well, working toward a goal has been proven to be a major source of motivation – which, in turn, improves our performance, but it’s also important to note that we need little incentives to keep us going.
You can set micro-goals that are easily achievable in a shorter period of time, such as “Go 8 weeks without purchasing anything except food and necessities.”
I’ve set these types of micro-financial goals over the past 12 months and managed to become totally debt-free. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you set “no spend” goals, which in turn is a huge benefit to my business.
I guess this is where you should get out a pen and notebook and start writing out two goals that adhere to the S.M.A.R.T Principals!
Keep an eye out for more of my Business Skills blog posts, there’s plenty more on the way.
Thanks for reading!
Noella Nix is a Music Producer, Songwriter & Artist from Australia. She teaches Sound Production, Music Business & Social Media Marketing at University and has written 4 Music Industry eBooks. Connect on Instagram