Want a Successful Music Career? Don’t Fall into This Trap.
When you look at those successful musicians with 100,000 subscribers, super-loyal fans, and exploding six-figure music careers, it’s hard not to feel dejected.
It’s hard not to compare yourself with them and think that you’ll never get there.
That path is so long, and you don’t know how to start. So you kill yourself with comparison syndrome instead.
But the truth is, they started probably in the same exact place as you:
- With nothing
- With zero subscribers
- No income
Maybe even a negative balance in their bank account.
But here’s the shocking truth:
They were in the same place as you and were comparing themselves to somebody else who was further along than them when they started.
You are no different from the successful people you look up to. You’re just at a different point in your journey.
So if you’ve struggled to grow your music career because of comparison syndrome, if you don’t know how to get started or keep going because it all seems like such an uphill battle, in this post, I’ll show you just how you can push past all that and start creating some success for yourself.
Recognize Your Journey
Every artist’s journey is unique, and comparing yourself to others only hinders your progress. It’s important to realize that no two paths are identical. If you’re battling the comparison syndrome, you’re not alone. Everybody does this, and the first step to making progress is your awareness that there will always be people ahead of you somewhere.
The Power of Consistency
A big burst of inspiration might be what you need to get started on your musical journey, but it won’t carry you through the long haul. If you want to succeed, no matter what you do, you must consistently show up for yourself. When they say life is 80% showing up, they don’t mean you do it once and never again. If you want to be in it for the long haul, you’ll have to show up all the time.
Your Music Career Needs This
Show up over and over again, year after year, and that’s how you create a career.
Consistency isn’t just a piece of advice; it’s the cornerstone of a successful career. You’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve by consistently showing up and putting in the effort.
I once heard a rumor that legendary marketer, Seth Godin, would appear on any podcast as long as they had made 100 episodes. 100 episodes showed Seth that they were serious about their craft and worth paying attention to.
I started Audio Issues in 2009 in a basement apartment in Madrid, just writing about what I was learning, writing about audio, publishing it online, and consistently doing that year after year. If I had stopped writing or publishing, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. I wouldn’t have written an Amazon #1 best-selling book about mixing that’s read by thousands of people, and I wouldn’t have built Audio Issues to where it is today.
The only reason I’m still around is because of consistency.
Consistency is not something you do for others; it’s about showing up for yourself. If you don’t make that commitment, nobody else will. The key to staying consistent is loving what you do and finding what inspires you daily.
The comedian Mike Birbiglia has said that he sets a meeting with himself at 7:30 in the morning at a coffee shop where he goes to write. Although he only meets himself, he’s committed to showing up for his creative career. You can show the same respect for your music career.
Focus on Your Strengths
Now, it’s easy to be consistent if you actually like what you’re doing. What gets you up in the morning and makes you creative? If you follow every new trend that comes through the algorithm, you might never spend enough time getting good at one thing. This will lead to burnout, and you won’t ever get to the level that you want.
I originally started promoting myself through writing because I enjoyed it. I was fairly good at it and could build my career around writing. I have experimented with other content areas, but I always come back to writing because it’s what makes me the most creative.
If I had started with a medium that I was uncomfortable with, like video, I likely wouldn’t still be here.
When you’re promoting yourself, focus on your strengths. If you’re a really good writer, you should focus on writing. If you’re really good at making videos, make videos.
The same can be said about your craft. Once you find something that you like doing, keep developing your craft. If you’re good at making beats, make beats. If you’re a great lyricist, write lyrics. If you’re a solid topliner…you get the idea.
Once you’ve found your thing, focus on long-term consistency instead of just a big burst of energy. For example, a burst of inspiration might lead you to create ten incredible blog posts in a week. While that’s impressive, the mistake is posting them too closely together and then burning out. Instead, consider spacing your content over time to maintain a consistent presence.
Building Your Career Through Consistency
Building a music career is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Spacing your efforts over time is key to long-term progress. Think of it like dollar-cost averaging in investing. Your work might waver, but quantity leads to quality. It’s about consistently putting in the reps, even if not every effort is a hit. Not every episode of Saturday Night Live has been a winner, but they’ve been there consistently since 1975.
Consistency will lead to improvement. Not every attempt will be perfect, and that’s okay. Sometimes you take on jobs to pay the bills or open doors to other opportunities. Consistency can turn your batting average into a successful career.
Take the Shot
In conclusion, building a successful music career demands consistent effort and self-commitment. Instead of falling into the comparison trap, focus on your unique journey and your passion for music. Learn from successful artists who started with nothing and reached the pinnacle through unwavering commitment.
Fall in love with the process of doing all of this instead of wanting just the outcome, and you’ll find it easier to get to where you want to go.
As the saying goes, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Find a medium you enjoy. Once you have fun with it, it’s easy to do it consistently. When you do it repeatedly, it becomes a habit. And when you do that consistently over time, it becomes a skill.
Before you know it, you’ll earn an income with those skills.
For related reading about succeeding in your music career, check out these articles:
- How to Network Effectively in the Music Industry
- How To Land Your First Mixing Client…It’s Not What You Expect
- How To Find New Clients For Your Recording Studio
Audio Business, Keeping Track