Don’t Quit Your Day Job… Yet
Pursuing music is a very exciting opportunity, especially if your passion for music extends beyond fame and fortune. However, it’s important that you realize it may take some time for you to reach your goals. There must be a very particular balance between the time you dedicate to your music and the other aspects of your life. When you are first starting out, you will likely be spending more time on your day-to-day activities such as work, laundry, and dishes, than on your music. As you gradually climb the rungs of success, that ratio will change.
Don’t Quit Your Job Too Early
There are two main elements that I have seen with artists who have recently started a band or with a band which has recently become moderately successful. It’s very easy to get excited a little too soon and jump the gun. Perhaps you were offered a tour or a few shows at a reasonable rate and suddenly you start to think about all of your opportunities. If you have a job that is supportive/understanding of your endeavors, it’s best to hold on to that as long as possible, even if it means passing on a few short-term opportunities.
Keep Expectations Realistic
Until you are certain that you will be making a living (or at least decent money) on a regular, reoccurring basis (through merchandise sales, guarantees, Patreon, etc.), you should not cut out your primary source of income. Doing this too quickly can cause you to have to pause your musical endeavors periodically, which can cause you to lose whatever traction/momentum you had generated.
A few tips:
- Determine how much you need to make in order to quit and create a plan of action
- Start looking into positions/jobs which are flexible and allow for a weird schedule
- Let your job know your intentions as soon as possible
- See if you can work out an agreement where you can take time off with warning
- Save six months to a year’s worth of expenses. This will allow you to take advantage of opportunities that you would otherwise have to pass on.
You are allowed to be passionate and excited about your music, but there is no nobility in being a starving artist. Your first priorities should always be your own health and sanity; people are far more creative when they don’t have to worry about their basic needs being met. If you plan ahead, remain rational, and position yourself for the long haul, you’ll drastically increase your chances of being successful.