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Lessons Learned from the Indies – Part #3b- Managing the Business

April 1, 2010
In Managing the Business, Part 3a I covered several things that were important in helping the artist manage their business.    In addition to those four, these three items are designed to help in managing that part of the career that so many artists often overlook.
  1. Find a Team –   It is rare that the artist is naturally gifted with a penchant for business.     Most artists are geared toward the other side of the brain and so it becomes even more necessary for you to surround yourself (and listen) with a team that has the ability to think with a business mind.    Debits and Credits may send you over,  but having a team to help manage them will keep you going long after the artists who are trying to do it themselves have fallen away.    A great accountant is a necessity –   but they probably wont travel (unless you are independently wealthy and are going to pay them a lot of money to get in the van with you.)   So try to find that person who ‘loves’ the business side of things and can help you with keeping track of sales, expenses, and help you plan for the future.
  2. Persevere  –   For any artist there will be challenges,   but  keep going.    The airwaves are flooded with artists who perhaps aren’t the most talented,  but the most persistent.      My mentor once told me,  ‘We don’t drown because we fell out of the boat, we drown because we don’t get back in’ –   So when you fall (and you will), get up, dust yourself off, and start running again.   And just in case you need a reminder,  John Mays had a great word about listening to the right Voice in a recent Centricity Blog.
  3. Give away –   There is something great that happens when we give to others.   In the early days of a career when many artists are barely scraping by, its hard to know how to give or what to give.    But getting into the habit of doing something for others, whether is volunteering time,  or giving away CDs to some who can’t afford them,  or lending your artistry to an cause that will make a difference will ultimately lead to a life and career of giving.     The good news is that when we give our faith is stretched and still I’ve seen funds stretched as a result of a giving spirit..      There is a famous quote from St. Francis, “It is in giving that we receive”,    and as an artist it is easy to get self-absorbed.    Being intentional about being generous helps temper that self -absorption to ensure that our focus is on others and not always on ourselves.

One other practical issue in managing the business is keeping track of all the receipts, revenue, inventory, etc that artist must monitor in order to sustain their career.    An artist may just want to write and play music,  but neglecting some of these issues will certainly shorten the artist career.   The next blog will give some practical tools in how to monitor all of the income/expenses that an artist will experience.

So Find your team, Persevere and Be a giver!

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