In the modern era, there is no such thing as just being an artist. Perhaps it’s always been that way for the most successful artists - that they were also keenly aware that they were also business owners. I read that Mick Jagger attended London School of Economics and was always on top of the Rolling Stones’ business affairs. Certainly now though, you can’t escape the fact that you need to think and act like a business owner. The joy of having a fractured marketplace where thousands of bands can have thousands of fans is that you can make a living on your art. You may not get Taylor Swift famous or Jimmy Buffet rich but you will be able to support yourself and even get to the point where you can make enough money to save and invest for the future “rainy days'“ and retirement. In order to do this though you need to watch your expenses and deeply consider what’s important to your critical path of success, and be sure you capture all of the money in and notice when it’s not there. In other words, you need to be a Business Owner, not just an artist.
You hold the strings. You hire a manager to help you grow your business… but you hire the manager and you determine how they are doing. It might seem like they have the leverage and that’s how most artists treat it, but who owns this business at the end of the day or the term? You do. Think of another business that’s just starting out and the time comes for them to hire an executive to help them grow the business? Do they just close their eyes and hope for the best? Nope. They hire, engage, and help drive the ship and set that executive up for success and they also have the difficult conversations about what’s expected in terms of results. You hire a business manager and you expect the same. Outline what you want and expect in terms of information and transparency and know that ultimately this is your business.
Will you still have time to be an artist? From what I have seen of our clients, yes, you will still have time to be an artist. You will have your daily routines to keep you grounded and you will take extended periods for reflection and writing. And on the days when the business hat is on you will check in on your team. You have no choice. You are a business owner and an artist.