How to Pivot Your Business as a Musician

If you have a music business, things may be going great. But when that stops, it’s probably time to pivot your business.

How to Pivot Your Business | Hannah B Flute

Then, you can keep your career going so that you can support yourself. And you can do what you enjoy, so read on for some tips to help you pivot!

Start ASAP

As soon as you know you want or need to pivot your business, start. The sooner you do so, the quicker you’ll be able to grow the new structure or type of business.

If you wait until everything is perfect, that day may never come. But even if it does come, it might not come for months or years. It’s better to experiment with your new business idea now.

You might find success with your idea, in which case you can grow and scale the new venture. If it’s less successful, you can pivot again until you find what works for you.

Set New Goals

Based on the new direction of your music business, you’ll want to set some goals. For example, I’m pivoting from a focus on digital sheet music to a focus on music blogging.

So I might set goals for the number of blog posts I publish. I could also set goals for how I earn money from the blog. Your goals may look very different from any previous goals you’ve worked towards.

That’s okay, and it’s good to set new goals. So think about how you want to pivot your business. Then, you can come up with some SMART goals that are specific and relevant to your new path.

Attract the New Audience

Ideally, you’d pivot to something that has the same audience as your current business. For example, you may shift from teaching lessons in person to online, so you can still attract students.

However, your switch might involve a different ideal customer. My recent pivot expands on my audience from only flute players to anyone looking to grow their music business and career.

You can start to find your new audience on social media. Facebook and Instagram are two excellent platforms for musicians. But think about where your new audience is, and use that platform to market your new business.

Communicate With Your Current Audience

You’ll also want to tell your current audience about the change. Start by updating your website and social media profiles. For example, I changed my website home page and navigation menu to better reflect my blogging.

It also doesn’t hurt to make a specific post on your social media or website informing people of the change. That way, people can determine if they still want to follow you or if your business is no longer relevant to them.

Some of your followers may stick around, especially if the pivot isn’t too drastic. Others may leave, but that’s a good thing. It means you can focus on marketing your new business to the people you can help.

Consider a Rebrand

You might decide you need to redo your branding for your new business. If the name and colors no longer make sense, change them. You can hire a branding specialist to help with this.

But you could also use some of your old branding. Using myself as an example, I’m keeping the colors and fonts. When I chose the font and made my logo, I was very intentional.

Since blogging has always been part of my business, I designed a logo that works for both music and HTML code. The B in HBF may be my middle initial, but it can also stand for “blog.”

Consider if your branding can work for the new business or not. Then, you can decide if it’s worth changing things.

Stick With What You Know

When deciding how to pivot your business, consider what you’re good at or have experience in. You should also think about what you enjoy, even if that thing isn’t a traditional music career.

For example, I’ve tried various music businesses, from private teaching to composing. But throughout all of that time, what I enjoyed the most was writing articles and blog posts.

So it made the most sense for me to pivot more towards blogging. I’ve set up a more specific piccolo blog and have more music blogs in mind for the future. But you may have other interests to pursue, such as teaching or recording.

Reassess Your Marketing Strategy

As you pivot your business, you may find your current marketing strategy no longer works. Maybe your new audience is significantly different from the old one, or your content has changed a lot.

Either way, take some time to experiment with different ways to market your business. Then, you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. For example, I used to get decent results from Instagram.

Now, the platform isn’t the best choice for me. Facebook and Pinterest have given me better results for distributing my content and growing my various blogs.

Keep Old Elements That You Can

When you pivot your business, you don’t have to start from scratch. Keep any old aspects of your business that you can. For example, you may be able to keep your brand colors and fonts or even your business name.

Maybe you can keep your old marketing strategy and make small changes. The more you can keep, the easier it will be to switch to a new business. You’ll have less to change, so you can focus on earning money sooner.

Of course, you need to make sure that everything makes sense. Don’t keep something just to keep it, especially if you make a big change. You could drive new potential customers away.

Why Pivot Your Business

Pivoting a music business can be a big decision. But it’s something that you may need to go through, especially if you’ve had your business for a while.

Consider the following reasons you might decide to pivot your business.

Make More Money

If you find you aren’t making as much money as you need or want, you should find a business that will provide that extra income. Sure, you may be able to raise your rates, but that may not fill the gap.

Choosing a more profitable venture could be what you need to do. Then, you can enjoy your work and potentially work a bit less. Or you can at least make more money for the hours you’re already putting in.

Consider how much you’re making now and if you’re able to charge more. If not, you should look into new income streams. Pivoting probably won’t make you rich right away, but it could help over the long term.

Reduce Your Expenses

You could also pivot your business to lower your business expenses. For example, maybe you teach lessons at a local studio. The studio charges you hundreds of dollars in rent, and you need to pay for gas to get there.

So you decide to start teaching from your home or online. That way, you can save on renting a studio and on transportation costs. The savings can add up over time and amount to a lot of money.

If you’re more of a performer, you may choose to do home recording instead of using a professional studio. Then, you can keep more of the profits of any recording work you do or albums you sell.

Increase Passive Income

I don’t really like the term “passive income” because it’s pretty misleading. But when it comes to scalable or flexible income, it’s a good thing to have. Your current business might not have much room for this type of income.

So you could transition to something with more income potential. Using teaching as an example, you might choose to create downloads for your students. You could then sell those downloads to anyone to make more money.

Scalable income can help free up your time without you sacrificing earning money. That way, you can take time off if you get sick or if you just want a break from working all of the time.

Do What You Love

Another sign it’s time to pivot your business is if you don’t like what you’re doing. In my case, I thought I enjoyed arranging and composing, and I do. But I don’t enjoy it to the extent that it should be my primary business.

Throughout all of my music businesses, I’ve enjoyed blogging. In the past, it was more of a tool to market those businesses. But it can also be the business itself, and it’s something I love doing.

Of course, most businesses will involve at least one task you don’t like. But when you start a business, you get to do what you want. So make sure it’s something that you look forward to, at least most of the time.

Keep Up With the Times

The COVID-19 pandemic was a shock to a lot of musicians. Private teachers who worked in person suddenly had to pivot to teaching online. And performers lost a lot of work.

Hopefully, we won’t have another pandemic anytime soon. But things will change, and we need to keep up with those changes. Whether a recession happens or you move to a new city, you need to adapt.

If your current business isn’t working, you might have to pivot. That way, you can keep up with new trends in the industry.

How Can You Make Your Pivot Successful?

To increase the chances of a successful pivot, pay attention to data. If you’re trying to choose between a couple of ideas, go with the one that gets more engagement on your website or social media.

You can also poll your audience to see what they’d prefer. However, don’t be afraid to go with what you like. Because it doesn’t matter how much engagement something gets if you’re going to hate doing it.

Final Thoughts

Deciding to pivot your business isn’t something to take lightly. If you think it’s right, you should consider how to do it successfully.

Then, you can do something you enjoy and potentially increase your income.

If you don’t have a business yet, learn how to start a music business instead of pivoting.

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