If you’re looking to start or grow your venture, you need to know what music business mistakes to avoid. Some are common, but others are less so.
Either way, you need to know what can hurt you now or in the long run. Read on to find out.
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1. Putting Off Starting
One of the biggest business mistakes to avoid is to wait to start. I barely did anything to start my music business before graduating, and I regret it. Sure, I spent a month or so trying to start after finishing college.
However, after I didn’t get much traction, I had to get a full-time job outside of music. That left me with very little time to actually work on the business I wanted to do.
Of course, music school students can be quite busy. But your schedule tends to be more flexible than that of a full-time employee. If you’re in school, take the time NOW to get started so that you won’t have the same experience as me.
2. Doing Something Because It’s Expected
Another one of the most common business mistakes to avoid is choosing the wrong business. I thought I was supposed to teach private flute lessons because that’s just what a lot of people do.
A full-time performance career wasn’t going to work, so teaching was my other option. Or so I thought.
When I finally got a chance to teach, it was fine. But I never enjoyed it as much as I thought it would. I found myself getting bored when teaching lessons, so continuing would have been a disservice to my students.
3. Not Validating the Idea
Before you start any business (music or otherwise), you need to validate the idea. You can do some basic market research to see if people are looking for the service or product you plan to offer.
Use Facebook groups, Instagram, and other social platforms to connect with your ideal customers. Ask them what they think about your offer and if they’d want to work with you.
If you don’t get much of a response, you should look for another idea. Then, you won’t waste your time and money creating something that won’t result in any income.
4. Investing Too Much Money
When starting a music business, you’ll need to invest a bit of money. But you should try to keep your expenses down. Even after researching the market, starting a business is still a risk.
Consider writing up a financial plan for your business. Go through all of the potential expenses you’ll have. For example, a private teacher may have to pay for a teaching space, gas to travel to students, sheet music, and more.
As you look at those expenses, cross out the ones that aren’t necessary. Then, you can reduce the risk of losing a ton of money if your business doesn’t work out or if you decide to pivot your business.
5. Not Investing Any Money
While you don’t want to spend too much money, you’ll probably need to spend a bit to get started. Even if you’re running a simple online business, you should buy a domain and website hosting.
If you try to start a business for free, you may see some success. But you’ll find it much more difficult to grow if you don’t put any money into the venture.
Luckily, you can usually find more affordable options to your basic expenses. Then, you can still keep costs down without sacrificing on important aspects for running your new business.
6. Accepting Any Client
If you’re starting a client-based or student-based business, it can be tempting to work with anyone who comes your way. However, this isn’t the best option for many of us.
Before you take on a client, consider who your ideal client is. Review each client or student to see if they fit that profile. If not, you may want to refer them to another teacher or musician who can help them.
Now, I have accepted any work that’s come my way. However, that was only to get started and get some money in the bank. Once you get experience, you should only work with people you want to work with.
7. Ignoring Your Lifestyle Preferences
I know I’m not the only one who’s done this. One of the most significant business mistakes to avoid is starting a business that doesn’t let you live how you want to.
A lot of music businesses rely on live interaction with clients or students. In many cases, those interactions happen at night and on the weekends. But I know I don’t like to work during those times if I can avoid it.
So while teaching private lessons didn’t work for me, content creation does. I can write a blog post or create a social post whenever. While I may publish the content over the weekend, I don’t have to do that much work at that time.
Consider when you work best and when you want to work. Think about your other obligations, health issues, and other factors. Then, you can make sure you structure your music business in a way that works for you.
8. Not Diversifying Your Income
Another one of the biggest business mistakes I made was relying on one income stream. When I first started freelance writing, I searched for work until I got one client. But then, I stopped looking for work because they had enough for me to do.
A little over a year later, that decision came back to bite me. The client suddenly got shut down, and I lost basically all of my work. Sure, I was teaching at the time, but I only had two students so made about $25 a week from that.
Luckily, I was able to get three or four clients within a couple of months. Ever since, I’ve maintained at least that many writing clients. In case one falls through, you need to have backups.
9. Only Working When the Mood Strikes
Working for yourself isn’t for everyone. That’s because you can’t just work when you feel like it. You’ll need to work even when you don’t want to and even when you’d rather do anything else.
If you only work when you want to, you’ll struggle to move your business in the right direction. And if that business involves lessons, you could lose students if you’re constantly cancelling lessons.
You need to treat your business like a business from the start. Even when you aren’t making money, you need to show up like you are. Then, you’ll increase the chances of seeing success eventually.
If you’ve worked for yourself long enough, you’ve probably been guilty of business mistakes to avoid. They’re common, but you should know not to make those mistakes again.
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