“Being a Music Entrepreneur is a unique career path, for which there is very little professional support or guidance. As musicians, we all stand to benefit from learning the ins and outs of proper financial planning. Getting married, buying a home, and having a baby have forced me to plan for the future of my family. These experiences have taught me so much about money. I am now bringing this knowledge to you. It’s my dream to make a positive impact on your finances and life as a Musician!”-Excerpt from this Article, written by Bradly Cooper of The Music Entrepreneur
The Art of Handling Finances as a Musician
Hey Gang! Anyone that’s been following me here at The Music Entrepreneur knows that I write all about being a successful musician. I know about life as a musician because I’ve been doing it for 15+ years. Today, I’m ecstatic to introduce a new series of articles I’m working on related to financial planning. This new series will be dropping throughout June-July-August (and beyond), and will focus on considerations we need to make to grow both our Music Career and personal/family finances.
Please keep in mind that I’m not an accredited financial advisor. I’m not here to tell you exactly what to do. Instead, I will give you some things to think about for planning a strong financial future. In the last 2 years I’ve gone through several of life’s major milestones and I grew leaps and bounds, financially. Just like with music, there is so much I wish I knew a decade ago about financial planning. I want to present you with some options for things that can significantly help with your financial well-being.
Being a Music Entrepreneur is a unique career path, for which there is very little professional support or guidance. As musicians, we all stand to benefit from learning the ins and outs of proper financial planning. Getting married, buying a home, and having a baby have forced me to plan for the future of my family. These experiences have taught me so much about money. I am now bringing this knowledge to you. It’s my dream to make a positive impact on your finances and life as a Musician! This new series will cover such topics as:
- Growing your credit score/rating (the proper use of credit).
- Doing your taxes as a musician.
- Buying a home (saving up and finding the right deal in this crazy housing market).
- Saving & Investing.
- Budgeting (For all of life’s needs & pleasures)
- Buying a car (new/used/leased & exploring your options and knowing how to negotiate).
- Having a baby (and ALL that that comes with).
- Buying Life Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance to protect your family.
- Investing in and growing your Music Career.
- Much, much more.
An Overview of what is to come:
I can remember when I started out playing gigs and teaching music lessons full-time to replace the income from my corporate world job. I had zero financial plan in place. When I hit $2k in savings for the first time I was over the moon with pride and excitement. That’s great and everything, but that’s not even close to where I needed to be financially. I was a tad clueless when it came to my finances. Does that sound familiar?
The worst part it that I didn’t even know how clueless I was. I was like, “This is great! I’m covering my car payments/insurance, rent, phone bill, groceries AND have a bit left for partying”. I was saving whatever was leftover, but that was slow and non-strategic. Not a sound financial plan, to say the least. Things went this way until I was about 28/29, when I began to look within myself to bring my music career to the next level.
I began positioning myself to perform bigger and better gigs such as weddings and corporate events. Achieving this took a multipronged approach. I had to learn the right songs, put together an appropriate image, step up my website/business card game, learn about sales and advertising, etc. Things were going great and my income situation was improving (But I still didn’t have a “money plan”). Thinking about my finances strategically is what finally allowed me to step up to the next level of this game known as adulting.
The FIRST thing you can do (to improve your Finances as a Musician):
Improving my income was a decision I made. I played hardball with a few venues after gathering some experience and stepping up my game. I was willing to lose a gig or two to stick to my guns and demand $250 for a gig, where I was previously getting $150-200 per show. Of course I was professional about it, and the raise I insisted upon was not unrealistic (or undeserved). There was sometimes pushback, for example, one booking manager that told me: “But I pay $300 for a trio”. I stuck to my guns and replied: “I can TOTALLY understand & respect that, however, that is my price for moving forward, and there’s no hard feelings either way, but I’d love to come back to perform soon”.
Taking a look at YOUR situation and seeing where you can increase your income is a great place to start. It may involve some risk and you need to assess if you can weather the storm by losing some gigs. By creating strong relationships and being a solid professional and a good person, you increase the likelihood of things going your way during any such negotiations. You can even get back to work looking for new gigs. Senior homes are everywhere and they are always looking for new performers. Look for ways to up your income and make it happen.
Making Money with Music
Handling your Finances as a musician is SO MUCH more than simply making more money, but maximizing your returns for what you’re already putting out there is a great place to start. Keep thinking of ways to get out there performing (and improving your income). Not only will your business grow but you’ll also be setting yourself up for hitting some major home runs down the road. This new series dives DEEP into these possibilities.
***Click the links below for some of my past articles about making more money with Music:
- Finding Paid Gigs Part 1
- Finding Paid Gigs Part 2
- Finding Students for Music Lessons
- Finding Work Through Music Agencies
Music feeds the Soul, and I get that…BUT
Look, I get that you are an artist. It isn’t only about the money, but there’s some incredibly important things that our money can do for us. Looking at finances can be daunting from the onset, especially if you’re inexperienced with it. With a bit of planning and strategizing, not only does it get easier, but many doors will open that will help you to create a financially stable life full of options (and yes…EVEN as a musician, all you synics).
I’m not saying you should save all this money so you can one day be the richest person in the graveyard. There IS an endgame with your new found income that goes beyond simply “having more money”. This is what we will uncover in this new multi-part series. Not only will you learn to treat your business as a proper business entity, but you’ll set yourself up to buy things like a car, a home, investments, and things that improve your business.
That’s it for this one. I want to get you thinking about this stuff and focussing on growing a bit of income. The image of financial success is something that will come together over time. For now, let’s just jump into that mindset of treating this as something we will patiently build. Please make sure you are following this blog and our Instagram account so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming articles from the Finances as a Musician series. Lastly, please comment below if there is anything you’d like me to talk about or if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!