When I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey, I only had my experience as an artist to guide me through the ups and downs of building what is now #WomxnCrush Music. Over the last few years I’ve been able to hone those skills, learn countless new ones and coach creative entrepreneurs on how they can translate the skills they already have to help propel their business aka their artist careers.
Contrary to what most people believe, entrepreneurship is an art form. A lot of it does encompass trial and error, there are plenty of late nights, creating from scratch, collaboration - much like when making music.
Last week during our South Florida/Atlanta #WCMOnTour stop, I was lucky enough to moderate a panel on How To Think Business When You’re A Music Creative, featuring Gabriela Ortega, Sr. Label Manager at Warner Music Latina and Audrey Gámez the Education Director of C4 Atlanta, an organization that offers professional development courses for artists looking to further their creative businesses and personal artistic careers.
We discussed the many layers of being an entrepreneurial artist and while there are many different moving parts (as with any business), here are some tips that might help you get started.
“The idea that you only need arts entrepreneurship at the beginning is a myth - learning throughout your career is important longevity.” - Audrey Gámez
ADMINISTRATIVE WORK IS STILL IMPORTANT WORK.
Regardless of whether you are a singer, songwriter, producer,etc. - if you’re a creative and are actively working on pursuing this as a full-time career, you should have an LLC. One of the first steps in propelling your artistic career is to acknowledge that it is indeed a business - with expenses and revenue streams. Having an LLC protects your personal assets and separates them from your business. You’ll have a much easier time with taxes and will be able to have a separate business banking account for all of your artist career transactions. Other important administrative tasks: copyright those songs and track those royalties!
LEARN THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Regardless of whether or not you have a team, it is crucial for you to understand how all parts of your business function. Know where your money is coming from, know where it’s going, learn what effective marketing is, stand up for what is important to you. Basic knowledge of all of these things will help you build out the team of your dreams and know if they are making good decisions for your career.
“You may not have that person but you can be that person, take a digital marketing class, learn adwords,etc. Knowledge is power.” - Gabriela Ortega
BUILDING A TEAM IS IMPORTANT.
While being knowledgeable about all of the aspects of your career is key, as you grow you’ll need to hire experts and outsource different tasks. Having someone else represent you not only elevates your status when securing gigs, press, etc. but also can help relieve you of some of the non-creative work related to building your biz. If you don’t have the funds to hire someone just yet, see who in your circle may want some artist managerial experience. You can build your own little brand ambassador team to help you at any point in your career. Don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself.
BUILD AN AUTHENTIC BRAND.
Your brand is your artist business personality. Identifying your core values, where you see yourself in the future, what gives you energy and what takes it away is going to be the backbone of your brand. Gabriela lets her clients choose three or four pillars of things that are important to them and bases a marketing campaign around those. It makes creating, executing and sharing of those campaigns more natural and it will resonate with the audience you want to attract. Your business is an extension of you, don’t forget that!
DEVELOP YOUR NETWORK.
Connections rule the music industry so don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who you’re hoping to learn from. However, doing this thoughtfully can make or break the conversation. Learn how to pitch yourself, always offer something in return in exchange for their time, and never ask for a direct connection to someone. Once you’ve connected with someone, express gratitude towards them often and don’t just check in when you need something! And even if they cannot help you now, they may be able to in the future so never shut anyone out. Really fostering these connections will help in the long run.
#WomxnCrush Music’s mission will always be to create opportunities for our community of rising womxn songwriters and our aim is to host more webinars like these to continue fulfilling that mission through one of our main programming pillars - education. We have so much more in store for you for the rest of 2020 so stay tuned!
See you (virtually of course) on our next tour stop of Portland/Seattle starting this week with our showcase benefitting The Old Church and next week for our panel on Mental Health in The Music Industry. RSVP for both here.
*This piece was written by #WCM’s Founder and CEO, Ashley K. Stoyanov. Keep in touch with her on IG at @ashleykstoyanov or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org - she loves hearing from the community!
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