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From Artist to Business: Mindset Formula Part 2

Mindset Formula Part 2: From Artist to Business…

In Part 1 of “The Mindset Formula” we talked about how some artists have a “Hobby” mindset when it comes to their music and looked at ways to transition out of this way of thinking.

Going from an Artist to Business Mindset

In Part 2, we will now focus on the ultimate transition in thinking which is where you start thinking of your career in terms of a business.

From Artist to Business: Mindset Formula Part 2

Most artists find this very hard because making music and being creative is fun and what they love to do. Understanding financial statements or even effective marketing strategies not only takes away from your time to create but also can be a challenge.

However, the difference between highly successful artists and the rest of the pack are their ability to make great music and run a strategic business to support their creations. Let’s learn how you can start thinking more like a business!

Do you show up?

A huge rule in business is that if you don’t show up you shouldn’t be in business. The same goes for artists. If you don’t show up to your commitments, bail on opportunities or you show up unprepared and unorganized you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.

The Fix: Show Up! be on time, be organized and ready to execute. Take responsibility for your career and realize that developing a strong reputation is very important. The world is small and word travels fast. You can do 1000 things right and have it all destroyed by one bad experience someone has with you so always keep this in mind.

Are You Only Thinking Small Picture?

Are you only focused on creating music? You may have a plan, but is it only geared towards the creative aspects of music? Do you struggle with thinking ahead? Or do you find that you don’t have a gauge on how your current actions are shaping your future?

The Fix: If you’re saying you want more from your music career then you need to start thinking big picture. Where do you want to be 1, 5, 10 or 15 years from now? Have you ever heard the saying that you build the house in its entirety before any cement is poured or any paint is applied? What is the blueprint for your career? You need to identify this so that you can begin putting the pieces in place to work towards success.

Only Focused On Being Creative?

We touched on this briefly above but it’s worth noting again. Focusing only on creation is holding you back from seeing real success. Don’t get me wrong, production is very important but in reality, it should account for only about 5-15% of your time.  What is the remaining 80-95% of your time left for? You guessed it, the business side of your career.

The Fix: Schedule everything! What gets scheduled gets done. For many creatives, the business side of things is a nightmare. After all, you’re here to make music, not be an accountant. However, this is what separates those who take the next step from those who don’t.

The business aspects of music are what moves your career and allow you to do music full time because you are making an income that supports you. Don’t neglect creation but make sure it is not your only focus.

Steve Chou put this so eloquently over at his blog “My Wife Quit Her Job” in a post about “Why artists fail in business”. He talks about two famous artists Vincent Van Gogh, an artistic genius who ended up dying broke, versus Thomas Kinkade, who became one of the most wealthy artists of all time.


So was the difference in wealth attributed to one being more talented than the other? Not exactly, some may even say that Van Gogh was more talented and more well known. The difference was that Kinkade was able to turn his art into a scalable business that made him a fortune.

This is no different with musicians. You often hear people say that a famous artists music is crap! Although this may be very true, the fact is, you know about them and so does the better part of the world. Regardless of the music being amazing or mediocre, in today’s day and age, if you don’t market and handle the business side of things well, that music might as well have never been created.

Trying to do everything on your own?

As an artist, the idea of collaboration on the business side of things may not have crossed your mind. The whole “Do It Yourself” movement is great and all but that is certainly not how life or business works. You need people to help you and the sooner you are able to build a strong team around you and your music the further your career will progress.

The Fix: You need to become familiar with hiring people and delegating tasks. Let’s face it you have a lot on your plate as it is and yes, you need time to focus on creation as well. Furthermore, you may not be the best accountant, graphic designer, videographer, negotiator, etc. The list goes on but it is up to you to assess what you are good at and can manage and then work towards placing key people in these remaining roles.

Do not get in the mindset of doing it all on your own! You will go crazy and burn yourself out. Will you be able to build your team immediately? No, but refer back to your plan and focus on what is important now and plan to progress to where you eventually fill the remaining roles.

Not prepared to handle success?

A lot of artists dream of overnight success and blowing up so to speak. A ton of artists yearn for this even when they are not ready for it. Blowing up is great and all but do you want to be a pump fake where you are here for a moment in time and then forgotten forever. That is what happens when you are not prepared for success.

The Fix: The business side of this is what makes you prepared. Don’t expect that when you make it a switch will all of a sudden flip and things will just magically sort themselves out. You need to start developing your systems and process from now and getting business savvy so that when the time comes, the adjustment is less of a learning curve.

There is also a lot to say about your core fan base and making sure that your fan base will support you no matter what. Because when the dust settles and you have nothing to turn to you may have blown your window of opportunity for good.

Great examples of this are when an unknown artist gets co-signed by a megastar and sees an instant boost in notoriety. An example of this is the hip-hop artist “Desiigner” whos hit song “Panda” was picked up and leveraged by Kanye West. This was very huge for Desiigners career but he was soon put on the clock to follow this up which proved difficult for him.

There is something to be said about coming up on your own and growing your own fan base naturally. Gaining new fans off of someone else’s platform is great and all but these fans are not exactly your core following and as many artists in similar situations find, these fans tend to be fleeting when the dust settles and your buzz dies out. In the video below from BrandMan Sean, you get an inside look into the rise and fall of Desiigner.

Wrapping It Up

We hope you enjoyed some of our powerful tips on how to shift your mindset to be more business minded. We are not done though check out Part 3 of our “Mindset Formula” as we have saved some of our best tips for last!

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