1. Asking the wrong people for help

If you want to be a millionaire, who is the best person to ask ‘how’ to become a millionaire? Obviously ask a millionaire. Preferably a self made millionaire if you are intending to make your first million from scratch. Often people as their friends, how do I sell CD’s or how do I get gigs. Many resort to looking on the internet and assume that every answer that someone gives on facebook is going to be the correct answer.  Before you ask someone a question, you should be asking yourself, who has done this before. Not necessarily someone that has studied the problem you are trying to solve, but someone who has actually solved the problem and has already been there before. Often your biggest problem is not what questions to ask, but finding someone with credibility that can give you an honest, genuine answer that comes from their real experiences. Asking the right person will give the best answer to your questions.

2. Thinking that being in the music industry is about a destination

Many times I hear artists discussing how they want to a recording contract, or how they want to be performing in stadiums or big venues and become famous. One of the mistakes people make is to forget that life is a journey, not a destination. When you realise this, it changes how you look at your part in the music industry. Many people become bitter and angry because they haven’t achieved what they want to achieve and miss out on enjoying what they are doing now. I spoke to a musician recently that has had an amazing career, yet he was so bitter about the music industry, with illegal downloads and overseas competition, he was completely oblivious of all the amazing things he had been doing and is still doing in the music industry. Treat your career as a journey. Take in every experience as it happens, and enjoy it. Don't make the mistake of missing the most important part of your music career, the journey to your destination.

3. Hanging out with the wrong people

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.' Jim Rohn

Your income level, attitudes, values and even you musical ability is influenced by the people you hang out with. People often make the mistake of wondering why their music career is not going anywhere without looking at the people they spend time with. If you spend time with other artists that are motivated or musicians that have a high expectation of themselves and others. You will find that you are also pushed towards the level of those artists. If you hang around with negative, unhappy, lazy musicians then you will tend to be the same. Hanging out with the right people that can keep you focused, energized and passionate about what you do will help keep you on track.

4. Thinking that someone else will ‘do it for you’ or that someone will ‘discover’ you.

This problem is something that happens constantly. Strangely, many people think that a music career is ‘discovered’, but in reality, a music career is created, nurtured, developed and fine tuned. The problem is that on odd occasions someone may be discovered by a tv show or on the internet, but the reality is that this type of entry into the music industry is rare. Even those that do get ‘discovered’ find it difficult to stay there.

If you are serious about a career in the music industry, just like any other career, it takes work. If you want to become a teacher or an engineer or most other careers. You have to study and learn from experts in the industry before you are allowed to actually teach or design structures. The music industry does seem to work a little different in that anyone can jump in and have a go. But if you one to be more than a one hit wonder. You need to realise that you are the key to make it happen. You need to make the decisions, learn as much as you can and make it happen. No one else will do it for you.

5. Not treating your music career as a business

This is another extremely common problem with people starting out in the music industry. Many people think ‘I just have to write some songs and do some gigs’. And if you want to be a musician or songwriter, that’s all you have to do. But if you want to start out a career in the music industry, you need to think a lot further ahead. To be successful you need to develop the same skills that business people use when running any other business. Understanding how to manage your business will give you the best opportunity to actually make a career from your music. So many people get discouraged thinking that a song, an EP and a few gigs will just snowball into them becoming famous and then they will have all the money in the world. Do you know that most other business have the same idea and often the reason the business don't do well is just because of the lack of business skills.  Understanding how contracts work, how to quote on gigs and functions. How to manage other musicians, insurances and managing your book work. No matter if you're a solo artist or part of a band, realising that you are running a business is critical to not just starting your music career, but to the long term success of your career.

Written by Chris Richter

Chris Richter is a music mentor, inspiring, motivating and launching the careers of aspiring singer songwriter and musicians from rural Australia.

Chris Richter has a passion for people to achieve their ‘firsts’. First song on the radio, first single, first sale on iTunes, first song on the radio and first time someone other than mum bought my CD- and asked for their signature on the CD.

Chris Richter’s passion is to see rural Australian artists begin their musical journey and be provided with the opportunity to move through the process of making that dream a musical reality.

With 25 years’ experience in the music industry, Chris has a track record of mentoring artists in today’s age of technology and social networking. Chris has worked with artists from their first song, recording their first EP and moving on to recording contracts, performing at major Australian festivals, touring and starting their own music businesses.  

Chris Richter’s desire is to see as many singer songwriters as possible have the opportunity to perform behind the microphone, enter the studio and turn their musical dreams into reality. This passion is found all through the book, Someone Bought My CD, with on the road and in the studio stories of real Australian artists experiencing their musical journey.

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