There are times in everyone’s life where we come to the realization that we have two legs and with enough determination, we can stand on our own. Obviously, this is easier said than done and can be very scary at times but in the end, we are usually better of for it. Before continuing, I am not condoning flying solo as relationships (both personal and professional) are extremely essential to success. Rather, being able to stand on your own before leaning on anyone else is a valuable skill.
(NOTE: As this is an etiquette blog, the concepts mentioned in this post are more geared towards encouraging physical action as opposed to verbal action. For example, standing on your own does not mean verbally assaulting people that have caused you problems. More appropriately, it means to shift gears and make things happen for yourself. It can be accomplished with little to no verbals. Please keep this in mind as you read.)
A few weeks ago, I reached out to Saima, an avid supporter of this blog, for her learning experiences within the music industry. She had a lot to share but one of the things that stuck out to me the most was /is her willingness to learn. Check out the following:
“This is the first time I’m a band member + MANAGER. I’ve arranged for the venue of our upcoming gig a month from now, and know about the finances: How much the sound costs, how much the venue of our choice costs…. The managerial side requires effort, but it’s essential to know all this (if you’re starting a band of your own) and not be dependent on anyone, which potentially does end up in disagreements, and the resulting setbacks.”
Taking some of these first steps can be very hard but it forces you to learn. In reality, we should all maintain a desire to continue learning from our experiences despite difficulty. In Saima’s case, this is a real-time learning experience. The pressure can be more intense but the lessons learned are that much more ingrained. However, how does one get to this point? What can make someone want to undertake the business side? Read on:
“Most of these artists I worked with are big names in my country, and I worked with them for free as exposure was a perk, and I was too awestruck to ask for anything. But then they start holding you back musically, AND exposure-wise. . Little things like these result in lack of peace and trust, and start affecting your music. I cannot compromise on music, so the only way used to be out. All the unpleasant experiences combined, gave me the push to take a step on my own. It won’t be smooth sailing I know, especially at the start, but I’m satisfied with the way things are going so far.”
In many cases, the determination and 2-legs discovery happens after events such as those that Saima mentioned above. Anyone who has worked with a bigger artist/group/company has probably fallen for the “starstruck” feeling of getting to work with a big name (even just for exposure), all the while ignoring their own needs and then only realizing after the fact that they have been used or screwed over. There isn’t anything wrong with working for free or working for exposure, but it has to be kept in perspective. I have personally had to learn this same lesson from a number of different scenarios involving “exposure” work. I share Saima’s sentiment that the bad experiences can give you the push to step out and succeed on your own. Finding your legs and the determination can be hard, but the payoffs are immense.
What lessons have you learned? Please feel free to share in the comments below!