Welcome to Friday, people! We made it through another week (hopefully with some live music or at least some good tunes in your earbuds). Today’s post is going to be relatively short and sweet, but it can affect your entire business. It seems to be a common misconception that successful artists can have a shitshow of a business model. Creativity demands no organization, right? Actually, you’re pretty wrong. Unless you have someone to run your entire life for you, you’ve GOT to get your business organized and running professionally.
Pretty much every musician that gets gigs, keeps gigs, and has a great reputation in the industry has at least a basic level of organization.
When I first started working with Ron, he had a tough time with understanding why organization was necessary. Me, on the other hand, had no idea how he even functioned for as long as he did! He had no record of finances, no way of knowing who owed him money outside of memory, his upcoming meetings were scribbled on scraps of paper, and he rarely knew what tomorrow held, nevermind next week! Time changes things though, and he is now the organization king! It made such a difference in his success that it just became a natural part of his daily life.
Artists want to be artists, and I get that. However, a few small changes can totally affect the way your business is run (because remember, this IS a business).
Peek at these tips and see what more you could be doing:
Live and die by your phone’s calendar. Everything goes in there - shows, meetings, rehearsals, calls… hell, maybe even your workouts if that keeps you on track.
Get set up with an invoicing service. Freshbooks, quickbooks, paypal, etc… look into pricing, but most services offer a free or cheap option. You have to get paid and you have to know what money is out there for you. Spoiler alert - we’ll be talking more about finances next time! Woo hoo!
Set up an email address specifically for business purposes. Do not allow junk in here or you’ll get overwhelmed. Bonus points if you figure out a way of filing or labeling emails to get them out of your inbox once you answer them. Gmail is pretty much everyone’s go-to, but feel free to do your thing if you have another prefered service. Just no hotmail or AOL… trust me on that one.
Keep notes on important interactions. I can’t tell you how many times my meeting or call notes have come in clutch when someone tried to do something shady after previously discussing something.
Back those files up. Musicians and managers frequently deal with large files. Organize them in external hard drives to keep them safe. You’ll be pretttttttty bummed when your masters get corrupted because of some dumb virus.
THE CLOUD. Yes, you’ve heard of it. Now sign up for a cloud based storage service and keep all of your files backed up or stored there. Google Drive has a great low cost option. Dropbox is pretty much the standard. Box is also used pretty frequently. Pick which one suits you best - here’s a full list of the best ones
Voice notes! As a songwriter, your ideas can get lost into the abyss if you don’t record them somehow. Utilize those fancy, but no-one-knows-what-to-do-with, voice notes on your phone! Ron is constantly doing this and therefore he is almost never at a loss for a song idea when the time comes.
Try out a routine for business stuff. Yes, we’ve talked about the importance of a routine before. Here, you could utilize it as -- Monday, handle all emails. Tuesday/Thursday, schedule social posts. Wednesday, work on industry outreach. Friday, go see some shows. Obviously you can handle however you want, but it’s worth a shot so you don’t get totally overwhelmed with businessy things.
If you’re a manager, you kinda have to be uber organized all the time or you’re life will be a living hell. You have no choice. Get that shit straight.
Reason to ignore this advice: Your mom is kind enough to run your life for you! Stay in bed, baby bear… mama’s got this.