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How You Can Be a Professional Musician and Still Keep Your Day Job

How You Can Be a Professional Musician and Still Keep Your Day Job

As a musician, it’s easy to feel that your passion of making music is at odds with the obligations of your day job (which also happens to pay your bills). You love creating and performing music but you also have a certain lifestyle and responsibilities as well. Can you achieve equilibrium by keeping a steady job to pay the bills and receive benefits while holding/growing a professional music career? How can you give both equal attention so that you don’t end up losing one or the other?

Here’s a list of ideas to help you can make that happen:

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Find a Career with Flexible Work Options: These days, it’s becoming more popular for employees to have the option of telecommuting or working from home. For touring musicians who need the income stability that a job can provide, this is a great option. Even though your current position might not offer telecommuting as an option, it is always possible to sway the opinion of your supervisors. This article offers 5 tips to convince the boss.

If telecommuting can’t work, you could always see if your employer is open to a flexible scheduling option. For example, you might have several regional, weekend tours and may not need to be away for weeks at a time. Perhaps you could request working 4 ten-hour days instead of five 8’s. You might also be able to request a leave of absence for other extended leaves if you don’t have enough vacation time. The most important thing is to be up front and communicate openly – the more advance notice, the better. Most employers will want to accommodate your needs, especially if you do good work and can prove that you’ll still take your responsibilities seriously.

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Create Your Own Day Job: Many musicians have a special skill set that allows them to supplement their music’s income by starting a small business. Whether it is consulting, IT work, or running a small business, sometimes the best boss who understands your rock n’ roll needs is yourself. You could always explore this as an option during your free time. Be sure to also read this article on How to Start a Business for some advice.

Adjust The Music Business: No matter what, you’ll want to set up goals and have some kind of plan on how to reach them. Not all musicians need to tour frequently or live a life on the road. Some have very successful careers without leaving the city. You just need to understand what kind of music business model you are building for yourself: you might want earn a living through licensing rather than the traditional approach of playing gigs every night. Think about how much you want to perform or create, what you would like to see in return for your investment in music (money, influence, fame,?), and what you’ll need in order to accomplish those goals. You might surprise yourself and learn that creating a sustainable music career is quite possible, even with a steady day job.

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Hire musicians: Some touring bands have a rotating cast of performers; some even use a different lead singer when they’re on the road. If you’re unable to join your band for every tour, perhaps you could have a friend or a hired gun fill in for your role on some of the smaller gigs. Carefully think about the music arrangements and see if there’s a way to manage performances in a way that doesn’t require you to be there. It’s becoming more popular than ever for bands to tour as an acoustic duo or have the singer tour solo.

Bottom line: it is not impossible be a professional musician while holding down a day job. Many musicians also supplement their income by running their own businesses as studio engineers, guitar or vocal teachers, booking agents, or food cart owners. Some restrict their performances to weekends and use vacation hours to work. Others take a leave of absence. Just remember that no matter what arrangement works for you, it’s important to achieve balance, have clear and open communication with everyone involved, and that it ultimately reflects your personal life goals.

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Featured photo credit:  beautiful young woman playing the piano via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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