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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 January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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