A musician's guide to balancing business and creativity - hypebot.com
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A musician's guide to balancing business and creativity - hypebot.com

Indie musicians wear a lot of hats these days which can end up hurting their craft. Here are some ways to organize your time so you can keep creating stress-free.

by Johnny Papan of Bandzoogle
In today’s saturated music market where anyone can upload songs to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, etc, serious musicians must work harder to cut through the noise. Long gone are the days where managers and labels make an effort to find completely unknown artists, now opting to find those who’ve already built a strong following on websites like YouTube or TikTok.
This new dynamic means artists must be their own manager, label and PR to build their own buzz if they hope to catch the eye of industry professionals.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Building your own fanbase without the influence of a label allows you to be more authentic as an artist and develop a deeper connection with your audience. However, this also requires you to do everything yourself. Your branding, your content, your posting schedule, all of it.
Though most artists will cringe at the idea of handling the business side of their project, it’s now become a necessity for success for the modern musician. Being able to effectively book yourself, create content and engage with your audience will put you leaps ahead of most artists today. Thus, for success you must be able to effectively wear both hats, which is easier said than done, but not impossible. This is how you can balance business with your creativity:
Any musician will tell you that business and creativity can be difficult to mix. On the one hand, you need to be organized and disciplined in order to promote your music, book gigs, manage your finances and create content for social media. But on the other hand, creativity is often spontaneous and unpredictable. That’s why it’s important to create a schedule that allows you to zone in on whichever you need to focus on. 
You might designate certain hours each day for business-related tasks, then leave some time open each day for creative endeavors. An example of this would be doing business tasks in the daytime and being creative at night, giving you the freedom to let your imagination wander without worrying about emails, etc.
By following this type of schedule, you’ll ensure that your business doesn’t suffer while still giving yourself the windows of time to let your creativity freely flow. We encourage you to experiment with your schedule. Try business in the day, creativity at night. Switch it up. Business on the weekends, creativity on the weekdays? Don’t be afraid to shake that up too. Figure out what works best for you.
For some, it can be vital to separate your creative space and business space. When you have a specific area that is devoted to making music, it can help to inspire new ideas and help you to focus on songwriting without the distraction of emails, spreadsheets, etc. Additionally, having a dedicated workspace can also make it easier to focus on getting the grunt work done without wanting to pick up your guitar.
Perhaps you can do business work in the living room or kitchen while songwriting in the bedroom. Or if you have a laptop, you can take your business matters to a nearby coffee shop or park.
We understand that separating your space isn’t always an option for everyone, but even going as far as songwriting on the bed and doing business tasks at the nearby desk in your bedroom could be enough. Unless, of course, you are able to make the internal switch and easily “switch hats”, in which case any space can be used for both.
Cell phones are an amazing thing nowadays. If you don’t want to stale the creative energy in your room by being a “suit” for a few hours a week, you can do most business work on the go.
Send emails during your morning commute. Crunch numbers while waiting in line at the sandwich shop. Make social media content by the cool tree you are walking by. The more “businessy” type stuff you can get done on your phone, the less you will need to do when you get home or to your rehearsal space.
When you find yourself with some free time, use it wisely by getting ahead on work or catching up on reading material related to your artist goals. Use your phone to research local festivals, find local promoters, connect with other artists in your area. Next time you’re taking a lunch break, use Instagram to expand your network instead of mindlessly scrolling.
If you find yourself totally tapped out, there is no shame in asking for help. Do you have friends who can help you film social media content? Or colleagues to help number crunch the budget for your next music video? Perhaps you have a fan tapped into the scene who can help promote you and find gigs.
You can also search online for forums and groups that cater to musicians. Another option is to attend industry events, such as music festivals or conferences. By networking and meeting new people, you’ll increase your chances of finding help in various facets of your career, business-side and creative alike.
In conclusion, to be a professional musician, you need to learn to balance the creative and business side of things without burning yourself out. Creating a schedule, separating your creative and business spaces, taking your business on the go, treating your art like a business and finding help when you need it are all important steps in making sure you are moving forward in your music career. Once you find a strong balance between business and creativity as a musician, your career will have the potential to make giant leaps.
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