There is the unspoken rule that you have to pay your dues before you actually "make it" in the business. But where do you draw the line? Do you focus more on trying to get money or focus on your dues first. According James Moore, musicians should focus on building their popularity and expect little money when they are starting out in their careers.
When people decide to start a business, they spend massive amounts of money. They need to pay for supplies, potential building costs, marketing, payroll. Sometimes they have investors to help with these costs, but normally they are suffering a deficit before they break even or make a profit. According to Moore, the same philosophy should be applied to musicians. This is why you should focus on building a loyal and large fan base first so that you have people to buy your music and begin to make a profit. Check out James Moore's article on MusicThinkTank.com.
"What you put your blood, sweat and tears into is your music; your product. Let’s find a parallel. The passionate Italian restaurant owner puts his blood, sweat and tears into his product as well, which is his food. So you have your high quality CD and he has his high quality food. Now, forgetting the hundreds of thousands the restaurant owner has already invested in order to get a location, supplies, staff and decor, you’re both in roughly the same situation – you have a product and you want a return on your investment. However, the restaurant owner knows from the get go that popularity is the highest of all currencies, so he expects a loss initially."