5 Signs You’re Not Built To Be A DIY Musician
Do you have what it takes to blaze your own trail in the music industry? Being a DIY musician requires an incredible amount of work, as well as a certain degree of tenacity and an ability to handle rejection. As lifestyles go, it's not for everyone.
Guest Post by Jhoni Jackson on the Sonicbids Blog
Not every musician's goals are alike, so day-to-day efforts vary from person to person. But in almost any DIY career, none of the five points below will work to your benefit. If you identify with any of them, consider trying to adapt to their opposite – or accept their detrimental effect on your progress.
1. You don't take rejection or criticism well
"No" is something you will undoubtedly hear many times as an independent musician. You're going to be turned down by record labels. Venues and booking agents will pass when you try setting up a show. Music writers will give you bad reviews – or may not even give you the time of day in the first place. Handling it all gracefully and constructively is paramount. Don't let it diminish your ambition. Keep trying, and think about how good it'll feel when you finally see positive feedback or hear "yes."
2. Multitasking is difficult for you
"Do it yourself" means exactly that. Unless you're lucky enough that people volunteer to help you out or you can afford to hire a team right off the bat, you're going to have to handle every aspect of your career. That means booking your own shows, making your own promo, hitting up writers and outlets for press, running your social media pages, and more. If you can't juggle all of that and keep your personal life intact, you're probably not cut out for this.
3. You're an extreme perfectionist
Mistakes are bound to happen. If you're the type of person who internalizes mistakes, you're going to hate yourself within the first six months of your career.
You could order 150 T-shirts without noticing a glaring typo in your band name. You might accidentally offend your followers on social media. At your biggest show yet, you might fall off the stage. And all of that is okay. It might help to remind yourself that you're not the only imperfect one – everybody fumbles from time to time. Learn to bounce back and keep moving.
4. You dislike networking
Making connections with promoters, booking agents, other bands, writers, and basically anybody operating in the entire independent music realm is crucial. You never know if someone might be able to help your career; networking with everyone you possibly can should be your goal. If you aren't able to do this both online and in person, you'll stunt your progress significantly.
5. You don't like hard work
Being an independent musician is extremely difficult. You have to perpetually push forward – sometimes literally, like all your gear up a flight of stairs into a venue. You don't have to be excited about the physical labor part, but for everything else, you should be enthusiastic.Making music is what you love to do, right? Then spending hours emailing writers about your band, giving up an entire weekend to practice ahead of next week's big show, and pinching pennies to save for tour shouldn't discourage you. Instead, those efforts should serve to further fuel your ambition.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.