4 smart ways to invest in yourself as an independent musician

As a musician, there’s no better investment of your time and energy than you! Here, we look at four things you can do to properly invest in yourself as a musician.

Guest post by Gideon Waxman of the Bandzoogle Blog

Investing in yourself as a musician is crucial for staying at the top of your game. The music industry is evolving at lightspeed, and you should be continually striving to learn new skills and improve your craft in order to reach your music goals.

When it comes to learning new skills and investing in yourself, the hard work will pay off tenfold if you can stay motivated and dedicated. Read on to learn some smart ways you can invest in yourself as a musician, to help expand your skill set and nurture your creative spirit.

1. Expand your skill set through online education

It may seem obvious, but the depth and quality of free information on the internet is genuinely incredible. There are endless free tutorials on YouTube that can teach you how to become a pro-level videographer, how to mix an entire record from start to finish, or advance your music theory knowledge.

There’s always new high-quality educational content on topics that can help you stay up to date with the ever-evolving music industry, such as how to cultivate a loyal fanbase willing to pay a monthly subscription, or how to incorporate the latest technology into your recording setup.

No matter what you wish to learn, follow your passion, and dedicate some free spare time to advancing an existing skill, or learning something new altogether. Applying yourself will help you to become a more well-rounded, skilled, and confident musician. 

Learning new skills will enable you to be more self-reliant as a musician, which offers so many amazing benefits. You’ll be able to execute your creative vision with greater confidence, you’ll improve your workflow, save money, and hopefully reach your goals sooner. 

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Of course, we’re all busy, and it’s important to take a break every once in a while. But think about how you can use your time more effectively. Next time you find yourself endlessly scrolling on social media, you could be doing something more productive!

2. Invest in a studio and music gear upgrade 

Investing in new musical equipment doesn’t need to be as expensive as you think. Technological advancements continue to make their way down from top-end gear to more affordable level equipment, which is known as the ‘trickle down’ effect.

For example, the quality of audio interfaces has advanced massively over the past several years, and the latest models from brands such as Audient and SSL are super compact and deliver impressive high-end console performance at a very affordable price! 

There’s really no excuse for not investing in a small home recording studio setup, no matter what style of music you play. An interface, a microphone, and a decent set of headphones is all you need, and your creative options will be limitless.

If you’ve already got all your tools for recording and performing live, then think about how you can enhance your sound. Perhaps it’s a new virtual instrument for your DAW or expanding your guitar pedal board. There are so many new sonic avenues to explore through adding to your musical arsenal. 

Even simply playing amazing sounding new gear can allow you to feel more creative and inspired! It can help you break the mold and try to incorporate new elements into your music too. 

I recently played my friend’s top-of-the-range Drum Workshop Collector’s Series drum set for a session, and I genuinely felt so much more creative behind this kit. 

Upgrading your musical gear truly is investing in yourself. With the right mindset, it will continue to pay itself back in dividends either with the hopes of more work opportunities, or growing your fan base by helping to take your sound to the next level.

3. Obtain remote and flexible working income

Working a job with flexible hours is crucial to help you stay focused on your side hustle. It allows you to schedule your life around your musical endeavours, and also saves time and money from a commute.  

Not only can it help to improve your work life balance, but more importantly, permit you to take on any cool new opportunities that may arise, such as a music festival slot or last minute studio session. 

After all, the last thing you want while trying to achieve your music goals is to have an opportunity of a lifetime denied by a difficult boss, right?

Just before the pandemic hit, I toured Europe for two weeks, and fortunately I was able to continue working on my blog, as well as writing for other websites, in my downtime in the tour van. I simply used my mobile as a hotspot device and I had internet pretty much anywhere on the road!

There are tons of great jobs for musicians that are flexible and help to pay the bills, while pursuing what you love. For example, I’m booked to play percussion at weddings and corporate events. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s great for supplementing my income.

Some other flexible jobs for musicians include offering music tuition, offering remote recording sessions, working as a sound tech at events, and being a music store salesperson.

If you’re looking for a flexible non-music related job to bring in additional income, you could also look at some other options such as Uber or Amazon delivery driving. Alternatively, there’s lots of online jobs such as content writing, customer support, or being a virtual assistant for a company. 

4. Improve your financial and business mindset

It’s not quite the most exciting advice you’ll hear, but it’s super important. Musicians, like any other business owner or entrepreneur, need to be both smart with money and strategic about how to spend it.

I’m not sure why, but musicians often subscribe subconsciously to the ‘starving artist’ mentality, and the business side of things gets disregarded. A simple change in mindset is required. After all, a good business mindset helps you make the right actions and choices along your journey. 

For starters, try not to spend more than you earn, and choose to spend the money you have wisely. By doing so, you’ll have greater freedom to take career risks instead of struggling doing something you don’t enjoy just to make ends meet.

Furthermore, think about where you can cut costs in your creative pursuits. Do you really need to splash out on that fancy studio time? Think about how that money can be used instead, and more wisely. It’s been proven time and time again you can obtain pro-level recordings on a budget.

You could invest in new equipment in order to improve your sound. Or get creative with it. For example, a camera that you can use to create video content for your online course that you can then monetize and create passive income!

Final thoughts

If you want to achieve long-term success, you’ll need to think about how you can increase your value as a musician. You can do this through all of the tips mentioned above, and hopefully they’ll pay you back in dividends.

To summarize – expand your knowledge and skills, invest in better equipment, work a job that supports your creative pursuits, and finally, be strategic with your finances so that you can continue to do what you love!

Gideon Waxman is a London based drummer and music educator, who holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Westminster. You can find more of his advice over at Drum Helper – one of the web’s most popular free online drumming resources.

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