I’ve learned about business principles and how they pertain to the music industry.
I’ve developed my skills as a blogger, writer and podcaster.
I’ve learned the joys of working daily at my passions, and also the security and peace that a regular income provides. The two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but admittedly I haven’t completely figured out how to get both elements into perfect alignment.
I think there has been a bit of a pendulum swing in my life. At one point, I was working with TuneCity and teaching guitar at the same time. Financially, my needs were met. Emotionally, I felt the need to leave music instruction for good. I felt I had “paid my dues” for the better part of 10 years, and I was ready to plunge myself into something I actually enjoyed.
Then, the work with TuneCity stopped. I knew it would be a temporary situation, and I knew I would need to fill the cracks with something else, but I underestimated a bit. I have been writing for a certain blogging company for the last five months or so, but the income has not been enough to support my lifestyle. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been engaged in other work.
I thought – somewhat naively – that I could make up the rest with other online work. I figured I could complete my e-book, bring my blogs to the point where they were turning a profit for me, and write more InfoBarrel articles to generate additional residual income.
On the upside, I have made a little bit of money with ads and affiliates. My e-book is almost done. I have written more InfoBarrel articles (but not many until recently). I did find more avenues for making an income as a freelance writer. I even ended up launching more businesses/websites.
Then, one day, I had a moment of clarity. I asked myself, “what am I doing…?”
In that moment, I realized that a majority of my time was going towards volunteer projects. I think it is worthwhile to add value to the world, and I think it is good to want to make a difference, but you can’t do it at your own expense (there’s my melancholic personality again; being a martyr). Not for long, anyway.
I knew what needed to be done. I had to prioritize. I had to figure out this money thing, and I had to rearrange my schedule so that paid projects came first.
In the process, however, I must admit that I was contemplating giving up.
Giving up on the podcast. Giving up on the blog. Giving up on my other websites and the tireless work that has already gone into them.
Though I initially felt that this would be a temporary situation, and I would return to my projects once my financial situation was back in order, I eventually began to feel okay with leaving things behind. Jettisoning some projects may still be a part of the overall equation in achieving a semblance of balance in my life, but I think I do need to reevaluate a little bit.
I think, somewhere deep down, I felt entitled. This is a hard thing to admit, as I don’t really see myself that way, but I think I was starting to feel as though I deserved to live out my passions. Reflecting back on the last year or so, I don’t think blogging or podcasting ever really tired me out. It is fun work. The hard work of life was usually waiting for me in the lesson room, somewhere in a music store.
I did not think that I would return to teaching. The other night, however, I subbed for the first time in nearly nine months. This difference is, this time, I felt grateful. Not only did I need the money, it seemed to come at exactly the right moment, just when I was considering sending out resumes again.
As a sidebar (though not really), one of my colleagues at work was asking me what I was up to (I knew him from when I previously taught at that store), and I told him about my e-book. He cut straight to the point: “do you think it’s going to sell?”
Now, I do realize I have to tread lightly in this territory. After all, there are many negative people out there, and even if not for that, many people say pessimistic things. However, part of me knew right away that he was right.
I think the finished product is going to be fantastic. I think it’s something I will be very proud of. Having said that, I still don’t have much of an idea of how it’s going sell or who is going to buy it.
The other part of it is that I know people don’t just make it in things because they want to. Derek Sivers said he knew the chances of succeeding as a musician would be a million to one, so he did whatever it took to outwork the competition.
In short, I want to say that I’m sorry. To you. I almost gave up on this, despite the fact that I know how hard others are working to achieve their dreams. How can I keep my own dignity knowing that these people are competing for the same space, working just as hard – if not harder – than I am?
In my Patreon campaign I said that the podcast has been around for four and a half years. While that is not a lie, if I were to look back on the length of time I have actually been consistent, it probably doesn’t amount to much more than 14 months. I haven’t given this thing a fair shake yet. Not only that, but I’m always talking about the importance of consistency and long-term commitment. I have to dig deeper to find the courage to continue and be a better example.
I can’t just bounce around thinking that something else is going to work out because I’m more excited about it at the moment. More than likely, I will run into the same issues and same challenges that I’m up against right now.
It’s great to be optimistic and passionate. More than ever, I think that is who I am and who I’m becoming. Having said that, I’m also realizing the importance of being realistic. It hasn’t been easy, but it has given me much clarity. Without clarity, I would not know what I’m actually working towards.
Now is the time to discover the inner resources that I have yet to access.. My destination may be further off than I thought, but at least I’m pointed in the right direction again.