Limiting your options to being only a musician is like saying you’re only going to try one instrument. The journey is the destination, and most successful musicians ended up where they are not because of their musical abilities but because of their abilities to venture into other areas of business.
Starting new businesses and being a leading entrepreneur means sacrificing time away from your studio or band to network and create new mutually beneficial relationships for your career. And stepping outside your comfort zone to start that next big fashion line or tech idea could be the ticket to new music opportunities you never knew existed. Throwing oil on the fire allows it to burn much bigger and longer.
Finding success in other areas outside of music can introduce new audiences to your music through cross-promotion and cross-branding. I’m not saying you should start 10 different businesses to overload your capacity, but one or two extra ventures with the potential for success increases your odds of success in this business.
Every musician sets out with a vision to create a lasting and meaningful experience. No man is an island, and it’ll take partnerships to create a sustainable career in the music business. Here are three tips to get you started in entrepreneurial endeavors:
Collaborate with like-minded people
As a teenager, it was great to watch Travis Barker tour the world with blink-182. Travis has used his drumming as a platform to market himself and his brands in other areas of business. Famous Stars and Straps (his fast-life lifestyle brand) logos are etched into the sides of his drums for thousands to see each night, and members of the band often wear the clothing in cities around the world.
If Travis weren’t working with like-minded people, those marketing efforts may have never taken off. Your ideas are only as good as the team around them. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people on different ideas and businesses. This process of collaboration over multiple years helped me narrow down the best people to work with. Without solid partners bringing new ideas to market, your chances of executing properly drastically diminish.
Start ideas you truly understand and have a passion for
The Black Eyed Peas spent a multitude of years on the charts, even performing at the 2011 Super Bowl. Will.i.am also scored some of the biggest movie releases, including “Rio.” During this time, will.i.am was also building his philanthropic initiative, the i.am.angel Foundation, which focuses its efforts on bridging undeserved youth with technology. The foundation was the first to work with NASA to play music in outer space.
Instead of focusing on something popular, will.i.am turned his insight to something he truly believed in.
“I’ve wasted a lot of time on things that haven’t meant a lot to me. As a result, the ideas either take too long or never end up working out. Just because vaping and 3D printing are popular trends, that doesn’t mean you should get involved in these industries if you know nothing about them.”
Don’t be afraid to take risks
Linkin Park created a multitude of business opportunities outside of its hits. Machine Shop is Linkin Park’s venture capital fund and creative studio that brings together graphic art, brand design and consulting, and venture capital investments in the latest startup technology businesses. The group also created Music for Relief, its philanthropic initiative focused on providing relief to struggling parts of the world after major disasters.
Investing in startups and philanthropy is great. Both are huge risks, but being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks. We all know that not everything can succeed; however, the people who experience success push boundaries, think differently, and have courage. These people are no smarter than you — you can change anything and mold the way life is perceived by thinking outside the box.
A career in the music business is the dream of a lot of young people, but it’s not all about just recording songs and playing in front of crowds. The most successful musicians are also entrepreneurs who start businesses that often have no direct correlation to their music. These endeavors not only expose you to new audiences, but also help diversify your portfolio to provide financial security years after the crowds die down.
Written by NIck Gross