So you are on your way to becoming an artist? Awesome.
Did you know that there’s a lot more to being an artist than just making music?
No? Let’s find out.
1. It’s a Business
Let’s be honest. It’s awesome to be an artist but most of you forget that you’re running a business here. Running a business requires paperwork, paying taxes and other things you probably don’t want to spend your time on. The fact is that it’s something you need to start thinking about because you could end up in deep sh*t if you don’t. Here’s a couple of tips to get you going:
- Register your company name ASAP. and get a tax number as well so that you’re able to send invoices. Most of the venues will need an invoice from your side when you play there.
- Hire an accountant to do your taxes. This will be an investment but will be worth your while in the long term. Unless you’re a genius with numbers yourself of course…
- In most countries, you’re able to withdraw the taxes from everything that you invest on. To explain this in an easier way, in the Netherlands everything gets’s a 21% discount. (depending on your tax rate)
2. Surround Yourself With Positive People
This one is underrated. It’s ridiculous to see how enormous the damage might be when you have negative people around you. You need people that support you in your choices and people that help you wherever needed. Do you have someone in your closest friends or family that projecting all of their negativity on you? Get rid of them and find a positive friend! You’ll be amazed by the difference.
3. Stay Healthy
I feel like a fifty-year-old dad telling you this but, we can’t deny the fact that this industry doesn't have any drugs, alcohol or fast food in it. There are multiple examples of artists that collapse because they use these vices regularly.
Although you may not agree with their usage, fighting this fact is going to be a worthless endeavor. Even though you can't control what other people do, you have the agency to make your own personal choices...and one of them can be keeping yourself clean.
It’s cliché, but take good care of your body. Being an artist is a full-time job and has a big impact on your mind and body. To process the hectic lifestyle of living on the road and keeping odd hours, you need to be 100% healthy.
Eat healthy food, don’t drink too much alcohol and stay away from drugs.
4. Listen To Yourself
Everyone in this world has an opinion. That can be a beautiful and terrible thing at the same time. Sometimes it’s great to get someone’s opinion on something but most of the time you’re just looking for approval to do or to not do something.
Know when to step back from the criticism or unwelcome opinions and listen to yourself! You are the only one who knows what’s best for you. Recognize the moment when something feels off… You don’t always have to ask other people what to do. Understand when it's important to make a decision yourself, even if it's the one that others disagree with.
When you stay connected to yourself, you will never regret any choice you’ve made.
5. Cry Now, Laugh Later
When you start an artist career at a young age (16 years and younger) you should know one thing. Spending all of your time in the studio and working on your career is the best investment you can do at this point in your life.
Think about it… Even when you put in two years of hard work and it doesn’t pay off, you’re still only gonna be 18 years old! You will still be able to go to school, etc but at least you gave your dream a real chance.
It’s better to regret something that you have done rather than look back on something that you haven’t done.
6. Start Building Your Network
You really can’t get started with this early enough. As you may have read in my previous articles or have heard in one of my podcast episodes: “Network is key in this industry”. Without a network, it’s really really really hard to make any steps forward in your career. So spent a lot of time connecting with people from the industry, online and offline. Make sure they know you and vice versa. Every person may come out very useful to you, somewhere in your life.
7. Toughen Up
This industry isn’t built for people who are too emotional. It’s a rough world! You will get feedback that you don’t like or don’t agree with. People will tell you that you suck and are never gonna make it. Don’t let all those things break you down. Let this be the fuel for your engine! Use this feedback and negativity to show them that you ARE capable of pulling something like this off.
Collaboration is one of the best ways to gain a bigger musical output, expand your network and get a bigger audience.
I highly recommend you to start doing collaborations from the beginning. It’s amazing how much you learn from being in the studio with someone else. They might have different perspectives on how you should use several plugins etc. which will help you in your creative process.
Besides learning in the studio, it’s also great to get to know another person better. Not only is this beneficial on a personal level, but their audience can become your audience if your collaboration is featured on their social media pages.
9. Do Stuff For FREE
People might have already asked you to play for free or to do a remix for free. That’s actually something that is quite common in this industry.
Whenever you still need to build your brand it’s a great idea to do as many things as possible. If you're being offered a great opportunity but no paycheck, you shouldn't automatically write it off. Instead, take every opportunity and get the most out of it!
This industry requires that you prove yourself first before money can even enter the discussion. That said, it's important to be able to discern a good opportunity for someone that just trying to use you. Weight the pros and cons and make sure that the opportunity benefits both parties involved.
10. Set Goals
When you’re building your career it’s really hard to recognize the goals that you’ve already achieved because of all the things that you’re doing at the same time. Myself for instance never could enjoy the achieved goals because I didn’t know I already achieved them. I was already working on my next goal.
Setting up goals before you start will help you recognize the growth that you’re going through as an artist. Checking boxes at the end of the month always give you an ego boost. That’s something that gives you positive energy and positive energy is something that you’ll need to get over the finish line.
JoeySuki is a former career DJ and producer who has released collaborations with the likes of Hardwell, Kill The Buzz and Firebeatz. Apart from releasing original tracks on labels such as Spinnin, Revealed, Toolroom, and Defected, JoeySuki has toured all over the world performing in front of fans. After ten years, JoeySuki decided to step back from touring to pursue his passion to be an artist coach.
JoeySuki's approach to creative coaching provides artists the support they need and the objectivity to help them pursue their career goals.