Be ready

Rose on keyboard

The game has changed. When previously you were able to experiment freely because no-one was watching, this time the stakes are higher. The expectations are higher. Your ambition is higher. And the risk is higher. Be ready.

You’ll need to be aware that growing beyond word of mouth is going to take some investment. It’s quite possible to get to this stage having spent very little money on your music – perhaps only a few thousand dollars on your instruments and some basic recording tools (including a computer). Moving forward, you’ll need to be very disciplined and organised with managing much larger sums of money. Be ready.

It will be very important to have stability in the other areas of your life. There’s more to your life than music, right? Think about your sources of income, your residence, your relationships, your family, your friends, etc. These will need to be predictable, sustainable and capable of supporting your music. The last thing you need when you’re halfway through a complex tour is having to deal with family drama, your girlfriend or boyfriend threatening to leave, your landlord kicking you out or your boss deciding you won’t have a job to come back to.

Of course, nothing’s absolute. Perfect stability is made of unobtainium and random disasters can befall even the best-prepared. But you probably know if something’s primed to blow up. Your music will be better off if you stabilise or neutralise any predictable problems before embarking on this next step. Be ready.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out expert advice from mentors, managers, publicists, lawyers, etc. The exact nature of the help you need will depend on your own situation. If you’re not sure what help you need, begin exploring further steps with a mentor or manager. Growing beyond word of mouth will mean taking on bigger projects and bigger risks than you have in the past. Having some experienced advisors on your side will help you dodge bullets. Be ready.