I have always been torn when people ask me what I do because my natural reaction is to say I’m a musician. My business achievements have outweighed my music career, however if it weren’t for being a musician the businesses wouldn’t have worked. I also prefer telling people I am a musician and hate it when people call themselves an entrepreneur, it’s like people calling themselves attractive or clever. In my life I can’t do one without the other, I talk to musicians all day everyday and understand how us musicians think.
So other than packing a car, and let me tell you that only a musician understand Tetris enough to pack the entire backline, the band and their gf’s into a silver 2003 Ford Fiesta!
So here is what the business world can learn from musicians…
- Creativity – A musicians brain is set to creative mode at all times which means they are constantly experimenting and trying new things. If you’re looking for outside the box thinking (or sometimes outside the planet thinking) ask a musician because sometimes you do need to reinvent the wheel and that’s when a creative comes into their own. When it comes to brand building in 2017 consistency, engagement and high standards play a big part but it’s the creativity that pushes something viral. Social Media is made for creatives!
- Belief – Musicians believe in their bands when nobody else does almost to the point of blind ignorance and we are used to taking the knocks as the music industry is a tough playpen. This belief and obsession allows us to brush off the rejection time again without giving up hope and that gives us the time to get good at what we do. Musicians are the guardians of hope!
- Shoe-string budgets – Everyone knows musicians are skint but think about the skill it takes to live off pennies while building a business with nothing but time. When I was 17 years old I moved out on my own while I was at music college, I would get UK income support which worked out at £36.15 ($50) a week to live my life. I’ve never been so rich in my life because as a musician my budgeting skills were better than any financial director!
- Integrity – Musicians are all about credibility, we love the idea of shortcuts but scoff at anyone who hasn’t paid their dues and lucked out. We want to build something that people believe in more than money. Show me a musician who got into the industry for money and I will unpack the straight jacket! We want acceptance and someone to believe in us and what we are trying to achieve and usually will give everything away for that value.
- The ‘Cool Factor’ – Every business I have ever been involved in hasn’t been ground breaking or unique, it’s been better and usually 10% cooler than the competition. Musicians understand that this is a fashion based world that we live in and people care about their own brand and what they attach themselves to. ‘If you have to explain why something is cool… It’s not cool’ -Jeremy Clarkson.
- Specialism – While musicians might bring many skills to a team they are always a specialist. They have spent years honing their craft and painstakingly improving something to perfect it. Many business owners and managers are great at the big picture but miss the detail, musicians usually have the opposite problem and want to spend time perfecting something and have an eye for detail.
- Non-Committal – This is a weird one but as a business owner I have had several business failures where I should have jumped ship earlier to save money and time but my ego and stubbornness stopped me. Musicians are looking for the big win so if a bigger opportunity comes along most will jump ship before the guy has finished shouting ‘ICEBERG’. Musicians are good at self preservation because it’s a selfish industry so analysing what’s best for you and making that decision can be very helpful.
- Pay-Offs – Us muso’s love a good pay off and ours comes in the form of gigging, standing on stage performing. It’s our addiction and however bad things are, the moment we walk on that stage everything is coming up Milhouse! These mini pay off’s keep pushing and driving us through the hardships and disasters. In business we rarely do this, we keep going and don’t have these moments where ‘Nothing Else Matters’ to quote Metallica.
- Emotion – Musicians have the ability to trigger emotion instantly! To pick up an instrument and make someone laugh, cry, hurt or even angry is such a powerful tool. Brand is built on emotion and storytelling and musicians have the ability to bring that to the table faster than anyone, however business owners have a story which can be exciting and inspiring you just have to tell it.
- Passion – If I could go back and start again would I take a different path? No way! I’m so proud to be a musician and I genuinely LOVE what i do and the feeling it gives me seeing people enjoy my playing/music. If I can bring 10% of that passion and love to business I will always be successful! Love what you do because you only get one shot at this life!