Thursday, September 1, 2011
Stop PLAYING Business
As musicians and artists we are mostly focused on making great music and creative product. We spend the bulk of our time cultivating our skills and talents so we don't always make time to truly focus on business. We end up thinking that we can approach the business side of our career with the same compassion that we approach the creative side with. By doing this we end up building businesses that do great work but don't make us enough money, not because we our not skilled but because we are not ALL about our business. I submit to you today that it is time to stop PLAYING business. We do shows, write songs, produce records . . .etc, and when people hire us they won't settle for anything less than our best yet we constantly allow clients to treat us with disrespect. Let me explain. I run a studio and in this business I'm usually working all over the country either performing, recording and/or administrating. When people hire us they brag about how great the product is but it seems that people just have a problem paying what the product is worth and even when you settle on a price they feel like they can take forever to pay you. Now they don't seem to realize that you have over head that has to be met to insure that you can deliver them this great product. Well here's a news flash: THEY DO REALIZE IT! The issue is that we are often too nice to people. We give away too much free advice or information. We don't make people see the value of our years of experience therefor they attempt to pimp us and pay us slowly or try to hustle out of paying the full amount. This only occurs because we are nice people and we are PLAYING business. From now on we have to be firm about our business. Always do a written agreement that states what the project is and what's to be expected from both you and the client. Be sure to include a firm payment schedule and define the time of completion. Most clients don't seem to understand that time is money and when they don't pay on time and prolong the schedule, they are taking money from you because you are now wasting time with them when you were supposed to be done and own to another client. It some case you will have to decline a project or be prepared to shelve it. When it come to recording, mixing, consulting . . .etc, DO NOTHING THAT YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAID FOR. If you have a payment schedule and the client misses, give them a few days grace but anything pass that and you have to stop working until they pay. When clients know that you are this serious about your business, you won't have any issues and your bottom line will reflect it. You need to also be careful about charity cases. If people want to be in this business, it's not your responsibility to pay their way or give them a free ride. As much as you want to help people, you only enable them by not making them pay their own way into the game. Your time and experience are worth a lot and don't fall for the hype speech's and promises. I've had too many artists make these promises when getting something for nothing only to diss you when the product is done. Now what I mean by diss is things like not properly crediting your contribution to the project and making it appear that they did it all themselves and when you make a mention of your spec deal or compensation they get an attitude as if they have done as much as you when they didn't pay you a dime up front. It's best to just do good business and for anyone that can't do business the proper way then don't work with them. Some have even told me that I give away too much in my blogs but I see this as good business because it's education for us as artists and for potential clients. Understand that my book will discuss these topics in much greater detail and that piece will cost money but sharing is never a bad thing. This is how we learn from each other but malice and disrespect can no longer be tolerated. Let's stop PLAYING business and get OUR money. Let the hype men make speeches and the dreamers dream while we get PAID. We are not dreamers, we are visionaries. We make dreams a reality by LIVING them not talking about them. Now go take care of YOUR business. Enjoy the journey.
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