Making It In The Music Business (Pt. 1) // Tim Houlihan

It’s Never Too Late to Start Your Music Career

I started playing guitar when I was 11 and started gigging as a solo singer when I was 14, in jazz duos and trios and in rock bands throughout high school, then attended a music conservatory (for classical guitar) believing that a professional guitarist is diverse in his skills. I was preparing to play music for a living. 

But things changed. I went to business school, got married, had kids and playing music professionally was put on the back burner. Music was always on the stove top, just not front and center. Today I am a consultant in applied behavioral economics and I played 52 shows last year. My goals changed along the way and I’m here to tell you that’s okay.

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No matter how old you are and what your playing ability is, you’re reading this because you have desire. That’s the best place to start. Once you realize you have desire, your life in music will be best served by setting goals. Here are three things to keep in mind as you begin to set goals:

Be Reasonable. Not everyone is going to be Beyoncé and fortunately, most of you don’t want to be Beyoncé. You can still be a success even if you don’t play to stadiums full of people! Set your sights on doing what you love to do most: writing, recording, producing, performing and practicing your skills. 
Cut Your Own Path. Your path is totally your own. There is not a single rock-star biography that follows the same play book. Each musician/artist has their own path to bring their art to the world. And that’s great news because it allows you to be YOU. So embrace your uniqueness and bring your own voice to your own career path. Keep in mind that James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem was 32 years old before he started to make it.
Be Gentle with Yourself. Life has its ups and downs so don’t punish yourself whenever something doesn’t go right. If you play enough shows, you’ll have some that bomb. If you write enough songs, song will be terrible but some might be great. And when things go south, just pick yourself up, dust off your knees and get back in the game. Also, changing up your goals is totally acceptable, too. If you see your talent will fit better in a different light, go there. Give it a try…the worst that could happen is that it adds uniqueness to your own personal journey.

In the next 2 parts of this series, I’ll talk about the types of goals that maximize your success and then how to actually create those goals. 

In the meantime: Never. Give. Up. Never.

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