If you’ve been reading along at the Muze blog over the past several weeks, you may be noticing a pattern: we’ve been talking a lot about the creative process, and how success in the music industry is not a destination, but a journey.
We’ve covered ways to find joy in the process itself, and we’ve shared tips on how to keep yourself functioning at an optimal level as you move, step by step, toward greater artistic fulfillment. These ideas are great to keep in mind, no matter where you are on your road to success.
For many of us – especially those starting out – continuing down that road and keeping all aspects of our lives in balance can feel easier said than done. This is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of us who embark on a creative path do so without industry connections, and with finite resources (i.e. the cash necessary to feed the beast) to help us along the way. At one point or another, most of us will be employed outside of our passions in order to keep them going.
Although it can feel daunting to get up and go to a job – especially one you don’t like – when you’d rather be working on your vision, the good news is that there are still many positives to take forward from this leg of the journey. In fact, your seemingly unrelated “day job” might hold the keys to your success down the road.
P.S.: Don’t just take my word for it. Many of your peers are fighting the same battle as you, and you’ll find them here on Muze. Sign up today, and share the lessons you’re learning along the journey!
Your day job will teach you skills you didn’t know you needed as a creative entrepreneur.
If you’ve been following our content for a minute, you already know that, in the 21st Century, it takes more than musical talent to succeed in the music industry. You’re an independent contractor, and music is your product. However, you’ll struggle to get people to consume that product if you don’t operate from a business mindset.
No matter your line of work, there are certain non-negotiable skills that are transferrable between industries, and their development is essential to your growth and success as a professional. Forbes came out with a nifty list of these skills a few years ago, and they are as follows:
- Critical Thinking
This article contains a full breakdown of why each of these skills is important. And, regardless of whether you love your 9-to-5, there are opportunities all around you to sharpen these skills. Then, when you feel ready to take “the leap” into a full-time creative pursuit, you’ll be professionally savvy, and better equipped to stick the landing.
What if your day job doesn’t provide you with opportunities to develop these skills? In that case, it may benefit you to begin searching for a new one that will help shore up the holes in your game.
Your day job will help you appreciate – and better manage – the time you do have to work on your vision.
No matter where you are on the creative journey – and regardless of whether your passions are a side hustle or a full-time gig – one thing is certain: there will be moments when you won’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Time management is essential to entrepreneurs in any industry, and when you only have a few hours each day (at best) to work on your vision – not to mention, a personal life to manage – it becomes even more important.
Use the time constraints placed on you by the 9-to-5 to assess what’s truly important. Which tasks and projects are essential to moving the plan forward? Which ones can wait for another day? Which ones can be removed from the plan entirely? What other time wasters can you eliminate? Identify those, and adjust your routine around them.
Your day job will better equip you to respond to adversity.
We’ve all had those jobs that test our mettle. We don’t particularly care for the work or the environment but, due to some necessity in our own lives, we need to push through – even through daunting challenges and unpleasant circumstances.
While it’s never advisable to stay in an unhealthy environment, there is something to be said about the resolve it takes to make the best of a bad situation. That sentiment is echoed in this article from The Ladders, which points out ways to respond to adversity in the workplace, and how that adversity helps us grow into more capable, balanced professionals.
Knowing how to respond to challenges is an essential skill for whenever you choose to take the leap into full-time self-employment. There will be a lot of trial and error – and perhaps, some extremely adverse situations – as you navigate life as a creative entrepreneur. These times will seem far less daunting if you are able to draw from prior circumstances where you’ve encountered – and overcome – great challenges.
Your day job will help bring you into alignment with what’s right for you – and your creative vision.
This could work one of two ways. First – and, to piggyback on the previous example – a day job that you don’t enjoy will help re-direct your life compass toward opportunities that are better suited for you. By process of elimination, each experience that teaches us what we don’t want naturally brings us closer to what we do want. On the flip side, you may find (or already have) a day job that you truly enjoy. Maybe the environment is a good fit, or maybe your role has helped you uncover new abilities and passions that serve your creative vision. It is important to embrace these as opportunities for growth, as well – even as you move on to focus full-time on your musical goals, you’ll be able to draw from these positive experiences, and inform both the processes and the culture behind your own creative enterprise.