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Are you DIY or DIAY?

June 18, 2014

Sure, you know what DIY means: Do it Yourself. You can write your own songs, record yourself, book yourself, market yourself, finance yourself, maintain that website yourself, play lawyer yourself, keep track of the books yourself…you get the idea. But have you ever screwed yourself…by trying to do it all? That’s what happens when an artist takes those three letters too literally.

Avoid DIAY
DIY doesn’t have to mean Doing It ALL Yourself. If you get stuck in the trap of doing it all by your lonesome, here are some of the mistakes that will probably occur:

*Amateur looking web site, graphics, print collateral, etc.
*Amateur recordings and maybe amateur songs too
*Legal woes (see the Independent Contractors series here)
*Tax and accounting mishaps
*Errors in judgment about gig details/commitments
*Poor live sound quality
*Poor show attendance

Let’s stop right there and cut to the chase. There are some things you may do very well, and some you outright stink at doing. The average human being is only really good at about 3-7 activities (let’s hope being a great musician is one of yours). Beyond 7, the number of activities you attempt to do will decrease in skill from average, to mediocre, to downright pathetic. Focus on what you do well (and love) and delegate the rest.

A band manager is a great place to start the delegations. Can’t afford one? Read this article to discover affordable ways to get one. In an ideal world, you would have: a band manager, PR agent, business manager, lawyer, A&R manager, booking agent, accountant, writer, acting coach, choreographer, arranger, tour manager, roadies, photographer, audio engineer, financial planner, and throw in a psychiatrist and personal assistant for good measure. All of these people have the potential to help you make more money.

Do you think Madonna does her own costume designing and choreography?

Do you think Madonna does her own costume designing and choreography?

No Dinero?
What? You can’t possibly afford to hire even one of these people? Then don’t expect the success of an Elvis, a Michael Jackson, a Madonna or Beyonce. But don’t give up hope. Figure out the 3-7 things you do incredibly well and focus on doing them every single day. Then figure out what you don’t do well and try one of these strategies to delegate:

*Barter – there’s got to be something you could exchange for another person’s talents. Perform at their kid’s birthday party? Teach them guitar?
*Expand your social circle – friends help friends. Are you friends with lawyers or accountants, or business coaches?
*Do It Virtually – read up on areas where you are weak. But match this information up with people that have real life experience. Which leads us to…
*Find a mentor – experienced musicians love to share. If they aren’t in the mood to share, chances are they will be willing to barter. Make yourself useful to them.
*Kickstart your team – yes, you could do a fund raiser of some sort to employ the personnel that you know you need. Hold a house concert at a wealthy friend’s place, explain what you are doing and why. Then allocate the funds as needed for future personnel work.

Remember, you can do anything you want in life…but you can’t do everything you want; that’s a sure recipe for failure. Likewise, you don’t have to do it ALL yourself…

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