The new year is upon us, and the time has come to put all those resolutions into action! Plenty of people have pledged to save money, lose weight, or get into shape, but there is so much more than can be done to improve your life and get you where you want to be career-wise. If none of your resolutions are job-focused, here are some ideas:
Respond To Everything Quickly!
This is something I personally want to work on, and it is a good idea for everyone working (anywhere). Anything that comes in that could result in a paid gig or promotion—whether from someone you’ve hired to get you shows, and especially if you’re doing the work yourself—should be answered as quickly as possible. If a blogger wants to interview you or needs something to write about your band, get on it! Leaving people waiting for an answer is not only unprofessional, it will really tick them off, and the’ll be much less likely to reach out to you again.
Now, this isn’t to say that you need to play every show or work with every single person who reaches out to you, just that you need to answer them. Nobody can do everything, but you should at least let people know. If it’s a no, make sure you have a really good reason and that you say so as soon as possible so the other person can make other arrangements. Also, make sure to say you would love to try again in the future—you never know when someone might need your services again.
Meet The Right New People
As someone in the music industry, professional networking is important. A lot of job offers and gig opportunities are given to friends, colleagues, or even those that people somewhat know over complete strangers, so having a good-sized group of friends and acquaintances is important.
In 2015, try to not only meet plenty of new people everywhere you go and online, but make an effort to form relationships with those who can be helpful to you and your career. If there is someone you’ve always admired in your field, why not reach out to them and see if they’d like to come see you perform or if they are free for coffee sometime? It is never rude to do so, and even if they say no or don’t respond, it is likely they’ll be flattered and that they will remember you.
Do this with those in positions to get you work, as well as those who may have good advice. Mentors are helpful to everyone—don’t think you’re above having one! That could be a musician who is making it work, or someone who has the kind of job you’d like to have years from now. They aren’t too difficult to find, and you never know what will come out of a quick lunch or beer meeting.
Learn To Do Something New
Even if you’re doing well in your career, staying still isn’t the same as moving forward, and you should always be looking for ways to improve yourself and grow. Now, this “something new” can be almost anything, especially if you’re able to connect it to your job and your upward mobility.
Learn a new language, take a class on web or graphic design, or even practice a new instrument. You don’t need to spend all your time on this new “something”, but by the end of the year you should have acquired a new skill, at least at the beginner level. Any of the ideas mentioned (and so many more) can be added to your resumé, which can never be too full. Even if you’re a working musician and that doesn’t mean much, one of these items could help save you money, or even help you make some extra cash on the side. Tired of paying someone to mix your albums? Learn to do it yourself, and the benefits will be made apparent pretty quickly.
Up Your Output By Ten Percent
The number ten is arbitrary here, but the idea isn’t. Try working just a little bit harder on everything you do this year, just to see if it’s the kick in the pants your career needed. Did you write and record twenty songs last year? Why not go for a few more? If you played fifty shows, it might be possible to tack a few new cities onto an upcoming tour, hopefully bringing in a few extra bucks and adding new fans to your base.
The trick here is not letting your new work ethic hurt you in the process. If you feel your songs are getting worse as you try to write more of them, slow down and try increasing your work somewhere else. Certainly producing more of something will be a good thing!
Do (Or Plan To Do) Something Exciting
Money and time is tight for all of us, but this is our one life, and we should enjoy it! Let this be the year where you quit the job you hate and really try to make it work in what you want to be doing. It may not work out, but if you never try, you’ll never know.
If you’re already in the field you want to be in, make your resolution be to go somewhere or do something big you’ve never done before. Fly to another continent and play some shows, even if nobody knows you and you don’t make any money. Record that song you always thought about, but were always too scared to. This shouldn’t be something that will bankrupt you or hurt your career (if you already have the one you want), but it should be big! Get out of your comfort zone and great things can happen.