Don’t get comfortable

It is the dream of every adult to find job security. For those of you who have never heard of such a thing, job security refers to a job where long-term employment is yours, just so long as you don’t royally mess up. This kind of work was once even considered the ‘American Dream,’ but that employment does not exist in the music business.

No one reaches full-time employment in music by chance or sheer will alone. Success in this business is earned through the total work put in overtime, and for most, it takes many years to reach a point where they do not have to worry whether or not their bills will be paid from one month to the next. Even when they get there, and if they do everything right, there is still a better than 50% chance something beyond their control will change their trajectory within five years time.

Don’t let this break you. If you want to work in music then you have to accept the fact you the hustle really never ends. That doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7, but it does mean you need to be constantly pushing yourself towards bigger and better things. Full-time employment is not enough. Paying your bills is not enough. It’s not about money and it’s not about things. Longterm success in music is about constant personal development, both for yourself and for those around you.

Several years ago the head of publicity at an iconic heavy metal label told me that he challenged himself to develop a new skill every year that would – in some way – aide him in life. The year we spoke he had set to learning video editing, and by the following spring, he was making additional money creating promotional clips and lyric videos for bands of all sizes. He was also creating more interesting content for work, which in turn helped push the label forward.

We apply a similar practice here at Haulix. We invest in the skills our marketing and sales team need, such as public speaking and graphic design. We encourage our programmers to be creative with their designs, make training available to support team members, and hold weekly meetings to discuss the economics of our market with the entire team present. We don’t want our team to understand our business alone, we want them to understand the industry and our role in it, as well as that of all our competitors.

So ask yourself: What don’t I know?

The answer will shock you.

…And once the shock settles, get to work.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.