What separates music professionals from amateurs

Amateur, Professional, Music Business, Music Industry

No two words are more frequently uttered by aspiring music professionals than “I’m gonna.” This fact is not based on science, nor is the second word even technically a word, but fifteen years of industry chats have proven it true nonetheless. Aspiring professionals love to talk about what they’re ‘gonna’ do. The bands they’re gonna work with, the show they’re gonna go to, the story they’re gonna write, etc.

No one cares about what you’re gonna do. Everyone cares about you’re doing right now.

The main difference between amateurs and professionals is a willingness to do the work required to reach the position they desire. Great ideas and a desire to good for others in music alone so not enough. True professionals put action behind their thought, and they do so without having to be given permission or motivation from the outside world.

The pursuit of dreams alone is not enough. Everyone is chasing a dream. Everyone wishes to be something more than what they are right now. The problem is most folks stop at wishing. In order to break from the herd and separate yourself as a professional, you have to be willing to dig and do the work. It’s both as simple and as difficult as that.

If you don’t know where to begin, turn to someone who does. Find a professional doing the job you’d like to have and express your interest in the business. Do research on your own as well (no one likes to be asked questions that could be answered with a single Google search).

Start with a single decision: Today will be different. Star there and make good on it. With a little time and a lot of hard work, making moves on your own will become second nature. Others will soon take notice and life will change, but that only happens if you take it upon yourself to do the 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.