Consider your investment in your career: the time, money, and effort you’ve put into your music career advancement. My question for you is: what’s the return on that investment. What’s the ROI of your music career work?
This came up for me last week in a series of inspiring conversations with clients.
With the start of the academic year and concert season — now’s a good time for all of us to consider this question.
Think about whether your career development work has been paying off. Not all the practicing and study and degrees. But the work on self-promotion, networking, booking concerts, and creating opportunities. Consider how satisfied you are with the effort you’ve put in and the progress you’ve made.
When it comes to investing in your career, think strategically.
You may feel unsure about where and how to invest in your career. There are always too many choices and there’s never enough time, money, or energy for it all.
For example, if your goal is to book more concerts it may be unclear what to tackle first.
On your own, it’s not easy to know what’s actually been holding you back. It may be your programming, your promo materials, or your email pitches. Or maybe it’s a matter of which presenters to target.
To improve your bookings, you might record a promo video, overhaul your website, and/or focus on your email outreach and networking.
You can’t do it all at once so it’s a question of what to tackle first—and how. Without objective feedback and perspective, you may be navigating in the dark without a compass.
Working on all of this on your own can be frustrating and overwhelming.
Let’s talk expectations. If you invest time, money, and effort in moving forward in your career, what kind of results should you expect?
If you upgrade your bio, website, social media habits, and your sound clips, does that guarantee more bookings?
Not necessarily. Because even if you have super compelling promo materials, it still rides on the pitches you send out, who you’re targeting, what you’re offering, and how you handle the follow-ups.
Each link in the chain matters.
In addition, it may take more than one season of pitches for you to start to register on presenters’ radar screens. Having the stamina and resilience to hang in there—and not taking the inevitable rejections personally—that’s all part of the territory.
There’s no quick fix
It’s a process of tweaking your approach, improving your materials over time, and building your network connections and track record.
Let’s compare the return on investment in related contexts.
The ROI of the practice room
Think about the last hour you invested in practicing. Consider what you achieved, what the “pay off” was. I hope you zeroed in on specific passages and skills. And that you heard actual improvements and acknowledged them.
Those are the short-term gains, good for motivating you for the consistent daily work needed to build long-term growth.
Because, as we all know, practice is a long-term investment.
In terms of your career prospects, think about the ROI of deliberate daily practice. The value of reflective, focused work over time is priceless.
Think of the many years of practice it has taken you to see a substantial return financially and opportunity-wise in your career.
So if you haven’t been pitching presenters consistently and strategically over time, don’t expect an immediate return. The ratio of booking pitches accepted is not unlike grant proposals: 10 (or higher) to 1. It’s a numbers game and a “learn and improve as you go” proposition.
The ROI of blog writing
Another example is my writing this weekly blog. There’s the time put into this labor of love over the past (OMG!) eight years.
I might ask myself what I have to show for all this work. What it’s brought to career coaching practice and my bottom line . . .
In terms of a correlation between blog post readers and clients, that’s pretty murky. Yes, some of my prospective clients come to me through reading my blog—that’s how they get to know me first. But that’s not everybody.
And of course it’s not the blog alone that prompts people to inquire about coaching. So I can’t honestly say that my blog writing itself produces clients. It helps, but it’s not the sole factor.
So there’s no clear ROI statistics for my blog work. What I can say is this. My blog writing has helped me enormously—actually it’s forced me—to clarify ideas and to get honest with myself. It’s gotten me to confront my own challenges and short-comings.
Writing this blog has been a learning journey. It’s given me a window through which I can explore the world. It’s made me a better coach and a better person.
I feel enormously grateful to you, my readers. For your feedback, comments, and questions. This has been an amazing vehicle for my professional development and my personal growth.
But if I had started writing the blog 8 years ago expecting it to directly lead to clients, I would have been woefully disappointed. Building a reputation and a community of interested readers—that takes an investment over time.
The ROI of upgrading your promo materials
Consider how this connects to your investment in a new bio, a new website, or a promo video. All of these take time and money. And for most of us, there’s also an emotional investment.
Creating effective promo materials takes real soul searching.
For most musicians, working on promo materials on your own is painful.
It brings up all of our self-esteem gremlins and fears about not being good enough. We compare ourselves to others and lose sight of our own purpose and story.
Without objective feedback most of us end up with generic-sounding bios and cobbled-together websites. Promo materials that reek of the scarcity mindset, low self-esteem, and of trying to “prove ourselves” worthy. And of course, we’re all limited by our own perspectives. We don’t know what we don’t know.
What’s the ROI of career coaching?
One of the best things about coaching is that it provides accountability. With accountability we stop hiding from the necessary scary steps needed to move our career forward. And the real challenges quickly emerge. The mindset obstacles, and the fear and self-judgment that has been blocking our career growth.
What I can tell you is this: once you clarify and articulate who you really are and the “why” behind your music-making, you can step into a new light. You stop comparing yourself to others. Stop trying to prove your worth. And instead, get down to doing the necessary, consistent, and yes scary work of connecting and inviting people in.
And your networking, pitching, and music-making can now come from a place of open generosity.
How can we calculate whether the time and money we invest is worth it?
If you create a new bio, website, and promo video, and viewers who come to your website now gain a distinctive, memorable, and authentic sense of who you are . . . what’s that worth to you?
What’s a first impression worth? What is a finding new self-confidence worth to you? What’s clarity of your mission worth?
These are the building blocks of creating momentum in your career so you can book more and better performances, and finally become the artist you are meant to be.
I hope considering the question for yourself — what’s the ROI of your music career work? — will help you move forward this week.
Got questions about your music career? Hit me up in our exclusive Musicians Making It Facebook group — happy to have you join the conversation!
Let’s get your career in forward motion,