In this episode, Jared shares his story of how he made a living as a musician. After graduating from music school and struggling to find work as a musician, he decided to shift his focus to private events. He learned how to market himself and sell his services to private clients, and eventually started a software company to help automate the process.
Hey everyone, I just wanted to share with you how I went from broke musician with a low sense of self about my music to a full time musician and just a matter of a few months without winning my auditions. And without knowing the right people without luck. So as many of you know, I went to music school twice. I am a very passionate musician. And it's been my lifelong dream to make a living as a performing musician. So that's why I went to undergrad for music education. And then I wanted to get back on the path of performing and went to grad school for orchestra conducting. As I was approaching my like, last couple of months of grad school, it was time to start taking auditions, because that's what you do to make your living like to win that spot at an orchestra. So I was taking those auditions flying across the country. And I what happened was really embarrassing. And this is where like it crushed my self worth was I started to lose those auditions. You know, I lost one and then I lost another and then I flew out to Washington, DC to audition with the US Air Force band. And it was an amazing event because I was actually a finalist in that audition, which they chose five finalists, you had to take a music theory test. And then you got to conduct the US Air Force Band, which has some of the best musicians in the country, and I got to conduct them. And it was a thrilling experience on its own. And I learned so much from that experience. But after my audition, the commander of the band pulled me into his office, and I was really nervous, like kind of excited, am I getting the job. But he said close the door, please and said that was a great audition. But you got second place, we only have one spot. So sorry, come see us again next year. And I was crushed because I was working so hard. And I just thought that this was going to be it. And unfortunately, it wasn't it which meant I had to go back to the drawing board. On the plane ride home, I was literally looking up like, oh my god, do I need to get a teaching job, what's the teacher certification process in Wisconsin because I was a teacher in New Jersey before. But I didn't know how that worked in Wisconsin. And so I was feeling real bad about myself. But then luckily, I saw a bulletin board post in the music building about a club that the business school was sponsoring, which was called the UWM Student Startup Challenge. And at this challenge there, they promised that they will help you launch your next startup business or project. And I was like feeling so like desperate that I figured maybe I should stop taking advice from my music teachers and start learning from the business people who it's their job to learn how to make money. And so I did I signed up for this challenge went to the first meeting, not knowing anybody feeling very out of place. And then they start talking about things that I had no idea what they were talking about. Because you know, business people speak a different language. But I stuck with it, I was out of my comfort zone. But I decided to stick with it. Because I knew that like if I tried it out, perhaps it could change something for me. So within a couple of weeks of me joining the challenge, they helped me launch Dream City Music, which is my music company that serves private events, we do weddings, corporate events, etc. At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do. But they taught me like let's launch it. Let's figure out some basic marketing pieces. Let's figure out who are you going to sell your musical services to? Is it going to be the public events that pay you 75 bucks and a pitcher of beer to play at their bar? And ultimately, it was decided no, that I'm not going to do that because I can't play enough of those to actually make a full time salary off of that in a year. So then we figured out that public events are not the right way. How about private events like weddings, corporate events, etc. And we did some customer discovery interviews, we're actually got to chat with wedding planners and wedding venue owners and realize like, these weddings can pay a ton of money per wedding. They'll pay musicians that because they want an experience that their guests will remember forever and live music provides that. And then they said it's not just weddings who want this, like these wedding venues also host corporate events too. And they need musicians all the time. And they're willing to fork over 1000s of dollars per gig. For that to happen. It was amazing. But of course, I still hadn't booked my first one yet. So I go back to the Student Startup Challenge, say hey, I interviewed all these people. Now how do I start to sell a gig? They taught me the basics of marketing in a way that a musician understands because hey, I wasn't a business major. We launched a website. I started to drive some traffic to it and All of a sudden, I got my first wedding inquiry. They said, Hey, we're getting married, we're looking for somebody to play. Are you interested? And I was like, so excited. This was my first opportunity to go off on my own and actually build my music career for myself. So I responded back I really I said, Yes, I'm available, here's my rate, which was much lower than it should have been. And they said, Yes. And I was just so pumped. And they sent me a check, which that was like, holy cow, like I'm making a living for myself off of music. Of a couple months later, I play their wedding, they give me a nice tip. And then I got hooked. And I realized, I just need to repeat this over and over again, until I can, you know, stack on enough gigs to make what I need to make in a given year. And I've done that, I implemented systems and processes and actually launched a whole software company called BookLive, to automate a lot of the busy admin work. And now, not only have I done this for myself, but I've also given awards to some of the other musicians who I've helped to do this. It's a Six Figure Award for booking six figures and private events. And how this helps you guys is I want you to realize that if you're feeling really low about your music, or if you're unsure of how to make this work, maybe you have graduated from music school, maybe you don't have a degree in music, but you still have this passion to make a living doing what you love and play music. It's possible. Like I know that you you might start out feeling like really eager and then you you start to realize it's a lot harder than you think it is. Because how do you get the word out there about you? And how do you deal with when, you know, borrowers try to lowball you and try to give you 75 bucks for playing music for entertaining their crowd. But it just takes a little mindset shift, which it took for me a mindset shift of like, stop playing these concerts for free. Stop playing musical theater shows for under minimum wage, stop paying to be in festivals, focus on private events, learn to market yourself, learn to sell. And once I had that perspective, shift and realize like, focus on the people that can pay you money, then the money will come. And once the money comes, that makes it easier for you to do the things that you love, and not spend time, at a part time job working Starbucks or taking on more private students, which you know, I was a private teacher too. But like, you don't have to if you're making a living doing what you love, which is awesome. So I want you to realize that it is possible. And even though I had very low self esteem about my music after losing audition after audition, like the thing is learning these marketing skills doesn't really rely on your self worth of your music, like, learn these skills, and it'll elevate your self worth as a musician because people already want what you have to offer. People want you exactly as you are, you don't have to change who you are, you just have to figure out how to reach these people, and then sell your services to them. So I hope that helps you. And if you got any value out of this, if any of this is landing for you resonating with you go ahead and share this video. Chances are that there is another musician in your world right now, who maybe has just graduated or they graduated from music school a while ago and they're unfortunately having to fund their music hobby through a full time job or a part time job. And they could really benefit from hearing this today. So please feel free to share it with them and also drop me a music emoji if you got any out of this too. So thank you so much for watching.