I remember working as young as 13 (shhh!) installing floors, painting walls, and doing other manual labor jobs.
Even since that young of an age, I knew that I wanted to have a career in music. I wanted to make money making hit songs that everybody loves. So, any step I could afford to take toward that goal I did.
What I really wanted was the financial freedom to spend my days doing what I love… making music. I wanted to be able to make my own hours fueling my creativity instead of fueling some other job.
Unfortunately, there always appeared to be this roadblock stopping me from getting my career off the ground. This was the roadblock of money. Work seemed to help me make a little progress, but everything was so expensive. Studio time, producers, gear, music courses, marketing, and a billion other expenses all seemed to be plotting to keep me from making it off the ground.
“90% of people use equipment as the excuse to why they’re not winning when it’s just f****** not true.” — Gary Vaynechuk
I’m a firm believer that pressure makes diamonds. God designed nature to use pressure as the catalyst to create diamonds. I believe the same is true of human creativity. While working in jobs that meant little if anything to me during my early years put lots of pressure on me. It put on the pressure of draining my time and energy for meager compensation. But it changed me for the better.
While I had used the expenses associated with creating music as an excuse for why I wasn’t growing as much as I could, the jobs I worked allowed me to incrementally improve my setup. It also put on the pressure to really work at my craft and sort out what I was doing on the business end so I could grow and eventually replace my income.
Working a day job was never something I enjoyed, but it was truly a powerful catalyst that pushed me to really pour out the energy I had left into developing my skillset. Some necessary life lessons (read: bad decisions) also kicked my a$$ along the way, but through it all the pressure continued to shape me.
Along the way, I had to learn crucial skills like budgeting, accounting, and not being a generally self-centered jerk. The result of that was mind blowing.
I’d once been blacklisted from every bank I applied to. Now my saving and investment accounts keep getting bigger and bigger. I’ve not made the full leap to full time self-employment, but my music now supplements my income in a significant way and I’m moving closer and closer toward full time entrepreneurship. Most important, I actually get to make music I love for other people!
Today, I believe the result of paying it forward and serving my community through my work has developed a mindset and ethic in me to be someone who adds value to others. This is reflected not only in the way I do business, but also in the actual art I create. The grace of God and the power of paying it forward has allowed me to do what I love!