Tag Archives: independent musician

Facing Fears Surrounding Money By Going To £0?

So what would happen if I ran out of money, with no job and no freelance work booked? It’s something I’m afraid of but it’s never happened to me. What would happen if I went to that point on purpose to conquer my fear of going to zero? It would be a lifestyle experiment.

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Stuff that I may have absolutely none of soon.

 

In my last post, I asked myself why I gave up a steady job as a University Lecturer in order to live in a van, with no current income planned? Let’s be clear about this – I also refuse to draw benefits. What right do I have to ask for state benefits when I can work, but have chosen not to? This leaves me in a very insecure position, with a van to run and only a couple of hundred left in the bank.

One reason that I quit my job is that even though it was only part time, it still didn’t leave me enough time to spend being creative as a singer songwriter. I had spent 5 years working on the same album in fits and starts, but after giving up my teaching job in March, I finished the album within the space of a month by working on it full time. Soon, I’ll start the process of promoting and releasing it by working full time at that… but first, a lifestyle experiment.

Here are some lifestyles I could have:

  1. Being employed part time = have enough money but not enough time for creativity (I already gave up this lifestyle at the end of March 2014)
  2. Having no job = have enough time for creativity, but where will the money come from? (this is where I am now)
  3. Doing freelance work = likely to be the same as option 1. In my experience, being self-employed takes up more time than a part time teaching job. (done this before)
  4. Being picked up by a record company or publisher = Being paid to be a singer-songwriter – but only if the deal is right! (If it’s going to come along, it will come along in it’s own time.)

I’m currently living in option 2 and wondering if a better version of option 3 is possible. Is it possible to make a good living from freelance work and have enough time to be a singer-songwriter? It would have to be done by either living on less money, or earning more per self-employed-hour.

But all 4 ideas are about earning enough MONEY to live on. There is another option – go Moneyless.

The Moneyless Man (Mark Boyle) lives without money and has devoted his life to helping others do the same. He lives an modest life and has everything he needs, but he gets what he needs without using money.

At first, I couldn’t see what the difference was between getting what you need with money or without it. Then I took a closer look and realised that money encourages a lot of negative tendencies in people that don’t exist with trade. Money can be hoarded (it’s called “saving”), an obsession with profit or gaining status through money is likely. People are constantly afraid of running out of money.

I am constantly afraid of running out of money.

I’m not planning to go moneyless, but what would happen if I let my money run out on purpose? Once my bank account reached zero I could begin to seek sources of freelance income, but not until then. The rule would be that even if I was struggling, I could neither borrow, beg nor steal, neither could I start living on hand-outs. I would have to earn, trade, or womble (to womble: to make good use of the things that the everyday folks leave behind) in order to make a living and work upwards from there.

The purpose of the challenge would be to try and dismantle the fears that I have around money. I can’t decide if I want to go moneyless or not, but if I AM to keep using money, I must stop being afraid of it. I could start trying to build a freelance business for myself right now, whilst I’ve still got money in the bank, but if I did, I’d always be afraid of going to £0. If I take this opportunity to go to £0 now and find that I can work up from there, then I can stop being afraid.

Just to be clear, this is not about some middle class kid irresponsibly running out of cash, having a hard time for a month or two and then thinking they know all about what it is to be poor. I would never presume to understand how poverty affects people just because I’d carried out a brief lifestyle experiment. This challenge would be solely about facing my own personal fears and issues surrounding money.

So what do you think? Should I do it? Comments welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Shh… don't let them know I've got NO drive to succeed

(Originally posted to my Facebook account, on Thursday, 21 April 2011 at 11:28)

When it comes to aims in life, we have to start from where we are and build up brick by brick. I have been pondering on the truth of this with regards to music recently.

I have observed that there is a current trend for a major label to back and artist for 2 albums. If the first is successful they will fund a second, but by the time a 3rd is required, a record label can get a much better buzz by funding a new band. The artist can be at best, left to their own devices with the benefit of 2 tours under their belt, or at worst deliberately buried by the record label.

In this industry there is a strange pressure to succeed very quickly, and build up what would be considered a ridiculous curve of profit in a very short space of time, compared to any other business model. Record labels love to pick up 18 year olds and make them international success stories, so there’s a pressure for unsigned/independent artists to compete, and make it nationally/internationally by the age of 25 at least.  They also love to pick people with no history in the industry and turn them into national heros within a few months (X Factor etc).

In reality, for an independent artist, a comfortable curve of development to reach that level of success from ground zero in a stable way is a minimum of 10 years. And it’s becoming my increasing belief that if it were to take even longer, for example, 20 or 50 years, far from calling that a failure, it may be an even more pleasant journey.

In fact, this capitalist concept of success is ultimately damaging. The act of being a musician is just this: Make music. Make music make music…. and the rest will come as a product. A person who loves making music will make music every day for all the days of their lives, and eventually, by cause an effect this will cut out how their life will go. They may be asked to play for others, or teach others, or share music in some other ways. And naturally, since they gravitate towards these suggestions they will accept opportunities as they come. But ultimately, if they are genuinely a musician then they will feel fulfilled when they are making music every day, and this will flow easily. I truly believe that there are ways of doing this without having to struggle, or feel pressure to succeed.

To everyone out there who is struggling for money as a professional musician, here are a couple of ideas that I like.

-I’d rather be a struggling musician than a struggling accountant.

-If I already make music every day, then I it can’t get any better than this.

I am 26. I have recorded and independently released 4 albums and am currently recording a 5th. I play live locally and on short tours up to london. I teach individual guitar lessons, classes at a Music College, and run workshops and Master Classes for groups. I also run a recording studio from home in which I’ve produced 2 Eps, 3 Albums and several Singles besides my own recordings. I gravitate towards performance environments in which my music can flourish. I have no career plans.

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