Answer this: What is the biggest factor that keeps musicians from beginning and developing a career in music? Is it lack of musical skill? No music business connections? Not getting any opportunities? Being low on money? Not living around a big music scene? ... well, it’s actually none of the above! Although there exist endless reasons why musicians fail to succeed in this industry, the above things are little more than the tip of the iceberg. One of the biggest factors why musicians fail in the music business is… FEAR.

Most ruin their own music careers by letting their fears take over every aspect of what they do (or neglect doing). Some fears occur on a conscious level, while other fears are below the surface and are only observable to those looking for them. Yet the results of fear are 100% predictable: the things you are most afraid become the things that ruin your career. As a music industry mentor to countless musicians, I have observed this scenario over and over again.

Here are some of the fears that musicians have to deal with most often, how they will sabotage your career before it even begins and what you should do instead so you can succeed:

Fear #1: Fear Of Becoming Broke (Not Being Able To Make Money Through Music)

What’s the most frequent warning you hear from friends and family about pursuing a music career? Chances are, you’ve been told things such as:

-“You need to have a secure job as a backup plan for pursuing a music career.”

-“You can’t make a lot of money as a musician.”

-“All musicians have to play on street corners just to get by.”

Even though the previous statements are usually told to you with positive intentions, they could not any more WRONG (I discuss this more in my other music business articles). Truth is, it’s not too difficult to earn an excellent living in the music industry once you know precisely what to do to make money as a musician (and take action on it). That said, since these myths about the music industry are so popular, they train many musicians to fear (and actually anticipate) financial difficulty in their careers. This fear causes most to start taking actions that are completely OPPOSITE to the steps you SHOULD take to secure financial stability in this business.

Here is how working with a mindset of “avoiding” financial struggles in this industry guarantees that you WILL have a hard time making money in music:

-You never truly attempt to make more money in your music career. The worst thing possible is to expect to struggle making money in the music industry. When you do this, you live into your worst expectations.

-You go in the exact opposite direction of your music career goals. By anticipating financial struggles, a lot of musicians wrongly believe that they need to get a university degree in a “secure” field and THEN pursue their music career in their spare time. Learn why this is a terrible approach by reading this article about making music career backup plans.

-You eat the goose that lays golden eggs. Note: The things I write below might seem totally “self-promotional”, because I will be discussing my music career mentoring program to explain a very crucial point. Fact is, there is a MASSIVELY important lesson to learn here, and what I say is true no matter who would be telling it to you. The lesson for you here demonstrates how the fear itself of becoming broke GUARANTEES that you will be broke as a musician, until you make major changes.

I occasionally hear from the musicians who have reservations about joining my Music Career Mentoring Program or attending my Music Career Money Magnet live event (where I help musicians learn how to make tons of money in music). These musicians think they can’t afford it. Even after I show them the huge amount of proof for how all my programs have completely changed the lives of the great musicians I’ve mentored, they still have doubts and are full of fear. This doubt is rooted in the exact same mindset I discussed above - that it’s pointless to even “attempt” to become financially well off, since all musicians struggle to make ends meet. Ironically, by passing over training (that is PROVEN to work) for the sake of saving money, you guarantee that you will never make a lot of money with music. This is called “eating the goose that lays golden eggs” because you are too hungry now to wait for the golden eggs that will appear down the road. :) Rather than making an investment into your future and finding out how to make your career much more profitable, giving in to your fear guarantees that you make no progress and keep struggling financially.

How To Not Allow This Fear To Destroy Your Music Career:

1. Understand that the belief that all musicians struggle to make ends meet is false and you do NOT have to have a hard time making money. This understanding will motivate you to move closer to the things you WANT in your career, instead of closer to the outcomes you “fear”.

2. Instead of stressing about how “not to struggle with making money”, dedicate yourself to learning how to make tons of money as a musician. There is a MASSIVE (and basic) difference between these two approaches and the results that each one leads to are complete opposites.

Musician Fear #2: Fear Of Never Being Able To Succeed In Your Music Career

Countless musicians screw up their music careers when they fear that:

-They have to be below age 25 to succeed with a music career

-They aren’t talented enough

-They don’t live in or near a major music scene

-They don’t have a college degree in a music

-The musical genre they want to write for is not popular where they live

-There are not enough dedicated musicians to work with in their local area

-If they fail, they will feel stupid in front of all their peers and people who they confided in about their musical dreams

In addition to the various reasons why these fears are not rational (I’ve gone into greater detail about why in past music career training articles), understand the following:

1. The thoughts that dominate your mind, become your reality. If you adamantly believe you can’t become a successful musician (because of any of the things mentioned above), you will rationalize this and use it as a way to NOT move forward in your music career. When you do this, you have no chance of successfully breaking into the music industry. The opposite of this is true as well: once you strongly believe that you are destined to achieve success as a pro musician, you will naturally do whatever it takes to reach your music career goals. Obviously, the latter mindset will have a MASSIVELY higher rate of success (both in the music industry and in life).

2. You automatically fail if you never try to grow a music career. To make things worse, later in life you will regret not chasing your musical dreams and fulfilling your true potential.

Musician Fear #3: Fear Of Achieving Success In Your Music Career

It might sound like a joke to say that some people fear becoming successful... but this is the case more often than you’d think. Although the fear of “failure” happens often for musicians who are just beginning their careers, the fear of “achieving success” is common for musicians who have been around for a while and are close to making a big breakthrough.

These musicians sabotage themselves by worrying about how their lives could be different when they achieve a higher level of success, how other people might look at them, how hard it will be to continue their success or believing subconsciously that they do not truly “deserve” success. As a result of these things, a lot of musicians sabotage their own music careers by NOT taking action to do the things they know would benefit them greatly (such as taking the opportunity to a join a band, going on big tour or receiving the training they know they should get to advance their career).

How To Not Let Fear Of Failure (Or Success) Destroy Your Music Career:

1. Be aware that all the negative things you say to yourself about why you can’t have a successful music career are all (false) excuses. You have a GIGANTIC amount of potential for success as a musician, regardless of your current age, what your musical background is like or the location of the town you live in. Read my other music career articles to discover more about building a successful career in the music industry.

2. Use the same mindset as successful musicians. As I explained already, there is a very distinct difference between “anticipating success” (in your music career) vs. “anticipating failure”. Successful musicians expect to succeed and do not focus on the possibility that they might fail - they focus on “achieving success”…and you should do the same.

3. Stack the deck of cards in your favor. You will greatly improve your odds for success in your music career (and lose your fear of failure), by navigating the music industry with your eyes open. Make fast progress in your music career by getting trained by a music career success coach who can show you the best path for reaching your musical goals.

Musician Fear #4: Fear Of Being Ripped Off By People In The Music Industry

The music industry is filled with tales of woe from (failed) musicians who say that someone in the music industry has forced them into an unfair contract, refused to pay them the money the deserved or “screwed” them in some other way – causing their music career to go south. Tales like this make many musicians scared of getting involved with any business deals in the music industry and sometimes prevents them from even attempting to pursue a music career.

Here is a major music industry secret (that no one is going to tell you) that will transform this fear into massive potential for achieving success:

It’s the COMPANIES who should have a fear of being ripped off by the MUSICIANS they work with. Why? In reality, most music companies do not want to screw over the musicians they do business with. Actually, they are always on the lookout for new talent, for Win/Win partnerships and for ways to effectively utilize their resources (with the help of musicians they work with) to help everyone involved achieve their ultimate goals.

Simultaneously, these companies also fear investing enormous amounts of money into musicians who:

-Are not emotionally or mentally unstable

-Have a strong sense of entitlement toward the company's money and resources merely because they are talented musicians

-Are unambitious and can’t be depended upon

-Do not help the company make more money in a way that is universally beneficial

…and tons of other factors (test yourself to see what the music industry is looking for in you).

Bottom line: music companies spend huge quantities of time, dollars and other resources into the musicians they work with. They suffer a much bigger loss than the musicians they work with do if someone they work isn’t the right person for the job. For this reason, they have to be very careful when choosing musicians to work with. They are naturally going to refuse to act against their own best interest by working with musicians who come across as “high risk” or who ask for more money than they deserve.

How To Not Let This Fear Destroy Your Music Career:

Be aware that all the things you just learned are inside knowledge into how the music industry truly works and make all the difference in the world between succeeding and failing. Instead of fearing that music companies are out to rip off musicians, know that you have a massive opportunity to put yourself miles ahead of the competition in the music industry. This is what you must do:

-Get as much information as possible on what the music industry is looking for in you (this applies to much more than your musical talent).

-Get the pieces of value you are lacking to transform yourself into the #1 choice when music companies are looking for someone to invest in/work with.

-Showcase your value to the companies you want to work with by growing a sparkling reputation for yourself as a musician who reduces risk and adds value for others.

After you have done these things, music companies will knock at YOUR door to give you the chance to do things most musicians only dream of.

Now that you know why so many musicians fail to move their music careers forward, introspect on your own personal thoughts and beliefs around regarding the music industry. Once you have identified the fears that are currently holding you back, begin the process of changing your mindset (by utilizing the resources throughout this article). When you do this, you will quickly find your fears fading away as you become more confident, and make fast progress toward achieving your music career goals.

To learn exactly what you need to do to achieve your personal goals in the music industry (and how to do these things), work with a music career success coach.


Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a recording artist, music career mentor and virtuoso guitar player. He trains and mentors musicians of all different experience levels on how to develop a successful career in music. Visit his musician website to get free music career building tools and read professional music business columns.