I've never lost a client because I lacked gear.
There's some sort of myth that surrounds the industry and most of life, that if we can just get the right gear, right studio, right car, right house, then people will come.
The old saying from Field of Dreams, "if you build it, he will come". Is not always true.
Lets get one thing cleared up, that was in a movie about ghost type baseball players coming and going out of a corn field. Pretty much my nightmare.
When I started in the industry, I was overwhelmed and in awe of some of the studios I visited and even work in still. I use to lust after compressors and consoles and microphones, seriously considering going into massive debt with the idea that it would create a career for me.
Why would anyone want to work with me when they can work in a million dollar studio?
I've come to a sobering realization, in a good way....
I am my own trump card. (not a reference to Donald Trump)
What I mean by this, is I do things that no one else can do. I approach things in a way that is unique. My ears are unique, my experiences are unique, and my story is unique.
How I look at a compressor or microphone is totally different then the next guy who is in the exact same field as I am in.
This is why there is room for everyone. The universe is not a place of lack, but of abundance. I truly believe that. Learning where you fit and embracing what you actually do well is the key to making it in life and the music industry.
With regards to gear, you have to learn to master the tools that are right in front of you. In a world where you can buy anything, have a drone drop a package at your door or download anything with no effort, it’s easy to just consume.
I learned what my gear does, what my plug-ins do. I read the manual. I learned that with a select amount of gear for what I do, I can actually create just about unlimited options. Please hear me, there is for sure a time and place for having a large setup and studio.
This isn't about minimalism or about not having things.
This is about mastering what you already have before you jump to the next thing. You will be more confident and your work will be better.
The picture featured in this post is a Yamaha EM150 soundboard. It belonged to my dad when he was in a bluegrass band. It's old, and it does not cost a lot of money. But, as I learned quickly, it does a few really cool things that it uniquely can do. I have learned it inside and out. It has really cool vibes, and it has a specific sound that I have used on many indie rock albums. People sometimes tell me that they want an old-school raw vibe. There is nothing more old school or raw than using a board from the 80's.
If gear was really the key to the music industry, anyone rich or anyone with a big loan would be successful. I'm not denying that expensive gear can help you get a great professional sound; it absolutely can help. But if you don't know how to use it, it's just an expensive paper weight.
If you don't know who you are in your field, you will just be another name, another face, and no one will come to you for your expertise.
I challenge everyone to go learn about something new today about what you have.
Think about what you really do well and market that. I want to know what you do really well so I can hire you.
I can rent any piece of gear in the world down the street from my house.
But what you do, can't be found in a rental shop or store. That is how you win against gear.