When you let other people dictate your life and time, you give away all control.
In life and in business you have two choices. Either you get to dictate how your day and time goes or you let other people do it for you.
When you start a business, it’s really easy to find yourself waiting on everyone hand and foot in hopes of showing that you're dependable and devoted. While the intention is good, you begin to train your client or customer in a way that lets them have all the power and call the shots.
If you offer a service that truly has value, which we all do things that other people can’t do, then you should be able to call the shots on how your time is used.
When I did my first project for a label I was told it was a super tight deadline and that the album had to go out by midnight for pressing. I pushed everything in my schedule, cancelled everything I had planned for the weekend in order to hit the deadline as I thought, “this must be what you have to do”.
What happened, was what has happened almost every label project I have been on since. Hard deadlines are not hard deadlines. I ended up having to remaster another version of a mix and swap song order multiple times. The project didn’t get wrapped for two weeks after the “hard deadline”. What I learned was that the service I offer is desirable and when I started to give people deadlines instead of them giving me deadlines things changed.
The pressure was gone and I began to take control of my life and time.
There is a fear that if you don’t become a punching bag in the music industry that you will not be successful. This is just not the case.
As much “urgency” as there seems to be in the industry, I’ve often found those with the most urgency and demands are often the worst clients to work for. While I am grateful for all my projects, the higher up you go in the industry the more time everything takes and that impacts your life and money.
This is often why top guys charge a lot more money. It’s not because they are greedy or trying to take advantage, it’s usually because wrapping a mix or an album takes an army when it comes to major labels and artists.
Tony Maserati mixed over 100 different versions of Blurred Lines. If you ever feel like you have a lot of revisions or that guys who are at the top of the industry nail it the first time then you're wrong. He did 100 versions and so he charges, because he knows it takes time when you have a mess of people involved. He also dictates his time and not the other way around.
The only way to live a healthy life and have a healthy work balance is to make sure you’re in control of your life. You always have a choice.
The minute you start giving away your time and services is the minute you start giving away your control over your life. I have learned this the hard way.
The hardest thing about starting a business this way, is trying to retrain your clients to respect you and your time. If you have always given into their demands and deadlines and have been available 24/7 to make them happy, it’s hard to reverse that. The encouraging thing though, is that it's possible. It’s like working out a new muscle.
At first you may feel like you might lose a client or that they will go to someone else who will wait on them 24/7, but in reality most the time the client will stay with you if you're good at what you do. If the client leaves you, then most likely that client isn’t loyal to anyone and those clients cost you more money in the long run.
If you don’t figure out how to set your own boundaries and take control of your own calendar then someone else will. The easiest way to make this shift is to start doing it with one or two things. After a month, add a few more things and so forth. If you feel stressed, exhausted and like your work is your life then you need to take a hard look at what your doing and who is in control.
For most, they wake up one day and hate their schedule and life and end up hating themselves because they feel stuck and undervalued. It doesn’t have to be that way if you start to have standards and take control.
You can do it!
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