Break It Down

This blog can change your life if you apply it. 

One of the main things that people need in order to reach a certain goal is money. The number one thing that I hear people bring up as a reason why they aren't doing what they want in life is money.... Money is often the biggest hinderance to people making the jump into self-employment or trying out new things. We know we need money to do things, however we rarely take the time to figure out how to actually get the money. 

I have created a simple breakdown of time and money that may help. I use it in the mentoring program and it's easily one of the most beneficial things you can do.  If you take ten minutes to do this simple exercise you will probably see that what you want to accomplish is actually doable.  I started doing this in 2014 and it has helped grow my business by 25%-33% each year. 

We start by calculating all your actual expenses. This is everything that cost you money. Do a per month estimate and multiple by 12. This gives you your yearly amount you need to make. You could also add more expenses to match a lifestyle you want.. maybe you want a puppy that will cost $1500 a year, just add that on. 

Simple example...

Say your expenses are $36,000. This breaks down to $3,000 a month. You need to make $3,000 a month to go full-time into music or whatever self-employment career your after.  I'll stick with music for the example, but it applies to everyone. 

If you want to work 5 days a week at 40 hours, that puts us at around 23 work days a month. If you work 8 hour days that gives you around 184 hours of work a month. This means you still get weekends and you work a very normal sustainable schedule. (Those that talk about working 12 hour days, 7 days a week in the industry and still don't have a career are doing something wrong.)

From there, you take the 184 hours and reverse engineer it. 

If you work 100 hours a month on music and get paid $30.00 an hour you will hit your goal. That means your only working about half the month. 


You only have to work 4.3 hours, Monday - Friday on music to hit your goal of $3,000 a month. Say you're new to the music scene. You could work 150 hours at $20.00 per hour and hit your goal. Say you're really new and have next to zero skill, you could work 184 hours... basic full-time employment at $16.00 an hour and hit $3,000.  If you're saying, "no one will pay me even $16.00", your going after the wrong people to work for. 

I know a lot of talented people who are worth more than $16.00 an hour who can't make any money on music. I think it's because they don't know where to start or what to charge and they focus on getting the wrong type of client. They also have no perspective on where their money goes as well as time. They are waiting for someone to create their career for them and manage their money.

If you worked 40 hours a week at $30.00 an hour, which is a very reasonable rate in the music industry for anything, you would be bringing home $5,520 a month or close to $66,240 per year. Most people are not making that much in their current salary "safe" corporate job. The United States Median Income is around $51,000. This means by doing music only 40 hours a week at a very fair rate you will be making more than most people in the U.S.

I know not everyone pays by the hour in the music industry, so you can break it down by project. You could say.. you need to record 10 songs a month and charge $300.00 to hit the goal. This is cheap recording. If you need to rent out a studio, that increases expenses, but you just add that on and calculate. Your rate will go up if you have to provide the studio, that's very normal. 

When people talk to me about not being able to survive off music, I always wonder how they use their time. It doesn't take much to make a living in music. 

If you're an artist and you think this won't apply to you, you're wrong. 

Find out how much you need to make to live and make music. 

Say it's $50,000 a year. 

Sell your album for $8 bucks 6,250 times and you have $50,000. If you can't get 6,250 people in the world that has a population of 7.12 billion to buy your music.... your album may not be great, or you're not spending enough time marketing and promoting it.

You could sell T-shirts for $20.00 only 2,500 times and have $50,000. 

You don't even have to do shows. You can have 6,250 fans in the whole world buy your album and a t-shirt and make $175,000 a year. Focus on finding 6,250 people who adore you and all they have to do once a year is give you $28.00 bucks and in return they get music and a shirt. It's so simple! You can make $100,000 a year by having only 3,500 fans by your album and t-shirt. 

If you spent two hours each day contacting twenty people, in a year that's 7,200 people. If you can convince them all to buy your album and shirt you will exceed your goal. Literally two hours a day can allow you to bring in over $200,000 a year. It requires follow up and genuine interaction. Not just following people and unfollowing people or hitting a like button, or sending mass emails, or buying followers. You want real fans. You only need 3,500 to make $100,000. Focus on getting 3,500 followers online that absolutely love you. 

One other thing..minor rant ahead... you may have to work an actual job in order to pay for your music to get things going. There is zero shame in working a job, but I am so tired of hearing people complain about having to spend money on an album when that album has the potential to make money forever. If you think hiring a professional to make your album is expensive, just wait until you hire an amateur who will give you a poor product that gets you no where. Learn to invest into your product. Learn to sacrifice and work to pay the professionals. 

The cheap route almost always leads to frustration and disappointment.

Also, don't take advice or spend too much time on social media listening to other people spout about the industry or how to make money.  If you have an issue with streaming rates, don't put your music up, just sell it on iTunes. People are more likely to buy your music then stream it, if streaming is not an option. I have ran into so many people online who give information or rant about the industry and how to "make it" but have zero evidence to back it up.  If people spent less time on why the industry is broken and a little time on actually figuring out how to make a career in it, we would have a flourishing industry. 

What I gave you today is so simple and it's fool proof. The industry can literally do whatever it wants and you just adjust the numbers.  Just punch in your numbers and figure out how many projects you need to do or albums to sell. There's a way! I expect all of you to be flourishing in the next year and years to come. 

Go do it!