5 Steps to Kick Start Your Music Business

5 Steps to Kick Start Your Music Business

The beginning is the most difficult. When I started my first business I had all of these grandiose ideas about what I wanted to do.  The problem is, when you look at the big picture you can easily miss a lot of the important details involved with getting you there (costs, costs, costs).

Below, I’ve outlined 5 Steps that can take you from the grand idea stage to the execution stage.

1. Write Your Ideas Down

As a musician, you are used to constantly writing and creating.  This really shouldn’t be a stretch.  However, the problem is that a lot of creative types think in a flow which causes them to house their business ideas in their head.  Take your ideas and write them down along with and add-on ideas that relate to the main idea as you go on.

This is important because it brings you closer to a developed music business plan that will help others align with your vision (remember, your TEAM has to be aligned).

2. Map Your Idea

Great, you have written your music business idea down and are ready to start bringing on the fans, right? Not so fast, your plan is still not actionable and we need to break things down further.  In this step, you’ll want to map our your idea and add-on ideas as well.  To do this we need to take our overarching business idea and put it in the center of a piece of paper.

We’ll stick to basics for these examples but lets say you want to createvmerchandise for your music business.  You would place “merchandise” in the middle of the page.  Simple enough, right?  Now we need to think about what it takes to make this idea viable.  A quick few ideas that could make this viable are:

  • Designs
  • Production
  • Fans/Customers

Again, these are very basic but help to get a point across.

The next step in the mapping stage is to identify the additional subsets that help to make design, production, fans/customers viable.  So for example with designs we can draw up the following:

  • Outsourced designer
  • Learn graphic design programs
  • Pre-made designs

You will continue mapping these out until you have at least 5 levels that helps make your business idea viable.

Probably the top choice for mind mapping software is XMind however you can also use Coggle if you are looking for something free.  Of course, you can also stick to good old fashioned paper and pen.

Once you have done this it is time to move onto step 3.

3. Assess Your Music Business Investment

Now that you have your mind map completed, it is time to start adding some costs to this business idea.  For each link in your mind map you will want to put an expected cost associated with that activity.  You will be able to tie this all the way up to your main business idea for an expected idea cost.

From here you will want to start thinking about how many fans/customers you will need and how much money you will need to make in order to make a profit.

4. Find the Profit – Create Your Plan

So now that you understand how many fans/customers you need in order to make your idea profitable, it is time to develop your plan.

A lot of this is just a numbers game to identify where you need to focus your efforts.  Let’s assume our investment/profit analysis identified that we need 100 fans/customers per month to make a healthy profit.  We now need to figure out where these 100 fans/customers will come from.

It is here that you will want to do a little research on the community involved with buying your type of product within your music business.

Let’s go back to the apparel example.  We may want to look at merchandise from similar artists and look at some of the reviews.  What types of merchandise have the highest reviews for this artist? If its apparel, what colors are selling?  You can get a large amount of information from this alone and it will help you decide exactly  what merchandise you need to offer as well as what sites your target fans may be frequenting.

But, this is MUSIC business and you are a MUSICIAN not a merchandise creator.  You are very right, which is why this research and plan creation phase is so crucial! You are not going to go to these identified communities and peddle your merchandise, you will focus on your music while knowing that the merchandise that you are offering is of value to this fan community.


Now that you’ve done research and created a sound plan where you understand your investment, your break even point, and where your fans/customers are, it is time to EXECUTE the plan.

I would say it is fair that this is where the majority of musicians attempting to make a business out of their music fail.  There are all of these grand ideas but no execution. Execution is the true key to being successful in this music business game as everyone has ideas.




Action Equals Success

Action is Success
When we were kids, and we wanted something from mom or dad, we asked.  A lot of us, if mom said no, we’d ask dad.  If we wanted to become a King, we became kings of our own imaginary worlds, we created our own castles out of chairs and blankets.  A lot of times we got in trouble for this, but we continued going after our goals the best way we knew how. Imagine if you knew then what you know now about making your money work for you.

When we are kids, we’re naive, we don’t know any better and taking risks are just a part of every day life.  Entrepreneur’s every day life is also about risk, and managing that risk. I would venture to say that if us as kids saw how hesitant the us of now are in chasing our dreams, we’d laugh and then continue to rule over our newly created fort.

I understand that the risks we take today are usually far greater than those we take as kids, but the thought process we have today is usually what keeps us from achieving our dreams.  As kids we’re eager to meet new people, when we fall down and get cut, sure we cried, but we probably did the same exact stunt that caused us the pain the next day… and you know, we likely succeeded.

Some of us spend countless hours on the planning phases assuming that this means we’re putting in work.  Then when it comes time for action, suddenly we are too busy and don’t have the time.  Don’t be afraid of action, embrace it!  We all fail, and those that give you a hard time for failure never succeeded themselves and honestly, they don’t matter.  Every successful person understands the value of failure and the value behind becoming actionable.

Do something great, take that dream or that goal you have, and act on it.  Take the first step of many in achieving something that you want.  The only thing that ever truly holds us back from success is ourselves.



If Ya Scared Go to Church

What’s going on, everybody?

Its been over a week since I last posted, reason being that I was in Minnesota and now, my internet went out.  Ok, it didn’t just go out, the cable line to the house snapped due to the cold.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking A LOT about peoples reasons for not being go-getters, for not being grinders, for not chasing their dreams, for not taking their music seriously enough to make a business out of it.  Here is the conclusion that I’ve come to for why some people just get lazy:


Yep, simple as that.  People are afraid of having to pull the trigger on things.  Despite all of that tough talking a lot of artists do, they’re terrified.  I’m not saying that they’re terrified of the risk of going the entrepreneurial route, because too many people have talked about that, and entrepreneurship is a scary leap to take.  What I am talking about is the fact that many artists are afraid to talk to the big guys, they’re afraid to network.

Networking is scary if you don’t know who you are.  Thats why you should always know who you are and what you do.  Know what kind of music you play, what kind of audience you appeal to, and what makes you unique.  For example, if I am meeting someone new who I am trying to build a business relationship with here is how I’m going to start the initial conversation.

Me: Eric Phillipson, nice to meet you (hand shake)
Them: (insert name)
Me: What projects are you currently working on? (this keeps you from asking awkward questions like “so uhhh what do you do)
Them: Oh, I have such and such going on, getting ready to do so and so.  (This is where you look for something you can relate to)
Me: Nice nice,  I have a buddy getting into that, I’ll have to connect you sometime, let me get your contact info.
Them: Definitely, (insert contact info), so, what is it you do?

Boom, now depending on what that person said they have going on depends on how I pitch myself.  If they were an artist I’d tell them about the Speak Your Music side of me.  If they were a manager or DJ I might tell them about the branding side of what I do.

Here is a key about networking…


In that above example, before I contacted that person about anything that I do, I would make sure I plug them up with my contact who has similar interests.  You have to keep your word and stay true to your word.

Once you know who you are, dealing with the business people in the industry will not be scary, because you will have all of the answers to all of their questions.  People who are about business do not like to have their time wasted by others who don’t know what they’re talking about.  Be genuine, be true to your word, and you will be fine.

However, if you’re afraid of taking the leap, maybe this isn’t the industry for you.  Music business is very detail oriented if you’re doing it right.

Quick little side note, there is no such thing as “fashionably” late.  Being late is irritating, and I have seen many a artists lose out because they thought being late or not showing up was the right thing to do.

As always, appreciate ya, hit me up if you have any questions and I will do my best to address them!

-Eric Phillipson