Why DIY? 6 Reasons to Bet on Yourself

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Sometimes, the idea of the “DIY” approach to a music career seems daunting.

In fact, most artists I’ve worked with, both on a major and independent label side of things, cite one of their biggest obstacles to success as needing professional help to get their career going or growing.

But I can assure you that this is an illusion. There is a reason that successful artists begin to take everything “in-house” as soon as they can, because they have already learned this lesson the hard way.

Here are six reasons you should be excited to bet on yourself.

1. You get to create a plan that works for you.

When other people are in control of your career, they often come up with plans and strategies that really don’t feel right for you. This can cause friction with the people who manage those aspects, and worse, a negative outcome that you deep down saw coming from a mile away.

It is truly a dream come true to envision where you want your future to go, have the opportunity to spec it out, and bring it all to life. Never take for granted how amazing that will be on the other side of it, no matter how big of a mountain it may seem to climb from the ground.

When you reach the top, you’ll be happy you did it your way and on your terms.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “5 Reasons You Don’t Want the Record Deal of Your Dreams.”

2. You are in control of your budget.

This may be the most important reason to DIY. I have seen countless artists lose everything on bad deals, risky investments, poor accounting, and irresponsible allocation of funds. No one will look out for you the way you look out for yourself.

If numbers aren’t your thing, not to worry. There are plenty of trustworthy professionals that will be able to step in to assist when the time is right. But in the meantime, avoid the giant pitfall of having someone else make the pivotal financial decisions that will ultimately make or break your career.

Get educated, shop around, design a budget that is affordable for where you are currently, and make sure you understand how and where the money is moving so you can enjoy a long-lasting career. (And without having to fear a colossal investment recoup around the bend from a major label or other investment entity.)

3. You get to choose your team.

Most artists never get to choose who they get to work with, and are merely assigned personnel to run different aspects of their career.

This is problematic for many reasons, but mainly the fact that it is imperative that the people around you are good for you, “get” you, want the best for you, are most qualified to do what they’re doing for you, and have their goals aligned with yours.

Everyone from your creative collaborators, to your management, to your PR rep and beyond will be people you get to personally handpick when you DIY.

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4. You put in time on your own schedule.

When signed to a major label, you jump when they say “jump,” and that’s just the way it goes.

This lesser-known and rarely discussed aspect of the music business is a really unsettling one. Were you looking forward to seeing your family for the holidays? Well not if you have a tour leg on the other side of the world during that time. Your holiday will be spent away from loved ones at the hotel of their choosing (based on the budget they have allocated), and you’ll be out there putting on a show whenever they say you will be, or you can expect a fat lawsuit on your hands due to the contractual obligations you agreed to when you signed.

How can this be avoided? DIY! Take the downtime when you want it, tour based around your preferences, and set aside periodic creative time to write and record when it is best for you.

5. You maintain creative control of your career.

I have heard countless artists express how upsetting it was to have their career taken in a different direction than they wanted. From the look, to the sound, to the music and the messaging, you are a product if someone else has invested in your artistry.

Their goal is for you to make them a return on their investment, not to lose or break even but have you happy. Your happiness does not matter. It is a tough pill to swallow, but that is the reality. Taking the DIY approach allows you full creative control of your career to put your whole self into your art, and take total pride in the finished product.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Digital Distributor for Your Music.”

6. Your success is a direct reflection of how hard you’re willing to work.

When your only limitation to success is you, it’s amazing what you’re willing to do and how far you’ll be willing to go. DIY is often the road less traveled, because it is hard work. But hard work will always pay off, and allow you to advance at any speed you choose to move.

Your accomplishments will be a direct reflection of the time you put in, the education and experience you’ve acquired, and the calculated risks you’re willing to take.

Put in 100% of that effort, and reap 100% of those rewards when you choose to bet on yourself!

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