Work

Do You Need To Work 14-Hour Days To Succeed? Discuss.

Having worked in many recording studios in London and talking to people in the music industry, working 12-14 hour days is very common.

However, is this necessary to succeed or is much of it down to fear?

The fear I’m talking about is the perceived fear that if you are not working around the clock you might be risking losing clients, losing money, not being able to meet deadlines and missing opportunities.

The fear of it all stopping where no one calls you anymore might also be a big fear factor that drives you to work around the clock.

But, again, is working more hours the answer and the right preventive to stay ahead of the fear and the competition?

In my opinion, no.

Of course, when you have the pressure of bills pressing it can be hard to stop, but as Herb Trawick put it when I asked him about this a few months ago:

You have to, both emotionally and intellectually, maintain a balance which can be very hard when bills are pressing or problems are brewing. However, relationships are very important, such as family or significant others, but it often gets overlooked.
Also, whether you are male or female, trying to be macho about it, where you think you can just power through and “man up” is not always the best idea either.
— Herb Trawick

Having worked in this environment I don’t see any benefits of working around the clock all the time. And, as Herb stated, it can also affect people’s personal lives, which, I believe is important if you want to sustain a long career in music.

Why can’t you have a great career working “only” 8-hour days, 5 days a week? Or, half that, 4-hour days, 3 days a week?

As Tim Ferriss stated: What if you did the opposite?

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I believe if you work smarter and harder, harder being to stay away from distractions (like Facebook and Instagram) and only doing one thing at the time, you can achieve great results too. I know I have.

To check some other interesting things on this subject check out Tim’s blog HERE

Set Tighter Deadlines

Without coming across as a Tim Ferriss fan girl, but his comment about setting tighter deadlines can be worth thinking about and help you accomplish more in less hours.

Tim said,

Since we have eight hours to fill, we fill eight hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15.
Time is wasted in proportion to the amount that is available
— Tim Ferriss

Basically, the more hours you give yourself to complete a task, you will most likely use those hours. Instead, if you give yourself less hours and a tighter deadline, you can accomplish what you set out to do in a shorter space of time.

Let me know in the comments below what you think about this. why do you think people are workaholics and does working more hours mean you will succeed?

How To Find Artists To Work With

Finding artists to work with can be tricky, especially at the beginning of your career. Not only is it at the start of your career but work can be very dependent on where you live in the world.

Perhaps you live in a small town with only a handful of bands and artists? Or all the bands you know are broke?

In which case, your only chance of finding people to work with is online. Of course, it's possible but a lot harder than building relationships in "real life", so to speak.

Even if you do meet a lot of musicians and you do live in a big city with a lot of music around you, it can be hard to find people to work with. This can be due to the fact that many artists use their home studio and are happy with turning out mediocre sounding music, therefore, are not very keen on spending money on you. Also, to be honest, they most likely don't have the money to pay for studio time. 

So, no matter which situation you are in, it can be difficult. 

What's the solution?

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Well, there's no one solution to the problem, however, there are a few things you can do in each of the two situations to increase your work. 

Let's start with if your only chance to find artists to work with is online.

Having your only presence online, on a website, means that you need to show people who come to your site that people love your work and how amazing you made their music sound. I see so many mixing sites online that's all about the mixing engineer and what he can do, rather than what he can do for YOU i.e., the artist. You want to avoid this as much as you can, make it all about the people you have served and ask past clients if you can get a testimonial from them. 

Now, you also need a portfolio of your previous work and this is where the problem usually lays. As I said in the beginning, maybe you live in a small town with no bands,so it's very difficult to find artists to work for, let alone build a portfolio? There's probably a thousand tips online, but one tip, which I will credit to Graham Cochrane of The Recording Revolution, is where you contact a band or artists that you have found online (through Soundcloud or Bandcamp) and approach them with an email saying, 

“Hi, my name is [insert name]”

”I love your music and I really loved your latest EP [insert EP name]. The track [Insert track name] was really great with all the [insert superlative].”

”The reason I’m writing to you is that I’m currently working on updating my portfolio and would like to offer you a free mix (recording, etc.) No charge and if you are happy it feel free to use it on your next release or as a bonus song for your fans, which is a great way of making your fans happy.” 

”Also, with your permission, I’d love to use the mix (recording, etc.) in my portfolio.”

”Let me know what you think”

This is a great way of approaching an artist or band. You are offering them great value by giving them something for free, which they can use to make their fans happy, and you can add a song to your portfolio.

Win-win situation.

Now, what do you do if you live in a big city, such as Los Angeles, London or New York and are still struggling to find bands to record?

I live in London and my experience with going out to gigs and talking to bands, although very important when I first moved here, doesn't really lead to any real business/income after I left university. Many bands who play in pubs and smaller places usually don't have the money to spend on recording their music in a studio or get it professionally mixed. Of course, I'm sure there are bands that are willing but they are few and far between. 

Broke?

Broke?

That's why I stopped doing this and instead focused on what worked and what brought me an income, for example, getting jobs at recording studios, doing live sound, play in cover bands, library/sync music, etc. This still lets me grow my clientele of artists and bands whilst working with music. 

If you want to make a living solely on recording and mixing bands, you have to be prepared to play the long game. I talk more about this in the guide, How To Find Work And Become A Freelance Engineer. It might feel lame, but it's the truth and what most of us are experiencing.  

I still go to networking events and meet artists and bands, but I know that by doing it consistently, over time, is what will eventually turn in to an income.

Now, what are your experience with finding artists and bands to work with? What have you struggled with specifically? Is there anything that is difficult at the moment? Let me know in the comments and I'll help you to the best of my ability!