Every success story tells you that you can do it. Yes, you can do it. You can become that famous musician whose music is on everyone’s lips. You can become that one that tours the world over with millions of followers on your Instagram account.
But honestly, it is a full-time job to achieve success in music, even in Nigeria where we seem to have a lot of watery music making the top charts. You need to put in much work- to the music, to your public relations and other ancillary concerns.
Let us look at the following factors that you should consider as a musician before quitting your job and taking on music full time. These factors apply to most creatives.
1. Making a living from music
To be very candid, making a living from music can be next to impossible if you are just starting out. You will do a lot of free shows and gigs. So it is important to ask yourself if you can make a living from music just yet. Alternatively, how do you intend to support yourself? Quite a lot of upcoming music artists in Lagos depend on family and friends or even illegal activities to sponsor their fledgeling career since they do not hold full-time jobs. If your music is not close to making a living for you, then you are not ready.
2. Are your skills developed enough?
Now ask yourself, is my music ready? Have you developed yourself enough? Don’t be tempted to join the bandwagon of noise music. You may need to take your time and still hold on to your day job while building your skills. While you may think that having the whole day to work on your music will be a plus, it is not necessarily so. Sometimes that day job is the perfect balance you need to sustain your everyday life.
3. Can you still do both?
Can you still go to work at your day job and make your music conveniently? If your answer is a yes or a reluctant yes, then you should still consider holding on to your day job. Many people hold on to two careers and do well at both, so if indeed you can do both, it will do you some good. A regular pay-check or alternate source of income is not a bad idea at all if your music is not suffering.
The importance of a day job or back-up career to a creative is that they have the freedom to say no. You do not have to take all those random gigs because you want to survive or compromise on quality because you just have to break even.
4. Do you have a plan?
Hey buddy! This is probably the most important factor. Have you outlined a plan for after you quit your job? If you really are thinking about quitting your job, you should have a rock solid plan. Of course, you cannot anticipate all that can happen, but you can at least put your best foot forward. If you do not have a plan yet, then it is not the time to quit your job.
5. Ready to give your all?
It may be that you just hate your day job, it is important therefore to introspect. If I had a better job, would I be considering leaving it completely for my music career? Is it a new job I need? One that allows me to juggle your music alongside? However, if your job is good enough and you just know it is time to give your all to the music, then maybe you should leap.
The beautiful thing about careers in the creative industry is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to doing it. You can ‘blow’ while holding on to a regular day job and you can do music full time while still struggling for years without breaking even.
Finally, if you have asked yourself the right questions and your guts tell you it is right, you do not have to wait till everything is perfect because things will never be perfect.