Taking Care Of Business
If you've read a lot of my articles then you have probably noticed that I'm a big believer in diligent practice.
The main reason for this is that there are really only a couple of ways to get really good at playing guitar...
- Be born a musical savant with extraordinary musical ability.
- Do the many thousands of hours of practice and playing needed to develop a high level of musical
[Side Note: It's important to realize that even musical savants have to practice a lot to reach their full
potential. So there really is no way around the practice!].
Even though regular practice will be essential to reach your musical goals, I do need to stress here that it's
only part of the equation. Often guitar players forget this. (I've certainly been guilty of it myself).
Some guitarists continue practicing day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. While
it's fantastic that they're so dedicated to practicing, what isn't so great is that they focus all their time and
energy on practice, but totally neglect the necessary business side of reaching their musical goals. This means
that while their instrumental ability is improving, they are really getting no closer to their goals.
A Quick Example
Let's take a look at an example. Imagine for a second that one of your goals is to become a guitar teacher.
You're sick of your soul-crushing job and would like to earn a living doing something you enjoy...playing and
talking about guitar. You figure that you're already a good guitarist, so teaching would be perfect for you.
But here's the thing. How much closer does practicing guitar get you to that goal? The answer is that it
doesn't. You could practice for thousands of hours more, but if you do none of the other stuff to get you to the
goal then you'll never get there.
[Side Note: You might be thinking...”No shit Sherlock..you're a freaking' genius”. But it's astonishing how many
guitarists have goals like joining or forming bands, writing and recording albums but don't do daily action towards
those goals! Year after year they come home after work and just relax rather than working towards their
OK, back to the guitar teaching example. It's important to realize that being a good guitarist is only an
extremely small part of being a guitar teacher. Some of the other things you might have to do could include...
- Learning about how to build a website.
- Writing content for the website.
- Updating the website regularly.
- Learning how to drive traffic to that website using offline and online strategies.
- Learning about marketing and business in general.
- Learning how to develop and sell guitar instructional products in order to generate passive income.
- Working out a strategy for phasing out your day job.
- Finding a good accountant and lawyer.
- Creating professional looking handouts to use in the lessons that you give.
- Researching other guitar teachers and music schools.
I'll stop there. (There are many more things you could add to the list). As you can see, none of the above would
be accomplished by practicing guitar. And if I'm being honest, some of it is probably as appealing as getting a
rectal examination. But it needs to be done...either by yourself, or someone that you pay.
Make Your List Now
I invite you to take an hour or so now to do the following...
Think of a music-related goal that you'd like to achieve.
Write a list of all non-practice related things that you need to do to accomplish that goal. Be sure to
think of everything. Here are some things you might want to ask yourself as you are brainstorming...
- Who do I need to talk to?
- Who do I need to hire?
- What do I need to learn?
- What do I need to buy?
- What changes do I need to make to my lifestyle to give me more time to work on this goal?
Start working on what you wrote down for the previous step. I've found for me that the best approach is to
set some action goals each week and then schedule them into my diary. I find that if I don't make these
“appointments” with myself, then the work just doesn't get done. You don't need to use the same method as me,
but it is critical that you set aside time each week to work towards you goals. Don't be one of those people
who constantly talks about what they are going to do, but doesn't actually do anything!
But I Don't Know What To Do!
One of my pet peeves is people using the excuse “but I don't know how!” as justification for not doing anything.
What they are basically saying is that they are too lazy to do the learning and research in order find out what
they need to do. There are countless books, websites, teachers and courses on an incredibly wide range of subjects,
so it's just totally lame to use this excuse. If you have the ability to learn, then you can find out what you need
With that said, you might have found Step 2 kind of tough. And that's OK. It's common not to know everything you
need to do to accomplish a specific goal. I feel that it's best just to start taking action anyway. Just start
working on what you think needs to be done. Someone who moves forward using less than optimal information will
always accomplish more than someone who never moves forward because they're afraid of making mistakes.
A Few Last Words
Obviously, doing this non-practice stuff takes time away from the fun stuff (i.e. actually practicing guitar).
But, a lot of the time, it's a necessary part of accomplishing your goals. So write your list of steps to take and
get to work!
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