Green Light Go Music PR

Overcoming “Starving Artist” Syndrome

How many times this week have you mentioned being broke or having to struggle to make ends meet because you are a starving artist?

I don’t know anyone where money isn’t a sensitive topic and also one that isn’t intensely personal. I also know how regurgitating the starving artist story to anyone who will listen, only perpetuates the problem.

So at the sake of sounding like a pop psychologist, here are a few simple rules I’ve learned to overcome the starving artist mentality and instead focus on moving your band forward in a more positive (and lucrative) position.

Stop Discussing Your Personal Financial Matters in Professional Situations

I’m a single woman who has completely self-financed my business for 14 years. Have there been tough times? Of course. Are there times I wish someone could have shouldered the burden? Absolutely.

That said, if you are entering a professional relationship, your focus should be on what you want out of the relationship with that partner, not how they can help you because you are a “starving artist” or are going through a tough time financially. I have a friend who calls this “passing the pain.” Essentially this is what you are doing. You are passing your financial pain to anyone who will listen in the hopes it will ease your burden. And to be blunt, if you are truly committed to entering the professional situation and you don’t have the finances to fund a professional endeavor, then you should be focused on how you can raise the funds to make it happen. Working with a music professional is an electable process.

If you are truly treating your band with the seriousness it deserves, then you should conduct yourself like any professional business person would. A professional would not bring their personal financial matters into the board room. Neither should you. By discussing personal money matters or starting the conversation with “I don’t have any money, but…” you are communicating you’re not ready for the type of people who can really help you.

Model Artists You Admire Who Have Discovered Financial Success

I realize there’s a lot working against you when you decide to become a musician. Fans want to listen to your music, but don’t want to buy the album. You have to split the door five ways, only to leave you $15 per person or $75 if you are putting it in a band fund. Gone are the days where record labels take on the full weight to finance your dreams.

There are however, independent musicians who are finding financial success by looking outside traditional means. Look at what they are doing to achieve those results and then see how you can model that for your own band.

Read Music Business and Financial Articles or Books

The old adage, “knowledge is power” holds true here. Instead of complaining why your band can’t make it or never has money, start educating yourself on how to be successful in the music business. Sonicbids, Music Think Tank, CD Baby, and Performer Magazine are just a few of the places where you can begin reading articles to help your band grow in a more positive direction.

Take a Look at Your Story

It all starts here. If your story is that you are a starving artist, well, you are going to be a starving artist. Truth is, I’ve gone many years through the lenses of limitation and lack, only to keep myself in the struggle. It didn’t change until I took a good hard look at what was keeping me there and why I was facing the same financial challenges over and over. I then had to look at changing my money story to something that was more empowering and positive so I could manage money in a way that was more conducive to how I wanted my life to be.

Think about your first money memory and how that plays a factor in how you approach money now. Are their parallels? Now think about what you want your story to be and what you can actively do to change it.

Ask yourself what you really want for your band. Is it to be a starving artist who can never really make it? Or do you want to start taking steps in a more positive direction? The decision is yours.

Green Light Go: Look at how you can change your philosophy from starting artist to music business icon.

Sharing is Caring: Know someone where the starving artist mentality is holding them back from success? Send them this article.

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Janelle is the owner of Green Light Go. When she's not spreading the word on her favorite bands she can usually be found riding her road bike through Michigan, designing super hip clothes or analyzing people much to their dismay.
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