I Am Finally Living My Dream! (How I left the corporate world at age 44 to pursue a career as a musician.)Written by Jim Hudak
Even in grade school, I knew I wanted to be a musician…full time, as my career. I firmly believed it was my "calling". Early on, I determined that in my case, as a musician, there could be three sources of revenue: live music performances, record sales, and songwriting royalties. It took many years, but finally it has happened as I envisioned it as a young boy. As I near age of 50, I can say I am living my dream as a musician…performing, recording, and songwriting!
This wasn't by any means a direct route. I forgot about following yellow brick road.
Along way, I have taken a few side roads…newspaper delivery, landscaping, outdoor maintenance for a school district, restaurant busboy, boxing and stocking groceries, bartender and tavern manager, lumber yard and hardware sales, real estate sales, selling entertainment discount books door to door (and successfully, I might add!), doing voiceovers for commercials, acting as an "extra" for films and television, concessionaire at sporting events, umpire for youth athletic games, painting houses and remodeling buildings, apartment manager, music librarian…. and "big three" long term: 1. 16 years as an executive with ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and SESAC where I received an incredible up-close view of songwriting and legal side of music business. 2. Five years as an employee and store manager for a six-store chain of record stores, learning just how many thousands of recording artists there actually are and getting to attend an unlimited number of free concerts. 3. Four years as a traffic, news, and sports reporter for over 50 radio and television stations. This reporting experience was invaluable. Besides all behind microphone experience, I saw competitiveness, professionalism, (usually) low paying, corporately controlled world of broadcasting - firsthand. The highlight was flying daily in Cessna planes and helicopters, providing traffic reports for stations in San Francisco Bay Area.
Wow! That’s quite an assortment of jobs. Talk about a diverse view of world.
But…all that time, I saw it only as a means to an end. My real goal was to play, record, and compose music, FULL TIME. It was just so hard to do on an ongoing basis and still pay bills. I would get gigs from time to time that would last anywhere from one night to three months. I never played "Top 40" radio hits, but insisted on playing what I believed was music with integrity or at least music close to my heart. While I wanted to perform mostly my own compositions, I was willing to also play songs by my musical heroes. You know, those singer-songwriter types that were not always household names: John Prine, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Jerry Garcia, and of course Beatles and James Taylor.
But whether I played as a soloist or in groups, sustained income just wasn’t there. Finally as I neared age 30, thought of a steady paycheck became too good to pass up. I took a job as a Field Representative for ASCAP. It required my selling copyrighted music licenses to all types of businesses who provided music for their customers. I spent next 16 years never having to worry much about money. I also enjoyed varied experience, travel, and solid education in learning about that part of music business that so interested me - it was a valuable chapter in my life. But although financial worries were gone, I spent so much of that time unhappy! I knew I had to get back to artistic pursuit of my music.
How To Make New Year's Resolutions That WorkWritten by David Brewster
The end of 2001 approaches and I want to set you a challenge. I want you to set yourself one major goal for next year - and I want you to do it now - not on New Year's Eve.
Too hard? Amazon.com lists 113 books on subject of 'goal setting', so it must be complicated, mustn't it? The truth is, it's actually very simple.
We all know how to achieve goals. We have known since we were at secondary school and received our first assignment, sat our first exam or competed in our first sporting event. As we became adults and got our first job, we started achieving goals on a regular basis - writing reports, making patients well, designing or building things, completing projects. We achieved goals when we organised parties, weddings, Christmas dinners.
So why do we find ourselves setting same 'big' goals - getting fit, losing weight, getting organised, finding a new job - year after year? Because when it comes to these goals we break all rules that we intuitively apply to smaller goals in our everyday lives. In particular, we tend to be far too 'fuzzy' when it comes to defining our goals in first place.
A common framework for defining goals is 'S.M.A.R.T.' approach. This approach has been widely used for some time, with variations. It is simple and easy to apply, which is why I like it.
'S' stands for SPECIFIC. This is first hurdle at which we often fall. Day-to-day goals are usually implicitly specific: 'provide Christmas dinner for family', 'provide report to client'. 'Big' goals are often non- specific: 'get fit', 'grow my business'. A personal goal of mine is to participate in 7-day cross-country 'Great Victorian Bike Ride'. This is a more specific version of 'get fit', because I know that I have to be fit to achieve it.
MEASURABLE is a particularly important aspect of successful 'big' goals. Not only do we need to be able to measure final result, we also need to be able to set intermediate goals and measure our progress. If a business goal is to 'double turnover to $1 million in 12 months', monthly targets can be set over 12-month period, which step up to that level. While riding in Bike Ride can be measured simply on a scale of 'done or not done', actually achieving it will require capability to ride about 100 km per day for a few days in a row. Now I have something to plot my progress against.
ACCEPTABLE brings your personal and/or business values into equation. Your goal must be, first and foremost, YOUR goal - not something you are trying to achieve under duress or on someone else's behalf. Further, your goal, and resources (including time and money) required to achieve it, must fit within your overall life situation and values. For example, your commitment to family/work balance will often determine how many hours you can put into your business.