I am hearing a lot of comments from my musician friends that times are rough right now. There’s very little work, which is typical for August in Houston, but they say things are worse than ever this year.
I’ve been making my living in music, in Houston for over two decades now. I have seen plenty of these ups and downs. This is not the first time I’ve heard other musicians say that this is the worse it’s ever been. They’ve been saying that since I got here.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to say that it’s all in their heads. I know the tough times they are speaking of because I went through all of them right along with them. Those tough times are real and a serious part of making a living as a professional musician.
So the question is, “What do you do about it?”
My answer has always been to just hang in there. The downs don’t last forever (nor do the ups). There is always an upswing with better times ahead. During tough times we plow and sow our fields so that the next good times, that are just around the corner, bring us a greater harvest. This means practicing more, writing more originals, networking, and even spending more time with our families.
This is where the people who have to be paid for EVERY little thing go wrong. If you can’t see the connection between the work you do now and the profits you make two years from now, you will never be as successful as you could be. Don’t worry that today’s gig doesn’t pay enough to invest twenty hours of rehearsal time. Those rehearsals will pay off down the road. Don’t worry that today’s gig doesn’t pay enough to justify a full fledged marketing campaign. The marketing you do during the hard times is worth ten times that same investment during the good times.
Invest in your art. Work on your craft. Tweak your business. Now is the time to move forward in your career, not back.
Hang in there!