Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more time to focus on the creative aspects of music?
Probably the biggest challenge of being an independent artist is juggling all the business-related tasks, while also squeezing in the necessary time to work on music and hone your creative abilities. Besides music, everyone has external responsibilities – work, family, pets, etc – preventing them from dedicating more time to writing and performing music. Understandably, it can be an overwhelming and frustrating struggle to balance.
I put together a list of time-saving tips for musicians that will give you more time to focus on what you are passionate about…making music.
#1: Limit Your Social Media Channels
Social media is a valuable tool for musicians to cultivate an online fan base, but it can have a downside too. I am sure you have found that it’s easy to get caught up trying to be everywhere online thinking you are reaching more people. With so many social media channels available, you want to ensure you aren’t spreading yourself too thin and reducing your effectiveness by being active on every single one.
If you find yourself spending hours a day bouncing from one channel to another, it may be time to reconsider your social media strategy.
– Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
– Facebook, Instagram, and SoundCloud
– Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube
– Instagram, Youtube and Twitter
Since you only have a limited amount of time, you want to be active on the channels that are the most cost-effective to reach this highest number of fans.
Another related issue is spending too much time on social media. Even if you are limiting the channels you post on, it can still be a time sink if you don’t fully understand how to effectively market yourself on social media. If you find yourself spending a lot of time tweeting random people and commenting on every post to get exposure out there for your music, you are probably coming off as spammy and annoying.
After making these changes, if you still find that you are dedicating too many hours on social media, consider what you are trying to accomplish by constantly updating these sites. Once you understand what your goal is for being on social media (or lack thereof), you can create daily and weekly time limits for updating social media. You can even consider what events or reasons merit a social media post.
Give your thumbs a break, shut the laptop cover and put your time towards something that is more valuable like making music.
#2: Social Media Automation
Automation is your friend. A good way to waste time is to do things technology can easily do for you. While I’m not a fan of automating everything, there are plenty of things that automation can take care of without making you come off as a robot. You should always interact and respond to fans in the old fashioned way.
Social Umph. Using this site allows you to spend time getting your Twitter affairs in order, and then not having to worry about updating for several days. Once you have preloaded your tweets for the week, you can take a step back from Twitter and avoid getting lost in the cyber world when all you meant to do was just one small thing. Specifically, you can track when your name is mentioned on Twitter, schedule tweets and save and reuse drafts of your tweets.
I also recommend IFTTT (if this, then that). With this free app, you create rules to automate work processes when the trigger occurs. For instance, you can program IFTTT to record the contact information of the sender from emails you receive. It syncs with your other apps, saving you tons of time with the power of workflow automation.
#3: Email Marketing Process
Email is another important component that can be automated. Since email should be an integral part of your marketing efforts, it can take a lot of time to get the emails you send to fans perfected. Getting your email marketing process in place can save a good amount of time.
– Service to collect emails: First off, you need to sign up for an email marketing service to build an email list. You can learn more here.
– Welcome email: It’s important to engage new subscribers as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to set up email automation that automatically sends a welcome email to visitors that enter their email on your website.does that for you. Ideally, you want to offer something of value as a free download in the welcome email.
– Design an email template that is consistent with your branding: Instead of having to create a new design each time you send out an email, you can just design one template and use it every time.
#4: Set Goals, Have a Plan
There are many artists out there who don’t have specific goals or have a good grasp on what they want to accomplish. Hopefully, you don’t fall into this category, because if you’re just winging it and hoping for the best, you may end up wasting time and money in the long run.
If you want to sell an album, you don’t just start recording music right away. There needs to be a plan that covers all the tasks you need to accomplish before successfully creating your album. By breaking your goal down into more manageable steps, there will be fewer obstacles to derail you and waste your precious time.
Your next step is to establish the tasks needed to achieve these goals. These tasks need to be very specific and include the strategies to accomplish the big picture goals you set. Taking the time to lay out a detailed map of what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish, it gives you a clear focus and direction to work towards. It also makes it easier to manage your goals and stay motivated. Crossing off little milestones in the pursuit of your overall goal reaffirms you are making progress.
For more on creating goals, read 5 Must Learn Business Concepts for Music Artists Who Hate to Deal with the Business Side.
#5: Integrate Bandsintown to Promote Shows and Gigs
Live performances and tours are usually the largest sources of income for independent artists. This means having an easily accessible location for people to see your upcoming shows and gigs is a must. A great tool for this is Bandsintown.
Anyone who uses Bandsintown, and likes your Facebook page, will get a notification of your upcoming shows via email. The notification that is sent is a great way to update your fans about where you’ll be performing next.
Use the below links to learn more about their services:
#6: Get Things Organized
Many artists don’t think of being a musician as a “business,” but it is, and you should treat it as such. Even though it takes a little more upfront planning and time investment, it is a great time saver in the long run to create processes that keep your business organized. The sooner you establish set business practices and document them, the easier it is. Once you start getting your business organized, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
With automated work processes and online documentation in place, it’s much easier for someone else down the line to take over those functions if needed. The more organized you are, the easier this transition can be.
List of things to organize:
– Booking and events
– Tax receipts
– Photos and videos
– To-do lists
– Press release
• Google Sheets, Docs, and Calendar: Google offers an array of free services that you can use to keep organized.
• Evernote: Streamlines your notes or lyrics and allows you to access them on any device. Evernote helps you find the notes you have saved easily; you can even search for handwritten words. With this app, you can also save photos, reminders, lists, and voice memos.
• Google Drives or Dropbox: Whether it’s your music, photos or press release, you can store frequently used files to make it easier to share with anyone who needs access to it. Files are even accessible on a mobile device.
• Mint / Quickbooks / Freshbooks: A finance app that works like a digital financial planner and a good choice if you are investing money into your music career. It monitors your transactions and sorts purchases into categories. You can also tabulate budgets and set goals for savings.
• Mile IQ: Easily track your mileage for gigs with this app.
#7: Easily Submit Your Music to Multiple Playlists and Blogs
Getting your music in front of other audiences via music blogs, playlists, influencers and tastemakers is a great way to gain more exposure. With so many sites and channels, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to approach them all individually.
Submit Hub – http://www.submithub.com
Submit Hub specifically lends its services to musical artists. Their ‘How does it work?’ section boasts that they make it easy to connect with bloggers, YouTube channels, record labels and more.
#8: Build a Team
One of the biggest things musicians can do to save time is to seek help from others. After all, time is your most valuable asset. You need to be able to free up as much time to focus on the things that only you can do. It’s not feasible or cost-efficient to learn how to do everything and then execute all the tasks yourself when there are other people who can do it for you. You may think that you’re saving money this way, but don’t forget that there’s an opportunity cost attached.
Even if it doesn’t seem like this is your best option now, due to financial limitations, as you become more popular, your responsibilities will grow. When this happens, you should seriously consider paying people to take over certain responsibilities for you. Delegating out some of the tasks frees up more time to do what you’re good at and enjoy doing – being a fantastic indie artist.
Hopefully, you can see how at least a few of these tips can alleviate some of the stress you feel from your endless to-do list. Incorporating these changes will provide you with additional and much-needed time to spend writing, practicing, and performing music.
Question For You
Do you have any time-saving tips for musicians not mentioned here? Please share in the comments below.