I nearly died laughing the other day when I was listening to an entrepreneurship podcast and the interviewee sheepishly claimed it took her *nearly 18 months* to get her business up and running and profitable.
Um, excuse me?
It made me think of how many musicians and creative entrepreneurs I know who’ve been at it for YEARS. Some of us nearly 30 years! I wrote my first song when I was seven years old...It made me think of the 10,000 hour rule.
And then I realized why 10,000 hours is bullshit.Or maybe it's just the tip of the iceberg.
I did the math. 30 years x [thinking or working on your craft approx 8 hours/day] = 85,440 hours!
And some of my colleagues still feel perpetually in “emerging artist” mode - struggling, frustrated, broke. After all this time and effort, they are still waiting to get momentum in their careers. But it’s certainly not for lack of talent or effort.
The truth is some businesses are fairly simple and cookie-cutter - you make a product and sell it. Or you have a service people need and they hire you. But sometimes when your work is your art, or your personal brand, it takes much longer to decipher who you are, what you’re trying to say, and who you’re trying to say it to. You simply have to dig a LOT deeper to find those answers.
And that is OK!
The truth is it can take a lifetime to figure this stuff out. And honestly, it takes more than just time and practice.
In fact, I could probably attribute gaining momentum as a creative entrepreneur to a few specific things:
- Years of mindful practice and performance in your craft.
- Iterations (the amount of times you actually release a project into the world and learn from the experience)
- A growth mindset (meaning you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and evolve as a human)
- Creating a strong business model (supply/demand, etc.)
So maybe I’m dumb (though I don’t think so).
And maybe I love to learn things the hard way (I’ve definitely had my share of trial and error!).
Or maybe true mastery of anything actually takes a lifetime.
Realizing all this reinforces my own decision to double down on songwriting. Because it’s my highest ideal and even though I’ve had some successes along the way, I feel my best work is yet to come. And all I want to do is get to it!
So if you’re a musician or a creative entrepreneur and you’re not hitting your creative, financial, or social jackpot after 18 months that is perfectly ok. In fact, maybe you’re actually normal. 🙂
I would say keep going. Keep iterating, keep learning, and keep growing. You are a beautiful creative heart! There is only death between you and dreams, and even then that’s debatable.