I’m sure like many other singers, you dream of eventually having a successful professional singing career and all that comes with it. It is foremost in your mind. And I know you have spent much time, energy and monies on gaining a solid vocal technique, polishing your languages and understanding the characters that you will play. The coaches you have worked with have prepared you musically and dramatically. Performance experiences up to this point have perhaps, mainly been with smaller less exposed venues. You feel ready; feel like it is time to launch yourself into the next phase of moving up the performance ladder. Now the question is, what do you have in place to make that happen? It is now about the business aspects of having a singing career. Are you prepared to become an entrepreneur? Do you naturally have the chops to deal with business or do you need to learn that process. Many singers dream of having a career, but forget to figure in the skills necessary to run a business. And not everyone is cut out for this line of work. It can be learned and mastered if you have the tenacity to stick with it. It is not however, for the faint of heart.

Most successful entrepreneurs tend to share these traits no matter what business they are in.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
~ Francis of Assisi

Discipline – #1 on my list. Taking care of business is something you have to do every day even when you don’t feel like you are making progress, or just don’t want to do it because something more exciting or interesting comes along. Take the time to set up an organized work space so when you do sit down to do business, all the information and supplies are at your finger tips allowing you to feel motivated to work. Build a system that works for you to take care of your finances. Develop your networking skills and then figure out the best method of consistently keeping in touch with those that put on you’re a list. Make it a habit to do business every day by being disciplined.

Frugality – #2 on my list. You have to be willing to make financial sacrifices when times are slow and there is no work. And it has to be a priority. Often the money you spend on new clothes, a café latte, going out to dinner with friends, flying home for a holiday or someone’s wedding or graduation can be put to better use by reinvesting it into your business. And it’s a great idea not to be frugal just when times are slow and there is no work. You need to practice saving money so when unexpected opportunities show up, or you are in between gigs and need some cash for rent and food you have enough to tide you over. And remember to replace whatever you spend during those times as quickly as you can. Keep adding to the coffer. It will serve you well. It could pay for a new gown or tux or the air fare to get to an important audition and probable job.

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great Communication Skills – Creating and maintaining relationships is the name of the business game. That requires networking and staying in touch with those contacts you have made through networking. And that takes guess what, discipline. It is a lot of work but will give you the rewards you are looking for. Listening to others when in a conversation is of paramount importance. Stop trying to come up with a clever retort during a conversation and simply listen to what is being said. Keep yourself current on what’s happening in the world whether it is war, fashion, the newest great book out, or the latest restaurant of the day. And make it a habit to find out all you can about everyone attending any function you are attending via google, face book, blogs, etc., so you now a little about them, and what their tastes and likes are. It helps give you self-confidence and makes you look the professional. It’s business. It’s presenting and representing your Personal Brand. It’s becoming the example of who you are, which always speaks louder than words and is more influential.

Self-Confidence – Executing all three of the above mentioned traits will give you self-confidence. It’s amazing how empowered you will start feeling because you are making your career happen. Learn to be your own biggest fan. There is nothing wrong with believing in your own talent and what you have that is unique and authentic. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well. As they say actions speak louder than words. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either. And work will not just fall out of the sky, you have to go out there and find it yourself. Self-confidence is appropriate and necessary.

“I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.”
~ Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt

Humility – No one expects you to be perfect or have it all together because you are at the beginning of this process called building a professional singing career. So lighten up, apologize when appropriate, take constructive criticism and be open to learning from others. Also, ask for help when you need it.

Honesty & Integrity – A very, very important item on this list. Your reputation is at stake. Remember, you are the company, the employee and the product. So everything you do reflect on your business. This is where you Personal Brand can shine. Stay congruent on the inside so you can be consistent on the outside.

Motivation – Make creating an agenda for each day and making sure you do as much as you can to complete that agenda each day a priority. This helps keep you motivated. When you go to your voice lesson, have an agenda. When you walk down the street and meet others, have an agenda. Maybe it’s seeing how many people you can make smile back at you. When doing office work for your business, know that if you do the things you don’t like first, the rest of the items on your list become a breeze. You can’t just sit on the couch all day eating bon-bons and expect to be successful. Wishing and dreaming just don’t cut it. You have to make it happen even when you have a legit manager or agent and do it each and every day.

“God sells us all things at the price of labor.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

Flexibility – It pays to be able to change up what has to be done when circumstances change your reality. Sometimes one has to rearrange a schedule or learn to accommodate the unexpected. Don’t let it throw you. As they say, “If they give you lemons, make lemonade” and do it with panache.

Ability to Set Boundaries – Just because you can be flexible doesn’t mean you weak and a pushover. You need to teach people how to treat you. Don’t accept unreasonable deadlines for learning music or anything else if it doesn’t really work for you, don’t put too much on your plate at one time and learn to say “no” when appropriate without emotion, and feel really good about it.

Be Fit & Healthy – As a singer you are an athlete. Your whole body sings and so it needs to be in shape and healthy. So, don’t wait to go to a Doctor if you really feel unwell. Take very good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise moderately and take a spiritual break every day by walking in nature or sitting quietly turning inward to reflect on being happy. When you start feeling down, stressed or depressed, turn the corners of your mouth up and you will immediately feel better. It’s even better if you accompany that by putting your arms up in air and wave them around.

Balance – Sometimes as an entrepreneur working at home, it’s tough to know when to stop and take a break. Counterpoint to that, if you are good at relaxing, it’s equally challenging to get out of the lounge mode and jump start your work mode. Regardless of which mode you are in, you are responsible for stretching your comfort zone enough to help keep your work and personal life in balance.

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”
~ Longfellow

All of these personal characteristics have a major influence on your potential to succeed as an entrepreneur. So figure out how you can best master this process of becoming the consummate professional singer while running your own business and keeping the rest of your life in balance. We can’t know everything especially at the beginning so don’t be afraid to learn from others. You can even model others that you respect. Try on their physical characteristics and behaviors to see if it makes a difference in your level of confidence and motivation. Because each of us has different characteristics, inner languages, behaviors, beliefs, no one program or way of running a business will work for everyone. It’s up to you to figure out at just what pace you want to move and how much you can successfully put on your plate at one time to stay motivated and feel successful. Remember the story of the race between the tortes and the hare? They both crossed the finish line, but each did it at their own pace and in their own way.

Ciao until next time. Carol

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