The Operating Theatre Company

Bookkeeping tips for music businesses

If you want to make a living as an artist, you have to be as smart as any businessman in a meeting. Look at these 10 tips on how to be an entrepreneur musician.


Most people hear terms like “film industry” or “music industry” or “xero bookkeeper brisbane” and only fixed in the second half. To succeed in business, in any business, you have to be a skilled negotiator. If you want to make a living as an artist, you have to be as smart as any businessman in a meeting, or at least smart enough to have hired the most skilled person in the room.

If you had initiated any other business without an accountant or lawyer to guide you, you would regard as an unconscious;however, in the art world, you look so if you start with them. This is a great incongruity, and you should focus your career from a more logical view. Many great artists lost everything in a bad business decisions. Most successful artists reap their greatest success after understanding the business side of his art, and put everything in order before the next opportunity.Unfortunately, most artists “indie” or beginners seeking to better themselves alone with his art, and the part of business can be hard, making them feel exhausted.

Beginning myself as an artist indie. I worked hard, I had some luck and my accomplishments led me to be a director of many successful artists and companies. While I used to that, I found a lot of repetitive problems. Here are ten tips to help you manage your business properly. Follow them with the same passion that you put into your art, and come out ahead.

1. Start with a mission statement and a business plan

A passionate project will be contagious to everyone who is sensitive to that passion, but, at some point, if you want to make a living with your art, you have to work it like a business. Start by writing a mission or statement of principles that you remember the passion you want to share, and help others to align themselves with your cause. Having a business plan about also will help you focus on the operations of the day and what you need to do to earn money to live that passion and feeding.

2. Analyze what it will take to be profitable

I am able to calculate your expenses, knowing how much you have to sell to cover your costs, and make sure your profit margin is normal.

Many artists are guided by the average price to sell a product, while others are unrealistic with the value of the product.Others, especially musicians and comedians who spend a lot of time on the road, begin to collect what they can get by selling multiple products after a show. This is where knowing the limits of your business plan, which has been the result of good work of observation, will help you live under normal conditions of a business, and, tante, be able to make your art is your way of lifetime.

Take the following example of an indie musician. Sell ​​a CD after a show for $ 10 is normal, while asking for $ 30 makes it less likely sales at the point of sale as people leave the room. Getting a good agreement with the recording studio, or produce your music at home will allow you to keep costs down and transferring savings. If someone has the face of “Let’s make a deal,” entoces be a good seller, “I see you’re a real fan and want to share my music, and I like to help, so I can give you a card digital download for $ 5 and even you the I dedicate “the last time we ordered download cards got a very good deal, so we expand our chances of getting benefits at concerts. You can satisfy your fans and meet your financial goals; you simply have to be streetwise.

Nor should you forget to do your expense sheets, they must be for all, not just your business costs, but for your life. If this will be your job, you also need to pay life. Consider your daily expenses and savings so you know how much it will cost your business to profit. Most indie artists calculate what it will cost to run your business (or just make a living as artists), but in a normal working situation, you look at your paycheck. Consider yourself an employee of your own business. You feel like enough to pay your bills, save money and go on vacation? Your company a profit does not mean you finance: if you need to live your art, make sure your salary and your living standards are included in the business plan. As my own CEO, I’m guilty of paying me very little. If you were working for someone else and I should pay so little, I would. Put yourself in position to love your business, and pay yourself a correct salary so that you do not want to leave.

3. Autofinánciate if you can

With modern technology, most artists can start with few expenses. Many have the basic equipment for his artistic activity. My wife produced an album in the living room that became eligible for the list of Grammy; with the right equipment and a decent computer, art is much more accessible to the indie market.

Borrowing is a normal way to start a business, but back loans with interest can choke a small business, and is one of the main reasons why small businesses fail. Prepare for success and at the same time controlling your destiny without investors trying to push your art.

If you need more money for hours of study or a movie, do it as a good businessman. Get many quotes from different parts.There are many kinds of investors and banking options at your fingertips. I would suggest asking for advice to an investor.They can guide you in the right direction. Other artists who in the past have had to borrow can also advise you. If in doubt, ask someone you know and you trust; many people are willing to offer advice. Once I asked for help with my business plan to an MBA student; he had to make a business plan as classwork, so it was a task that had to do anyway, and we both benefit from it. The Small Business Administration is a free resource that retired entrepreneurs are funded by the government to give advice to small businesses at zero cost, and are in all major cities.

4. Limit your risk

A new business is a risk, as is every new adventure. Treat your new album, film or art exhibition as a new expansion of your business. Never grow beyond your means and your model of success. If you do it right, you do not invest all your time and money on something that would have made little or slow growth in the past. A situation I’ve seen too often is: a musician has some success on tour and sales of their independent CD, then go into the studio and spends all his money on quality production, and their fans say who he has lost freshness and sounds “over-produced”, and suddenly that artist is indebted above its possibilities and does not have an extra capital.

In a small business, many problems come from the rapid expansion, or the company wanting to go too far. If your success comes to make a CD of $ 2000 in your house, sell CDs at $ 10 and drive to bowling, do not make a CD of $ 20,000, go to some concert tickets and try to sell CDs at $ 15; this would be enough to break your business model.

Integra each new initiative as a branch of the core business. Keep you and your business safe; recalls that a musician can not play if your instruments are embargoed. Movie studios make every movie a separate company and then distributed. It helps limit the debt of the business and ensures that if an initiative does not benefit, not drag the rest of the business. Logic grows, expand yourself as space, and make sure your business is protected by insurance. Never let your debt exceeds the total value of your business and everything will be fine. A company like Apple does not come out and made a million iPhones unless they know it will sell. The artists, especially my filmmakers companions, like to go out and make a film for a million dollars, not knowing who your market and which dealer will pay how much for which markets (to the phrase sounds complicated, but that’s why so you need a business person doing your business plan and keeping you protected).

5. Simple Principles

This brings us to the next point: start slowly. Every artist wants an immediate success, but a fan base takes time to grow. If you spend it all on a project, you may find yourself stuck with a pile of boxes of product. Most of the time, artists need time to grow, not only artistically and stylistically, but on the business side. Never overdo beyond your financial and emotional means. I have seen many comics in particular that have become famous too fast and have an emotional wallop and have left. A business plan will help you to not exceed your financial limits and help you emotionally prepare for success because you see things as an expected result. If the new Apple iPhone becomes the best selling phone, comes within expectations, and does not cause a shock. Similarly, if Janet Jackson had a problem with her dress the day before his new album went on sale, did not pose a stroke, was scheduled to come out in the news and that their new album was a “breast-seller “(breast = chest, have you seen what pun?). A plan lets you know what to expect so simple.

6. Put everything in writing

Most family businesses have a very personal atmosphere, and the same goes for the artists. Personally know a booker makes it seem logical to arrange a tour by phone. But enough bad bolo to leave out a lot of indie musicians and comedians.A small discrepancy about who pays movements can end with an artist. Everything is clear by putting it in writing will keep you safe. A quote I used to have on my desk saved me many times: “A contract helps preserve friendship on which a relationship is based.” My wife is one of the best lawyers in the entertainment industry and, unfortunately, is something that happens every day hear of small misunderstandings that lead to a demand side. If you have more than this, remember, a lawsuit can sink a small business or an artist, so I put everything in writing.

If you are an artist of any kind, the most important thing to put in writing is the intellectual property of your work. I personally know a musician who played a song live for years and even sold his CD with that song, and, moreover, got that song came out in a movie, anything to get her steal the song the same producer who made the CD , who gave a famous artist who took her to the top of the charts, without my friend received a penny or her name appeared in the credits! Unfortunately he never registered the copyright and therefore had no legal basis on which to stand. Make sure all your work is protected in writing.

One last point: do not just put it in writing, understands well that you put in writing. TLC sold over 10 million records and still had $ 200,000 of debt. They were incredible breaking records, barriers and hearts; but his contract trashed his bank account.

7. Be Competitive

Be at the forefront. The artists are blessed that good ideas flow, and most businesses would kill for such a talent. Many indie artists I know remain creative in their art, but that’s the same in his business side. Stay current with the latest technologies to modernize the production of your art and even day to day operations like accounting. Small details can make a big difference; for example technologies in the production of films now allow smaller teams 15 years ago. Now you can use an external accounting service to pay bills and payroll instead of having a full-time accountant. You can live in a cheaper place thanks to remote concerts with platforms like Stage-it. A friend of ours, Shannon Curtis, is making more money with private concerts in houses that playing in traditional theaters in Los Angeles; the business has changed, and she was acutely how to take advantage of the trend, with their fan base and their music style in mind. Competitive advantages brought him and now even earn money teaching others how to do musicians. The phrase “do not let your usual work” has different meanings: if you have some success, go ahead! Resting on the laurels of fame achieved is not what made you famous in his day; keep that competitive spirit that led you to where you are and still working. Small businesses that do not remain competitive in their market will be less.

8. yourself with the right equipment

Staying competitive means you’ll need to hire people. An emerging artist needs a lot of things, including production quality audio, video clips, photos, album design, press releases, and more. Hire the most qualified people you can afford, and make sure they are aligned with your mission. Find another artist that can connect yield better results than simply hiring a good coach. It may take time, but do not get to the first person who offers a good deal. If you do not fit well, the final product will not respond to your mission, and soon, your artistic vision that defines you, will be lost, and as a result start to lose fans.Many artists take what they can, this is not the way to run a business and will lead to failure. A small business does not make an announcement because a fan offered to do it for free. If you are serious about advertising and marketing, make sure it is done according to your business plan and your mission. You can get lucky and get a video clip or movie trailer of your free time to time, but many small businesses do worse for having bad ads and commercials. Your art and image must be protected.

On the other hand, it hires the manager, agent, accountant and lawyer appropriate. Make sure you have similar customers and understand what you do. Do not hire a lawyer who handles car accidents, but a lawyer who understands show business and contracts need sector. A lawyer and an accountant are two professional services that can not only save you money in the long run, but save your business. Ask them to read your business plan and your mission statement and explain how they could help you achieve your goals. Find the best film student to make a video with you, or ask a teacher to join you with his best film estudicante for the next round of projects. This will lead to better results than hiring the cheapest person in the yellow pages.

Whatever it is you need, get yourself the best you can get; do you take the time to ensure business success. The artists who are at the top got where they are doing exactly that.

9. The appropriate rules for the proper equipment

In business, if someone works exclusively for you full time, it’s your employee. There in the art world a lot of temporary jobs that are usually for temporary staff. They are for people who do specific jobs for a limited time. Anda carefully. You should not have legal problems for declaring that your business has no employees when you have people working full time just for you and your orders. Save yourself time, money and a possible fine being aware that if someone works for you full time and exclusively can be legally considered your employee. If you have an accountant or lawyer can guide you on these issues.Having a professional team or service properly manage your business in the long run can save you headaches, and keeps you focused on your artistic work.

Trying to save money by hiring suppliers separately could cost you more in the long run if you do not properly. Small businesses have to hire people and have to follow the rules; this is no different for artists. I see this as one of the biggest obstacles to business growth of an artist. I think this is the point where the artist realizes that it is a business, and frightened.As your business grows, so does the need to look like a traditional business. Pass bowling alone, where you only get paid, to a real business model, with payroll, bills and things like that often frightens the solitary artist. This brings us back to the subject of the business plan and expectations about how much and how to grow, and if you have the right equipment, they will make the transition from indie large company easier. Remember, business has rules and laws, and the right equipment the know.

10. Be professional

It might sound weird even have to mention this, but it is essential. When you go to a company, you expect a level of professionalism. If you go out to eat, you expect to follow the laws of Health, which treat you well, and you get the right price for what they offer. Many artists are eccentric and forget to be professional. Artists who have a solid business and get along well with others get more gigs. Any circle in which you’re small, and people talk. Word of mouth can help or sink. A booker told me once,

“I heard that always go with the house on his back and punctual you are.”

I said, “Always.”

He said, “I will hire whenever you want!”

I asked “Have you seen my show?”

“No,” he replied, “but I think you do not understand what the job of a booker”.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Hiring artists who are professionals that help my business, nothing more and nothing less.”

We had a great working relationship for years, he even gave a name to cheesburger from one of my comic characters. If you ever visit the HaHa Cafe in North Hollywood, calls for the Cheesburger Uncle Clyde, and will taste the sweet taste of professionalism.

In short, the reputation of a business will succeed or fail, so try your business to pay the bills on time, be on time, and do what is necessary to maintain a good reputation. This will be more durable than the highs and lows of fame, and maybe if you’re lucky, you get to name a hamburger.

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