So often times we have an idea, a dream, or even just an image of success that we are striving for with no idea how to make it happen or even if these concepts are feasible. At the end of the day there is no substitute or excuse for hard work.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book entitled Outliers, where he discusses what he calls the 10,000-hour rule. In his book, Gladwell proposes that it takes 10,000 hours worth of practice to become an expert at anything. While there are plenty of ways to spend your hours, ultimately the most successful people are the ones who budget their time specifcially to meet their goals. For example, my goal is is to work in the music industry as a songwriter. However, I know that I’m going to have to have a solid working knowledge of business, marketing, and audio production to get there. That is why I have chosen to split my time between songwriting and the other areas I will need to understand.

I have been consciously reading business books and taking a few classes. These classes include general accounting, public speaking, macro-economics, and business 101. Additionally, I have been informally educating myself through reading business books. Some business books I recommend are:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Outliers
  • The Four Disciplines of Execution

I also have been teaching myself the basics of audio production, as well as taking an online course on songwriting and audio production called SongChasers. The course was made by Full Circle Music and I can say with certainty that it was 100% worth the personal investment of time, energy, and money to take the course.

Finally, I have been actively searching for internship, industry events, and mentors. It is important to understand the nature of the environment that you are striving to be a part of. This includes the social norms and unwritten rules of that area. For example, I read the book, We Will Stand, which provides a history of the Christian music industry from the perspective of an executive. I have also been reaching out and asking for mentors or just small pieces of advice from industry professionals. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to learn from the people who are where you want to be. At the end of the day be willing to learn because you never know who is watching, and how that will matter down the line. Don’t compromise your dreams. Instead of compromising be willing to work twice as hard as everyone else. There will be days where you watch people who you feel aren’t as qualified or don’t work as hard get opportunities that you feel you deserve. Be patient your time is coming but you’ve got to be willing to work and wait.