I am writing you from about 10,000 feet just on the other side of the Atlantic in a Swiss Int’l Air Plane. I am embarking on a long 7 week tour in Europe. I can’t sleep, and guess what – I play hours after landing in Hamburg! .
Well, why not write a blog entry? 🙂
As I chatted on the plane with my row companion, we discussed how artists are not taught business. Hmm, well in music school I learned NO business stuff -it has all been from life experience.
Years ago on my first tours I’d find that I had a fanny pack full of Austrian schillings and have no idea if I made money, lost money or what on a tour. Having money felt good, but it was so fuzzy….
This occurred to me when Mom & Dad would say, “how’d you make out?” and all I had was a blurry memory of beer, selling CD’s, buying train tickets and having a great time. But oh no – here comes the credit card bill with the plane tickets for a trio!
And then a voice spoke to me – “the numbers don’t lie”.
I’d love to teach this to young musicians. (And if anyone out there has any suggestions for me as to getting better at budgets & planning I am all ears! Maybe a good book?)
I realized that with a spreadsheet program (I use excel) I could easily enter expenses as negative numbers in one column, income in another and voila – have it do some fancy totaling and see how well I did at a glance, and update anytime I pop in new numbers.
I actually just spent some time here on the plane setting up the template and could semi – project the tour income. Ok, there will be meals, then who knows what the CD sales will be – but all I have to do now is pop in numbers every day (USD or EURO – I set up conversions & totaling ) and I have a nice red box at the bottom with my “bottom line” in USD.
Of course when you are building a career & following your passion money is not the only measure, but “the numbers do not lie”. It’s always worth it to get out and play – but it is nice to come home with some dough too!!!
A great thing about this process is that I can see more clearly now that if I’d like to up my overall income, I need to earn a certain amount each gig, which amounts to setting firm prices for concerts. This process makes clear what I’d have to say “no” to, and helps me navigate my negotiations more clearly!
Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this…time to try and sleep some.