Why Most Music Students Suck at Freelancing (and how you can avoid this fate). Also, I have a special gift for one of you.

why musicians suck at freelancing

In case you’re curious about the gift, you will find it at the end of this post.  Not to brag or anything, but whoever wins it is going to really dig it.


Most music students are pretty clueless when it comes to freelancing.

Trust me, I know because I was one of them not so long ago.

Today I want to help you get past some of the mental blocks and cut through some misconceptions so that you can start using your time more wisely and getting more work.

I was recently invited to speak at the Philadelphia International Music Festival about freelancing for young musicians and while I was preparing/giving my talk, something hit me that I had never really considered.

Most people don’t realize that, just like learning an instrument or to sing, freelancing is a skill that anyone can learn and get better at.

Are some people naturally better at it than others?


But here’s the thing that most people don’t realize:  You can get really good at freelancing if you approach it as learning a skill.

Think about when you first begin learning anything…it’s hard.

Like, really hard.

Can you imagine going into your first violin lesson and your teacher putting Brahms’ Violin Concerto on the stand?

You’d have no clue what you were looking at, get frustrated, and probably give up immediately.

But the problem is is that a lot of people tend to look at freelancing in a similar way.

We tend to think we need to have a website, professional headshots, business cards, social media pages, YouTube and all kinds of other junk that just gets in the way.

Too many people operate under the assumption that having these things will magically help them get more gigs and that’s just not true.

If nobody knows you exist, they’re not going to be looking for you.

The reality is that most of us don’t know anything about websites or social media and that they will just distract from what actually gets results.

When learning something new, the secret to making progress is to remove as many barriers as possible.

OK, what does that mean?

When I say “barriers”, I mean anything that will make you spend time on decisions that don’t actually yield results.

Think about it…

How many times have you gotten so tied up in the tiny details of something (that nobody else would ever notice) that you eventually get stressed or overwhelmed that you just gave up?

If you’ve built a website, social media channels, or anything else like that, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

“What should go in my bio…?”

“I don’t have any good pictures….”

“I need to have recordings…”

“Which colors and fonts should I use for this website…?”

This is what psychologists call “decision fatigue” and it’s why President Obama wears the same suit almost everyday. (Thanks Ramit Sethi for sharing this article!)

If you can avoid this pitfall, you’re going to be lightyears ahead of other freelancers that are wasting time on things that don’t matter when starting out.

Whether it’s your practice time, freelancing career, or anything else, once you prioritize your time and energy on what’s going to actually get you results, you can really start making progress.

For anyone wondering where they will get the most out of their time when free getting started freelancing, read this.

Now I have a gift for one of you.

I want to try something new.

Instead of writing about what to do, I want to actually show you.

So here’s what I need you to do:

Send me an email at hanes81@gmail.com and tell me your name, your instrument, where you live, and I’m going to pick one lucky person that I will show exactly what to do to get their freelancing career started.

Yes, you read that right, I’m basically going to try and get one of you hired for a gig.

You and I will get on a Skype call/Google Hangout and I’m going to go step-by-step through the process and record it so you can all watch exactly how I do it.

This will be the exact process that I’ve used to build a freelance business on the side using my skills to almost double my monthly income from my “day job” over the last few years.

Again, all you have to do is send me an email and one of you lucky folks will get a one-on-one crash course in freelancing (and you might even get a gig!).

I can’t wait to hear from you.