Don’t leave your future to chance

Some of you were a bit surprised to see me reveal a little more of myself then usual in my last blog – but this is part of another commitment I have to ‘keep things real’ so expect to see more of it. Not every month, just sometimes.

If you missed out, then here it is again. A blog about my new year mantra of ‘simplicity, declutter and minimise’ (or otherwise known as the year I threw out my kid’s kindy art projects without feeling guilty.

This month it’s back to a more business-y topic – well sort of.  Succession planning.

I am fresh back from a wonderful short break with family and friends in NZ, and this is a topic that came up during a discussion with a Kiwi friend who has just sold his business.  It got me thinking about my own business, especially as I am currently going through a re-branding process and my business brain has been working in a state of hyperactivity lately.

So, back to succession planning.

A succession plan, in the traditional sense, outlines the things you need do when you close, sell or transfer ownership of your business.  It makes you think hard about who will potentially takeover from you if you were to leave because of retirement, illness, or heaven forbid, something worse.

But this blog is NOT about the traditional succession plan because lets face it, a succession plan doesn’t work when YOU ARE the BUSINESS – you are a band, a musician, or a manager, and you have unique special relationships or creative talents that really can’t be bought or sold or transferred.

Your sister or best friend can’t just walk in, buy your business and continue on – unless they are perhaps your identical twin and also happen to be a very talented musician or industry expert.

For me, when I think about succession planning in the music industry, its about doing what you love – you can never take the love of music out of the person

But where, and how, do you explore the next stage of your career?

Your own personal succession plan should not be a scramble or a reactive exercise in self-preservation – it should be an exercise in building value – your own personal value.

It’s not uncommon, for example, for musicians to develop second careers.

Does a music producer start a second career writing music for others, become a manager, move into a publicist role, host a TV show or a podcast,  become a music journalist, a music teacher, or coach others in the music business?

There is no limit to your imagination once you get started – and there are many ways you can continue to carry your artistry with you.

Ringo Starr was the first narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine back in 1984.  Mick Jagger produced a couple of successful films, and Madonna has written children’s books. Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is a successful fashionista.  Perhaps lesser known is that the late David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell all picked up a paintbrush and splashed it around a canvas.  And of course, our very own Aussie music legend Peter Garret became a politician.

There are some really great skills that musicians and other industry professionals possess, which they often don’t recognise, even in themselves.

Most musicians are incredibly creative, persistent, and confident.  For what its worth, here are some other traits based on my experience from years of working in this industry:

  • Musicians are notorious perfectionists. They often have high levels of self-discipline, determination and self-motivation. Afterall, ‘practice makes perfect’.
  • Musicians often work well with others and they also work hard. Going into music is NOT easy.
  • Musicians have to be flexible. Working at night, traveling (which sometimes requires coping with stress and exhaustion), and performing in a variety of settings where conditions are often less than ideal, forces a musician to adapt.
  • Musicians by virtue of their career, often have good stage presence. They learn to deal with the stress of performing and being judged by others.
  • Many musicians are good with their hands; and naturally they also have a keenly developed ear. These listening skills are imperative when dealing with other people.

And I am going to add one more.  Humility. Well, OK, not everybody has this, but the great ones do. The artists that are humble and not full of themselves are the ones we fall in love with.  No-one loves someone who believes their own hype!

Your future is something you should spend some time thinking seriously about – be forward thinking and have a plan with some goals – of where you’d like to go and when. If you feel inspired, start to pursue those goals, even if you take small baby steps.

There are many ways to use your love for music to establish an ongoing sustainable career. While not all of the possibilities are necessarily lucrative, and it may take a few different revenue streams to make this music-filled lifestyle sustainable, you can at least rest assured knowing that your life is fueled by your love of music and this terrific industry.

These are all qualities most employers value highly.

Remember, this isn’t intended to be the definitive guide on this topic – and your own succession plan can be a continual work in progress.  This article is merely intended to get you thinking about the future…your future.

Give us a call on 02 9564 5885 if this is something that you’d like to talk further about.  At Calculated Matters we are not just creative business tax experts, we are a great sounding board on a whole bunch of things!

And remember, baby steps with this stuff is perfectly OK.


About Jacinta:

Jacinta O’Connell has over two decades of experience in her own successful professional and commercial accounting practice.

Predominantly servicing the music, media and entertainment industries,  Jacinta has a wealth of expertise to share with you as a peer and mentor.

Put simply, Jacinta and her team will support your business growth, development and profitability by providing the best customised practical and technical solutions, and help you work towards business success.

Connect with Jacinta on LinkedIn.



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