I’ve always considered myself pretty ambitious, so when some friends and I put a band together back in middle school I took it very seriously, eventually culminating in a record deal at the age of 15. I ended up finding lasting success elsewhere, but it was an incredible experience that taught me a lot at a very young age. Looking back, I can see that I picked up a few great lessons that helped me as I built my own business later on in life. Here are the four biggest insights about entrepreneurship that I gleaned from my flirtation with rock stardom.
Creative Thinking is Often Rewarded
We often think of creativity as the exclusive domain of artists, but the truth is that building a business takes just as much mental muscle and flexibility. In both cases, you’re creating something from nothing: taking an idea and turning it into a reality. Navigating the markets is never simple, and outside-the-box thinking can be the reason one company succeeds over another. Just as a band or artist dreams up something new, in business you need to be constantly thinking of ways to set yourself apart from the competition. A combination of things that worked in the past along with some unexpected twists is the basis of all great music, and the same approach works in the business world.
Let Your Passion Fuel Your Work
Writing, recording and producing an album is tough work, and if you’re not in love with what you’re making, it’s tantamount to torture. A focus on potential profit simply isn’t enough for most of us to make it through the creation process. This goes for starting a business as well. The product or service you provide will be at its best if you feel strongly about meeting the needs of your clients, consumers or stakeholders. If you’re not passionate about the work you do, why should anyone buy what you’re selling? Would you pay for a ticket to see an artist who dragged their feet onstage and sang without emotion? Of course not, and the same goes for attracting a client or partnership base for your growing business.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Deliver On
In music and in the financial world, your audience has plenty of options to choose from. Grabbing attention with some flashy stunt might work in the short term, but if that’s the only tool in your chest, they’ll forget you as quickly as they found you. No matter the way you choose to attract their eyeballs, the work you do next decides whether you sink or swim. You want to be known as the company that can be relied on, not one that talks a big game but comes up short when it’s time to deliver.
Stay On Your Grind
Once you’ve gotten a hold on your niche, the real work begins. When you’re in a band (yes, even in middle and high school), rehearsal is your lifeblood. It’s the only way to truly develop your craft into something more than a hobby. Growing your company is certainly more iterative than repetitive, but the sentiment is the same: you have to put in the hours to get results. Whether you’re in the office, a recording studio, or a garage, making something great is hard, often unglamorous work.
A thirst for creating impactful businesses can come from a variety of places, and those early experiences of mine in music definitely set the stage (so to speak) for the success I’ve been able to find in the financial sector. With a tangible, solid vision, passion, diligence and integrity, entrepreneurs in any industry can end up becoming rockstars.