The record label project that I run has taught me many lessons about working in the real world, way before I graduate from University. I once attended a conference about music industry practice, and I’ll always remember what one of the panel members said: “What we do isn’t “sexy”… It’s a hard slog!”. This really put me off working in music because I knew he was right, but I persevere…
The first and most important lesson is “Don’t think! Do!”, or more accurately, “If you have a plan, stick to the plan!”. I find that initially thinking about things is essential, but determining alternatives is not – I mean my biggest weakness that I am currently conquering is Hesitation. I used to say “hesitation costs, ambition earns”, but this is counter productive because ambition requires hesitation to think about it. This is quite a new lesson learned considering I have been running my label for some time now, but currently whenever I come up with a plan using common sense (that’s what “business sense” boils down to, I suppose) not ambition, I go through with it strait away as hesitation will just cost me time I don’t have. This has proved quite an effective way to go about business, and life in general!
A more difficult lesson I learned is “Cut the fat!”. Assertiveness is something I have to use, and I don’t mind being assertive because it gets the job done (unlike aggression and submissiveness of course). It’s a difficult lessons because of when I have to be Ruthless… There were times when I just got told excuse for not doing work after excuse for not doing work, and it did actually guilt trip me into letting it go – And so I have set a reasonable threshold, so there are so many excuses I can accept before I decide to let people go from a project and replace them ASAP. I have to be assertive and, unfortunately, ruthless for the greater good, which can be a harsh lesson for those working in the real world. What has to be done has to be done – There’s no point in many getting slowed down by a few, basically.
The final lesson is that: “It IS a hard slog!”. I have had many difficult problems (and a few successes on the positive side), and admittedly there have been times when I have encountered problems that require WAITING, which is very punishing as technically it’s a problem which I have, but cannot solve myself in 24 hours. I have now accepted that working in the real world is the opposite of easy and all that, but it is because of that that it is rewarding when tricky problems are overcome.
This post is written to inspire those who have not tried doing business projects yet to perhaps have a go at one, and to help those who are already doing business projects through tough times. Business projects do not have to be long term of course; they can be short term like organising a one day charity event etc. I’m not sure if I regret setting up a label or not to be honest – I just see it as an ordinary part time job with challenges 🙂