How To Get From Full Time Day Job To Full Time Musician - Meet John Taglieri
July 15, 2008
Ariel Hyatt in Music Business Models

images.jpegA few weeks ago I spoke at Bob Baker’s Indie Buzz Bootcamp with 5 other music industry vets: Derek Sivers, Nancy Moran, Bob Baker, Tom Jackson and John Taglieri. We all delivered same message: Make great music that is a full expression of your creative self, then go out and connect your expression to people using technology and with a little learned marketing knowledge and discipline you will earn money. John Taglieri delivered an inspiring talk about what he did to go from full time day job to full time musician

As a social networking cheerleader who works full-time creating exposure for artists online I often find myself asking in my head: Why all of my artists be more like John?  John Taglieri is a rare breed of musician: A natural sales person who understands the importance of working just as hard on his musical craft as he does on his marketing and sales and for him it comes naturally.

I know that this is not the case for a lot of artists who can get fully frustrated with the idea of sales and marketing and they “just want to play.”  I’ve heard it thousands of times: “I just want to play, I hate doing that online stuff,” if you hold on to this attitude you will be left behind in the dust.

You have to be willing to get on the court and learning to play this game takes time and energy, and the rules change quickly so you need to adapt and go with the flow and not crucify yourself when something is not working.  This is where John Taglieri excels – he is open to learning new things and trying them – taking the parts that work and discarding the parts that don’t.

This stuff is not brain-surgery and the great news is unlike true musical talent (which, in my humble opinion is not a learned skill – it’s a gift) marketing and sales is TOTALLY LEARNABLE…. and there are thousands of gurus to learn from, endless free information to find online and plenty of people to model (yes – copy the ones that have success and watch success come to you – no need to re-invent the wheel)

OK – I’m getting off my soap box now and I want to share some of the best nuggets of John’s talk with you because even though I am friends with him and I work with him he shed some light on what goes on in his mind and I was delighted to get a peek into his thinking. I think you will be too…

The BIG Three Questions:

When John decided it was time to quit the day job and REALLY go for it in the music business he looked at himself in the mirror and he asked himself 3 key questions:

1.    What Do You Want? (Be honest with yourself)
2.    How Bad Do You Want It?
3.    What Are You Willing To Give Up For It?

Question 1: What do you want?  
He wanted to make it as a full time musician. Period.  What he understood by asking himself this question was that he may not get his ultimate dream of being an international rock star and playing huge stadiums and touring the world in a private jet like Motley Crue but that he wanted to play music full time and not hold a second job to pay for that dream and he was OK with giving up the private jet part of his dream.

When you can give up being totally attached to exactly what you thought it would look like miracles begin to happen and John explains that his dream was to play Giants Stadium – he ended up doing that… 10 times singing the National Anthem

Question 2: How bad do you want it?
John talked about his inner motto:
I want what I want and you are either going to help me or get out of my way

This meant that he had to disassociate from some friends that were holding him back by telling him that there was no way he could make it.

Question 3: What are you willing to give up for it?
Making it takes something.

If you are really not OK with working really hard to get it than this dream may not be for you… Getting there will take a lot of discipline, patientence and time.

You may have to go out to dinner less, spend less time with your family, wake up an hour or two early to study whatever it is you need to get better at – it will force you out of your comfort zone and it will take going that extra mile.

Visualize what you want
Every year for 5 he wrote on his yearly goals to quit his day job – he did it after 5 years. It took strong will and getting out of his comfort zone to achieve this goal.

You have to be able to SEE what you want – visualize what you want to do and always focus on moving forward
John talks about a very important distinction: focus on baby steps vs. big leaps.  This is not to say that you should not set a huge goal but think in baby steps while you are working for the big goal. When you achieve a small goal don’t forget to celebrate it and acknowledge that you achieved it.  The music business is HARD, not easy to make progress so take the wins when you get them.

It may not be what you thought
Not everything you want when you get it turns out to be what you wanted when you get it. If what you get is not the right thing its OK to not keep it.  Adapt to what feels right for you.

Face the crowd for perspective
To help visualize his dream, John would go to concerts and from the audience, he would turn around and look at the crowd burn the image of the crowd into his head and keep that visual of what a crowd of really excited fans looks like.

Don’t let yourself be overly structured
John’s tips:

-    Use a calendar or outlook to make a schedule – set it and forget it
-    Have goals and carry over your goals from year to your
-    Contact database management
-    Prioritizing daily tasks
-    Be flexible for changes –things crop up
-    Automate the mundane tasks
John presets the tasks like changing the filter in the dogs bowl – then he does not need to think about things that can suck his creative time.

Create multiple income streams
John has 5 streams of income that all tie together
1.    Plays original gigs
2.    Plays cover gigs
3.    Runs a music studio out of his home
4.    Handles sales & marketing for Cyber PR
5.    Owns a CD duplication machine and makes CDs for people

Have a strong brand
Branding is key in getting people to remember who you are.
In this world where niche marketing is key do not be scared to have a strong brand John’s is: If Edwin Mccain and Bon Jovi had a baby you would have me. He then set out to ingrain that into your head it’s on all of his sites – MySpace, Twitter, CD Baby and more.

Bands Are Small Companies – DELEGATE!
Do not try to do everything on your own – learn to find people who can help you who are in your league – fire people who are not working as hard as you.
-    If you are delegating YOU are responsible for making sure the people that you delegate to are accountable – give them dates and times to achieve things and by when
-    If you didn’t do it – it’s your fault
-    Eliminate negative people and situations
-    Stay positive

And Finally…Don’t Ever…
• Grow Up
• Say I Can’t
• Give Up
• Blame Others
• Whine
• Bitch
• Moan
• Complain

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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