The difference between a hobby and a career
ROI stands for Return on Investment. To put it another way, it means what you get out from what you put in. You might think that a phrase like ROI is only relevant to stockbrokers and bankers but it definitely affects you as a songwriter or artist.
There’s a difference between songwriting as a hobby and songwriting as a a career. Here’s a way to look at the difference:
- When you do something you don’t particularly enjoy and you get paid for it… that’s a job.
- When you do something you love but you don’t get paid… that’s a hobby.
- When you do something you love and you DO get paid… that’s a CAREER.
Can you see the difference? Your career is music, because that’s what you love, but it’s only a career when it provides some sort of income for you, otherwise it’s just a hobby. Yes, songwriting, for most people, begins as a part-time career, often supplementing the dreaded ‘job,’ but it is still your career, if you choose to make it so.
It takes more than talent
To have any kind of success in that career, it takes a commitment to invest in your God-given talent. Your talent is the raw material, the lump of clay, the pile of bricks. What you choose to do with that raw material is the element that determines your success.
“Effort without talent is a depressing situation, but talent without effort is a tragedy.” – Mike Ditka
I wish I could tell you that you can make it to the top on nothing but talent, but I can’t because it flat-out isn’t going to happen. Talent alone is not enough; it’s just the beginning.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a disgruntled parent say, “My son/daughter has much more talent than [insert star’s name here]. How come they made it and my kid can’t?”
A variation on that is the songwriter who is consumed with envy for “that lucky guy” who is getting all the cuts on the top acts.
Lucky? Okay, I’ll admit that sometimes luck does play a part in success. But one thing is certain: The better prepared you are, the luckier you’ll get.
There’s almost no such thing as an overnight success, at least not one that lasts longer than a flash in the pan. That “lucky” person, that “overnight success” had almost certainly invested in their talent so that when the opportunity presented itself, they were prepared and were able to confidently take full advantage of the situation.
Invest in your talent
As you develop your career as a songwriter, you will need to commit to making an investment in your talent. It’s an investment in both time and money, but the part to always keep in mind is the ROI… the return that you will reap on that investment of time and money in your career.
Make a commitment to go to Writers’ Nights, network with other writers, ask questions, read books, take classes, set up co-writing sessions and write, write, write!