make money with musicAs a musician, you probably have talents and know-how outside of your musical abilities.

You may be surprised to discover that those skills can be leveraged to make money with music.

You can create additional sources of income and even generate new opportunities for your music on a part-time basis often from the comfort of your own home.

In fact, I would even consider – what I have come to christen music entrepreneurship – one of my areas of expertise.

You think you’re ADD? When I was still actively pursuing a career in music, I had trouble focusing on any given brainchild of mine for longer than a week (sometimes I would forget ideas within 24 hours)! It was not unusual for me to be playing in four or five bands at any given time, either.

Not to get too unfocused, of course. After all, you’re in music because you love music and you want to spend more time doing what you love, right? But I think that’s one of the merits of music entrepreneurship; you can create more time to concentrate on your music. More money means less time spent at work, and less time spent at work means more freedom.

If these concepts don’t resonate with you, take them with a grain of salt. If you think you have enough free time in your day to make something happen, and you’re excited about the prospect of beginning a new creative project, these ideas are for you!

1. Write for Revenue Sharing Website

There are numerous websites out there that allow you to write articles for them and earn a bit of cash in the process. Revenue sharing websites generate significant traffic all on their own, and they are host to a variety of advertisers that enable them to produce income they then share with their writers.

InfoBarrel is quite possibly one of the best sites to write for, because they offer their writers 75% of the total earnings. Most other compensation programs offer 50 – 60% at best.

Writing articles does take time and effort, but as a musician – particularly as a songwriter – it’s a skill that you’ve probably developed (or you’re still developing). You should also have plenty to talk about if you’re songwriting, recording and playing out on a regular basis. If you want to make the most of each article you write, you will have to show some hustle on social media. Luckily, social marketing is another skill you should already know something about.

If you’d like to explore this prospect further, you’re in luck! I talked about it on my blog in greater detail not long ago.

2. Write a Book

It may seem like there are quite a few writing opportunities on this list, but I believe that musicians – because they tend to have perfectionist tendencies – make for good writers. There are a variety of options available to you here, and you don’t necessarily have to write a 300 page novel to be recognized. I’m going to list several potential prospects:

  • E-books: e-books don’t have to be long to be valuable, nor do you have to charge a lot to make good money. There are a variety of ways to promote your e-books and continue to generate income from them over the long haul. You’ve probably picked up a few marketing ideas, live performance tips or even social media tricks that you could talk about from your own vantage point. The moment you publish any kind of book, you become an expert on the subject, and this can definitely open up new doors.
  • Children’s books: lyricists already know quite a bit about rhythm, flow and poetry, and make for perfect candidates to conceptualize children’s book ideas.
  • Autobiographies: I wouldn’t suggest trying to write an inspirational retrospective on the sunny side of thirty, but you could definitely share the challenges, difficulties and lessons you’ve learned so far and how they’ve impacted you and inspired you to write music. With enough material, you could also create a collectible coffee table album or photo collage of your band’s journey so far, and re-tell stories, conversations, and include memorable quotes. You could also sell all of your stuff, move to Europe and make a travelog of your experiences.
  • Novels: as I implied earlier, writing a novel is definitely a long-term project and isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart. If you have a story that coincides with one of your albums or you feel you have a social commentary or a story worth telling, this might be an avenue worth exploring.

You could also look into the possibility of becoming an editor. This would likely be less time-consuming than writing an entire book, and again your perfectionist tendencies would make you a solid applicant for the role.

3. Develop a Blog

You’ve probably heard rumors about bloggers that make six-figure incomes and how there is lots of money to be made online and so forth. I’m not here to perpetuate those pie-in-the-sky ideals. I believe becoming a pro-blogger is a full-time endeavor, and that’s not what I’m about to suggest you do.

I do, however, believe that there are some undeniable opportunities in the blogging realm that don’t involve giving up your whole life. These prospects could be worth exploring:

  • Niche blogs: writing a niche blog is a short-term project, though it still takes considerable effort. If you can create a smaller site with about 50 pages (or more) of value-adding, relevant content, it could be monetized using ad networks or affiliate programs (or even e-books). Because the focus is narrow, it has some long-term potential to continue to generate search traffic and earnings. It isn’t the easiest of feats, however.
  • Flipping blogs: this is where the effort you put into creating a niche blog could reward you in a bigger way. If you have a niche site that’s already generating some traffic and revenue, someone could easily take it over and begin building on the work you started. After all, we’re talking about 50 pages of content they didn’t have to create. Selling your blog to a prospective buyer could be a worthwhile transaction. Buying and selling blogs might be another way. You could buy someone’s blog, make some improvements, then hang onto it (for the income it creates) or sell it for a little more. Rinse, repeat.
  • Blogging jobs: companies without blogs are beginning to fall behind the times, and many of them don’t necessarily have the time or staffing to create content. If you can help businesses and companies understand the value proposition of building a blog, you can uncover some significant freelancing opportunities. You could also check out the Pro Blogger job board or work for companies that offer blogging services and already have a clientele.
  • Other: regardless of what kind of blog you create, there are ways of monetizing it. No blog will reward you with a significant return without a lot of traffic and considerable effort. However, you may find that putting up ads or promoting affiliate programs makes sense for your blog’s esthetic, particularly if you write helpful reviews on various products.

You could also apply similar principles to podcasting or YouTube channels. Let your mind be blown.

4. Build a Business

I have owned about five different businesses over the course of the last 10 years. In addition to the cash-flow that can be created from offering a product or a service, there is always the potential to build it and sell it later, much like you would a blog. You can also set your own hours and work at your own pace.

However, I think it’s important to look at low-cost low-overhead startup options. Any business that requires too much effort, time and money will inevitably take away from your end goal of freeing up more time.

One of the businesses I started (with a partner) was a web, graphic and print design firm. The cost of starting business was little more than Photoshop and a domain, and the only monthly expense was web hosting. We never did make a truckload of money from this business (we didn’t work that hard), but we also never went into debt, and it always provided a way to earn a side-income with a little hustle.

We also started a home studio and tied it in with our design services. Naturally, there is a greater upfront cost to starting a studio than something like a design business. However, if you are a committed musician, it might make a lot of sense to invest a few thousands dollars into recording gear anyway (don’t go into debt please). As you become more adept and comfortable in your studio environment, you can begin to take on production work and charge for it.

There are definitely more possibilities to consider in the realm of business. Preferably, it should be something that matches up with your current goals and doesn’t cost a lot of money to run.

5. Mixed Mediums

Finally, I believe there is merit in mixing and matching some of the ideas I’ve already talked about. For example, you could start a design business, then create some great articles for the blog, and then sell it. You could have a home studio and also produce e-books on the subject of recording, mixing or mastering. You could write a book as a promotional tool for your website.

Articles, blog posts and even books are essentially business cards that you can use to promote your music or your work. You can typically include links back to your band’s website, even on revenue sharing sites. Cross-promotion is a smart strategy whether you consider any of these money making opportunities worthwhile or not.

For more outside-the-box opportunities and entrepreneurial ideas, visit DAWCast.com.

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