How to be better at finding fulfilling work
To build a successful and sustainable freelance composer business is one of the visions I have for my life. And because so many people asking me, how I find my work, It seems I am not the only one.
I don’t want work to be the center of my life. My goal is to build a consistent business that supports my life not the other way around.
I have to say, even though I never run out of work, I don’t always work for clients or, if I do, it doesn’t mean I get paid immediately after I finish the project.
What does work mean?
Work is NOT being busy. Business doesn’t mean Busyness.
Sitting in front of a computer is not work necessarily. There are so many other things you can do in front of a computer.
You could just have a wonderful Daydream, where you find yourself on a sunny beach slurping cocktails. Even – my all-time favorite – Facebook-browsing does not mean you are working or doing research. Mostly it is just a waste of time. I deleted Facebook from my phone (again).
Nowadays Busyness is even more destructive to your Business than doing nothing – meaning spending time with your family, friends or in your hobby.
The destructive thing about Busyness is, that you’re likely to burn out, lose interest in what you love to do and being frustrated, that this industry is just not working for you.
You don’t get anything done actually. So you go after what is most promising in the moment. You need a strategy, a vision for your business.
And you will achieve this by doing things that matter.
With this in mind, how do you get more … not busy but work.
# Perfect your craft
I don’t mean “be a perfectionist”. It will never be perfect.
But strive to better yourself every day. Learn something new every day.
If you are a composer like me, try to be better with technology, learn a new plugin in depth. It can also mean take a course in business or for all that matters sign up for my emails. 😉
Also, learning means to fail. Try new stuff.
And if you fail, fix it and adapt. And go again.
Only because you have the hottest, new hardware synth or all the chamber string plugins on this planet you are not good at what you do automagically.
In fact, being very good with less helps you to learn new techniques and explore new ways. Constrain yourself.
# Networking (or becoming friends with people around you)
I tried it all: cold calling, emails, being a Facebook addict (I was set free, yay!). Even driving around the country and giving out showreels and a lot of business cards.
It didn’t really work out for me.
All my work comes from people that I know a long time.
How do you get to know these people?
Meet them –yeah– in person.
Go to events, become friendly with a few, be interested in what they do, aaaaaaaaaaand follow up afterward.
Call them. You know each other now. It’s okay. Meet for coffee and so on (romantic, I know). Get to know them and be interested in them so they become interested in you and what you do by being yourself.
That not only helps you develop a stronger and greater network but it also makes you…..TADA: a business person.
# Form your own musical voice and work from there
When I first started to compose music for image films and advertising I didn’t really know what voice I had. How do I sound?
I just did what was asked of me. I got a film with music on it and the task basically was: Create exactly the same music, but different, so the client doesn’t get in any legal trouble.
That not only is a dangerous game to play but it also becomes boring pretty quick – there it is, I said it.
Instead, find a style, genre or type of music you enjoy to make, to produce, to get your hands dirty with. Something that could stand for you and can stay with you for the long haul. So that, if your newly made friends come to you for exactly that.
My experience showed me, even though it might seem scary at first, that if you hone in on your skills, develop a strategy to become a business owner and find your own voice,
your work becomes so much more fulfilling, more lucrative and so much more fun.
In the meantime, Keep. At. It.