[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
Maybe you have a team of 5 already. Maybe you’ve never even thought about team members. Maybe you aren’t even sure what I mean when I say “expand your team” and you’re wondering how that’s possible when you don’t even have a team to expand.
Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
But first, I want you to think about this: what musician can you think of that is at the level of success you want to reach who has done it 100% on their own? I don’t just mean they aren’t signed to a label, I mean they’ve had zero help along the way. They’ve never had a booking agent or a publicist or someone to help them with ads. They’ve never had help deciding on a career move, or toured, or had anyone lend them a helping hand. They’ve just soared to success 100% on their own.
It doesn’t happen.
As the saying goes, no one is an island and we do not reach success of any kind purely on our own. And why would you want to anyway? What’s the good in finding everything you’ve ever wanted and then looking around and having no one to share it with or celebrate with?
So, back to that first question—what is a team member? A team member is someone who, in the simplest terms, does the stuff you either don’t want to do or aren’t good at. They free you of the burden of the things that drag you down (because they are actually very good at the thing you hate), and in turn, you get to focus more on what you’re good at.
Because when everyone is focusing solely on what they excel at and not the things that drag them down, we all win.
Some examples of team members include: a publicist, a booking agent, a tour manager, a marketer, a Facebook Ads expert, a radio promoter, a graphic designer, a virtual assistant.
No matter where you are in your journey, there are 5 key things to ask yourself to know when it’s time to expand.
Can I do this on my own?
Pretty simple right? If the answer is no, it’s pretty obvious you have to hire someone else. For instance, if you are planning to record an album and can not do mastering on your own, you probably need to hire someone for that. However, if you can, but maybe aren’t great at it, then it’s time to ask yourself…
Can someone else do this better than me? (and will that make a difference long term?)
Most of the time the answer to “can someone else do this better than me” is yes. We have a set number of things we excel at, and that’s ok. So you have to then follow it with—will that make a difference in the long term? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it’s no.
For instance, if you’re pretty good at graphic design, maybe someone can do it better than you, but if you are only creating graphics for upcoming shows or IG live events, how important really is it to create the perfect graphic?
Is it a nice to have? For sure. But if you can do an adequate job and it’s not going to stall your career, you can probably get away with doing it yourself.
However, if you need that graphic for your new album art and you’re really not great at designing album art, that’s probably something you should hire out for. After all, first impressions count and a graphic for something like an album cover, that lives forever, vs a one time show, has a bit more weight to it.
Is this taking up more time and energy than what it would cost to hire someone?
A lot of times when we’re just starting out and feel like we have no money for anything, we view our time as this endless expendable resource. And it is—but the thing is, you can’t get time back. So while in the beginning it might make sense to do all the things and get really scrappy, at some point, that’s going to become a one way ticket to burnout and you’re going to want to switch gears.
If you’re 2 years into your career and still doing social media, PR, booking, merch, marketing, ads, and everything else—you need to hire out. Because when it reaches the point that you’re spending more time and energy than what it would cost to hire someone, you’re cheating yourself out of a career—and life—you love.
How can I find the budget to hire this person?
It’s not a question of “do i have the money” so much as “how do I find the money.” Successful musicians treat team members as an essential part of their career structure, not a “nice to have” so reframing the question to “how can I find the budget” is a good start.
Then, you figure it out. Maybe you briefly take up a second job, get more hours at work, freelance, sell your old Pokemon cards, whatever you need to do to get the budget together.
And the golden ticket….
Will hiring this person help get me where I want to be, faster?
This is the *ding ding ding* moment. Whenever hiring someone you should always ask yourself this.
Now, the results might not always be immediate, they might take time—a lot of the things you hire out for (ads, marketing, PR, etc) will take time to really see the results of. But you should always be asking yourself “will hiring this person help get me where I want to be?” and if yes “will they get me there faster than I can do it myself?”
And if the answer is yes, you hire that person.
Because if you know where you want to be, and you know someone who can get you there faster, why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?
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Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placements on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, Spotify and more as well as the THRIVE mentorship community—an online community that provides indie artists with affordable year-round mentoring from music industry experts, and much more. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.Tags: