3 Lessons for Entrepreneurial Musicians

Music is art but also a business.

3 min read

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Beatie Wolfe is a singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and innovator who has lead the charge on melding music and technology to create unique album listening experiences. In a recent conversation with me, Wolfe shared three lessons she’s learned throughout her career that will help fellow entrepreneurs rev up their own businesses and spurn innovation.

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1. Watch your own pig.

Growing up, Wolfe’s father always used to say, “The eye of the farmer fattens the pig.” What does folksy phrase mean? Whatever you watch, or pay attention to, will grow. “The idea is that if it’s your pig and you’re the farmer, even just watching the pig will ensure it’s growth,” Wolfe said, “because you’ll see things no one else will see. And, no one else will watch your pig like you.”

As you grow your business, it’s important to remember that no one will ever care about your business, your bottom line, or your success and failures as much as you will. If you want to experience amazing success in your entrepreneurial endeavors, you’ll have to pay the most attention to your own personal pig — whatever that pig looks like.

2. Collaborate with the right people.

To succeed in any industry, you have to collaborate with the right people. But who exactly are the right people? Here’s three key criteria to consider for potential collaborations:

  • Mutual respect
  • Mutual admiration
  • Mutual potential gains for each party

“Everyone I’ve worked with has been such a pleasure to work with,” Wolfe said. “And not just from a business perspective. I collaborated purely from the standpoint of I really like these guys, they inspire me, and we’re on the same page.” Wolfe cited her recent partnership with Bell Labs, through their EAT Program, as an example.

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Additionally, it’s important to remember that collaborations in the early stages of your business can grow into life-long partnerships. So collaborate carefully and wisely.

3. Speak up.

When do you most need to speak your mind? When you really feel like you shouldn’t. Let me clarify. Sometimes when hiring or collaborating with people outside your industry (i.e. hiring a social media consultant when you’re ace at developing apps), it can be tempting to defer to the expert’s judgment. However, if you have a strong feeling or vision about how something needs to be done, say something. “You’re going to add so much value to even the areas you’re not supremely qualified for, just if you have that vision,” Wolfe said.

Even if speaking up ruffles a few feathers, bringing up your own point of view will encourage discourse and debate and hopefully create the most interesting and effective method for getting something done.

Bottom line? Speak up to stand up yourself and your business.

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