The Paradigm Shift from Musician to Music Entrepreneur

The Paradigm Shift from Musician to Music Entrepreneur

When I came across this material, I was a musician just like you. I was not an entrepreneur.

All I wanted to do was play guitar all day, write songs, tour from town to town, and record.

I had done a bit of graphic and web design work on the side. I started a home studio. I had even gotten into personal development. But ultimately, I didn’t go into any of it thinking I was going to get excited about business.

I mean, sure, I always thought it would be great to make loads of money doing things I loved to do. But I figured that was inevitable. It would happen if I just kept at it.

I thought the good life would be making music, throwing around a basketball with my bandmates, writing some blog posts… that’s about it.

I Wasn’t Looking for a Business

So, I wasn’t looking for a business. Let me underscore this part.

Because I think this is the part many people don’t understand about my story. I didn’t just one day wake up and say, “hey guys, I’m the music entrepreneur!”


I WAS going through a major financial crunch, and that DID impact my decision. But if there was a way for me to take my music career from zero to hero without having to get into business, I would have done it!

I was all out of options and it was crushing.

I had no money, and as result, I had no time. I was working five terrible jobs, and sometimes found myself fighting for safe working conditions and even the money I was owed!

The occasional open mic, rehearsal, or gig was the only music in my life. I couldn’t dedicate any of my time or energy towards the thing I loved most.

Up until that point, I had plenty of time to sit, ponder, and discuss my future with my roommates. It wasn’t always easy trying to interpret life and my identity. But it was fun. Those were good times.

Suddenly and forcefully, this kid was confronted with a very adult problem. Ready or not. I was sledgehammered into a new world. I did NOT choose it!

But there IS a reason I got excited. And that’s what I wish to relay here.

You’re Not Supposed to do This

In 2011, I ended up joining two network marketing companies, right around the same time. You’re not supposed to do that!

This is largely what your upline mentors would consider a conflict of interest. And their greatest worry would be that you destroy their business by courting their downline and getting them to join your organization.

This would basically be the equivalent of agreeing to teach guitar at a studio, only to take the studio’s entire client base with you after quitting. This is frowned upon.

Fortunately for my upline, I wasn’t interested in that.

I was much more interested in the possibilities I was beginning to see because of some things Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki had said.

The Business of the 21st Century

Now, just so there’s no misunderstanding, Kiyosaki did not visit my home and share his message with me. Nor did I see him speak at a conference.

See, every network marketing organization (well, the good ones anyway) have training materials. And when you’re going through the evaluation process (no, your upline won’t just let you join because you’re excited – you’ve got to prove yourself), you’ll work your way through some of that material.

So, the audio that got me fired up was The Business of the 21st Century, named after the book of the same title. But it wasn’t anything like the book. It was more so Kiyosaki just sharing his mindset.

Most importantly, what resonated with me was the cashflow quadrant.

The Cashflow Quadrant

The cashflow quadrant is easy to understand.

The cashflow quadrant

On the left-hand side of the quadrant, you’ll see an E and an S. And on the right-hand side, you’ll find a B and an I.

E is for Employee.

S is for Self-Employed, Specialist or Solo.

B is for Business Owner.

And I for Investor.

We need this context for what I’m about to share.

My Experience with the Quadrant

Personally, I had only ever spent a few months as an E. But I was well-acquainted with being an S, as most musicians are.

As a self-employed, you’d probably engage in some of the things I’ve already talked about. Maybe you’d get into graphic or web design. Maybe you’d start a home studio. If you were good at writing, you hunted around for freelancing gigs.

This is what many of us associate with starting a business. And while a freelancing career can feel like a business and even grow into one, because it’s so reliant on you and your time, it’s basically like creating your own job.

But let’s get back to that breakthrough…

The Difference is Mindset

In the audio I mentioned earlier, Kiyosaki says a safe, secure, high-paying job for life is an obsolete idea.

As I watched my friends and extended social circle jump from job to job and spend enormous sums of money for a paper on the wall, I had no choice but to agree.

Kiyosaki goes onto explain that the mentality of a self-employed (S) is “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” I talked about why this can hold you back yesterday.

A business owner (B) is someone with 500 employees or $10 million in revenue. And as a B, your job is to spread the wealth to as many people as possible. Business owners also tend to pay less in taxes.

For those on the left-hand side of the quadrant, the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. I have seen this firsthand. It’s not a pretty sight.

Employees and self-employed also tend to be bought into “conventional” wisdom.

Ever had someone tell you that a house is the best thing to invest in? And then the banks tell you to buy mutual funds. Am I right? Well, if you’re thinking in terms of wealth, Kiyosaki says this couldn’t be more wrong.

Inflation is another major factor affecting your income as an E or S. If you’re invested in the right things, you make money when inflation hits. Otherwise, you end up paying more for commodities.

Again, “conventional” wisdom says there’s no such thing as inflation, but I’m calling B.S. on that. Gas, groceries, and utilities seem to go up in price every few months, never mind every year!

E and S conundrum

I could go on, but to summarize, the biggest difference between the four quadrants is mindset. That means you can move from the left side of the quadrant to the right side of the quadrant by changing the way you look at the world.

Paradigm Shift, Conclusion

When you’re on the left side of the quadrant, you work for money and other people.

When you’re on the right side of the quadrant, you have money and people work for you.

As a musician, you’re obviously never going to be handing over the creative process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have money and people work for you, especially when it comes to tasks you don’t enjoy, aren’t good at, and pull you away from working in your strengths.

Success is 80% psychology. So, by shifting our mindset, we can create expanded outcomes in our music careers.

It’s not about getting into business. That’s boring. Dumb. Stupid. Risky.

That’s not the opportunity I saw and it’s not what I got excited about!

What I got excited about was the possibility of creating the life I wanted through music. And that’s the vision I share with others every single day.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.