While there are plenty of people who would like to be professionals in the music business, transitioning from a hobbyist to an actual professional, regardless of your area in the industry, requires a commitment, hard work, and the ability to follow through - not simply claim you're going to.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
There is one thing that separates music professionals from hobbyists and amateurs: Their willingness to work.
No two words are more frequently uttered by aspiring music professionals than “I’m gonna.” This fact is not based on science, nor is the second word even technically a word, but fifteen years of industry chats have proven it correct nonetheless. Aspiring professionals love to talk about what they’re ‘gonna’ do. The bands they’re gonna work with, the show they’re gonna go to, the story they’re gonna write, etc.
No one cares about what you’re gonna do. Everyone cares about you’re doing right now.
The main difference between amateurs and professionals is a willingness to do the work required to reach the position they desire. Great ideas and a desire to good for others in music alone are not enough. True professionals put action behind their thought, and they do so without having to be given permission or motivation from the outside world.
The pursuit of dreams alone is not enough. Everyone is chasing a dream. Everyone wishes to be something more than what they are right now. The problem is most folks stop at wishing. To break from the herd and separate yourself as a professional, you have to be willing to dig and do the work. It’s both as simple and as complicated as that.
If you don’t know where to begin, turn to someone who does. Find a professional doing the job you’d like to have and express your interest in the business. Research on your own as well (no one wants to hear questions that Google can answer).
Start with a single decision: Today will be different. Star there and make good on it. With a little time and a lot of hard work, making moves on your own will become second nature. Others will soon take notice, and life will change, but that only happens if you take it upon yourself to do the work.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.