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  • Simon Elam

My Job Search: Hopeful Insights for Aspiring Artists

“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” - Napoleon Bonaparte


First, My Story: The Hopeless Search

When I finished school and moved to Virginia to marry my wife, I struggled for months to find a job. I spent 8 hours a day searching for and applying for marketing jobs, writing cover letters, attending internship orientation calls, signing up for networking events, and sometimes even completing heavily involved test assignments with no luck.


Taking Matters into My Own Hands

While the practice of working consistently every day helped me develop good habits and improve my skills, it frustrated me to see no progress in my search for employment. I decided I couldn’t wait anymore for someone to take me under their wing and carry me where I wanted to go. Using the business and marketing skills I refined through personal experience and in college, I acted to address a big need in my community by revisiting a passion of mine - home improvements. (The website I made for my business: elam-remodeling.com)


“Do what you can, with what you have and do it now!” - George Washington Carver

The Power of Initiative

I spent several weeks building a business model complete with effective, repeatable processes to test and improve, and then I went through the same process I help my artist marketing clients follow. I made goals, identified my target customer persona, gathered/created promotional content, refined my marketing channels, and finally successfully implemented my well-developed marketing plan. I found great clients almost instantly, and more than paid for the initial investments in equipment.


“No one else is going to do it for you, if you want it bad enough then go out and do it yourself.” - Ed Sheeran


Lesson Learned: Using My Skills

I saw a need, assessed and improved my ability to address that need, and used my unique strengths to create a valuable service and good experience for those in need of my offerings. I learned in this process that you can't always rely on someone to hire you or carry you through. Sometimes you have to do it yourself, using the internal and external tools and resources available to you.


Don’t Wait for Fame - Change Your Approach

So many artists in the world today feel helpless, stuck, like the only thing they can do is pump out content and hope that someone more successful than them will notice them and help them go viral. If you’re waiting for a handout, a label, or Taylor Swift to come and make your dreams come true, you will probably wait a long time.


“You can't just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream. You've got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.” - Diana Ross


“How Can I Blow Up As An Artist?” Action: Do NOT…

This is the often asked question by so many hopeful, aspiring recording artists and creatives. To tell you the truth, this depends greatly on your goals, and we would have to communicate more in depth to get the full picture. I can, however, with confidence give you a starting list of what NOT to do.

  1. Listen to your old, unfinished content over and over instead of writing, recording, producing, and releasing it and more music.

  2. Refresh the view/follow counter on your existing songs, videos, and social accounts, waiting for it to go up.

  3. Avoid musicians, other creative people, and potential opportunities to network and collaborate.

  4. Delay improving your performance, instead watching YouTube videos of others reaching for their dreams for you.

  5. Wait in your mom’s basement for UMG to recruit you, all while you put off any promotion or business planning.

Listen to your old, unfinished content over and over instead of writing, recording, producing, and releasing it

Please, don’t hyperfocus on your work so much that you never actually get anything done.


Refresh the view/follow counter on your existing songs, videos, and social accounts, waiting for it to go up

Please, don’t get caught up in counting views, likes, plays, and follows. As they say, “a watch pot never boils.”


Avoid musicians, other creative people, and potential opportunities to network and collaborate

Please, remember the nature of the world we live in. No man is an island, and we who have common goals and a similar vision for life can all help each other out.


Delay improving your performance, instead watching YouTube videos of others reaching for their dreams for you

Please, don’t forget to continuously work on your craft. Also don’t forget the crucial, but slightly different, aspect of how you perform or display your art.


Wait in your mom’s basement for UMG to recruit you, all while you put off any promotion or business planning

Above all, PLEASE don’t fall into the trap of procrastination, impatience, isolation, ambiguity, apathy, and laziness. Fortune favors the bold!


A Starting Point for All Artists

I may not be able to help you with every little detail, but reading my free ebook, "Seven Steps to Forget Marketing and Get Back to Your Art," will help you begin to make things happen for yourself as an artist. Download it here. Your dream isn’t impossible, and you don’t have to wait for someone to rescue you. As psychologist and author Oliver James says, “do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.”


“Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.” - Oliver James



Open More Possibilities, Expand Your Team

One more solid piece of advice: don’t do it all alone. Few humans have the time or energy for that. Reach out to me over email. It takes a village to raise a star, and I would love to help you on your journey as part of your team.


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