While you may find yourself in a curiously, new city, with no familiar faces and no family to rely on - you may also hear your grumbling stomach, noticing that you're quite hungry and your wallet is feeling a little too light.
The reality of why so many people don't "make it" doesn't boil down to just talent, it is actually the very mechanisms of the day to day life of attempting to maintain financial stability while perfecting your craft. So much of your time is forced to be devoted to practice, being out on the scene attending your colleagues gigs, attending your own gigs and soaking up both the current trends while researching the history of legends. When is there time to make enough to put a roof over your head, pay for food, car insurance, gas and all that shiny new gear that you've been eyeing?
For a long time, when first moving to Los Angeles, as an aspiring artist, I was told not to pursue any position at a record label or management/agency house. This was due to the idea that they would then view me as a "civilian" and you would lose your mystique as an artist. Therefore, I spent almost a decade doing dead end jobs and avoiding working anywhere in the music industry. However, in the recent year, I've taken a job at a recording studio and I only wish I would have done it sooner. I've been learning the details of microphones, the habits of professional songwriters and meeting the best of the best within our industry. This is certainly the more glamorous side of working within the music industry without actually playing music, as in a label you can be stuck behind a desk filling out some other artist's expense reports from Rome. That's certainly a way to kill your spirit!
An incredible side gig that is available in many major cities, is a little known job known as the "Brand Ambassador". Often times this position pays from $20-$40 an hour. You just need to be helpful and friendly and you'll easily get asked to join a team. The only downside of this particular financial avenue is that the jobs only last for a few days - if you're lucky, a week. You're constantly looking for new work before the current one even ends. However, this is a good way to get used to the "freelance" lifestyle.
You must choose your "side job" wisely. You must find something that will keep you afloat for an extended amount of time, as things always take longer than they seem. Most importantly, you must choose a job that will continue to inspire you while you work on your craft.
- K. O'Neil, PitStop Musicians