When you're the CEO of your own music career, things can get quite overwhelming - especially because you probably don't think of it as a proper business in the first place. Take a closer look at everything you do: composer, writer and recording engineer. That's three already. Now add content creator, social media guru, branding strategist. Don't forget marketing, promotor, and booking agent! And if you're like me, often thinking "I might as well do it myself", you can add graphic designer and website designer to the company as well. To round it all up, who takes all the financial responsibility? You guessed it.
Now of course the ideal is to have a team. Definitely someone to manage your promotion and bookings, as this is often the typically "soul-destroying" part of managing a music career. However, for thousands of artists this is just not possible. Either because of financial limitations or (and often hand in hand) because when you're starting out in a massively saturated music industry, no one can really see you and you need to do it all yourself until someone does.
So again - first prize is team up, collaborate and make connections. But for the time being, here are some ways I stay sane when the isolation, doubt and exhaustion become too much.
Make time for non-CEO things
So for a while I thought going for coffee counted as a break. But then I realized that I still kept strategizing, thinking and planning. Which is totally fine if you're busy working, or are in that mind space. But if you wake up one morning and feel it's time for an off day, do something completely different. Go for a long hike with a friend, take a drive and visit a new town, learn a new skill, book an Airbnb experience. Doing something unexpected (but non-stressful), reboots your brain, allows more space for inspiration, and makes you forget about your solo-career-worries in a way that sitting and thinking doesn't.
Work on your relationships
Even though you don't "need" anyone's help, you actually do. Make time for your friends, and work on strengthening these relationships. Move attention away from yourself by engaging and investing in their lives, listening to their stories, worries and dreams. There is probably more to learn from them than you think.
This too shall pass
It's all hunky dory when you've got loads of gigs lined up, your inbox is full of enquiries and life is just peachy. This is great affirmation that you're on the right path. But what happens when there's a dip? When things slow down, the emails stop coming in, and solitude starts creeping in, one's whole reality tips on it's head. If you can (and this takes monk-like strength), trust that this time will pass. See if you can be grateful for this period in your life where you have time to get to know your head, your strength and your patience. These are invaluable lessons that will help you in many areas of your life. The busy days WILL come.
I hope my lessons learnt can help you in some small way. Know that you are not alone, and that even through the trailblazer has the toughest time, he also has the most adventure ;)