Money Tips

Being able to make a living as an indie musician is awesome, but you won’t reach real success without proper money management skills.
Your music isn’t the only factor that can make or break you. Overspending, improper budgeting, impulse buys, and debt can end your career.
Getting in good financial shape isn’t as hard as it may sound. Stick to these money management tips to prevent your pockets from going dry.

Treat Your Music as a Business
Whether you are a solo musician or in a band, it doesn’t matter—your music is your business. This means your music should have its own separate bank account. Whenever you make some money from your music, be it by selling tracks, playing gigs, or collecting royalties, deposit that money into your business account.

This way, you won’t be so easily tempted to spend that money on random things. Of course, you won’t let this money sit there forever. But, before you use it to pay out your employees (yourself, or your bandmates) you should use it to pay for your business expenses (buying or renting equipment, transportation, etc).

Instead of randomly withdrawing money from the account to pay for personal expenses, have a set time you pay yourself or your band members. This can be once a month or once a week—the most important thing is to get paid in an organized fashion.

You’re probably tired of listening to your parents nag you about saving money, but they’re right. We all like to have a big paycheck and lots of financial freedom, but the importance of saving money cannot be stressed enough.

Take a little bit off the top of each paycheck and put it aside. The right time to start your pension is now. You also shouldn’t be waiting to start an emergency fund. Consider it an investment in the future of your well-being. If you are not sure how much money you should save each month, consider the 50-20-30 budget rule.

Use Spreadsheets
Musicians, writers, actors, and other creative people generally hate spreadsheets and would rather have nothing to do with them. But one of the smartest things you can do as an indie musician is meticulously keep track of your income and expenses.

Chances are, as an indie musician, you don’t bring in a set amount of money each month. After all, how much money you make in a month can depend on when you released your last album, how often you perform, the time of the year, and a huge list of other variables.

There’s nothing wrong with having an irregular income, as long you make an effort to make it more predictable. And you can do that by using spreadsheets.

Take one big spreadsheet and divide everything into income categories and expense categories. The more specific the categories are, the better. Separate everything into months. It’s a good idea to have a total for the full year as well as each month.

When you take a look at your spreadsheet at the end of the year, you will notice some important trends in your career. For example, you may find out that your average monthly income is £2,500, but it peaks well above this during the festival season. So, to balance things out, you can avoid spending a lot of money during the good months and save the extra cash for the slow ones.

Money Tips

Work On Getting Out of Debt
Paying off debts is easier said than done, true. But the way you manage your debt has a significant impact on your financial health. If you live in the US or UK, you can get your credit report for free.

Sort out interest rates from highest to lowest and pay off the most expensive debts first. And, always try to pay more than the minimum balance. Instead of making monthly payments, try to make weekly payments whenever you can. This way, you will get out of debt sooner.

When you are thinking about taking on debt, think like an entrepreneur. Will that money help you grow your business?

For instance, leasing a brand new car just so you would have a cool ride doesn’t make sense business-wise. Leasing a van so that you can easily transport your drum set is a much more sensible decision. On that note…

Reinvest in Yourself
Whenever you can afford to, invest the money you make back into your business. As an indie musician, you can’t simply wait to get noticed and signed by a big record label.

Use your earnings to scale up your performances and get better marketing. Making investments towards increasing engagement and building your audience is always a good idea. For instance, ad campaigns on social media can eventually result in more money in your pocket if you do them right.

Just like playing an instrument, money management is a skill that gets better with practice. As long as you are being consistent with your efforts, you can rest assured that you will steadily gain more financial independence.

Words by…
Jennifer Wilson is a writer at She knows business processes and operations management inside out. As she understands all the challenges of running a small business firsthand, it’s her mission to tackle the topics that are most relevant to entrepreneurs and offer viable solutions.