Be a manager

In this lesson, I'm not going to teach you the nuts and bolts of being a manager. We'll cover that in detail in another lesson. In this lesson, what I want you to do is understand the mentality of the manager for one very important reason. Almost every new artist is looking for or should be looking for a manager. But the truth is that finding a great manager is not easy. But you can't allow that to be an excuse for inaction. The fact that you don't have a manager does not mean that all the things that a manager would do or think about goes away.

Until you find that great manager, you have to be a manager. To embrace that idea fully, first you're going to need to understand what it is a manager does. A great manager will wear a million hats. A great manager is part third base coach, part mom, part dad, part psychologist, part strategist, part good cop, part bad cop, part recruiter. And always the full time motivator.

More often than not, that manager will need to do all the things that nobody else wants to do. Discomfort is part of the job at every turn. Managers are the ones that have to come up with a plan knowing that they will be routinely second guessed at almost every turn. The great managers understand that it's their responsibility to give an honest lay of the land. To say the unsayable. No matter how uncomfortable that might be. And it's not easy when you also have to be a band member.

It's a really big job, but somebody has to own it, whether you like it or not. Great managers have a "make something happen" attitude. Great managers are both problem identifiers, and problem solvers. It's easy to talk about what's wrong, much tougher to fix those things. Great managers make obstacles go away, and you'll need to do that as well. A great manager may shed a tear from time to time about how tough things are in the music business, but they do it on their own time.

When you need to make things happen in the music business, there's no time for crying and complaining when the battle is raging. People are counting on you to lead, and you can't let them down. Great managers see the business from the 35,000 foot view. They figure out where they are, where they need to be, and how to make it happen. They do their homework, they're always looking for answers that can make a difference. They ask questions about the things they don't know.

They network relentlessly, seeking out the folks they believe can help provide the answers and perspective that they need to chart a winning course. It's a big job out there, folks, and you're going to need some help, so you'll need to learn the art of delegation, and be able to recruit folks to help. Perhaps you've got a band member who's got some great graphic design skills who can work on the album art or your t-shirt designs. You want to make a great video, so you'll need to find some kid at a local college with some film making skills to help you.

Maybe you need some help on your website, or social media outreach, and you find a loyal fan who's got some web skills that can help you. And you'll need to be the networking animal in the band so that you can meet those folks. You'll need to be a great motivator too, because it's unlikely you're going to have any money to pay them for their work, so you'll need to make your mission their mission as well. Once you're in it, you'll know that being a manager is not a game of perfect. The answers aren't always clear, you won't get it all right no matter how hard you try.

You just need to make it manageable. Your job as the manager is to navigate your way through all the things that can sink your ship, while you're looking for that promised land. You're going to take some hits along the way, but what does not kill you makes you stronger, and smarter. Now, let's talk about one of the deep dark secrets of finding a manager in the music business. The truth is, you won't find a manager as much as the manager will find you.

And they'll find you because you've done things right and you've managed to attract attention. Until then, though, you will need to be a manager. And the better you do at it, the faster you will find your great manager.