In the world of entrepreneurs, the five year business plan is a well-known phenomenon. You don’t start a business today and expect it to rocket into the stratosphere tomorrow. It takes time to build an asset. Moreover, a great deal could be accomplished over the course of five years if one was really focused on what they were doing. If music is indeed a business, then how is it any different than starting, building, maintaining, and running a business?
You’ve heard of all of the overnight success stories that were 10 years in the making. Both Billy Talent and Metallica are great examples. It took them the better part of 10 years to really break it in the industry. Why is that number significant?
I believe it has to do with commitment level. It isn’t so much about working hard for 10 years as it is the willingness to commit to an idea for the next 10 years. Perhaps you’ve heard of how Metallica used to be crammed into a tiny apartment without any money or any food to eat. Regardless, they were sold out to Metal. They believed in the vision, despite the troubles they encountered along the way.
Zig Ziglar gives the example of the water pump. First, the pump must be primed with a jug of water. Then it has to be pumped vigorously for a long period of time. However, once the water starts flowing, you don’t have to exert as much effort to maintain water flow. It flows easy. However, if you stop pumping while you’re still in the “long period” phase, you have to start all over again.
Business is really no different. It takes time to build a network of connections. It takes time to write and record songs that you’re really proud of. It takes time to build an audience. However, once you get the proverbial pump flowing, things start to get easier.
Does it have to take 10 years? No. It might take two years. It might take five years. It might take 15 years. That depends on your ability to get focused and be single-minded about your purpose. It takes a willingness to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.
There are business ventures that, with the right amount of effort, can be built in two to five years. What’s the catch? It might take you longer if you don’t have focus and a strong work ethic. That is the bottom line with any venture you undertake.
Before you start any venture, ask yourself if you’re willing to make a five to 10 year commitment. If you can’t see yourself doing it for that amount of time, then ask yourself if it’s a project deserving of your time and effort.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.