Samba is scared of wood floors. He prefers carpet.
We all know that wood floors aren't anything to be scared of, but he doesn't know that. Even if you've got a treat for him, he's not going to walk on wood to get it.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
Chances are though, you have your own version of this in your music business -- an "invisible border" that keeps you in your safety zone, even though there is nothing to fear.
Here are three of the big ones:
Fear of Rejection
The desire to be part of a group is part of our biology and goes back to a time when humans needed a tribal situation simply to survive. Today, thousands of years later, we still fear that not fitting into a certain mold (or getting certain reactions from others) means we will not be accepted.
Fear of being rejected manifests itself in different ways, such as comparing our skills to the skills of others. Many times, fear of rejection is paralyzing—rather than risk failure, we choose to do nothing.
But there is no “wrong” in the music business. Just because a song doesn’t connect with everybody doesn’t mean it won’t connect with somebody.
Fear of Missing Out
It’s amazing to think you can make more money by catering to a small, targeted group of people than you can by trying to do something that is pleasing to everybody.
How can less be more? Thinking this is impossible is "fear of missing out" in action.
While "less is more" seems counterintuitive to many people, it's very real. By isolating some people, it makes you more attractive to others. A great music business example of this is Insane Clown Posse. Police hate them, parents hate them, and the church hates them, but these things make them even more attractive to their fan base.
Does a teenager want to listen to the same music as his parents? No.
When you try to please everybody, you’ll please nobody.
Fear of Making Wrong Decisions
Many musicians (maybe you're one of them) see “creative” and “business” as two different things. They put themselves into the creative category and leave the business side of things to others.
This mindset can be a hindrance when a musician needs to make a business-related decision.
When it comes to negotiating deals, ensuring you’re not getting ripped off, and making good decisions on how to reinvest money into your career, you need to tap into a natural business sense you might have (but not know it) or cultivate a business sense. This will automatically happen when you treat your music like a business.
The first step in this process is thinking about money—getting paid for gigs, making sure bills are paid on time, and having a dedicated bank account. Start with small things like these and work yourself up to the bigger business decisions.
Like stepping on a wood floor, being rejected, missing an opportunity, and making a wrong decision are much less detrimental than the fear associated with them. Whether you fall down, you're embarassed, you miss a chance, or do something a way other than what you should have, you live. Being paralyzed with fear and not doing anything leads to the oppposite result.