That is something that not many musicians grasp. I was very young and just got going in my career when an excellent friend of mine who owned one of the biggest music retailers first said this to me, “You are a business. Warren van Wyk is a business.” That didn’t make sense to me but sounded pretty cool none the less.
When I thought of a business, it was a big building with lots of staff that turned over billions. I would immediately think of something like Coca Cola. Being very young and inexperienced, I had to wrap my head around this thing of running myself like a business. It eventually made sense to me that the same way a “regular” business runs itself, I could run myself and my name the same way. I started putting money into marketing, got very active on social media, and started treating my name as a big business. A business is not just run on staff and a beautiful building. It’s professionalism, attitude, presenting yourself well, and offering the best service possible. Once I got hold of this, it made every aspect of my career better. I have always been extremely “OCD” about being punctual, professional, prepared, keeping the right attitude, etc. If I weren’t, it would affect me and the outlook on my brand. I focused on being over-prepared and punctual for every occasion because, again, it was my brand and name that I was representing on stage playing for any artist. Think of your gigs as sales. The better the service you give, the more sales (gigs) you will start getting.
“When I thought of a business, it was a big building with lots of staff that turned over billions. I would immediately think of something like Coca Cola.”– Warren van Wyk
Another saying that also appealed to me was when someone said to me, “Make yourself look bigger than you actually are.” What did this mean to me? I had to brainstorm what this meant, and then it hit me. If you look at any successful business, they will have a good logo, a good website, social media pages, and a fantastic first impression. When people see your name or your brand for the first time, you want to capture them and make sure they take you seriously, so making your brand and business look the part will give you an upper hand.
So I thought, why not do the same for my name? I know that websites and getting a professional to design graphics for you can become costly, so I jumped on the internet and started learning how to do all of these things on my own. I learned how to use Protools, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and began creating my content. Today you have things like Wix where you can create a beautiful website at a little cost.
I got a website made, worked on designs that looked professional and appealing, and started working on my social media skills as if I were big business. I made sure to get proper gear and to remain punctual, professional, and to work on improving every aspect of my drumming and career.
I started approaching my career as an actual business and started treated my brand with the same importance. I started branding myself and my teaching business as if it were a proper company (which it is). Take Richard Branson, for example. Yes, he is the founder of Virgin, but he is a brand on its own, and he treats it that way.
You are a business. Start seeing and presenting yourself that way.