As you may already know, my husband and I own a music production company. When we first met, he was traveling as a musician and breaking away from a previous company to launch his own. Before he allowed me to take an active role in the business, he gave me several books to read. I read about the responsibilities of musicians, composers, librettists, lyricists, producers, singers, lawyers, managers, accountants, and record labels. I also read about how contracts, publishing, copyright, and royalties works. I learned everything there is to know about the music business…of course I had to because my husband literally quizzed me on it!
Fast forward a few years of working in the business and I did the same thing to friends and clients looking to break into the business. I gave them the same books, speeches, and quizzes my husband gave me. Some of them passed but most of them failed. For some reason people believe they will be able to get by on talent alone, even after hearing the hundreds of stories major artists have to share about getting burned by managers, labels and lawyers. I have horror stories of my own that I could share even after all of the research I continue to do. I have lost friendships, major deals, and much money all because people fail to research the field they choose to pursue.
I was reminded of the importance of organized study after a few phone calls with a client this weekend. She is a very talented writer and singer that came to us asking for artist development, original music composition, and production. Because she had no knowledge of how the business of music works, we had to halt further services with her. Fortunately she is a pretty smart cookie. She agreed to do some organize studying of her own and even went on to consult with an attorney. She called this weekend knowledgeable of the responsibilities that everyone involved must play and ready to begin...again. She even apologized for coming to us before she had a complete understanding of the road again. I appreciated her honesty and her commitment to her talent and herself. Despite the fact that I share the same speech with all of my potential clients, some get it and some don’t.
I am referencing the music business in this instance. However, the same rules apply to every boss and employee in every industry. Know your stuff! Researching your field not only prepares you for the work that must be done, but it will prevent you from being taken advantage of. If you work for someone else you should investigate the standard pay grade for the position you hold, the work that is required, and ways to further develop. If you are in business for yourself, you should know the facts about the employees you need to hire, the clientele you wish to service, and how you can constantly evolve as a company. I am not there to quiz you so quiz yourself. How much do you really know? How can you learn more?
Knowledge is only a source of power when it is implemented.