Indie Artist Perspective: Why COVID 19 Forced me to Change how I Managed my Time
As an artist, creative, or entrepreneur, are you using your time wisely during this season of change?
Honestly, pre-COVID-19, I wasn’t as effective in maximizing my time and making room for everything that needed to be done in managing my business. I would always complain that I simply did not have enough time in the day. Now, it seems like all we have is time. But with all that is going on, between the death of George Floyd, murder of Breonna Taylor, and protests against the social injustices in the country along with having to stay home and quarantine, I didn’t feel creative nor did I feel like I was getting anything accomplished. I have found that in this time of change, I must organize differently.
Time management is one of the most essential skills for success in any career or business. Dividing time between creating and building a product, promoting the product, and releasing a product requires planning and strategy. As an artist, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I just wanted to make music, but over time I learned all these other things that were required to be a successful artist. For starters, I realized that just creating music did not lead to a huge influx of fans. LOL. Maybe I was not as good as I thought….pause….. (smile), or maybe I just did not understand the business. I then decided to spend my time learning my target market and how to advertise. I continued to refine my music, my content strategy, and stage show while learning the music business. I spent the previous 4 years growing from my missteps and as soon as I was confident in my latest campaign to entertain, COVID-19 struck.
The SXSW20 Music Conference was upon us and I had put together what I thought was going to be a great show for an unofficial showcase. I planned to have one of the dopest bands in the city, dancers with choreography, and outfit changes as a part of my visual presentation. I drove back and forth countless miles in my car, meeting with my cameramen to make sure we captured every moment of the process. My marketing materials were ready, and I had a solid strategy in place to engage fans. I spent numerous hours, invested over $3,000 just to perform a 20 minute set. I did all of this to introduce my product to market even though I was not getting paid for this performance, and I did this largely without utilizing a time management strategy.
Eventually, I got past the disappointment of not being able to perform that night. Having an underlying condition in the midst of a global health pandemic, I am much more thankful that I am alive and did not place anyone else’s health in jeopardy. Being at home now has given me the time to reflect on this venture. It was easy to not have a time management strategy in place pre-COVID because I was always on the move. Work, Rehearsal, Studio, Shows, I just showed up where I was needed. However, now being confined at times within these four walls, learning to effectively manage my time is more important than ever.
The first thing I did was determine how much time I would spend with my family. After having been on the road and out of the house so much, I felt like this was an opportunity to reconnect. I still wanted to be creative, so I added an hour a day just to write music again. I then added an hour a day to learn new ways to engage fans, as it seemed we will not be having live shows for some time. After 2 months I began to adapt, but I still felt like my time was not being managed properly. I would lose 2 hours of productivity to the rabbit hole known as social media. There were things I needed to learn and being at home I had to learn how to create tasks and deadlines to make sure I was on time.
Finally, I found an app called Trello to help me manage my time. I cannot say that I am as effective as I want to be, but I have finally found some type of system that allows me to stay on top of the things I want to create. Trello has provided me with a way to manage my schedule while I work on my career as an independent artist from home. This has led to my first blog post that you are reading, as well as new content I hope will engage others as we seemingly will have to remain in the house forever LOL (not laughing though). More importantly, I am still excited to be an artist as I steadily push forward with my business. I feel now more than ever if we can adapt and manage our time effectively there is still success to be had in today’s climate.