Going Pro: 6 Essential Steps of Artist Development for All Musicians


by Cari Cole

Transitioning into doing music full time and going pro can be a daunting proposition. You’ve got the vision, you know you’d crush it given the chance, but how do you make it happen?

Because one thing is for sure —-

“Being a musician is never going to go away. So, you might as well do it well now, before you die.”



When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Time to get to work!!

And stop thinking that artist development is not just for beginners. No way! It’s an ongoing part of the fabric of being an artist all throughout your career. If you’re on your game you’re always pushing the boundaries. The late great David Bowie released his 25th studio album of his career and continued to obliterate boundaries days after his death.

Going Pro: 6 Essential Steps of Artist Development. Be so good they can’t ignore you.


1. Daily Habits & Practices

Practice is not for sissies. It’s for those who want to have exceptional artistry. Like the artists you admire. The ones you pay homage to. Practice your craft everyday, develop the discipline to strengthen your voice, your instrument and your songwriting. Don’t fool yourself. The quote by famous classical guitarist Andres Segovia says “If I don’t practice one day, I can tell… If I don’t practice two days, my guitar can tell… If I don’t practice three days, my audience can tell. Truth. Besides, if you aren’t working your craft, it screws with your mindset. If you want to be great at it, do it every day.


2. An Unshakable Mindset

Being a musician is a tough road to climb — not just the obvious stuff lie recording a record, perfecting your stage show and building fans and connections — but — your mindset. It not ony takes blind determination to get there, it takes an unshakable mindset. Confidence doesn’t come naturally, it takes time and nurturing. Grow it with constant watering like you would a plant. Reminders like “I can do this”, or “if ___________ (fill in the blank) can do it, so can I” … inspire yourself and never give up, ever. Step by step, that’s how you get there. Believe you can and you will.


3. Love What Makes You Different

The industry likes to copy. Adele comes out, and suddenly there are 1000 new Adeles. They like to take a proven product and hit repeat. They want you to fit in with what is popular. Whatev’s… Brilliant minds in the industry will tell you to be yourself. Be original. To stand out. Everyone who’s achieved artistic brilliance in music knows that nothing great comes from being a “copycat.”  Don’t be afraid to stand out but find a way to make it relatable and relevant. Love what makes YOU different.



4. Artist Development

What’s the next phase in your artist development? Is it time to hit rebrand? What are you afraid of doing, but wish you had the guts to? Do that. Do you need to plan a sabbatical for your next album? Find a producer who will be innovative with you or take you higher? Stop working with that local guy and go for a big gun with a track record? What about writing with co-writers who are better than you? Just because you don’t know how to make it happen doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish it. Make a plan. Reach out to get help. Artists don’t develop in a vacuum.


5. Get a Gameplan

You can’t drive from Austin to LA without a map. You can’t get to the next level in your career without a gameplan. What’s on the next page for you? Most independent artists say they want a manager or a booking agent. Yeah, but are you manager worthy? Make a plan to become manager worthy (start with making $50K a year). Higher level artists I work with want their next album to sell 10 million copies instead of 2. I help them make a plan to seriously uplevel their songwriting and vocal craft and find the next innovative producer who “gets them.” The way to manifest your goal is to make a rock solid gameplan to get there. The great thing about planning is that it works. It creates the steps to get to your destination. If you don’t know where you’re going how can you get there? If you know where you’re going, you’ll need a plan to get there.


6. Follow Your North Star

Find and follow your north star. The one in your gut. Never go against your own instinct. And if you’re not in touch with it, dive deeper. It’s there waiting for you to find.

Looking for to Step Up your music and career? Grab a seat in our 6 week artist development bootcamp and level up!