By Cari Cole
Every musician loves to tour. Live performance, thousands of people, connecting with fans. It’s exciting. Pretty much, nothing is better than that.
But when you’re touring, it’s hard to get any other business done. Between flights, soundchecks, radio shows or promotional appearances, the tour takes pretty much all of your time. Friends, family and colleagues get used to not being able to reach you.
But what about the rest of your business goals? Do they take a backseat while you’re on the road? Are you missing out on opportunities to advance your career or exploit your catalog during this time?
Most likely. That’s why it’s good to get a plan in place ahead of time to be working for you while you’re out playing your heart out.
One of the toughest things musicians complain about after touring is the inertia when you get back. Many musicians get depressed and feel out of the loop because they’ve been away. It’s tough to get things going out of thin air if you don’t plan.
Here are my tips for touring musicians who want to make progress with business while they’re out on tour.
1. Make a plan before your tour starts.
Spend the month or so before your tour making plans for how to keep things moving while you’re away. Start with your goals and a timeline. Then dial out tasks. Set up an online project management software (we love Asana) to manage things and calendar (Gcal) of your tour. See where you have windows of time to work on business. Schedule tasks in those windows (and be sure to leave a little downtime and time for wandering new cities for fun too!)
2. Hire a VA (virtual assistant) or Intern to work solely for YOU during tour.
Don’t expect your manager to do everything. She/he has their hands full and probably works for other artists as well. They are not Superwoman/man. A VA or Intern can help out with a lot! They can upload pics and tweets onto socials, update your website, grow your fanbase and help with overall admin and logistics on tour. This can free up time for you to do a little business on the side so you’re not out of the loop when you get back. They can even submit songs for licensing and do some business for you.
3. Use a song-plugger to pitch your songs for licensing while you’re gone.
Lots of musicians use song-pluggers. Most popular in Nashville, these people pitch your music to licensing companies and publishers. Research great song-pluggers and ask musician friends for referrals. And don’t forget to research pitching your songs to Spotify Playlist Curators. Find them on LinkedIn and from musician friends who are on playlists ;).
4. Set up meetings between things on tour.
Work with your manager or mentor during this time. Don’t just disappear from your career when you’re out on the road, you’ll crash when you get home. I work with artists when they have a few days in one city or are in between shows. We meet up online to brainstorm and design a strategy to keep things moving businesswise while they’re on the road.
5. If You’re In A Band, Work On Your Solo Career.
One of the things I’ve seen successful artists do is not put all of their eggs into one basket. If you’re out on the road with a band, don’t forget about your solo career. Stevie Nicks built one alongside Fleetwood Mac. And thank god she did as she has a very successful solo career. Read about how she spoke to her band and assured them she wasn’t leaving, but that she had so much material she wanted to get out etc. You don’t have to jeopardize any relationships with your existing group, but finding a way to expand your reach as a songwriter and musician is only smart.
Consider working with a me and joining a mastermind while out on tour to strengthen your business and brand (or create a new one!)