Growing a business in the music industry means combining the rigors of artistry with the stress of entrepreneurship. As if being a creative genius wasn’t hard enough, you also have to carry the mental work of running a business.
This typically means that you have to juggle a number of stressors:
- financial ups and downs
- large gaps between pay periods
- balancing high job demands and high levels of commitment to others, including bandmates, collaborators, investors, labels, publishers, and family
- presenteeism–having to write and perform even if you aren’t well or there’s a home crisis
- the blurring of boundaries between home and work, finding it difficult to separate yourself from your work, and not taking time out for yourself
Perhaps some of those stressors sound familiar?
And yet, 81% of self-employed business owners (including musicians and artists) would recommend being self-employed to others. So, bottom line, you love what you do, but you probably need help managing the work.
And this is usually where I meet people.
I get a call or an office visit from an artist who wants to know: what can an entertainment business manager offer me? What do you even do?
In this two-part blog series, I’m going to give you an inside look into what an entertainment business manager does…and can do for you. This post will provide you with an overview of entertainment business management, and the next post will cover how we’re different from artist managers and bookkeepers.
While we craft the experience for each client, there are a few basics that stay the same.
- We build connections
With deadlines, strict budgets, and specific goals, you don’t have the time or money to be wasted on the wrong service professional. Connecting you to “the best of the best” is one of the most valuable assists business managers offer. It’s our job to make sure we know the highest-rated, most productive, and trustworthy sources of services. We help you build relationships with everyone you need or want to know.
Need a CPA? We know someone for that. Or a new insurance provider? We know someone for that, too. Having a business manager cuts out the mystery—we’ve got someone for each of your needs, so you don’t need to carry the mental work of researching and selecting someone you’ve never even met.
Business managers walk alongside you through the connecting process. We handle the introductions, sit in the meetings with you, and help you determine if it’s a good fit—for your goals, your personality, and your needs. If need be, we’ll also help you smoothly transition from one service provider to another.
Finally, unlike other entertainment business management companies who have someone in-house for services, at BriBiz, we prefer to stay free agents, hiring the best for each client. For example, why limit ourselves to one tax accountant, when one client is planning for retirement, one has to account for global earnings, and one runs a nonprofit? We prefer to find the right person, the right fit for, each of our clients.
2. We organize the day-to-day
We keep you organized—we think about the things that are taking up precious space in your brain, those nagging thoughts that pop into your head late at night. One person compared their mental work to loops that were constantly running in the background of their brain:
“Did I pay that bill yet?”
“Should I be filing my quarterlies?”
“Who owes me money?”
“Did I miss a royalty check?”
“Can I afford new equipment before the tour next summer?”
What would you give to hand all that over to someone else? What could you do if you didn’t have to waste hours running down tedious tasks and details? How could your music improve?
We exist to ensure that you don’t need to waste that time and energy. We’re thinking about each detail and planning for it. Our purpose is to help you can turn off all those background loops and trust that we’ve got it covered.
Everything that touches your business—we’ll help you organize it and manage it. The detail-work is where we shine. On a day-to-day basis, you might expect your business manager to:
- Manage your money for you
- Track income and expenses
- Reconcile the income
- Collect all payments
- Pay every bill on time
- Maintain cash flow
- Deal with vendors and customers
- Keep lines of communication open with customers on a financial level
For some musicians, we oversaw the sale of their publishing catalog. For others, we tracked royalties and chased down discrepancies in payments. We’ve even done in-house royalty audits or brought in third-party experts to ensure that labels are paying fairly. Our focus is to make sure that your day-to-day music business is working and experiencing healthy cash-flow.
You can find a more specific description of the services we offer on our website, but we cover the range of details regarding the organization and management of everything big and small in your business.
3. We manage the “big picture”
We often describe ourselves as the center of a wheel spoke. We’re the central connection point for all the different services and individuals who are working for the success of your business. We make sure they’re talking to each other and working collaboratively to bring you the best results. While you’re out on the road doing what you do best, you’ll have a machine that runs smoothly on the business front back at home.
How often do your CPA, your insurance agent, your royalty agent, and your financial adviser sit in the same room and have a productive conversation about you and your goals? The answer is never. Our goal is to be that conversation, that connection point between the different ends of your business that would otherwise never be connected. We’re conversation-builders and connection-makers.
For example, if we managed your business budget, we could prepare you for tax time, allocating money for that expense. We would make certain your insurance agent connected with your tax consultant to write off your HSA contributions and that the necessary payroll tax documentation is complete and up-to-date. Then, if there’s money left after paying taxes, we can connect you with a financial advisor to set you up for long-term success.
By being the center of that wheel spoke, we help you get forward motion and free you up to focus on your craft. We can develop big-picture goals with you, and help you see a weakness in the business plan. We look for gaps, discrepancies, and holes in the process. Does something feel off to you? We’ll hunt it down and help you fix it. Our eyes are on the entire picture. You can trust us with the details, as well as the entire process.
How much time are you wasting trying to hunt down service agent by service agent?
Do you worry you’re missing details crucial to the success of your business?
Is it hard to keep the big picture in mind while trying to focus on the details of your creative work?
Stay tuned for our next post in this series, where I’ll cover exactly how entertainment business managers are different from artistic managers and bookkeepers.