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Building resilience: Music exec on turning early failures into success

Creators and artists should plan to consistently fail during the first year in their industry.

That advice comes straight from an expert: Mike Weiss, who leads the team that signs and develops artists, as Head of Artist and Repertoire at UnitedMasters .  

"At that point, you've learned lessons from your 30 failures and all of the sudden things start to click," Weiss said. "It's really just first and foremost putting yourself out there."

We caught up with Weiss to find out what else artists and creators need to consider as they navigate a world that can be challenging, yet rewarding. 

What should artists be aware of when building their brand?

The most important thing would be finding your special talent. Where can you provide the most value and have that unique creative fingerprint? Plenty of people can sing. Plenty of people can write songs. It's a matter of who you are, what you stand for, who you are as an artist and what you provide to fans.

What are some aspects of the industry that new creators should know?

Everyone has had to go through periods of real challenge. This business can be very difficult so you need to have a tough skin.

In my world, a lot of people set their goals on having a big hit song or a big viral moment, but that's a fickle game because it's reliant on third parties to give you that moment or to have something happen that you wouldn't necessarily expect. 

The only way you can control your destiny is by building a consistent execution strategy and connection with your audience. In today's world, we all have the opportunity to go directly to our audiences.

It can be a domino effect, but it all starts with building something authentic.

What are some common financial mistakes you've seen artists and creators make as they grow?

The amount of money put into the creative during the very early phases. A lot of creators – let’s say a pop artist – come in thinking that they need to look like a popstar from the start. They'll go and spend $10,000 to $20,000 shooting a music video for a song that they believe is the one. But I often see people blow their budgets on one or two music videos, and that ultimately hurts them in the long run. 

It's important to remember that 'glossy and high-end' isn't what people connect with any creators over [and makes it feel like it's disingenuous]. The most successful creators are the ones who can create great content, music or visuals with a minimal budget.

Read more: Learn how Ally supports creators by helping them unlock their financial potential

What advice do you have for those wanting to prepare for their future stability?

It takes a lot longer than anyone would expect. Most people have to work a job while simultaneously working on their craft. 

Find the value that you provide to an audience. Once you're providing enough value to them, the money starts to come. Then, brands and companies will also want to tap into that same audience you've nurtured. It's important to be patient and understand that it's going to require a significant amount of time and investment to get it to the point where it starts to pay dividends. It can be a domino effect, but it all starts with building something authentic.

Once you start to make money - then what?

Once some funds start to come, it’s essential to set budgets , save money and understand where you can spend. The easiest mistake people make is believing that they can spend significantly more when they have more income. It’s not about how much you make. It’s about how much you save

Finding your independence

Ally, along with UnitedMasters and Earn Your Leisure , work together to inspire, educate, and empower aspiring artists and creators. Find out more about Earn Your Masters and its impact on the culture here .

The views, information or opinions expressed are solely those of the individuals involved and do not represent those of Ally.

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