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Business Savvy: Managing Risk In The Business Of Pro Audio

What is your tolerance quotient?

DERIVING ANSWERS
As you analyze risk and develop your business plan, there are additional considerations to address before you quit your day job. Ask yourself these questions:

• Is anyone buying what I’m selling?
• Is the market for what I want to do big enough to support my career in live sound?
• Can I get enough facts about the size of the market to satisfy my risk tolerance?
• Is there anyone else who is doing what I want to do successfully? Can I learn from them?
• Where will the money come from to live on and/or invest in my business until I’m getting paid enough to do sound full time?
• Who will handle the business aspects of my audio career: marketing, sales, accounting, and business management?

Many live sound people try to do it all, on their own. Some are content and successful, others end up getting frustrated.

Does this scenario sound familiar? “I own a sound reinforcement rig that I rent out for local and regional events. I handle my own bookings and promotion. If my client needs an engineer, I go with the system. Then I’m also the roadie and troubleshooter. I maintain my own gear and go to trade shows when I can. I balance my own checkbook, and trouble-shoot my computer when it goes down. In addition, I work a real job to support my habit.”

Think about the live sound or music people that you admire or aspire to be like.

Do they do everything themselves?

Relatively few career engineers, performers, or rental company owners handle all of their own booking (sales), management, and accounting. Excellence requires full time focus on what you do best.

Here’s the point. Someone needs to take care of each of the essential elements of your audio business. That takes time, and if you are working multiple jobs, you are unlikely to have enough time to 1) get good at everything and 2) keep your sanity.

What are you best suited for? What feels right? How can you make the best contribution? How can you have the most fun along the way? Addressing these questions is part of your risk analysis. Now, on to the important question.

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