A recent annoyance in my life (and unfortunate requirement for graduation) has been to take a music entrepreneurship class which attempts to fuse general business techniques with music. That is to say, music business. The idea is valid, especially when the 'making your own opportunities' idea is increasingly prevalent in sustaining a career as a musician. In the linking of these ideas, however, I have found a few inconsistencies that I wish to get off my chest.
In business entrepreneurship, the questions that need answering to market your business are who, what, when, where, how, and why? In order to market, the product must be known to the marketer from all sides. I do not profess, by any means, to be an expert in this. I am simply a lowly flutist striving to make a footprint on the path of classical music. I do, however, have goals, ideas, and unreasonably high ambitions. I am happy to fill in the blanks of who, what, when, where, and how. I take issue with the 'why'.
I think that for the musician the why is implied; the reasons for what I do are self-evident. I have spent my whole life practicing, stressing, working toward a goal that is fragmented, an illusion, not quite substance. There seem to be so many opportunities, yet none at all. The one question I do not have to answer in all my struggles to be a professional musician is 'why?'
How will I make money? Where will I live? Who will pay me or be my audience? What will be my niche in the musical community? How will I sell my product, which is myself? These are valid questions, though some of the answers remain elusive to me. Am I a talented, passionate, unique musician? Yes. Can I market myself to venues, producers, curators, non-profit and for-profit organizations? Maybe. But again, the 'why' is implied.
If you are not a musician, you are obviously something else. If I am seeking to pay for your expertise, should I ask you,
"Why are you an accountant?" or
"Why are you a doctor?" or
"Why are you a personal trainer?"
No! This is a moot point in my assessment of your professional credentials. There are limited answers.
"I'm good at it."
"It pays well."
"I love it."
"It was a decision I once made."
You may expound on this, but in essence these are your choices outside of "I do not know." If I am hiring you, it is not because of your thought process behind your career choice. I am hiring you because you are talented, passionate, and good at what you do, or you have been recommended by a trusted friend. Once you are what you are, the why is irrelevant; albeit sometimes interesting. The 'why' just is.