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Create an Effective Team That Is an Extension of You

Create an Effective Team That Is an Extension of You 
Surrounding yourself with the right people to grow your career comes down to focusing on who you are and what you need.

When you’re working to get your music career on solid footing, there’s no question that surrounding yourself with a team of like-minded individuals is essential. It’s pretty basic logic: You can’t possibly effectively cover all the bases of tour planning, label issues, merch strategy, and beyond while still nurturing your creative muse (not to mention performing).

Identifying the right people to join your team should start with a close look at the people in your circle and maybe just beyond. Start with peers and those within your personal network. These people will probably know your background, and will have some understanding of the path you want to take into the future.

There are different ways to configure a team, but in general most acts opt for a manager (who acts as the business arm of the artist), an agent (who handles the touring and events components), and a label (which releases the recorded work), the label deal may include a PR representative who will interact with the press and public regarding your work. As your popularity expands, there may be roles that are subsets within each of those components, such as a day-to-day manager, versus the overall manager who develops strategy and handles big-picture issues.

So how do you choose who to work with, and what are the critical attributes of a strong team? The answer isn’t the same for everyone. You first have to have a clear understanding of what you, as a totally unique individual (Musician), want and need.

Know yourself

The first and most important element in creating a strong team is self-awareness: understanding who you are, and having an honest picture of your own strengths and weaknesses. This will help you know where you fit into the music world and also make it easier to identify what kind of support you need. If your passion and knowledge don’t extend to visual art and identity, choose a merch manager with a leadership mindset. If you’re an introvert and find networking to be an exercise in torture, it’s important to find a publicist who can boost your signal while also respecting your boundaries.

Be wary of any potential team member who doesn’t first ask you a lot of questions, and second listen carefully to the answers. Remember that they will have a crucial role in where your path goes, and how quickly it gets there.

Search for “the one” but be open to failure.

Success with your team has a lot to do with chemistry. Finding people you trust isn’t an easy task, and finding those who can act as your surrogates can be even tougher. Just go in knowing there is give and take, and you will need to make your intentions and ideas clear no matter how much you believe that you understand one another. And just like any other type of relationship, there will be ups and downs or you might eventually decide to sever your ties completely.

A manager’s job may be to manage your career, but it’s your job to manage them: Communicate clearly, making sure they are living up to your expectations, and if they’re not, allow yourself to move on.

Building a team that will elevate you and your career is essential, so keep your standards high when looking for people who can execute your vision on all levels. That’s the way of success.

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