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How I built a 6-figure business as a producer

How I built a 6-figure business as a producer, one step at a time

Whenever I meet somebody new, the conversation usually goes a little something like this….

Them: So what do you do?

Me:  I’m a musician.

Them: Oh that’s nice!  What do you do for work?

MeI’m a pro musician

Them:  I mean what’s your actual job that pays the bills?

MeI’m a pro musician that makes a living producing from my home studio for various projects for film/tv/commercials, and for clients all over the world.

Them:  {Looks at me confused}

Whether it’s my fiance’s parents, somebody I’m meeting at a public place, or new acquaintances , nobody really comprehends that there’s an entire industry of professional musicians that not only make a great living, but that we’re doing it from our home studios…

…and that we’re quite possibly the very people behind some of the TV shows, commercials, and movies that they’re watching every night.

That’s because most people think the only way to be successful with your music is if you’re famous 🤷🏻‍♀️

It’s ok, I forgive them.  I used to think the same thing years ago 😉

So when people finally DO digest that not only do I get to make music for a living, they always ask me HOW I did it.  And that’s why I’m writing this blog.

So firstly, I’d like to clarify the two different businesses I run.

Business #1- Boomfox Productions I built a 6-figure business as a musician, singer, and producer, all from my home studio, by building multiple revenue streams including licensing my songs and instrumentals, doing freelance work, custom songwriting, and creating music for film/tv (sync licensing). 

 

Business #2 - Produce Like a Boss 

I have also built a 7-figure brand as an online educator and content creator, giving back to my community through courses, coaching, and free content like podcasts, blogs, and a YouTube channel.

But this piece is specifically designed to show you how I built my 6-figure production company “Boomfox Productions” because while that may sound like a stretch, it’s actually much more achievable than you might think!

There are 5 specific stages/phases you need to have in place. 

The first phase *drumroll* is …  


🧠 Phase 1:  Mindset

Before you roll your eyes at this… listen. Getting my head right was key before I could even think about earning 6-figures. I don’t know about you but remember … I was kicked out of the house at age 15 which left me with some really unhealthy thinking patterns like….

  • money is scarce
  • all artists must starve for their art
  • the world is a scary and cruel place
  • I was not worthy of receiving good things.   

The more I fed those thoughts the more I created that reality.  Until I decided to change how I thought about things… more on that in a sec.

I had also spent most of my time with other musicians who had huge egos, and who  cast stones at artists more successful than them.  

They’d say things like …“Ugh, I really liked that artist until they SOLD OUT and went mainstream”.  Or …  “Ugh, pop music is so over simplified and stupid…I can’t believe people actually listen to this!”  Or… “That’s not even REAL music, it was made on a laptop!” 

This holier than thou approach never got them anywhere, and once I realized I was on a sinking ship with the purists, I knew I had to jump off.  

It was then that I realized I couldn’t condemn the things that I wanted for myself.

Resenting people that have the things you want only pushes away the things you want.

Speaking of what you want…

That was another thing I had to get really clear on.  

WHAT was it that I actually wanted from this music thing? (Want to figure this out for yourself? Check out my process here!)

Was it fame? No.  

Was it fans?  Not really. 

Was it fortune? A little but not the real reason. 

Then why was I following this fed-to-me-dream of getting a record deal?  

It was only when I got massively clear and set my intention - which was to build a 6 figure business as a musician/producer - that it actually happened.

Another part of my mindset that I had to shift was my imposter syndrome. 

Who am I to get paid for my music?” or “Who am I to charge for my services?!”  played on repeat in my head until I put in the work to shift my thinking.  

ALL of this to say … mindset isn’t esoteric or woo. 

It’s about shifting your perception around how you see the world. .  

The way to do that is to start being the observer of your thoughts.  

And when you catch a thought that doesn’t serve you, replace it with one that does.

I also noticed a HUGE shift in my mindset when I learned that unsuccessful people often say things like “that’ll never work”...

Once I let go of judgment (and being envious of others' success), and stepped into an abundance mindset, set an intention, and got really focused on how I could actually make music into a career, my whole life changed.

Alright, moving on to step 2.


🏠Phase 2:  Assembling a Boss Toolbelt

In order to build a successful business as a producer, I knew I had to arm myself with the proper tools. 

Tools can be anything from the supplies you need to create, to the education you need to build your craft.  (I like to call my educational tools/online courses my “success library”)

So the first step was setting up a home studio with high quality sounds, virtual instruments, samples, and 3rd party plugins. 

While you don’t need the top of the line to get started, or even to do basic session work, custom songs, or demos, you will need to invest in your software if you’re entering into competitive markets like sync licensing for example.  (notice how I said software, that’s really the key.  I still don’t own hardware because I haven’t found it necessary to make high quality music.)

A lot of people ask me what I used in my home studio so I put together this comprehensive list that tells you everything I use including:

  • Hardware 
  • Software (plugins)
  • Lighting
  • Furniture
  • And more!

You’ll notice my list isn’t packed full of a bunch of hardware or “rack gear” but rather just the essentials and if software can do the trick, I’ll use that.

The main focus of my studio is to capture high quality music (which you don’t need hardware for), and to have a “vibe set” that not only fosters my creativity, but the creativity of other artists and musicians that visit my studio as well ✨

The next step was assembling my arsenal of educational tools (the success library) I needed to get my productions to the next level.  

Like you, I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials. 

I also worked 1:1 with producers in Nashville. 

I hired mentors. 

I joined songwriter associations like NSAI and Taxi.

I read books.  (I highly recommend “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber, and “Do the Work” by Steven Pressfield.)

And I constantly did the “inner work” needed to become the person who could generate 6 figures as a musician. 

One of my favorite quotes is:

This is why step 1 (mindset) and step 2 (assembling a toolbelt) are the first two steps in my process.  

First you must change the way you perceive the world.

Then you must design your life on purpose, and arm yourself accordly with the right tools to do so. Ok… let’s move onto..


🖥 Phase 3:  Making music

Ok, it’s weird, why is making music phase 3?!  Shouldn’t it be phase 1?!  I hear you. 

Let me rewind.

It’s not like I wasn’t making music before this.  I just wasn’t making music with any sort of intention other than to please myself. 

Which is fine and dandy… if you want this to be a hobby…

…but I wanted more than that.  

I wanted to get paid to make music…

Which meant I had set an intention, ask what market I was going for, and I had to learn how to create music with that endgame in mind.

This is where reference tracks really saved my ass.  🍑

Did you know you can use reference tracks as a guide before you build out a track?  

Not just as a mixing resource?!  🤯 

Yeah, that was a game changer for me.  

If you’ve ever checked out my S.I.M.P.L.E. training, you know that using reference tracks is exactly how I learned how to make profitable music for a market.  If you haven’t checked it out, it’s in this new training and I’ve actually refined the way I teach it if you wanna check it out.

So not only did I make music in this phase, I made a LOT of music, and now I had an actual goal for what I wanted to do with that music.

And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start off making good music…😬

I really wasn’t that great when I first started… 

Truth be told, I had to make a lot of 💩 music FIRST.  

It’s called the “suck factor” and it’s something we all have to go through to get to the good stuff… (if your music isn’t quite radio ready yet, don’t worry, it’s like a muscle, and repetition is key!)

…And once the good stuff started flowing, so did the clients, and the opportunities to actually get paid for this which leads me to the next phase


📊 Phase 4:  Setting up systems 

When you first set out to get clients your only goal might sound something like “anybody who will pay me”.  

And that’s a great place to start, but you’ll come to find that as you scale, what got you here, won’t get you there.

I still remember the feeling of getting hired to do my first home recording.  It was exhilarating. 

A songwriter had found me online through my youtube channel - which at the time had less than 100 followers - and she loved my voice and wanted to hire me to sing and play guitar on a bunch of her demos.  I was stoked.

I went on to do over 200 songs for her, and of course once I started doing this regularly, word started to spread and other songwriters started hiring me to do their demos.  

Next thing I know, I am juggling multiple clients at a time, and have more work than I know what to do with.  

Sounds like a good problem to have … right?

Not necessarily.  Because here’s another thing I discovered..

So if I really wanted to build a successful business, this meant I had to not only deliver great music, but also reasonable turnaround times, and an overall customer experience for my clients…

And being overwhelmed and drowning in projects and deadlines I couldn’t meet was NOT the way to do that. This is what happens when all of the moving pieces in your business are “all in your head” and not systemized - trust me, I learned this the hard way

And that’s why at this stage in my journey, I had to create systems for tracking my projects, clients, payments, pricing, and communication,   all of which I developed into templates and processes that are now resources in my program Home Studio Boss. 

Once I had these systems in place, I was REALLY ready to go get more clients. 

More than just the referrals I had been getting organically in my own network.  I was ready to start…


💵 Phase 5:  Selling My Services

 

Let’s break it down into 5 steps!  

Step #1- Build your portfolio

Having professional demos of your work is KEY when it comes to landing paying clients.  Your work literally speaks for itself.  Music is one of those things where it doesn’t matter if you went to Berklee, Full Sail, or if you’re self taught..because here’s the beauty.  The only rule is DOES IT SOUND GOOD?  So make sure you have a solid portfolio built.  And that will probably mean you’ll have to work for free - either on your own music or on music for other people - until that portfolio is built.  Remember, don’t put the cart before the horse...you must have a high quality representation of your work before you charge for it! 

 

Step #2- Study the market

There are plenty of online marketplaces for musicians to get work. Soundbetter, Airgigs, Fiver, Thumbtack, and SO many more platforms are popping up on the regular. You can look at what other providers are charging and compare accolades. 

When you’re first starting out, you probably can’t charge what Beyonce’s mix engineer is charging, so adjust your prices to go with the flow of the marketplace.  And keep in mind, when you first get started you should be humble but not cheap with your pricing. You don’t want to be the ‘discount’ producer. I don’t know about you, but I personally shy away from dirt cheap products/services because I believe you get what you pay for. For example, you’ll never catch me at a half price sushi place. There are just some things I’m willing to pay for.  Also, there are always ways to add more value without lowering your prices.  Rather than being known for being the “cheap” guy, be known for over-delivering, by offering a free “alt mix”, for example.

 

Step #3- Social Proof

One of the really cool things about the online music marketplaces is the ability to show Social Proof.  (examples here 👇🏻)

Having social proof is great because it’s kinda like Ebay, or Amazon, people want to buy from brands that are trusted.  So make sure you over-deliver to your clients and get raving reviews, it will definitely increase your chances of landing future paying clients!

 

Step 4: Understand Value Exchange  

Ok, this is a big one.  You can set your prices, but understanding value outside of money changing hands is so important.  For example, you may come across a producer who wants to hire you as a singer on a track for an ad, or for a TV show, or a Trailer.  They might offer to split some back end (royalties) with you, or even offer you a cut of the master - should the song get picked up. 

Now, this is totally your call, but a lot of times having some skin in the game is BETTER than getting your $200 upfront!  

A couple questions to ask yourself might be…

  • What's their network?  
  • What accolades do they have already?
  • Would it be worth it to extend my network by collaborating with them?  

Let that sink in, because you could miss out on a cool opportunity if you’re always focused on money upfront.  

Personally, if somebody with MORE accolades than me reaches out to me to collab, I take a very different approach than I do with a new artist/producer who’s still building their profile.

 

Step 5: Systemize

I love systems so much I put them in here twice! 😉

When you’re working with clients, you’re going to run into a lot of processes that you need to do over and over again.  You’re going to want to come up with systems that help you to navigate your workflow smoothly.  

This includes but isn’t limited to…

  • Having a pricing sheet for your services
  • Having a deliverables sheet you send to clients (which is just a checklist of things you need from them in their delivery to you)
  • Having email templates saved and ready to go 
      

 


Special Bonus Tip

I have ONE more bonus tip when it comes to selling your services.  

This is important so please don’t skip this part!

There's a saying in business,

... and I live my life by this.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched musicians flounder when they try to start getting work online as a producer/recording artist.

They hear somewhere that all they have to do is sign up for one of the online music marketplaces and that’s it - they’ll wake up to hundreds of jobs the next day!  

While there may be some initial luck in joining any of these platforms, what’s often missed is the ability to measure what it is that brings a client to you in the first place, and how to get them coming back for more.

Sure you gotta have great music (demonstrated by your portfolio) and a good bio, and  you also have to have a great offer! Your great offer is the value you deliver and for what price.

But there is one important thing that most people miss, and it’s this:

💡 BONUS TIP: You need to be a great communicator

Most musicians don’t lose jobs because they’re not talented enough, it’s because they’re SO focused on the music, they don’t realize they’re in a business. Business is about service and communication is a HUGE part of that!

So there you go! 

They are the 5 phases (and the bonus tip!) it took for me to build a 6-figure production company!

 

  • Mindset
  • Building a Toolbelt
  • Making Music
  • Setting Up Systems
  • Selling Services and 
  • Becoming a great Communicator 

So what did you think about the 5 part series on how I Built a 6-Figure Production Company?

Are you feeling excited at the possibilities?!

I hope so because… 

I am SO excited to announce I am opening the doors to our mentorship program, Home Studio Boss VIP”.


Home Studio Boss VIP is a private mentorship program for career minded musicians who are ready to absolutely DOMINATE the new music industry and start generating income from their home studios.

You will get access to the whole Home Studio Boss course - that breaks down my entire blueprint in detail - and you will also have the opportunity to work with me, and with our amazing coaches, getting 1:1 support, accountability and implementation! 

Quick Note:  Home Studio Boss is ONLY for business-minded musicians that are looking to make music professionally, and that are willing to put in the work.

Like… Cindy did.

And Katie

 And Patrick

 

Does that sound like you?

Do you

✅Have a home studio and the capability to record yourself?

✅Have a willinging and a drive towards self improvement

✅Desire to make music as a service, and be compensated for it?

If so, we’d love to chat! 

Entry to HSB VIP is by application only. To apply, book your call at the link below. My team and I look forward to talking with you!"

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