The Piano Singer - Event Singer & Pianist UK

Becoming self-employed. Staying self-employed.

Wow! What an unprecedented week it has been! With the uncertainty of the Corona virus outbreak, it has certainly been a time of reflection and awakening for many people. This is especially true for those in the events industry, and those who are self-employed and running a small business. I happen to be doing both!

What I have realised however, is that I would not change my choice to leave my previous employment (which I enjoyed immensely) to set up The Piano Singer. I challenge anyone who is at home, self isolating, caring for children, or starting the novelty of working from home temporarily, to consider pursuing your own dreams. Make plans for when this different way of working starts reversing. Do you love what you do? Have you always wanted to pursue a skill or passion you have, and set up your own business? Do you wish your job would work more comfortably around family life? Well here are a few thoughts from me on taking the leap of faith that is going self-employed!

James thinking pose
10 years before The Piano Singer was made real! If only I knew then, what I know now!

When is the best time to start up my own business?

Well, perhaps not during a world health pandemic (but i’m no expert). People often wonder whether, you just one day have a Jerry Maguire moment, where you walk into the office, quit with excitement and commence a new chapter. For me this was far from the reality. I worked hard at my ‘regular job’ teaching music production for 11 years within a prison education department.  Then of evenings and weekends, I worked hard at my self-employment. I would travel far, sleep little and at strange times and grew my reputation and repertoire. The two years before I went fully self employed were the toughest, trying to ensure your usual professionalism for your employer, and at the same time being on hand to agents and clients wishing to book you to work.

My advice would be, power through this time. Things do improve and you can finally at a time that’s right for your family, and financially, give your full attention to your passion and go for it!

Bringing that golden moment nearer, will most likely mean reducing your overheads! We all want the finer things in life, but when your’re trying to go fully self-employed it may mean that having a car, the latest devices or even living in the perfect place may not be an option in the short term. Limiting your monthly overheads is essential for allowing yourself the freedom to go fully self employed.

“Surround yourself only with people who lift you higher.”

O. Winfrey.

Having great energy, wisdom, advice, support and talent around you is going to boost your ability to run a successful small business. Figuring out people’s intentions and or agendas may bring some unexpected lessons. Sometimes we realise that other people in your industry may see your success as competition or detrimental to their own fortunes. Remain cautious on the subject of who you share your plans and successes with until you have clarity on this!

On the other hand, ensure you engage and consult with people who are not experts in your field, friends, family and others outside of your industry who can best advise you on how your work comes across to potential clients. If your jargon, website design or pricing structure is not making sense to them, will it make sense to your target audience?

Fill The Gap!

It’s always a good idea to continually expand and try new approaches, or add new repertoire. if you ever find yourself unchallenged then you are not doing enough. If you notice that there is a gap to be filled for someone with your skills perhaps try a new project and monitor its reception! Our Piano Singer Trio has done just that!

If it doesn’t take too much investment then what is lost? For the musicians among you, try and source multiple agents to maximise your reach.


Keep Learning.

Just because you do not have a line manager monitoring your continual professional development now that you are self-employed, is not a reason to stop developing skills. If your work is creative in nature, then perhaps you could ensure that your business management or financial management is just as polished. I have undertaken two courses lately. One session I completed was run by the Musicians Union for free, it was all about managing time and productivity, and the other from Reed about online presence. Courses need not be expensive, can be done online and especially at this time of increased home working, could be a game changer investment, that will allow your business to bounce back with a new lease of life!

So if you have a feeling being self-employed might be for you, why not give it a go? And if you are self-employed, keep the faith, remember why you started this journey, and use this time to invest in your business skills, and to plan your next move when we are all back on track! Stay safe everyone.


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