Touring is complicated and not everyone is capable of handling it. Here are five thoughts I put together for artists (indie or signed) who might need some help. Let it be known I’m not an expert, I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning myself. The purpose of this article is to challenge you and for some, it will be a very hard reality check.

Here’s the Truth. (Also, This is just the tip of the iceberg):

1. This is a long-term investment

Nobody makes it overnight. Building your hard ticket value takes years to do. Get prepared to make no money for a while. Get prepared to do a lot of shows for exposure. The Internet is a liar. Do not compare yourself to pictures you see online. Having 50 people show up and pay to see you means you’re doing better than 90% of artists. There’s also many types of shows: Hard Ticket, Festival, Conferences, one-offs, etc. Each of them has pros and cons including how much you get paid; try to do them all BUT don’t confuse one with the other. Touring by yourself is completely different from doing a marketed festival with 10 other artists.

2. Don’t quit your day job

This needs to be said, if you take a leap of faith, be prepared, you could fall to your death. I remember in 2014, Social Club was touring every week for what felt like an eternity. I worked for Nordstrom Corporate 40 hours a week and Fern worked on building screens for luxury homes. Did we want to quit? YES. Did we? NO. Jumping off a red-eye to sit behind a desk isn’t the greatest after performing for 1,000 people in New York, but I would recommend it. Learn how to manage your time, learn how to balance your life. Chase your dreams responsibly.

3. Who do you know?

Nothing on a large scale in this industry happens by accident. I know you voted for your boy to perform at Winter Jam but I promise you he won’t. There are managers, labels, booking agents, friends and the unknown that are all working to get their team on. Do you know most artists pay out of pocket to be on tour with these festivals? It’s not an accident. Few artists are willing to share their platform with other artists. By the way – it’s no one’s job to give you a platform. Get your own fans and work for it. Build organic relationships. The idea of being self-made is a total lie. You’re going to need the best team around you. Music is about 20% of the business, 80% is a pure hustle. The more you know! *cue the Rainbow.”

4. Things you need

1. Booking Manager
2. A rider
3. Road Manager
4. Business Manager
5. Inner Ears
6. DJ / Band
7. Merchandise

There’s a lot more but let’s just start there. By the way, if you find a person who can do 2+ or more things, hire them ASAP!

5. Process of staying on

Ok so you dropped a mixtape or album, how do you get people to hear it three months later? You get booked to open up for a show, what are you doing so people can remember you? These are questions you need to answer for yourself. Everyone’s brand is different. I’ve seen Kyle and G-Eazy perform for 100 people. The key is not getting on, it’s staying on. I’ve seen Top-tier artists treat people like garbage and when they weren’t popular any more people didn’t want to work with them anymore. I hate when people say “that’s a youth group rapper.” Listen, a fan is a fan. Get in front of as many people as you can, give it all you got in front of one person or 100 people. Be the best you can be. Consistency is key.