It’s very difficult to move forward in your career without investing in your brand in some way. The question is what should you invest in that will make your life easier, your lifestyle a little cheaper by saving you money and propel you to a new level in some way. After much thought, below are my biggest career investments so far that have not only cost me less than a $1000 (cumulatively) but have also saved me thousands of dollars already.
1). DSLR Camera ($750)
I’ve always been interested in photography and got my first digital camera when I was about 15. Being a self-managed artist this long has taught me a thing or two about what are the right things to invest in. I’ve realized very quickly that I can’t always afford photoshoots and videoshoots even though those are the 2 things that I essential for a consistent flow of content. After a lot of research, I took a leap of faith, saved some money and bought myself a refurbished Canon t5i camera. It came with another 2 lenses, one tripod, a camera bag and a 32GB card. You may be surprised to know that a lot of my pictures and videos have been done with this camera and it’s beautiful feature called ‘self-timer’. *wink, wink* Lighting, battery power and space/memory are really all I need to keep an eye on. If you can do your make-up, hair and styling on your own as well… you’re a one-woman crew. For bigger projects that have a bigger budget… you can get a photographer and videographer. This investment has specifically saved me several expensive photoshoots and has got me good quality pictures.
Case in point:
Lesson Learned: Don’t ever feel like you need a huge team to get things done especially when it comes to minor/quick photoshoots.
2). Logic Pro X ($199)
My dad introduced me to Garageband when I was 14 and so I got a major head start in music production before I even got to Berklee College of Music for my 2nd Undergraduate degree. By the time I started taking classes in Logic Express, I was well acquainted with recording instruments and vocals. After leaving Berklee in 2013, I upgraded to Logic Pro Xand I have been doing all my production on there ever since. In 2015 I produced The Fires Of Redon there despite so much self-doubt and anxiety about putting out music that wasn’t properly recorded in a studio or with real instruments – 3 songs ended up being used in a TV show and in Michelle Phan’s vlog. This investment has not only made me sufficient in production due to years of practice but has also saved me studio and production fees.
Lesson Learned: Make your own music and put it out no matter how unmixed and low quality you might think it is. Be confident in your writing and let the rest happen when it’s the right time.
3). Skipping Rope ($12.99)
Yup! I am the worst gym member and the worst gym buddy. I hated yoga – still do actually. I hated Pilates but I’m getting round to that now. I love to dance (and twerk) so I troll the internet for youtube videos that incorporate dancing into a suitable workout routine. The two things that keep me motivated are putting Beyoncé’s tour videosright beside my Ectorcise DVD and also my gym clothes and sneakers. I feel good when I look good. Even in the gym when I’m all sweaty! If that’s a crime…Shoot me!
But it wasn’t always this easy to roll out of bed and be determined to have a Teyana Taylor body by christmas. The one thing that got me going was skipping or as Americans always correct me “Jump Rope”! I started doing 400-800 jumpropes a day early last year and it sort of kept me in energized and motivated to keep doing it because it didn’t feel like a crazy amount of work. I could also listen to cool music doing it. After that got boring I started to look for other ways to keep in shape. This investment has simply saved me a gym membership and a personal trainer… for now!!
Lesson Learned: A single piece of gyming equipment can be the kickstarter to a more organized and elongated exercise routine.
4). 1-hour Website-Building Class (Free)
One of the biggest assets in this era for any musician (or any brand for that matter) is an online presence especially in form of an interactive website. A website that you can update yourself and consistently upload with useful content for your audience is becoming the norm. Static websites are great but not as valuable as a blog-style site.
Early last year I had paid a huge ton of money for my website and ended up hating it so much that I decided to buy my own template and start from scratch. After months of watching youtube videos and reading articles on plugins, widgets, code etc. I figured out how to do most things when it came to uploading content to my site and customizing the layout without writing too much code. I wrote a little (never thought I would ever say that!). While I was in Lagos earlier this year I took a class on website plugins like Yoast and various attachments for SEO tracking etc. I went in there with a good amount of knowledge but learning about the extra stuff has helped a huge deal. This investment has saved me website management fees.
Lesson Learned: Always be open to getting more help even when you think you can do things on your own
Investing in your career is so important. The best investments are the ones you spend very little on and that will eventually save you much more money in the long-run.
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