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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:58 pm
Posts: 105
Hi

If you have enough put aside to last 5 years with no job then you've enough to start your own business.

If I assume your house / rent is taken care of and you've been in any sort of 'business' for a good few years then you know the score.

Plough the 100 - 150K you have into something you feel passionate about. Become your own boss. Work whatever hours you want. Rent retail space. Open a record shop. Rent a unit and backdoor a load of knock off synths from China. Whatever! Combine your passion for music with your experience in business.

You can turn 100K into whatever you want pretty easily with a sensible plan, strategic goals and a passion for what you are doing. Go and speak to your bank manager. They will be happy to match that kind of capital for a business venture.

Anyone can pull in 30K a year with a couple of 100K investment in any line of business anywhere in the world.

It sounds to me like you are in a priveliged position so don't blow it chasing childhood dreams. At least live the dream whilst giving a little back to the family that are supporting you.

Music is above all a hobby until someone other than you starts to hype about it.

Can I have your wife when you're done with her :D


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:03 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:01 pm
Posts: 35
Wow, this is quite a big step - you have a thought provoking situation.

I have read most of the posts in this thread but not all, so please excuse me if this suggestion has already been made:-

Have you approached your employer regarding any kind of sabbatical break, or perhaps a reduction in working hours for a period of time?
This would give you more of an opportunity to "test the waters" with regard to music-making, with more hours available to you.
It sounds as though you have the respect of your fellow employees AND employers (even if you have to pretend to be someone else at work).

Try coming up with a good reason as to why you want a sabbatical, then write a convincing and well drafted letter to your boss/bosses, or perhaps just sit down with them and have a chat.
I know of 2 people that have applied for sabbaticals, both had positive results -
1. A friend took a 6 month sabbatical to care for a sick family member.
2. I wrote a letter requesting a 3 month sabbatical to my boss - I wanted time off to pursue a personal venture that would have benefitted both myself and my employer, however the company I work for was going through a particularly busy patch and I ended up coming out of a meeting without a sabbatical approval, but with a rather large payrise. Yes, I sold my soul!

Most companies are quite particular about sabbaticals - you won't just be able to take time off for personal gain, but if you are able to convince your employers to give you time off for something work related, and is piss easy for you to fit around your music-making, you will be able to return with something useful for them as well as giving yourself time to see if music is your "true-calling".

Approach the sabbatical situation with caution - perhaps find out if any previous employees have successfully applied for a sabbatical, why did they need the sabbatical etc..

My situation was one where I could have the extra £££ without a sabbatical, or take the sabbatical and have a standard payrise at my yearly review (which would have been a lot less than the payrise I received!).

I was happy to take the money I was offered and run, but I am happy in my job. The hours can be a bit long at times but I still enjoy it.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:11 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
Excellent points morbid, thanks.
PS I doubt i'll be done til I'm dead. She might be around 80 by then but you could always ask her out :D
Also thanks booster, interesting. It's definitely something I'm considering. And since I work in education I could perhaps try to use the time to link Live with our work. Doesn't seem a strong alignment at first glance but worth thinking about. I saw somewhere on the Ableton site about a guy who uses it with 'difficult' kids - looked compelling.


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm
Posts: 677
I kept my day job and played music part-time for 30+ years.

What I gave up: touring, stardom

What I gained: played everywhere from dive bars to huge festivals, got to record and play with some of my musical heroes (not just opening for them, actually being in the band), performed in a movie, played on a number of LPs and CDs, etc.

What I avoided: financial pressure

Your age is working against you, music esp. EDM is a youth oriented business. If you want to get going, better do it today because every day you wait is hurting your chances to make a living.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:17 pm
Posts: 32
My missus's work allows her to take up to 2 or 3 years off as a career break and still have a job to return to. Why not explain all this to your work and ask them if it is possible for you to take a year or two off to see how it goes, that way you will have an idea of if it will work or not.

I had the same voice telling me to make music (I have also DJ'd for years but never at anything more than a hobby) so a couple of years ago, I started going for it, buying software & hardware doing loads of tutorials including a point blank ableton course, luckily I work on an oil rig so I have a lot of free time and no kids, however its starting to look a lot like my passion for music greatly exceeds my talent for creating it, sometimes I think I might have been better off still dreaming about being a musician thinking I could could do it if I tried, trying and not getting the results I hoped for has been pretty crushing, however I still love trying its a cool hobby for me and I think anytime spent doing something creative and learning cannot be bad, on the plus side for you your kids will get to learn too and maybe they might get something good out of it aswell :P

Because I also earn a lot of money I tend to go berserk buying toys that I never learn to use properly before I buy another, jack of all trades master of none hehe, I would recommend sticking to only a few programs and learning them inside out, if I could do that I may be a bit better than I am.

Im sure I dont need to remind you that if you dont take risks in life sometimes then nothing really changes.

Good luck with it all man 8) 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:06 am
Posts: 394
I quit music to get my degree and was miserable in my safe day job. Better to be broke and happy than comfortable and abandon your life love. I will always wonder 'what if?'

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:24 pm
Posts: 1176
dysanfel wrote:
I quit music to get my degree and was miserable in my safe day job. Better to be broke and happy than comfortable and abandon your life love. I will always wonder 'what if?'

Especially when you have a family.

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"I wanted to not like your [music], but it's actually pretty awesome. Banana hammock."
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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:32 pm
Posts: 197
Location: JKPG SWEDEN
A question. Is your wife employed as well or housewife etc?

If you should take 1-5 leave and she remains employed the relationship may become increasingly difficult. I understand completely that you say she is supportive of your dream, but I have heard this before. This bit is from personal experience in the area. You may imagine now that things will be as solid they are in the present but 1 year down the road when you are off from work and working towards -your- ambitions, things could morph ever so slowly. It doesn't matter how stable life may seem now make sure you map out the future carefully beforehand. I am also around your age so this is not coming from the uninitiated. IMO you CAN make time to achieve your dream even now, albeit with a bit more time then a person without attachments or obligation. Of course it will be a difficult road and it will demand discipline and self-management of the degree you may not have yet encountered in life. Although, with two children you definitely should understand the significance of time management I would expect, so here you really have a hidden advantage over -some- younger ambitious producers/djs ;)

Also, what about the question of things like insurance for the family? Think about how the family, as a whole, would be affected by any loss of employment benefits and such. Just something to consider. Also, I am believing that you can "support your family for 5 years"...but just make sure you think of EVERYTHING that will occur in those 5 years and could occur (unforeseen) before you make that dive with your supportive crew there. I am sure you have thought things through. I don't suggest for a minute you haven't..Just ideas I'm throwing out there that I would think about these days.

IMO.. work steadily toward your goal (while remaining employed). Use your mature age as a weapon. Never too old for DJing or music production (dance, rock, experimental...no matter). What you may find, with enough management and self-discipline, is that time is not the monster it seems to be -at this point in your life- and that your road to achieving your dream will take on more of a non-linear path in your favor. It's not the length of continuous time that you spend chopping at the tree that is going to fell it. It does require that diligence but moreover it requires a carefully calculated plan (esp in your situation). That's just my opinion. And on the note of taking risks to achieve one's dream. Yeah, I did that...It changed my life forever with many disadvantages..too many to count and there were also some incredible advantages that came with that life purchase. Point being that risk-taking can change your life forever in good AND BAD ways. It is my deep belief that most of us can be just whatever we want to be, even in our current demanding situations. The question is if we will allow us to be what we want to be by taking charge of ourselves to the degree such an undertaking may require. Good luck to you and that great family mate.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 99
The short story is that it's better to have your rock star gig when you're young and your corporate career after that. (:

The long version is that your should consider your "provider" role primary and your "artist" role secondary. If you do that, most of the other decisions make themselves.

I want to challenge a couple of your assumptions, because false assumptions up front can have disastrous consequences in your decision-making process down the road:

1. Are you really an "office monkey?" Or are you part of an organization that is doing something well, providing benefit to their customers, and rightfully getting well paid?

2. Are you assuming you will eliminate what-ifs by choosing music? Because they will always be there. If you stay with your job you will have what-ifs about music. If you go with music, you will have what ifs about the well-paid career you abandoned. So learn to live with the what ifs and don't consider them in your decision-making process.

3. What kind of assumptions are you making when you cite your 5-year cushion? What would a major health crisis do to your timeline? Or a family emergency? Or a further downswing in the economy? Or the cost of unexpected opportunities for your children?

4. The things that bore you at work (I believe you cited budgets as an example?) -- do you think they will go away if you start a music business? Your budget concerns, for example, will be much greater as a musician. If you are serious about music, you will be running your art as an enterprise, and all the business concerns will remain. In fact, they will increase.

5. Are you assuming the grass will be greener? I know that is overused but it is overused because it is true. When I was going through this decision I asked my friends in the music business what they thought. Turns out that they all thought I was crazy to even consider it. They see my Lexus and all the other "stuff" and they perceive my grass as greener. It looks pretty cushy to them, and for the most part it is. it turns out they wished they had my well-paid job, stability, and future financial security. There aren't many 401Ks and retirement plans in the music business. Does your wife's job (if she has one) offer health care benefits that can be extended to you and your kids?

Enough with the assumptions. Not saying you're wrong, just asking questions. I hope you're cool with that. On to other things.

If you stay on your current career trajectory, in about a decade you will be, according to statistics, entering your peak earning years. if you choose music, most likely not. The decisions you make leading up to and during those peak earning years will determine what kind of college you can afford to send your children to, and what kind of start you will give them in life. They will determine whether you retire in a trailer, a house on the beach, or somewhere in between. They will determine whether you start relaxing more at 60 or work hard until you're 75.

Given all the above, the decision I made was to be provider first and keep my art as a hobby. And I am so glad I did. I don't have to track prima donnas who can't sing just to pay the rent. I can pick and choose, record with my friends, and work with artists that I think are great. And my wife and children are safe, happy, and well-provided for.

Thanks for listening; good luck with the decision.

thegoodsirjames wrote:
Hi guys. I'm going to open my heart to you now, and I would really like to hear your advice - especially where it is based on personal experience.

So, I have a very well-paid job. I have a wife and two young kids. I want to do my best for them. I am 42. I have a very fortunate life compared to many people. But I am at a crossroads with a voice getting louder in my head saying I have not been on the right path, and the stress sometimes feels like a hand closing in around my throat.

The thing is, I always wanted to be a musician, but never got lessons. At school I joined the choir and was the only one who couldn't read music or sight read. But I was allowed in (it was a fairly elite touring choir) because the choirmaster said I had a special talent. In my 20's I got into Djing and within a year I was a regular at well known club in Barcelona, also playing festivals around the area. I wasn't as cool as the guys doing it full time but when they heard my mixes they said I had something special and welcomed me into their circle and onto their decks, and I got quite a few fans. But I eventually followed my day job because it was the kind of thing I thought my parents and future family would be proud of and I thought I'd have a better chance of supporting them with it.

So now here I am. I am an office monkey just like I always said I would never be. I am working with people who are nice but don’t seem like my kind of people. I have to act like someone else to work with them and get their respect and cooperation, which I need in order to get things done. I feel as though I live a lie all day. My main job satisfaction is knowing what I am providing for my family.

Like many people of around my age, I wonder how I suddenly got to here from 25, and I really properly understand now that my time on the planet is limited. I am starting to value every second more than I did before. And I really feel, in every waking moment that I am an artist (in the general sense of the word). This is not so much down to anything I’ve created, but more to how I see the universe and what is meaningful to me. And I feel an overwhelming need to create before I get older and die. But here’s the problem: I cannot do this in the tiny opportunities I get between work and being with my family. I love creating with Ableton and feel alive and in tune with myself when doing so, but I don't get enough time - and time is slipping away.

So I’m getting to my question. With my savings I could support my family for up to 5 years, and focus on becoming a master with Ableton and finding a path to making a living which involves music. My wife thinks I should do it. (Wow, what a woman, this is why I married her, after all.)

So one voice in my brain is saying this: Everything you have put your mind to, you have been successful at (to an acceptable degree for me, that is). If you had five years to focus on Ableton alone, with your passion, desire and ability to work very hard, and your business experience, you would find a way to make a living doing what you love. In addition, and this is silly but unfortunately might be relevant, you look about 10 years younger than you are (according to everyone) so if you went into something like Djing this might help.
But the other voice in my mind is saying: hey, are you nuts? it's the music and entertainment industry. You are too old. And if you screw it up, you will be 47, broke, and you will have seriously affected your family's future. All so you could do what you like instead of sacrificing yourself for them. Just making great music is not enough, even if you get that far. There are many talented artists who don't make it. You will have to brown nose people, and compete aggressively with others (including many who are younger and don’t have families to support), neither of which you have to do anymore in your current job. You will have to do so many unpleasant things to be hot in the 'industry' that you will lose the joy of making music. And even if you make it by 47, how long will you then be able to work for, before you are/feel too old and irrelevant?

So has anyone else found themselves with a similar dilemma and especially, has anyone else taken the plunge and succeeded? I don't need to be a multi-millionaire but I would like to be able to support my family. This might mean anything from 30k (pounds/dollars/euros) to 50k per year. Yes, I have read on this forum that you should dip your toe in whilst keeping you day job and then go for it if you get good feedback, but I don't think I can work like that. I have to put all my energy and focus into one thing if I’m going to make a success of it. In the past, when I’ve done this, I’ve been OK. But is Ableton the wrong thing to choose, and is it too late for me with my age and commitments?
I know there will be many opinions on this and ultimately only I can decide. But if anyone has any anecdotes of what happened to people in similar situations, this would really help me. I feel like I have to make a decision very soon!
Thanks for reading guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:51 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
@doghouse, ascot, dysanfel, d.reammon, jsn & kilroy
Thanks guys, really thoughtful comments. I'm taking note of all the points. I'm really blown away by how many people have taken the time to write long responses straight from the heart. Lots of genuine people on here who don't mind helping out, I love it :)


Last edited by thegoodsirjames on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:52 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:24 pm
Posts: 1176
thegoodsirjames wrote:
@doghouse, ascot, dysanfel, d.reammon, jsn & kilroy
Thanks guys, really thoughtful comments. I'm taking note of all the points. I'm really blown away by how many people have taken the time to write long responses straight from the heart. Lots of genuine people on here who don't mind helping out, I love it :)

I wrote a short response :x

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"I wanted to not like your [music], but it's actually pretty awesome. Banana hammock."
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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:53 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
Yeah but I'm taking note of your point :D


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Posts: 12957
Location: Seattle
gjm really nailed it from my experience, spot on comments that mimic my thoughts well. As soon as I get caught up on some work in the studio this morning, I'll write some more too.

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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:18 am
Posts: 111
Tarekith wrote:
gjm really nailed it from my experience, spot on comments that mimic my thoughts well. As soon as I get caught up on some work in the studio this morning, I'll write some more too.

That would be cool - i was hoping to hear from you :D


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 Post subject: Re: Who has dared to follow their Ableton passion?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Posts: 12957
Location: Seattle
I'm sure a lot of this will mimic what others have already said, so apologies for that if it does.

Like you, I had a good corporate job for over a decade (worked in bio-tech) that I was good at and comfortable with, if not exactly happy and content. The money was good, the benefits were great, but I felt like I was wasting my time, or not doing what I was meant to be doing. Over the last 4 years of doing mastering full-time, I've looked back many times on those days as "the good old days" when life was MUCH easier. Hindsight being 20/20 it was nowhere near as bad as I thought at the time, but of course we don't always have the benefit of hindsight. :)

(If you think dealing with layers of middle-management is bad, you have no idea how difficult it can be dealing with opinionated artists every day!)

Then my wife and I moved to Seattle pretty much the day the recession started in the US, and all the bio-tech jobs (lots of non-profits) dried up and I couldn't find a job in the field despite my best efforts. I decided that lacking any other choice, it was time to make the jump to doing music full-time. Luckily the wife and I still had a decent bit of money in reserve that helped hold us over while I got it all off the ground, I don't think we could have done it otherwise. I've been fortunate that my business has grown faster than I expected it would, but it's still a long slow process, and I'm still nowhere near to making the money that I was in bio-tech field. Honestly I don't expect I ever will, but that's fine for other reasons.

It's easy for people to say "you're so lucky you get to do what you love for a living", and yes I recognize how fortunate I've been on that front. But it's also been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I work just about every day, and in many ways I feel like I'm always "on call". People expected quick communication and turnaround times, so doing this to make a living has more or less turned into what I do every waking moment in some manner or another. And I don't get paid over-time :)

There's no set career path in this field anymore, it's a free-for-all where anyone can advertise their services and you are the only one who can make yourself standout from the crowd. And because so many people are thinking about making the jump like you are, you really need to have a plan on how EXACTLY you plan to make money and what you will do that will make other people come to you versus the competition.

You mention wanting to do something related to Ableton, but there's already hundreds of people well-established on that front (for instance). What are you going to do bring that will make you stand out enough to build the client base you need to earn a living? I learned it's easy to make a bit of cash here and there in this field, but it's MUCH harder to make enough to actually support yourself. Musicians are cheap bastards historically, so you have to plan on making sure that you add something to their art that they find indespensible.

Carving out that niche is a combination of people skills (I vastly underestimated this!), planning, being flexible but focused on your goal, and being in it for the long haul. Someone told me early on that running your own business is 90% finding the work, and 10% DOING the work. I think that's very true, especially early on, so spend a lot of time thinking about how you plan to attract your customers/clients/fans.

If you have any specific questions, happy to answer them.

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