How to boss being your own boss as a freelance musician

Our Careers team give their essential tips on beating stress as a freelance music creative...


As a freelance music creative, you have the freedom and independence to set your own hours and be your own boss. 

While this sounds appealing and offers great opportunities, there are also different challenges in enjoying a music career outside the traditional office environment. 

With National Stress Awareness Day taking place on16th April, we asked Oli Tatler from our Careers and Industry Hub for his essential advice on how to thrive as a freelancer and jobbing musician.  The Hub team is on hand to offer support with CVs and job opportunities and is available as a service to all our alumni. Check out his tips below... 

Find a balance between work and non-work activities

In the digital world, many professionals find it difficult to disconnect from emails. It means it can feel like you need to work beyond typical office hours. When you're self-employed, the lines between work/non-work are even more blurred and freelancers can feel pressured to be constantly working to deliver projects and bring in revenue.

Even if you work for yourself, it is still important to make sure you take short breaks throughout your day. This means you can keep your productivity up while continuing to pursue hobbies and other interests to keep a healthy work-life balance." 

Stay healthy

We know eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep are important in maintaining wellness. As freelancers, these things remain an important part of your life so make sure you take care of yourself while taking care of business!

Make sure you have a support network around you

Without a traditional office environment, you might feel a little isolated as a freelancer. The music industry is a people-focused sector so make sure you make time to meet with clients face-to-face as well as attending networking opportunities. There are lots of co-working spaces around London you can work from. Working at these spots can even help generate further useful contacts!

Schedule your time and prioritise tasks

Just like other professionals, managing your time effectively is key. Break down bigger projects into smaller, easier to manage tasks and find out what time of day you work best to schedule more intense work for these times. Check emails at set points in the day rather than responding to non-essential messages when they come in.

Try and switch social media off when focusing on more complex tasks to avoid distraction and don’t put off tasks you like less – procrastination can often cause more stress."

Dealing with failure

Not all projects, pitches and proposals will end up with a positive outcome and failure and rejection are unfortunately part of working as a freelancer.

Developing resilience through techniques like mindfulness and learning to deal with setbacks as an opportunity for growth will help you deal with the more difficult times as well as enjoying your successes too! 

Read our guide to freelancing with ICMP alumnus and owner of Bruce Music, Alex Bruce. 

Connect with our Careers and Industry Hub

If you're an ICMP student or graduate then please keep in touch and let us know what you're up to Also, don't forget that our careers and industry liaison team continue to be available to you after graduation, providing advice and connections to help further your career.

If you're interested in taking your music industry career to the next level, then please join us on our next Open Day. You can find out more and book your place here.

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by Oli Tatler, Careers and Industry Hub
April 11, 2019
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