Most amateur musicians dream of being able to live off their music, and of taking the leap from keen amateur to professional.

While making a living doing what you love understandably sounds incredibly enticing, it’s important – if a little depressing – to be realistic about making music for a living, and what that really means.
So here’s a slightly cynical look at why you may want to reconsider making turning your hobby into your profession.

It becomes a job 

This may be obvious, but it’s worth considering how much killing off your favourite hobby will affect your life. If your way of switching off is to get lost in music and create, then by turning it into a job, chances are you’ll need to find a new way to unwind after work.
While some people still manage to enjoy making music for themselves in their free time, the chances are that sitting down to work on more music will be the last thing you want to do after a full working day in the studio.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be paid to do what you love

Unless you’re incredibly talented or have a glowing reputation, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to find someone who wants exactly what you love to do.
For many people this isn’t an issue – if you want to make money, you simply need to make what people want. If you’re someone who values artistic integrity over all else, however, then you may want to consider keeping your music as a hobby or simply a complementary source of income to another job.

No more waiting for inspiration

Lots of people find that being creative isn’t something they can switch on and off. They wait for inspiration to come to them, and then ride the wave. Unfortunately, if you’re a professional, and working to real deadlines, then that isn’t a luxury you can afford.
While it’s possible to learn to be creative on-demand, the process can drain a lot of enjoyment out of the process, replacing it with stress and uncertainty.
If you’re an amateur you can choose to do something else when you’re struggling. If you’re a professional, and have clients waiting on you, you have no choice.

Money matters

When your rent and food shopping depends on making money from your music, chances are some of the fun is going to disappear. For some people, however, this can actually be a benefit.
If you’re someone who thrives on urgency, then chances are you’re going to make it work if your next meal depends on getting that contract, or getting your music into the right hands. If you’re not, then this line of work is going to make you pretty miserable, pretty soon.
So with all those caveats in place, if you’re still feeling like a career in the music industry is for you, then chances are you’re well placed and realistic about what’s involved with making money from your music. So get creating!