“Show me a hobbyists hours, and I’ll show you a hobbyists product…” a friend in the business said to me the other day.
It really struck a chord.
In my experience in the world of radio commercial production in the last 15 years, i have met many people who work for themselves. There was always two kinds…ones that worked all the time, and ones that did not, but expected the same result. But i could never word it in such a ‘to the point’ way.
To me, it says exactly what it takes to be a success at what you do, be it radio or otherwise.
The people that never let up, that work into the night, that work holidays, work weekends, work from the road, on their phone, at their cousins birthday party, are all people who know that working for yourself, means never taking your eye off the ball.
When you work for a corporation, and your hours are structured, most, if not all of the other issues that need to be in place are being taken care of your bosses. Things like payroll, I-T problems, client meetings, accountants, office equipment repair/replacement, bookkeeping, completing credit card payments, invoicing, following up on invoicing, monthly budgets, etc etc.
This allows you time to keep creating the awesome product you were hired for.
But when you work for yourself, you of course need to take on all those roles…none of those things are taken care of. The most important part, your product, needs the most time. It is what you should be working on as much as you can. The other stuff, is a means to an end…something you HAVE to do in order to keep creating your product. It’s all one big cycle. Without a great product, there is no need for payroll, I-T etc. But with a great product, all of these things come down the line.
And until that business pays enough to cover more people to handle those other jobs, it’s up to you. YOU are the boss, YOU must do this all, and you MUST keep on producing your product.
This seems obvious when talking about it, but when it comes down to it, a lot of people are what my friend calls a ‘hobbyist’.
There is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist. I am a hobbyist in some things. I used to be a full time musician, but now, I don’t have the time to be a professional musician, I only have time to be a hobbyist. Which is great! You should always have a hobby.
But if I were to think that playing the guitar part time should land me a number one single, then there is a disconnect…that of course happens with the hobbyist.
This is where it’s easy to find people you want to work and surround yourself with. You divide them up into 2 groups: Pros and Hobbyists.
You are able to tell the pros NOT by their equipment, not by their contacts and not by the description of what they do. You can ONLY tell a pro by their product…in our case: radio (either your stations sound, the voice over artists you use or producers in your employ).
You know a great product when you hear one. When you hear how a voice over artist conveys a script with the proper cadence and emphasis or how a producer spaces out a spot to get the right pause in the right place, with just the right piece of music…these are the things that pro’s do.
A hobbyist does not. They do not have the experience to consistently do the Pro’s job…and it comes across in poorly read scripts, or production that isn’t fit to broadcast.
A hobbyist CAN become a pro…but it requires a tonne of time and practice…which most hobbyist’s are not willing to do.
Don’t let yourself get fooled by a flashy demo or website. It was probably created by pros for the hobbyist.
There’s a million hobbyists out there in all professions. But if you are a pro, you will of course already know, that you are who you surround yourself with. Protect yourself AND your product with professionals…they are the only ones who put the hours in.