Derek Sivers

Be a competent novice, not an expert


Don’t go too far down the rabbit hole of managing your little business.

It can become a brainless escape — a way to avoid the more open-hearted vulnerable work of making music. Updating your website instead of practicing. Answering emails instead of writing a new song.

Despite the fact that I talk so much about marketing, never forget that your music itself is always the most important thing. Unless your music is great, everything else is moot.

Get to the point of being a competent novice at business, then let an expert take it further.

If you sense you are becoming an expert, figure out what you love more. Maybe you’re a better publicist than bassist. Maybe you’re a better bassist than publicist.

Maybe it’s time to admit your weakness as a booking agent, and hand it off to someone else. Maybe it’s time to admit your genius as a booking agent, and commit to it full-time.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. You have to decide.