Conquering Impostor Syndrome

kyamcalvert

New member
Hey guys, longtime lurker here.

I write the following about the evolution of my home studio.

I am not selling or promoting anything, just sharing my experience. Any feedback or conversation is appreciated!

Thank you all for your contribution to my knowledge over the years.




Music is my passion.

I’ve played in the same band for 15 years.

We’ve only released 2 albums, despite a huge back catalog.

Why?

Money.

We recorded our first album ourselves.

Couple mics, Tascam 8-track, lots of takes. Low budget. We couldn’t get a good bass sound — the amp was crap. Ended up doing it at a studio. More on this later.

We outsourced our next album to a local engineer. All recorded at his studio. The results were fantastic. We loved working with him.

The downside? Time constraint.

We booked 9 days, 10 hours each. It cost about $4500, mixing included. It was a great price. We began to realize cost was (by far) our biggest creative obstacle.

120 songs ready to record.

3 to 5 grand per album.

None of us pulling down a ton of cash at our day job.

What now? Legitimizing your art isn’t cheap.

I couldn’t stop thinking about self production. Spend the money up front on some better gear, record forever.

We finished the second record mid-2019, and I got to emailing studios. Advice, gear for sale, anything. A huge part of this process revolved around getting over my own impostor syndrome. I decided the only way to break into any real knowledge was by asking.

Our excellent local mastering engineer had been my only mentor in audio. He helped me develop my ears and separate fact from internet fiction. I owe him, big time.

He put me in contact with a few other audio professionals.

I began to cultivate relationships. I asked questions. I asked about payment plans. I acquired gear — a nickel at a time. 3 kids at home meant my budget was (and still is) quite limited. Patience was key.

Developing rapport with people in audio was critical. They welcomed me as a newbie and boosted my confidence. I kept humility and curiosity at the forefront. You can’t learn if you know it all.

I learned that my previous notions were all bullshit.

I had let fear of not being a professional prevent me from doing something I loved. Once I started, things moved along.

Yes, gate-keeping is common.

Genuine support? More so.

The barrier to entry is lower than ever. The clever and curious can make excellent recordings with limited resources. Others will spend thousands on equipment they don’t know how to use and make bad recordings anyway.

Lack of humility harms the process.

This framework applies to almost any field of interest.

Recording gear, like anything else, allows you to spend as much or as little as you want.

You may google around a bit and get to thinking, “if only I had 20 grand, I could get started!”.

You may also think, “all I need is a $99 interface and a cheap mic!”.

Reality is somewhere between.

Everyone’s needs are different. Months of slogging through forums and skipping through annoying YouTube videos? I should have gotten over myself and asked for help a lot earlier.

The pros helped me beyond measure. Someone trustworthy near my level would have been invaluable.

Here’s an example. Back to the broken bass amp I mentioned earlier:

A good bass sound is not rocket science.

Professionals recommended professional methods. The internet told us to buy expensive things. Both would have helped, but neither were very doable in our situation.

I bootstrapped my studio. I could now help someone facing similar problems. A quick conversation with my past self could have saved us a load of trouble.

Many working professionals will banter things out with you. Many don’t have the time or desire. Can you blame them?

Can you blame a graphic designer who’d rather make your logo than spend hours helping you do it yourself?

This is what makes me different. There is something about you and your hobby that makes you different. If you run toward it, the benefit is huge.

The real gold in developing skills on your own is the unique viewpoint you come away with.

So how do you put together a usable studio, on a budget, and not end up with equipment you’ll need to replace in 2 years?

By speaking with someone who’s done it.

I am happy to talk self production with anyone. I’ve been there. Every creative (not only musicians) needs great audio.

Since I committed to creating my own space, I’ve attracted clients. I’ve done professional location recording for my favorite local studio. I’ve worked on tons of awesome music. I’ve created my own material with ease.

Oh, and I’m a master cable maker and great with a soldering iron.

So, back to the title: why you can monetize your hobby:

Because you want to.

You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t.

I’ve made thousands of dollars. Not a crazy amount, but not nothing. I wrote this article to illustrate that you do not need permission to monetize your hobby.

Small steps add up. Beat back the impostor syndrome. A good dose of humility goes a long way. Seek help without shame. You can take your passions as far as you want.

No validation required.

Thanks for spending your time here.

What next?

I speak daily about keeping a healthy mindset and monetizing hobbies. In the coming months, I will be adding a console to the studio.

Follow along with me on Twitter as I document my journey.
 
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Slouching Raymond

Active member
120 songs is quite a pile. Are they all good, and varied?
Recording them is a challenge, but then you have to promote and sell them, which is probably an even bigger challenge.
I am not obsessed with monetizing, just trying to improve my music making, for which there's plenty of scope in all directions.
It would be great to have a mentor, giving solid advice.
So many music teachers will just string you along for money.
My first studio experience was in an expensive professional studio, with someone else paying the bill, thank goodness.
They were his songs, his baby, he called all the shots, - his bill.
Now we can all record at home with modest kit that gets better each year.
I'm happy to be an amateur, with unquestionable artistic integrity. If no-one else listens to my rubbish, who cares?
Van Gogh never sold a painting in his whole life.
I forever agonise over where my cash gets spent. As long as it entertains me, I'm not too worried.
The worst thing would be dying with piles of un-enjoyed cash in the bank.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I'm not really sure I understand the post, being very honest. I can't determine what it's actually saying, or if there is something by way of a purpose? I read it twice and it uses a hell of a lot of sentences but fails to actually say anything? Maybe I've just missed the point?
 

Ujn Hunter

Active member
It says: "Here are my songs" and "Here is where to follow me monetizing my stuff" ;) I don't have Spotify so I can't listen to the music... but it seems that quite a few of the songs are on both albums... I guess because you were able to record them better at a studio or something... but if you had 120 songs waiting to be recorded, not sure why you'd re-record songs you already had recorded since part of your journey was to be able to record all of your songs.
 
Took me 20 years to build out my studio. Learned valuable lessons along the way. Every time I paid someone to do my recordings I was disappointed with the results.
Spent 20k on the room and equipment combined over the years but the results are stellar. You don't need big bucks, just care and time.






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