Everybody is motivated in different ways. Since I’ve started pursuing DJing/Music Production and Entrepreneurship I’ve had my following increase significantly, getting bigger each day. As a result of me being extremely outspoken, I’ve noticed that certain people are inspired in different ways.
For some, they’re motivated by seeing that I have been “making it” – going to exclusive parties/events, performing at major festivals, having my music featured in high profile media, and more. For a lot of people though, hearing about my struggles and how I’ve overcome them is even more motivating.
Many people, especially those who follow me close on social media, think that I live an amazing life and that I’m always happy and everything is perfect. That is far from the case.
So for this post, I wanted to talk about the 5 intense struggles I deal with on a daily basis. 90% of this post is something that I’ve never even talked about, so this will definitely be eye-opening for a lot of people who follow me closely.
This is hands down the biggest one, as there is so much that goes through my mind on a daily basis. When you’re your own boss you’re in charge of everything. Working for someone else is easy – you get told what to do, and you never have to think otherwise. Everyday when I wake up I’m constantly worried if I’m doing the right thing or if I’m going to have a good ROI (return on investment).
Not only that, with me being in the music industry, I have absolutely no idea if I’m going to “make it” or not. I have spent literally thousands of thousands of hours producing music, promoting it, marketing, sending out demos, etc. There is no certainty of when I will eventually make it – if I even do. I work harder than anyone else that I know, and yet I still don’t know if it will benefit me in the long run. From a statistical standpoint, it’s incredibly unlikely.
Making it even worse, 95% of my day is spent alone working on projects. When you’re by yourself for that amount of time it turns into a daily battle of you verse your mind. Every struggle is amplified on a higher level, making the anxiety that much more extreme.
Imagine you’re studying for a huge exam, and all you do is study, by yourself, non-stop. You have no idea if you’re going to pass it or not, all you know is the passing rate is incredibly low. Now, on top of all that stress, imagine you don’t know how you’re going to pay bills, have money for food, and if you’re completely wasting your time by studying. That’s essentially what my anxiety is like every day.
Now this is something that definitely goes in and out, but I’ve gone through massive depressive episodes. I know a tremendous amount about psychology, so I constantly have to use various techniques to analyze and get rid of any depressive phases (check out Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins for a good start on this).
The hardest part is that I genuinely am happy all the time. You can still be happy and depressed at the same time (it’s a bizare feeling). What’s weird about my depressive episodes is that they’re directly linked to the idea of me putting everything I have into one dream/pursuit, and it possibly not working out. It’s been found in numerous studies that depression is very common in creative fields, so from a neurological standpoint it makes sense, but it’s still tricky to deal with.
The combination of anxiety and depression can be overwhelmingly intense, but I constantly push myself and learn new techniques to overcome any negative situations. It’s hard to be motivated when you’re depressed, but as I’ve stated many times on this blog, it’s not about being motivated – it’s learning how to keep going when you’re not.
3. Social Implications
Very, very few people understand what entrepreneurs go through. I know I might come off condescending, but it’s something that very few people can truly understand. Going through anxiety and depression is something many people go through, but the social implications of being an entrepreneur are extremely unique.
I’ve had friends – even extremely good ones – call me “lucky” or say that I have the best luck in the world. Trust me when I say I have horrible luck – I just don’t talk about the negative situations that happen to me, I only focus on the positives. I’ve had people say that my life is “easy” because I can work whenever I want or that my schedule is extremely flexible.
I work minimum 12 hours, every day, with very few exceptions. I can’t take breaks, and how successful I am is directly correlated with my work ethic. I know many people who work a 9-5 job that constantly have periods of time where they don’t have any work – so they can just sit there and watch Netflix. Every day I have to put everything I have into my work, because anything less than that would ensure failure.
And yet, I get numerous comments about getting lucky, not having a real job (technically I don’t), not understanding what it’s like to work a 9-5 job, having an “amazing life,” and more.
4. Financial Struggles
Luckily this has gotten tremendously better, but when I first pursued entrepreneurship the financial struggles were intense. I went days without eating, having my skin change color and waking up every day shaking (that sucked). I struggled like crazy just to pay rent and bills, worrying every day if it would work out or not.
I lived out of my car during a Boston winter season, lying to people say that I was “crashing at friends places” so people didn’t worry. There was even one night that I was forced, without any other option, to sleep on the street (that’s a bit of a long story). Everyone has financial struggles from time to time, but in an industry like music, it’s mind-blowingly difficult to produce great music while you don’t even have money for food. The mental toughness and willpower it takes is something I’ve mastered over the years, as I made $0 money from my music in the first year of producing.
Like I said, this has definitely gotten better, but it’s still a struggle everyday as I’m super aware of everything I’m buying and if it fits within my income. I’m not guaranteed a steady paycheck, so I can never let my guard up.
Above anything on this list, this is hands down the most intense one. The overall idea of uncertainty runs through every struggle I’ve mentioned on this list, as it’s the most intense.
There is real-world possibility that I’ve wasted my time by putting thousands of hours into music, only to have it not work out in the end. As motivated as I am, that is an inevitable truth in a competitive industry like music – most people will fail. If you look at any intense industry (acting, writing, etc), you’ll find people who put everything they had into their pursuit, only to have it not work out.
Will that be me? Obviously I hope not, but who knows. You can never know 100%, so I have to keep doing everything I’ve been doing and continue to make progress. I’ve been on a viciously intense, grueling path the past 4 years, and I don’t plan to ever get off it.
I will say this: Above everything I mentioned on this list, I wouldn’t be able to keep going if I wasn’t so strong willed. I’m constantly studying new psychological and neurological techniques to wire my mind in the right way to create amazing work despite being in a horrible situation.
No matter what, everything is choice, and even if you’re in a bad situation you can always control your mindset on it. Many people struggle, and I promise you that I’ve been through worse mental battles then most people I meet.
The key is to pick what you want and go after it. No matter what. And, most importantly, Get Buck along the way.