MY STORY: FROM GEEKY KID TO MUSIC ENTREPRENEUR
SO I DECIDED TO TELL MY STORY OF HOW I ENDED UP BECOMING AN ONLINE MUSICIAN AND STARTING THIS WEBSITE
I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you my rags to riches story of how I grew up dirt poor without a penny to my name. And after years of hard work, I made my big break online and am living the “Internet Marketing Lifestyle” in Tahiti now working four hours a week with only a laptop and an Internet connection. Well, that’s not my story. Not that I don’t believe that the “Internet Marketing Lifestyle” is possible, it’s just not where I’m at in this stage of my life.
Truth be told, I grew up in a mid-to-upper class family with Filipino-immigrant parents that studied hard and came here to the United States to work in the medical industry. I was a good kid with solid grades throughout grade school and high school, but was shy and a bit of a geek. I missed out on a lot of social experiences growing up and never even went to my high school prom. But I blossomed when I went to college. It was there that I discovered my passions for being creative, having an entrepreneurial spirit and finally feeling like I was part of a community.
In college, I found myself taking initiative and doing things that not many of my peers were doing. For example, I helped start a fraternity on the largest Greek fraternity/sorority campus in the U.S. and took leadership positions to grow it into a successful organization that still operates today. This is where my entrepreneurial roots were formed as well as a love for membership-based organizations.
On the academic side, I knew I didn’t want to follow my parents’ footsteps in the medical field. After taking some marketing classes, I found myself wanting to master the four “P’s” of marketing which at that time were: Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. I was always fascinated with how companies were able to create a “brand” or even better yet, a cultural movement, that encouraged customers to buy their product and become raving fans. I knew I enjoyed being a creator, and learned to use my natural intuition and “gut” feelings to develop marketing materials and promotions that created great experiences for people.
But little did I know that marketing and the world was going to change drastically during the next decade.
How so do you ask? Because, when I went to college, the Internet didn’t exist.
Well, it probably was still in its infancy stages on some U.S. military compound, but I remember my senior year in college, the administration gave each student a 20 character UNIX email address which no one knew what to do with at that time. Fast forward a couple decades and now everything has changed because of the Internet. Now marketing is data-driven and built on having two-way conversations with customers and prospects (via social media) which is great, but can also be complicated at times.
What hasn’t changed though is my love of connecting with people, creating great “wow” experiences and the foundational principles of marketing that still help me today. After college, I took several jobs in the real estate, financial services and publishing industries and became a jack-of-all-trades. I have experience in many areas of marketing from corporate communications to meeting and event planning to social media management and digital marketing. Some jobs lasted for several years, some not that long. But I took each experience and tried to learn about the industry and how to best use my marketing skills to provide value to my employer.
While I was working for someone else, I also spent 6-10 hours each week at night and on the weekends learning about the Internet and digital marketing in particular. Some things never change, especially if you enjoy being your own boss and making money on your own terms. I’ve started a few Internet companies on the side while doing my day job. My first company was called PrintDay.com. You see, I’m an avid domainer and used to have several hundred domains in my portfolio. I registered domains for various industries including the printing, meetings and association industries. My company was going to develop and/or sell these valuable domain names to the top companies in each industry. Unfortunately, that was around the year 2000 when the “Dot Com” crash happened and many Internet companies went out of business. Mine was included in that category.
I’ve been part of several business ventures since then and am currently launching this Website for artists and musicians who want to turn their passion for music into a viable, successful career that actually brings in income. But like many entrepreneurs, I’ve got my collection of shiny objects whether it’s training courses, software or WordPress plugins. However, I want to be part of the small percentage that actually take action on what they’ve learned.
That’s why I’ve created MusicEntrepreneur.com to keep me accountable with developing my music marketing career while staying current with industry trends and developments. I hope this site helps others do the same as well.
SO WHAT ABOUT MY MUSIC?
Stereotypically, like many Asian Americans, I grew up having to take piano lessons and honestly didn’t really like playing classical music that much. However, it wasn’t until I started playing pop music from some of the great piano artists like Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles and Jim Brickman that I discovered I could not only enjoy playing music, but that I could write it as well.
As I mentioned above, I blossomed during my college years and started to write prolifically. I wanted to become a songwriter and use my marketing degree to market my music.
Bottom line. That was my dream. I even won the Grand Prize in the Billboard® World Song Contest in the early 2000’s.
But, just like with marketing, the music industry (especially for songwriters) changed dramatically over the past two decades. Opportunities for stand-alone songwriters who hoped to place their music on other artist’s albums or recordings decreased dramatically. Because of mp3 downloading sites and music streaming, in general, the amount of income that songwriters made from royalties also significantly decreased.
Fast forward to today, if you can’t sing (like me) or aren’t also producer, it’s very difficult to succeed as a songwriter.
But I still haven’t given up on my dream and continue to develop my songwriting craft today.
Here’s one of my most recent songs called Tainted Dreams, co-written with Marilyn Oakley.
To sum things up, there are many resources out there on music entrepreneurship and music business-related topics. But I’m hoping that MusicEntrepreneur.com will become one of the leading and most supportive platforms for musicians looking to network and learn how to succeed in today’s music business.
My story is still evolving and so will this page and site. I hope you’ll join me on my journey and make MusicEntrepreneur.com part of your music success story too.
See you around the site!