Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with TJ Pederson, Owner of Musician Indie Coalition, LLC., located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
A Musician Indie Coalition (MIC) is a business-focused development program that helps DIY artists and bands launch and scales their music careers through a combination of 1-on-1 coaching, a comprehensive online music business course, and a private network of like-minded collaborators and peers. We work with independent artists of all musical genres.
Tell us about yourself
My partner, Gregory Ferraiolo, and I both got our start working for the legendary GRAMMY-winning songwriter, producer, and guitarist, Nile Rodgers. We started as interns and were quickly put in charge of booking travel and logistics for Nile’s band CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers and working shows at his production company. We worked our way up from the production trenches and found ourselves in leadership positions at his record label, so we’ve really run the gamut and have worn many hats in the industry.
Witnessing the reality of the music industry really puts into perspective the advice and messages you see out there for new artists – some of it is great, but a lot of it is outdated or vague, if not outright deceptive. Greg and I started MIC because we knew that becoming a professional musician is just as possible as becoming anything else – we just needed artists to understand that it takes a lot of hard work, practicality, and some entrepreneurial thinking.
There’s nothing more motivating than seeing the penny drop for one of our clients—when you know that switch has flipped in their mind, and they’re off and running and more excited than ever about their career.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Just doing it, being our own bosses. In our business, it’s more about the small wins: when a client tells us, they’ve started turning a profit, when their messaging starts resonating with fans, when more people are returning to their shows when they land that article they were hoping for — that sort of thing. It’s cumulative—and it feels great to help people for a living!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Prioritizing , we are a very lean team, so we really need to choose wisely when it comes to choosing our next steps. Should we focus on improving our client acquisition? Client retention? Are these processes too expensive? Too time-consuming? Should we update the course to address a new trend in the industry? We’re always pushing forward, and we work hard to make sure it’s in the right direction. In many ways, we are on the same journey as our clients—which is actually quite helpful.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Learn from your customers. Do you have an idea for a business? Great. Find out the quickest and cheapest way to put that idea to the test, and then work with your customers to develop it so that you create a product or service that actually meets their needs. Repeat this process every step of the way.
- Think before you act. For every decision you make, ask yourself why you’re doing it, what you hope to learn, and what you would consider a successful outcome. Then test your idea by setting a quantifiable goal and a deadline. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you’ll learn something that will help you make a more informed decision when you try out your next idea.
- Ensure that you genuinely enjoy your business and your customers. Building a business is a long and difficult process, and if you don't love what you do, it will be tough to make it through the creation process. There are times in life you have to take a job you hate, but you should never create a job you hate.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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