TIB 62: 5 things musicians know, that (most) Solopreneurs don’t. How to enjoy the journey.

Written by Arno Jansen

Building a lifestyle business, is much like learning to play a musical instrument. Both require you to enjoy the journey in order to keep at it long-term.

I’ve been on this journey of solopreneurship for 3 years now. Enough to have experienced a bunch of ups and downs, but hardly a veteran entrepreneur. But, I have been making music for 40 years.

And in those years, I have learned a lot about what it means to grow as a musician. That experience is transferable to my business building journey everyday.

In this article, I want to share 5 lessons I’ve learned as a musician that help me enjoy my entrepreneurial journey, every day.

Much like learning to play a musical instrument, building a successful online business requires commitment, continuous improvement, and the ability to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

Practice makes Progress

Lets start with the most obvious one. Learning to play a musical instrument is primarily a skill-based endeavor. To become proficient, you need to practice. Develop muscle memory, finger dexterity, listening, and understand music theory.

There are no hacks or shortcuts to substitute the dedication required to build these skills over time.

Same goes for learning entrepreneurship:

Starting your own online business is like learning to play a musical instrument. For both, mastery comes from diligent skill development rather than relying on shortcuts or “hacks.”

Imagine you want to learn to play the piano. You won’t improve much from watching YouTube videos on finger exercises without ever practicing on a real piano. While you may acquire some theoretical knowledge, you’ll lack the essential skills to create beautiful music.

Success emerges from mastering fundamental business skills like understanding your market, managing finances, and providing real value to customers.

Learning is contextual

Music education is not a one-size-fits-all approach. People have different learning styles and musical goals. One person may enjoy classical music in big orchestra’s, where another wants to become a singer-songwriter.

It’s essential to customize your learning journey and find methods that resonate with your unique strengths and weaknesses.

Lessons learned often are presented as “hacks” or shortcuts. But they rarely bring the same results for everybody.


Because it lacks context. The hacks, or shortcuts are the result lessons learned in a context. But when they’re presented as “the one thing” or “the secret to <insert desired outcome>”, that context is mostly removed. It may not hurt to try, and it may even be successfull, but rarely is it a sustainable recipe of repeatable success.

Just as musicians adapt their learning methods to suit their individual styles and musical goals, entrepreneurs should personalize their business strategies to align with their unique strengths and objectives.

Music and business are Languages

Music is often said to be a language. Learning a language requires immersion, practice, and an understanding of its grammar and vocabulary.

You wouldn’t expect to become fluent in a foreign language by reading a few books or using language “hacks” and mnemonics.

Similarly, music requires immersion and consistent practice. Being able to play certaines notes on an instrument is one thing, but to make music that illicits an emotional response from the listener, is something else entirely.

Viewing entrepreneurship as a language means recognizing that it has its own “grammar” and vocabulary. Just as learning a new language involves understanding sentence structure and vocabulary, entrepreneurs must grasp financial management, market analysis, product development and effective communication with customers.

You don’t need to learn all these skills before starting of course. In fact, most will only make sense after you have run into a challenge in your business.

Some skills are simple to learn (for you), while others may feel like dark arts. To speak the language of business, you must know what skills make up the vocabulary and grammar.

Knowing About vs Experience with

No musician ever asked me about the top 3 books, courses or podcasts to get to 80% of musicianship.

While influential books about music and top tips from experts can provide valuable insights and inspiration, they are most beneficial when they are applied in a practical context.

Reading about music theory or famous musicians can be fun, but you will only become a better musician if you apply the takeaways to your own playing.

We all know that studying classical music theory, will not automatigally make you a great musician. You’ll know a lot about Beethoven, but that does not mean you can play at all. Let alone connect with an audience through their music.

Yet, many budding solopreneurs spend a lot of time reading, studying, and watching YouTube without actually practicing.

You must actively apply what you learn. You can read a lot about online marketing. But when you apply what you learn, can you understand the effectiveness in your specific business niche.

Real-world application refines your approach. Thats how you learn. Thats how to make data-driven decisions, and ultimately achieve success.

Progression is mandatory, Mastery is optional

Music is a journey of progression and mastery. There are no shortcuts to becoming a great musician. Nor are you ever done learning how to be a better musician.

It’s about the gradual refinement of your skills, the development of your musical intuition, and the ability to express yourself through your instrument.

Again, same in building your lifestyle business. It is a journey of progression and mastery. You’re always honing your skills while adapting to changing circumstances.

This progression requires resilience and a growth mindset. Entrepreneurship, like mastering an instrument, involves embracing challenges, making mistakes, and persisting in the face of setbacks.

You do not have to be an expert at any skill to give it a go, learn and find something that works.

The process of trial and error is inherent to both endeavors.

Now what?

Making music and building a business are very similar.


  • Consist of many different skills
  • That you;; need to practice a lot
  • Are very personal journeys
  • Provide endless paths for development

In fact, both are “infinte games”, where the goal is to keep going, rather than winning.

That means, there are opportunities for success at all levels and stages. You don’t need to be a master before you can enjoy results.

My 8-year old enjoys the applause from his family when he plays a song on the piano in the living room, just as much as I enjoy seeing large crowd dance when I play with a band on stage.

They key is to understand that there is joy and success to be had on all stages along the way.

That is how you enjoy the journey, and not just the destination.

Keep going, I’m rooting for you! 🙌

What keeps me going are the stories of you readers. I love hearing how these e-mails and articles help you in one way or another. So, please hit that reply button and tell me what you learned recently on your journey!

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

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