Some of the most successful businesses today are based on someone’s talent (or talents) – an example being an artist selling paintings – and these businesses can be easily tapped into by young people today. Many teens (or even kids) are musically gifted, or can learn to be, and many actually use that to their advantage. There’s a general rule in life (which applies to business quite well, actually, though not always accurate, but that’s another story): if you’re good, then you’re paid for it. That means that if you’re a good musician, then people want to hear it (and pay for it!) Here are a few examples where you can make some nifty cash.
Band/Solo Artist – Make sure you can make some good music though, before you plan on making some money out of it. Ask yourself: “Would I buy my music”? If so, record some demos (you can do it quite for quite cheap now, or even for free), and send them out to talent agencies or promoters. This demo could also be an album; sell your album to other people in real life, or even online (my friend sells his album on iTunes). This is a great way to make an easy $10 – $20/album. A great step would be to look for open-microphone nights, competitions (or talent shows), or jams – they all give some wonderful publicity, and usually have some juicy cash prizes. You could even ask a café, restaurant, or recreation center if they’d be interested in having some live musicians – they might pay $10+/hour, or maybe $50 a night. You could even be a busker on the street (go to your municipal hall and apply for a license, first), and make $20 or more an hour!
Pianist – Making money from being a pianist applies mostly to those who are really good, so you’ll have to be very experienced before you plan to make some moolah. Try asking hotels if they’d like a “live ambient artist” (someone who provides background music), or talk to event planning services, because they often need pianists. Like a solo-artist, you could compose and record your own songs and sell them. Talent agents are often at competitions, and if you can impress them, they can help promote you too.
DJ – Being a DJ is a fun, entertaining, and often high-paying job (if you’re a good one). Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an age-limiting job: I’ve heard of 9 year olds rocking bars. DJ’s can be paid sometimes upwards of $50/hour for a wedding. Though it is usually very expensive to get into, anywhere from $700 to $5000 (for truly high-end, state-of-the-art stuff), if you are determined, you can work that off. Again, make demo mixes (or if you’re a mobile DJ, record videos of yourself), give them to promoters or clubs or bars (look for ones that sell food, because they can often let minors in if they do) or even your school! DJing your school dances are great – commercial school dance DJ’s charge far too much, and you could undercut them a bit, and clean up quite nicely. If you have any other questions about this in particular, email me, because I’m a DJ myself!