If you’re a “local” musician, you’re at the bottom of the food chain.

Example A: Venues treat you with no respect, yet depend on you.

Venues and “promoters” expect you to flyer the entire city and tell all your “fans” to clear the bar shelves of booze, and then they’ll give you less than 20% of the door. They make elaborate rules and create obnoxiously early load times because one band in the venues three years of existence was late, once. The owner is usually a washed up musician that blames you personally for miscues in his path to rock-stardom. But unless you’re willing to risk receiving noise ordinance tickets and potential jail time for providing alcohol to minors to have the show at your house, it’s best to swallow your pride and have the show at a reputable venue. However, it’s good to note, without you these venues wouldn’t exist, which brings us to our next example.

Example B: Businesses are literally set up to rip you off.

Booking agencies, management companies, entertainment lawyers, and record labels. Every one of them has use, some great, and most small. But unless you’re on track to super stardom you probably don’t need any of them. Ever heard of Fugazi? There are bands that have made fantastic distance on their will and determination alone, but remember when you’re at a point that the business side of things is overtaking the music side, start looking for help. That doesn’t mean you have to start shopping for managers and labels. Think creative, hire a friend just out of school. Call him/her an intern. That way, you can be in business to rip someone else off instead of the other way around (see Example E for more on finding help).

Example C: No one wants to be in your band.

Most musicians are represented by two types, shy and inhibited, or egomaniacs. Both of these personalities negate any chance they’re going to want to join your band. Even if you’re contacted by one of the few outgoing guys/gals out there, chances are they only want to do Steely Dan covers.

Example D: No one wants to go to local shows to see local bands.

As a performing musician some people will tell you to play as many shows as possible to get a “good fanbase.” Others will say you shouldn’t play more than 1 show per month in your hometown because that “burns people out.” Here’s some advice. First, if no one attends your shows, you can never play too many. Second, people are only going to attend if someone (not in the band, or closely associated) tells them you’re “cool” to see. It’s the primal drive of all hipsters. They think they want to be the first person to discover you, but in reality, they only want to be on the passenger side of the bandwagon. Just look at White Stripes. It took all of Europe and Japan to tell Detroit that they were “cool” before anyone headed to the Old Miami to catch them. So, no matter how many shows you’re playing, if no one is coming, don’t worry about “burning” out.

Example E: Finding help is akin to finding a corn kernel on a beach.

People are inherently lazy. So even if you’re music is great and everyone in your band is the nicest guy/gal on earth, they don’t want to help you. Plus, most people in a position of support are in band’s themselves (refer to personality traits in Example C) and either A; see you as competition or B; are unconsciously applying the old adage, “misery loves company.”

That leads to an easy summary. Whatever success you’re hoping to have, it’s completely up to you to achieve it. If you’re expecting to accomplish a far off goal in a set amount of time, lower the goal and increase the time and you might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Oh, and watch your back in the process.

Read: The Perils of DIY