It is almost impossible to be a regular white collar job holder and still be a full-time guitarist at the same time. This is because you may not be available to attend gigs freely. For instance, what if your gig is to play at a dinner party that starts at 4pm but music, red carpet and paparazzi starts at 3pm; take into consideration the time you have to practice prior to the event, bear in mind also that you have to be there at least an hour before 3pm to set up your sound and check in. A full-time white-collar job worker should still be at work at that time of the day, but a full-time guitarist is up and ready to move anytime, anyday.
This article was born out of the need to add an extra source of income to full-time guitarists. Take the pandemic lockdown for example, there were no gigs and shows for us because the world was in a dark place, but there were still bills to sort, we still needed food to eat, one way or another we still had to survive. But how do you survive when your source of livelihood has been locked down too? I’ll be sharing some money-making opportunities that full-time guitarists can conveniently do alongside playing their guitar and going for gigs; these side jobs can be done from the comfort of your home or studio without having to physically meet to get in touch with who you are working for.
When you are not going for gigs, you can conveniently create guitar contents and post them online; bear in mind that in order to be successful at content creation, consistency is key; you’ll get paid when you post videos regularly. Platforms like YouTube have a certain algorithm that they work with in order for you to start earning; as a content creator, you must have a specific number of subscribers, watch time etc. Let’s not get into much details on that, I made a full video on YouTube talking about algorithms and how I get paid from creating content. Check it out here https://youtu.be/drHSF-7tAnI
Other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook mostly deals with brand collaboration and affiliate marketing (which we would talk about later in this article) to make money. They do not really put content creators on a payroll like YouTube. My personal advice: If you want to really make extra income as a guitarist asides doing gigs, storm YouTube and hit it with all you’ve got – you get to do what you love and get paid for it.
Although this would take some level of training in order to become successful at, but it is definitely worth the shot. Alongside being a full-time guitarist, you can also delve into a bit of music production: mixing and mastering. This can work both ways: you can either request that the raw vocals are sent over to you while you mix it up and produce a beautiful sound, or you start from the scratch by recording the artist and instruments yourself, then later mix and master (the only flipside to this is tat you’ll have to have physical interaction with the artist(s), instrumentalist(s) or any other person involved in the process of making the music). Music production pays handsomely if you are good at what you do.
Many guitarists earn a lot by selling merchandize online (merch for short) which may include tee-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, tea mugs, foot mats etc. To make more money from merch sales, make your products available to be delivered worldwide, do not restrict its sales to a particular geographical location, you may be interested to know that majority of your customers or buyers are from a farther or different region from where you are, so it would be wise to spread your tentacles. Are you wondering how to battle with the stress of making and sending them all over the world plus freight fees? That should be the least of your worries because there are companies that produce the merch and ship it to the buyer’s address, their payment is a commission from whatever is sold out, all you have to do is send them a design or template, tell them the quality and quantity of whatever you want to make. It is not that hard, you just need to make the right research.
Create Backing Tracks
This is another way to make money as a guitarist without going out, literally. Just sit at home, work with your guitar, create backing tracks for singers and musicians and sell them out directly or put them out on amazon while you make your money. If you’ll need to obtain a license to distribute it or pay the original owner of the song, find out how to go about it, but this is definitely something you should try out.
Product Reviews (Brand Collaborations)
We said we would talk about brand collaborations a while ago, so here we are! You can earn an extra source of income by collaborating with a brand to advertise or review their product for an agreed amount of money. Brand collaboration broadens your horizon in creativity because it causes you to think wide. It would be boring to do the same ad or review that you did for brand A, for brand B just because both of them are guitars; your ads or reviews should be interesting and should arouse the interest of interested buyers to the product because you will also get a commission from as many that buy from your link…or maybe not (it depends on your agreement with the brands). Be careful when accepting brand offers for collaborations, ensure you don’t start doing ads for a product that is outside your scope or field. For example, you are a guitarist, your collaborations should be with brands like pedalboards, cables, guitars (electric and acoustic), plectrums, etc. and not with brands like soaps, perfumes, designer handbags etc. That is a major turn off for fans and it actually depicts you as a greedy person.
Commercial Song Composer/Songwriter
If you know how to spill and write sick lyrics (I mean that in a good way), this is your chance. Develop your songwriting skills, pick up your pen and paper, write, write, write and sell. Truthfully, many of the amazing songs we know and hear today, their lyrics and beats were not created by the artists themselves, many of them outsource their lyrics from people like you, and pay you for it. Why not use that talent to make an extra income just by sitting at your desk?
Filling In The Guitar Parts Of A Song
I do not know the “official” name for this but I’m sure you understand what I mean. Many musicians and even music producers send their songs to me via email or other means and ask me to solo or improvise over their already-made song, and I charge them for it! I listen to the song over and again, for maybe a couple of days, integrate it into my memory like it were my own song (this helps me become one with the song), and then I sit to play and fill in the missing guitar parts. I make a couple of recordings, listen to the best one I’ve got, before sending it back. It’s another great side job for a guitarist.
Private Online Guitar Tutor
Almost every professional guitarist was a tutor at some point in their careers. This is so far the easiest side job you can have as a guitarist. Get a good phone or laptop, a stable internet flow and teach little dear Joe how to play ‘do re mi’ on the guitar. Depending on your schedule, you can fix your classes for 3 times weekly (1 hour each) and charge monthly or you can just charge hourly right away. I know I said it is so far the easiest side job, but it gets tougher when you have more than one student to teach, and even tougher when they are all on different playing levels (from beginner to intermediate or in between). It may be a lot to handle or cope with, but you’ll figure it out anyways.
Music Blogger/Music Journalist
Another great way to make money. This is content creation but in another dimension. If you are a guitarist who loves to write, I can hear your name being called out here. Lol. Write articles about everything concerning music: from juicy top stories about musicians, to guitar, gear and music articles etc. you can either write for other music blogs and websites and get paid for it or you can start up your own website and generate traffic and ads and get paid…either way, you’re still getting paid.
Social Media Manager
Social media savvy cum guitarist, this is for you. Do you like to spend most of your time on social media? Do you know how to engage audience on social media? Do you know how the social media platforms communities work especially when it concerns music? Then this is a job for you. Many musicians, bands and celebrities do not like to manage their own social media pages themselves because it can be a tad overwhelming but since you find it interesting, you can as well earn a living out of your object of interest. Get paid daily, weekly or monthly for managing someone else’s social media platform(s).
Art and music go so well together, it’s easy to draw inspiration for both of them from one source. This would need a basic to professional specialized training but it is definitely worth going for. If you have a knack for art as you do for music, you can stay in the comfort of your home and earn money by designing graphics like band logos, images for merch, album covers etc., and make some cool cash from it.
Almost none of these side jobs would be achievable if you do not have a home studio or some basic essential gear that you’ll need to effectively work. You don’t even need a large space to set up a studio in your home. Watch my YouTube video ‘My Home Studio Tour 2021’ as I show you how I manage my small space https://youtu.be/KABPtlw8BK8
Remember that the importance of social media cannot be overemphasized, with one-on-one connection, you can reach out to 10, but with social media influence, you can reach out to a thousand. Get online and let the world know what you can do today. Start working and start making money!