4.18.2010

15 Minutes - I'm in Colorado (Where Are You?)

Hi. It's Joe.

I am safely in Colorado.

To be precise, I am in Colorado Springs, CO, where my sister lives. I am at her house and we are about to eat dinner.

Self employment is awesome. Ironically, it only allowed me four days to travel and visit family. But even though I work close to 80 hours per week on my music business and science & technical writing, it is not like working.

It is pure pleasure. The only times it isn't is just before tax time, or when I have to deal with bureaucracies of any type. But usually right after tax day, I am even happier because of the huge refund my accountant usually gets me. It's nice when your lifestyle is writing and music, and just about everything you do is tax deductible.

Some people think self-employment is like unemployment. Thankfully, the IRS doesn't think so. They recognize Cactus Joe Productions LLC as a full-fledged business. It's so easy to do too. I just basically have to earn money doing what I love.

For example, last night I played music for people for about 3 hours and made about $50 + free food and drink (of course, as a straight-edge musician, that doesn't add up to much...maybe $10). My expenses were about $6, not including mileage which is an expense handled differently at tax time and beyond the scope of this blog post.

Now if I could just play music for people five days a week and get $50 each time, I'd be pulling in about $1000/month, which is my current cost of living. I have a roommate who pays half the rent and that offsets a large chunk of my cost of living. The problem is getting gigs five days a week. That's tough, at least garnering the aforementioned $50 that frequently. As it is, I usually perform about three days a week on average and seldom achieve $50 for that effort. It is usually closer to $25/gig = $75/week = $300/month.

That's kind of like a baseline. I also teach bass lessons and I'm a freelance writer on various projects for people who need it. That brings in some more money. During the summer, the live music band gigs pay a lot better and the bands perform more frequently.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to license some of my independent rock-n-roll music to film and TV. My song writing is excellent, I know that and feel I can say it without being vain, based on peer-reviews I've received. I am ever improving on the quality of production of my recordings.

I have a home recording studio for music, and I am teaching myself the ins and outs of recording. It turns out some of my cousins on my dad's side were 80s rock musicians and engineers/producers with their own music recording studio.

Every so often, I get some feedback and input from them about how I can improve the recording quality of my songs. For example, my cousin Nils Rognerud (he's Norwegian by birth, now lives in L.A.) told me how to improve the guitar sound in GUPPY EFFECT's AC/DC-esque hard rock motorcycle freedom song "ROAD HOG."

Listen to it HERE.

Time.

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