We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Miguel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeff, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
When I started paying to advertise my lessons and bands, my business was transformed. It can be hard to pull the trigger on paying to advertise because it feels like a loss. But, the benefits far outweigh the costs. I don’t think many self-employed musicians like to think of themselves as a business, However, by treating ourselves this way we can make nonintuitive decisions for musicians, such as advertising and analyzing data, that are really foundational practices of most businesses.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think one thing that separates my career trajectory from most other musicians is that I did not go straight into music out of High School. I studied the hard sciences and worked a few “regular” jobs. When I did decide to go back to school to study music and then go on to be a fulltime musician, I retained that perspective that gives me an appreciation of what I’m doing not possible otherwise. Many jazz musicians especially live in a bubble of other jazz musicians and lose sight of what they are seeking and why they are seeking it.
I enjoy performing almost any type of gig. Whether it’s public or private, jazz or rock, for 5 or 5000 people, as long as the quality of the music is good, I’m happy. Because, I’m making money playing music rather than the alternatives. Teaching music is also enjoyable, because everyone that comes to learn music is doing so because they have a passion for music and they love playing and learning music. So, the atmosphere is almost always a positive one.
To get to this point professionally was definitely a lot of work. It was a challenge in grad school because I was the only one there that did not study music as an undergraduate. However, I made no excuses, put in the extra work and no one was any the wiser.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’re fortunate enough to have a couple jazz clubs. So, you got to hit up Dazzle at Baur’s and Nocturne. I like the Highlands neighborhood and Hops and Pie is a must go. When heading into the mountains I am a big fan of Frisco and both Outer Range Brewing and Ein Prosit. I love Kayaking on lake Dillon there too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I was inspired to pursue music full time as a self-employed musician by the book “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau. He does a great job of showing you that anyone with a valuable service to provide and people interested in that service can create a successful business. I think the other thing that really stuck with me is that you don’t need everyone to be interested in your service. You don’t even need a lot of people. If you can find a niche of dedicated customers, then you can be successful.