Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Edwards.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It started about 12 years ago. I’m 16 years old, I just finished high school, and don’t know what to do for the rest of my life. I’d rather be playing guitar and making music with my friends than doing anything else. However, I don’t come from money and while my upbringing was easier than most, my parents hint that it was about time that I get a job and cover my own expenses.
I know that making it in music is not going to be an easy task, otherwise everybody would be a rockstar. I speak to tons of my artist friends about what I should do. Should I focus on the art? Should I go to college? Should I get a job? All 3?
The vast majority say just focus on your art. Success will come if you just do that. Don’t get caught up in the “business” of it all. This seems strange to me, this aversion to learning more about running one’s artistic career as a business. Then it hit me… Being an artist is no different than being a business owner. You need to develop your craft, find out who wants it, market, sell it, and deliver your art.
So I decided to go to business school to learn everything I can get my hands on. I completed 20+ courses and internships, and I learn that I most enjoy sales, organization, productivity, and helping people sort out their problems. I thought to myself, what if I help artists improve their careers while at the same time I build on my own? That’s like the dream combo!
Even though I end up working in a sales job for six years, I do eventually get to making this dream combo come true. In the last three years, I’ve worked with over 100 artists and entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries. From musicians to actors, to international fashion designers, to illustrators, writers, and filmmakers… Some of my top clients include Chloe Fineman (SNL, Father of the Bride) and Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars, Roswell).
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely had some dips!
As I mentioned, I got a day job exiting college. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a really good job in Sales! I was making more money than anyone else my age. I was being developed and groomed to become a top salesperson and received promotion after promotion. With all that success, you might think “Wow, this kid has got it made”. However, I wasn’t playing music and I grew to resent my job. The only reason I was working there is because I loved the employees and was too scared to embark on my dream of helping artists. I would say to myself “Well, I need to make a lot of money before I do that”. “If it doesn’t work out then I’m screwed”. I completely let the fear of failing prevent me from living my life to its fullest potential. So I stayed in my 9-to-5 job. One day my amazing wife pushed me to give my employer a notice of resignation. It was the most exciting and frightening moment in my life to that point. It was the only job I’d ever known and I had worked there for a total of 6 years. But I knew it was the right thing to do and that if I didn’t do it I would be kicking myself for the rest of my existence.
After my last day of work, I pushed myself as hard as I could for the next 30 days. It was so strange to choose my own hours and work wherever I wanted to. I really enjoyed it. The disappointing part is that I was getting piss poor results. In fact nothing was going right. Thanks to having money set aside I was able to scrape by for the next three months, however It didn’t look like was going to get any better. To save on living expenses, my wife and I moved in with my parents in Massachusetts (during Winter), put my business on pause, and tried to find other work…
We learned something interesting about this theory of ours. It turned out that even by removing $3000 worth of monthly living expenses, you can still rack up a ton of moving debt and not produce any income. We were on the complete opposite side of the country, we didn’t know anyone (besides the neighborhood Dunking Donuts franchise owner), and our marriage was suffering.
Everything was looking dark & hopeless, but a glimmer of hope appeared afterwards. I received an opportunity to sell for someone at a big event back in Los Angeles. They agreed to pay for my ticket and take it out of my future commission as an advance. The opportunity was amazing, a way to get back to Los Angeles and for me to make a huge surge of income so that we could get our lives back on track. Through the excitement and inspiration of all this my wife got a new client just before the trip and we had enough money to fly out together.
I blew away the sales quota at this event and was offered to continue to sell the program afterwards as well as coach their clients through the program. I was on an upswing and received constant feedback from clients that I was really helping them improve their conditions in life through my coaching.
It was at this time that my desire and purpose to help artists and entrepreneurs rekindled. I knew I was ready to start my brand “The Artist Consultant”. Sure enough, I get two clients in the same week of making that decision, and they were paying me more than I’d ever been paid before. Within three months, I was able to run The Artist Consultant full-time with just four clients. Because I was truly living my purpose, I was also able to fully sort things out with my wife. Our marriage was repaired, and we got pregnant! Something we had been trying to do for almost two years! And yes, I got back to playing guitar again.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
My focus primarily is on goal attainment, organization, and productivity. There’s a 10 step program that I take every artist through. It gets them certain on their goals, identifies what their roadblocks are, and flushes out exactly what they need to do to make traction towards their goals. I take them through this so they can fulfill the purpose that inspired them to become an artist in the first place.
By discovering what is getting in the way of achieving their goals and executing a strategy to overcome those barriers, they can get paid for their art, they can travel the world sharing their art, and they can live the life that they want to live.
Ultimately, by being laser-focused on the right things, I find my clients are able to shift from being partly invested in their careers to being 100% all-in.
I offer complimentary consultations over Zoom to get the process started, and you will walk away from that call with an action list of items that you can do all on your own to start making some traction.
What matters most to you? Why?
I believe that artists have a message to share and an impact to create upon society through their art. And because they have chosen the route of becoming an artist, they can accomplish incredible things on this planet and affect many lives.
Artists succeeding is what matters most to me, as I am convinced a better world is dreamed up by them. One of the ways that I measure my contribution on an annual basis is “Number of Artists Helped”. Every year I use this measurement to drive me to continue to help more Artists than the previous year.
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Matt Cali Photography Angelica Natalie Photography