TPS #035: “My Mom, My Momager”

Author: Andre Mullen - 3 min Read

Read Time: 3 minutes

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💡 Big Ideas:

1. Parents can effectively manage their child’s music career if they don’t parent the child at the same time.

2. Parents have to be focused on 4 things to effectively manage – defining success, committing to learn the business, defining goals, and collaboration.

3. Momagers can really build their child’s music careers by collaborating instead of commanding.

4. The motivations of parents and the stereotype that they are making up for missed opportunities in their own lives are what complicates parent managers.

Let’s talk about the mom as momager…

In today’s newsletter, I want to talk about how parents can effectively manage their children’s music careers as artist managers. The inspiration behind this week’s newsletter comes from a consultation I had with a “momager”.

Managing the music career of an artist already has its challenges. Managing the career of your child can make things even more complicated.

Parents who don the hat of artist manager typically do so for several reasons. Some of them are based off of what they have heard and personal experiences within, the music industry.

While parents get a bad rap for stepping into a role with a steep learning curve and biased viewpoint, they can effectively manage their client by committing to the work.

What complicates this are the motivations of parents and the stereotype that they are making up for their missed opportunities in their own lives.

Let’s get into it.

“Parents can effectively manage their child if they don’t parent the child at the same time.”

Let’s face it: Parents as managers are only dicey if their motivations and emotions are off.

One emotional outburst on a business issue from a “momager” or “dadager” can get them branded as a crazed parent. This can effectively put a real damper on relationship building for the good of the project and potentially the overall artist career.

There are 4 steps you as a parent should put in place to effectively manage your child’s recording career:

1. Define success for your child

2. Commit to learning

3. Define your child’s goals

4. Collaborate intentionally with your child

The above steps will help you either manage your child for the long haul or set up expectations for new management.

I am going to reference parts of a previous consultation with “Maria”, the momager of Lexi, her daughter, an R&B artist.

Here’s the framework, step by step:

Step #1: Define success for your child

Defining success for your child as their manager is the foundation for a sustainable career in the music industry.

Using the success of established artists as a metric for your child is a recipe for disaster.

The success of the industry’s most successful artists are based on longevity, coupled with consistency and diligence. Artists such as Drake, The Weeknd, and more have built their careers brick by brick. Even outliers such as Ice Spice have worked in unique ways to get to a place of notoriety.

In the first few minutes of my consultation with Maria about her daughter and client, Lexi, she said:

“I want my daughter’s success to be all her own. I don’t want her to think the only way she’ll be a success is by doing what another female artist is doing.”

Success is personal and business celebrates success.

Step #2: Commit to learning the business

You have to make a commitment to learn the business of music.

You must be mindful that this commitment is made for their well-being as their manager and not just as their parent.

As your child’s manager, it is important for you to commit to learning the business so you can establish healthy expectations and boundaries. This can be challenging but the work is necessary.

When I asked Maria if she was intimidated by the business, she said:

“I’m not intimidated at all. There are a lot of things I don’t know, but I’m committed to learning for the sake of Lexi and her success.

I’m her mom first and I’ll always be there for her. I’m also her manager and I need to be there for her professionally. Just like I protect her as her mom, I need to learn the business so I can protect her as her manager.”

Commit to learning the business is protecting your client, who happens to be your child.

Step #3: Define your child’s goals

Armed with defining success and committing to learn the business, you will begin to see goals take shape.

Defining the business goals for your child give you a “big picture” object of your effort.

As your child’s manager, defining these business goals allows you to work smarter, not harder. Additionally, your approach to meeting these goals is laser focused and won’t be steered by other artists your child may see and admire in the music industry.

Lexi was definitely a different artist. She had a list of goals – places she would love to tour, fellow artists she would love to work with. She believed her goals would set her apart from her peers.

Maria said:

“I believe Lexi’s goals are doable. She’s very focused on everything about her artist brand. We have a list of 4 main goals and 2 sub-goals. We just need to create a timetable and get to work.”

If you plan the work, then you simply need to work the plan.

Step #4: Collaborate intentionally with your child

Collaborating intentionally with your child is important as their artist manager.

As I stated in a previous newsletter, managers are spokespersons for their artist clients. You role isn’t about telling your client what they are going to do. It’s about asking them what they want to do.

While you may have your child’s best interest in mind, managing their career requires you to collaborate.

Collaboration involves 3 things:

1. communication

2. respect

3. trust

In my consultation with Maria, we talked extensively about how her collaboration impacts her’s and Lexi’s professional and personal relationship:

“I know Lexi wants what she wants. However, one of the most important things that she wants is success.

I work with her to build out plans for success. She’s extremely coachable when it comes to that. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but she respects my input because we put the brand above how we feel.

I know some artists who have momagers may have some friction in their personal lives, but I have to say that ours has actually gotten better. Lexi respects me as a mom more because of the trust that I have built up with her as her manager.”

In collaboration, there’s no room for egos. There’s only room to grow.

Hope this helps.

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