One of my favorite quotes comes from Quincy Jones: When you make music for money, God walks out of the room.” Now don’t get it twisted, I plan to make bread, too. I’m about the paper just like the next man. But fifteen years ago, when you were hustling beats, it was highly unlikely that your music production efforts would generate immediate revenue. Ten years ago, that was still the case. And today, in the debris of our traditional music industry, this advice is even more valid.

I started writing my book nearly seven years before it was out. For seven years I had to chisel away at a block of words, edit, re-edit, network, interview, chase my contributors for release forms, green-light designs, build websites. And after all of that, then I get to see the fruit of my labor.

Much like production. If you think you’re going to step into music and blow up and see six figures, dude, you have no idea. This is a slow and steady burn. You’ve got to do the work upfront—passion-fueled work, passion-fueled projects—and when you’ve done your job of making several artists shine brilliantly just as you’re supposed to do, then they come waving money, because you’ve then proved to be a sound investment (that’s a good concept to keep in mind in general, that when people give you money for music, they are investing in you, with the hopes of getting a return for what they’ve given you. Five dollars for a beat generates ten dollars in sales, so to speak. As a producer, you exist to help someone else get somewhere, if you do that successfully, you’ll get exactly where you’re trying to go).

This takes time. And only passion will carry you through. Just like my passion carried me through the seven years of writing and editing, through the moments when I would get my manuscript back from my editor and the shit was bloody with edits and I had to sit there and spend months rewriting and I wanted to hurl my two-thousand-dollar MacBook across the Starbucks floor. But the passion keeps you stabilized. Until the dollars come.

Now, I didn’t say ignore the money. I want you to absorb as much wisdom as possible about how the money works, so that when you get some, you’re ahead of the game and you’re avoiding the pitfalls that snare the average. Because you’re not here to be average. Work your ass off and the checks will follow.