Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Bree Noble is a singer, songwriter and music entrepreneur who coaches female musicians on making a full-time living from their passion. Today, Bree will share how the “if I had my way” itch sparked her entrepreneurial journey.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • The first thing you will notice when listening to Bree’s story is her lifelong passion for music. As a little girl, Bree grew up singing in churches and continued on w/ choirs in high school. In college, Bree was a vocal major, having her sights set on a career in music. However, as Bree shares, college didn’t answer the question: what if I don’t have a career in music, what then? As a failsafe, Bree took an accounting class and as it turns out, she loved it as almost as much as music! Although this may sound surprising, there is a long-established relationship between music and numbers so it stands to reason that Bree loved math. This first accounting class led her to take a minor in business which eventually morphed into a double major. While music was her first and true love, Bree had no preparation or idea what to do as a college sophomore to transition into a career as an artist. As Bree notes, there is a disconnect between studying the art as a music major and entering music as a vocation.
  • Given that there was no music career roadmap, Bree decided to pursue accounting, post-college. She ended up becoming a Director of Finance for an Opera Company. All along the way, Bree kept music on the side w/ a tugging inner voice that would repeat “if I had my way, I would do music full-time.” However, keeping music as a side passion was difficult as Bree had trouble finding and sticking w/ bands. The root problem was that Bree was trying to fit herself into other people’s musical molds and didn’t have the confidence to be her own artist.
  • Balancing the demands of being Director of Finance while trying to fit musical side pursuits, took a toll on Bree. The ultimate setback occurred when the accumulated stress put Bree in the hospital. On top of this, Bree had just had a baby which compounded the stress.
  • So what held Bree back? What was her biggest failure and setback? It was this belief that she couldn’t do this on her own. Even as she made the leap into entrepreneurship, that belief kept tugging at her and keeping her from soaring as a musician and as a business woman. So what changed? There were three aha moments that caused a tectonic shift into musical and entrepreneurial success.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Bree’s aha moment came while she was in the hospital. The realization hit that she needed to do something else w/ her life. Once again, the itch that had always been in he back of her mind came tugging back. The one that said “if I didn’t have this job …” and of course, that “if” was music. Bree was at a crossroads. Between her and her husband, Bree was the bigger breadwinner at the time. On top of that, they were now parents to a baby girl. Thus, iIt was by no means easy to give up the steady paycheck but what was easy was realizing that being sick and in the hospital was no way to live and that no amount of money was worth her health and wellbeing. So Bree made the brave and bold entrepreneurial leap. Consider, Moving Forward listeners. If you’ve ever thought, “this is not the right time” to starting a business, Bree had every imaginable obstacle to giving up the steady paycheck. But as Bree shares, the timing was also perfect. She now had the time to reflect, reset and re-direct herself towards a better path. This led to the realization that her first love, music, could be run as a business.
  • This realization eventually opened up another shift. Bree was still in the mindset of “trying to bring other people in.” This was a hangup from 10 years of trying to join bands and do music on the side while she was working for the Opera Company. Bree would try to book gigs and found it difficult to gain traction due to the other people she had brought in. Gigs would be called off due to things like a bass player canceling bc of another priority or other obstacles. It seemed that every time Bree involved someone else, a new problem would emerge. Eventually, Bree had to let go of the one thing that had been holding back – the lack of confidence in herself. Bree finally stepped up and decided to do this completely on her own. For years, Bree was under the belief that she could not play and sing on her own. Bree spent a month practicing and then made another leap, performing on her own on stage. Once Bree got over her hesitation and found her confidence, it opened her eyes to a realization that had been tugging at her since the beginning: that music wasn’t simply her career calling but her purpose in life.
  • Once Bree made this monumental mindset shift, other things started opening up. Along her journey, Bree started to get to know a lot of fellow female musicians. Bree then got inspired to create a platform, Women of Substance, for all of these artists to feature their work and to uplift them. At first, Bree did this as a “hobby,” but as circumstances would have it, another push led to this growing into something more. Bree continued doing part-time work for the Opera Company which provided supplemental income. However, in 2009, the company went under due to the downturn in the economy. That’s when a third, huge aha moment came to Bree. At that time, Women of Substance was simply breaking even. Bree launched a podcast under the Women of Substance brand. She started attracting sponsors and was able to transform this “hobby” into a revenue generator. Bree noticed a common thread w/ many of her fellow female artists that called back to something she ran into during her college years. That many of these women had the talent but not the business guidance to direct themselves into careers in music. With several years of hard work and sweat equity, Women of Substance and Female Entrepreneur Musician have become a central part of a very successful coaching business. Moving Forward listeners, as Bree candidly shares, sometimes it takes a real “kick” to get us to listen to that inner voice that is leading us to what our real vocation is. For Bree, it took several serious setbacks and challenges but she found the confidence to shift her mindset and turn several “hobbies” into a viable business. When it comes down to it, Bree did what all great businesses and entrepreneurs do. She created the solution that she wished she had had when she started out. Truly, this is an incredible ballad of pivots and moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Bree to move forward:
    • Lilith Fair as a cultural experience: Bree attended in 2012 and was inspired by this gathering of women artists and performers, coming together to create an unforgettable musical experience.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Asana (IOS | Google Play): a great app for managing projects and her time.
      • Bree recommends Steve Dotto’s YouTube tutorial on learning the ABCs of Asana.
      • Bree loves the recurring tasks which helps her w/ her ongoing projects such as her podcast.
  • How Bree recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Bree reboots by reading entrepreneurial books or listening to podcasts that cover the high level, big picture mindset.
    • Bree also loves taking walks and doing yoga to center herself and just take a moment to stop.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Get involved in a community or mastermind. Bree shares that trying to do things on your own or figure it all out yourself is much harder than it needs to be. Instead, find a group of like-minded individuals that can share their expertise as well as their moral support to help you grow your career or business. Masterminds are great for accountability, support, and celebrating wins and victories. One of the reasons why Bree created her academy was to have that community. Being an entrepreneur is hard and often a lonely road. Join a mastermind to find like-minded individuals who can help you on your journey.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Find a community!”

Connect with Bree: