Just can outline my own story that never followed any kind of business plan, been following my heart - as cheesy as that may sound
Started drumming in my early teens, played in bands as soon as I got good enough (which took quite a while!), got onto the ‘Fostex-route’ mid/end 80s, recording to compact cassette. A four track recorder was as much as a good standard audio interface is today… got lent a 8-track tape machine, digital revolution got my band into a local studio in the early 90s that had three blackface ADAT machines, that equalled the insane amount of 24 tracks on a Mackie 8 bus Somehow the studios’ engineer canceled the mix date (personal trouble with his wife or something alike) and did let us know by leaving a handwritten note on the desk (“sorry, I’m in trouble, think you can do this without me!”) and so we did with me having a limited understanding of it all but a burning heart. There it was, my first ‘professional’ production (for the time given) and here they came, other musicians hiring me to turn the knobs.
Around the same time very similar things happened for me in live mixing. In simple words: there was nobody around who managed to create a good live sound, so I started doing it myself for my own band(s) - which was a little cumbersome as I couldn’t be on stage and at FOH at the same time but pretty quick other musicians heard the ‘upgrade in local live sound’ and hired me. In fact it must have been a terrible sonic mess, but well, everyone’s got to start at some point
People appreciated my work while I appreciated they trusted me so much to let me work their sound. Some day I realized having a certain reputation in the local scene, by just continuing the ride my ‘stage’ got wider automatically. What’s important in my eyes is just to not be an a**hole. Musicians are funny folks, doing crazy things, thinking weird thoughts - treating their art with respect while accepting a certain range of eccentricity is a requirement I guess
Took some years to make a living out of it. Yes, a living. Definately not ‘luxury living’. As NorthWood MediaWorks points out having a family & ‘normal life’ is pretty hard. Got three adult kids who didn’t have to starve, I’d consider that as ‘normal enough’. At least it din’t and doesn’t get boring Meanwhile 20+ years have passed since the beginning of my tale and I’m still burning for music. Still doing nothing else worth being mentioned. Probably I don’t have too much skills in anything else anyway Even started a band with my youngest daughter (see signature) which I’d love to put more weight in while reducing some other activities like trucking PAs and such. But hey - looking back at two decades just a tiny fragment of my income came through making/writing/performing music. That’s the hardest part for me. I know others succeeding in that part of the game though.
Now, what are you after?
Engineering, gigging, songwriting, distributing, publishing? Whatever it is, go where your biggest flame burns first! Give it a chance to ‘guide you through the process’. If you want to earn ‘serious money’, go and look for a ‘real’ job that ideally leaves enough spare time to do music. Improving skills, expanding networks etc. might be a welcome backdoor once the job sucks too much!