Achieving commercial success as a songwriter, singer, and producer is a true feat. Although CPG entrepreneur and OneRepublic frontman, Ryan Tedder, rooted his career on-stage and in studios, he also set his sights toward other income streams.
In a recent Office Hours episode, Tedder explained how he educated himself about investing, with a primary focus on real estate. Additionally, he launched two successful CPG brands, MAD TASTY sparkling water and emu hand sanitizer.
“I am a huge believer in not putting all my eggs in one basket,” Tedder said.
Here’s how he balances his time, energy, and talents to make sure he’s earning income year-round.
1. Explore New Things
According to Tedder, you can teach yourself anything, even if you’re totally new to it.
“One hundred times out of 100, I believe that hard work will outpace talent,” he said.
Tedder knew very little about commercial real estate before he read 15 books, including Commercial Real Estate Investing for Dummies, read real estate blogs, and more. There are tons of ways to learn something new and grow your income, he noted.
“There are no excuses for a small business owner to not know what they’re doing,” he said.
2. Use your Knowledge Wisely
Once you’ve learned new things, you can use them to attempt new business endeavors. That’s how Tedder started dipping his toes into commercial real estate investments.
Diversification can be a smart business move for professionals in any industry – especially in an unpredictable economy, he said.
“I have hit the proverbial wall and had some bad years – and have learned the hard lesson, which is diversification,” Tedder said. “There's going to be those seasons where, no matter how, I'm doing the same thing that I did last year, and I'm just as good, if not better. But it's not reciprocating. I'm having a bad year.”
After his real estate path proved profitable, Tedder looked toward other investments and ideas. Eventually, his additional income helped fuel the launch of two CPG brands: MAD TASTY, a CBD sparkling water brand, and emu, a hand sanitizer brand he started during the height of the pandemic. Emu, an acronym for “everybody must use,” also received outside investment since hand sanitizers were in high demand.
“Starting CPGs can be pretty cost intensive – we’ve been lucky so far,” Tedder said. “I don’t take a single day for granted. We’re in a weird time [and] a weird marketplace right now for raising capital.”
3. Set Boundaries
For Tedder, 2017 was a “reality check” that made him realize it was time to move beyond music. He had toured with OneRepublic, along with songwriting and producing, for 10 years, and by the end of 2016 he started to feel major effects of burnout.
“I couldn’t sleep. I had worked myself too much. I had killed myself making an album while on tour. I cancelled a global tour. I cancelled working on an album,” he said. “I was like, ‘That’s it – I can’t have music be my sole source of income [or] the thing I spend every waking hour thinking about.”
Whether you’re working on tons of tasks, have more than one gig, or manage multiple income streams finding mindful habits is the key, he said. Tedder especially realized the importance of setting boundaries while working during the pandemic, with lots of video calls eating up his time.
“I have two modes: 100% ‘go, go, go’ – or a completely vegetative state watching [something]. I really don’t have an in-between, like a 50% mode,” Tedder said. “I quickly realized, ‘I'm now forgoing health and exercise for business calls,’” he said.
He started walking during phone calls and used time blocking as a productivity hack.
“The way I divvied up my day is very simple: anything that is non-music business related I give it from roughly 8:30 or 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. plus or minus an hour. At 1 p.m., I draw a line, and I flip purely into music for the rest of the day.”
4. Accept Uncertainty
Almost anyone in any industry will hear “no” at some point. It’s about taking the ‘no’s’ in stride and believing they will eventually lead to a ‘yes,’ Tedder said.
“The music industry has taught me to have the thickest skin humanly imaginable. I have an unhealthy layer of thickness on my skin because of the amount of rejection I faced,” Tedder said. “I can take 100 ‘no’s’ as long as I get one ‘yes.’ And if that one ‘yes’ converts to something spectacular, it was worth 99 ‘no’s.’”
Nothing is completely foolproof, he added, whether it’s stocks, cryptocurrency, or brand investments. That’s why diversifying can be so important.
“Don’t bet on any one thing,” he said.
Diversifying your income can be an important path toward financial wellness. Learning new things and strategically applying them to business ventures can have a huge benefit on your financial, mental, and physical wellbeing. Whether you choose to invest in stocks or cryptocurrency or want to launch a new business, there are plenty of resources that can help you learn online. It’s important to set boundaries and embrace rejections so you don’t burn out on the road to financial wellness.
This article is part of Office Hours, a series that connects you with entrepreneurs and expert tips for running and growing a business right now. Find their can’t miss conversations here.