Does geography matter for creatives?

The question of where to live is relevant to anyone pursuing a career in any creative endeavor.

Should I move to a big city with more opportunities, even though there’s more competition?

Should I go to a smaller city with less competition?

Do I have to live in a city at all?

The truth is that it should be left completely up to what makes sense with your values and aspirations because the opportunities are everywhere now thanks to the internet. Nobody else should make decisions about what is best for you and your career except you. The landscape of opportunities isn’t what it used to be. As an artist, it’s really easy to feel like one move to a big city just because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing, but the truth is that it all depends on what your priorities are.


Some want to live in a neighborhood where they can have a yard and raise a family while others don’t mind living in a city where they have to have multiple roommates just to get by. There’s no right or wrong answer, it just depends on where your priorities are. Others might think they know what’s best for you, but they probably don’t.

I grew up in a small town with one stoplight called Clover, SC and growing up all I wanted to do was go to music school so I could play the french horn professionally. The day that I started looking at music schools was the day that everyone who had been so encouraging about my musical talents began to question my decision about pursuing it. Everyone all of the sudden became an expert about how it wasn’t a stable career path and telling me that I should consider something else as a backup, just in case it didn’t work out.


I knew I wanted to move to Philadelphia where I could physically immerse myself in the vibrant music scene and at the time, the best way to find opportunities for myself as a musician was to make the big move. But something huge has happened in the last few years that changed the game. The internet has completely democratized access to opportunities for creatives all over the world.
Geography does not have to limit your options anymore. It’s no secret that the internet has completely changed the way that creatives interact with the world around them, but, I think many artists haven’t even begun to take advantage of what’s possible through the internet.

For the first time in history designers can do work for clients all over the world, musicians can teach students through streaming apps on their phone, and writers can instantly share their work with the world. We live in an era where there are nearly endless opportunities to take advantage of if you choose do so.

Want to find freelance work online?

Creatives from all backgrounds can find work through sites like Twine, 99designs, Upwork, Designcrowd, and so many others. Using the wonders of the internet, we can work with clients all over the world and never leave the comfort of our homes.

Want to share your knowledge or learn from others?

Sites like Artist Works, CreativeLive, Skillshare, and UDemy all provide a platform where you can learn or teach others about anything. It has only been in the past few years that all of these resources existed, but now they’re available, they have totally changed the game for creative careers. The possibilities are nearly endless and no matter where you live, you can either find or create the opportunities you want.

Thanks to author and marketing consultant Seth Hanes for today’s guest article. Head to his website and blog, Musicians Guide to Hustling.

Click here to find out about Seth Hanes’ new book Break Into The Scene, which is coming out in the next few months.

Seth Hanes

Seth Hanes

Marketing specialist Seth Hanes is a private consultant who works with businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals in digital marketing and website development, bringing public attention to where it is deserved.

Seth understands clearly that each person in an organization offers individual talent to make that group perform at its best. With clear branding of clients and the use of campaigns and interactive programs, Seth works to build social media publicity and a following around his clients that creates a steady flow of public interaction and recognition.

As a musician, Seth has an acute understanding of the mechanics of self-promotion. He willingly shares his expertise on his blog, The Musicians Guide to Hustling. He also speaks publicly on his techniques, having spoken most recently at Kutztown University and the Philadelphia International Music Festival in partnership with Project 440.

Seth works with many groups and individuals, most notably the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Camino Books Publishing, Rook House Publishing, and the internationally touring jazz group The Jost Project. He was formerly Marketing Manager of The Philly POPS and is proud to have been part of the team that grew the orchestra to unprecedented successes. He has also worked with Tempesta di Mare, Cubides Artist Management, The Conservatory of Musical Arts, Singer/Composer/Arranger Paul Jost, renowned vibraphonist Tony Miceli and Jane Norman.

Originally from South Carolina, Seth first came to Philadelphia for his studies at Temple University where he earned his Batchelor’s degree in French Horn performance as a student of Jeff Lang and Denise Tryon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A natural born leader, he is the founder, manager, and hornist for New City Brass. He has taught with Philadelphia Orchestra's School Partnership program, Tune Up Philly, Play on Philly! and The Conservatory of Musical Arts.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Seth enjoys reading lots of nonfiction books, learning the banjo, and spending time at the dog park with his dog who, coincidentally, is named Banjo.