038 – 3 Concepts I Learned from My Mentor

by | Mar 1, 2024 | Podcast

There are always those around us who end up having a huge impact on us. We may not realize it as it’s happening, but in retrospect, we can always see who offered a timely word that ended up helping us on our journeys.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares what he learned from his mentor and how he applied it.



00:17 – The people who make the greatest difference are those who you are in direct communication with
01:08 – Mess things up
02:10 – #1: Analog vs. digital
05:26 – #2: Beware of who you take advice from
09:02 – #3: Community enterprise
11:57 – Reflecting on David’s community years
12:33 – Win-win-win


Three concepts I learned from my mentor.

Here is someone that I’ve seen as one of my main mentors over the years. You can have relationships with close people, mentors at a distance, coaches, even the books you read… All of it can end up contributing to you significantly. But inevitably the people who end up making the biggest difference are those that you are in direct communication with.

This is someone who has been… I’ve been by their side, creating projects with them, and they’ve been by my side, supporting my projects.

There are three key things I learned from them that ended up steering the direction of where we’re going versus where things went with Music Entrepreneur HQ in the past.

Music Entrepreneur HQ was a grand experiment. We had so much fun with it. We tried a whole bunch of stuff. We made lots of mistakes and learned from them.

I think a lot of people are afraid of doing that. If they went out and started making projects, started messing things up… Go make a mess. The thing that often gets repeated, whether in network marketing or leadership circles, is “Go make a mess.”

That’s what people who accomplish things are doing. They’re not trying to figure everything out before they start. Never.

Commit first, get into action, and then figure out the rest as you go. This is how it works.

Commit first, get into action, and then figure out the rest as you go. Click To Tweet

This is how courses are developed, right? At least the good ones, because it gives you way more leverage. You can share your course content with your audience before it’s ever done. And you can test your stuff and see what people resonate with and see what works.

Anyway, the number one concept that I learned from a mentor that has made a difference is “Analog versus digital.”

I reinterpreted it into my ecosystem to make sense for me. But his whole contention was that I was doing so much digital marketing stuff. I learned a lot, and that’s what a good entrepreneur would do, is they would go and learn. They would go and figure out how marketing works because marketing is your direct connection to revenue. If you don’t have good marketing, you can’t create revenue in your business.

Marketing is your direct connection to revenue. Click To Tweet

I don’t think my intentions or even my priorities were misplaced. I think that they were in the right place. But I spent so much time creating content, sharing on social media, and sending emails. I was disappointed with some of the results we were getting.

Something that he brought to me repeatedly. He would say, “But you know, I tend to think way more analog with that. I’m thinking like, if I look at events, how many people will come out? That’s way more of a confirmation of how your project is going, versus passive content that people can just like, comment, or share, or just not even look at or respond to,”

And he’s so right, because we publish a lot of stuff that doesn’t necessarily do anything, and it’s easy to get discouraged with that.

When it comes to publishing, I believe you’ve got to keep going no matter what. But when you’ve done that for years and years, you can easily feel discouraged that things aren’t going anywhere.

It’s like you’re doing something wrong since all your mentors or coaches around you are guiding you. “This is how it’s done, so just follow this method and you’ll get there.”

And then you don’t seem to achieve or accomplish the results that they, for some reason, seem to achieve very easily.

Which, it just so happens, leads right into the second concept, but I’ll get there. The first concept, how that informs things was, that I realized I needed to create something where I was pressing flesh.

It doesn’t have to be weekly. It doesn’t have to be monthly. Annually might not be quite enough interaction. But that’s where I started looking at all my experiences and the working models that I acquainted myself with.

And network marketing, some of their training programs have four major functions a year. So, I said, “That’s the model.”

Like if I create… I’m going to be talking about the four major events per year that I’m basing my activity on. Not only that, but it’s creating a physical presence where we can gauge the difference that we’re making for people and whether they’re enjoying themselves, whether they’re entertained, and what content resonates.

So, it’s an excellent opportunity to test, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to look at what is going to resonate. How can we hit the ball out of the park with every single piece of content or every song that we present at these events? And so that’s where the focus ends up turning to.

Concept number two would be “Who do you listen to? Now, one of the people that offers the best training on this is Kevin Trudeau. No one could articulate it better or express it more clearly in a way that can be gotten than Kevin Trudeau.

But my mentor… He kind of implied. He’s not the type of guy who necessarily comes out and points something out and is super direct about it.

I think he said something along the lines of – when I was talking about the type of results that I saw other people achieving and what I knew to be possible – he would just go like, “Yeah, you know, but some of these people, maybe they have an incentive to do what they’re doing, or maybe their method worked at one point, but now it doesn’t work, or maybe they got lucky.”

It’s his way of pointing to, “Who do you listen to when it comes to getting advice in your business or your career and the things that you’re up to in life?”

I’m already the guy who says, “Question everything.” And I realized there was one area of life where I was not questioning. And that was the people that I looked up to, people that I admired as my coaches.

And you know what? It turned out to be a very healthy thing for me to start doubting a little bit. To begin looking at what they had taught me, how I’d applied it, and whether it worked for me or not. It was healthy to start separating the wheat from the chaff, right?

Like, “This stuff’s good, and I want to continue using it in my business or my music career. But this other stuff, maybe it’s an outrageous claim.” You go and follow their advice and it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t get you the results they said it would get you.

You sort of have to go, “Yeah, okay, maybe there were some things that I messed up. Maybe I didn’t execute perfectly.” But if you stay in that space too long, it can sacrifice your self-image. You can start to doubt yourself if you stay in that space for too long.

I think at that point, you stop, you reflect. You start over based on what you now know.

Stop. Reflect. Start over. Click To Tweet

You went and published for a full year, for example, and didn’t get the results that you were hoping for. You stop, you reflect, you think about what worked, you think about what didn’t work, and you create a new plan for what it’s going to look like to publish daily. That’s how I think about it.

But simply the act of publishing daily… Does that give you a dream business, a dream career? No, that act alone will not get you there. I already tried it, and I did it twice. It did not solve all my financial problems. Sorry, Russell.

It was something that when I started doing it, and once I had accomplished it more than once, this whole act of publishing daily, I realized it was something that I wanted to continue doing. I found a lot of value in it.

And there is a lot of value in it. And you will find your voice in it. And you will be able to interview and connect with great people that you might not otherwise be able to.

But you must have that framing. Why are you doing it? Without knowing why you’re doing it, that whole thing… it’s just a discipline, right? I would say even with something like working out, you’ve got to know why you’re doing it to be able to keep up with it long term. You can easily fall off exercise plans, and I’ve done that far too many times. So, you’ve always got to be mindful of that.

And then, the third concept was “Community Enterprise.”

I don’t know, I haven’t heard it elsewhere, so it could even be a term that he specifically coined.

Now, when we think of “community,” we all have our experiences with it. Some of us have positive experiences, some of us have negative experiences. And then sometimes we have that perception that if it’s a community, or if you’re a community artist, you must be rinky-dink.

And we had a lot of conversations around that because that’s never the perception that we wanted to put out with our community projects. We never wanted people to view it or think of it as being rinky-dink. Because it’s not. We wanted to put out quality events and bring in quality artists who may not be known but know what they’re doing.

So, we always aspired to a certain quality in creating these community events. That was one of the guiding principles.

Now, Community Enterprise being, in my mentor’s case, of those two words, community was always a bigger one. If you saw them side by side, “Enterprise” would be the small word, and “Community” would appear much, much bigger.

And that’s not wrong. I think there was always a part of him that was very humble. Although he could have started thinking more in terms of an enterprise, in terms of getting sponsors and charging tickets and doing other things that probably would have helped us break even or even earn a small profit… His internal compass didn’t lead him there. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.

And if some of you are like, “Yeah, I can bankroll 10 events this year and I want to do it,” go ahead. I’m not necessarily in that position.

So, with the events that we’re putting on, it has become about “How do we serve the audience?” That’s number one. That is, as a core principle, is still there.

Like, “What songs should be played? Who should be there as a featured artist? And if I’m to give presentations, what sort of presentation would have people engaged?” And a big part of that, I’ve realized, is storytelling.

But there’s nothing that I’m leaving on the table in the Enterprise Community. I am thinking about income sources. I’m asking, “Do we need sponsors, do we need to charge tickets, is there going to be a merch booth at the back, are we going to have order forms prepared?”

And the answer is pretty much “Yes.” Is there going to be an offer on the back end where people can access the content that we just filmed that weekend? The answer is “Yes.”

That is what we’re going to do because in my view, or from my perspective, the “Enterprise” appears just as big as the word “Community” does, though I don’t know if it appears bigger.

I learned so much in those community years and I might even miss them, but when I was going through the muck of it, it wasn’t all fun and games. But from about 2015 to 2019, and I would even say… There was a little bit of a break in there with the pandemic, but in fact, those community endeavors continued well into 2022.

So, I’ll say from about 2015 to 2022, those were my community years and observing and watching and seeing what’s working and seeing what’s not working and seeing what mistakes are being made and how I could have an event that is… Not “better,” but how I can have an event that ends up serving the purpose of the mission of what we’re about to accomplish in every way, not just for the audience – although that’s the biggest piece – but for me and the future of us and for anyone else involved in organizing and helping with the event? How can I ensure that there’s an outcome that everybody can be satisfied with?

And that’s my whole thing about “Win-win-win.”

If all you have is a win, you probably don’t have anything exciting yet. Now, don’t get me wrong, if it’s going to be a win in your life, it can impact all areas of your life and end up helping you and giving you a boost in every regard.

So, if were to think of “winning” as a personal achievement. I went out and did a whole bunch of stuff, and I got credits, and I became a best-selling author, and I became an award-winning composer.

But ultimately, that didn’t help others. The content I created certainly did, but getting those accomplishments didn’t necessarily help others. It helps me be more credible and authoritative in a way. Like, people look to me for advice because they can see that I’ve accomplished certain things.

But then you’ve got a win-win, and a win-win is a great thing. Oftentimes it helps certain people to the exclusion of others. I don’t want to paint everything that way because it’s not the way it works.

I think it’s exactly where a lot of traditional businesses got started. Like, “It’s going to benefit us as a company, and it’s going to benefit our investors,” or “It’s going to benefit our board of directors.”

Their products may have ended up benefiting the end customer too, but that was not the focus.

So, I think that’s how a lot of business ultimately got started. But a win-win is good, especially when you’re pitching things, sending emails out to people you might want to connect with, influencers, podcasters, bloggers, and what have you, publicists, media. The win-win is…

If you approach people, with a pitch that’s just a win, like just focused on you, and personal achievement, most of the time it sucks. It just does not work, because you’re trying to get something out of someone, and do they want to give that to you? Why would they give that to you?

That’s why musicians are like, “Why is everything a financial conversation?” It’s only that if you don’t look for the win-win. If all you do is pitch for yourself and have that be a win… “Let me get this feature on your blog,” but don’t talk at all about how that’s going to benefit them, it’s not a win-win. That’s why it becomes a financial discussion.

If you had taken the time and the effort to think about what would have been a win-win in the first place and had done your effing research, you would have realized that you could create a win-win for every person you’re pitching to. Then it would get a much higher chance of being accepted. So, a lot of people are just “shotgunning” and hoping for the win.

When you could be… There’s just so much opportunity to outclass everyone with pitching because most people suck at it. So, learn that skill. And that’ll be in The Renegade Musician book as well.

You can outclass everyone with pitching because most people suck at it. Learn this skill. Click To Tweet

As for a win-win-win, this is where I’ve seen the biggest opportunity in life, and so far, it’s only happened that I can even think of… And I would say these ideas, often, are spiritually inspired, divinely inspired, who knows, I can’t put it into words, there’s no way to articulate it. But it’s an idea that’s almost like given to me or given by a muse, or it’s inspired in some way.

Those are the business ideas that I feel have the greatest potential. So, the “Win-win-win” is if you can win, if the company can win, and if your customers can win, then you’ve created something that has the potential to blow up.

It may not always go that way. Things can still go wrong, even when you have the best of ideas, and I learned my lesson here with the company that shall go unnamed, at least for this podcast episode.

So, don’t think that just because you’ve got a win-win-win idea it’s ultimately going to succeed. But if you can benefit three different parties, whatever enterprise, or project you may be launching, there’s just nothing like it. It’s one of the most exciting things. So, look for the win-win-wins. Those are the most exciting opportunities.