175 – How to Produce Breakthroughs in Your Music Career with Deep Thinking & Reflection

by | Jan 10, 2020 | Podcast

How much time do you spend in deep thought and reflection? How do you achieve clarity on your next steps in your music career?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, as promised, I share what I did on Think Week and what I discovered for myself.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Think Week
  • 01:11 – Resting
  • 01:39 – Analyzing top performing content on Music Entrepreneur HQ
  • 02:41 – Cleaning the slate
  • 03:41 – Taking in inspiring content
  • 06:17 – Record Label in a Box
  • 07:53 – Spending time with friends
  • 08:30 – Discoveries from my studies
  • 10:40 – What’s new at Music Entrepreneur HQ?
  • 12:37 – Start Your Year the Right Way


In episode 171 of the podcast, I mentioned that I would be going on Think Week from December 25 to January 1.

If you’re looking for a bit of context on what Think Week is, it’s worth going back to that episode to have a listen.

It’s also important to note that you can go on Think Week whenever you want – it doesn’t have to be at the end or the beginning of the year.

For me, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and I’m glad I got the chance to action it.

I like to take advantage of the New Year energy while it’s here – I often feel more inspired to think, strategize and plan for the year ahead.

So, in this episode of the podcast, I want to share what I did and what I discovered on my Think Week.

#1: I Rested

Not only was I feeling sleepy heading into Think Week, I was also at the early stages of getting sick.

I was looking forward to just absorbing a ton of information and reflecting, but before I could dive in, I had to spend some time in rest.

Ultimately, I’m glad I did.

Although I basically make my own schedule these days, I rarely take breaks unless I’m sick.

When I think about the impact I’m going to make in this world, I can’t just sit back and relax.

So, spending some time in rest was necessary and valuable.

#2: I Analyzed

I mentioned in episode 171 that I would be analyzing the top performing content on Music Entrepreneur HQ, which is exactly what I did.

This was helpful, because I got to see what you – my readers, listeners and viewers – are most engaged in.

As I was analyzing this content, however, I also realized that I could just as easily look up trending content across the web, choose the topics that are getting the most hits, and put my own spin on them.

But I don’t think the time spent analyzing my traffic was in vein – it will inform my content strategy in 2020 and beyond.

That lead to another important discovery, when I started to see that, until now, I have been focusing primarily on on-site marketing.

Sure, I wrote guest posts, got my banner ads up on other sites and paid for some Google and Facebook ads, but overall, I haven’t put that much time, effort or resources into off-site marketing, which will be a greater focus this year.

There are so many big sites and influencers out there – if they speak to my audience, and they’re willing to collaborate with me, why not strike up partnerships?

#3: I Worked

First, I had a little bit of work to finish up before I could engage fully in Think Week.

I find it’s better to clean your slate than to leave things hanging in the balance before moving onto the next thing.

It’s better to clean your slate than to leave things hanging in the balance before moving onto the next thing. Share on X

In my case, if I didn’t work during Think Week, it would have meant ignoring projects for an entire week, leaving others wondering what was going on.

So, I finished up whatever work I needed to and moved on.

Second, I put a bit of work into my personal website at DavidAndrewWiebe.com.

This site simply doesn’t get updated as much as I would like, and I wanted to start sharing more than just my music on the site, so I started building it out.

There are still many things I’d like to do with the website, but I’m off to a running start.

While on Think Week, I specifically built out the About page on the website, which you can find at DavidAndrewWiebe.com/About.

I also published a couple of blog posts.

Although it has taken me a long time to get around to this, it feels good to be able to focus on some of the things that have been on the backburner.

#4: I Studied

I wanted to make sure I took in some inspiring content during Think Week, as I knew this would form the foundation for the energy I would carry into the New Year.

To that end, here are a few things I delved into:

  • I watched several Joe Pulizzi presentations on YouTube. I was reminded that the successful content marketers he talks about in his case studies started out by focusing on one content channel before branching out into others. That was the catalyst for me deciding to focus on the podcast this year – something I shared about in episode 174 of the podcast.
  • I listened to a bunch of entrepreneur interviews on Entrepreneurs on Fire. Several ideas came to mind as I was listening to the likes of Joe Pulizzi, James Schramko, Chris Brogan, Ezra Firestone, Cameron Herold, Glen Allsopp, Neil Patel and the like. By the way, if you hadn’t noticed, these are some of my favorite entrepreneurs to follow. Because of what I took in, I started thinking about having someone on Fiverr turn my blog posts into videos. I also started thinking about utilizing Gumroad more heavily to build my business. I’m sure I will talk more about this in future episodes.
  • I also listened to podcast episodes with people like Pat Flynn, Tim Ferriss and Derek Sivers, which sparked additional ideas around who to interview for the podcast, how to monetize it, how to make it more engaging and so on. I also spent some time combing through Derek Sivers’ website at sivers.org.
  • I spent some time reading Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose’s Killing Marketing This probably sparked some other ideas, but I’m not present to anything right now. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but so far it seems like the book is geared towards major companies who don’t have a clear understanding of content marketing yet. I’m not anticipating any major breakthroughs while reading this book, unlike one of my favorite books by Pulizzi, Content Inc.
  • I also read articles about monetization streams for podcasters, which helped me home in how I’m going to be monetizing The New Music Industry Podcast moving forward.
  • Finally, I spent some time reading about a German notetaking method, as I noted I would in episode 171 of the podcast. To my surprise, I had already invented a notetaking method of my own using Penzu, which is a searchable private online diary and journaling tool – and it’s been working well so far, so I decided there was no need to adapt.

This should not be considered a comprehensive list of the content I studied or the ideas generated during Think Week, but it is a good overview.

I’ll be back after this quick message to share more about what I did during Think Week.

Record Label in a Box

Record Label in a Box

I’ve gotten emails from a few people who are eager to set up their own independent label.

It can be hard to know exactly how to get set up, especially if you’ve never established a business before.

That’s why I always recommend Ditto Music’s Record Label in a Box to my friends, because it helps them get set up fast.

This unique product is available in three distinct packages.

But even at the Basic level, you get label certification, your own personalized ISRC codes, 12 months of unlimited distribution and sole proprietor setup.

If you already know which artists you’re going to be working with and have a ton of music to release, you’ll find this offer incredibly valuable.

After all, releasing one track or album at a time can be an expensive proposition if you don’t have unlimited distribution.

You’ll also be happy to know I’ve personally talked to the good folks at Ditto Music, and I was assured if you have any questions along the way, they can offer you the support you need.

So, if you’re ready to get set up with your own Record Label in a Box, go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Label to get yours.

Obviously, there are more steps you’ll need to take after you’ve established your label, but when you think about it, getting set up is the most important part.

Once you’ve got a solid foundation, a lot of the details tend to take care of themselves.

So, go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Label if you’re ready to obtain your Record Label in a Box.

Full disclosure – Music Entrepreneur HQ is an affiliate of Ditto Music, and if you purchase anything through our link, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Thank you for your support.

#5: I Visited

I attended a local friend’s Christmas family gathering on the 24th and another friend’s family gathering in Vancouver on the 26th.

I was also invited to spend some time with my friends on New Year’s Eve in Vancouver, so I drove over and enjoyed some grilled foods with friends while ringing in 2020.

Since then, I’ve had to spend some time catching up on sleep.

I didn’t get to sleep until close to 4 AM after New Year’s Eve, and that threw me off for a few days.

I’m starting to get on a better sleep schedule now though.

In any case, I thought it would be worth mentioning that I didn’t spend my holidays entirely alone, in case you were wondering.

#6: I Discovered

My most significant discovery in my reflection was that most of us tend to do business from a context of “something’s wrong.”

I know it sounds abstract, but this is more than just an idea – there is a way to apply it practically to your business, and if you do, I know it will make a difference for you.

What’s important to recognize is that when we’re not making the money or impact, we want to be making, and we go looking for feedback, inevitably we end up coming from a space of “something’s wrong.”

So, our context for the feedback we receive is on how to survive and fix our business.

In other words, business quickly becomes all about surviving and fixing.

What if, instead of coming from a context of “something’s wrong”, we came from a space of “whole, perfect and complete.”

Coming from that space, there’s nothing wrong with your business – it’s exactly where it needs to be.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make changes or that you don’t need to optimize and tweak.

It just means that for once, you’re not trying to survive or fix anything.

The disadvantage of surviving and fixing is that it’s basically past tense.

Think about it.

When you’re surviving something, you’re probably not trying to survive in the present moment – if you were, you wouldn’t be listening to this podcast right now – there’s nothing threatening your life in this moment.

When you’re trying to fix something, you’re trying to take something you’ve already done and make it better.

What’s interesting is that surviving and fixing limits your possibility for breakthroughs.

Surviving and fixing limits your possibility for breakthroughs. Share on X

It offers possibilities for improvement, but not breakthrough.

Meanwhile, if you come from a space of “whole, perfect and complete” when gathering feedback, you can be present to things as they are.

Your path forward becomes much clearer, because you aren’t trying to escape what is so.

From that space, breakthrough is far more likely.

You can find links to all the resources mentioned in this episode and a full transcription at davidandrewwiebe.com/175.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback regarding this episode, please send your messages to musicentrepreneurhq@gmail.com or leave a comment in the show notes.

What’s New at Music Entrepreneur HQ?

Although the podcast is our focus for 2020, it doesn’t mean we won’t be adding other tools and resources to the website.

So, I created this new segment for the podcast to talk about what’s new at Music Entrepreneur HQ.

First up is a blog post titled 2020.

In this post, I shared about my predictions for 2020, what we’re planning for Music Entrepreneur HQ, what I see in store for myself and more.

Second, I put together another blog post titled Business Models for Music Entrepreneurs.

Occasionally, I come across viable business ideas for musicians and music entrepreneurs, and I thought I would start sharing these in a blog post, to be updated as I spot additional opportunities.

Third, I put together a blog post titled Careers & Jobs in the Music Business.

This post is basically just a list of possible careers available in the music industry, though it shouldn’t be considered comprehensive.

If you aren’t in the music industry yet but would like to make a transition, or if you’re looking for a different job in music, this post is worth a look.

Finally, I had a video put together based on one of the most popular blog posts on the website, 7 Things I Learned From The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.

I did this because I want to repurpose the top performing content on the website.

I know that most people visiting this post aren’t necessarily interested in building a music career, so to that end, I’m not expecting it to help me build my audience.

But practically every other video we make this year will be more relevant to the topic of music entrepreneurship.

Let’s be honest though.

Ongoing self-education is an important topic, and I’ve covered it on the podcast many times already.

So, spending some time learning about interesting books isn’t time wasted, especially if those books end up helping you in some way.

I can’t create short links for everything I shared in this show, so again you can find all the links and a full transcription for this episode at davidandrewwiebe.com/175.

Start Your Year the Right Way

Imagine what your life will be like a year from now.

What music will you have released?

What stages will you have played on?

How much money will you have made?

Do you have a clear vision of where you’ll be?

Something I’ve noticed about trying to get clear on what you want is that your baggage can get in the way.

Unless you’ve spent some time, reflecting and processing the year past, you can end up dragging that emotional and mental content into the year that follows, regardless of how irrelevant that information might be.

Would you like to jettison that baggage so you can be the most effective version of yourself in 2020?

Then I would love for you to consider picking up a copy of my fourth book, Start Your Year the Right Way.

Start Your Year the Right Way: Goal-Setting, Planning & Achieving Big in Your Music Entrepreneurship Career

If there’s any skill we’ve mastered at Music Entrepreneur HQ, it’s deep thinking and reflection, where a lot of our breakthroughs have come from.

Are you ready to have more breakthroughs?

Then it’s important for you to spend some time in deep through and reflection.

Go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Year to learn more about the Start Your Year the Right Way workbook and pick up a copy for yourself.

Will you be buying a copy?

Go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Year to get yours.

This is David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.