The Best Songs to Listen to on the Road While You’re Touring

Tours and concerts are the life of a musician; if you want to share your love of music with the world, you need to adapt to constantly being on the road.

The journey to your next concert location can be a long and grueling one if you’re not prepared, and music is one of the best remedies to counter the dull moments.

The best way to ensure you have an unlimited supply of tunes is to download an app like SiriusXM or PlayOn. Not only will you have access to a good selection of music, you’ll also be able to engage with other forms of entertainment like movies or news; you could also use coupons if you feel like saving your money for a rainy day.

So, here is a list of the best songs to listen to on the road while you’re touring

1. “Load Out” – Jackson Browne

Part of the album Running on Empty, this musical masterpiece is an anthem for the ages. It perfectly describes the highs and lows of life on the road, as well as the appreciation and aggravation of the singer, Jackson Browne. If you are in doubt about your music career, this song is sure to raise your spirits and strengthen your resolve, making you ready for your next big hit.

2. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC

A classic rock song to get the adrenaline pumping; this little number was the last song Bon Scott, former lead singer of AC/DC recorded. No matter how many new tunes come into the spotlight, this one will forever be a crowd favorite, especially when you need a boost of energy on a long journey.

3. “Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf

Born to be Wild is a perfect motivator when you are doing something for the first time. If it’s your first road trip, then this song is a must-have for your playlist. The lyrics and accompanying music give you enough courage to embark on a journey filled with unexpected encounters.

4. “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

Long tours and endless roads can be quite tiresome. However, when you have Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run on your playlist, there is nothing that can bring you down. The moving melody and the singer’s rough vocals will make the journey lively until you reach your next destination.

5. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sweet Home Alabama is a song loved by every generation. It is full of contradictions and has nothing to do with Alabama, but it doesn’t matter when it can make you want to move to the rhythmic beat.

6. “Where The Streets Have No Name” – U2

It may be a little spiritual, but Where the Streets Have No Name has never failed to pump up the crowd. It’s one of the best songs to listen to on the road when you need a little energy boost to keep your blood pumping.

7. “Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers Band

This particular tune is more country than rock and was the first and only one of the songs from the band to have made the top 10 in Billboard 100 charts.

The lyrics and the music touch your soul as they tell you of the life of an artist, so it’s a fantastic song to add to your playlist when you’re on the road heading to your next concert.

8. “Life Is A Highway” – Tom Cochrane

Life is a Highway was number six on the Billboard Charts in 1992 in the US and is still one of the top songs to listen to on the road. It is one of the classics that never fails to move your soul; you may or may not know the lyrics, but when has that stopped anyone from enjoying the melody of this soulful song?

9. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine is an ideal song to add to the mix when on the road; a little Rock N’ Roll to get the blood pumping. This particular number has fabulous guitar riffs that are enough to light your musical spirit on fire.

10. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey

This song first came to light in 1981, but it is still just as much, if not more, popular today. Don’t Stop Believin’ is a crowd favorite, a sacred song written by Journey.

It builds up to the chorus in the end, which is when you realize why it’s legendary. It is the perfect pick-me-up when you feel unsure of yourself and your choice to be on the road away from home.

Conclusion

These classic tunes are all-time crowd favorites. With catchy music and heart-thrumming lyrics, they not only raise your spirits when you’re on the road away from family but are the perfect motivator to get back on stage and take the show by storm.

Managing Your Money as a Creative Entrepreneur

Managing Your Money as a Creative Entrepreneur

Money is a charged topic for most.

But your ability to create a sustainable and lasting career or business hinges on your financial smarts. So, it needs to be addressed, regardless of how uncomfortable or emotional it makes us feel to talk about it.

Managing your money well could mean the difference between releasing a new album every single year and not, as my friend and singer-songwriter Chris Gheran would testify. And, if you’re not a musician, just substitute the term “album” for book, painting, play, or whatever applies.

Here are some tips on how to manage your money.

Forget What You Think You Know About Money

If you’re happy with your financial life, then disregard this section and move on. But if things aren’t going well for you, keep reading.

First, I want you to forget everything you know about money. And, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll recognize that this pool of knowledge is very small anyway.

You may know a thing or two about mortgages, mutual funds, TFSAs (Canada) or Roth IRAs (U.S.). But the banks don’t have your best interests at heart, and that’s likely where your financial “smarts” come from.

Banks never taught me anything about managing my money. They only tried to push more products on me.

“You don’t have a mortgage? Oh my god!” The would say. “You should get one. You could totally buy a house.”

I once had a mortgage. I’m not a big believer in them anymore. I also had mutual funds and TFSAs. Granted, I think a TFSA is perhaps the most benevolent product available, and beneficial if used correctly.

Regardless, if you went to “bank university” like most people did, and you’re confused about your money, you’re probably like most others out there. You can’t learn how to master your money from an entity that’s there to sell you financial services, even though some are worthwhile.

Pay Yourself First

If we want to succeed in our financial lives, first we must trade in what we think we know for time-tested and proven strategies.

Here’s one strategy worth implementing immediately – pay yourself first.

This is where a lot of people get it wrong because they assume someone else will take care of them later in life, whether it’s the government, the company they work for, their family or their friends.

The problem with this is that government is actively reducing and eliminating pension programs, and I can almost guarantee that the company you work for is not interested in keeping you on payroll longer than they must.

Your family and friends are either going through or will be going through the same financial troubles you did and won’t have any more money to deal with the inevitable than you do.

Utility companies aren’t going to come to your rescue either. They will happily stick your other family members with pending bills when you pass away.

And, last but certainly not least, credit card companies could care less what financial state you’re in. They will keep stacking on the fees to get as much money as they possibly can out of you over the long haul.

So, the only person that cares about your financial future is you. When money comes in, you should pay at least 10% of that money into savings right away. It doesn’t matter if you can’t pay your utility bills in full. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be late on that credit card payment. Pay yourself first.

I’m not telling you to go and ruin your credit. All I’m saying is that after you’ve paid yourself, you can problem-solve the rest later. You’re a creative entrepreneur. You’re resourceful. There’s always a way.

I would sooner bet on my own future than willingly hand over all my money to some faceless corporation that could care less about my financial wellbeing.

Create 3 Categories of Savings

This is something I picked up from Tony Robbins and it has worked well for me. It’s not a flawless system by any means, but it’s a good way to think about savings.

Many people only have one savings account into which they pay into. And, you’re a step ahead of most if that happens automatically or on a planned schedule.

I’ve found it helpful to create three categories of savings. They are:

  1. Emergency fund. You should save six to nine months’ worth of expenses into this account. That way, if anything come up (and it always does), you’ll have money to cover it.
  2. Dream fund. Everyone has trips they want to take, things they want to buy, occasions they want to celebrate. Don’t put this off indefinitely. Begin putting money into your dream fund right away so you can go and experience life.
  3. Aggressive growth fund. Once your emergency and dream funds have been furnished, you’re ready to build your aggressive growth fund, which will be used to invest. This is money you wouldn’t mind losing. When investing, it’s always better to be playing with money you could live without. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t lose it, but that possibility always exists in investing.

As for what to invest in, I believe lifecycle funds are the best bet for most people. If you want to be more hands on, then index funds might be more to your liking.

Reinvest in Yourself & Your Future

Money is a tool.

As creative entrepreneurs, it is imperative that we learn how to use this tool to further our art, careers, and businesses.

As creative entrepreneurs, it is imperative that we learn how to use money to further our art, careers, and businesses. Click To Tweet

What do most people do after they’ve just earned, won, or been given a lot of money? Waste it!

As a business owner, you should understand the value of reinvesting in yourself. If you have extra money, put it back into your business.

The reason you made all that money probably had something to do with your creativity and art to begin with. So, if you prioritize reinvesting in yourself and your future, you can keep growing your business, thus setting yourself up to earn more down the line.

Your business needs to be fed and nurtured. So, keep feeding it and keep nurturing it as you’re able.

Be Proactive About Your Money

Many of us tend to believe that if we just had more money, all our problems would go away.

What we don’t realize is that if we just became better managers of the money we have, we’d be able to solve many of these problems without additional resources.

This isn’t to suggest that it won’t be hard work. But instead of counting on a windfall, learn to count your pennies and understand where they’re being spent. Learn to allocate your funds to things and people you care about. If you keep at this, you will make headway in your financial life.

Targeting a Niche as a Creative Entrepreneur

Targeting a Niche as a Creative Entrepreneur

Make no mistake about it — your art does not appeal to everyone.

And, there are no clear dividing lines between interests anymore. Some people who love the blues also love EDM. Some who love portraits also love landscapes. Others who enjoy abstract poetry might be into something mostly unrelated like macramé.

Further, we know that people don’t just follow one person on social media. They follow a variety of people, even if it’s in the same industry.

Understanding this behavior is key to targeting a niche. After all, you’ll need to cut through the noise if you want to stand out.

You’ll need to cut through the noise if you want to stand out. Click To Tweet

Standing Out from the Crowd

Let’s say you’re a visual artist. Well, I can tell you right now that you’re not the only visual artist out there. So, that alone will not make you stand out from the crowd.

What has the potential to help you cut through the noise is your subject matter (what you draw or paint), your style (the specific way in which you draw or paint), and the medium (the tools you use to draw or paint).

When I Google the term “tiger painting”, it turns up 101 million search results. That number instantly goes down to 21.8 million results if I enter the term, “neon yellow tiger painting” instead. And, when I look at the image results, I don’t see too many legitimate neon yellow tigers (though if you enter other common colors like blue or green, you will).

This example should go to illustrate that you probably have a better chance at being recognized for your neon yellow tiger paintings than your generic tiger paintings.

I’m not going to stop you from putting together a tiger painting if that’s your heart’s desire, but again, there are plenty of these out there. So, you’re probably not going to find your audience this way.

From General to Specific

Targeting a niche is the last thing most creatives want to do. They don’t like to be pigeonholed. Plus, they want to be free to create whatever they want to create.

Yet if I told you to sit down and write, draw, paint, or sculpt right now, without any further instructions, you might be at a loss as to what to create. And, even if you did make something, it might not be terribly inspired.

So, I think you would agree that determining a focus for your piece before getting to work on it is important.

What’s the point? The point is that, as a creative entrepreneur, you should begin with at least a general sense of what genre of art you’re going to be creating.

If you’re a country artist, then write country songs. Writing a rock song might be fun, but if you want to find your niche within the country scene, then writing rock songs is a waste of time and energy.

Start general. You may not attract a large audience immediately but doing this should help you engage potential fans. “Oh, you’re a country artist”, they say, because they instantly recognize the style of music you’re making.

Once established on a general level, you’re ready to go specific. And, you can begin exploring one of many subgenres, such as bluegrass, country blues, honky tonk and beyond. You could even attempt to create your own genre.

Diversify Later

“This doesn’t sound like creative freedom to me”, you might say.

I will readily admit there is a difference between creating art for yourself and creating art for an audience.

Entrepreneurs understand the importance of building their audience. After all, if there’s no one to sell to, there’s no opportunity to be had!

“But when do I get to try something different?”, you may be asking.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with deviating away from your core genre here and there. Experimentation can lead to many interesting discoveries and help you stay inspired to work on your art over the long haul. So, please feel free to try different things. But for the most part, you should stick to your guns, especially early on.

There is a good time to diversify, however, and that’s when you’ve established yourself in one genre.

If you’re creative, then there’s a good chance your creativity knows many expressions. But your initial goal should be to be known for one thing before you add other things to your portfolio.

It’s not just creatives that struggle with this. There are plenty of entrepreneurs that suffer from shiny object syndrome too.

So, hold off on diversification until later. Establish yourself in one area first.

Hold off on diversification until later. Establish yourself in one area first. Click To Tweet

Own Your Niche

It’s easier to get established in a niche than it is to get established in a general market. But this isn’t to suggest that it won’t require hard work either way, as it likely will.

This is especially true if you’re creating something in a niche that’s not saturated, or mostly non-existent. If it doesn’t exist, no one knows about it, which means you must create awareness for it. And, that can be challenging.

That’s why I said it’s best to start general and then go specific. If you start with an art form people are familiar with, and then add your own flavor to it, you should have at least a small audience to draw from. And, if they like what you do, your art should spread gradually by word of mouth.

Again, we can’t discount the importance of marketing, which is why I’ve dedicated some space to that conversation as well. So, don’t wait for your fans to do all your promotion work for you.

Regardless, your goal should be to own your niche. Don’t paint one neon yellow tiger and call it a day. Paint dozens or even hundreds of them. Then, begin to share these with the world. Put pictures of your paintings on your website and snag the top spot in Google. Get all your paintings to show up in Google Image Search. Be the go-to person in the neon yellow tiger space.

The Road to Profit

Understand that not everything you do will be a runaway success.

You could have done everything right and still not find an audience or make any money from your art.

So, treat this like an experiment. If necessary, go back to the drawing board and start over. Your neon yellow tigers might not strike a chord with people, but your efforts will not have been in vain. If you try your hand at something else and become known for that, your neon yellow tigers could begin flying off the shelf.

Targeting a niche is both an art and a science, so make it your mission to understand both sides.

Marketing Your Art as a Creative Entrepreneur

I’ve talked to hundreds of business owners.

What I’ve discovered is that many who’ve freed themselves to work on high-level tasks in their businesses often engage in marketing.

That tells me a few things:

1. That marketing should be considered a high-level task.

2. That marketing is worth putting your time into.

3. That marketing can be a lot of fun.

Marketing is a skill you should master, and if you can’t, you should find a marketing expert who can help you grow your business.

Either way, it’s beneficial to understand the basics of marketing. Here’s what you should know.

The Two Types of Marketing

In a broader sense, there are essentially two types of marketing:

1. Online marketing.

2. Offline marketing.

Both types of marketing are important.

As you can guess, online marketing refers to anything you do on the internet — blog posts, social media, emails, pay per click advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and more.

Meanwhile, offline marketing represents any marketing you conduct that isn’t tied to the internet — networking, speaking engagements, print advertising, publications, trade shows and more.

It’s exciting to think about everything you could be doing out there. But I think you’ll find it valuable to pick your battles, especially early on.

What I mean is that novice marketers tend to spread themselves entirely too thin.

Social networks? Cool — I’m going to go register 50 accounts right now!

Don’t be unrealistic. If you’re just getting started, there’s only one of you. You can’t keep 50 separate social media accounts updated (at least not without the help of automation tools).

If I were you, I would focus on mastering one or two channels before adding more. This will help you stay focused and not take on more than you can handle.

But how do you know where you should put your time and energy? That’s what I’m going to get into now.

Getting in Front of Your Audience

The great thing about being a creative entrepreneur is that you should be able to come up with unique and disruptive ways of getting in front of your audience.

But a metal band performing at a country venue might cause a riot, so we still need to be smart and mindful about how we market ourselves if we don’t want to waste our time, money and energy.

There’s a social network called XING. Have you heard of it? It’s essentially the LinkedIn for creatives.

You might be able to connect with a few people and make some fans by sharing your art on XING. I’m not going to discourage you from trying. But I can’t imagine it would be the best investment of your time.

So, whether it’s online or off, it’s important to go where your audience is and have a chance of connecting with them.

The good news is that there are publications, communities, Meetup groups, forums, blogs, social networks, storefronts and eCommerce stores, and other businesses and organizations serving virtually every audience out there. There’s a good chance someone has already built the audience you’re trying to get in front of.

Now, you might not like the idea of competition. I understand.

But the fact that there are other people in the market you’re looking to enter is usually a good sign. It means there’s an opportunity to be had. Someone is making money in the niche, and you could be too.

And, as I’ve already pointed out, there’s probably an opportunity for you to get in front of that audience.

In an online setting, that might mean guest posting on a popular industry blog. Offline, that might mean getting booked at a venue where people appreciate your style of poetry.

Ultimately, I don’t care what mediums or channels you use to market your art. So long as it’s helping you get the results you want, and it’s not violating man or God’s laws, it’s all fair game.

But you should still build your own platform, regardless of what other platforms you leverage. Nevertheless, it’s good to be aware that you can create visibility on third-party platforms and redirect traffic to your own.

But hold the phone. If you don’t know who your audience is, you wouldn’t know where to begin. Don’t worry — that’s what the next section is about.

Identifying Your Audience

Okay, so you’ve made something — a poem, a play, a painting, a drawing, a song, anything — and now you want to share it with the world.

You post it to your blog and… crickets.

So, you wait a while. You’re sure those comments, emails and/or purchases will come flooding in once everyone sees your brilliance.

A week later… still nothing.

Well, there are plenty of reasons why this can happen. It could be that your creation isn’t as good as you thought it was. It could be that your offer isn’t priced appropriately. More than likely, it’s just that you don’t have enough traffic coming to your blog. Fortunately, it can grow over time if you keep with it.

But to get traffic coming to your website, you first need to identify your audience and understand what they like.

I’m not suggesting that you must adjust your art to suit your audience. Sometimes this is necessary but there is an audience for practically everything out there already. Very simply, to appeal to them, you need to gain a better understanding of who they are.

There is an audience for practically everything out there already. To appeal to them, you need to gain a better understanding of who they are. Click To Tweet

One way to do this is to find artists who are already doing the kinds of things you’re doing. You can then analyze the content they have on their website, look at the comments on their blog, or just examine their art for more ideas.

You could also enter their website address into a tool like Alexa or SimilarWeb and get a better sense of who their audience is. These tools will give you information on things like audience geography, top keywords the website ranks for, traffic sources, audience interests and more.

Don’t forget to take advantage of Google Analytics for your website and Insights on Facebook. It’s a bit technical, but there’s a lot you can learn about your audience by analyzing the data you collect. Keep growing your traffic on your website and likes on Facebook, and you’ll learn a lot about your audience.

Sometimes this is a fast process and sometimes it can take a lot of time. Either way, identifying your audience is worth the effort so stick with it!

Keep it Simple

If you can market your art effectively, you can find success as a creative entrepreneur. That’s what I believe, anyway.

There’s a lot that goes into marketing. So, don’t be afraid to delve deeper into this world. You might end up spending a lot of time in research and study, but I promise the effort you put in won’t go to waste.

Most of all, keep it simple, especially early on. The more complicated the strategy, the harder it can be to execute because it will require more of your time, effort and money. And, there’s a greater chance you’ll make mistakes along the way.

I would suggest creating a simple written plan to begin with. You can always adjust as necessary, especially if you find it’s not working, or you know it could be improved upon.

Making Your Art as a Creative Entrepreneur

As a creative, you probably don’t need to be told to work on your art. You would do it even if no one was paying you to do it. That’s how much you love it. It’s your passion.

I don’t want to tell you how to do your creative work either. Whether it’s taking photos, writing poetry or painting murals, you should be an expert at your craft already. If not, then keep going. Keep making more art. You will improve.

But there are a few things I want to share with you about the strategic aspect of making your art.

Serving an Audience

For many artists, their art serves them.

There’s nothing wrong with this. If you love working on your art and it fulfills you, more power to you.

But if you consider yourself a creative entrepreneur, or you’re thinking about becoming one, then you’re going to want to take a different approach.

If your art only serves you, it can be an uphill slog trying to find an audience.

I once interviewed Jack Conte for my blog. He’s one half of Pomplamoose and CEO of Patreon.

Pomplamoose found success on YouTube through the video song medium. But this didn’t happen overnight.

Jack says they kept adapting and iterating until they found a formula that appealed to their audience. That involved taking popular songs, reharmonizing the chords, keeping the melody, adding unique instrumentation, and documenting it all in the form of a video song.

Some artists call this selling out. I just call it being mindful of what your audience wants.

If you want to find a market to sell your art to, make it your mission to serve an audience.

Being Prolific vs. Being a Perfectionist

People are now bombarded with texts, emails, instant messages, social media notifications and so on.

This underscores the importance of staying top of mind with your audience. And, if you want to stay top of mind, you’re going to want to show up for them as often as possible.

Today, if you were to ask me whether it’s better to be prolific or a perfectionist, I would tell you it’s better to be sustainably prolific.

I admit that it’s a loaded question. Some artists I know don’t want to put out anything they can’t ultimately be proud of.

I understand that perspective. The only problem is that a few years down the line, you may not feel the same way about it.

A “hit” can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Do you think Van Halen loved performing “Jump” every single time they went on tour? With all the touring they did, I imagine there were times when they didn’t want to go up on and play that song.

So, what’s perfect to you now may not be perfect to you a few years down the line. Do you see how that can be a trap?

If you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to keep sharing your art  —  even if it’s half finished  —  preferably daily.

If you want to keep your audience engaged, you need to keep sharing your art  —  even if it’s half finished  —  preferably daily. Click To Tweet

I’m not suggesting that it’s a matter of quantity over quality. I’m suggesting that it’s about finding a healthy balance between the two.

The reality is that your fans may end up liking the creations you hate, and you may end up liking the creations they hate. So, you can’t make any assumptions about what people may take a liking to.

Hitting Two Birds with One Stone

Let’s say you’re an illustrator. You love to draw and create pictures.

But you’re also tech savvy. You understand how search engine algorithms and keywords work.

So, you begin producing new drawings every single day, as often as you can. These works are then shared on your blog, Behance, Etsy, DeviantArt and other sites.

Now, you know how hard it can be to stand out as an illustrator. But because you’re creating new work every single day and sharing it with the world, you’re going to pick up momentum.

This is particularly true if you choose an underserved niche. You could spend your time drawing a lot of different things. But if you did that, it would take you a while to gain attention for your work.

Meanwhile, if you spent all your time drawing purple dragons, and you had hundreds of purple dragon drawings, you would dominate that niche. Trust me  —  I looked it up, and the competition isn’t that steep (as of this writing).

The added benefit being that if someone searched for a purple dragon in Google and clicked on “Images”, they would see your work. So, not only would you be serving a niche audience, you would be effectively marketing your work as you’re creating it. You would be hitting two birds with one stone.

In general, I don’t find artists love marketing. So, if your creating and marketing efforts went hand in hand, it could make your life a lot easier.

This is the ideal to strive for, but it isn’t possible in every situation. Sometimes you will have to prioritize your marketing efforts — publishing blog posts, sharing your work on social media, sending emails to your audience and more.

But can you see how being prolific would play right into hitting two birds with one stone?

Planning for Success

So, you need to make your art. But you also need to promote it. There’s no two ways about this.

What many artists do is create their art and hope that someone discovers them.

This is not the way the world works anymore. You need to be the first to make your presence known. You need to be able to communicate your value to others.

So, why not plan for success?

Create a strategy for yourself. Consider how you’ll be marketing your art. Think about how much time you’ll be spending on it. Research and find the best channels for sharing your work with the world.

Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect. What matters is that you have a plan.

You can’t steer a parked car. But once you get going, it becomes much easier to know when you need to course correct. Just ensure that you have a clear destination in mind. If you don’t, you won’t know when you are off track.

One thing my mentors taught me was that success doesn’t happen by accident. It requires planning. So, be intentional about the steps you take to get to where you want to go.

Your Art is Your Business

Every business has a product or service to sell.

Your product is your art.

Set aside any preconceptions you may have about marketing and selling your art, such as how much you can charge for it or whether people will buy it.

If you make it and get it in front of people, you will discover that many people are willing to pay good money for your creations.

But you do need to find a way to get it in front of people. That’s key.