Having interacted with you rock gods for a while, I know some of you are going to give a knee-jerk response to this question before reading anything I etch into my blog.
But if there’s anything I could say to convince you to read even a little further, it would be this:
This is a more nuanced question than you might be inclined to believe. And understanding the ins and outs will better set you up for success. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your mind in a fishbowl.
So, if you’re ready, give me a chance to explain what I’m starting to see (and I’m not presenting this in “I’m your master” kind of way – I’m merely documenting my journey and my latest findings).
This Offer Expires Soon:
Did you know you could get The Music Entrepreneur Code, along with two bonuses for just $5? Yeah, I know. But this offer is going away September 30. Seriously. So, claim your special offer while it lasts, okay?
You always need to be trying to send people back to where they can find everything, which is your website.
This would be the main reason to ensure you knock it out of the park with your central repository.
Yes, people are going to get lost and get stuck on your website, unable to find what they’re looking for. No matter how much time and effort you put into organizing, simplifying, and optimizing your website.
Some visitors are going to bounce off. Others are going to miss the super obvious call to action in your sidebar. Still others are going to nitpick the badly worded disclaimer in your footer.
Oh well… Who cares?
Your website is for your hardcore, “I’ve got to have it all” fans, and once they’ve stumbled upon it, they’ll have found their personal version of heaven.
They’ll read your extensive catalog of blog posts, listen to your podcasts, watch all your videos, and ultimately end up on your merch page buying your latest thing… because it’s shiny.
That’s who you’re building your website for. Don’t worry about the others – we’ll find a solution for them (more on this in a moment).
Even Russell Brunson, creator of ClickFunnels (the “website killer”) has a central repository for his content at Marketing Secrets. Gee, I wonder why?
Further, without naming names, noted music coaches and educators (who everyone goes gaga over), who relied heavily on ads for traffic are starting to publish more frequently. Yeah, they’re getting into content too.
Does it Have to be a WordPress Site?
I’ve talked to the good folks at Bandzoogle. I had director of artist and industry outreach Dave Cool on my old podcast (DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship), and even met him in person last year at DIY Musician Conference in Austin, TX.
Bandzoogle is great. It’s so simple to use.
I once set up a client website on Bandzoogle. Once she realized just how simple it was, she couldn’t have been more thrilled!
(It still took her a while to feel comfortable with it though).
If I were to offer any kind of support to anyone (not saying I will – certainly not for free), I could offer support for WordPress and Bandzoogle. I wouldn’t offer it for another platform.
I still feel a stronger sense of control with WordPress myself, but that doesn’t make Bandzoogle bad. Not at all.
What do You Recommend for Building a WordPress Site?
So, over the years, I’ve promoted different web hosting services and some of the ones I previously used got bought out and suddenly turned from solid to godawful.
I have a couple of recommendations, but for 80% of people, I would say SiteGround (affiliate link – hey, don’t look at me like that, I’m trying to be helpful) is the right option.
It’s fast, easy to use, and you can get WordPress up and running with the click of a mouse.
Yes, buying and setting up a domain as well as hosting can be kind of technical, but once it’s done, it’s done.
I don’t have space to cover the process in detail here, but I’m happy to put together a video tutorial if you’d like (let me know in the comments below!).
Is That All?
So, earlier I mentioned that you should have a central repository for everything you.
But it’s unmistakable that websites are changing.
Like I said, your central space is for people who are warm to you. People who like you and want to check out everything you’ve got.
Many others are cold to you, and are basically going to get stuck, get lost, and bounce off your website. Sad but true.
But there is a way to capture them too.
WordPress is great. But the main issue is, to unlock its full potential, you’ve got to install plugins. And plugins don’t always play nicely with each other. They can even cost a pretty penny and be hard to use.
So, if you’re interested in setting up a fan club, membership, or sales funnel (and I would argue these are good things to set up in these weird times), you’re basically going to end up having to become a technical expert in the process.
You can use your central space to direct people to your offers (and you should), but your offers should perhaps live somewhere other than WordPress. Somewhere distraction free, where people get to learn about your story, your product, and not be presented with links to a million other options.
So, I’ll share a few solutions with you as well as their pros and cons.
So, right off the bat, I’ve got to tell you 10XPro (affiliate link) is my favorite option.
It’s got all the tools you’d possibly need to set up your membership site, course platform, fan club or otherwise.
It’s incredibly easy to use.
If you wanted to, you could even use 10XPro as your all-in-one platform. Yes, you can even use it for publishing. Most other solutions make that difficult or just don’t have the option.
And here’s a biggie:
It doesn’t just have a shiny coat of paint on the front end. You can create a great customer experience on the back end (or on the inside) too. That’s the biggest factor, so far as I’m concerned.
The catch? 10XPro is likely the costliest of solutions available. Considering what it offers, the cost is more than fair, though.
The key for most artists considering 10XPro will be getting to breakeven as quickly as possible, at which point it becomes self-sustaining.
ClickFunnels is great. It truly is. I got to see it all up and close earlier this summer when I took the One Funnel Away Challenge (affiliate link – this training is super intensive and highly recommended, especially at the price point).
The best thing about ClickFunnels is you can use it to build any type of funnel you want (although you can do that with 10XPro as well), and the templates they’ve got are all attractive and customizable.
What I don’t like is this:
The front end experience is awesome. It’s designed to sell. But the back end experience, for me, leaves something to be desired. Almost like it’s good for the seller, but not great for the customer, which is a red flag for me.
I may end up using ClickFunnels for some of my funnels, especially joint ventures. So, in no way am I saying don’t use it. But you should be aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
ClickFunnels is more affordable than some of the alternatives, which is an aspect that goes in its plus column.
I love Leadpages. It’s my secret weapon for building an email list!
In no way is it cheap, but the Standard and Pro plans are still more affordable than 10XPro or ClickFunnels.
Still, I think Leadpages works better as a plug-and-play list grower than it does as a website or selling platform.
Don’t get me wrong – you can use Leadpages to build your sales funnels, and it would even work quite well. As with 10XPro and ClickFunnels, you’d just need to connect Stripe, and you could start taking payments.
Customizability is where you’d probably struggle bit. Leadpages has lots of proven, high-converting templates already, so not like you’d need to go in and change everything.
But in my attempts to build my dream funnel and present everything the way I wanted it to look, I just couldn’t see Leadpages being my go-to solution.
I would suggest using Leadpages to grow your list, especially if you’re building WordPress to build your site.
You don’t need Leadpages if you’re building entirely on 10XPro or ClickFunnels though. They have list building features built-in, and they are awesome.
They suck. I’m sorry, they just do.
I’ve looked at what else is out there, and there are cheaper solutions, but I just can’t recommend them.
The above tools all look and function similarly, with some differences. I find the ClickFunnels building platform to be the buggiest of all, but that’s just my experience.
Anyway, the moment you start paying less for your solution, you end up sacrificing your experience as a user, and your customer’s experience of your product as well. That reflects badly on you.
I’m an entrepreneur, so I like the idea of ownership and control. WordPress gives me that. 10XPro gives me that. To an extent, ClickFunnels gives me that. To a much lesser extent, Leadpages gives me that (but if they went away, there would be other tools I could replace it with).
Building your website on Blogger, Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or otherwise.
Your following on these platforms is owned by the platform, not you.
So, begin creating your ownership strategy now. Get people on your email list at all costs.
I also talked about this in episode 203 of my podcast:
Final Thoughts, Building a WordPress Site
No, you don’t still need a WordPress site, though I argue there’s value in building your central repository on the web. In most cases, this should be a WordPress site, but Bandzoogle is great too.
Solutions like 10XPro and ClickFunnels can be used as your all-in-one platforms. But all things being equal, I think 10XPro is the better all-in-one solution.
Leadpages is awesome, and it can even be used to build sales funnels. But its chief strength is in helping you build a list, not in building a website or funnel.
Is there anything I missed? Anything else I should have covered? Let me know in the comments below.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.
Today, I’m going to be pulling back the curtain to talk about the thing I’m working on right now – the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass/Course.
If the name sounds familiar, or you feel like you’ve heard it before, it’s because I created the presentation and shared it with Musical U’s (affiliate link) audience two years ago.
Over the last three or four years, Musical U has been quite generous in featuring me on their blog, on their podcast, as well as inside their membership.
I’ve reciprocated by mentioning them on my blog, podcast, and even books, every chance I get.
Their generosity even extended into letting me use the masterclass inside my membership.
This is what I’m working on right now.
Technically, The Music Entrepreneur Code Companion Course already lives there…
And I even did a launch last month to test out a product idea (it bombed).
But even the bombing was a positive experience because I saw an opportunity to pivot.
I figured, maybe for now, I could launch more of a course-oriented platform instead of a membership or exclusive program.
If I still want to add a membership component to it later, I can. The platform I’m building on allows me to do this no problem.
And I was inspired by a little membership I’m a part of called SuperFastResults.
With my course platform, I also determined that I wanted to price everything out of the $5 to $35 range, which is what my Music Entrepreneur HQ audience is trained to expect at this point.
With my course platform, I want to begin selling products in the $45 to $197 range instead (and maybe I’ll have a bundle of all the courses, which could add up to considerably more, depending on the number of courses available).
Your New Platform?
I’m building it on 10XPro (affiliate link), and I couldn’t be happier about that decision.
Certainly, it’s a little pricey by artist standards (that includes me).
But because I do a lot of reviews for my staff writing duties, I’ve had the opportunity to see what else is out there in terms of courses aimed at musicians.
And while some of the course building platforms (or LMS apps) have an outward sheen that makes them seem like the right choice…
When it came to customer experience, they were just lacking. Oftentimes, the way they housed the content was lackluster.
I also found these platforms ultimately cost around the same as 10XPro. So, for all the added functionality and premium experience the platform provides (not just for the creator but also for the user), it just feels right.
10XPro is super easy to use, too.
And Your New Platform Will be Called…?
Content Marketing Musician.
And, of course, that means I will need to create a course on content marketing and turn it into the “high ticket” premium course.
But even at $197, it would probably be right in line with market value, if not a little lower.
Again, I’ve seen what’s out there, and there are music coaches and educators charging $1,000 to $2,000 for their courses (that challenged my mindset in a big way).
Either way, Content Marketing Musician will be home to a few things you may have seen already, including:
Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass (mentioned earlier – I’m adding an introduction, conclusion, and three bonus lessons to sweeten the deal)
My Top 10 Lessons in Music Entrepreneurship (I plan to make this course free to get new users hooked and I might even add a lesson to make it 11)
The Music Entrepreneur Code Companion Course (mentioned earlier)
How to Set Up Your Music Career Like a Business (my original audio course, which I plan to update and add a video component to)
And, of course, I plan to add new courses during Q4 when I’m looking to launch.
I plan to go live with the Content Marketing Musician platform in October 2020. But there’s a good chance it will be ready before then.
About the only thing I need to do with the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is film the conclusion, which should be a simple affair (in reality, I’m re-filming it because I had issues with the first take).
I still need to build the front end of the website too.
Either way, I always want to be a little ahead of schedule. I want to be working on the next thing before launching the current thing.
Plus, I will likely begin promoting the platform in my email footers without telling anyone…
Just add “get the training you need” in there with a link to Content Marketing Musician, and we’re good to go (yes, I did model this layout from someone else I’ll mention a little later…)
Why Spend an Entire Quarter on This?
Making courses isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Now, it is 100% true you can get an entire course out of your head, onto paper, into a slide deck, and even have the entire thing recorded in a weekend.
But if you’re basically a one-man show with a few part-time helpers (as I am), the process takes a little longer.
Once you’ve got your raw video, you’ve still got to edit, break it up into modules and lessons, create transcripts, put the transcripts inside the lessons and format them, add links and resources, create a funnel or sales process for the entire course… you get the idea.
You can skip some of these steps to be fair, but I like the idea of over-delivering.
Like I said, I’ve got a lot of content I can re-purpose, so that makes it a little easier for me to prepare more courses in less time.
But based on the amount of time and energy the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass has been taking, I wouldn’t be surprised if each course took up a good chunk of man hours.
The other reason I think it makes sense to spend an entire quarter on this is because that’s what I learned from James Schramko (owner of SuperFastResults, SuperFastBusiness, and Silver Circle).
I want to get all the pieces in place in September, so that I can make a lot of noise during Q4, and then begin to put it on autopilot as I move on to the next thing.
By that I mean the pieces of the masterclass campaign.
So, here’s basically what I’ve been thinking based on everything I’ve been learning as of late.
I’ve talked about the return of the campaign already, so what I’m about to share basically coincides with that.
What I’m looking to do is create a basic framework for my 90-day campaigns, such that I can execute at a high level and maximize results.
I don’t expect everything to work. I’ve done a TON of things that didn’t work to this point (no joke).
But one thing I do know is I will get better at this if I keep doing it.
And there are always some unknowns with every campaign. Basically, this would be the theme or personality of the campaign. The way in which it’s presented, or the brand of it if you will.
In the case of another campaign I’m planning to do (I will talk more about this in a separate blog post), I already know what the personality of it is going to be – quirky, fun, weird, humorous.
In the case of Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, I haven’t determined the esthetics of it yet. But I also have a little over a month to think it through (not saying it’s going to be easy).
Besides that, this is basically what I have in mind for the campaign:
The Insane Giveaway
While a lot of people are giving away eBooks, checklists, cheat sheets, and so forth (and this CAN work), I’m beginning to see the value in insane, irresistible giveaways. I learned this from Russell Brunson.
So, for Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, I’m planning to give away a few dozen audios.
I’ve done dozens of interviews with music entrepreneurs already, most of whom answered these two questions:
What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?
What is the greatest victory you’ve experienced?
So, the giveaway (I like that term better than lead magnet) would be something along the lines of 31 Music Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Darkest Struggles & Insane Triumphs or something like that.
The insane giveaway would be promoted prominently on my various website platforms, and it’s the main thing I would be promoting with my ads too.
The Sales Page
Obviously, every course needs a solid sales page.
Here are the components I’m looking to implement:
Film reel. This is what I’m calling it at this point. Basically, it would be four or five images shown together to help the user imagine what the course is going to be like on the inside.
Compelling headline. Probably don’t need to expand on this.
Video. The video should relay the story or the emotion of the course. I’m a stoic, logically minded guy, so the sales page should be all emotion.
Copy and hooks. I’m going to see what hooks others are using to promote their courses. I will model them (not plagiarize!).
Your teacher. In this case, me. I think I should be framed as “the teacher.” I feel like this will build trust.
Your host. There won’t always be a host, but in this instance, Christopher Sutton of Musical U.
Free lesson. I’m planning to share a free lesson. In this case, it will be the bonus lesson Cashflow Quadrant Decoded, because it’s full of emotion. I might edit it down to only include the emotion. I’ll also be publishing the free lesson to YouTube for additional traffic.
Every campaign requires emails. I plan to create multiple emails based on Brunson’s framework of Emotion, Logic, and Fear also seen in his Traffic Secrets book (affiliate link – I’m about a third of the way through and enjoying it a great deal).
I will share these emails with people who get my insane giveaway as well as my main list.
Brunson says people who don’t buy after 30 to 60 days are unlikely to pick up what you’re putting down, so at that point I will be putting subscribers into a new funnel or back on a healthy serving of my regular blog and podcast updates.
I’m already publishing every day (in some cases twice per day), so during the 90-day campaigns, it would make a lot of sense to highlight my new offer in my posts.
Notice how I’ve been sharing my book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, at the end of every blog post as of late? It’s because I’m in the middle of a 90-day campaign promoting that product.
Again, I’ll be modeling what I see working out there, mostly based on my Dream 100.
My focus will be Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, and YouTube, though my posts will probably reach LinkedIn and Tumblr too. We’ll see about others like Blogger, Pinterest, Mix, and so on (not sure if there’s much point).
Originally created by Chet Holmes, this is another marketing strategy I learned from Brunson.
It basically involves making a list of all the influencers, experts, gatekeepers, group and forum moderators, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and building a relationship with them over time (with an emphasis on over time).
This list should have access to your target audience or ideal customer. In my case, I’ve also chosen experts who make great content and have helped me on my journey, but at least half of my list has access to my audience.
I’m also planning for when I might launch products into different markets.
My list is bigger than 100, and I’ve already started building a relationship with them. This being a long-term strategy, however, I’m not expecting any payoff, even during the campaign to come.
The main payoff, so far, has been what I’ve been learning from my Dream 100.
If you’re curious who’s on my Dream 100, you have but to pay attention to who I regularly mention in my blog posts (this one included!).
I’m thinking I should probably have a separate outreach campaign for the masterclass (besides the Dream 100). This would likely be to bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and group owners.
I’ve been thinking maybe I could reach out to anyone who’s been featured on my blog or podcast and ask for their help…
And I’ve also been learning some great things about YouTube collaborations from Noah Kagan, and I’m liking that angle a lot…
The one thing I will likely do is reach out to some of my contacts (maybe even people on my email list), and give 10 lucky people access to the course for free in exchange for testimonials.
Still need to give this one some thought though.
I want to keep this as simple as possible and basically plan to spend a small budget remarketing to Dream 100 audiences.
I’d like to incorporate some aspect of crowdsourcing or outsourcing in all my campaigns.
Not sure how I might integrate this with the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass campaign yet.
I was basically thinking I could hire a few freelancers on Fiverr to create unique sales videos for the course.
So, Those are the Pieces of the Masterclass Campaign
Phew. Sounds like quite a bit of work doesn’t it? That’s because it is!
I’m still working on bits and pieces, as you can see. And that’s another reason it makes sense to start going full force in October, though I see myself doing some light marketing in September.
Comments on the Masterclass/Course & Campaign?
Am I on the right track…
Or completely insane?
Is there something I’m missing, or something you see I could be doing?
Are there any questions you need answering on this subject (so I can include my answers in the course content)?
Can you see yourself being involved in some way? Want to help out?
Then what are you waiting for? Let me know in the comments below!
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.
When I came across this material, I was a musician just like you. I was not an entrepreneur.
All I wanted to do was play guitar all day, write songs, tour from town to town, and record.
I had done a bit of graphic and web design work on the side. I started a home studio. I had even gotten into personal development. But ultimately, I didn’t go into any of it thinking I was going to get excited about business.
I mean, sure, I always thought it would be great to make loads of money doing things I loved to do. But I figured that was inevitable. It would happen if I just kept at it.
I thought the good life would be making music, throwing around a basketball with my bandmates, writing some blog posts… that’s about it.
I Wasn’t Looking for a Business
So, I wasn’t looking for a business. Let me underscore this part.
Because I think this is the part many people don’t understand about my story. I didn’t just one day wake up and say, “hey guys, I’m the music entrepreneur!”
I WAS going through a major financial crunch, and that DID impact my decision. But if there was a way for me to take my music career from zero to hero without having to get into business, I would have done it!
I was all out of options and it was crushing.
I had no money, and as result, I had no time. I was working five terrible jobs, and sometimes found myself fighting for safe working conditions and even the money I was owed!
The occasional open mic, rehearsal, or gig was the only music in my life. I couldn’t dedicate any of my time or energy towards the thing I loved most.
Up until that point, I had plenty of time to sit, ponder, and discuss my future with my roommates. It wasn’t always easy trying to interpret life and my identity. But it was fun. Those were good times.
Suddenly and forcefully, this kid was confronted with a very adult problem. Ready or not. I was sledgehammered into a new world. I did NOT choose it!
But there IS a reason I got excited. And that’s what I wish to relay here.
You’re Not Supposed to do This
In 2011, I ended up joining two network marketing companies, right around the same time. You’re not supposed to do that!
This is largely what your upline mentors would consider a conflict of interest. And their greatest worry would be that you destroy their business by courting their downline and getting them to join your organization.
This would basically be the equivalent of agreeing to teach guitar at a studio, only to take the studio’s entire client base with you after quitting. This is frowned upon.
Fortunately for my upline, I wasn’t interested in that.
I was much more interested in the possibilities I was beginning to see because of some things Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki had said.
The Business of the 21st Century
Now, just so there’s no misunderstanding, Kiyosaki did not visit my home and share his message with me. Nor did I see him speak at a conference.
See, every network marketing organization (well, the good ones anyway) have training materials. And when you’re going through the evaluation process (no, your upline won’t just let you join because you’re excited – you’ve got to prove yourself), you’ll work your way through some of that material.
So, the audio that got me fired up was The Business of the 21st Century, named after the book of the same title. But it wasn’t anything like the book. It was more so Kiyosaki just sharing his mindset.
Most importantly, what resonated with me was the cashflow quadrant.
The Cashflow Quadrant
The cashflow quadrant is easy to understand.
On the left-hand side of the quadrant, you’ll see an E and an S. And on the right-hand side, you’ll find a B and an I.
E is for Employee.
S is for Self-Employed, Specialist or Solo.
B is for Business Owner.
And I for Investor.
We need this context for what I’m about to share.
My Experience with the Quadrant
Personally, I had only ever spent a few months as an E. But I was well-acquainted with being an S, as most musicians are.
As a self-employed, you’d probably engage in some of the things I’ve already talked about. Maybe you’d get into graphic or web design. Maybe you’d start a home studio. If you were good at writing, you hunted around for freelancing gigs.
This is what many of us associate with starting a business. And while a freelancing career can feel like a business and even grow into one, because it’s so reliant on you and your time, it’s basically like creating your own job.
But let’s get back to that breakthrough…
The Difference is Mindset
In the audio I mentioned earlier, Kiyosaki says a safe, secure, high-paying job for life is an obsolete idea.
As I watched my friends and extended social circle jump from job to job and spend enormous sums of money for a paper on the wall, I had no choice but to agree.
Kiyosaki goes onto explain that the mentality of a self-employed (S) is “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” I talked about why this can hold you back yesterday.
A business owner (B) is someone with 500 employees or $10 million in revenue. And as a B, your job is to spread the wealth to as many people as possible. Business owners also tend to pay less in taxes.
For those on the left-hand side of the quadrant, the more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. I have seen this firsthand. It’s not a pretty sight.
Employees and self-employed also tend to be bought into “conventional” wisdom.
Ever had someone tell you that a house is the best thing to invest in? And then the banks tell you to buy mutual funds. Am I right? Well, if you’re thinking in terms of wealth, Kiyosaki says this couldn’t be more wrong.
Inflation is another major factor affecting your income as an E or S. If you’re invested in the right things, you make money when inflation hits. Otherwise, you end up paying more for commodities.
Again, “conventional” wisdom says there’s no such thing as inflation, but I’m calling B.S. on that. Gas, groceries, and utilities seem to go up in price every few months, never mind every year!
I could go on, but to summarize, the biggest difference between the four quadrants is mindset. That means you can move from the left side of the quadrant to the right side of the quadrant by changing the way you look at the world.
Paradigm Shift, Conclusion
When you’re on the left side of the quadrant, you work for money and other people.
When you’re on the right side of the quadrant, you have money and people work for you.
As a musician, you’re obviously never going to be handing over the creative process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have money and people work for you, especially when it comes to tasks you don’t enjoy, aren’t good at, and pull you away from working in your strengths.
Success is 80% psychology. So, by shifting our mindset, we can create expanded outcomes in our music careers.
It’s not about getting into business. That’s boring. Dumb. Stupid. Risky.
That’s not the opportunity I saw and it’s not what I got excited about!
What I got excited about was the possibility of creating the life I wanted through music. And that’s the vision I share with others every single day.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.
Whether you’re looking to get some graphic design work done, or you want your next lyric video created, guaranteed you can find someone with the skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to help you in the capacity you need.
Sure, it might take some digging. You might make a few mistakes.
But when you consider the alternative, of handing over 80% of your career versus keeping 80% of it, you can begin to shift your mindset around your spending, such that you’re actively reinvesting in your career instead of holding tightly onto your financial resources, which will just sit there and do nothing for you.
Myth #4: You’ve Got to be the Smartest Person in the Room
An entrepreneur typically wants to be the dumbest person in the room, so they can be a sponge, learn from others and allow the people around them to shine in their strengths.
Again, this goes back to knowing it all and doing it all, which is incredibly inefficient.
You do want to be a good leader. But being a good leader begins with self. If you lead yourself well, and ask good questions, you can lead a team no problem.
One of my mentors is an expert at this. When there’s a project he wants to bring to life, he gathers like-minded people who are committed to the cause.
And slowly, over time, he begins to move the team in the right direction. Remember the African proverb from earlier? He might not get anywhere fast using this approach, but he will go far.
Although he leads his people, he never tells them what to do!
He asks questions, guides the discussion, and helps his team arrive at the answer that makes the most sense for all involved.
Now, he’s willing to have as many conversations as necessary, getting to know the people around him, assessing their suitability to the project, understanding their motivations and desires, ensuring their level of commitment…
But besides teaching his team how to think, having conversations and sending emails, he doesn’t lift a finger. Incredible!
You may not have the same level of patience to lead people in this manner. That’s okay – you’re going to have your own way of going about things.
But the example is certainly one worth learning from.
Building Your Team, Summary
When you’ve got big goals and dreams for your career and your life, you’re going to be tempted to ask “how?”
This question, unfortunately, stops us dead in our tracks. The question we should train ourselves to ask instead is “who?”
There is always someone that can help us build a bridge from one canyon to the next. They might be a freelancer or a full-time assistant. They might offer short-term help, or they might become a permanent member of the team. That part will basically sort itself out, and you need not worry about it.
So, whenever you’re stuck, don’t ask yourself “how?”
“What conversation am I NOT having?”
Because THAT conversation is the one you need to have next.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.
Before you hate on me, there’s one thing you should know – I signed the petition!
I’m 100% behind the principle of the cause. It would be great to see one cent per stream versus the non-quantifiable decimals they’ve been trying to pass off as compensation.
Sadly, I think the musician community’s focus has been misplaced. All I hear is Spotify this, Spotify that. Most of it is a delusion.
Yes, it’s important. But not that important.
Especially compared to some of the things I cover in this post.
Fight for Dollars, Not for Cents!
Many musicians say money isn’t important.
But if that’s true, why are we fighting over cents rather than dollars?
You do know that you can still make $5 to $20 selling your releases, don’t you?
And if you’re going to put the same amount of effort into promoting something anyway…
WHY promote your music on Spotify for mere cents? Especially when you could be making dollars?
Musicians need to wake up and realize ONE THING – that their fans aren’t them!
We’re talking about grade school kids that want to find their identity, feeling like they don’t fit in, combating anxiety and depression…
We’re talking about college kids that want to party and rock out because they aren’t ready to be adults just yet…
We’re talking about adults that sit at a desk job all day daydreaming they were somewhere else doing something else…
THOSE are the people your music is for. And, surprise, surprise, they might just have more discretionary income than you do.
Look – I know women aged 25 to 45 that don’t bat an eye dropping $100 per day on food and entertainment. Food for thought.
Now I GET that people don’t always buy what’s readily available for free. We do need to approach the sales process a little differently than we used to. But let me get to that.
So, What’s Your Solution?
If you’re a listener of my podcast, then my answer here is going to be “you’re joking, right?”
The New Music Industry Podcast has nearly 300 episodes as of this writing, and I’ve talked about dozens (if not hundreds) of alternative ways you can monetize your music. It’s kind of what I’m known for actually.
It’s funny how my peers are just now making a big stink about alternative monetization. I’ve been talking about this since 2009.
Here’s a small sample (and I do mean small sample) of opportunities just waiting to be tapped.
The first is bundling and packaging your music:
The second is setting up a membership site/fan club:
The third is making money from affiliate partnerships, a topic I’ve covered here on the blog in detail:
I shared FIVE ways you can make money as a blogging musician in this episode:
And the sales funnel approach – which has its pros and cons – is quite popular among musicians as well. John Oszajca shared eloquently on this topic in episode 147 of the podcast:
Need I say more?
There are a TON of ways to make more money in music, and most of them represent a better opportunity than making a cent per stream.
Have Fun While it Lasts
Kanye may have been right. Maybe Bush doesn’t care about black people.
But it sure doesn’t seem like the government cares about artists, independent musicians, or small business owners like me, either.
What do I mean?
Have a read through the following. These are some of the REAL issues independent musicians and businesses are facing. This is what we’re really up against.
But be forewarned…
If you read what follows, you might not sleep tonight.
Remember – all this stuff IS coming, and you can read all about it if you go digging for it.
COPPA & Increased YouTube Related Restrictions
YouTubers are having a rough go of this whole COPPA thing, and some are caught in the middle of the mess, with their living on the line.
To be perfectly fair, this child protection act has been around for a long time, and for good reason. Children should not be able to access or view content that’s inappropriate to them.
What’s 100% hypocritical about this is that anyone with an unprotected internet connection can easily access pornography at the click of a mouse – child, adult, senior, or otherwise!
But before another YouTuber whines they’re going to lose their poo – because they draw adult-oriented cartoons, and that makes their content incredibly ambiguous – I agree. YouTube needs to sort some of this out before they start acting like the righteousness police.
COPPA isn’t unimportant. The way it’s been implemented, and what has resulted from it, especially on YouTube, seems draconian.
You can’t convince me popular social media platforms aren’t actively censoring people.
I’ve literally seen Facebook censor one of my friend’s posts!
I get it. Many of you are crying, “Awesome! We don’t want to hear from those crazy flat earthers anyway!”
No, censorship is quickly evolving beyond what some consider “fake news,” which has become impossible to quantify or verify, when you understand that every event that occurs is seen differently by every human being. And the way media makes money is by getting you to click on scandalous headlines.
It’s getting to the point where voicing an opinion that doesn’t conform to the majority is actively ridiculed, suffocated, and even shadow banned.
What’s wrong with opposing views? Hasn’t humanity thrived, especially intellectually, on inquiry, discussion and debate? Bill & Ted are more enlightened than the woke crowd.
If it furthers humanity, then I’m all for people speaking up!
Want to keep building that fan base on Facebook or YouTube? Better not go against their agendas and stances on anything. Otherwise they will ruthlessly demonetize (love how demon is in the word) or delete as they see fit.
Net Neutrality & Localization
For all of those who thought they were being clever using virtual private networks (VPNs)…
Net neutrality has been a heated subject for many years.
Basically, it’s the idea that internet service providers (ISP) should treat all internet communications the same, without discrimination based on user.
What’s that I hear?
Personalization? Localization? Remarketing?
That’s right. Your ISP is already feeding your bias.
Imagine a future where the visibility of your music and website is even less than it is today…
Where it’s no longer just about cutting through the substantial noise created by your competition…
Where it’s no longer about clever marketing tactics…
But where it’s virtually impossible to get your music in front of certain users because there is no neutrality.
In Canada, they’re talking about policing what people say online. Unbelievable.
Fun future to look forward to, isn’t it ?
Internet = Facebook (or Google, or Amazon, or Apple…)
Another harrowing reality we might need to face is that in the future, the internet might be Facebook or Google or some other big company. As in the internet IS Google. There’s nowhere else to go.