And I know many people, even those in my inner circle, who struggle with perfectionism.
It’s okay to admit it. You’re in good company.
The question is – how can your overcome it? Can you reframe your perspective? See things from another point of view? Distinguish your fears or hang ups?
Here are three ways I’ve successfully overcome perfectionism.
I have found one of the best ways to overcome perfectionism is to publish more.
Don’t like your voice? Record 100 podcast episodes and put them up on iTunes.
Don’t like how you look? Film 100 videos and upload them to YouTube.
Think your music sucks? Make 100 songs and distribute them through CD Baby.
I promise you will feel differently about your work if you just focus on creating and publishing for a while, without getting caught up in anything else.
I’m running a tight ship here on my blog these days, but trust me, when I was getting started, there was no form, no plan, and no intended audience. I just started writing. And my early posts are still in the archives for anyone to see.
Even though I’d had over a decade of experience building niche sites and building traffic to them, I still had to find my voice for this new undertaking.
Some will say one amazing piece of content is worth more than 100 pieces of terrible content. But what if you can’t get to that amazing piece until you’ve gone through the 100 terrible pieces first?
Trust me, all your heroes have practiced too.
If you really feel you need to create a spotless record, then publish under a pseudonym. You can always take the “greatest hits” and publish them under your real name or artist name.
One of the reasons you’re worried about perfectionism is because you haven’t published enough. Because when you publish frequently, you realize people don’t care that much anyway, and you were better off getting started yesterday to build some momentum.
Lately, I’ve been working on a new website/membership platform. I’ve spoken elsewhere about this, but for whatever reason I kept putting it off even though it represented a great opportunity.
Sidebar, I’ve recognized that there’s a big difference between unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Unfamiliar is when you’re treading into unknown territory. Uncomfortable is when you don’t know how to act in a situation.
Distinguishing the two gave me access to something I didn’t have before. I started to see that I wasn’t uncomfortable building my new website. I was unfamiliar with the new platform. And I was kind of dreading having to learn new tech.
So, getting back to the point, we often feel like we should work on something until it’s perfect before the world ever sees it. It’s amazing how much this can slow you down.
Instead of trying to get everything perfect on my website, developing all the copy, getting the graphics to sit and look right, working on all the boring disclaimer pages, I just started blocking everything in.
Logo goes here. Menu goes there. This button leads to that page. And so on.
It wasn’t perfect. I knew I would need to adjust the size of the logo, swap out the typography, add more copy, flesh out the boring content pages, and more.
But I realized there was no need to put makeup on something that wasn’t even out there working for me.
I’d heard about starting with an MVP before. I just didn’t fully understand the wisdom in that until now.
If you start with the basics, you’ll be able to bring your project to market sooner, get feedback on it, and even start making money with it, if that’s your goal.
Plus, you can still make it better later. But that extra 20% of greatness probably won’t matter to most of your audience, and it probably won’t make your project that much more appealing either. Patreon CEO Jack Conte expressed similar sentiments with me regarding his musical efforts.
Remember How Good it Feels to Finish Something
Until you make the decision to get started, stay started, and remain started until something is finished, goals and to-do items are allowed to sit on your calendar indefinitely. And the longer they stay there, the more anxiety they can elicit. No wonder we begin resenting our own projects!
It has been my own experience that, over the years, I have not always been the best finisher of projects. I have started many, and many were completed. But I’m acutely aware of the books I have yet to complete, the music I have yet to release, the courses I have yet to launch, and more.
Sometimes I overestimate what I can do in a year. Other times, I just don’t prioritize well enough (remember the unfamiliar/uncomfortable distinction from earlier – it helps!).
In times like these, I try to remember how good it feels to finish something.
My biggest accomplishment in 2020 was launching my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code. Although I did complete other projects, the main reason I feel this was my biggest accomplishment is because though I teed up a bunch of other projects, I never finished them (hopefully, I’ve set myself up for an amazing 2021).
My second biggest accomplishment would be publishing daily since the end of July.
The point is that you can make finishing a habit. You can learn to focus on one thing at a time (recommended), and you can get in a powerful momentum cycle by doing so. Doesn’t that sound great?
Well, not if you ask me. Because I procrastinate. A lot.
It’s just a matter of knowing what to procrastinate on, and why.
Not sure what I mean? Let me introduce you to productive procrastination and why it’s a must in your creative efforts.
A Bias Towards Productive Procrastination
I admit. I have a bit of a bias towards productive procrastination.
Emails are responded to late. Bill payments are made at the last minute. My space only gets a thorough cleaning twice per year.
And this has had certain drawbacks, though not the ones you would expect. I don’t have terrible credit. People aren’t constantly on my case about unfinished projects (I finish most if not all on time). And my home is not infested with creepy crawlers.
The main drawback is there are always tasks on my to-do list that take up too much mind space and cause light anxiety if left unfinished. But because they are low priority, I procrastinate on them.
Then, there are some decisions that could have been made that you regret not making. When you use productive procrastination as a tool, your default position is omission. But there’s always that social event you wish you went to, that friend you should have helped, that rare opportunity you missed.
Well, you can’t do it all anyway. And if you’re an ambitious creative, you shouldn’t aspire to. It takes too much work, you don’t get the things you want to get done, and it can even lead to burnout.
If you’re the type that needs to know everything in advance, and things hanging in the balance drive you nuts, productive procrastination probably isn’t for you. But otherwise, it has certain benefits that are hard to deny.
What is Productive Procrastination?
It’s about leaving the less important, low value tasks until later (and in some cases, “never”).
You’ve got to be clear on what low value tasks are to you. To me, emails, texts, voicemails, errands, paying bills, and the like all tend to fall under this category. It doesn’t mean I don’t deal with them. It just means they don’t come first in my day, or even my week.
There are a couple of books that can add a meaningful layer to this conversation.
The first is Stephen Covey’s classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (affiliate link). Covey’s famous four quadrants form the foundation of my prioritization and productivity habits. You can Google “Covey’s four quadrants” to get a good sense of how this works.
The second is Tim Ferriss’ essential, The 4-Hour Workweek, which details how Ferriss was able to run a business as he was traveling the world. And you will find productive procrastination at work in a major way, especially as applied to communication.
Ferriss points out that most communication isn’t an emergency, so getting to it later or never has fewer consequences than you might be inclined to believe.
Now, I said that you should be clear on what low value tasks are to you. But this is of little consequence if you don’t know the opposite – tasks you would consider high value.
Writing is my highest value task, and, true to form, it shows up first in my calendar too. My day begins with writing because it is just that important, so I give it the best part of my day. And all other things can wait until I’m done writing.
Why Procrastinate Productively?
The old model of productivity (productivity 1.0) was just getting things done. And getting things done is a good starting point. It’s worth getting some practice in this area if you’re new to it.
But what people realized was that even though they were getting a lot done, a lot of important things weren’t even being touched. If anything, the urgent seemed to take over available time for the important.
So, then came productivity 2.0. This proliferated in many forms – Covey’s four quadrants, Priority Management, Brian Tracy’s The Science of Self-Confidence (affiliate link), and so on.
In productivity 2.0, we saw a movement towards getting the right things done and prioritizing high value tasks in one’s day. People noticed that, if it wasn’t scheduled, it wasn’t real. So, they started putting everything in their schedule.
Productivity 2.0 strove to put the important back on main stage.
The main drawback of productivity 2.0 was that people ended up working insane hours just to fit everything in! And this led to a net productivity loss, because by midweek, they’d be all out of steam.
To be fair, some managed to find a meaningful balance, and 2.0 was certainly better than the original model.
Productivity 3.0 is where productive procrastination started to show signs. David Allen’s Getting Things Done (affiliate link) methodology, lifestyle design as taught by the likes of Tim Ferriss and James Schramko, and more. Finally, life was put in its rightful place again – taking center stage.
With 3.0 arrived the age of creating the life of your choosing. Many opted for a life of joy and balance, though, and it was available through rigorous systemization.
Productivity 4.0 is doing everything by intuition. Listening to your heart and doing things that feel like a 10 out of 10 instead of a four, seven, or eight. Vishen Lakhiani and Kyle Cease are both proponents of 4.0.
But getting back to the question, the main reason to procrastinate productively is so you can face the blank screen or canvas and finally do the work that matters.
At first, productive procrastination will probably seem lazy or maybe even fun. But then you realize it’s something else completely. It’s about facing your fears.
Because there’s something scary about launching that course, finishing that album, writing that book, or otherwise.
You probably don’t even realize that fear is the reason you’ve been putting it off. Until you’ve blocked out all distractions and given yourself space to work on what you say is important to you, you aren’t even present to it.
Now that you’ve created the space, you realize you’ve got to face the fear to move forward.
In this case, though, the fear is telling you that you are on the right track. If you felt indifferent, or normal, or sterile, you would probably be working on something that amounts to thumb twiddling.
If you feel fear, you are working on something that has the potential to matter. And it will most certainly matter to you, even if it doesn’t matter to anyone else.
And while some might consider the content “basic,” I have read this book several times, and each time different parts of it have spoken to me more clearly and loudly.
Spaced repetition is good practice with any material you intend to internalize, but this type of magic isn’t present in many books. The Magic of Thinking Big is one of those rarities.
So, even if you think it might be too basic, too commonsense, or too obvious, give it another try. Read it all the way through. Likely, some passages will be highlighted just for you, and you will be better off for having read them.
2. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
As A Man Thinketh (affiliate link) is a personal development classic that lays everything out in black and white. Its core tenant – that our outer world reflects our inner world (the mirror principle) – is also echoed in age old philosophies and wisdom.
More in-depth reading will be required to flesh out this concept in full. The Secret, and more importantly, Reality Transurfing Steps I-V. But jumping into these books without some context and endurance (Reality Transurfing is over 700 pages long) is going to prove lofty.
I believe author James Allen’s intent to be pure. That said, you can still take this information the wrong way, believing that all “bad” thoughts must be banished lest they manifest in your reality. That is a tall order for the best of humans, and let’s face it – that passing thought you had about your friend’s head exploding isn’t coming true.
That’s why I say it may be a good starting point, but only that.
3. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
So, what is the secret to adulthood? How can we remain productive and effective? How can we find the internal resources required to make our dreams a reality?
You’ve heard much about compound interest. Well, The Slight Edge (affiliate link) shows you exactly how it works as applied to life decisions, ranging from business and finances to health and relationships.
The Slight Edge is an easy read. But you will get something from it that no summary can provide. You will gain a sense of motivation as you never have before, and a clearer plan for the achievement of your goals.
If you can find an early edition, that’s what I recommend. Newer editions are needlessly repetitive.
4. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect (affiliate link) picks up where Jeff Olson’s The Slighted Edge let off. First, you will be schooled again on the importance of the compound effect. But reinforcement is good.
Fortunately, this is not the same book. It’s just that Hardy and Olson both hold motivational speaker Jim Rohn in high regard.
In this short volume, Hardy unpacks choices, habits, momentum, influences, acceleration, and how understanding these components leads to jumpstarting your income, life, and success.
Great reading for newbies and personal development fiends alike.
5. Beyond Positive Thinking by Robert Anthony
Robert Anthony is required reading if you claim to be a self-improvement enthusiast, and in Beyond Positive Thinking (affiliate link), we find him in prime form.
Positive thinking can spark ideas and help you see possibilities in challenging situations. But maintaining positive thinking is a herculean task at best, and many have keeled over at the alter of positive thinking.
This is beyond positive thinking, though, and author Anthony doesn’t sugarcoat it. He tells you exactly what to expect as you begin climbing your personal mountain towards desired outcomes and results.
You will be inspired. But you will also understand that the path to your goals isn’t paved with unicorns and rainbows.
6. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
Best known for his success with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and appearance in The Secret movie, here author Jack Canfield explains the 67 principles, how to apply them, and how Canfield himself has seen them at effect in his life and the lives of others.
How Canfield expects you to remember or even apply all 67 principles is well beyond my grasp. That said, I don’t think you need to be a devotee to every principle to find success on your own terms. The book offers both inspiration and practical steps you can apply, and both are key ingredients to a better book.
Despite the critique already given, The Success Principles (affiliate link) is a great read for those who aspire to more. Pay special attention to the Rule of 5, which can basically be applied to any aspect of your creative projects, business, health, relationships, life, or otherwise.
7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (affiliate link), author Mark Manson comes out swinging, showing the reader in daylight clarity, how personal development hasn’t made a single soul happier. Ouch.
But he does not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The subtle art is a subtle shift in perspective – seeing self-improvement from an angle that’s often missed by motivational speakers parading standout successes and abnormal achievements.
Manson says instead of trying to measure up to the gurus, the prodigies, and the geniuses of the world, work on you. Embrace the ordinary that you are, stay curious and ask questions – never assuming you know it all. Then you will never run out of growth runway.
You have more to gain from Manson’s loving tough talk than many a fluffy personal development book.
The above list should not be considered definitive or comprehensive, and depending on what you’re working on right now, there are more great books to choose from. If you need a recommendation, just leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
What is your favorite self-improvement book? Are there any you think I should read?
Leave a comment and let me know.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
It’s like if someone came to Music Entrepreneur HQ and pitched a guest post about the environment (oh wait, this actually happened!).
Sorry, though many musicians are environmentally conscious, trying to sell them your recycling services is going to prove an uphill battle.
What are musicians interested in? Growing their fan base. Getting listeners for their music. Bringing a crowd to their shows. And so on.
There might be an opportunity to sneak in some tips about reducing their carbon footprint in an offer that covers one or more of the topics just mentioned. But it would be best to assume no opportunity, because you want your content to be focused and targeted.
Who is interested in recycling services? That’s what you’d want to figure out before pitching your offer.
In like manner, if you wish to create an irresistible offer, you must know your audience and what their needs are. If you can, go and ask them now.
This book has instant magnetism to anyone who a) blogs and b) wants to make money blogging.
I bought a copy many years ago, because both a and b applied to me.
As I began reading it, I soon figured out that there were no secrets (at least none which I didn’t already know), at which point the book became a little less valuable to me. But the copy still hooked me and that got me in the door. And overall, I don’t regret the purchase.
So, consider what would be valuable to your audience.
Are business consultants looking for more clients? Almost always!
Are podcasters looking to build a bigger audience? Unless their name is Joe Rogan, and they’re just doing it for fun, the answer is yes!
I would suggest taking a little more of an investigative approach to figuring out what your audience truly desires (don’t just assume), but I think you get the point.
Once you know your audience and what problem you’re solving, it’s just a matter of wrapping it in a sexy outer coating.
Let’s go with the podcast example. You could name your product:
How to Grow Your Podcast Audience
How to 10x Your Podcast Audience in 90 Days or Less
Which seems more attractive to you?
Build Authority & Credibility
Again, I feel as though I’m beating a dead horse.
But I’ve thought back on my purchases over the past year, and I must say, most of them were based on my partiality to certain personalities. Meaning, I bought from those I know, liked, and trusted.
And that’s generally how business works. People don’t just buy randomly. At least not very often.
Sure, people binge and go on shopping sprees. But even then, most of the time, you could say their behavior was predictable based on interests and past purchases.
So, the question is, how do you become known by your target audience? How can you be seen favorably by them? What signals would they be looking for? What achievements, accomplishments, or experience would speak to them? How could you position yourself uniquely in the market?
These are critical questions. And they all deserve thoughtful answers.
I’ve seen marketers make up B.S. backstories to appeal to their target audience, and sorry, that’s just not my thing. If you want longevity in your niche, I’d warn against such fabrication.
Earn your authority. Earn your credentials.
And until that day, just keep documenting your journey. Your audience will come along for the ride. And to your delight, they will buy your stuff anyway, especially if they see you in your transparency and authenticity rather than your bravado.
More isn’t Always Better
Writing definitive long form guides has shown to be effective. This statement is problematic.
Yes, it was the wont of yesteryear marketers, and to an extent, it still has its place. It can certainly help with SEO, though it shouldn’t be thought of as a silver bullet.
But let’s look at this with regards to an offer.
If someone had 77 Marketers Reveal Their Top Marketing Secrets for 2021 as their offer, it could seem overwhelming to prospects instead of being irresistible.
It depends, at least somewhat, on who the featured marketers are. But chances are I won’t know all of them, I won’t heed all their advice, and I probably won’t gain much by listening to all of them either (focus is spelt Follow One Course Until Success).
Even if you find you get a high conversion rate with an offer like that, chances are your engagement rate will suffer. And that’s not what you want unless you’re after a “quick buck.”
Something like this would probably work better as a lead magnet. Even though it might have the density of what some might consider a product, people aren’t always looking for denser material.
If you focus instead on helping your audience get quick wins, and stack on those, I think you will find your infoproducts more engaged.
Although I’m all for sales funnels, big bonus stacks with inflated value and gigabytes of content aren’t universally appealing. Again, assume people want fast results, and if you can get them wins upfront, they will stick with you for longer. It’s all about whether to play the long game or the short game.
And as I already said, it’s not necessarily about the value stack either, though there can be something attractive about an eBook that comes with three expert interviews and 10 video tutorials, just as an example (Nathan Barry has something like this).
Nathan Barry’s three-tier offer.
If the value stack is our chosen strategy, then we need to ensure it is in fact valuable (each product should solve a problem the last one created).
But let’s face it – many people sell “fake” value stacks. They just break one product broken down into six – three core pieces and three bonuses.
An irresistible offer can be at any price. It doesn’t need to be cheap. But it does need to reflect the value offered, be something the market can bear, and be more customer oriented than seller oriented (that’s key!).
Irresistible Offer, Final Thoughts
So, if you:
Understand your audience
Create a valuable offer
Build your authority and credibility (presence) with your audience
Give your audience exactly what they need
Price it at a rate your customers would be delighted by
You’ve got your irresistible offer.
Note that it can take time and effort to put all these pieces into place, but if you want to make an awesome product that also sells, you’ve got to put the work in.
What offer will you be creating in 2021?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
The Indie YYC’s mission is to inspire artists in pursuit of independent creativity, independent thought, and independent life.
And the reason I publish daily on my personal blog is because my mission is to inspire creatives and creators.
Do you notice a running theme?
I am under no delusion that I can inspire anyone without being inspirational. Which is why publishing daily has become even more important to me. Developing the habit, showing up, and doing the work is what turns a snowball into an avalanche. It’s also what distinguishes a pro from an amateur.
I will continue to work on many things – music, books, courses, businesses, communities, and more. I’ve put my blood, sweat, and tears into these projects, which I believe are all worthy of an audience.
No matter what I end up doing, I will always need an audience. It doesn’t need to be large. It just needs to be engaged.
So far, though I have had some minor successes, I have not built a large audience on any platform. But looking at all the things I’ve done so far, blogging has proven the most effective activity for building an audience of any I’ve tried.
3. Build Awareness for My Projects
I have a page dedicated to my projects, which I reference often in my blog posts.
Not all projects are tied to money, and as I’ve already shared, inspiration is at the core of all of them.
But it also goes without saying that if there’s no money, there’s no mission. Projects need to be at least self-sustaining to be workable, though I typically give them plenty of time, attention, and nurturing to get to that point.
4. Develop Content
It may seem as though publishing is the final step in any creative effort, but the reality is that whatever you end up publishing could end up being the first iteration of many to come.
Musicians will publish music, only to have it remastered and re-released again later. Sometimes, they will publish live, acoustic, or even revised versions of the same music.
People vote with their attention, and you never know when you might strike a chord with an idea that’s worth pursuing further. Publishing daily gives you an opportunity to see what might have some resonance sooner rather than later.
5. Develop Product
Whether it’s blog posts, eBooks, books, podcast episodes, audiobooks, presentations, courses, or otherwise, writing is typically at the foundation of all things I develop. Some of the content is unscripted but much of it has been thought through in advance.
The things I publish could form the foundation for the products I later deliver, and in some cases, are little snippets of the product in finished form.
Most recently, I completed a series on life transitions in 16 days. This could easily be turned into a book, eBook, audiobook, or otherwise. I’m looking into this possibility.
Many years ago, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger launched an eBook called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. All the content is on his blog, available for free. But there’s something about bundling up all that content that appealed to buyers. This has been an enduring and successful product for Rowse.
Blogging is going to appear like spinning wheels to some. The way I see it, the more strategic and intentional I can get with it, the more opportunities I can ultimately create for myself.
6. Document My Journey
I come from a family of teachers. My dad was a teacher. My mom was a teacher. My sister has taught at different times in her life. Many of my aunts and uncles are teachers.
It’s quite easy for me to go into “teaching mode,” even in my publishing efforts. But that isn’t my intention with the blog.
More than anything, I intend to document and share my journey. Because I haven’t “arrived” by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t expect everything I’ve published to this point has been brilliant either (hopefully, it’s getting better).
I’m off to a good start, but in many ways, I’m just getting started.
God willing, one day (hopefully soon), my blog will prove useful to others.
I have documented my journey through good times and bad times, through trials and tribulations, through twists and turns, surprises and shocks.
I do not plan for legacy. But if what I’ve documented proves useful to just one person many generations from now, I’ll be elated.
8. Develop a Valuable Skill
Communication is an incredibly valuable skill, and in these fast-paced, microwave, social media drenched times, it’s becoming more of a lost art by the day.
No matter how popular videos or podcasts or presentations become, the written word will continue to touch, move, and inspire people. It allows people to tap into their imagination, which is more powerful than most realize.
So, let’s keep this in perspective. My first love was arts and crafts. As a child, I loved drawing, painting, crafting… basically anything to do with creating.
Since I grew up in Japan, when I returned to Canada as a teen, writing in English was not one of my strengths. But I started to take interest in it because I began building websites.
Before I knew it, I was obsessing over vocabulary, spending time in Reader’s Digest, dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, and other sources.
It was also around that time that I began taking a stronger interest in music, which basically replaced my drawing, painting, crafting, and so forth.
But writing stuck with me through the years, and so did music and building websites.
Some people call me a writer. That’s not quite true. I am just as much an artist, musician, web designer, podcaster, presenter, teacher, and more.
But I can’t deny that writing brings me joy, even if it’s a lot like having homework every day for the rest of your life.
10. Organize My Thoughts
How do you know how you think about a specific subject? How much do you really know about it?
Here’s a good way to find out – write about it!
It has been my experience, as well as the experience of some of my friends, that we know way more about our areas of study than we realized. But it was only through blogging, writing, and content creation that this became apparent.
If you want to collect your thoughts on anything, try writing!
11. Generate & Explore Ideas
I often spend time thinking out loud. I’m sure, at times, it seems as though I have no clue what I’m talking about (which is probably true), though at other times, I hit on something that matters to others.
At the foundation of most projects and products is an idea that resonates, and by publishing daily, I get to see what you are searching for and are interested In, both in the short term and the longer term.
12. Reinforce My learning
I’ve often shared about things I’ve been learning as I continue to live out my mission. But it’s human to forget some of what you learned.
By documenting my journey, I get to look back on the things I’ve learned. I get to execute on the ideas I’ve documented and shared. I can re-presence myself to things I may have otherwise forgotten about completely.
13. There Will Always be Something to Write About
Every few years, speaker Mitch Joel announces the death of blogging. I get what he means. You can’t publish a few sentences on LiveJournal and expect 10 thoughtful comments on it anymore.
But blogging, or at least content marketing, isn’t dead. The written word still drives more traffic than multimedia content like podcasts. And depending on where you’re putting your focus, it gets more traffic long term than YouTube videos too.
You can do well on any channel. But I’ve been podcasting for over 11 years and I have never seen more than about 3,300 downloads per month. I have been publishing videos on YouTube since 2009, and I do not have a single video with over 85,000 views, or a channel that has crossed the threshold of 200 subscribers.
Now, it’s important to realize that when you make videos, the video is the product. When you blog, the blog is just the content. The product is something else.
Either way, there will always be something to write about. Just look at what unfolded in 2020. Whether it’s current events, technology, or otherwise, someone somewhere will always want to be inspired, informed, or entertained.
Over the years, your blog becomes your portfolio. And every creative and creator should have a portfolio. Not to be hired, though that could be a happy byproduct of logging your work.
Your portfolio is an extension of self. It shows who you are, where you came from, where you are now, and what you’ve done. And few things could be more human than that.
I know about all the products I’ve made that I currently support. But I’ve forgotten about the many legacy products I longer do anything with.
My blog helps me keep track of all those things, and it becomes my voice in the world.
15. Stay Sharp
A creative can become complacent at any level. I say “level” here as though there are places to get to, which is only true if there is something you aspire to. If your art or your projects make you happy, and that is enough, then that is enough.
But every day we have a choice. We can show up and do the work, or we can sit on our laurels.
No matter how much you think you’ve accomplished, no matter how much of a contribution you think you’ve made, no matter how tired you are from working on that last project, there is always something more to give within you. The creative spirit never dies.
If you want to stay sharp, show up and do the work, even when you don’t feel like it.
16. Be Generous & Give Back
It’s easy to think that anyone who publishes daily or blogs all the time has an ulterior motive. But you can dig into my archives and mine for gems at any time. Everything there will remain free, forever.
I don’t have ulterior motives. My motives are quite clear, and you can read all about them in this post.
No one in their right mind would put this much effort into blogging if there wasn’t a generous spirit behind it.
Generally, I don’t interrupt my posts to do product pitches anymore. I will passively mention my books, courses, and anything else I’m working on, but you generally won’t hear me say, “hire me for your next writing project NOW!”
See, I can’t convince you to do what isn’t of any interest to you to begin with.
Sharing is generous. Especially when you share freely, openly, and candidly about what you’re learning and what you’re doing.
People notice when you write about them, even high-profile people.
Now, when I mention an entrepreneur, a YouTube personality, a Forbes contributor, and the like, rarely if ever do I hear from them.
But I often do hear from people who are grateful for the PR and exposure, people in the same industry, or content creators who aren’t as well-known.
You can create many connections by blogging, and you can double and even triple your results by leaving thoughtful and insightful comments on other people’s social media posts.
I’ve booked many a podcast interview by interacting with others on social media.
Today, I know people all over the world – Canada, U.S., U.K., Japan, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, and more.
Blogging can broaden your world in a big way.
18. Promote My Friends
I have been very intentional in sharing about my friends (fellow creatives and creators) in blog posts, podcast episodes, books, and more. I even did this in my latest podcast episode.
I don’t know how much they benefit from my mentioning them. But even if it results in one new follower or fan for them, I think it’s worth it.
This is a part of my ongoing efforts to be generous, supportive, and inspirational.
19. Share The Love
Whether it’s mentors, coaches, my Dream 100 or otherwise, I get to honor all the great people that have shown me the way by showing up daily. I get to give away credit and put a spotlight on those who have been beyond generous to me. And I get to pay that forward too.
20. For My Future Self
Today, I might hate sitting down to write (I don’t – but occasionally, such as when I’m not feeling my best, it’s not a walk in the park). But I know my future self will thank me if I stay consistent and keep doing the work.
I have not reached the level author Derek Sivers is at. He says he does everything in service of his future self. Wow.
But I know I will thank myself later for the effort I’m putting in now. That makes it worth doing.
21. Build Trust & Credibility
I’m aware that many entrepreneurs use various psychological tactics to sell. And that’s their way. My way is to build long-term trust and credibility with my audience.
I know that my way takes longer. But that’s okay because I know it leads to better long-term results.
22. Build Authority
With regards to Music Entrepreneur HQ, I’ve had several people tell me “your presence in this space is hard to ignore.”
That tells me I’ve been able to dominate a niche and build authority in it. And because of that authority, when anyone needs anything as applied to modern music entrepreneurship, they’re going to come to me first.
23. Generate Traffic
Blogging helps you build traffic to your website. You’ve probably heard that before.
But as with anything else, it will do nothing for you if you don’t stick with it.
My goal is to generate a large amount of targeted, engaged traffic over the long haul.
24. Grow Social Media Following
Because of the goings on in 2020, I could see myself ditching Facebook and Twitter completely. I might even minimize my use of YouTube.
But I will continue to leverage different platforms like Medium, and to that extent, I will always be looking to build my following.
Again, a targeted and engaged following is more valuable to me than an artificial one, which is why I’m not relying on being a flash in the pan.
25. Marketing & Promotion
As I’ve already shared, I concentrate on this less, because I know it’s a long-term byproduct of the short bursts of effort that go into blogging.
But there’s no beating around the bush with this. Whether you call it building a following or sharing your works, ultimately marketing and promotion is at the heart of it. It’s just the terminology that may not sit well with some.
26. Generate Money on Medium
I’ve made it clear that I would like to up my Medium game, and I have been doing exactly that over the course of the last five months or so.
(I’ve been experimenting with the platform for much longer than that, but I’ve been taking it more seriously here in 2020.)
My efforts are starting to pay off, as I’ve effectively tripled my income from Medium, but right now that doesn’t amount to more than a cup of coffee.
Still, I’m constantly exploring and trying different things, and there are new platforms popping up all the time. Medium is just one among many now.
27. Take Advantage of New Opportunities
Medium is just one opportunity. Apparently, Quora has a partner program too.
I’ve been messing around with Tumblr, Blogger, and HubPages for years.
I’m also a little curious of News Break, Weebly, Ghost, and so forth.
And I’ve experimented with many others over the years, like InfoBarrel.
So long as I’m writing, there will always be new opportunities, and I will always be able to take advantage of them fast.
28. Make Money from Self-Publishing
A great deal of effort goes into everything I write. This post, for example, is about 3,200 words in length.
Tell most people to sit at their desk and write 3,200 words, and their eyes will glaze over.
I like to leverage my writing wherever and whenever possible. Syndication and distribution is just the beginning.
Content can also become eBooks, books, audiobooks, courses, presentations, and a great deal more.
Inspiration and generosity are at the foundation of what I do, but I believe in being shrewd about repurposing and leveraging the things I’ve created, too.
29. Create an Income from Writing
I have been making a healthy income from writing in different capacities since 2016.
But it certainly can’t hurt to maintain a presence online. My services may not be for everyone, but there will always be those who want it. And if I keep writing, those people will find me. I have a lean stable of high paying clients, so generally, I don’t need to go looking for more work. I can let it come to me.
If you want to see examples of my writing, all you need to do is go through the blog archives.
30. Repurpose & Monetize
I’ve hinted at this already, but so long as you’ve got content, there will always be new opportunities to repurpose and monetize it.
Monetization is secondary to all other things mentioned here, but as I said, I believe in being shrewd when it comes to exploiting copyrights. I feel it is the responsible thing to do as a creative or creator.
31. Sell Services & Products
I’ve mentioned some of my services and products throughout this post in passing. But you won’t find a single sales pitch.
It’s a dead horse now, but as I’ve said, leveraging your works is the responsible thing to do as a creative or creator.