So, you’ve decided that hiring a musician coach wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
But what sort of qualities and qualifications should you look for in a musician coach?
If you know the following, it’s going to make the decision a lot easier.
So, ask yourself these questions when considering a musician coach:
Do They Ask Good Questions?
It may seem innocuous, but this is the most critical question you can ask.
A coach knows how to get out of their own way, listen attentively, and ask questions that change the way you see the world around you.
They will ask the questions you’re not asking, and by doing so, make you aware of blind spots, new perspectives, possibilities, opportunities, next steps, and more.
If your coach is doing all the talking, there’s something wrong. If they’re not asking questions, there’s something wrong. If they’re merely telling you what to do next, they still have much to learn.
A seasoned coach has had to generate results in situations where it was difficult if not impossible to do so. And they got there by asking powerful questions.
At the foundation of coaching is the ability to ask good questions.
Do They Have a Coach of Their Own?
The best coaches always have coaches of their own.
And if they don’t have a coach right this minute, they’re at least on a steady path of personal growth – reading articles and books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, taking courses, and generally investing in themselves and their knowledge.
If a coach doesn’t show any interest in self-development, they’re not going to make for a good coach.
Look for signs that they’re committed to being lifelong learners.
Do They Have a Website?
While creator economy apps like Koji are near omnipotent in their capabilities, the potential downside is that anyone can set up a free account, buy followers, and claim to be an expert on a topic.
A true coach might have a link in bio, but they wouldn’t balk at investing in the creation of their own regularly updated website. In fact, they would prioritize it.
Whether it’s domain names, web hosting, logo design, videos, blog posts, or otherwise, they’re not afraid to set forth the financial resources and time necessary to develop their brand.
A coach that’s invested in their online presence treats their job with a degree of seriousness others simply do not.
Do They Have a Book?
A book isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it does say something about a coach, namely that they’ve gone to the trouble of documenting their best tips and advice in written form.
Writing a book is a commitment. It’s at least 10 times the length of any term paper you’ve written in college.
A coach with a book better understands the dedication, discipline, and commitment required to make an album, because writing a book is just as extensive if not more so.
The other reason a book is valuable is because you can learn about the coach’s methodologies before even hiring them. At 20 bucks a pop, you really have nothing to lose.
Plus, if you take the time to read, you’ll be more committed to the process and get more out of the coaching. You’ll make for a better client, and that improves the coach-mentee relationship!
Do They Have Systems?
Sure, there are times when a coach needs to throw away the scripts, ditch the templates, abandon their methodologies, and get in the dirt with their clients.
We’re all human, after all!
But if a coach doesn’t at least have a battery of questions they use to better understand your circumstances and guide your next steps, are they honestly any better than an unpracticed bassist that “wings it” at a gig?
Coaches should have systems – be it video conferencing software (Zoom, Google Meet, or otherwise), PDF document templates, notes on their clients (along with a filing system), or otherwise.
You don’t want to be shooting from the hip as a client, and a coach shouldn’t be either! If they’re coaching you, they should be in the right environment with the right resources and processes to serve you to the best of their abilities.
Do They Have Demonstrated Results?
I need to say something that’s a little paradoxical here, but it is important.
A coach doesn’t necessarily have everything you want in life.
After all, they specialize in coaching, not in being a successful artist (that’s your job!).
They may have demonstrated results in their own career. It never hurts.
But what we’re talking about here is demonstrated results in the careers of others.
A coach needs to be able to help her clients first and foremost. If she can’t do that, it doesn’t matter what results she has in another area!
A coach always leaves his clients in a better position than where they started. Look for evidence of that.
Do They Have Quotes / Testimonials from Past Clients?
Quotes, testimonials, and reviews are always worth checking, and this goes hand in hand with demonstrated results.
There’s one major thing you should be aware of concerning social proof, though:
First is that even if a coach doesn’t have many reviews, it’s not necessarily a bad sign.
Ask yourself how many times you’ve left reviews on Amazon, Google, iTunes, or otherwise.
Unless it was a mind-blowingly amazing or mind numbingly horrendous experience, you probably aren’t compelled to leave a lot of reviews in the first place.
The point is – people don’t just hand out reviews like they’re candy, and even superb coaches don’t always have drawers full of references.
The other thing that’s good to be aware of is that reviews can and have been manufactured.
It sucks that I even need to bring it up, but some “coaches” out there claim to have taught fictional superheroes according to their website. Sorry, just no.
Obviously, the reviews you find on a coach’s website are going to be talking up the coach. No competent coach is going to use negative reviews on their site.
But complete fabrications are worth looking out for.
There are other questions you can ask to determine whether a coach is right for you, but the above should serve as an excellent starting point.
If they have a 15-minute free consultation or something of that nature, you could take advantage of that…
Or you could email or call them for more info as needed.
But don’t overthink it and let yourself get off the hook without deciding, that is, unless you want to go back to the rut, you’re trying to crawl your way out of.
At this point, you’re probably starting to realize that musician coaching is a real thing, and it could be quite valuable for you.
But are you ready for coaching?
Is it right for you?
Is now a good time to get a coach?
Here’s a self-assessment that will help you determine whether you need a musician coach.
Are You Willing to Invest in Yourself?
If your answer is:
No, I’m not willing to spend a dime to build a fan base and make a living from my passion.
Then I can’t help you, and neither can any other coach.
If it’s unimaginable for you to spend $37 on an eBook, $97 on a course, $127 on personalized coaching, I’m sorry, I can’t help you, and most other coaches would be warped in the noggin to help you too.
Understand – these are minimum prices, not maximum!
It’s unfortunate, but it’s true – we don’t place much value on things we don’t pay for.
If you don’t act on the information offered here, you will go back to old habits, returning to the same rut you tried to claw your way out of.
Here’s something to think about…
You don’t pay a mechanic for working on your car, do you? You pay them for knowing what to do, regardless of how much time and effort it ultimately takes them.
It’s the same with a coach. You don’t pay them for how much time or effort it takes to do the job – you pay them for their experience and ability to guide you (especially since breakthroughs can happen fast!).
Have You Worked on Your Craft & Live Show?
If “no,” you might not need a coach yet.
First, you’ve got to make the leap from amateur to professional and that means making a commitment to improve and work on your craft from one show, one release, one interview, to the next.
If that’s not what you’re doing, you haven’t made the commitment yet, and that’s okay.
But you don’t need a coach if you’re not building towards something.
Cliché as it might be, my coaches often repeated this phrase to me:
You can’t steer a parked car.
What does that mean?
It means if you’re not doing anything in your music career, I can’t tell you where to go or what to do next – it would all be speculation.
But if, for example, you have a live show you’ve been developing for a while and you want me to audit and review it, I’m your man.
Do You Have Career Goals (Even if They Are Foggy)?
If you do, you will benefit from coaching.
The truth is many artists only think they have goals.
But because they haven’t taken certain actions to put their goals into existence, they don’t know what they’re working towards, let alone how close they are to achieving their goals.
Fogginess around goal setting is very normal because what I teach, they don’t generally teach in school. So, it’s not your fault that you don’t know.
Bottom line – if you aren’t working towards something, or don’t have at least partially defined goals yet, forego the coaching and instead come up with three things you would like to accomplish in your music career, so we have something to discuss.
Do it now. This post will still be here when you come back.
Could You Benefit from an Outside Perspective?
For most artists, the answer will be “yes.”
If you can’t see it for yourself, all good, here are some things to consider:
- How often do you record yourself to listen and evaluate your performance?
- How often do you film yourself performing on stage to watch, listen, and evaluate your performance?
- Do you track the number of people attending your performance (as well as how many people were there when you started, and how many were left when you were done)?
- Is auditing your web presence a common practice of yours, and do you take note of how you’re coming across to fans and prospective fans, what’s missing, or what could be improved upon?
- How well do you track your income and expenses, and could you make projections based on the numbers you see?
- This is but the tip of the iceberg…
There’s just so much you don’t see when you’re working in the business instead of on the business.
And yes, I do mean to use the term “business” here because if you take your music career seriously, that’s exactly what it is.
A good coach can see what you’re not seeing.
Do You Have a Devil’s Advocate?
I remember calling my friend over one day to share my new business idea with him.
I was excited out of my mind and couldn’t possibly conceive how anyone would think it was a bad idea.
“He’s probably going to want to join my enterprise,” I thought to myself.
But as I started sharing, not only did he not share my sense of enthusiasm for the business, but he also tore apart the idea, systematically, limb from limb.
Although I kept answering his questions in the calmest manner possible, understandably I became frazzled by the end of that conversation!
You’ll never guess what he said to me next:
I was just being your devil’s advocate. Someone needs to punch holes in your idea so you can see all the ways it could fail, rather than getting tunnel vision on why it will succeed.
Do you have tunnel vision? Are you seeing what no one else is seeing? Are you imagining a bright future only you believe in?
While you don’t need anyone to tear you down, you do need someone to help you reinforce your weakside.
And oftentimes, the only way to uncover that blind spot is to consult someone who’s equally invested in seeing you succeed in your music career.
Do You Feel Stuck in Your Music Career?
If you’re feeling stuck, it means you’ve made a lot of progress to get to this point!
The growth curve only gets steeper, not gentler.
But you could literally name a big name you know, and I guarantee you they’ve reached plateaus on their journey to the top too.
Trust me when I say a visit to the rut-ville isn’t a view filled with unicorns farting rainbows.
But here’s the thing:
There’s always some adjustment to be made at this juncture that will make a difference.
The problem? There’s no way to know what that adjustment might be without expert help!
Do You Feel Frustrated in Your Music Career (Because You’ve Tried Everything & it Didn’t Work)?
If you’re stuck, you’re probably frustrated too – the two tend to go together.
And this is a solid indicator you need coaching (before you throw in the towel, call it quits, curse the music business, and swear off passion for life).
But does it seem like you’re trying everything without getting anywhere?
Trust me when I say I’ve spent years spinning my wheels in my personal growth, music career, and business endeavors, sometimes simultaneously.
While I never stopped looking for answers, I stopped putting pressure on trying to find them. Answers started showing up far faster when there was no pressure for them to appear!
You didn’t land on this page by accident. You’re on the brink of becoming unstuck. All you’ve got to do now is make the leap and invest in yourself.
When you invest in coaching, you’re never investing in the coach. You’re investing in you.
Do You Feel Overwhelmed?
Things will go smoothly and even be perfectly manageable in your music career for a while.
You’ll start to get more gigs, sell more merch, get more email signups, and so on.
But then comes a new challenge – in the business world, we call it scaling.
Scaling is where you adjust to the new demands as they come pouring in (usually at an uncontrollable rate).
Everyone thinks fast growth is awesome and it’s what they should go after, until they realize they’re not even ready for it!
To scale, a business must systemize and hire. It’s time-consuming and expensive, especially if you mess up.
Prolific novelty songwriter Jonathan Coulton eventually had to hire an assistant to help with the huge influx of emails he was receiving from fans every single day.
Overwhelm isn’t bad. It means there are new opportunities, and it means there’s greater demand for what you’re doing.
But if you don’t have a way to parse your opportunities and scale with the demand, you will end up in the same position I’ve found myself in multiple times – burning out!
Burning out sucks. It might take months to recover from. What good is opportunity then?
You need a coach, and stat!
Final Thoughts, Musician Coach
In closing, I wanted to let you know about something free I created.
Honesty, I think I might be crazy for giving away this much…
What is it? We’re calling it the PDF Vault.
The Vault includes over 100 independent music career eBooks, cheat sheets, podcast transcripts and interviews to date, with hundreds more to come.
If you’re ready to sign up, simply follow this link and enter your email.
I’ve often said that there’s an abundance of free resources available: Articles, blog posts, eBooks, physical books, events, conferences, trade shows, magazines, newsletters, podcasts, videos. And what I’m starting to discover for myself is that there are some learning methods that are disproportionately better than others.
Number one for me is newsletters. Newsletters contain very specific targeted information. The one that I subscribe to is Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Letter. It contains information on marketing and sales and copywriting.
And whenever I read these newsletters, I come away feeling inspired, with great information in hand. Ready to act on a few things I’ve learned in the newsletter and get into action in my business.
Number two is books. Books go very deep into a singular subject. It’s like downloading the author’s brain into your own, adopting their mental frameworks, their methodologies, their thought processes. You get to try them on for yourself.
And I think there’s really something to sustaining your thinking on a singular subject for a certain amount of time. There’s something magical about it.
Just like reading newsletters, the information is super targeted, but it’s also deep, it’s going very, very deep into a singular subject. And that has a way of getting me into flow and inspiring me because I’m making new connections.
3. Video Courses
Number three is video courses or home study courses or whatever you want to call them. These are excellent sources of information as well.
Typically, they’re even more focused than let’s say a newsletter or a book. You might be learning specific aspects of digital marketing like email, or how to use Facebook or things like that.
And while I have not always found them to be the most inspirational sources, certainly not as inspiring as a newsletter or a book, in some cases, I have come away from courses feeling lit up with the actionable insights I could now take to my own business.
And then number four for me is audiobooks.
Now in a way this goes hand in hand with books. The difference I suppose is that you can listen to podcasts or audio programs or audiobooks in your car as you’re driving about.
Over the years, that’s really been the number one place for me to listen to these. But at one point, I was so obsessed that I even listened to them in the bathroom.
But compared to something like a podcast, which I don’t always find inspiring. I don’t always find new information to act on. And the subject matter being covered may not always be relevant to me right now. I can intentionally go out and find audiobooks that are relevant to me and are speaking to my situation and are sure to leave me with insights I can use in my business.
So, while there are a lot of great resources out there, the point is to invest in your education. You’re going to value these resources more. I pay for newsletters, I pay for books, I pay for video courses, I pay for audiobooks. Whichjust goes to show that I am more heavily invested in those than a blog post I read online.
What learning methods inspire you most? I know a lot of people say they like to watch videos. And there are certain visual things like how to tie a tie. That’s better suited to the video medium than say the audio or written word. But with a lot of how-to information, I’ve personally found that video is often unnecessary.
Either way, I would love to hear which sources of information and which learning methods work best for you.
The time has come to hit the road again. My landlord recently sold the house in Abbotsford. And I have until May 31 to leave the premises.
So, I started reflecting on my next move. Should I go and find an apartment or condo or another suit? And I’ve already put some time and energy towards that.
One of the challenges is that I’m in a very intensive yearlong leadership program, so I haven’t had a lot of time to look. I’ve still gone out to see a couple of places, I’ve contacted with a few landlords. And I’ve done quite a bit of looking online, but nothing has really come of it.
Going on Vacation
So, at this point, I was thinking, “yeah, I could go and rush myself into an apartment that I don’t even like,” or I can live nomadically for a while.
Now at first, the idea of living nomadically again, didn’t exactly appeal to me. But then when I stopped and thought about it, I realized that the first thing I wanted to do after completing this leadership program – and it just so happens that I’m completing the first week of June – is to take a two-week vacation.
And when is the best time to take a vacation? Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s when you don’t have rent to pay. I’ve already been living rent free in May, which has been a big blessing. It hasn’t necessarily set me ahead in a big way. But it certainly hasn’t set me back. If I can go and take two weeks off, it’s really going to be the equivalent of paying rent for a month around this part of the world anyway.
Living Nomadically Again
So, all my other thoughts have started orienting around this idea that I’m going to be living nomadically for a while. And I can’t imagine that I’m going to be traveling too far out of BC. I might make a trip or two to Alberta.
And I still think Fraser Valley and the greater Vancouver area are going to be my jumping off points for most travels. But does mean that I can be a little bit freer with where I go and where I spend my time.
I will need to find a storage space. And I’ll probably need to find a P.O. box as well. But aside from that, I can’t think of too many things holding me back from getting back out on the road.
I’ve certainly thought about the cost of Airbnbs and hotels and crashing on couches and sleeping in the basement of churches, whatever ends up working out. And what I realized is that rent around here costs about $1,100 a month all the way up to $3,000 a month if not more than that. So, the cost of living would average out while I’m on the road so far as I can offset the costs.
And one of the ways I’ve been thinking about offsetting that cost is by playing gigs. Assuming I’m thinking ahead and planning all of this out, if I know where I’m going to be going next, I can research that town, book gigs in advance or at least find the venues, and create those opportunities for myself wherever I go.
At this point, I’m already clear that my next destination is Chilliwack and Cultus Lake, because that’s where I want to take my vacation. It’s not in some far off distant tropical land, but I will enjoy myself, nonetheless. And I will be able to get some sun and lay on the beach and I think there’ll be the opportunity to connect with a few people as well. No one that’s necessarily within my immediate circle, but within my extended network.
After my two weeks in Chilliwack, I’m excited about the idea of continuing with my travels. And living nomadically for a while, at least until I find a place that’s going to work for me.
And now that I know that I’m going to be out on the road, and I’m not necessarily going to have a home, I’ve also started orienting my thinking around the logistics of everything.
That’s going to look like streamlining my business and simplifying my life. While on the road, I’m not going to have a lot of gear with me, just whatever is going to fit in my car. And even then, I’m going to do it safely because theft is a concern.
I am in fact developing a new method of publishing that’s going to help me create more content in less time without sacrificing quality. It just requires a little more upfront planning and strategizing and research to get to that point.
And as much as possible, I want my business activity to be rallying around a singular offer. And this doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be multiple offers. We’ve created many through the years, whether it’s eBooks, physical books, courses, or coaching programs. But I want to make it something efficient, easy to process, make it clear where people should go when they want the next thing. So that’s where my time and energy is starting to go.
New Publishing Schedule
I’ve started figuring out what I’m going to do with my publishing efforts as well. I’m going to be creating seven pieces of content per week for Music Entrepreneur HQ. So, my daily publishing efforts are already covered in a manner of speaking. I’m going to be creating one video, one podcast episode, and five blog posts per week using my new publishing method.
That does mean I’m probably not going to be publishing as frequently on DavidAndrewWiebe.com anymore. I may even turn it into my artist website for now given that I’m probably going to start looking for gigs again.
And in terms of publishing to Medium and Tealfeed… I think my best bet is probably just to syndicate the content I’m creating week to week, maybe even stuff like this.
I don’t think it’s going to be like the last two or three weeks where I’ve created three unique pieces of content for Medium. I enjoyed doing that. And I do make about $40 per month with Medium right now, which is nothing to sneeze at, but I do need to create greater sources of income. If I want to offset the cost of travel.
And I do say that but there actually are certain cost savings with traveling, I’m starting to realize. I’m not going to need a Netflix subscription for one. Pretty much everywhere I go, there’s going to be cable TV, Netflix, and in some cases, other subscription services, whether it’s Amazon Prime, or Hulu or whatever.
I’m not going to need cable internet, because it’s pretty much everywhere you go nowadays. At Airbnbs and hotels, there’s internet. And if worst comes to worst, I can head over to Starbucks.
So, there are some cost savings.
Adapting to a New Lifestyle
I’m recognizing that I will need to streamline to adapt to this new lifestyle. I don’t necessarily anticipate having less time to work. But I do understand the realities of travel. That sometimes you’re going to be driving all day from one place to another. Sometimes you’re just going to be tired and want to crash in bed. And you’re going to have days where you’re going to go sightseeing or you’re going to be connecting with people and those days are going to be less productive overall in terms of getting work done.
But overall, I’m very excited about the prospect of getting back on the road.
For me, I’ve found that the best time to do business is when I’ve gone to Starbucks, I’ve sat there reading for an hour – could be a little less, could be a little more – I’ve gotten into flow, and I’m inspired with new ideas. That, for me, is a formula for inspired action.
I can’t necessarily explain why that works for me. I do remember that when I was a kid in Japan, after church, I would go to the bookstore. It was one of my favorite places to go to. And I would stand around looking at magazines and manga. I’d learn about the latest video games, and I’d check out to see if there was a new volume of my favorite manga series.
And in that process, I would phase out everything around me. I’d be so engrossed in what I was discovering and what I was looking at and what I was reading, that the surroundings started to fade into the background.
I’ve been finding that, even in adulthood, the written word can captivate and engross me. And it probably has something to do with the brain making new connections. Because when you learn something new, a new connection is formed.
When I start to see those connections happen, new ideas show up in my space. And because I’m in flow, I start to feel excited about those ideas. And then I get to act on those ideas.
We often think about doing business in a regimented way. We have our schedule, and we have certain time blocks allocated to certain tasks. Now, if that works for you, if that gets you into flow, if that gives you inspired ideas and moves you to inspired action, then what you’re doing is perfect. But if it’s not stimulating inspired action, there might be a better time for you to do business.
So, what is the best time to do business for you? The secret may be hidden in your childhood. What did you get engrossed in? What were you doing when things faded into the background?
And if you can identify what that activity is, could you spend 30 to 90 minutes doing it before you get into action with your business? Because inspired action is going to produce far greater results than actions that are tired or uninspired.
I think you’ll agree that the best time to do business is when you’re in flow and when you’re feeling good, and when the gears are turning in your mind. Begin to find that in your routine because that’s where you’re going to see breakthrough results.