230 – Getting Back to the Basics

by | Mar 31, 2021 | Podcast

In uncertain times, it’s easy to get caught up in doing a lot of fancy, new things that might not yield results. But sometimes, the best thing you can do is get back to the basics.

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:31 – Creativity is all about the process
  • 00:55 – Year one mindset
  • 01:20 – Are you doing what you know you need to do?
  • 02:05 – Are you still committed to learning?
  • 03:10 – Do you have the right pieces in place?
  • 04:22 – Are you making checklists and procedure documents?
  • 05:30 – Are you taking care of yourself?
  • 06:32 – Episode summary
  • 06:56 – First-time coaching special


Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

We need to be able to find joy in the process.

Creativity is all about the process, and if we end up focusing on the results, we can rob ourselves from the joys of creating. Your creativity has a way of becoming a means to an end if all you care about are the results.

Which is why I thought I would talk about getting back to the basics. I have found incredible value in adopting a year one mindset. And what that means is letting go of whatever has or hasn’t happened in the past. It means getting excited about the process again.

So, here are some questions you can ask yourself to see whether you’re engaging in and focusing on the right things as you look to create and share your music in 2021.

Are You Doing What You Know You Need to do?

This might seem like an odd question, but it’s essential.

If you know you’ve got a performance coming up, be it a live stream or otherwise, are you spending time preparing for that performance?

Are you building out your website?

Are you engaging your social media following?

Are you sending out weekly email newsletters?

This is all quite basic, and nowhere near as sexy as Clubhouse or Instagram. But doing what you know you need to do has a way of producing the results. Whereas experimenting with the latest social media platform can wait.

Consider sitting with this question for a while. You will begin to see things you could be dedicating some time and effort to.

Are You Still Committed to Learning?

Are there gaps in your knowledge? Things you know you should learn, but have neglected? Things you keep avoiding?

I’ve been watching my business coach’s old training videos, and I’ve come to see just how adept he is at things I have considered boring – things like keyword and competitive research, conversion tracking links, identifying business opportunities, profit and loss statements, and more.

Now, as a musician you might not be actively thinking about those things. You might be trying to learn the Lydian mode, or trying to coordinate outfits with your band, or figuring out how to film your own music videos.

The point is that we all have gaps in knowledge and oversights. There are things we avoid, things we don’t like, things we’re not good at.

If these areas don’t have a direct impact on our careers, then we don’t necessarily need to put all our time into developing strengths in them.

But if they are holding back our careers, we should be willing to revisit them. Because our next breakthrough might come from augmenting our weaknesses.

Do You Have the Right Pieces in Place?

You may have heard me talk about James Schramko’s Own The Racecourse methodology before. It’s a system for creating your own platform and growing it through the publishing of content.

Well, for a long time, I’ve been doing a lot of the work myself, either because I was afraid to hire, or I just didn’t have enough revenue to be able to bring someone on the team.

But I recently brought on a podcast editor, and this has shaved several hours of my week I can reallocate to other work or just relaxing and resting.

And that’s when I started to see that the system works much better when you have the right pieces in place. I didn’t. I was trying to do it all myself.

So, are there any apps you know you should buy but haven’t yet? Would you benefit from hiring a freelancer to handle your graphics? Could you delegate menial tasks to someone who would be willing to handle them for a small fee?

The engine works much better when all the other parts also have what they need to operate, be it fluids, belts, batteries, or otherwise. I don’t understand cars that well. I just thought it was a good metaphor.

Are You Making Checklists and Procedure Documents?

Here’s one thing I know a lot of people find boring. But creating and following checklists or procedure documents allows you to do things more consistently and efficiently.

I have a checklist for content syndication and distribution. So, whenever I publish a new post, I just follow that checklist, and I’m done getting my content out to a dozen or so platforms in 10 to 15 minutes. I wouldn’t be as consistent, let alone efficient, if I didn’t have that document.

This kind of goes hand in hand with the last question, but it’s drilling a little deeper into the pieces. And each piece kind of needs its own checklists or procedures.

And it also relates to what I said earlier about boring tasks, because to a creative, systems seem incredibly uncreative.

You don’t need to systemize your songwriting. But maybe having a process for your new releases would cut down on a lot of planning, brainstorming, and thinking. If you have a procedure you can follow and depend on every time you release new music, you can speed up the process and be clear on what you need to do next.

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

As I’ve said so many times before, your career or business doesn’t exist without you. In the car metaphor, you are the engine. And without the engine, the car can’t run. Kind of like how you need a liver to live.

Nothing else works when you don’t work. And the cost of burnout can be significant in terms of time and money. Recovering from my last burnout took the better part of six months, and I still find that I need to moderate my workload and beware of overdoing work, caffeine, exercise, or otherwise.

Are you feeding yourself quality fuel? Are you getting sleep and rest? Are you moving your body?

Have a listen to episode 227 of the podcast with Yannick Tinguely if you haven’t already. He offers some great tips on taking care of your health and fitness.

If you want to get back to the basics, you’ve got to always make sure you’re in good working order. You can’t perform at your best unless you’re looking after you.

Episode Summary

In summary, here are the questions

  • Are you doing what you know you need to do?
  • Are you still committed to learning?
  • Do you have the right pieces in place?
  • Are you making checklist and procedure documents?
  • Are you taking care of yourself?

If you’re already engaging in the basics, great. Otherwise, spend some time inside these questions. You will benefit from reflecting on them.

So, if you need guidance on any of this, I have been a long-time musician and creative coach. I have a program called the First-Time Coaching Special, for people like you who have yet to work with me. It’s heavily discounted for newcomers. If you’d like to get started, simply go to davidandrewwiebe.com/Special.

This has been episode 230 of The New Music Industry Podcast.

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