Structures & Snowballs in Your Music Career

Structures & Snowballs in Your Music Career

I write a new piece of content daily. I schedule it to publish at 1 PM PST on my blog. This content is created deliberately, and with intention. It’s usually a small piece that forms a bigger whole long-term. Not everyone knows that or understands why it matters.

What I’ve just described, though, is a structure. And a structure is something you put in place to ensure your success.

This is not a conversation about content though. It’s a conversation about ensuring that you’re consistent in taking the actions that lead you where you want to go. Structure crates consistency.

For instance, you could have a structure built around songwriting. Every Friday, you sit down to write for an hour at 3 PM. After your session’s over, you share a short clip of the song you’ve written on Instagram. That would be a structure.

And what would it help you achieve over the long haul? Maybe not mass fame or fortune. But it could be a piece of the puzzle that helps your music career. Maybe you’d never run out of songs or song ideas again. And maybe your Instagram following would grow, even if gradually. That would be cool, right?

But the reality is this is how most things work. As much as we desire instant gratification, it’s not available much of the time. So, it’s our habits that help create momentum. You can’t expect your career to blow up just because. It probably won’t.

As for the habit of publishing I mentioned earlier, do you know what that helps me do?

Obviously, publishing a 300- to 800-word blog post daily isn’t going to propel me to superstardom. Plenty of people publish amazing content every single day.

You know what it does do though? It helps me write my next book. And a book is far more valuable than a blog post. Small pieces start form the bigger whole. And it doesn’t need to take a fully year. I could have another book in 90 days.

Setting aside time to write songs daily or weekly can help you create your next album. And if you’re consistent, you could have that done in a shorter period than you might think.

Don’t lose sight of the long-term as you’re facing short-term decisions. A small habit could be the snowball that starts rolling down the hill, gains momentum, and turns into an avalanche of success.

A small habit could be the snowball that starts rolling down the hill, gains momentum, and turns into an avalanche of success. Click To Tweet

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

One Connection Can Change Everything in Your Music Career

One Connection Can Change Everything in Your Music Career

I went to a local singer-songwriter workshop. I wasn’t feeling up to networking that day, but one of the presenters said, “even if you’re a complete introvert, you can still shake a hand, smile, and say ‘hi.’” She was right. And so, the schmoozing began. I introduced myself to everyone.

And I made a new friend that day that changed the course of my music career for good. It wasn’t one of the presenters, even though there were up and coming musicians (she made it), radio hosts (don’t know what happened to her), and music producers (ditto) in that pool. It wasn’t any of the staff, volunteers, or tag-alongs either. It was one of the singer-songwriters in attendance.

That relationship has been worth tens of thousands of dollars to me over the years. But if I were to talk about it in terms of numbers, I would be diminishing it. A great friendship was formed that day, and that led to podcast interviews, touring opportunities, radio interviews, session playing and guest appearances, and countless gig referrals.

Trust me when I say you don’t need too many connections like that to have a fun, active, and successful (on your own terms) music career.

That’s why I often say – building new relationships is critical, but you don’t need to shake hands with planet earth to find your tribe. Not everyone is going to like you, and you’re not going to like everyone else either. You can’t force anything.

But my life would not be what it is today had I not connected with my friend that day. It’s hard to imagine what that would be like…

And everything in life is like that, whether it’s friendships or partnerships.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Never Run Out of Ideas in Your Music Career

Never Run Out of Ideas in Your Music Career

“I know that I should be writing something new each week, but I’m not sure what to write about,” my entrepreneur friend shared with me.

She wanted to connect with her email list weekly, but within a week or two of sending emails, she found herself running out of ideas.

Whether it’s songwriting ideas, marketing ideas, email campaign ideas, or otherwise, you can’t have too many ideas. I would advise creating and maintaining an idea repository (I have multiple because I’ve been a little scattered through the years, but my main one is inside Evernote).

And this comes with the caveat that, most of our ideas suck. We need to be reminded of this. We should never get too high off our own supply because that’s how we get ourselves into trouble. There’s an opportunity to practice idea generation to build our idea muscle, and that’s a healthy way of looking at it.

But more to the point, if you aren’t regularly generating new ideas, it’s either because a) you’re not paying attention, or b) you don’t have practices that support you in coming up with fresh ideas.

For instance, I don’t flip through Instagram to see what people are bragging about anymore. I look for “pattern interrupts.” When I see something that forces me to pay attention and stop dead in my tracks, I take note of that, and model the content to create my own. If it worked on me, it’s going to work on others too, right?

Ideas are literally everywhere. Whether you’re watching the news (I’m not a big advocate of this these days), reading blog articles, listening to podcast episodes, or cruising Facebook, if you’re paying attention, you can find ideas.

Now that we’ve established that, let’s talk about practices. What practices can support the ongoing generation of ideas?

Here are the three activities I’ve found most worthwhile:

  • Reading. Reading books stimulates all kinds of ideas. It takes my mind in a lot of interesting directions, and if I’m not ready with a pen and paper, I’m going to miss capturing a lot of great thoughts. Reading more broadly and generally can be worthwhile too – magazines, newsletters, and blog articles, while paying attention to headlines, call to actions, copy, and anything else that piques your interest.
  • Walking. We all need a break from familiar environments – the home, the office, the rehearsal space… Even the most impeccable, most beautiful spaces can start to feel mundane after a while, and as humans, we crave novelty. Getting out in nature and walking or hiking is a great way to get a break from the same old, same old. It’s also great for your health.
  • Speculating on possibilities. I covered this earlier. Speculating on possibilities is something that should be done with your band, your team, or people who are invested in helping you get to where you want to go in music and life. And making that micro-adjustment from “brainstorming” to “speculating on possibilities” makes a big difference.

This isn’t to say there aren’t other worthwhile activities – driving, showering, journaling, and more. But I’ve found the above to be the best use of my time.

So, again, it comes down to two things:

  1. Paying attention to what’s already around you. Ideas are everywhere. Walt Disney didn’t reinvent the wheel – he took what already had a proven track record, implemented it, and then iterated on it. You don’t need to be an innovator either.
  2. Developing practices that stimulate ideas. Do what works for you. For me, reading, walking, and speculating on possibilities are among the highest value activities.

And don’t forget to capture your ideas. Your brain is not a reliable storage device.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Speculating on Possibilities in Your Music Career

Speculating on Possibilities in Your Music Career

I know I’ve talked a lot about language, but this is another area where I feel like it has made a real difference for me.

What I’ve discovered is that “brainstorming” is weak compared to “speculating on possibilities.”

I remember a meeting I had with a team member only a few weeks ago. We were discussing the products we were planning to build out. When suddenly, the doors blew wide open on the conversation, all because we were speculating on possibilities.

“I’m seeing something! So, why don’t you create a new version of this product, I’ll help you create the ads, you have the technology to create an affiliate program, so we’ll develop an income opportunity, create an affiliate army, and soon the whole thing will be self-sustaining!”

Now, I wasn’t just excited about the new possibility. From that day forward, it became mission critical for me to focus on the work that would lead to those outcomes. Clarity and inspiration were present.

Now, these sudden realizations and new possibilities didn’t just bubble to the surface all on their own. If I wasn’t in conversation with my team, and if I wasn’t willing to include them in the conversation and speculate on possibilities, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

And the very guide you’re reading? This would not exist had we not reached those conclusions on that day.

There are going to be many opportunities to speculate on possibilities in your music career. Life is full of them.

So, start building this muscle. Next time you’re stuck, or you’re looking for alternatives, or you want to find other approaches, speculate on possibilities with your band or team.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Having Fun in the Game of Music

Having Fun in the Game of Music

In the leadership program I’m currently in, we create everything as a “game.”

Even things that we might normally call “work” in daily life are created instead as games.

Since everything is created in language, this simple shift in terminology from “projects” and “goals” to “games” is more powerful than you might think.

Think about it…

What we know about the structure of a game is that:

  • They have rules
  • They have players
  • There’s a scoreboard
  • It’s clear when you’ve won, as well as when you’ve lost
  • You can’t always win
  • Games are fun!

What’s powerful about generating our tasks and projects as games is that this tends to eliminate a lot of fogginess and uncertainty about setting goals and managing projects in general.

Everything I’ve said about games is applicable to goals and projects. They have rules and players, there’s a scoreboard, it’s obvious when you’ve completed the project (or at least it should be), and you don’t always reach your goals.

But what about “fun” you ask?

That’s up to you. But the shift in terminology can help. The change from “I have three goals I’m working on” to “I’m playing three games” is more significant than you might think.

Now, practically speaking, this may sound or appear irresponsible to those around you.

“You’re playing games? I thought you had work to do. Don’t flaunt your privilege!”

Let them in on the secret you’ve discovered. That everything in life is a game. Because when you create your projects as games, the murkiness tends to go away. Plus, you have more fun on the journey to getting to where you want to go in your music career.

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.