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I’ve been feeling kind of exhausted today, so publishing hasn’t been high on my list of priorities (I’ve mostly been laying in bed, watching Netflix, and eating).
Still, I’ve committed myself to publishing every day for a year, so it’s time to get something up here.
So, today, I want to share an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Music Entrepreneur Identity.
This is turning out to be an exceptionally fun book for me to write, and while I’ve got pages and pages to go, I don’t expect it to take that long because I’ve got a thorough outline and extensive notes on each section.
For this post, I’ll be sharing part of the introduction (but only part of it).
Unlike most books I’ve written to this point, this book features a longer introduction containing the most critical lesson of all.
The book opens with a personal story, detailing my struggle with finding a brand for my music. I did not understand the critical importance of defining a brand, which led to years of struggle that could have been bypassed.
But that’s the story of life. We don’t know what we don’t know, and until the solutions present themselves, we can remain in the dark for a long time (sometimes forever!).
Enjoy what follows and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
The Music Entrepreneur Identity Introduction
If I had understood the value of defining my musical identity early on, I’m sure I wouldn’t have struggled the way I did, especially in the first decade or so of being a musician.
The people closest to me knew my work ethic. They knew I was serious about making a go of this music thing. They knew I was talented and had the chops to back my passion.
But like most artists, I ended up struggling in obscurity. I couldn’t sell enough music or book enough decent paying gigs to make a living.
Merch? Forget it! I didn’t have the financial outlay to make good on that investment.
I figured there would always be more time to figure it all out. I believed one day I would grow into the Rock Stars I loved and admired.
It would be many years later until I figured out that I would only ever grow into myself…
Turns out we’re all just human beings and comparison is unhelpful.
And unfortunately, things kept turning from bad to worse for me.
Long story long, it all culminated in a hellish six months in 2011.
Because my former roommates, who were also my best friends, had all moved out of my house, I ended up having to bring new tenants in. And the one I ended up with was one of the messiest, loudest, and most messed up guys I’d ever met.
He was convinced that his only two options in life were to get a job as an engineer or become a stripper. He complained that he didn’t want to be an engineer, so you can see where things went from there.
Years later, I found out he chased a girl down to L.A., ended up living on the streets, and was arrested and jailed. For what, I don’t know. But if I had to guess, it was probably for assault.
But getting back to the story…
This was after the global economic meltdown, and my investments had mostly tanked. I was starting to feel the crunch financially and was running out of options.
All I could do was sell my soul to five poorly paying jobs. I had to work mornings, evenings, weekends, and endure long commutes. Sometimes I had to fight for healthy working conditions and the money I was owed. No one cared that I was going through hell. Not their problem. If they could exploit me and drive me like a slave for less than minimum wage, it was a win for them.
All the while, I hoped and prayed these jobs would lead somewhere…
At the time, the only music in my life was the local singer-songwriter open mic night on Tuesdays and the occasional rehearsal or gig. And I would happily go just to get away from my roommate and the mess he was making at my once beautiful home.
For a while, I was undeterred. I just kept going. I believed if I persevered, I’d find a way.
Instead, I broke down. I was carrying a bag full of bricks, and the unbreakable back of Atlas finally snapped with the addition of a single straw.
One Sunday, after church, I ended up sobbing in my blue Toyota RAV4 with two flat tires in front of an Italian restaurant. I was exhausted, defeated, humiliated. My spirit was crushed. In that moment, you could not have convinced me there was anything left worth living for.
I managed to refinance my home and stay afloat for a while…
But I kept getting myself into financial trouble, to where I ended up having to sell my home, my office, my studio – my everything – in 2012.
None of that had to happen.
But you don’t know what you don’t know.
And I didn’t have a clue what had gone wrong.
That’s it for Now…
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