How to Filter Out Distractions

How to Filter Out Distractions

Ambitious creatives and creators must learn to filter out distractions. It’s a survival skill.

Whenever you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. And vice versa.

The more yesses you give, the more commitments you will have to fulfill on.

And the more times you say “no,” the more you will leave space for what matters to you.

Sooner or later, as you continue to grow, opportunities are going to start showing up at your doorstep, wanted or not.

If you don’t learn how to control the flow of opportunity, and if you don’t have filters for sorting them out, you’re going to be swamped.

In a broader sense, Derek Sivers’ Hell Yeah or No filter works perfectly. Basically, it’s about only saying “yes” to things that excite you and bring you joy and saying “no” to all else.

Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a similar philosophy as applied to decluttering and organizing your home, but it’s just as applicable to opportunity.

But on a more granular level, it can be challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff.

So, here’s an example of how I control the flow of opportunity, especially as applied to email:

  • I welcome emails. That said, I set the expectation upfront that I may not answer for a week or two (which is generally the case).
  • If the sender doesn’t mention my name, I delete the message.
  • If the sender hasn’t demonstrated a clear understanding of who I am or what I do, I delete the message.
  • If the sender hasn’t identified the mutual benefit of the communication, I delete the message.
  • If the email is about guest posting or buying links and it’s coming from an SEO agency, I delete the message.
  • I actively unsubscribe from newsletters I never read.

Some of this may seem kind of harsh. But if I didn’t have these filters, guaranteed I would get swallowed up in tasks that neither excite me nor bring me joy.

It’s your time. You’ve got to guard it with your life because it is your life.

Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary.

Create filters. Document them. Follow them. And put more stringent rules in place as necessary. Click To Tweet

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14 Ways I’ve Created an Independent Income Writing

14 Ways I’ve Created an Independent Income Writing

As of late, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about making money as a writer, becoming a better writer, keeping up motivation as a writer and so forth.

I even saw someone who shared a story saying, “there are only three ways you can make money in writing.”

Really? That’s interesting because I’m certain I’ve been able to create an independent income from writing in more than just three ways.

Broadly speaking, he might be right. But on a granular level, there are more opportunities than you might even realize.

1. Revenue Sharing

Revenue share sites like InfoBarrel don’t get talked about as much anymore. Medium and News Break are far more in vogue.

But these types of sites are still out there. Hubpages is the perfect example.

I wrote 71 some odd articles on InfoBarrel. I never made much on the site – you would need a lot of eyeballs on your articles to make anything (how’s that any different than Medium?). Still, I got something from my effort.

2. Ghostwriting

I started ghostwriting in 2013. At first, it was just short form blog posts for architecture firms and merchandise suppliers. It didn’t amount to much.

Before I knew it, I was ghostwriting for Entrepreneur and HuffPost contributors. I even got requests to write long form Neil Patel style digital marketing guides.

As I write this, I have a contract shaping up for a 70,000+ word book.

No, you don’t get credit for your ghostwriting efforts, you can’t reveal your working relationships, and it doesn’t help you build your own stature, authority, or following. But ghostwriting can be quite lucrative.

3. Staff Writing

I have been a staff writer of Music Industry How To since 2015 (you can even see my face on the homepage).

It’s funny, because Music Industry How To ranks for a ton of broad keywords, so when musicians are searching for something online, there’s a good chance they’re reading one of my articles.

My own business, Music Entrepreneur HQ, ranks for a lot of long-tail keywords, so if they aren’t reading my works on Music Industry How To, there’s still a good chance they’re reading my works on Music Entrepreneur HQ.

I was also recently added as a writer on MIDINation.

4. Guest Posting

Writing for various entrepreneurs and companies was reasonably lucrative. That is, until I found out just how much they were willing to pay for ghostwritten or staff-written guest posts.

One of the reasons I was able to start working completely from home in 2016 was because I had so many guest posting assignments lined up.

Backlinks are still quite important as applied to SEO, and the reality is entrepreneurs or businesses can either spend countless hours on outreach or pay good money to have someone write a quality guest post and pitch it for them.

There have also been times when I’ve literally been paid for writing guest posts for other musician service providers. That was a nice surprise.

5. Copywriting

I have seen other Medium writers say copywriting is where the money is at, and they aren’t wrong.

When I have made an income from copywriting, though, it has usually been part of a bundle deal (e.g., setting up a landing page along with relevant copy).

I still think there’s quite a bit of opportunity in copywriting, though I suspect GPT-3 powered sites and apps could make human copywriters obsolete soon.

6. Emails

At times, I have also written emails for clients (again, usually as part of a bundle deal for web design or something along those lines).

You’ve got to keep in mind, a lot of people don’t want to get too technically involved in building landing pages or sales funnels, let alone writing the emails to go along with it. There’s a significant opportunity here.

If you’re lazy, you could even use a tool like Funnel Scripts to generate the copy and edit at your leisure.

7. Advertising

At times, I have experimented with placing ads on my own blogs, and this has generated some revenue over the years.

This has the potential to be higher reward than revenue sharing sites but getting traffic to your own blogs can be a challenge. So, you’ve got to weigh your options.

8. Affiliate Marketing

Writing about products, reviewing them, comparing them, and so on, all offer valuable opportunities for you to create an income as an affiliate.

I wouldn’t say I’ve made it as an affiliate marketer over the years, but I have easily made four-figures from my efforts, with potential for significantly more.

9. eBooks

My first online product was an audio course I published in 2014, but I have also been writing and publishing eBooks since around the same time.

My most recent eBook is The Renegade Musician, and it contains an important and timely message on artist empowerment (I wrote it in three days).

These days, I mostly make eBooks for Twitter money. Sounds crazy, but there is an entire Twitter subculture that generates solid revenue from eBooks.

10. Kindles & Paperbacks

I put Kindles and paperbacks as their own category.

An eBook should be concise and value-packed – helping the reader get quick wins and not forcing them through walls of text just to find the information they’re looking for.

A book, on the other hand? Well, that’s another story. Because someone who takes the time to read walls of text and is willing to sit with ideas for longer, ultimately becomes your best clients.

I have five books. My latest is The Music Entrepreneur Code.

11. Courses

“Hold the phone – are you talking about text-based courses?”

Nope. I‘m talking about video courses. But how does that work?

Well, although I have not done this for every course I’ve ever made, there are courses I scripted out in their entirety before ever presenting them.

So far as I’m concerned, that’s another source of income from writing.

12. Medium

Obviously, I have made some money on Medium, and over the years, it has added up to at least three figures.

Currently, I make enough money for three fancy fruity iced teas per month. But hey, I like iced tea.

Yeah, Medium hasn’t been a big source of income for me so far. That’s okay – I’m writing more and enjoying the journey. See where it takes me.

13. News Break

Where others are growing bearish, I’ve been growing more bullish of News Break by the day, and I’m looking to increase my output because of the potential I see.

If you’re a new writer, it’s going to be far easier to make a bit of an income on News Break compared to Medium.

That said, if you’re looking to get more exposure for your articles, Medium is the better place to be.

14. Songwriting

This is outside the box thinking.

But over the years, my songs have earned me thousands of dollars – from streaming, sales, royalties, live performances, and more.

There’s the technical, musical, and performance aspect of music, obviously, but you can’t forget the writing aspect.

Is the Music Industry a Lucrative One?

Having read this story, you may have come to the end of it wondering to yourself, “should I get into the music industry?”

The reality is that I’m probably one of the lucky few who makes a steady income in the music business as an independent writer, educator, coach, producer, composer, and artist.

It’s not a big industry and I have either personally met or have interviewed most of the personalities in the same space.

Don’t get into it unless you have an undying, fiery passion for it. You could get paid much more as a medical, political, or legal writer.

I’m Sorry – What is it That You do, Again?

So, you might have seen mention of sales funnels, websites, email marketing and so forth and wondered to yourself, “what does this guy do anyway?”

I think of myself as a multimedia or new media designer.

I create content, make websites, design graphics, produce music and podcasts, edit videos, coach and train musicians and creatives, build communities, and more.

Final Thoughts

I’ve shared 14 ways here, but honestly, I’ve probably forgotten some of the other ways I’ve created an income as a writer.

All you need to do to come up with new ways of creating an income is to think a little outside the box. There’s more opportunity out there than you’d even think.

And just writing pieces like this can sometimes catch someone’s attention (I almost ended up as a whitepaper writer for a well-known content management system because of a piece I had written on the topic).

Have fun exploring the possibilities.

Be empowered in your music career and separate yourself from the pack. Pick up a copy of The Renegade Musician eBook.

The Renegade Musician

18 Social Networks & Platforms I’ve Been Experimenting with

18 Social Networks & Platforms I’ve Been Experimenting with

For years, I’ve been fascinated with content syndication and distribution.

I would often think about how many places I could put my content, as well as where I could go to be seen, even if just by one person who found my content valuable.

Now, I don’t dedicate the same amount of time and energy to it that I used to. But once I’ve established a publishing routine, a content syndication and distribution routine are usually soon to follow.

Is it worth putting your time into promoting your content? Would it be better to spend more time writing instead? I would suggest you come to your own conclusions on that, and the following may help.

Here I will share the 18 social networks and platforms I’ve been experimenting with.

My “Green Light” List

As I’ve shared before, I’ve committed to growing my following on Medium and Twitter this year, so they have been excluded from the following list.

All other social networks and platforms have been quarantined for further review, though there are two or three on the list that are about to make my green light list.

By the way, when I talk about my green light list, it’s just a simple traffic light system:

  • Green for sites that I’m focused on and am seeing results from
  • Yellow for sites I’m not sure about yet
  • Red for sites that haven’t done a thing for me (and in some cases are to be avoided completely)

With that context established, we’re ready to dive in. Here are the platforms I’ve been experimenting with and my thoughts on each.

1. Facebook

Facebook sucks. I’m sorry, it just does.

It’s trying to be the next one-stop-shop like Google, with its dating this, marketplace that, and gaming other (and now they’re looking to branch out into articles too?).

Just do what you do well, Facebook, which at this point is nothing. Even social aspect of Facebook is beyond cumbersome, and Telegram is a far superior Messenger.

Don’t worry about Zuckerberg. He will find a way to keep it afloat, with his big government and big pharma collusion.

So, why bother with Facebook?

There are still a lot of people on the platform. Social Media Today says their growth has stalled (I honestly think it’s on decline), but those who are hooked are still hooked. So, you’ve got to be there if you want to capture that audience.

Look, I know some people do well on Facebook. So, I’m not discouraging anyone from trying, and like I said, I’m trying too.

But if you so much as dare post anything that links outside of Facebook, you’re basically penalized for it, which makes it a horrible place to invest heavily into as a writer. Even their ad platform is needlessly convoluted, and constantly changing.

The occasional (but rare) engagement on my posts and direct messages are what keeps me going back to this dirty, polluted, and stinky fishing hole.

2. Instagram

People are still going gaga over Instagram, even as they add new (but confusing and half-finished) functionality.

Instagram is fine, I suppose. Better than Facebook if you ignore their creepy terms of use and all the spying, they think they’re entitled to (horrifying).

For Instagram, I take my most engaged tweets and turn them into attractive but simple 1080×1080 images. And I schedule these out to publish once per day. This doesn’t take long to do at all.

I have seen some engagement as result of this, but my following hasn’t grown. At this point, it’s still too early to tell, mind you. I guess we’ll see where it goes.

3. LinkedIn

A lot of writers and entrepreneurs are seeing results from sharing on LinkedIn, and I am too. I’ve seen decent engagement on my articles, and my connections continue to grow weekly.

The dirty secret about LinkedIn is that it used to be a boring and stuffy environment, so posting anything that’s the slightest bit eye-catching (like a video) had the chance to go viral.

I say used to be, because many people are seeing the term “LinkedIn” in a story like this and are staking their claim on the platform.

So far, I haven’t seen explosive engagement on LinkedIn. But I would at least say it’s been worthwhile, especially since it has led to other writing opportunities for me.

4. YouTube

I guess I’m not exactly “experimenting” with YouTube. I’m staying steady with it. It’s just that it’s not on my “green light” list.

Gradually, I have been seeing my subscriber base grow on YouTube, but it has been slow, and I have a channel with hundreds of videos.

To be fair, most of it isn’t content developed to appeal to the average YouTube viewer, who comes ready to watch and expects production value. I mostly republish my podcast content.

Either way, you can’t deny that YouTube is huge, and in the last year, I have only found myself using it more and more. I would suspect it’s been the same for you.

Which tells you something. You should probably post something on YouTube.

I recently realized that there’s virtually nothing about my five books on YouTube, and it’s probably one of the first places people are searching for them, so I’m planning to create a video series for each book.

5. Tumblr

My WordPress blogs are set to auto-post to Tumblr.

Much to my surprise, I’ve been seeing my following grow incredibly consistently on Tumblr without effort.

If I continue to see the same kind of growth, it’s only a matter of time before I green light Tumblr.

6. VK

VK is Russia’s answer to Facebook, and if you’re just learning about it now, you’re a little late to the game. The site started in 2006.

It takes me all of 10 to 30 seconds to share my content on VK, so I do it, but so far, I haven’t seen any action on my posts.

That said, Google obviously has its eyes on it. When you click on the “Share” button on YouTube, there are several sites that pop up, and among them is VK. Whatever is prioritized by YouTube is bound to be a signal for Google too.

7. Pinterest

As with anything else, pinning a new post to Pinterest takes all of 10 to 30 seconds. But I can’t say it has led to engagement, and my follower count has basically stayed the same since I started.

Of course, Pinterest is a visual platform. If you’re just going there to pin your Medium post, you’re going to end up pinning the stock photo you picked for the story, and that’s not attention grabbing enough for Pinterest.

If you want to do Pinterest right, you should create custom graphics or curate and organize other people’s best images.

8. Mix

Mix

Mix is another signal that Google (or at the very least YouTube) pays attention to. It’s basically a social bookmarking site. It reminds me a bit of StumbleUpon, and as it turns out, Mix is a literal outgrowth of StumbleUpon.

But unlike StumbleUpon, Mix won’t send you much traffic to your articles or website. I think I have over 150 posts on Mix now, and I haven’t seen much movement at all.

As of now, I can’t say it’s worth it, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

9. Clubhouse

I literally just got started on Clubhouse, so at this point I’m not sure whether it will add any value to my content syndication and distribution efforts.

I’m skeptical of any notion that experts are sharing knowledge and insights on Clubhouse they’ve held back on elsewhere.

Still, I will set aside my skepticism long enough to give this one a go (as I have done with every other platform).

10. Revue

Earlier this year, Twitter acquired newsletter platform Revue. This only came to my attention a few weeks ago.

But as someone who is quite active on Twitter, I couldn’t resist the idea of creating and monetizing a newsletter. And Revue makes it incredibly easy to set up your newsletter.

I have been sending out my newsletter (Creative Alchemist) once per week for about three weeks now, but I don’t have a single subscriber.

Of course, even if I did end up with a big list, I would still be proactive about backing it up, because you just never know what could happen to a platform like Revue.

Anyway, I like the idea of Revue. I just haven’t seen any traction from it yet.

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to with Revue, go here.

11. News Break

News Break

As other writers grow bearish of News Break, I continue to grow more bullish of it. And if I were thinking purely in terms of revenue, I would probably be putting most of my time and energy into writing for News Break over Medium. My Medium revenue has a long way to go to catch up to my News Break revenue.

That said, there’s a good chance you’re still going to get more views on your stories on Medium, so there is a tradeoff.

For the time being, News Break has been added to my green light list.

If you’re thinking about becoming a News Break writer, click here.

12. Telegram

I like the idea of being in people’s pockets. No, not literally. People are weary of coming within six feet of each other as is.

No, what I mean is that I could be a notification or alert away from someone’s attention. And Telegram gives me that. I like it better than text messaging (which generally needs to be personal to get results), and like I said earlier, it’s far more usable than Messenger.

But as I’ve found, it may not work for you unless your audience uses Telegram, and you already have a significant following.

In the time I’ve been using Telegram and have been encouraging people to subscribe to my channel, I have gained a total of five subscribers. Well, that’s something, I guess.

If you want to follow me on Telegram, click here.

13. Brighteon.Social

Brighteon.Social

With the 2020 and 2021 media hysteria, we’ve seen the rise of free speech and alternative social media sites, and Brighteon.Social is just one among many.

Brighteon, by the way, is a video sharing site much like YouTube, and Brighteon.Social is their Twitter alternative.

When I first started experimenting on Brighteon.Social, I didn’t expect many people to be there, and I figured the conversation would mostly revolve around politics.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I have come across some weirdos. But much to my surprise, people started engaging and sharing my articles, and I have grown a small following too.

Again, I have not seen explosive growth, but if the momentum picks up from here, I could see myself green-lighting Brighteon.Social.

14. Odysee

To be honest, I’m already quite excited about Odysee, a free speech video sharing platform that resembles YouTube more and more by the day (and it’s a bit like YouTube was 10 years ago).

Odysee runs on the blockchain, and your channel is monetized the moment you start it. You can earn LBRY Credits (or LBC) by completing small actions like verifying your email address, watching videos, growing your following, and more. Of course, you can also receive tips from other viewers.

As it stands now, I’m mostly uploading older content over to Odysee. If I were serious about making a go of it, I would be more heavily invested in creating engaging video content.

Still, I’ve been able to earn over 300 LBC in the short amount of time I’ve been on the platform, and that’s the equivalent of about $84. Way more than I would earn on YouTube for the same number of followers and views.

If you’re thinking about joining Odysee, click here.

15. Parler

Parler is the most notorious free speech newcomer on the block, and yes, it’s up and running again.

I’ve only started posting there recently, so I have no idea whether I’ll begin to see any engagement on my posts or if I’ll be able to grow a following.

Likely, I will share in a follow up piece.

16. Minds

What follows, from here, are all new free speech-oriented platforms that, for me, tend to blend. Which is to say, I haven’t seen much traction on any of the following, despite remaining diligent with daily posting.

I’m not ready to write anything off, but so far, I can’t say I’m bullish about Minds or the other two that follow.

Now, I will say this about Minds – they give you the ability to monetize your posts, something I have yet to experiment with. To be able to do this, though. you will need to become a paid member.

17. MeWe

So far, I think I have a following of two on MeWe. That’s something.

18. Gab

I have a following of one on Gab. Wow, dude.

Other Platforms I Might Begin Experimenting with

I have some interest in the following, though my hands are quite full right now:

  • Substack
  • Ghost
  • Thinkspot

Final Thoughts

If nothing else, experimentation can be a lot of fun.

It doesn’t take a long time to share your posts on various social networks and platforms, so if you wanted to make it a part of your routine, it’s good to know it wouldn’t be overly effort intensive.

Of course, if you want to make the most of every platform, you’ve got to customize your approach to each. So, that’s not worth it unless you’ve got a freelancer or team to handle it for you.

I look forward to writing a following up piece on this to report on my various experiments.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

I Don’t Like Slack

I Don’t Like Slack

When I first heard about Slack, it sounded exciting.

I was already acquainted with IRC from the early days of the web, and I’d had a good experience with it.

And, of course, the prospect of cutting down on emails sounded alluring.

With glowing endorsements from entrepreneurs, I follow, how could I possibly resist?

I jumped on the Slack bandwagon. But it wasn’t long before I started looking for an exit.

Experimentation is Important

I spend quite a bit of time experimenting with a variety of tools.

Some make it into my ecosystem. Most do not.

If it’s easy for me to access, log in, and use, then there’s a better chance of it becoming a part of my workflow.

A great example is Google Workplace (formerly G Suite). Most of us already use Gmail. And know it or not, that gives you access to Calendar, Google Docs, and a suite of other apps. Google Workplace is the same thing, except that you can attach a custom domain to your email address.

Google Workplace works relatively seamless across devices, and changes are saved online, so it’s basically a no-brainer, at least to me.

On the other hand, if a tool takes too long to learn, if it’s more power than I need, if it doesn’t naturally integrate into my world, it gets abandoned relatively quickly.

But I’m not closed minded. I will give everything a try, and I will even return to tools I didn’t like to give them a second or third go, just to see if there’s something I was missing.

Integrating Slack into My World

I’ve attempted to integrate Slack into my world a couple times. Doubtless I would appreciate it more if I had a bigger team. My attempts at trying to get my team to interact on Slack went over like a led balloon, mostly because I couldn’t personally commit to spending time inside Slack consistently.

As it stands now, Slack feels like “one more app.” And I don’t want to spend all day everyday switching between dozens of apps. I feel like that kills productivity and wastes energy.

I feel like I’ve got too many tools and apps dedicated to communication already – phone calls, texts, emails, Messenger, WhatsApp, LINE, Discord, Telegram, and so on. Plus, most social networks have their own built-in direct messaging system.

What am I doing with all this communication anyway? Is it making me a better person? Is it building my business? What am I accomplishing by staying connected all the time?

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link), Tim Ferriss was quick to point out that most communication isn’t urgent. I have found this to be true.

SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko says the first thing he gets his students to focus on is to get to inbox zero. He suggests unsubscribing from everything you can unsubscribe from.

Communication is critical, but it makes the point that we must have boundaries for it too.

I’m Trying

Okay, so I haven’t had the best of experiences with Slack so far.

But here’s the thing.

This year, I’ve started interacting with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs inside a Slack group. And that’s something I care about.

I have a couple of friends that recently started projects benefiting worthwhile causes. They’ve asked me to be a part of their projects and have started their own Slack groups. Again, my resistance aside, I care about my friends and their projects.

So, I’m trying. I’m trying to get passed my own hang-ups and preferences to figure out how this darn thing works. I’m trying to make it a habit to check in on Slack, even if it’s only a couple times per week.

I have plenty on my schedule already, but I’m always making micro adjustments to keep it sustainable and effective. So, of course, I can adjust for the benefit of my growth and the projects and people I care about too.

I’m trying to like Slack, or at the very least, get to the point where I can leverage it effectively.

Final Thoughts

As I continue to absorb my business coach’s programs and courses, there’s one thing I’ve come to realize – I need to embrace the boring.

I tend to get caught up in the sexiness of content and traffic, but if you don’t have a well-researched strategy backing your work and business, you’re going to struggle, just as I did with Music Entrepreneur HQ.

Slack, to me, is boring (although I know it can be exciting). It seems a good a place as any to begin cultivating a stronger mindset and attention span for what shows up as boring to me.

Are there and business tools or apps that drive you nuts? Is there something everyone else uses that you can’t quite wrap your own mind around?

Let me know in the comments.

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The Sad Proliferation of Deceptive Sales Tactics

The Sad Proliferation of Deceptive Sales Tactics

It’s sad.

Lately, it seems like everyone is flocking to cereal box university to get their sales permit.

The increasing desperation of so-called braindead influencers and hustlers is pity-worthy, if somewhat understandable, but only based on the general state of the world.

Even so, you can’t make a good case that their methods don’t throw good sense and caution right to the wind. Try.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Good luck building a long-term business on the back of methods that trick people into giving you money.

The “Post Your Links Below” Method

These posts are as common as flags on the fourth of July. I see them daily, and I wish I didn’t (I need to curate my newsfeeds better).

In big, bold letters accompanied by a colorful, eye-catching background they proclaim:

“We’re looking for music to showcase on our radio show (or podcast, or live stream). Drop your links below!”

Or something to that effect.

What musician in their right mind wouldn’t be curious about such an opportunity? What musician wouldn’t drop their links?

Well, here’s what happened when I “dropped” my link. I was told “sounds great, but you need to reach out to me via email – it’s on our Facebook page” as if I had done something wrong by following instruction.

To add insult to injury, they couldn’t be bothered to say they were expecting an email in the first place, let alone provide the email address where I was to contact them. They’d already wasted my time, and now they expected me to hunt for their email address.

When I finally did email them, and heard back, again they said, “Wow, this is some great work. It certainly deserves to be heard by thousands of people” before they launched right into their sales pitch.

Wait. I thought you were looking for content… when in fact you were just looking for customers.

Deceptive. Plain and simple.

The “Check Out Our Profiles” Method

If you can’t attract your customers, then go where they are, right? Sounds sensible. But cold calling can be a double-edged sword in the hands of an experienced salesperson, never mind an inexperienced 17-year-old who just discovered TikTok.

Cold calling can be a double-edged sword in the hands of an experienced salesperson, never mind an inexperienced 17-year-old who just discovered TikTok. Click To Tweet

And direct message inboxes have always been akin to a “throw in all the leftovers” stew, where barely literate people exchange come-ons, bots ask you to verify your identity, and “influencers” try to coax you into caring about them, commenting on their latest cat meme, or getting their pseudointellectual pictures-only coffee table book.

Oh, sure. Occasionally, you can expect a genuine message from a real person too. But your mileage will vary, and you might be quite wary of half-wits spamming your inbox by that point.

Well, there’s no elegance to this method, because it goes straight for the kill. Are you ready?

Someone you’ve never interacted with before, out of nowhere, sends a DM and says:

“Hey, your posts are the best things we’ve ever seen in the world! We’d sure like to share your content. Here’s our first profile with over 600,000 followers (@delicious_insta_babes). Here’s another one with over 1 million followers (@guitar_players_rule233). Check them out and let us know!”

You get no points for figuring out that people like Instagram babes or guitar players. You get negative points for assuming my content would fit in with such shlock.

And do I even need to tell you where this train wreck is headed next? That’s right – the moment you express any interest in having your content shared, they roll out their rate sheet like they were in snake oil sales.

The “We’d Love to Share Your Work” Method

This is basically the same thing as the “Check Out Our Profiles” method, except that, as with the “post your links below” method, you might be fooled into believing it’s genuine (but only at first).

I just got a legit looking email today that in effect said:

“Hey, we’ve been noticing your posts on Instagram and it really seems like you know what you’re doing. Do you mind if we share your content on our profiles?”

I mean, there might be some situations where you’d say “no,” like if you were uncomfortable having the art you poured your blood, sweat and tears into shared alongside big breasted bimbos wearing slingshots.

But otherwise, the automatic response is “Sure, I’d love to have my content seen elsewhere. I’d love to grow my following.”

So, I responded, and then I got this response:

“Great! We look forward to sharing your content. It’s $39 for our first package, $69 for our second package, $129 for our third package, and here’s what’s offered…”

Puke.

I thought they cared about my content. Not in lining their pockets with green. There is a difference!

Final Thoughts

I’m tired of the fake “caring.”

I’m tired of a potential opportunity turning into sales pitches when they were never framed as such.

And I’m tired of being treated like I haven’t read the same cereal boxes, and don’t know all the tactics you could possibly throw at me.

I get it. Some people buy into this stuff.

But if you’re going after ambitious people like me – there’s one thing I can guarantee:

We appreciate direct communication. Get to the point. If you’re planning to sell me something, tell me upfront. Don’t waste my time. Pre-qualify me. Ask me if I’m looking for a solution. Ask me if I’ve got the budget before launching into a presentation. That’s what a good salesperson would do.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

Content That Engages Vs. Content That Sells

Content That Engages Vs. Content That Sells

It pays to obsess over function rather than form. Literally. And that applies to content as much as it does to design.

Many entrepreneurs will find themselves creating content to grow their business.

But it’s altogether too easy to get caught up in trying to become a YouTuber than in showing up and serving your audience. And the two approaches lead to vastly different results.

Just because content engages doesn’t mean it generates sales. The two are often mutually exclusive.

Just because content engages doesn’t mean it generates sales. The two are often mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to look at an Instagram influencer with thousands of likes on every post and think to yourself, “wow, they are killing it – I must be doing something wrong.”

But the reality is that many of these so-called influencers make aggressively mediocre money.

Your feelings might get hurt when your content doesn’t get engaged, but if it leads to results that show up on your P&L statement, you might begin to feel a little differently about the situation.

SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko has been making short social media videos that earn him hundreds of thousands of dollars (and his course on the same topic is a steal at $9). These videos answer his target audience’s questions and adds value to them. Then, they go to his website to check out what solutions he’s got to offer.

If he were obsessed with becoming a YouTuber, he probably wouldn’t even come close to generating those types of figures.

YouTube audiences come ready to watch. They want to sit on their couch, find something they can get stuck into, and even have high standards for production.

Which isn’t to say don’t use YouTube. But if you’re going to be doing what James did, you should consider distributing your videos across the main social networks too – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The point is that YouTubers spend all their time coming up with content ideas, filming, and editing, just to generate a few thousand dollars per month.

Yes, they can tap into revenue streams other than advertising to give their revenue a boost – Patreon, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, PayPal donations, and so on.

But then you’re in the game of content that engages. Not content that sells. And you’ve got to be clear on that distinction to do well in either.

I know from having talked to other entrepreneurs that they’d prefer to create content that sells. They’re busy and stressed out as is, and don’t need to spend any more time on activity that engages but doesn’t sell.

If you want to be an artist or a hobbyist, or if you just want to make things for fun, then there’s nothing wrong with focusing on content that engages.

But entrepreneurs should be focused on activity with measurable results. And they can expect a better return from focusing on content that sells, especially since it doesn’t require a huge audience or high level of engagement.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician