Year One Mentality

Year One Mentality

My mentors taught me that your journey doesn’t begin the moment you start your business. It begins the moment you start taking the business seriously.

The distinction may seem small, but it represents a significant shift in mindset.

You could go into business excited about the possibilities:

  • Maybe I’ll get rich
  • Maybe I’ll earn my personal freedom
  • I’m going to buy myself a Beemer!

Or whatever it may be.

That initial excitement can carry you a long way.

But for most, it probably won’t trigger their ultimate success.

There’s a maturity that comes from experience. I’m not talking about realistic thinking, though. I’m talking about accurate thinking.

There’s a maturity that comes from experience. Click To Tweet

Realistic thinking has a way of being unrealistic at the best of times. Usually, it has you setting your sights on what you think is reasonable, and there is nothing reasonable with choosing business or a creative passion to begin with.

So, if you’re not choosing a reasonable path at the outset, why set your sights on what you think is a reasonable outcome? Business and creative passions require that you be unreasonable because the longer you stay with your passion, the more you realize reasonableness is just a story you made up – an illusion of the mind.

Accurate thinking is being aware of both the massive upside potential as well as the seemingly insurmountable challenges you may face on your business journey.

Expecting the best and preparing for the worst is accurate thinking.

Expecting the best and preparing for the worst is accurate thinking. Click To Tweet

And so, we eventually graduate from delusional excitement. And we’ll likely have learned many lessons on that path. There will have likely been more than a few letdowns too.

This is often where business becomes a grind. You can’t just graduate from excitement to accurate thinking in a vacuum. There are levels in between.

And as business becomes a grind, you may not see any results, even as you set your best foot forward, every single day.

At this point, it’s altogether too easy to draw the conclusion that all the time, effort, and money you’ve invested in yourself or your business was a waste. Nobody likes you, and even your dog thinks you’re smelly and gross. May as well pack up and go back to the dirty dumpster alley.

This, I would argue, is the right time to return to year one mentality. Pretend that you know nothing and become hungry for growth again. Move from hobby level commitment to business level commitment. Close the escape hatches, shut the backdoor, burn the ships, and move forward (and even fail forward) no matter what.

Shift your thinking from:

I hope this works….

To:

This must work or else!

Who cares about what happened to this point? You weren’t in the game!

Now that you’ve burned the ships, you’ve moved from starting a business to being serious about your business. And that is the mindset you need to succeed.

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Take Responsibility for Your Accountability

Take Responsibility for Your Accountability

When making a big commitment to ourselves, we often end up delegating accountability.

“If you see me with a cigarette, wipe it out of my mouth,” we say, knowing our friends are just as tempted by our addictions as we are.

Accountability certainly doesn’t work when our friends struggle with the same things we do. It doesn’t work when our friends don’t have the capacity for tough love, either.

More importantly, accountability doesn’t work unless you are first accountable to yourself. It should not be delegated.

Accountability doesn’t work unless you are first accountable to yourself. Click To Tweet

Think of it this way – if you can’t be accountable to yourself, you’re not going to be good at holding others accountable either. Others can’t trust you to keep them in check.

Further, if you don’t follow through on the things you’ve committed yourself to, it ends up eroding your self-confidence.

And thus, a negative cycle is created. What I’ve just described is a formula for losing.

We need to examine this more closely…

If you’re asking someone to hold you accountable to something, it’s because you find yourself having a hard time living without that addiction. You’re confronting a part of yourself that either wants to or doesn’t want to do something very badly.

Asking a friend to wipe a cigarette out of your mouth is like treating the symptom without addressing the cause. Even with their help, you’re bound to repeat old patterns.

The first thing you need to do is sit with yourself. And don’t make yourself or your emotions wrong. Oftentimes, our emotions are simply demanding a little bit of attention. And there is nothing wrong with the emotions that come up. It’s possible they’ve been trapped in there for a while.

Acknowledge your emotions. Sit with them. Love them. You will find that they begin to dissolve relatively quickly when we give them the space and attention they require, like a parent consoling their weeping child.

Once you’ve confronted the emotions that have been controlling you, the only thing left to do is create a schedule and live by it. If your schedule says work out, work out. If your schedule says work, work. And if anything doesn’t work, change the schedule. Keep iterating until it’s workable.

Sooner or later, you will begin to see that it becomes much easier to keep your commitments, especially when you internalize the consequences of not holding yourself accountable.

If you are the kind of person that can keep themselves accountable, then and only then are you qualified to keep others accountable.

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P.S. My new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is available.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

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So, Who Are You Anyway?

So, Who Are You Anyway?

I appreciate your interest!

Hey, I’m David Andrew Wiebe.

This is going to be redundant to some, but so long as there are curious and confused souls, I’ll happily answer this question.

I’m the founder and CEO of Music Entrepreneur HQ and Content Marketing Musician. I’m the best-selling author of five books, and host of The New Music Industry Podcast. I have been coaching and training musicians and music entrepreneurs since 2009.

I’m also the co-founder of The Indie YYC community, and I have a music career spanning over two decades.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things on this journey. That said, I’m not famous, I’m not a household name, I’m not even internet famous…

To be fair, though, hundreds of people have purchased my books (like I said, I’m a best-selling author), and over 1,500+ people download my podcast monthly.

So, if you and I somehow got connected, if my social media posts appear in your feed, if you receive my emails, consider that it’s not by accident, because I don’t. You and I got connected for a reason.

It’s entirely possible that we’ve met at some point and you’ve forgotten about me. Or you don’t necessarily know me for some of the things I do. Or you just came across one of my articles. Like I said, I’ve been at this for many years, and I have had to course correct many times too.

That said, the core of what I do hasn’t changed one iota. If anything, it has gone through some serious refining.

My umbrella mission that trumps all others is to inspire creatives and creators. All projects and initiatives I’ve taken on fall comfortably under that umbrella.

Whether you’ve Googled me, stumbled upon my content, or got connected with me years ago, consider that you’re here to work with me in some capacity.

Maybe you’re here to get inspired by a blog post or podcast episode

Maybe you’re here to join my email list

Maybe you’re here to join a creative community and find opportunities you can tap into…

It could be that you’re here to pick up one of my books

And there’s always the chance that you’re here to hire me or buy one of my products.

I don’t know for sure. But I do know that you’ll find your way if you do a little more digging.

I’ve said enough. Now I’d like to showcase some recent tweets. Here are some kind words others have said about me and my work:

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P.S. My new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is available.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

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Don’t Project Past Efforts onto Present Efforts

Don’t Project Past Efforts onto Present Efforts

It’s easy to say, “things will not work out for me this time, because they did not work out for me last time either.”

But this type of thinking tends to shut off possibility.

Possibility is knowing that a certain outcome is available so long as you are in action.

We should not be surprised that, when we aren’t in action, no progress is made on the things we care most about.

We should not be surprised that, when we aren’t in action, no progress is made on the things we care most about. Click To Tweet

But it’s remarkably easy to focus on past failures and assume things will turn out much the same as they did before.

If you didn’t learn anything from past failures, then you may repeat similar failures. But if you carry what you’ve discovered into new projects, then this is not an inevitable outcome.

If you remain in fear, then you may not advance. But if you are committed, bold in your actions, and do what you know you need to do regardless of emotion, you will break through the glass ceiling.

This isn’t to say that whatever you do next will be a runaway success. But what you learn from what you do next could help you find the next step, and then the next, and then the next.

You may have done things a certain way in the past. And you found out what didn’t work.

But you can’t assume you will repeat those failures. Because then you’re giving into fear. You’re giving into something that hasn’t even happened yet.

I have a friend who was fearful of getting more client bookings, because she was worried that she might slip into the old behavior of overbooking herself. And I reminded her that she is in control of her time. She gets to decide when she takes bookings, and how many. You can’t let clients decide that.

Not to mention, when you’re already booked up, people tend to assume you must be good at what you do and are happy to get on your waiting list.

It’s easy to give into the pressure, or even guilt of having to service all the people that come to you with requests. The more people that know, like, and trust you, the more people will put a demand on your time.

But you don’t need to say “yes” to everything, and you can process requests on a case-by-case basis.

Pounce on the few things that excite you. Set aside the majority that don’t.

Because when you say “yes” to something, you are always saying “no” to something else.

It’s okay to leave time in your schedule. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.

Your past is not a measuring stick of what’s possible now.

P.S. My new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is available.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

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A Simple Way to 80/20 Your Work

A Simple Way to 80/20 Your Work

20% of your efforts drives 80% of the results.

The challenge is that many of us have a hard time identifying what that 20% is. So, we just keep giving 100% effort, even when we mentally understand that only 20% of what we’re doing is making a significant difference to our creative projects, communities, or businesses.

I recently stumbled on a simple diagnostic (I’m calling it the “Effectiveness Diagnostic”) that helped me get clear on my 20%. Want to know how it works? Read on!

The Effectiveness Diagnostic

I call this the Effectiveness Diagnostic because I have long held that effectiveness is superior to productivity, and if we were honest with ourselves, we’d see that effectiveness is what we truly desire.

I could expound on that thought (as I have done elsewhere), but if I were to bottom line it, it’s that productivity is just getting things done, while effectiveness is getting the right things done.

So, let’s identify the right things.

Step #1

Prepare two blank pieces of paper (or create a new note on your iPad, as I like to do).

On the first piece of paper, write down everything you are currently doing. Yes, everything. Do this first.

Also consider things you’ve done in the past (IMPORTANT), especially things that worked for you. For example, if you used to guest post on relevant industry blogs, and that drove a lot of traffic to your website, that would be something to add to your sheet.

Step #2

On the second piece of paper, create three sections, labeled “low effectiveness,” “medium effectiveness,” and “high effectiveness.” You don’t need to split your sheet into three equal parts. Just make sure there’s enough room for each.

Now, because it can be hard to think in black and white terms, you may find it beneficial to add one or two other sections to your sheet – “low-medium effectiveness,” and “medium-high effectiveness.” It’s up to you. If there are certain things you do that you have trouble assigning to low, medium, or high, these extra “in between” labels can help.

Step #3

Look over your first sheet and categorize the various tasks, activities, and projects you’ve written down.

Put them into their appropriate category – low effectiveness, medium effectiveness, and high effectiveness. Be as ruthless and detached as possible.

Note: This will require some deep thinking on your part. So, take your time.

As I was doing this, I realized very quickly that most activities fell under “low effectiveness,” some went under “medium effectiveness,” and only a few made it into “high effectiveness.”

If more than 20% of your tasks made it into “high effectiveness,” you’re either lying to yourself, or you’re being a little too generous.

I ended up with six items under “high effectiveness,” past efforts considered. If you end up with more than three to seven items here, something is probably off. Consider reevaluating.

That’s it!

You’ve just applied the 80/20 principle to your work. Now you have a much better understanding of the things that make a difference in your projects, community, or business, as well as the things that just take up time and do not lead to desired results.

What can you do with this information?

Well, I’m a bit of an operations nerd, so my suggestion would be to eliminate, automate, or delegate.

Basically, STOP doing the things that don’t yield results.

AUTOMATE the things that still need to be done but can be done using a SaaS app or machine.

And DELEGATE the things that still need to be done, aren’t an effective use of your time, and require a human touch.

Double down on the highly effective 20% that leads to the outcomes you’re looking to create.

Final Thoughts

I found this simple diagnostic to be of immense value.

There are certain commitments I’ve made (such as publishing daily) that I will be keeping for at least a year, regardless of effectiveness.

Having said that, I learned from James Schramko that you can’t apply simple math to building an asset. So, when it comes to publishing daily and the many benefits I derive from blogging, I’m going to be more lenient.

In all other areas, I’m going to spend more time doing the things that I know work. Proven strategies and tactics are far more exciting than ones that are untested and do not offer consistent results.

Much of what we do doesn’t work, even things we’ve been told we should do. That’s the reality of the situation.

What did you learn from going through this exercise? What did you identify as being your most effective work?

Let me know in the comments.

P.S. I recently launched my new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

Click on the banner below to learn more NOW.

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Embrace the Opportunities Available

Embrace the Opportunities Available

The zero to hero dream is alluring.

Yet, when you dig into any so-called “overnight” successes, you soon realize none of them happened overnight.

This doesn’t mean our dreams are impossible. But it does mean there’s a road and a journey to getting there. There’s a process.

And that road is paved with how we handle the opportunities available – not the opportunities we want to have, create, or attain.

If we manage the opportunities available well, we will advance. If we don’t manage those opportunities well, even if we pivot, we’ll find ourselves learning the same lessons all over again. The only way to get to what we truly desire is by facing the mountains before us.

If we shortcut the journey, we shortcut the learning. And that means repeating lessons all over again. Allow for the learning. Chances are you need it.

There is no singular way to determine whether the opportunities available are good, right, or perfect. But you will discover soon enough. All you’ve got to do is say “yes” and it will unfold. Don’t spend too much time thinking it over. Opportunity likes to move fast.

Opportunity likes to move fast. Click To Tweet

You can’t steer a parked car. But you can always adjust course once it’s in motion. If you have second thoughts, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

P.S. I just launched my new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

Right now, this course is available for just $9. But it won’t stay that way for long.

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