Sometimes I will go for a walk at 8:30, but many times I won’t until later.
So, nothing of especial interest happens until…
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Writing & Content Work
This is the first block of the day where productive work happens.
I’m either writing for my own blog, or for my clients. Either way, I’m generally focused on one project at a time, and I’m not jumping around from one to the other.
If it’s an especially productive day, I will finish three or four blog posts during this time.
If I’m not at my best, I might finish one and a half blog posts (but one always gets done!).
Of course, it depends a lot on the word count and depth of research required, too.
Within two to three days, I will have a week’s worth of posts completed.
Sometimes, in the first hour (9 AM to 10 PM), I will go grocery shopping, have breakfast, or simply collect my thoughts for the day.
On a Wednesday, you will find me working on my latest podcast episode (to schedule for Thursday). This work often extends into my second block of the day. Every second Wednesday, I also jump on a video conference from 8 to 9:30 AM with my mastermind.
On a Saturday, you’ll find me handling admin tasks and writing for an hour or two (Weekly Digest).
On a Sunday, you’ll find me planning and writing for an hour or two (#StrategySunday).
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch
It’s time to unplug from devices (though I often listen to podcasts) and fuel up.
If I’m especially efficient, I will prepare two meals at this point (lunch and supper). An Instant Pot (affiliate link) comes in handy for this.
Sometimes, I will also take this opportunity to go for a 30-minute walk, but that can be somewhat ambitious in just an hour.
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Writing & Content Work
This is where additional productive work happens.
You will often find me handling more intensive staff writing and client work during this timeframe.
To be fair, though, the best writing of the day probably happened already. Some of my writing duties are brainless and don’t require a lot of mental power, so this is the right time to handle those types of projects.
Depending on the day, you’ll also find me:
Handling coaching and client calls (but generally only on Wednesdays and Thursdays!)
Most days, my latest post goes live at 1 PM PST. So, in the first five to 10 minutes or so of the hour, I will carry out my daily Medium routine:
Import, format, and publish latest story
Add the story to a relevant publication (a must if you want to do well on Medium)
Share story to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
Follow 50 people who’ve “clapped” for people in my Dream 100 or those who would be interested in the type of content I publish
I’ve got enough of a strategy and infrastructure in place to keep growing my Medium following, so this all happens relatively quickly.
From there, I will work on the latest product I’m looking to launch.
Sometimes this means more content work. But because I’ve already completed a good chunk of content, lately this has meant:
Developing my course/membership platform
Working on landing pages
Creating sales videos
Fine tuning sales copy
Making sure the funnel and payment processor is working correctly (my builder of choice is 10XPro – affiliate link)
Ordering necessities online
And so forth
If I’m not doing any of those things, it’s safe to assume I’m writing or making product related content.
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Supper
This is a good time to disconnect from devices and maybe get that walk in. It gets dark early where I live, especially during the winter, so it’s nice to get the walk in earlier in the day, but if I’m unable to, then this is the time to do it.
Of course, I will also fuel up once more.
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Music
Generally, I like to leave “after supper hours” unscheduled. Rest and recreation are incredibly important to me. Having a social life in 2020, and now 2021, though, has looked quite a bit different than it has in the past, so if I want to work on something else, I can, because there’s always time.
Having said that, music is my passion, and it deserves some space in my life. I can’t always get around to it in block #2, so I prioritize it in my schedule regardless.
And in that sense, working on music isn’t always work. It can be a lot of fun. And I would say that about most of the “work” I do (but we all do things for money we don’t necessarily enjoy).
Because I have so much music and so many ideas, creating focus has always been a bit of a challenge. Right now, one of my focuses is just to document all my ideas, because sadly, I do begin to forget riffs (but I would not say that’s unique to my current place in life).
8:00 PM – 12:00 AM: Unscheduled Time
Social life in 2020 and 2021 has mostly been limited to texting, calling, hopping on a Zoom call, swiping right on a dating app, or going to the occasional dinner at a restaurant with a friend (someone in my pandemic bubble).
I’m planning to explore local Facebook groups as well, to see if I can get a little more connected in my new surroundings (I was living somewhat nomadically until the pandemic came around).
Additional exercise (I like to knock out some pushups, sit ups, and squats – it doesn’t take that long)
I would love to say that this is what happens most days. And while I usually do at least one of the above, many days I will simply collapse in bed and watch something on YouTube or Netflix, while playing video games (thus why I try to build disconnecting from devices into my routine).
I think this is a horrible time for admin work and errands, which is why I try to build that into my schedule as well (this week I’ve blocked off time for it on Thursday and Friday, which are a little laxer, because I tend to finish most of my work by Wednesday).
For the last four months of 2020, I was not pulling eight-hour days, especially since I was feeling burnt out after pulling 12- to 16-hour days for a few months (I quickly found out there was no merit to that). So, I would finish my work in four to six hours per day and spend the rest of the day resting.
I find I can perform at a high level during my scheduled work hours. To be fair, I’ve been honing the skill of working from home since 2011. I’ve been working completely from home since 2016. So, I’ve had some practice.
If you’ve never tried condensing your work hours, it might be worth a go. For instance, try to do an eight-hour day in four hours. It’s possible. You just need to focus more, and when you’re under pressure, you get things done faster. Seriously, it’s worth a try.
Focus is a must if you want to strike a balance between quality and quantity, which I feel is an absolute must for creatives and creators in the age we’re in (don’t let perfectionism hold you back!).
One last note. I find it important to practice flexibility rather than rigidity. For example, as I was working on this post, I found out my grandma passed. I’m going to be going easier on myself today as result. Routines don’t amount to much when they aren’t serving you.
Did you enjoy this behind the scenes look? Probably not as sexy as you thought it might be.
I’m a proponent of showing up to do the work, even if it’s in short spurts, and you can see how my life is organized around that.
But I have a stronger focus on health and relationships now, which I feel outweigh just about any achievements in terms of projects or work. I had that out of balance for a while, and I’m gradually moving towards prioritizing self-care and people again.
What is your daily routine like?
Let me know in the comments.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
So, I did exactly what he said to test its viability. Music Career Tips Weekly was born.
I created a landing page and linked it up in the menu over at Music Entrepreneur HQ (which generates a lot of traffic).
This must have made an impression with my audience, because before long, I had a couple of subscribers. I knew what that meant.
I would need to start delivering on the promise of the newsletter by creating content for my subscribers.
The List Started Growing Every Week
Although growth wasn’t ultra-fast, it wasn’t half bad. I saw about 10 new subscribers per week.
And, as I started delivering the content, I kept an eye on the open and click rates, which were surprisingly good.
So, I figured I had something worth pursuing further, even knowing I wouldn’t be making any money from the newsletter until I hit critical mass. I chose to be patient with that process.
Plus, I began to see that it was a solid way to build a relationship with new, top of funnel visitors who didn’t know a thing about me or Music Entrepreneur HQ.
So, I Kept Going
The newsletter was called Music Career Tips Weekly, so as you might have guessed, I was delivering new content every week.
Some weeks, I was exceedingly busy (especially with the launch of The Music Entrepreneur Code).
One week, I had a pressure headache that made writing a real annoyance.
Nevertheless, I didn’t miss a week. I kept showing up for my subscribers.
And, the content I delivered was damn good if I must say so myself.
I even got multiple “thank you” notes from my subscribers along the way.
But After 18 Weeks, I Had to Call it Quits
Open and click rates started declining after the 15th issue. I also wasn’t seeing as many new subscribers, so growth was slowing. That was demotivating.
The fact that it coincided with the launch of The Music Entrepreneur Code didn’t help. My focus and energies were shifting in that direction.
You May Also Enjoy…
The Music Entrepreneur Code
Modesty aside, my latest book is kick-ass. And, you need it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just getting started in your music career and need some serious direction, or you’re a seasoned pro making six-figures. The landing page bears this out. So, go and get the best-selling Kindle or paperback on Amazon, or the special PDF version with bonuses on Music Entrepreneur HQ.
I wanted to give the initiative a fair chance, so I kept going for a few more weeks.
Unfortunately, engagement did not reach its former glory. So, I decided to call it quits.
I’m Not a Quitter
“You quit? Why!?”
I’m sure some of you are asking that question as you read this.
After all, perseverance is a virtue, yes?
Someone even emailed me this quote via James Allen:
There are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.
I agree with the quote, and I like James Allen’s works, but in this case it kind of makes me look like the bad guy.
If you only saw the sheer volume of things I haven’t quit on for the better part of 10 years (like my podcast), you’d probably rethink your stance.
A challenge requires your active focus, participation, and problem-solving skills. If a challenge is what you’re dealing with, rethinking the problem and coming at it from a new vantage point can get you results.
If you didn’t have the time, but it was still worth doing, you’d find a way. If you ran out of topical ideas, you’d let your audience know and return with something better the following week. Or, if you stumbled across a question you couldn’t answer, you’d ask around for a solution.
But I wasn’t encountering anything of the sort. I knew I had launched headlong into a long, uphill climb when engagement dropped.
An uphill climb is not a challenge, though it often masquerades as one. It’s the very definition of a project requiring endless hustle and grind to make work.
“Work your face off,” say the loud-mouthed “experts.” And, I say you’ve got to work smarter, not just harder.
One Grind Session at a Time
The newsletter format was set in stone (people like things they can count on every week, like TV shows), and it was working early on, so there was no reason to change it.
I was showing up with some of my best work every single week. As much as possible, I was choosing topics I knew my audience would enjoy and relate to.
Perhaps with a vat full of patience and effort, I’d be able to keep growing the list and drive up engagement rates. One grind session at a time.
But there was no telling how long that would take. And, the tactics I was using to grow the list were no longer working, suggesting I’d need to rethink that bit too. I even made a video while looking for new ways to promote the newsletter:
With several initiatives already on my plate, producing results, it just didn’t make sense to dedicate all this mind space to growing another.
This year, I’m keeping the winners and cutting the losers. And, I’m not going to be spending a lot of time staring in the rear-view mirror.
Newsletters Don’t Work?
This is a bit of a tangent, I suppose, but it’s worth touching on, if only briefly.
If you happen to read the Glen Allsopp article already mentioned, you’ll likely see for yourself that newsletters can be a very viable business model, and failing that, relationship building tool.
I happen to agree with this. I’ve seen some popular local artists who were sending their audience newsletters instead of singularly focused call to actions, and I’m sure this negatively affected their ability to reach their various goals.
But I wouldn’t be too quick to make that judgment call for all businesses.
Author Dan Kennedy, in fact, talks quite extensively about the use of newsletters in his books, even if they aren’t always used to monetize audiences.
So, I get that newsletters aren’t always what audiences are looking for, but as Kennedy contends, they can be leveraged as competitive advantages.
Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. – Victor Kiam
Getting back to Music Career Tips Weekly, the 18 weeks I invested into the project didn’t go to waste (this is where perseverance should apply – I haven’t given up!).
I learned quite a bit from this initiative, and I plan to take those lessons and apply them to another newsletter project in the future (trust me, I’m going to make this work one way or another).
Further, I decided to take all the content and turn it into an eBook.
I had already thought about offering back issues for a small fee. I hadn’t originally thought about compiling the content and putting it all into an eBook, but given the self-contained nature of the newsletter, it felt right.
So, This is What Happened Next
In the latest episode of my podcast, I announced the release of 170 Music Career Tips to Help You Grow Your Following, Promote Your Music & Increase Your Income.
By the way, I’m looking for people like you (that’s right, people just like you) to become patrons of my podcast. The podcast inspires much of the content I write here, too, so basically you would be supporting the ongoing creation of boss edutainment just like this. If you think it’s worthwhile, you can support me on Patreon.
And, it wasn’t just about creating a product. It was also about the relationships I had built with fellow musicians for 18 weeks.
The content was important. The memories are what gave it weight.
Introducing the 170 Music Career Tips eBook
I did not form a strategy for this launch. I merely wanted to give my subscribers (and anyone else who might be interested in the content) a way to keep growing in their careers and preserve the memories.
So, I’m not going to be cryptic here in any way. Let me lay it all out for you, blow by blow.
Since I was delivering 10 tips to subscribers of Music Career Tips Weekly every single week, I ended up with 170 music career tips. That’s where the number comes from.
I see it as a value creation cycle. I generally have a new product every three months, but in the meantime, I pump out numerous fresh videos, podcast episodes and blog posts anyone can access and benefit from for free.
So, when it comes time to launch, it’s an opportunity to complete that value cycle. The completion comes in the form of sales.
Having said that, I chose to price this eBook a little differently. I priced it at $17 (basically, $1 for every 10 tips).
Again, I just want the people who want this to have 170 Music Career Tips.
Because I have a launch schedule for 2020 already, I probably won’t be doing any major promotion for this eBook. But it was at least worth the space I’ve dedicated to it here (which is significant to say the least).
Are You Ready to Complete the Value Cycle? Buy 170 Music Career Tips
If you made it this far into the blog post, it’s obviously for a reason.
No matter how you got here, spirit led you, and it wants you to notice this post. It wants you to benefit from it.
The ultimate way to benefit from this content is to act on it. And, you can easily act on it by buying the eBook. It’s the next logical step.
I realize not everyone reading this is going to choose themselves, which makes me a little sad. Not because of the money, but because of the difference I know it can make.
If you’re being stopped by something now, I guarantee you’ve been stopped by something before, and if you leave here taking the same action you’ve always taken (no action), you’re just going to repeat the process all over again.
Don’t you consider yourself an action-taker? Don’t you think of yourself as someone in pursuit of their dreams? Do you believe you can achieve whatever you’ve set out to do?
You’ve got to validate this for yourself. Even if no one else knows, you will know whether you’ve acted on your goals, dreams and desires.
This eBook is my love letter to all musicians in pursuit of something greater. It’s for every musician who knows they’ve got more in them and don’t want to die with their best song in them.