Creating Simplicity in Your Music Career

Creating Simplicity in Your Music Career

In 2019, I decided to begin living nomadically. My adventures were ultimately cut short by the pandemic (I’d managed to explore some of western Canada and northwestern States), but I still ended up leaving Calgary, where I had lived for over 20 years, and ended up moving to Abbotsford, BC.

This move did not go smoothly. But if I wanted to live nomadically, I knew I needed to make certain sacrifices.

So, I bagged up the closet full of clothes I had collected over the years, keeping only what I considered “essential” and would fit in my suitcase.

To my surprise, I ended up filling five garbage bags with clothes I barely used or didn’t need anymore, and I donated them.

And I followed a similar process with all my belongings, some of which ended up in storage at my parent’s house.

I had already minimized my belongings during the previous move, but this time I had to be even more selective, because I knew would be driving to BC with only what would fit in my car.

And this is not merely about minimalism or optimization. The key is really that:

The less you have, the less encumbered you are.

Sounds obvious, I know. But we sometimes forget just how burdened we can become in the endless pursuit of stuff and all the trappings that are supposed to go along with success.

What I’m really pointing to is simplicity.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have complex systems, marketing strategies, or songs.

But when it comes to execution, optimizing our work environment, even setting up our workflow inside our Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), simplicity creates performance, performance creates traction, and traction creates momentum.

Simplicity creates performance, performance creates traction, and traction creates momentum. Click To Tweet

Simplicity minimizes confusion. It creates clarity, predictability, and consistency. It allows you to get to your desk at 8:01 AM and have your blog post done by 9:13 AM on the dot.

And when you’ve optimized to that point, you can bet that more opportunities will show up at your doorstep. Your phone will start ringing.

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.

Going All In on Your Music Career

Going All In on Your Music Career

What backdoors have you yet to close? What escape hatches have you left open? What backup plans are you keeping in play just in case things don’t go well in your music career?

I’m all for being practical. I’ve benefited greatly from prioritizing work that was the meeting place of what I was good at, what I enjoyed, and what I could get paid for.

And it’s good to identify “what if” scenarios too. Because the biggest thing you realize about the worst-case scenario is that a) it’s unlikely to happen, and b) it’s not as bad as you think it is.

But oftentimes, we hold back. Just in case things don’t work out, we keep doors open and prepare for emergency scenarios.

(I could swear this is what happened with one of my ex-girlfriends. Just in case things didn’t work out with me, she’d identified someone else who was single, had a similar temperament, and played guitar).

Until we go all in, though, we’ll never get to experience what it feels like to be fully sold out to our passion and purpose.

In summer 2019, I made the decision to start traveling the world. Things weren’t going well with my relationship, and I felt the next critical step to my growth would be experiencing different cultures, languages, people, and food.

In October of the same year, I left Calgary, AB behind and moved to Abbotsford, BC. A week before my move, I didn’t even know whether I’d have a place to stay. I was just committed to making a change. It was only a few days before my move that I had finally confirmed a basement suite.

To get to Abbotsford, BC, I needed to drive through the Coquihalla Highway, which reaches an elevation of 4,081 feet. My car started exhibiting unusual behavior on the highway and by the time I’d reached Hope, BC, roughly an hour away from my destination, my car broke down.

I thought the car could be repaired, but the mechanics told me that it was irreparable.

With all the trials and tribulations, I’d experienced up to that point in completing the move, I wanted to give up. But I knew there was no turning back. I was only an hour from my destination, and I had to keep moving forward.

I burned the ships and just kept going.

Have you burned the ships?

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.

Why You Must Reinvest in Your Music Career

Why You Must Reinvest in Your Music Career

I once booked a showcase at a local coffeehouse and invited one of Calgary’s most notorious singer-songwriters to perform (meaning he wasn’t necessarily known for all the right reasons).

Well, he was kind enough to oblige to my requests, he showed up on time, and conducted himself like a pro. Despite his average talent, his comfort level on stage and willingness to treat the opportunity with respect and professionalism left me feeling like I booked the right act for the occasion.

I got to talking with him while other acts were performing, and he shared something interesting with me.

He was known for putting out a new album each year, something most artists only aspire to, but never seem to get around to.

And he mentioned that a lot of people wondered how he was able to do it. After all, the cost of recording can be quite high.

What he shared with me was this:

“Most people think I have an outside source of funding, or my parents bankroll me. That’s not the case, although I do minimize costs whenever I can. The truth is, I save every penny I earn at every single performance. Then, I reinvest that money into my career.”

The simplicity and shrewdness of this strategy blew me away.

He’s right – most artists don’t do this. And it ends up shrinking the pool of opportunity available to them.

When you don’t have the funds for those rare moments when inspiration and opportunity strike, you can’t grab hold of the lightning. You end up having to pass up on it for another occasion because you don’t have the resources necessary to pursue it.

There’s a reason I teach artists how to manage their money. It’s not that you won’t go through difficult times financially. It’s that if you establish the right habits and direct your money intentionally, you’ll be ready for when lighting strikes. You’ll be able to take hold of compelling opportunities as they arise.

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.

With New Eyes

With New Eyes

Having returned to Abbotsford from a two-week trip to Calgary, I am seeing everything with new eyes.

I’m beginning to appreciate my humble basement suite more. And somehow, it looks different to me.

I’ve often stressed the importance of changing your environment and shaking up your routine.

But on this occasion, I’m the one that’s been left pleasantly surprised by the results.

Without context, appreciation can prove a challenge. Sometimes, we need more context. And context can certainly come from a two-week working vacation.

Life Transitions, Day 4: Location

Life Transitions, Day 4: Location

It was new. It was exciting. It was everything I’d hoped for, and a great deal more.

I’d visited Vancouver twice before deciding to move to Abbotsford, just 70km outside of the city.

But when I finally arrived, and saw everything that was available, my mind was blown.

This is Life Transitions. Welcome to day four.

Life Transitions Progression

If you’d like to follow along, here’s what we’ve covered so far

Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers

Locational Transitions

Most if not all of us will experience locational transitions in our lives.

Whether it’s moving overseas or picking out a new coffeehouse because your favorite one closed down.

Census.gov says people will move 11.7 times in their lifetime.

Not sure what that 0.7 means. Maybe you croak while making your final move?

(Excuse my morbid sense of humor – but I think you’ll agree it helps to have one when it comes to major life transitions).

Changing locations is generally on the spectrum of exciting to scary and many shades in between.

And even though this is somewhat backwards, changes in life are generally what prompt us to move.

We lose a spouse. Lose a job. Find a new opportunity.

These are the types of events that have us chasing new horizons literally.

What’s critical to understand is that one major life change every few years can already be a significant blow to your mental health. Two or three major changes in the span of a few months can prove even more stressful.

That’s why I said it’s “somewhat backwards.”

How Long Does the “Honeymoon” Last?

From science and experience, I can say that your feelings of excitement or fear of a new location will subside around the nine- to 12-month mark. In some cases, it may be even less, at a about six to nine months.

This can be both a curse and a blessing.

Because if you’re excited about your new locale, those rose-colored glasses are going to come off within a year. Which can be a curse.

But if you’re fearful of your new hometown, your sense of security should increase in a year or less. And that can be a blessing.

We could compare it to the “honeymoon” period every in-love couple has – which on average lasts about two to three years. Beyond that, it’s a matter of finding common interests and working on communication.

(This is a gross assessment of the facts, and relationships can thrive given the right actions, but on average, this is what we see.)

But you might still be worried about those six to 12 months. Here’s what I would suggest.

How to Handle Locational Transitions

Here are some tips on how you can get acclimated to your new environment while enjoying the experience:

  • Embrace a spirit of adventure. This is the same advice I’ve given to friends who asked me whether they’d ever meet someone. It might seem trite. But give it a try. Bombarding your senses with more new things might seem like the last thing to do for your mental health, but I would argue that finding a new self in a new environment can be quite liberating and exciting.
  • Find something you like about your new locale. You may not like everything about the new town you’ve arrived at. Find something you can latch onto. It might be the food, the weather, the people, or otherwise. If you can identify at least one positive thing about living in a new place, that thought will stay with you.
  • Find a friend. Nothing is “solid” until you’ve found a friend you can talk to. And I’m not talking about running back to your old friends and telling them your stories of woe, though it doesn’t hurt to stay in touch with your old network. I’m talking about finding at least one person locally you can talk to and process new information with.

Does Location Matter? – The Truth

Some will say location is everything. You’ve got to be the right person, at the right time, in the right place, to snag the right opportunities and take life by the horns.

Others say location doesn’t matter as much as it used to. You’ve got the internet. Social media. You can connect to anyone you want at any time. All the tools are right at your fingertips.

Since we are in the era of a worldwide pandemic, we must embrace the latter. But in general, I am more of the opinion that location does matter.

I’m not 100% on one side and 0% on the other. It’s more of an 80/20 split.

When I lived in Calgary, I used to say that you need a home base anyway, and what difference is it going to make if I’m going to be traveling around as a musician, anyway?

As I spent many months and even years never traveling outside of Calgary… No wonder I remember all the times I did travel so vividly.

If I had resisted moving to Abbotsford, then I would not be exposed to such beautiful scenery, amazing temperate weather (if you like rain – I do), and incredible food (I’m a foodie, so that’s a big one).

I’d had plenty of time to explore what was available in Calgary and area. And I will always have fond memories of that experience. But I was ready for more too.

I can’t say much in terms of career opportunities in Vancouver because I’ve been working from home since 2016. Still, I’ve met some acquaintances and colleagues I never would have had I not moved. So, there’s probably something there too.

Sure, you can sell products, courses, memberships, masterminds, and live events over the internet.

But if you really want to sell yourself… if want to make a vital connection, sell your business to venture capitalists, strike up a long-term partnership… Here’s the bottom line. You’ve got to see people face to face. There’s no substitute for it.

Location, Final Thoughts

When moving from one place to another, give yourself plenty of grace and time to adapt.

After all, it’s usually on the heels of a separate life transition that we find ourselves moving to a new city.

How many times have you moved? How do you handle locational transitions?

I look forward to sharing more on the topic of life transitions, and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them too.

Please leave a comment below.

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