Bullet-Sized Reflections on Deadlines

Bullet-Sized Reflections on Deadlines

  • My life revolves around deadlines.
  • A deadline is you giving your word to have a task or project completed by a specific date and time.
  • Deadlines put commitments into existence.
  • Without deadlines, I would not be as productive as I am.
  • Deadlines force me to think in terms of how I can complete a task in the time allotted for it.
  • Deadlines are motivating, regardless of how they feel to you – positive or negative.
  • Deadlines create structure.
  • Deadlines encourage innovation.
  • If you dilly-dally with your job or client work, you will never get around to the work that matters to you.
Music Isn’t “Fun”

Music Isn’t “Fun”

The projects I take on are often perceived as “fun” or “glamorous,” presumably because they are usually related to music, creativity, performance, or entertainment in some capacity.

But music is not any less work than anything else. You cannot get good at it without treating it like a full-time job, or at the very least, a very serious part-time job.

No one in their right mind says, “after my 9 – 6, I’m going to go home, have supper, and practice my guitar for six hours.” But these are the very virtuosos you see on YouTube, some not even famous. What they’re doing requires an immense amount of focus, dedication, and hard work.

You can’t go to the clubs, hang out with friends, or lay on the beach if you’re practicing guitar six hours per night. Once you’ve paid your dues at the day job, the only thing waiting for you at home is a music stand, your practice material, and maybe a notebook to jot your ideas down.

And if you’ve ever heard a musician practice… oh boy. It looks like playing something the wrong way, repeatedly, for hours, sometimes days (or weeks, or months, or years) on end, until you can finally play it correctly. Talk about agony.

Just because something appears “fun” doesn’t mean it takes any less work. It’s usually the opposite. If you want to become a master of your craft, you can’t let anything get in the way of your commitment. And if you want to stand out in a profession others consider “fun” and “easy,” you can bet you’ve got your work cut out for you.

My projects get done because I take them seriously, just as any entrepreneur would. I no longer think about whether I’m passionate about what I do. I decide to be passionate about what I do, simply because I’m doing it.

Come spend a week with me some time. Then you can be the judge of whether what I do is any fun.

I’ve made a commitment to creating the life I love through my creativity. And that means doing whatever it takes. If I have fun along the way, I count it as a bonus. But it doesn’t mean I don’t encounter challenges or go through an array or emotions as I’m doing it (I’ve simply found that being emotional about everything wastes precious energy). I’m human. I go through everything you can imagine me going through.

An unreasonable commitment to showing up and doing the work is what has gotten me to where I am. Without integrity in what I do, I would not even enjoy the humble success I have today. And I am nothing if not a work in progress when it comes to integrity.

Promise Smaller, Deliver Bigger

Promise Smaller, Deliver Bigger

With Music Entrepreneur HQ, my motto was always:

Promise bigger, deliver bigger.

And in the early years, when I had more time to dedicate to the business, I was able to follow through on most of my commitments, including weekly content.

But the realities of a self-funded, independently run company are that you are responsible for every aspect of the business, be it accounting, taxes, social media, marketing, or otherwise. And, perhaps most importantly, finding sources of funding to keep the company afloat.

I have embraced these realities from day one, and have often collaborated, delegated, and hired at the level that made the most sense for us. It hasn’t always been easy, but that’s what makes entrepreneurs entitled to the lion’s share – they take the most risks.

What makes entrepreneurs entitled to the lion’s share is that they take the most risks. Share on X

In the last couple of years, though, I’ve been promising bigger and delivering smaller, and I’ve become increasingly aware of this fact. It’s been weighing on me.

Some may think my daily publishing efforts have intruded on my ability to deliver – and I understand the concern well – but that’s not quite true. The content I’ve been developing has been forming the basis of podcast episodes, live streams, Members Only Audios, newsletter content, and even my most recent book (which I’m very proud of), The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide.

The number one thing that has gotten in the way of me delivering is the many freelance projects I’ve taken on to fund my life and my business. It sucks to admit, but much of the time, I work my ass off for aggressively mediocre pay. Or maybe it would be better to say, the end doesn’t justify the means.

I would expect to be working 12-hour days four days per week and two to four late nights per month for a six-figure income, not a five-figure income. But this has been my reality for months and years. The good news is I see this all changing very soon.

But declaring the last phase of my business complete has been creating an opening in my life. And I now have a better sense of what I was put on this green earth to do.

So, from now on, I’m going to be promising smaller and delivering bigger. It only makes sense. I may only have the weekends available to work on my business, at least in the next year or so, so trying to fulfill on the ridiculous number of projects I’ve committed to has become unworkable. If anything, it has been unworkable for nearly two years, a fact I’ve covered elsewhere.

I still have the same commitment to see you thrive in your independent creativity and independent life, and I’m here to help in any way you need.

But if there’s an impact to the changes I’m making, let me know. If you like the new direction, let me know. Whatever is there for you, let me know!

How to Achieve More in Your Artistic Career

How to Achieve More in Your Artistic Career

“Responsibility” and “accountability” can sound like dirty words.

“Responsibility” denotes duty and obligation. Things that will always feel like “work,” no matter how much you glitter them up.

Accountability just sounds like a gut punch. You don’t want to be the one who’s accountable for anything! If the initiative fails, it’s your fault.

And yet, this is where your true power lies.

Last quarter, in the yearlong leadership program I’m currently taking, I was responsible for booking Saturday empowerment events. I was to set up two hosts, set targets for attendee numbers, and work with other people on the team to ensure everything ran smoothly.

At first, I didn’t have the structure or the support I needed, and while the first event went well, the second event bombed. No one showed up, and the hosts weren’t happy about this. They gave me a piece of their mind!

Honestly, I was ready to throw in the towel.

But then I got some help. And I started to see the power in making new promises around attendance each week.

From that week forward, we had guests every single week.

We didn’t always meet our target. Sometimes we exceeded it. Sometimes we came in well under.

But each Saturday, there was an empowerment event, there were two hosts, and there were guests in attendance. And that made the entire initiative a success.

It’s amazing how much all of us have around getting things wrong, not meeting targets, making dubious claims or predictions. We lose faith in ourselves because of things not going as expected.

Do you realize that whatever realizations you’ve had today might just be for today, and not for tomorrow?

And the promises you made yesterday might be more a factor of not enough sleep, too much caffeine, and some distorted sense of how yesterday went?

Promises do matter. What doesn’t matter, as much, is whether you meet the promises, assuming you put an honest effort forward. And that goes contrary to the world of performance we were brought up in, where you’re either right or wrong.

Consider that:

  • Your mind goes to work on problems you present it with (and it does this better when you’re intentional about the process – you summon creative energies you didn’t know you had!)
  • You’ll be infinitely closer to reaching your goals by committing to a promise versus shrinking back and not putting anything on the line
  • If you don’t reach your targets, you can still restore integrity, make a new promise, and make things right
Your mind goes to work on problems you present it with. Share on X

The world insists that commitment is the enemy of choice. But commitment is the very essence of freedom. When you’re committed to something, all options outside of that project or outcome become completely irrelevant. Your decisions and actions become clearer, and laser targeted.

Commitment is the very essence of freedom. Share on X

You got to be a kid in grade school. But you don’t get to be a kid anymore. The results you generate in your music career are 100% a function of what you did and didn’t do! And whatever results generated, they don’t matter, just like in a game of Monopoly. Someone won, the rest didn’t, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

The only thing you need to do with the results is to be clear on the results. You can do something with numbers you can see. You can’t do anything with numbers hidden from plain sight.

You can do something with numbers you can see. You can’t do anything with numbers hidden from plain sight. Share on X

Quick reminder – you can now get The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition (just in time for the holidays). Don’t get left behind – be the first to get my latest work into your hands!

Stop Trying to Make the Perfect Choice

Stop Trying to Make the Perfect Choice

In everything we do, we strive to make the “right” choice at minimum, and the “perfect” choice where possible.

Whether it’s choosing a passion, business idea or niche, significant other, or even something as trivial as what to watch next on Netflix, we feel the pressure to choose well.

This tends to steal our joy in the shorter and longer term.

In the short term, we end up focusing on all the other choices we could have made. And we tend go back on our choices relatively quickly.

In the long term, we go back to the moment of decision, wondering what it would have been like to choose a different path, assuming that another path would have been better by comparison.

Where there is the incessant pressure to make the perfect decision, expect unhappiness.

Why? Because you’re expecting perfection. So, you’re not willing to accept anything other than what you would consider perfect – from yourself and from others. As result, you will feel like a failure every time you fail to make a perfect decision.

People who commit to the choices they make are happier because they don’t constantly second guess themselves. They understand that life won’t be “perfect” under any circumstances. They can see that the abundance of options isn’t going to make one iota of difference to their happiness.

And don’t forget, perfect is only an opinion, and everyone has their own.

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