It’s No One’s Business

It’s No One’s Business

It’s no one’s business how you get stuff done.

People may notice your constant posting to social media and assume you must you have a lot of extra time on your hands.

When accurate thinking dictates that it’s far more likely you:

  • Prioritize the activities that bring in business
  • Have a plan and an editorial calendar
  • Batch process the creation, editing, and scheduling of your content

Being prolific requires at least one of two things if not both – 1) a plan and 2) discipline. You can get by on a plan, you can get by on discipline. But the two together are near unshakable when it comes to producing brilliant work at a moment’s notice.

People may wonder how you’re able to do everything you do in a day.

Your clients may wonder why you’re not in communication. They may ask you when their projects are going to be completed when it seems like you’re only prioritizing your own (when it’s far more likely that you’ve scheduled out a month’s worth of posts in advance).

So long as you’re in integrity with the deadline that’s been created with your client, there are no issues, no matter how much they whine about you being halfway across the world, spending time on other projects, or enjoying your life as you see fit.

Anyone who watches you that closely doesn’t have a life, and they may even be obsessive to an unhealthy extent. Sure, you may be enjoying life “on their dime,” but if you’re turning in good work, it should not matter.

Which is why, I repeat, it’s no one’s business how you get stuff done. That includes the velocity at which you work, the volume of work you produce, and any processes you use to boost your productivity and efficiency (your own processes, by the way, are your own intellectual property).

If a promise has been broken, then do everything in your power to make it right.

But others should not be permitted to question your methodology, approach, or processes, when you’re fully delivering on the promises you’ve made.

Protecting Your Time

Protecting Your Time

Put more stringent measures into place to protect your time, and there will be immediate pushback from your partners, colleagues, collaborators, clients, and peers.

“Who do you think you are? Do you think your time is more valuable than mine?”

“Does this mean we can’t have three-hour conversations sorting out all the details of our next event?”

“I never knew you took your time and boundaries so seriously. Has this always been a concern for you?”

What your colleagues don’t appreciate is that you’re looking to create a workable, sustainable schedule for yourself. And by the time you’ve established a tenable plan, your productivity isn’t going to suffer. It’s going to increase. The people around you are the ones that are ultimately going to benefit from you setting more rails around your time.

You know yourself better than anyone else. That also means you are more qualified to devise a plan and stack the deck in your favor than anyone else. No one else can tell you how to live. They may have helpful suggestions, but at the end of the day you’ve got to make up your mind for yourself.

If you want to achieve next level productivity, then it’s all about setting yourself layers behind the frontlines. It’s about batch processing your email, returning texts when it best suits you, selectively ignoring communication as you see fit. It’s about delegating tasks and activity that are below your paygrade and handing off tasks to other capable people.

God forbid you might get a book written if you had an hour to spare in your day.

Fundamentally, most people aren’t going to be onboard with you opting to protect your time, and that may well be one of the greatest challenges you’ll face in setting up a moat around your castle.

But it must be done. You can’t get to where you want to go in life if you’re distractable, interruptible, contactable at all hours of the day. Someone will always be there to add to your to-do list.

Certainly, take on anything that’s aligned with your goals. But do it on your own terms. Choose when you return communication. Don’t let someone else tell you how it’s supposed to work. You make the rules.

When Nothing is Moving in Your Artistic Career, Do This

When Nothing is Moving in Your Artistic Career, Do This

There often comes a time in one’s career where despite a lot of activity, nothing really seems to be moving.

You’re doing work, but money’s not coming in. You’re making calls to venues, but no one’s returning them. You’re posting on social media, but engagement is down.

We often write these off as the ebbs and flows of life, and many times they are. But the universe might also be calling your attention to something else.

In author Dr. Robert Anthony’s Beyond Positive Thinking, he talks about how clearing the clutter in your environment can invite fresh opportunity into your life.

And while it sounds kind of fluffy, I have experienced this on too numerous an occasion to call it serendipity.

Most recently, I spent some time sweeping the floors, taking out the garbage and recycling, getting rid of old to-do lists, going through my emails, cleaning the dishes, and filing away my mail.

The effect wasn’t immediate, as I’ve often experienced it, but after doing a little outreach, sure enough, new freelancing opportunities started lining up. Miraculously, one of the freelancing contracts that I thought was going to be terminated ended up being renewed!

When nothing is moving, oftentimes, it’s just the universe telling you:

Look, I want to give you new stuff. But right now, you’re holding onto too much. So, I’m going to have to keep these blessings in escrow until you start making room for them.

And understand that “space” doesn’t just mean physical space. It can also mean mental and emotional space. Sometimes, what we’re thinking, and feeling is so dense already, there’s no room for anything else to get in.

So, in addition to things already mentioned, here are some other ways to start clearing space in your world so you can receive fresh blessings:

  • Clean up the desktop and “Downloads” folder on your computer
  • Meditate and surrender
  • Finish errands, to-do items, and projects so they aren’t occupying mind space anymore
  • Get out into nature (two hours per week is recommended for your well-being)
  • Change your environment and leave town for a few days
  • Get a massage
  • Go through your garage and junk drawer and purge, sell, or give away things you no longer need
  • Pay your bills, as falling behind can create unwanted financial blockages
  • Clear the air with a coworker, colleague, significant other, friend, or family member
  • Seek out coaching or counseling

It should be stressed that breakthroughs are often available in communication, so whenever you’re stuck, it’s worth getting into conversation. Bear in mind, though, it’s the opposite of what you’re going to want to do when you’re feeling down, so you might need to push through the discomfort to initiate.

When nothing is moving, look for opportunities to clear the clutter in your environment.

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Creating from a Space of Opportunity in Your Music Career

Creating from a Space of Opportunity in Your Music Career

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

So, we need to shift our thinking from how to get something, to how we can give and be of service to others. How can we contribute?

I’m not talking about being a doormat. I’m talking about being considerate.

You don’t know what people might be going through on a given day. Their pet could have died. They could have had caffeine-fueled insomnia the night before. Maybe a family member fell ill.

So, making requests of others should never be taken lightly. We should always be thinking about how to have requests show up as opportunities for others. Otherwise, we get stuck in a space of convincing and commanding, and generally there’s nothing inspiring about that type of communication.

Now, you might think that being considerate should be kind of obvious or commonsense, but in a world where we’ve basically been trained to be narcissistic consumers, we’ve got to interrupt the pattern and be more conscious about caring.

No matter someone else’s values or beliefs, they are never less or more important than you are. That type of thinking is exactly what leads to discrimination, and it can happen to anyone of any race at any time – not just the people who scream the loudest about it.

Do you want to be a victim, or do you want to make a difference in this world? It’s two very different vantage points, and I would suggest the latter is the more compassionate choice.

Frankly, we don’t care about others. We only care about ourselves and what we’re going to get. And I can tell you right now that type of communication isn’t considerate, helpful, or value-adding.

This might seem like an odd thing to talk about, and it gets weird headed when we try to force reciprocation through good behavior. But fundamentally we will get more of what we want out of this life if we create mutually beneficial opportunities instead of always trying to get what we want.

We will get more of what we want out of this life if we create mutually beneficial opportunities instead of always trying to get what we want. Click To Tweet

Remember… you never know what others are going through. And so, creating from a space of opportunity is considerate. Convincing, commanding, and coercing is not. That’s not showing empathy let alone sympathy to anyone.

And more than ever, we need to be a stand for unity and connection, not for division.

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.

Simple & Obvious Communication Tricks Most Musicians Don’t Use

Simple & Obvious Communication Tricks Most Musicians Don’t Use

When I say “tricks,” though, I really mean “basics” or “essentials.” The only reason I say “tricks” is because this is what a lot of artists miss.

Look, communication happens every day. If you want to let the world know that you exist, you’ve either got to a) speak up, or b) type something up and share it. No one knows what’s going on inside your head.

A human being is like an egg. We have a rich, inner world that no one sees unless we choose to share it, and we have an outer shell, the only part that people ever see. There’s no communication in thinking (inner world). There’s only communication in speaking or writing (outer shell). That’s foundational.

Call to Actions That Don’t Work

And so, the language we use is critical. Let’s start with call to actions.

The most overused call to actions (by musicians) include:

  • Check this out / check us out
  • Come to our show
  • Please support independent music

I’m sure you can think of a few others. And these sometimes have a way of turning into desperate pleas (“if you don’t support us, we can’t make more music!”).

Musicians work so hard at being different from everything and everyone else with their music, but all this creativity goes clear out the window when they’re in marketing mode.

There’s no pattern interrupt in the call to actions listed above. No one is going to take notice of these. These are dead horses and they’ve been beaten.

These might work for big artists or established brands, because they already have a strong relationship with their audience. But they tend not to work for independent artists because they often come across as desperate attempts to get people to do something they might not even want to do. No context means no engagement.

And it’s funny – when you look closely at most of our communication, it’s coming from a space of convincing / commanding. Now that you know that it would be wise to be in discovery of communication that occurs as an opportunity to others.

Sending Emails

The most teachable moment, I think, is when it comes to sending emails (because these principles can apply to our communication in general). I’m telling you right now, most people do it wrong. I get at least a dozen emails per day, and most of them are not oriented around the right frame of mind.

Now, squeaky wheel gets the grease, so please understand that it’s still better to send emails than not. But we can also level up our communication and get a better response rate, and all it takes is a few simple tweaks.

Let’s start at the top.

First, address the email to a real person. In other words, use their name!

As Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People, the most magical word in any language is someone’s name.

If you can’t find a name, fine, don’t take wild guesses. But if a little bit of extra research can help you dig up their name, then do it. Do it every time!

Second, share a genuine, honest, authentic compliment with the person you’re sending the email to. It’s obvious when it’s not authentic, so fair warning. The point here is to let the receiver know that you are engaged with them, and not just pay lip service to that fact.

Third, be clear on the value proposition. Want to have your music reviewed, or be on a podcast, or get booked for a gig?

These things all benefit you, right? But they don’t necessarily benefit the person you’re asking.

The point is that you can create that. You can create a scenario where both you and the recipient benefit from the opportunity. That’s what opportunity means. There’s something in it for both people. If there’s no opportunity occurring on the other end of your communication, you can expect to hear radio silence, or at best, a lukewarm response.

Fourth tip, and a word to the wise – keep your emails short!

You can bet that industry professionals are busy. I’m busy, music reviewers are busy, podcasters are busy, radio stations are busy.

When I see a wall of text in emails, I either skim them fast or delete them completely. It’s too much.

The temptation is to over-explain, and when you do that, there’s a better chance your communication won’t land with the receiver. Keep it short and sweet, and when you receive a response, or are presented with additional questions to answer, then you can launch into more detail.

You don’t drop your life story on someone you just met, and if that’s something you do, it might explain why your dating life sucks.

Finally, be generous in saying “thank you.” Thank the receiver for doing a service for musicians. Thank them for their time and effort. Thank them for their content. Whatever you see to thank them for, acknowledge them for adding value to you.

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.