How to Legitimize Your Music Career

How to Legitimize Your Music Career

In 2011, I got into the exciting world of network marketing. The training and coaching offered through the organization was superb, and it gave me the foundation in entrepreneurship I truly needed.

(Eventually, I shared everything I learned in my Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, the companion course to The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship.)

What I learned from one of the network marketing organization’s training CDs was the importance of legitimizing your business.

The idea is this. If all you’ve got is a website and some business cards, you don’t have a business. Even if you’ve registered your business name with the proper authorities, you still don’t have a business. So, when do you have a business? When you’ve legitimized it.

And that means getting to your first dollar. I know we talked about that already, but I can’t understate how critical this is.

Once you’ve made your first dollar, you have proof that the concept works. And while starting a new venture is exciting, I promise you it’s nowhere near as exciting as making money from something you personally created.

Music Entrepreneur HQ was just a fun side project for me when it got started. It wasn’t even Music Entrepreneur HQ at the time – it was David Andrew Wiebe Podcast, and then David Andrew Wiebe Interviews and Music Business Podcast. Just another way for me to get my music out into the world.

I finally dipped my toes in the water with How to Set Up Your Music Career Like a Business, my first audio program.

I still had no clue what I was doing at the time. Because I was planning to sell the program, though, I wanted to ensure it was high value and in-depth. And when I was finished recording it, I was rather horrified to find it was only 30 minutes long!

Buy I put it out there anyway, originally for $0.99. Before long, though, my peers saw what I was up to, wanted to become an affiliate of the program to promote it, and encouraged me to raise the price.

And that was when I got to my first dollar for Music Entrepreneur HQ. I had achieved this feat with other ventures, so I wasn’t exactly a business legitimizing virgin, but the sense of elation and excitement I felt selling a few copies of my audio program is simply indescribable.

It’s fun to create. It’s a blast, really. But if you want to build a profitable and sustainable music career, you’ve got to get to your first dollar. And you’ve got to prove to yourself that you can do it. And trust me, it’s worth it – it’s a feeling like no other!

What I’m Working on in 2021

What I’m Working on in 2021

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you already know who I am. Otherwise, this is our first “e-meeting.” Either way, thanks for your interest.

Here I’d like to share a little bit about what I’ll be working on in 2021 and what I’m looking to accomplish.

Content Marketing Musician

Content Marketing Musician is a new website/course platform/business unit I’m adding to my portfolio.

Although I’ve talked about it briefly in another post, you may not be aware that I’ve been building it silently in the background.

I’ve also shared about the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, which is the first course I plan to launch.

Likewise, I’ve been working on a multi-step funnel for The Music Entrepreneur Code, my latest best-selling book. And my plan is to add this to Content Marketing Musician as well.

Will more courses and content be added to Content Marketing Musician in 2021? That is the plan, but I tend to get a little overambitious sometimes, and I’m trying to be practical while thinking big. I’m happy to report that I’m ready to go live with Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass any day, though, and the Digital Marketing Essentials for Musicians course also isn’t too far off from the finish line.

I am certainly excited about what’s to come, and I hope you are too.

If you have any thoughts on courses I should make, be sure to let me know. I’m always open to suggestions.

Books

Right now, I have at least three books at various stages of completion. Which means it’s entirely possible I’ll have multiple books to share with you in 2021.

But truthfully, there is only one book I’d like to ensure the completion of. I originally started working on it four years ago. And it haunts me to this day that it hasn’t been completed.

What book am I talking about? If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you will know that I’m referring to Flashes of Elation: Navigating the World as a Sensitive, Creative Soul.

From all the positive feedback and pre-sales received, I do not underestimate the importance of this book, which is in the final stages of editing.

As with any undertaking of this scale, I have had an on again off again relationship with this work, but I would absolutely regret not finishing it.

And every breath we take is a gift, which is something I don’t want to take for granted.

So, god willing, 2021 will be the year – the year of Flashes of Elation.

Music

I have three music projects planned for 2021, and that’s still fewer than I’d like to take on. Like I said, I have a tendency to get a little overambitious!

Anyway, here’s what’s on the docket:

  • Myrtle. My grandma passed at the top of the year, and I wrote a song in her honor. I kind of thought of it as an electric “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” But then I thought to myself, “why don’t I record a version of ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ as well?” Seems appropriate based on my grandmother’s faith. So, the plan now is to make this a two-song release.
  • Back on Solid Ground. As with Flashes of Elation, the incompletion of Back on Solid Ground has haunted me for years. The music is all written, so it’s mostly a matter of tracking the thing. The temptation will be to let perfectionism get in the way, but my listeners seem to appreciate lo-fi basement demos versus slick production anyway, so that might be the direction this takes.
  • Comedic tribute to the 80s. I have yet to reference this project by name, but I have mentioned it more than a few times on my podcast. I may reveal more closer to the end of the year.

Is That it?

Well, sort of.

You will see me publishing daily on my website and on Medium. I’m also creating content for Music Entrepreneur HQ and News Break. I’m still a staff writer with Music Industry How To as well.

I have a plan for how I intend to fulfill on these content responsibilities while developing products, but I’m trying to be as pragmatic as possible too.

I’m Staying Open to Possibilities

While many people have shown interest in the projects mentioned above (and some have even voted with their wallets), there’s always the possibility that there are others worthy of my attention.

I’d like to practice flexibility where it makes sense, and rigidity where it should be applied.

But either way, there will be great fulfillment in completing the above, especially since some of the projects have been in the works for a long time.

Final Thoughts

Feel free to follow up with me and see how I’m doing with these projects this year. I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, and always like hearing from readers just like you.

I’m not asking for accountability, as I believe in holding myself accountable to my goals. I also have a mastermind group for that. But a little nudge never hurt.

What projects are you working on in 2021? What are you looking to accomplish?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass

Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass

Today, I’m going to be pulling back the curtain to talk about the thing I’m working on right now – the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass/Course.

If the name sounds familiar, or you feel like you’ve heard it before, it’s because I created the presentation and shared it with Musical U’s (affiliate link) audience two years ago.

Over the last three or four years, Musical U has been quite generous in featuring me on their blog, on their podcast, as well as inside their membership.

I’ve reciprocated by mentioning them on my blog, podcast, and even books, every chance I get.

Their generosity even extended into letting me use the masterclass inside my membership.

Your Membership?

This is what I’m working on right now.

Technically, The Music Entrepreneur Code Companion Course already lives there…

And I even did a launch last month to test out a product idea (it bombed).

But even the bombing was a positive experience because I saw an opportunity to pivot.

I figured, maybe for now, I could launch more of a course-oriented platform instead of a membership or exclusive program.

If I still want to add a membership component to it later, I can. The platform I’m building on allows me to do this no problem.

And I was inspired by a little membership I’m a part of called SuperFastResults.

With my course platform, I also determined that I wanted to price everything out of the $5 to $35 range, which is what my Music Entrepreneur HQ audience is trained to expect at this point.

With my course platform, I want to begin selling products in the $45 to $197 range instead (and maybe I’ll have a bundle of all the courses, which could add up to considerably more, depending on the number of courses available).

Your New Platform?

I’m building it on 10XPro (affiliate link), and I couldn’t be happier about that decision.

10XPro

Certainly, it’s a little pricey by artist standards (that includes me).

But because I do a lot of reviews for my staff writing duties, I’ve had the opportunity to see what else is out there in terms of courses aimed at musicians.

And while some of the course building platforms (or LMS apps) have an outward sheen that makes them seem like the right choice…

When it came to customer experience, they were just lacking. Oftentimes, the way they housed the content was lackluster.

I also found these platforms ultimately cost around the same as 10XPro. So, for all the added functionality and premium experience the platform provides (not just for the creator but also for the user), it just feels right.

10XPro is super easy to use, too.

And Your New Platform Will be Called…?

Content Marketing Musician.

And, of course, that means I will need to create a course on content marketing and turn it into the “high ticket” premium course.

But even at $197, it would probably be right in line with market value, if not a little lower.

Again, I’ve seen what’s out there, and there are music coaches and educators charging $1,000 to $2,000 for their courses (that challenged my mindset in a big way).

Either way, Content Marketing Musician will be home to a few things you may have seen already, including:

  • Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass (mentioned earlier – I’m adding an introduction, conclusion, and three bonus lessons to sweeten the deal)
  • My Top 10 Lessons in Music Entrepreneurship (I plan to make this course free to get new users hooked and I might even add a lesson to make it 11)
  • The Music Entrepreneur Code Companion Course (mentioned earlier)
  • How to Set Up Your Music Career Like a Business (my original audio course, which I plan to update and add a video component to)
  • And more

And, of course, I plan to add new courses during Q4 when I’m looking to launch.

Q4 Launch?

I plan to go live with the Content Marketing Musician platform in October 2020. But there’s a good chance it will be ready before then.

About the only thing I need to do with the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass is film the conclusion, which should be a simple affair (in reality, I’m re-filming it because I had issues with the first take).

I still need to build the front end of the website too.

Either way, I always want to be a little ahead of schedule. I want to be working on the next thing before launching the current thing.

Plus, I will likely begin promoting the platform in my email footers without telling anyone…

Email footer

Just add “get the training you need” in there with a link to Content Marketing Musician, and we’re good to go (yes, I did model this layout from someone else I’ll mention a little later…)

Why Spend an Entire Quarter on This?

Making courses isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Now, it is 100% true you can get an entire course out of your head, onto paper, into a slide deck, and even have the entire thing recorded in a weekend.

But if you’re basically a one-man show with a few part-time helpers (as I am), the process takes a little longer.

Once you’ve got your raw video, you’ve still got to edit, break it up into modules and lessons, create transcripts, put the transcripts inside the lessons and format them, add links and resources, create a funnel or sales process for the entire course… you get the idea.

You can skip some of these steps to be fair, but I like the idea of over-delivering.

Like I said, I’ve got a lot of content I can re-purpose, so that makes it a little easier for me to prepare more courses in less time.

But based on the amount of time and energy the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass has been taking, I wouldn’t be surprised if each course took up a good chunk of man hours.

The other reason I think it makes sense to spend an entire quarter on this is because that’s what I learned from James Schramko (owner of SuperFastResults, SuperFastBusiness, and Silver Circle).

I’m a big believer in doing things in 90-day chunks, and even talk about it in my book, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

I want to get all the pieces in place in September, so that I can make a lot of noise during Q4, and then begin to put it on autopilot as I move on to the next thing.

The Pieces?

By that I mean the pieces of the masterclass campaign.

So, here’s basically what I’ve been thinking based on everything I’ve been learning as of late.

I’ve talked about the return of the campaign already, so what I’m about to share basically coincides with that.

What I’m looking to do is create a basic framework for my 90-day campaigns, such that I can execute at a high level and maximize results.

I don’t expect everything to work. I’ve done a TON of things that didn’t work to this point (no joke).

But one thing I do know is I will get better at this if I keep doing it.

And there are always some unknowns with every campaign. Basically, this would be the theme or personality of the campaign. The way in which it’s presented, or the brand of it if you will.

In the case of another campaign I’m planning to do (I will talk more about this in a separate blog post), I already know what the personality of it is going to be – quirky, fun, weird, humorous.

In the case of Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, I haven’t determined the esthetics of it yet. But I also have a little over a month to think it through (not saying it’s going to be easy).

Besides that, this is basically what I have in mind for the campaign:

The Insane Giveaway

While a lot of people are giving away eBooks, checklists, cheat sheets, and so forth (and this CAN work), I’m beginning to see the value in insane, irresistible giveaways. I learned this from Russell Brunson.

So, for Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass, I’m planning to give away a few dozen audios.

I’ve done dozens of interviews with music entrepreneurs already, most of whom answered these two questions:

  • What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?
  • What is the greatest victory you’ve experienced?

So, the giveaway (I like that term better than lead magnet) would be something along the lines of 31 Music Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Darkest Struggles & Insane Triumphs or something like that.

The insane giveaway would be promoted prominently on my various website platforms, and it’s the main thing I would be promoting with my ads too.

The Sales Page

Obviously, every course needs a solid sales page.

Here are the components I’m looking to implement:

  • Film reel. This is what I’m calling it at this point. Basically, it would be four or five images shown together to help the user imagine what the course is going to be like on the inside.
  • Compelling headline. Probably don’t need to expand on this.
  • Video. The video should relay the story or the emotion of the course. I’m a stoic, logically minded guy, so the sales page should be all emotion.
  • Copy and hooks. I’m going to see what hooks others are using to promote their courses. I will model them (not plagiarize!).
  • Your teacher. In this case, me. I think I should be framed as “the teacher.” I feel like this will build trust.
  • Your host. There won’t always be a host, but in this instance, Christopher Sutton of Musical U.
  • Free lesson. I’m planning to share a free lesson. In this case, it will be the bonus lesson Cashflow Quadrant Decoded, because it’s full of emotion. I might edit it down to only include the emotion. I’ll also be publishing the free lesson to YouTube for additional traffic.

Emails

Every campaign requires emails. I plan to create multiple emails based on Brunson’s framework of Emotion, Logic, and Fear also seen in his Traffic Secrets book (affiliate link – I’m about a third of the way through and enjoying it a great deal).

I will share these emails with people who get my insane giveaway as well as my main list.

Brunson says people who don’t buy after 30 to 60 days are unlikely to pick up what you’re putting down, so at that point I will be putting subscribers into a new funnel or back on a healthy serving of my regular blog and podcast updates.

Publishing

I’m already publishing every day (in some cases twice per day), so during the 90-day campaigns, it would make a lot of sense to highlight my new offer in my posts.

Notice how I’ve been sharing my book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, at the end of every blog post as of late? It’s because I’m in the middle of a 90-day campaign promoting that product.

Social Media

Again, I’ll be modeling what I see working out there, mostly based on my Dream 100.

My focus will be Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Twitter, and YouTube, though my posts will probably reach LinkedIn and Tumblr too. We’ll see about others like Blogger, Pinterest, Mix, and so on (not sure if there’s much point).

Dream 100

Originally created by Chet Holmes, this is another marketing strategy I learned from Brunson.

It basically involves making a list of all the influencers, experts, gatekeepers, group and forum moderators, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and building a relationship with them over time (with an emphasis on over time).

This list should have access to your target audience or ideal customer. In my case, I’ve also chosen experts who make great content and have helped me on my journey, but at least half of my list has access to my audience.

I’m also planning for when I might launch products into different markets.

My list is bigger than 100, and I’ve already started building a relationship with them. This being a long-term strategy, however, I’m not expecting any payoff, even during the campaign to come.

The main payoff, so far, has been what I’ve been learning from my Dream 100.

If you’re curious who’s on my Dream 100, you have but to pay attention to who I regularly mention in my blog posts (this one included!).

Outreach

I’m thinking I should probably have a separate outreach campaign for the masterclass (besides the Dream 100). This would likely be to bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and group owners.

I’ve been thinking maybe I could reach out to anyone who’s been featured on my blog or podcast and ask for their help…

And I’ve also been learning some great things about YouTube collaborations from Noah Kagan, and I’m liking that angle a lot…

The one thing I will likely do is reach out to some of my contacts (maybe even people on my email list), and give 10 lucky people access to the course for free in exchange for testimonials.

Still need to give this one some thought though.

Advertising

I want to keep this as simple as possible and basically plan to spend a small budget remarketing to Dream 100 audiences.

Crowdsourcing/Outsourcing

I’d like to incorporate some aspect of crowdsourcing or outsourcing in all my campaigns.

Not sure how I might integrate this with the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass campaign yet.

I was basically thinking I could hire a few freelancers on Fiverr to create unique sales videos for the course.

We’ll see.

So, Those are the Pieces of the Masterclass Campaign

Phew. Sounds like quite a bit of work doesn’t it? That’s because it is!

I’m still working on bits and pieces, as you can see. And that’s another reason it makes sense to start going full force in October, though I see myself doing some light marketing in September.

Comments on the Masterclass/Course & Campaign?

Am I on the right track…

Or completely insane?

Is there something I’m missing, or something you see I could be doing?

Are there any questions you need answering on this subject (so I can include my answers in the course content)?

Can you see yourself being involved in some way? Want to help out?

Then what are you waiting for? Let me know in the comments below!

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.