056 – Creating Your Freedom Lifestyle – with Evan Price

056 – Creating Your Freedom Lifestyle – with Evan Price

Would you like to spend more of your time doing what you love to do? Would you like to be able to pick and choose the projects you want to work on? Are you thinking about becoming a digital nomad?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David interviews Evan Price, who shares the steps he took to create his freedom lifestyle.

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Highlights:

00:17 – Returning guest, Evan Price
00:31 – How do you package your creative skills to create a viable business?
03:08 – Streamlining you and your customer’s focus
09:26 – The value of being unfocused for a time
10:19 – Improving your product vs. improving your marketing
13:48 – Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich
15:11 – How do you identify your ideal customer?
17:40 – Evan’s best tips for building a team
20:24 – Content creation and giving away the keys to the kingdom
24:04 – Building trust with people
26:15 – The importance of networking
29:12 – What’s the right time to scale your business?
33:23 – How did Evan decide to take the leap of faith?
38:59 – What is it like to live nomadically?
45:39 – How much money do you need to live a freedom lifestyle?
51:12 – Closing thoughts

Summary:

The very idea of trying to create a freedom lifestyle can sometimes appear an uphill battle. You’ve got to get your finances in order. You’ll probably need a passport. On top of that, you’ve got to plan the logistics of where you’ll be going and when, where to stay, whether to bring your car with you and more.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David and Evan break down and simplify the process of becoming a digital nomad.

Bundle Up Your Expertise and Sell it

Evan emphasizes the value of the DLB (Do Less Better) offer model. Nowadays, many businesses are a little bloated – they offer dozens if not hundreds of products and services, and this scatters the focus of the business owner as well as the prospects and customers who might otherwise be interested in buying.

Evan suggests that you should find something you can do that no one else can. The more specific, the better. This allows you to create what Evan calls a “luxury” offer, something that can be sold for thousands of dollars rather than pennies. Evan says this is how he streamlined his business.

David offers that minimizing and optimizing seems to be the direction things are going in now. As opposed to having dozens of websites and products, marketers are creating central portals and leading prospects on different journeys depending on their interests.

David also shares an example from his life, stating that when he had one or two books, his customers knew what to buy and were happy. But as his catalog increased, his customers became paralyzed and bought fewer books. Which explains why he’s only promoting his latest book on his website.

Spreading Yourself Thin

Evan shares that it’s easy to spread yourself thin. When you’re young, and you’re not sure what you want to focus on, you feel like you could take on the world and try your hand at dozens if not hundreds of different things.

At the time, Evan was learning how to use Facebook ads, managing acts, booking tours, and more. But he noticed that none of the things he was working on were reaching the tipping point of success.

If you keep on that path, says Evan, you will eventually reach a point of burnout. So, he stopped doing what he was doing, made an assessment of his strengths and weaknesses, and bundled up his expertise to streamline his business.

David admits to having too many things to fulfill in recent years, including Members Only Audios, which he quickly realized was akin to running two podcasts at the same time. He would often think to himself, “I’m a superhero, and I can do it!” But he would either end up disappointing himself or his prospects and customers by trying to do too much.

Evan adds that this principle applies to social media and content channels as well. You can easily take on too much, becoming a Jack or Jill of all trades, never mastering any. There are more than enough people on any of the main channels for you to be able to build an audience. There is no need to take the Gary Vee approach of “being everywhere,” says Evan.

David summarizes that one content channel and one offer can be enough to scale to seven figures, at least according to marketer Russell Brunson.

But… You Should Also Try Everything

Despite everything just covered on focus, if you’re just getting started, says Evan, spreading yourself out and trying a bunch of different things might be the right approach. You need to figure out what you’re good at and what you enjoy, and if you have no idea, there is wisdom in experimentation.

Making Your Products Better vs. Making Your Marketing Better

David shares some of the challenges he’s had in getting the word out about his books.

Evan responds that the quality of the product might not be the issue, but rather, the marketing (messaging) might be. Maybe people simply haven’t been able to find the books to be able to appreciate them.

Meanwhile, Evan has observed how most musicians seem to think they always have a marketing problem and never a product problem. They tend not to consider that the quality of their product might not be up to snuff.

Ultimately, we need to examine both. Identifying the holdups and addressing them is the key to finding an offer that converts. Sometimes, the holdup is the product, sometimes it’s the marketing, and sometimes we must turn to other areas of our business as well – bottlenecks in project management, staffing, cash flow, or otherwise.

When you’re in the early phases of building your business, says Evan, you should be spending roughly 80% of your time doing things that bring in money – marketing and sales. And if you don’t know how to sell stuff, asserts Evan, you need to learn.

Most creatives don’t like to sell, but if they could see for themselves that it’s not some “icky” process of manipulating people to get their money, but rather a process of identifying problems, solving them, and making the quality of their customer’s lives better, they would realize that selling isn’t so bad.

Selling is improving the quality of your customer’s lives. Share on X

Think and Grow Poor?

David explains how Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill wound up penniless late in life, only to be rescued and put to work by businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone as a sales trainer.

Think and Grow Rich sells millions of copies per year by accident. So, how did the legendary Napoleon Hill end up there?

Systems were the difference. Hill didn’t have them. Stone did.

Identifying Your Dream Customer

Evan says, rather than trying to figure out the demographics of the customer, first identify the problem that you’re going to be solving for them. Once you know what problem you’re solving, you can tie the design of your product to the pain points you’re addressing with it.

There are three types of pain that customers experience. The first is Source pain, the second is Secret pain, and the third… Evan can’t remember. But Source pain refers to something the customer would tell their friends. Secret pain refers to something they hold within themselves and would rarely reveal to anyone.

If you can identify and articulate these pains, you will know your customers better than they know themselves, reducing friction in the sales process.

David adds that another way of explaining this concept is External and Internal pain, where External is something that can be seen on the outside, and Internal is something the customer holds close to their chest.

Evan’s Best Tips for Building a Team

First, says Evan, you need to be the team. You don’t necessarily need to get good at everything, but you should gain some experience with everything. Learn the basics. This allows you to create your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) so you can hand things off to your team, and also know who would be a good fit for what position.

You need to figure out your sales and marketing, product creation, and then, who the “face” of your company is going to be. You need to create a persona / attractive personal branding to attract an audience. It could be you, it could be someone else, and there are ways of marketing without a “face” too, but ultimately you’ve got to decide what direction to go in.

Having gone through this process of learning the basics, you’ll have a much better idea of who to hire for what role.

The Myth of Social Media “Marketing”

David says you need different types of content depending on who you’re talking to. There’s content that Attracts, there’s content that Engages, there’s content that Nurtures (or Converts) and there’s content that Retains.

David asks Evan his thoughts on giving away your best material at the Attraction phase, and Evan says this usually works in your favor. People hear what it is they need to do to get where they want to go, and they realize just how hard or complicated it is. So, they end up wanting to hire you to do it for them.

Evan offers that this can open the door for “done for you” or “do it together” services that benefit the client.

David responds by observing that you can present a million-dollar idea in a video, and most if not all viewers will not do anything with it. Free content is not appreciated to the degree that paid content is, ever. But, as Evan says, it can still make people want to hire you.

Evan laments how cautious people have become in the digital age, as it has become harder to sell. Most people are trustworthy. David says it’s still important to beware of people who are texting you out of the blue, as they are often scammers.

The “Drudgery” of Networking

David addresses the benefits of growing his network and how he got to the point where he rarely had to book his gigs in Calgary because of the connections he’d made.

He mentions how artists oftentimes resist the very idea of networking, which can hold back their personal and career growth.

Evan points out that you can also connect with people digitally. You don’t necessarily have to go to in-person networking events. There are different ways to skin the cat, as it were, and it’s a matter of figuring out what works for you.

When to Scale Your Business

Not all businesses need to scale. In his niche, Evans has found that any business reaching $7,000 to $10,000 per month is ready to scale, but this will vary depending on the industry.

But you also need to think about what to scale to. Many businesses don’t need to scale. They should consider establishing consistency in their revenue for an entire year before worrying about growing bigger. This is still “scaling” according to Evan, as it sets the foundation for the business to increase in size and scope.

The danger of growing too fast can be burnout. And if you have no clear targets in sight, you can easily stay in “growth mode” perpetually, never noticing any of your goals or milestones as you hit them.

David has noticed how many businesses will make it to $1 million. Suddenly, their goal shifts to $10 million. And then some other arbitrary number.

But you don’t always need to grow. You don’t always need to increase revenue figures. Again, the goal is key – do you want to sell the business? Do you want to install a leadership team and become an advisor? You’ve got to know what it’s all for.

David adds that Russell Brunson says $20,000 per month in personal income is where things start to get very comfortable, and you might even have a tough time spending it all, even if you have a spouse and kids.

Sure, you could spend $20,000 per month. You could find a way. But the point is you can create a great lifestyle without going overboard.

Taking the Leap of Faith

Evan had a friend who was beginning to travel. So, he decided to go to Egypt with him. That’s when Evan realized that traveling while building a business could work. So, beginning this year, Evan has been living nomadically.

Evan has been to Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Morocco so far. He says he found a role model in his friend, and that made it a little easier for him to embrace a freedom lifestyle.

For Evan, the scariest part about becoming a nomad was stability. He used to work for Apple while building his business on the weekends, and he had benefits and insurance that protected him.

But when he realized that his business was making enough money consistently, he felt like the prospect of living nomadically was more approachable.

David dovetails off this and notes that Greg Wilnau of Musician Monster was an inspiration to him when he was beginning to look at becoming a digital nomad. He recalls grilling Greg at the DIY Musician Conference in the hotel lobby with questions about how to handle the delivery of mail, income taxes, and the like.

Living the Digital Lifestyle

Evan recalls working seven days per week. Making the shift to digital nomad gave him his weekends back, and he says that was a great feeling.

On his journey so far, he’s been putting a lot of time into researching Airbnbs, and ensuring that they have a strong Wi-Fi connection. He sometimes reaches out to Airbnb owners to let them know that he’s looking to book two months ahead and asks if they can upgrade their Wi-Fi. He’s been successful in persuading them.

During the days, he works at the Airbnb he’s staying at – joining meetings, giving interviews, and creating content. At night, he’ll go and have dinner and explore locally. On the weekends, he spends more time exploring. Sometimes, he does nothing.

He emphasizes the importance of experiencing local culture and is even inviting culture shock into his experience.

It’s Cheaper Than You Think

David asserts that traveling is generally cheaper than living in a major city like Chicago, New York, or L.A. Most people seem to assume that living a nomadic lifestyle is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

Evan agrees. He adds that there are plenty of ways to save money. Travelers can stay in youth hostels, and food tends to cost considerably less in other countries compared to North America. You don’t have to be a millionaire to create your version of freedom.

He adds that there may be some tax exclusions and incentives you can claim if you’re living nomadically. Some countries or tourist destinations are also incentivizing and paying people to come and live there.

Evan and David agree that the most difficult aspect of living nomadically is pulling the trigger. There are things you can do to offset every anxiety or fear and ensure that you’re safe and taken care of during your travels.

Upgrade Your Artistic Self-Image

Upgrade Your Artistic Self-Image

My colleague and friend, Greg Wilnau of Musician Monster, once said to me:

You know how confidence is gained? By setting and achieving goals.

As someone who has wrestled with the very idea of setting and achieving goals, this was challenging.

My frustration stemmed from goals set and not reached. Whenever I read about goal setting in a book, it always sounded so sexy and magical. “Write it down and it will happen.” Why did it feel like such drudgery in real life? Why wasn’t I getting what I truly wanted out of the process?

But the truth is, we all go through disappointment. So, how long do you want to stay stuck in the past? Whatever happened then is not happening now. You’ve got to engage in the present like it was brand new.

Eventually, what I realized was that you’ve got to look at the progress you’ve made based on the actions you’ve taken (while acknowledging what you have achieved). Otherwise, your feelings are running the show, and they don’t have much of a place in the objective world of Specific, Measurable, Attainable (and Actionable), Relevant, and Time-based goals.

Either way, consider that what Greg said is 100% true.

What is your plan for upgrading your self-image and confidence in the next 90 days?

What is your plan for upgrading your self-image and confidence in the next 90 days? Share on X

As you know, I’m big on 90-day goals, and while you can break them down into smaller parts, I don’t want to hear about any goals that can’t be put into 90-day containers, because it’s either too aggressive or too onerous. Try sustaining your focus on one thing for longer than 90 days and let me know how it works out. The human brain wants to wander, find relief or variety, look for something else.

A goal is just a game, and a game is created. You’re the one making the rules. And that means you can always set yourself up to win.

A goal is a game, and a game is created. You’re the one making the rules. And that means you can always set yourself up to win. Share on X

If you’re not ready for an aggressive goal, no problem. Start with something small like “for the next 90 days, I will go for a 30-minute walk five days per week.” That’s a SMART goal.

If Greg is right, attaining that first goal should increase your self-belief. So, the only thing left to do is to set increasingly aggressive goals that are especially relevant to where you are in your career and what you want to achieve. Keep setting up more games and focus on their achievement.

You won’t win every time, but even if you don’t win, there will always be something to learn.

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!

156 – CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference Postmortem & Review – with Greg Wilnau of Musician Monster

156 – CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference Postmortem & Review – with Greg Wilnau of Musician Monster

Have you been thinking about attending CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference? Not sure whether it’s worth it?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I reflect on the DIY Musician Conference with Greg Wilnau of Musician Monster.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – Special episode with guest Greg Wilnau
  • 00:57 – Austin serendipities
  • 02:02 – What did David get out of the DIY Musician Conference?
  • 03:16 – Meeting people in person for the first time
  • 05:27 – Being mindful of your own energy levels
  • 06:59 – What is your purpose for going to a conference?
  • 11:00 – Is the DIY Musician Conference worth going to?
  • 14:42 – How lasting connections are created
  • 16:07 – Degrees of comfort with creating different content types
  • 19:08 – Learning business is the same thing as learning music
  • 24:11 – Until you confront the ordinariness of your life, you can’t become extraordinary
  • 27:28 – It’s harder to get noticed online than it is on stage
  • 28:31 – Every overnight success is 10 years in the making
  • 29:43 – The costs of attending the conference
  • 31:44 – Weather conditions in different parts of the world
  • 32:47 – Fun in Austin, TX
  • 34:02 – Closing thoughts
  • 34:34 – Where to learn about attending events and conferences

Transcription:

David Andrew: All right. Today, I’ve got a very special episode. I wanted to do a post mortem and review of the DIY Musician Conference in Austin, which was now about a month ago, but who better to have on the show to help me wrap this up than founder and CEO of Musician Monster Greg Wilnau.

So, how are you Greg?

Greg: Doing great, David. How are you doing?

David Andrew: I’m doing awesome. I guess just for a little bit of context, Greg and I managed to meet up down in Austin. And it was kind of a fluke accident because we didn’t know we would both be there at the same time.

Greg: No, we didn’t. It was cool. I was coming out of, I think it was one of the talks, and I walked by. I kind of just glanced over and I saw the name tag, David Andrew from Music Entrepreneur. And I was like, “No way!”

I just kept on walking. I thought maybe I’m seeing things. I kept walking. I turned around. I looked back, and I was like, “That’s David! What’s up, man?” It was just really cool. We hung out the whole time.

David Andrew: We did. We did. And it ended up being a lot of fun. You know, it’s not that there weren’t people I didn’t know there but they were all kind of working, right, at their various booths, or they were doing some presenting or in the case of like Kevin Breuner or Chris Robley, they’re, you know, they’re doing podcast recordings. And this and that and the other.

So, really, it was great to have someone else that didn’t have any commitments and wasn’t obligated to be at their booth or whatever to spend some time with.

Greg: Yeah, man. Absolutely. So, what did you get out of the–? I know you’re not interviewing me but I’m totally curious. What did you get out of the conference? Why do you think that it’s a good thing to go to? What did you get out of it?

David Andrew: Oh, that’s perfect. We should definitely go back and forth on on any questions.

You know, I found the conference to be really chill. That was kind of surprising to me because you know what, some conferences, some events can be a little stressful and hurried. There can be like so many people, so many booths, so many places to go around, or breakout sessions to go to that it can frankly just start to feel very overwhelming.

Greg: Exactly.

David Andrew: I really did not get that sense from this conference at all. It wasn’t too small but it wasn’t too big. You know what I mean? It was a good size. You could meet whoever you wanted to meet, if you knew who they were.

Greg: Absolutely,

David Andrew: Yeah. Like many of the people that I’ve built a relationship with online, I got a chance to meet in person. And just like you, I had those moments too where I was just looking or staring at someone’s name tag going, “Holy crap, is that so and so?” And then I go up and introduce myself. Sure enough. And then we have a conversation about, you know, whatever we were working on together online.

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. It was interesting. It’s always weird meeting people who you’ve only previously met online.

David Andrew: It can be.

Greg: You know, it’s almost like they’re a celebrity. You know what I mean? Like, “Oh, my gosh. They’re in person right now.” I think that meeting somebody in real life always kind of solidifies the relationship. We’re like, “It’s not official until you meet in person.”

But it’s interesting because… I don’t know if you’re… If you’re anything like me, I’m pretty introverted. You know, I’m a musician. I’m super creative. I’m very comfortable being alone and by myself. So, I’m always nervous whenever I go to conferences. You know what I mean?

But I’ve never regretted… I think this is my second or third conference. The first conference I went to, I was super nervous because I had been just working from home and doing my music business from home and I was like, you know, super awkward around people you know. I’ve always been awkward around people. I’m definitely not that suave smooth operator.

But this conference, you’re right dude. It felt a lot different. It was super casual. No pressure. I liked it too because most of the people there obviously were musicians. So, I definitely got the impression that it was casual on purpose.

David Andrew: Yeah. I think it must have been because another thing too is that I just got the sense that these are people that get me, you know. And maybe it’s because for the first time in a while, I’m actually getting out and seeing some of the people who would be my target audience for this podcast, or for my blog, or for the website or what have you.

But I just found that, you know, I wasn’t getting like a deer in the headlights, dead stare from people when I started talking about what I’m doing. Whereas where I live in Calgary…

Greg: Absolutely. Absolutely.

David Andrew: All the time people just have no clue. You talk about internet business. You talk about authoring books. You talk about advertising, or affiliate marketing, or whatever.

Greg: Most people are just like, “Yep. That’s cool. Okay.”

David Andrew: “That’s interesting. So, do you make any money at that?”

Greg: Or, “Do you like sports?” So, they change the subject. They don’t even know.

So, that’s the thing. Like it’s so important, I think, to be around other people who are into what you do. And if you’re a musician, there’s a difference between somebody who’s a musician and somebody who’s determined to make it on their own. Right? Who’s made that decision instead of just hoping somebody will discover them and make things happen for them. A musician who has said, “Okay. It’s up to me. I’m going to do it. Bring it on.”

It's important to be around people who are into what you do. Share on X

So, being around other musicians who are like that, and have that mindset is so freaking critical to staying encouraged, focused, motivated and inspired. And to me, that’s one of the biggest benefits of going to these things. You leave so energized. Right?

David Andrew: Yeah.

And you never know who you could meet too? You know what I mean?

David Andrew: Absolutely. No, I absolutely felt energized going to this conference. And, you know, I was pretty burnt out going into it. So like, I’ve been trying to take a couple vacations this past summer. I still had to be mindful of like, my own energy. Like, if I didn’t feel like or didn’t feel like I could wake up, you know, super early to be there early, I didn’t. And if I didn’t feel like I could stay late, I didn’t. I just took care of myself instead.

But I still tried to soak in as much as I possibly could while I was there because, you know, this only happens once a year.

Greg: Yeah, absolutely.

David Andrew: Yeah.

Greg: I’m curious to know, what you…? I mean, again, I’m not interviewing you. I’m a guest on your podcast. I guess we’re just having a casual conversation here. So no pressure.

David Andrew: Exactly.

Greg: I was wondering. I think we talked about this when we were at the conference. It was the purpose of going, right.

David Andrew: Yeah.

Greg: And I was telling you that, personally, my perspective when I go to a conference isn’t necessarily to learn things as much, even though that can be a result, an implicit result of going, I think. But my intention of going is to meet people. Right?

David Andrew: Yeah.

Greg: I was curious as to what your thoughts were on that. Because obviously, people who are listening to this are going to be interested in the conference, and maybe the benefits of going. Maybe they might not want to go. They’re not sure if it’d be worth it.

So, I’m just wondering if we could kind of talk about that, and maybe your own interpretations about what your thoughts are on the motivation to go.

David Andrew: I mean some of the motivating factors for me – I’ll just start there – are that, you know, I applied to be a speaker there. I guess their roster was pretty full.

Now, my impression of what is going on at the conference right now is that it’s actually still fairly small. I would imagine there’s going to be certain limitations on personnel, as well as monetary resources to have a lot more breakout sessions than they already did. That’s just my impression.

But my point being that, you know, I didn’t get to speak at the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference. And instead, I was given a free ticket. So, you know, that did not…

Greg: Sweet.

David Andrew: Yeah, that didn’t cover my expenses as far as traveling to Austin or, you know, food or lodging or any of that was concerned, but the free ticket was pretty strong motivator because I’d heard about this thing for a few years now. I kept getting invites. I kept getting PR people say, “We’ll introduce you to this, that, and the other.” And finally, I just said, “You know? I gotta go.”

Part of that too… Like, if you’re given a free ticket to an event, don’t you think the implicit message is, you know, we’re interested, you just need to show your face.

Greg: Yeah, exactly.

David Andrew: Especially in the case of a presenter. I feel like that’s sort of implicit in the message too. I felt it was very important for me to show my face.

But I think your intention to meet people is absolutely spot on. I feel like that’s something musicians miss. They go to these things, these hugely inspiring environments where they could meet just about anybody, very influential people in the industry, and they end up meeting no one.

And then secondly, there’s all these opportunities to engage on social media, and tweet about the event and post about the event in Instagram event or whatever. And they don’t do that either.

Greg: I did. Let me confess. I did. I think you were in Simon Tam‘s talk, which was awesome, about social media. And you were tweeting about his talk on social media. And I was sitting there going, “Yep. I hate social media.”

David Andrew: You know what? If it’s not your thing, that’s okay. I just see all these opportunities that people sometimes miss.

But I think just based on my training and everything that I’ve learned and discovered to this point, a conference is a place where you make a decision. You may or may not learn something. You may or may not meet someone who will change your career but you will come across people who are inspiring. And in that moment, it’s up to you. You can make a decision to change your direction, make a decision to make your dreams a reality.

Greg: Right. Yeah. So, okay. Okay. So, we talked about that. I’m wondering if somebody was unsure about whether or not going to a conference like this would be worth it. Specifically, the DIY Musician Conference. Let’s say the cost to fly out, for example, let’s say the ticket wasn’t too bad. It was a few hundred bucks.

But how much did it cost you to fly out? What was the price of the plane ticket to fly from Calgary to Austin, which is like halfway across North America?

David Andrew: Yeah, exactly. First of all, I couldn’t even fly directly to Austin. Apparently, there are some flights coming out soon that will allow us to travel directly from Calgary to Austin but there are none at this time. So that meant that I flew to San Francisco, and then to Austin. And there’s a few different options as far as where you can have a connecting flight from but that’s the one that kind of seemed to make the most sense to me based on timing. I believe, between the two flights, probably would have been $400 or $500 Canadian.

Greg: Oh, wow. Okay. I think my flight from Central Florida… I was direct to Austin, was only like 75 bucks. I’m sure that the reason for that is because I was traveling within the States.

Like when we were in Europe all last year, we were traveling throughout Europe, like especially through the EU to fly, it was really inexpensive. I think flying, depends on where you’re flying from, but the cost to fly… unless you get super lucky like you’re in the city. I think next year DIY Musician Conference is going to be in Austin again.

David Andrew: Yes.

Greg: So, unless you’re lucky, you’re going to have to fly to get out there. What I use is Google Flights. The earlier you get on the flight to buy your ticket, the less expensive it will be. So, I just did. I bought a few months in advance. It was like 75 bucks round trip. And then I stayed at an Airbnb for three nights. And it was like… I mean the whole thing was under… I want to say under 500 bucks to go.

David Andrew: Yeah. You did it like a boss. I’m learning from you. Of course, you have a head start on this whole digital nomad and traveling thing.

Greg: Yeah, I suppose. That’s true. If you’re listening right now, you are worried about cost, take this advice, right. Do Airbnb, Google Flights, book in advance. The earlier you take action on it, the better there.

What they do is they’ll steadily incrementally increase the price of the tickets, right? And so, make the decision early on and go, right. The reason they do that is because you’ll never make the decision. Like if there’s no urgency there, it’ll be easy for us to sit on the fence and choose not to go.

So, if you’re thinking about it and you want to go, then just do it. Like, save your spot. Block in the low price. And then the earlier you take action, the least expensive it’ll be. And you’ll get a lot out of it too. And if you go… I’m going to go next year. I’m sure Andrew is. And he’s going to be… You might even be speaking this year. I don’t know if I will.

David Andrew: Yes, it’s possible.

Greg: Possible. But come say hi to us.

David Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re going to be there and you hear this show, come on. Yeah. Come say hi. Let us know that you heard this.

Greg: We’ll have a beer.

David Andrew: Yeah, absolutely we will.

And that was one of the great things about it is really sitting down and talking after the fact. You know, after the sessions have been over, Greg and I went downstairs. Went to the hotel lounge, which is just right there when you come down the stairs, and just hang out and chatted there.

And likewise, you know, you saw people like Dave Cool or other people who had booths or presenters just sitting there chatting with each other too.

Greg: Yeah. And they do like exclusive offers that you can only get when you’re at conferences like this. So, it’s super worth it. You never know what could happen too.

I think Rick Barker pulled me on his stage… pulled me on the stage for his presentation. And that was super cool. Yeah. I got to meet Cheryl Engelhardt. After her presentation, I was able to grab her laptop for her. And she ended up coming on my podcast because of it. Because obviously, you know, reciprocity. Right? And that was cool. So yeah, you never know what could happen.

David Andrew: Yeah. How did you feel when Rick called you up on stage?

Greg: I was like, “Oh, shit. What’s he gonna be doing? What’s he doing?” That was cool. I’m totally comfortable. I’m actually more comfortable being on stage than doing like a live presentation online with like a webinar or something.

I get super nervous when I do webinars, but onstage, very fine. Plus, Rick, you know. Oh, whatever. You know. Just good stuff.

David Andrew: Well, you do one thing and expect it to be all the same. Like for example, podcasting. This is a fairly relaxed chat, you know, there’s no pressure. But suddenly you get onto video, and it’s a whole other world. And suddenly go on stage and it’s a whole other world, right?

Greg: Yes. Like degrees of comfort and what you’re used to and being out of your comfort zone. It’s just like music. Being on stage for the first time playing a new song is uncomfortable. You’ve practiced it so many times in rehearsal, and then you get comfortable doing rehearsal. And then, the first time you do it live in front of an audience, whether it’s a room of no people or a room of 500 people, you know, there are degrees of comfort.

So the more you do something, the more comfortable you get. But yeah, the first time is always uncomfortable. But for some reason, webinars haven’t gotten any more comfortable. I think I just need to do… I think I’ve done like 10 to 15 webinars maybe. I need to do some more. But I still get nervous as hell.

David Andrew: You’ll get better man. For sure you will. I remember doing all those gigs to get to the point where I felt comfortable performing live. It was many, many gigs. I was really down on myself at first, like super critical. I would just be like, “Oh, it was a terrible show.” I don’t do that anymore. Part of the reason is like; I feel very comfortable on stage at this point performing as a musician. Right? So.

Greg: Yeah. Way more comfortable than doing anything else. Even doing podcast interviews. Like this one isn’t bad. But no, there’s no pressure. It’s casual.

But it’s way easier to be a musician on stage than it is to engage in like a business setting. Whether it be free content, or doing some kind of talk or something. Because I’ve done it so many times, you know. I’ve done it as a musician. I’ve done it way more of my life, than I have this stuff.

Sometimes I’m just like, “Can I just go back to that?” But you know, there’s phases in life, right. There are phases. Not that I haven’t stopped doing music, you know. I’m never going to. It’s time right now to network and meet people, and grow my business and focus on that.

And then, I think next year, I’m going to start doing the music part again. This last year, I took a break from the music and focused on building it. That’s the cool thing, you know. Because I got super burned out, right. I was just sitting in my room writing music, playing a few gigs, and hoping something would happen.

And then it started to grow, like really… Like a lot. And then I got super burnt out. So, then I started investing in scaling my music business. I needed to learn, you know, a few things.

And that’s what’s cool about the conferences is one of the things that I was super bad at was talking to people. I need to get better at that. The conference offers great opportunity to do that.

David Andrew: Well, yeah. And first of all, I really relate to your story. I’ve sort of been in the same position too. I don’t know if I ever got burnt out on music, per se. I mean I kind of have my love and hate moments with it. But it just kind of came to the point where I wanted to take a closer look at the practical side of life. I really genuinely got excited about business.

I know it’s a strange thing to say because some people listening can’t necessarily relate to that whole thing of music entrepreneurship and what that means to them. But to me, yeah, just like the most exciting thing I could possibly imagine.

And it’s one of the reasons that I wanted to take a closer look. Like you, I don’t think I’ll ever quit making music. I don’t want to die with the best song in me. And I’ve got my best songs to record yet at this point.

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. I think too. I wanted to be heard. You know what I mean? I told this story before. I guess I could tell for your audience. A few years ago, I was playing… I’ve always been in a band. I was playing, you know, practicing all the time. I was always in a band doing live music. I was doing music on the side and doing my… going to my day job to earn income, right. So, I was a construction worker.

I was a construction worker in Florida, which is really hot. It’s freaking hot. And my day job as a construction worker was, I installed air conditioning HVA systems in residential and commercial buildings.

And one day, it was the middle of summer, and I was in the attic. And the day before, I had this gig. There are a ton of people there. It was a great gig. I just made no money. I was making no money for my music. I was like really getting burnt out. Because you can only do something so long and not get paid. Like it’s not about the money. No, it was never about the money. It’s not sustainable not to earn income from that.

Being paid to do what you love is the most inspirational feeling that you could ever feel. Writing music is different, but then, for somebody else to say, “Okay. I value what you’re doing. Here’s my hard earned money.” It just totally validates it in a way that I can’t describe. You know what I mean? Up to that point, I had never really felt that.

So, I was in that attic. And I was asking myself why, you know, what have I done wrong? I can’t describe what really happened but the answer came to me and I realized that the reason I hadn’t made money was because I was hoping somebody else would figure it out for me. I was hoping somebody else would do it for me.

That was all totally subconscious. I had never known that the only reason I wasn’t making money is because I had hoped somebody else would do it. And therefore I hadn’t just made the decision to figure it out for myself.

As soon as that came into my awareness, it was like a light bulb went off, a little light bulb moment. I was like, “Shit.” And I had a choice to make. I could clearly make a choice. Keep doing what I had always done or figure something out.

So, I went home and I put together this little… Like I called it my five ways plan to make money from my live gigs. And this isn’t a marketing thing. This is really what I did. I wrote it at the top. It was just a simple spreadsheet. I broke it into five steps. All right? Things that I needed to do to start making money from the gigs I was already playing.

And within one month, I was making over $1,000 per month from my live gigs, and it kind of grew from there. It was at that point that I was like, “Okay. I need to share this with other people.” The bottleneck was always me getting out of my comfort zone to talk to other people about my music and my music business.

That was one of the reasons that motivated me to go to conferences. Because it’s degrees of comfort. You know what I mean? The first degree of comfort was, I had to admit to myself that it was my fault that I was not getting the results that I wanted. And then that empowered me to then say, “Okay. I now choose otherwise.” I was able to make a decision and take action on that.

And then the bottleneck was, well, I suck at talking to people. It’s totally uncomfortable. So then I could say, “Okay. Well then, I now choose otherwise. I’m going to get comfortable out and start going to conferences.”

And as you go through that the business continues to grow as you overcome these different degrees of comfort and these plateaus and you address them face on. It’s really cool because it’s really similar with music. As we learn new skills with our music, practice our fundamentals, our skills, our rudiments, that never goes away. Right? We build on that.

Your business continues to grow as you overcome different degrees of comfort and plateaus and you address them face on. Share on X

It’s the same thing with business, which is cool. I think that what you were talking about earlier is when I realized that business is the same as learning music. Learning business is the same as learning music. That’s when it clicked.

I was like, “Oh my God. It’s the same freakin’ thing.” And every skill that I learned as a musician, applied. If you can become a musician, if you can learn music, you can do freaking anything, dude. I think that’s what I realized. So that’s a little tangent there. I’m sorry.

David Andrew: No. I appreciate you sharing that. And something I heard recently that I really liked – until you confront the ordinariness of your life, you can’t become extraordinary. In other words, you sort of have to come to the point where you realize, “I’m not going to amount to anything continuing on as I am.”

Greg: That’s really scary.

David Andrew: Yeah. But once you confront it, it is a little depressing at first. But I discovered once you confront that, there’s a peace that comes over you. And then suddenly, you’re coming from a place of like curiosity about the world. Now you’re trying to find something out. It’s a little bit more…

Greg: Whereas, before you’d be making excuses because you’d be running from that realization, I think. But before you have it, before you realize, “Yeah. If I keep doing the things I’ve always done, I’m going to get the same results, I’m going to be mediocre.”

If you keep doing the things you've always done, you're going to get the same results. You're going to be mediocre. Share on X

David Andrew: Exactly.

Greg: And until you accept that, you spend your whole life running from it, and making excuses.

David Andrew: That’s right.

Greg: And you can’t not be mediocre when you make the decision not to be. You know what I mean?

David Andrew: Yeah. And certainly, after confronting that, I’m finding myself gradually moving towards my dreams and living the dream that I’d set out to. And that’s a whole different feeling too. It’s actually kind of a strange feeling.

But now, you know, I haven’t mentioned this on the podcast yet, but I get to travel the world while building my business. I mean what could be more exciting, right? I wanted that location independence. It was next on my list but I wasn’t sure how long that was going to take or when I’d be able to do that. And having arrived here, it’s a very, very interesting feeling.

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. We were talking about this at the conference too, weren’t we?

We were talking about… It’s like music. You practice for years and years and years, and you just steadily and slowly get better. It’s not like one day you wake up and you’re like, “Oh, my God. I’ve arrived. I’m the other musician I’ve always wanted to be.” It’s not like that.

You know what I mean? It’s just slow steady progress and making the habit of becoming a musician. You become a musician, right? It’s a lifestyle. It’s a choice. It’s an action. It’s a habit.

David Andrew: We were.

Greg: Just like building a business. Like you were talking about. Slowly dude. Slowly, so slowly. These incremental things. And I was like, “Dude. You’re location independent.” That’s a huge thing.

I mean for me, like that’s… Getting to the point where I no longer had to go to my day job and I could focus full time on my music business was something that happened pretty gradually.

But the biggest distinction was when I made that decision and how fast the results were, because I had all this pent-up energy, this pent up desire. But then after that, it’s just super slow. Just little slow milestones. But yeah, dude. It’s the same thing with music, you know?

David Andrew: Well, it’s so easy to compare yourself to some of these music marketing wizards who seemingly come out of nowhere and suddenly are taking up the market.

But right now, Greg, you’re kind of that guy because you built up your chops and now you came along and you’ve built Musician Monster, and you’re doing some cool things.

Greg: Thanks, man. It’s interesting. My success in my music didn’t come from digital marketing. It came from live show marketing. For marketing at my live shows and using the internet as infrastructure to facilitate and scale.

But digital marketing is always… It’s a lot harder to get noticed online than it is on stage. You know what I mean? Because when you’re on stage, everybody’s looking at you. You have that attention. But when you’re online, it’s like, “Who the fuck is this guy?” Or, you know.

So, yeah. It’s taken a long time but I feel like I’m finally seeing progress. It’s exciting.

David Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really cool. I guess my point is that you’ve heard it before, but every success is 10 years in the making. Every overnight success is 10 years in the making.

Every overnight success is 10 years in the making. Share on X

Greg: Even as a musician, I don’t know. I mean I guess there are a few virtuosos. But even Mozart started playing piano when he was three, you know, so you got to think. Like by the time he was 13, he had already been playing for 10 years. You know what I mean?

So if you met Mozart when he was 13, you’d be like, “Holy shit. This guy’s amazing. He’s a natural. What a genius.” No. He’s just been practicing every day for 12 hours for 10 years. You know?

David Andrew: Yeah. You know, that’s been a theme. Even some of my earliest podcast recordings was this whole idea that you could be the absolute best guitarist in the world. But if you’re not on YouTube, like people can’t find you. They could still be out there, honestly. They could be sitting in their basement somewhere in Czech Republic or whatever. And they’re not discovered and nobody knows who they are because they don’t have any marketing or anything behind them.

Yeah, going back to what you said about price. Definitely, there are more affordable ways of doing it. I think coming from Canada, you probably will end up paying somewhere between $300 to $500 for the flight. That just seems kind of inevitable, but like Greg, you can totally stay at Airbnb.

I was on vacation. So, I ended up staying at a hotel but a cheap hotel, nonetheless. So, I could kind of relax and be in a little bit of comfort. But coming from Canada, yeah, it might cost you a little bit more in the States. I’m guessing most flights are going to be pretty reasonable.

Greg: Yeah. And also, if you’re in Europe or if you’re in Australia, I don’t know to tell you what the value. But, yeah. If you’re in Europe, I do believe they do a European version of the DIY Musician Conference. There are also tons of conferences for musicians in Europe. So, you don’t necessarily have to fly all the way out to the States for the conference.

David Andrew: That’s right.

Greg: But, yeah. Don’t let cost be a factor.

David Andrew: Valencia Spain. Yeah, that’s usually where they have it in Europe. It looks promising.

Greg: Dude, the weather in Spain. Have you ever been to Spain?

David Andrew: I haven’t.

Greg: Dude, the weather’s pretty good. It’s funny because all the UK people are super nice but the weather there is just total shade. It rains all the time. We were in the UK for like six months, and then we flew to Spain. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this weather is…” Weather really does affect things.

I’m from Florida. I didn’t really realize it until… I was in Florida my whole life until like a few years ago. I’d never seen snow before until about a year and a half ago. I didn’t realize how much weather affects things.

So, go to Spain, and experience the beautiful weather at least for a week. And then you can go back, but it’s just great. I highly recommend it.

David Andrew: Yeah, weather is quite a bit different depending on where you go. And speaking of which, Austin, it’s basically like walking out into a sauna anytime you go aside. That’s my impression of it.

Greg: It was bad dude. I’m from Florida. It was bad.

David Andrew: I don’t know if it was bad. Just something to be mindful of.

Greg: It’s pretty bad. It’s pretty bad.

David Andrew: Well, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. I’m weird like that.

Greg: Go to Florida. And I used to work in construction. So like in the heat outside. And I’ve become pretty heat averse, where I actually really liked the cold. Like I’m praying for cold and snow now. I might be a freak of nature too.

David Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve just been in Canada for 20 plus years in my life. We barely get a summer. It just doesn’t last long enough, Greg.

Greg: Yeah. Like if I was used to seeing snow all the time, and it was cold all the time, I would probably be begging for some heat too. So, absolutely.

David Andrew: Did you have any other impressions of Austin? Did you get to see anything else?

Greg: No, we walked around a bit. You and I did when we went to lunch.

David Andrew: Yes. And there was a dude with a chicken on his shoulder, wasn’t there?

Greg: So, I guess they have more homeless people in Austin. There are some homeless people around but they were pretty interesting, right? That one guy who was yelling out. What is it? Something about Jesus or something? And then, the guy with the chicken on his shoulder. Now, he’s saying, “My name is not Jesus. It’s Hesus. There’s no “J” in the something alphabet.”

David Andrew: He did say that.

I guess to offer like a general overview of Austin, it’s the live music capital of the world. Or so they say. Third fastest growing city in the States right now. And people are saying it’s the new Silicon Valley. So, there you go.

Greg: Interesting.

David Andrew: Yeah. So that makes it a… I think because of all these new jobs that are being created and startups and all that, that’s what’s driving a lot of young people now to the city of Austin.

But yeah, you do have the heat to contend with for sure. Any other memorable moments from the conference?

Greg: Nothing stands out, man. I think we covered them all. It was a great time.

David Andrew: Yeah, it was a really good time. So yeah, again next year. It’s at Austin again, and hopefully we’ll see you all down there. All 1,000 listeners of this show. You better be there. You better be there. Okay.

Greg: We’ll have a party.

David Andrew: Yeah, exactly. We’ll get together. We’ll have a party. Thanks so much for your time, Greg.

Greg: You’re welcome, David.

David Andrew: All right.

In my first book, The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing, and Thriving in The Information Age, I talk more about going to conferences and events and the importance of it.

So, if you’d like to learn more, go to davidandrewwiebe.com/eBook, don’t get caught up in the URL. It’s not just an eBook. It’s a physical book too. And you can see what people have had to say about it. And there have been some very kind words.

Go to davidandrewwiebe.com/eBook to claim your copy and begin your personal growth journey.

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