Do You Need a Musician Coach? Self-Assessment

Do You Need a Musician Coach? Self-Assessment

At this point, you’re probably starting to realize that musician coaching is a real thing, and it could be quite valuable for you.

But are you ready for coaching?

Is it right for you?

Is now a good time to get a coach?

Here’s a self-assessment that will help you determine whether you need a musician coach.

Are You Willing to Invest in Yourself?

If your answer is:

No, I’m not willing to spend a dime to build a fan base and make a living from my passion.

Then I can’t help you, and neither can any other coach.

If it’s unimaginable for you to spend $37 on an eBook, $97 on a course, $127 on personalized coaching, I’m sorry, I can’t help you, and most other coaches would be warped in the noggin to help you too.

Understand – these are minimum prices, not maximum!

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true – we don’t place much value on things we don’t pay for.

If you don’t act on the information offered here, you will go back to old habits, returning to the same rut you tried to claw your way out of.

Here’s something to think about…

You don’t pay a mechanic for working on your car, do you? You pay them for knowing what to do, regardless of how much time and effort it ultimately takes them.

It’s the same with a coach. You don’t pay them for how much time or effort it takes to do the job – you pay them for their experience and ability to guide you (especially since breakthroughs can happen fast!).

Have You Worked on Your Craft & Live Show?

If “no,” you might not need a coach yet.

First, you’ve got to make the leap from amateur to professional and that means making a commitment to improve and work on your craft from one show, one release, one interview, to the next.

If that’s not what you’re doing, you haven’t made the commitment yet, and that’s okay.

But you don’t need a coach if you’re not building towards something.

Cliché as it might be, my coaches often repeated this phrase to me:

You can’t steer a parked car.

What does that mean?

It means if you’re not doing anything in your music career, I can’t tell you where to go or what to do next – it would all be speculation.

But if, for example, you have a live show you’ve been developing for a while and you want me to audit and review it, I’m your man.

Do You Have Career Goals (Even if They Are Foggy)?

If you do, you will benefit from coaching.

The truth is many artists only think they have goals.

But because they haven’t taken certain actions to put their goals into existence, they don’t know what they’re working towards, let alone how close they are to achieving their goals.

Fogginess around goal setting is very normal because what I teach, they don’t generally teach in school. So, it’s not your fault that you don’t know.

Bottom line – if you aren’t working towards something, or don’t have at least partially defined goals yet, forego the coaching and instead come up with three things you would like to accomplish in your music career, so we have something to discuss.

Do it now. This post will still be here when you come back.

Could You Benefit from an Outside Perspective?

For most artists, the answer will be “yes.”

If you can’t see it for yourself, all good, here are some things to consider:

  • How often do you record yourself to listen and evaluate your performance?
  • How often do you film yourself performing on stage to watch, listen, and evaluate your performance?
  • Do you track the number of people attending your performance (as well as how many people were there when you started, and how many were left when you were done)?
  • Is auditing your web presence a common practice of yours, and do you take note of how you’re coming across to fans and prospective fans, what’s missing, or what could be improved upon?
  • How well do you track your income and expenses, and could you make projections based on the numbers you see?
  • This is but the tip of the iceberg…

There’s just so much you don’t see when you’re working in the business instead of on the business.

And yes, I do mean to use the term “business” here because if you take your music career seriously, that’s exactly what it is.

A good coach can see what you’re not seeing.

A good coach can see what you’re not seeing. Share on X

Do You Have a Devil’s Advocate?

I remember calling my friend over one day to share my new business idea with him.

I was excited out of my mind and couldn’t possibly conceive how anyone would think it was a bad idea.

“He’s probably going to want to join my enterprise,” I thought to myself.

But as I started sharing, not only did he not share my sense of enthusiasm for the business, but he also tore apart the idea, systematically, limb from limb.

Although I kept answering his questions in the calmest manner possible, understandably I became frazzled by the end of that conversation!

You’ll never guess what he said to me next:

I was just being your devil’s advocate. Someone needs to punch holes in your idea so you can see all the ways it could fail, rather than getting tunnel vision on why it will succeed.

Wow.

Do you have tunnel vision? Are you seeing what no one else is seeing? Are you imagining a bright future only you believe in?

While you don’t need anyone to tear you down, you do need someone to help you reinforce your weakside.

And oftentimes, the only way to uncover that blind spot is to consult someone who’s equally invested in seeing you succeed in your music career.

Do You Feel Stuck in Your Music Career?

Cheer up.

If you’re feeling stuck, it means you’ve made a lot of progress to get to this point!

The growth curve only gets steeper, not gentler.

But you could literally name a big name you know, and I guarantee you they’ve reached plateaus on their journey to the top too.

Trust me when I say a visit to the rut-ville isn’t a view filled with unicorns farting rainbows.

But here’s the thing:

There’s always some adjustment to be made at this juncture that will make a difference.

The problem? There’s no way to know what that adjustment might be without expert help!

Do You Feel Frustrated in Your Music Career (Because You’ve Tried Everything & it Didn’t Work)?

If you’re stuck, you’re probably frustrated too – the two tend to go together.

And this is a solid indicator you need coaching (before you throw in the towel, call it quits, curse the music business, and swear off passion for life).

But does it seem like you’re trying everything without getting anywhere?

Trust me when I say I’ve spent years spinning my wheels in my personal growth, music career, and business endeavors, sometimes simultaneously.

While I never stopped looking for answers, I stopped putting pressure on trying to find them. Answers started showing up far faster when there was no pressure for them to appear!

You didn’t land on this page by accident. You’re on the brink of becoming unstuck. All you’ve got to do now is make the leap and invest in yourself.

When you invest in coaching, you’re never investing in the coach. You’re investing in you.

When you invest in coaching, you’re never investing in the coach. You’re investing in you. Share on X

Do You Feel Overwhelmed?

Things will go smoothly and even be perfectly manageable in your music career for a while.

You’ll start to get more gigs, sell more merch, get more email signups, and so on.

But then comes a new challenge – in the business world, we call it scaling.

Scaling is where you adjust to the new demands as they come pouring in (usually at an uncontrollable rate).

Everyone thinks fast growth is awesome and it’s what they should go after, until they realize they’re not even ready for it!

To scale, a business must systemize and hire. It’s time-consuming and expensive, especially if you mess up.

Prolific novelty songwriter Jonathan Coulton eventually had to hire an assistant to help with the huge influx of emails he was receiving from fans every single day.

Overwhelm isn’t bad. It means there are new opportunities, and it means there’s greater demand for what you’re doing.

But if you don’t have a way to parse your opportunities and scale with the demand, you will end up in the same position I’ve found myself in multiple times – burning out!

Burning out sucks. It might take months to recover from. What good is opportunity then?

You need a coach, and stat!

Final Thoughts, Musician Coach

In closing, I wanted to let you know about something free I created.

Honesty, I think I might be crazy for giving away this much…

What is it? We’re calling it the PDF Vault.

The Vault includes over 100 independent music career eBooks, cheat sheets, podcast transcripts and interviews to date, with hundreds more to come.

If you’re ready to sign up, simply follow this link and enter your email.

The 5 Layers of Independent Music Success

The 5 Layers of Independent Music Success

While blazing your trail to independent music success, you might encounter a few roadblocks. But the extent to which these roadblocks hinder you will largely depend on how well you understand the following.

These five layers form the foundation of a successful music career. They empower you when you’re disempowered and show you the way when there appears to be no other way.

Pyramid of independent musician success

Principles / Mindset

Most foundational to your success in music is your mindset. It accounts for 80% of your success. And your mindset should be built on time-tested principles.

Principles don’t change just because you change, and rest assured, you will change.

When all else fails, principles are what will keep you anchored in the real world, not some pretend world where everything always goes right. Because many things will go wrong on your music career journey.

When all else fails, principles are what will keep you anchored in the real world. Share on X

You may not be able to depend on anything else – band mates, gig dates, record contracts – but what you can depend on is principles.

Experience

Your experience as an artist is invaluable. As you perform more, you’ll gain more live experience and become a better performer. As you record more, you’ll gain more experience in the studio, and gain a better sense of what’s expected of you when the engineer hits the “record” button.

But experience isn’t everything. “Every time we play at XYZ bar, at least 50 people show up to see the show.”

That may be your experience, and it may have proven true to this point, but there are factors you can’t possibly know, and this “truth” won’t always remain true.

The bar could shut down. They might stop promoting musical events to their 500 email subscribers. A natural disaster could unexpectedly come along the day of your show.

Some of this might seem far-fetched, but you’re denying reality if you think that nothing could ever change the 50-person turnout.

So, it’s key to know the difference between principles and experience. When you can’t rely on experience, you can rely on principles. But it doesn’t work the other way around.

Branding

An artist’s brand informs all aspects of their mission, image, and marketing activity. A brand might be the hardest thing to figure out, but once you’ve got your finger on the pulse of it, all other decisions concerning your career start to fall into place.

An artist’s brand informs all aspects of their mission, image, and marketing activity. Share on X

A brand cannot take the place of principles because it’s built on principles. It cannot take the place of experience because it’s built on experience.

But it can outclass marketing any day because your brand informs your marketing. If your brand isn’t undergirding your marketing, chances are you don’t have a strategy yet.

Marketing

Marketing is critical. But without a brand, it’s mostly a shot in the dark.

Who are you trying to market to? Where do they like to hang out online? What publications, magazines, or blogs do they read? What podcasts or radio shows do they listen to? What do they like to watch on Netflix or YouTube? What interests do they have?

If you know your reason for existing, your mission, your purpose, you can build your marketing around that, because that is your brand.

But you can’t build your marketing on any less, because then it is reduced to a tactic (shot in the dark) and not a strategy.

Tactics

Tactics are basically the to-do list for your daily marketing activity.

“Send an email campaign to fans every Thursday at 1 PM EST” is the very essence of a tactic. It’s a specific thing to do, on a specific day, at a specific time.

Of course, such tactics are ineffective, or at the very least, less effective than they could be, away from a proper marketing and branding strategy. How do you know you should be sending emails at a weekly cadence, on Thursdays, specifically at 1 PM EST?

Further, who is the email being written to? Why is it being written? What’s the message, and with what voice are you going to deliver it? What action do you want the reader to take having read the email?

These are easy questions to answer if you know your brand and have a marketing strategy. Much harder to nail down without it.

The 5 Layers Are Your Foundation

If you’ve understood the above, then you’ve realized something most artists haven’t – success doesn’t happen by accident. You must be deliberate and intentional about creating your foundation, and you will have a shaky foundation if you don’t understand the five layers of independent music success.

See what else I’m up to.

Weekly Digest: January 1, 2022

Weekly Digest: January 1, 2022

David Andrew Wiebe, October 2021Hey creator!

And there’s always more where this came from

Must-Have Resource

The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition Kindle and paperback editions are now available. The hardcover edition is coming soon.

The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition

Final Thoughts

Thank you for your creativity and generosity. I’m rooting for you.

Getting the Right Stuff Done in Your Music Career

Getting the Right Stuff Done in Your Music Career

Some artists over-plan. But I would contend that the vast majority of artists under-plan.

And what happens when we under-plan is that we get drawn into a flurry of urgent activity that may well be important, but probably won’t cause the results or breakthroughs we’re looking for in our music careers.

No matter who you are, you’re going to have fires to put out. But if you don’t set aside as least 60 to 120 minutes per day for your core activities, you’re not going to be as effective as you could be.

The reason you have access to this resource now is because I set aside time to work on it first thing in the morning. Depending on the day, I checked Slack, or sent off an invoice, or answered a couple of emails before getting started. But the number one thing I saw to do was get this work done, even if it wasn’t perfect. I prioritized it.

If you treat your work like professionals approach theirs, and you show up to practice daily, you’re going to get to a point in your music career where you can do most things in your sleep.

It’s honestly one of the reasons I took a bit of a break from music in the mid-2010s – I was getting so good at it; it wasn’t presenting much of a challenge for me!

My point is that you can really let go of perfectionism at that point. I would urge you to. Free and clear of that burden, you’re going to start getting your life work done instead of worrying about that guitar track with too much finger noise. Unless it’s grating to the ear, no big deal! That’s real guitar playing!

J-Rock band B’z recently released their music on streaming services (which came as a surprise to me and my sister, who’ve been keeping a close watch on this development). Just for reference, they are one of the best-selling artists in the world and have 49 consecutive No. 1 singles to their name.

Recently, I’ve been going back and listening to their catalog (starting at the beginning), and it’s been quite instructive for me.

What I’ve been seeing is that, in their early days, they released two albums per year! They were incredibly prolific and relied heavily on drawing from music that already had a proven track record (Hall & Oates, Jimi Hendrix, Dan Reed Network, Aerosmith, Van Halen, etc.). They weren’t afraid to recycle their own chord progressions and ideas either. I’m not saying there was no quality control – what I am saying is they did everything in their power to ensure they were landing those hits!

Despite their immense success, the members of B’z have never taken extended breaks since their inception in 1988. They keep blazing a trail, and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

How you prioritize today will be how you prioritize the next 30 years. Don’t wait to get started on your life work. Get to work today and keep moving forward. Let go of perfectionism, because 30 years from now you will have added that precious polish to your performance.

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.

How Research Will Help Your Music Career

How Research Will Help Your Music Career

Research can often end up being an afterthought in the life of an artist. After all, on the surface it might seem unremarkable and irrelevant.

But there are a surprising number of ways it can make a difference for you.

The first is in setting up an online presence. Researching domain name and username availability – especially for social media – can save you a lot of headache and heartache down the line.

If you want to create a consistent online brand – as so many marketers encourage us to do – it begins with registering and establishing the various accounts, you intend to set up and use.

Part of that research should include knowing how your artist, band, or brand name exists across different industries. Perhaps your name is so unique that no one has even thought of it, but let’s be honest, that’s rare. Even if you don’t wish it, if the name you’ve chosen is being used in another industry, the association is inevitable. It would be worth considering whether your values match up with said companies before settling on a name.

And if your artist name is something like Chris Jones, you already know that you’re going to be competing with oodles of other Chris Jones’s, and that means differentiating would be word to the wise. You might even want to come up with an original artist name.

It’s also good to be thinking about any negative sentiments associated with a word or name. Kerrang! says some of the most offensive band names of all time include:

  • Dying Fetus
  • Diarrhea Planet
  • Goatwhore
  • Cripple Bastards

It’s not hard to figure out why. And sometimes this can work in your favor. But let’s face it, no band called Goatwhore is going to be allowed into churches and other venues or festivals with conservative values any time soon. So, you can end up limiting your opportunities.

Additionally, it’s good to take an expansive view of a name. After all, whatever music, or art you create is going to be (more or less) permanently associated with that name. And when I say expansive, I mean looking up what a word means in other language and cultures, if it has any negative associations, if it could be potentially offensive to other cultures, and so on.

It has often been said in music that you should know the rules before you break them, and that applies here too. It’s one thing to use a name that’s unintentionally offensive. Quite another to know that it could offend some and use it anyway (because then you’ll have a better idea of what to expect).

There are many other ways research can help in your music career, and we’ll have other opportunities to look at these in more depth. Things like:

  • Competitive research and SWOT analysis
  • Keywords
  • Hashtags
  • Content
  • Tools and resources
  • Dream 100
  • Venues
  • Radio stations
  • Playlists
  • And more

So, don’t write off research. Know that actively engaging in it can help you advance your music career.

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.