Are You Clear on What You Want to Accomplish as a Musician?

Are You Clear on What You Want to Accomplish as a Musician?

In an industry where charlatans and shills abound, it’s hard to let go of the couch to big screen dream and focus on the daily actions that will get you to your goals (if you’re even clear on what those goals are).

But anyone that’s trying to sell you on the idea that their $397 course is going to make you wealthy, famous, and ripped like a bronzed god is probably after the little money you don’t even have, not interested in how you get on once you get going. A real coach is always invested in your success.

Courses are great, and I’m a big believer in investing in myself.

But you need to be careful with a) who you buy from, b) lofty promises, c) placing blame (especially self-blame), and d) managing your expectations.

And so, one thing that can be helpful in bypassing the toll booth to the superhighway of shattering disappointment and empty coffers is achieving crystal clarity on what it is you want to accomplish as a musician – keeping in mind that there is no wrong path. It’s all about where you want to get to.

One thing that can be helpful in bypassing the toll booth to the superhighway of shattering disappointment and empty coffers is achieving crystal clarity on what it is you want to accomplish as a musician. Click To Tweet

It could be making six-figures while making music from home. That’s a doable dream. People just like you have pursued that possibility and have made it their reality.

It could be touring the world, or signing a record contract, or just having a steady, easygoing, profitable career recording and performing in your locality. I’m not going to judge.

The thing that will stop you in accomplishing what you want in music, besides the snake oil sales, is getting too wrapped up in all the opportunity and failing to chart a course for the success you desire.

The way it works is this…

If you say that you’re a songwriter, and you’re committed to the craft of songwriting, and you start publishing songs you’ve written, you’re going to build a reputation as a songwriter. And then people are going to ask you to write songs. And you’ll start getting better jobs, and soon you’ll have a full-time career in songwriting. And then, you’re going to start getting requests for a lot of other things, like co-writes, or being a session musician, or licensing opportunities.

That’s a model that works.

The model that tends not to work is choosing to be a touring artist. But then seeing a shiny object over there. Music licensing and placements. So, you set yourself up to make beats at home. But what’s this? Mastering engineers get paid a lot of money. “I’m going to become a mastering engineer now!” But wait… these festivals look awesome. “I want to start performing at festivals.” Clubhouse! NFTs! Patreon!

And on it goes.

When you jump around like that, you don’t have the opportunity to get better at what you do, develop a reputation, find clients, get better jobs, build a full-time career, and have the wherewithal to branch out.

Too often, we branch out too early, you see. You can have your cake and eat it too, but if you don’t cultivate focus early on, no one around you will know how to support you. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. You want to be the person that when others see you, they say, “wow, they’re still going at it!?”

And that’s a matter of determination, sure, but it’s more a matter of powerful branding. You don’t always get what you ask for, but you almost never get what you don’t ask for.

You don’t always get what you ask for, but you almost never get what you don’t ask for. Click To Tweet

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.

Content That Engages Vs. Content That Sells

Content That Engages Vs. Content That Sells

It pays to obsess over function rather than form. Literally. And that applies to content as much as it does to design.

Many entrepreneurs will find themselves creating content to grow their business.

But it’s altogether too easy to get caught up in trying to become a YouTuber than in showing up and serving your audience. And the two approaches lead to vastly different results.

Just because content engages doesn’t mean it generates sales. The two are often mutually exclusive.

Just because content engages doesn’t mean it generates sales. The two are often mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to look at an Instagram influencer with thousands of likes on every post and think to yourself, “wow, they are killing it – I must be doing something wrong.”

But the reality is that many of these so-called influencers make aggressively mediocre money.

Your feelings might get hurt when your content doesn’t get engaged, but if it leads to results that show up on your P&L statement, you might begin to feel a little differently about the situation.

SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko has been making short social media videos that earn him hundreds of thousands of dollars (and his course on the same topic is a steal at $9). These videos answer his target audience’s questions and adds value to them. Then, they go to his website to check out what solutions he’s got to offer.

If he were obsessed with becoming a YouTuber, he probably wouldn’t even come close to generating those types of figures.

YouTube audiences come ready to watch. They want to sit on their couch, find something they can get stuck into, and even have high standards for production.

Which isn’t to say don’t use YouTube. But if you’re going to be doing what James did, you should consider distributing your videos across the main social networks too – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The point is that YouTubers spend all their time coming up with content ideas, filming, and editing, just to generate a few thousand dollars per month.

Yes, they can tap into revenue streams other than advertising to give their revenue a boost – Patreon, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, PayPal donations, and so on.

But then you’re in the game of content that engages. Not content that sells. And you’ve got to be clear on that distinction to do well in either.

I know from having talked to other entrepreneurs that they’d prefer to create content that sells. They’re busy and stressed out as is, and don’t need to spend any more time on activity that engages but doesn’t sell.

If you want to be an artist or a hobbyist, or if you just want to make things for fun, then there’s nothing wrong with focusing on content that engages.

But entrepreneurs should be focused on activity with measurable results. And they can expect a better return from focusing on content that sells, especially since it doesn’t require a huge audience or high level of engagement.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

At times, I have wrestled with perfectionism.

And I know many people, even those in my inner circle, who struggle with perfectionism.

It’s okay to admit it. You’re in good company.

The question is – how can your overcome it? Can you reframe your perspective? See things from another point of view? Distinguish your fears or hang ups?

Here are three ways I’ve successfully overcome perfectionism.

Publish More

I have found one of the best ways to overcome perfectionism is to publish more.

Don’t like your voice? Record 100 podcast episodes and put them up on iTunes.

Don’t like how you look? Film 100 videos and upload them to YouTube.

Think your music sucks? Make 100 songs and distribute them through CD Baby.

I promise you will feel differently about your work if you just focus on creating and publishing for a while, without getting caught up in anything else.

I’m running a tight ship here on my blog these days, but trust me, when I was getting started, there was no form, no plan, and no intended audience. I just started writing. And my early posts are still in the archives for anyone to see.

Even though I’d had over a decade of experience building niche sites and building traffic to them, I still had to find my voice for this new undertaking.

Some will say one amazing piece of content is worth more than 100 pieces of terrible content. But what if you can’t get to that amazing piece until you’ve gone through the 100 terrible pieces first?

Trust me, all your heroes have practiced too.

If you really feel you need to create a spotless record, then publish under a pseudonym. You can always take the “greatest hits” and publish them under your real name or artist name.

One of the reasons you’re worried about perfectionism is because you haven’t published enough. Because when you publish frequently, you realize people don’t care that much anyway, and you were better off getting started yesterday to build some momentum.

One of the reasons you’re worried about perfectionism is because you haven’t published enough. Click To Tweet

Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Lately, I’ve been working on a new website/membership platform. I’ve spoken elsewhere about this, but for whatever reason I kept putting it off even though it represented a great opportunity.

Sidebar, I’ve recognized that there’s a big difference between unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Unfamiliar is when you’re treading into unknown territory. Uncomfortable is when you don’t know how to act in a situation.

Distinguishing the two gave me access to something I didn’t have before. I started to see that I wasn’t uncomfortable building my new website. I was unfamiliar with the new platform. And I was kind of dreading having to learn new tech.

So, getting back to the point, we often feel like we should work on something until it’s perfect before the world ever sees it. It’s amazing how much this can slow you down.

Instead of trying to get everything perfect on my website, developing all the copy, getting the graphics to sit and look right, working on all the boring disclaimer pages, I just started blocking everything in.

Logo goes here. Menu goes there. This button leads to that page. And so on.

It wasn’t perfect. I knew I would need to adjust the size of the logo, swap out the typography, add more copy, flesh out the boring content pages, and more.

But I realized there was no need to put makeup on something that wasn’t even out there working for me.

I’d heard about starting with an MVP before. I just didn’t fully understand the wisdom in that until now.

If you start with the basics, you’ll be able to bring your project to market sooner, get feedback on it, and even start making money with it, if that’s your goal.

If you start with the basics, you’ll be able to bring your project to market sooner, get feedback on it, and even start making money with it, if that’s your goal. Click To Tweet

Plus, you can still make it better later. But that extra 20% of greatness probably won’t matter to most of your audience, and it probably won’t make your project that much more appealing either. Patreon CEO Jack Conte expressed similar sentiments with me regarding his musical efforts.

Remember How Good it Feels to Finish Something

Until you make the decision to get started, stay started, and remain started until something is finished, goals and to-do items are allowed to sit on your calendar indefinitely. And the longer they stay there, the more anxiety they can elicit. No wonder we begin resenting our own projects!

It has been my own experience that, over the years, I have not always been the best finisher of projects. I have started many, and many were completed. But I’m acutely aware of the books I have yet to complete, the music I have yet to release, the courses I have yet to launch, and more.

Sometimes I overestimate what I can do in a year. Other times, I just don’t prioritize well enough (remember the unfamiliar/uncomfortable distinction from earlier – it helps!).

In times like these, I try to remember how good it feels to finish something.

My biggest accomplishment in 2020 was launching my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code. Although I did complete other projects, the main reason I feel this was my biggest accomplishment is because though I teed up a bunch of other projects, I never finished them (hopefully, I’ve set myself up for an amazing 2021).

My second biggest accomplishment would be publishing daily since the end of July.

The point is that you can make finishing a habit. You can learn to focus on one thing at a time (recommended), and you can get in a powerful momentum cycle by doing so. Doesn’t that sound great?

You can make finishing a habit. You can learn to focus on one thing at a time, and you can get in a powerful momentum cycle by doing so. Click To Tweet

Just remember – it takes work and discipline.

Perfectionism, Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing I know about perfectionism, it’s that it can’t be overcome by sitting around and thinking about it. But it can be overcome by action.

So, the ultimate question is, what will you do next? What actions will you take today?

How have you overcome perfectionism? What has worked for you?

Let me know in the comments.

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