I’ve now been blogging daily for nearly 21 months.
That process has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and I’ve learned a great deal on the journey so far.
But I’ve been sensing the need for change for quite a while, and perhaps you’ve been growing wise to it as well. I was already beginning to talk about transitions last quarter, so at this point I may only be confirming your suspicions.
My daily blogging efforts are about to evolve. And rarely have I felt this lucid around changes that need to be made. Typically, I will sit on ideas for months, sometimes even years, before acting on them. But what I’m about to share here will be taking effect immediately.
Before I reveal where and how you’ll be able to find and follow me moving forward, I will be sharing my thought process with you.
Everything is Getting Harder
Ranking in Google is tougher than ever. The cost of Facebook ads continues to rise. The YouTube algorithm is a seesaw.
I’ve worked hard to build my own website and content platforms, and I don’t regret it. What I’ve said about digital sharecropping (on occasions too numerous to mention) still stands.
But I’m recognizing that it doesn’t make sense to rely exclusively on the platforms I’ve built anymore. I will continue to leverage them, but I need to dedicate more time and energy to showing up where people are already looking.
That means Amazon, Skillshare, Udemy, Medium, Tealfeed, YouTube, and other destinations. I have a bit of a presence on some, less on others, but I’m thinking to leverage these more, and that means creating and distributing content designed for these channels.
The newer platforms also represent a greater opportunity (Web3 inclusive), given that marketers haven’t necessarily had a chance to ruin them, and their algorithm restricts traffic to your content far less than, say, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I’ve had a fair bit of success with BitClout, despite only having a small (but growing) following.
Moreover, the consistent and regular publishing of valuable content to my platforms used to boost traffic over time in a reliable way, but in the last four years or so, that has no longer proven true as a rule. Daily traffic on Music Entrepreneur HQ, for example, was at its peak four years ago.
I don’t see our traffic as dispensable but getting a sustainable number of email list signups and product sales gets increasingly harder when the search engine gods don’t reward us in proportion to our hard work.
We’ve all heard that insanity is doing the same thing expecting different results, and I grow tired of the content hamster wheel that seems to lead deeper into the abyss of obscurity, especially when it should be reaching new, engaged audiences. I’m letting go of the insanity.
Success Leaves Clues
Medium seems to like it best when I talk about self-employment, freelancing, and productivity.
YouTube thinks I’m an expert on the subconscious mind, social media, eCommerce, and affiliate marketing.
Similarly, I’m rewarded with more traffic to my websites when I cover certain topics over others. Having published for as long as I have, this trend is more clearly accentuated.
As they say, success leaves clues.
I’m a content creator with range and expertise in a variety of areas. But talking about anything and everything doesn’t seem to help my engagement.
If the gods that be are going to give me a hand up when I talk about specific things, why rail against it? I need to lean into it. That’s what I’ve realized.
Again, if I was as established as someone like Seth Godin, I might have the luxury of talking about whatever I want, whenever I want. But I’m in the fight of my life to grow my audience and increase my various revenue streams. So, I need to grab reality by the horns and hang on for the ride.
The Content-Product Equilibrium
A publishing schedule without a clearly defined scope can easily lead to endless busywork with no guaranteed payoff. I’ve been there too numerous a time to count.
And the greatest problem of all is that an overblown publishing schedule makes it harder to focus on the thing you’re supposed to be working on as a creator – your customer relationships and your products.
Yes, I’m here to inspire and help people as much as anything else, but it’s my conviction that people will only get so much feeding on free content. They are going to get the most from making a commitment, jumping in with both feet, and investing in themselves. That’s where the greatest breakthroughs and transformations happen.
I’ve often said that product creation is a matter of focus, setting aside at least an hour per day for its development, creating structures (eliminating, automating, and delegating) and ignoring fires that can be put out later. I still hold to this.
But there is a limit. You can end up spending too much time and energy on free content. If you’re okay with your weekends are spent over-exhausted, collapsed in your bed, no problem. But if you’re any less than superhuman and would like to look forward to your days off, there’s a different equilibrium to achieve.
Your content publishing efforts need to be finite, especially if you’re the one doing most of the work. You need to beware of scope creep.
Room for Expansion
This may seem to contradict what I said earlier about focus, but hear me out…
I’m recognizing that the greatest bit of pigeonholing in the preceding years was doing willingly, and it was done by me. I built Music Entrepreneur HQ, made it my mission, and saw it as my ticket to all I desired in life.
We’ve had some exceedingly good times with Music Entrepreneur HQ (it was probably at its peak in 2018, and it had another resurgence of sorts in 2020), and this isn’t the end of it. But for me it has sunk in that it’s not the golden ticket I thought it would once be. So, there’s no sense in having my identity wrapped up in it – it’s like peeling off my toenails with an icepick one by one hoping it will hurt less and less.
Music Entrepreneur HQ has its place in my ecosystem. But not trying to make it the main thing is incredibly freeing. I can hire writers to help out with publishing duties, put up ads, establish new niche sites, build a bigger presence on various social networks, and most importantly, focus more on customer relationships and product development.
The opportunity to cobble together an income from various sources is greater than ever, and it’s appearing a more viable pathway for me than anything else.
The New Publishing Plan
I know I’ve gone on long enough to get to this point in this post (long walk for a short drink, much?). But this is the essence of what I have in mind:
Monday – video (Music Entrepreneur HQ)
Tuesday – Medium story
Wednesday – Medium story
Thursday – Medium story
Friday – podcast episode (Music Entrepreneur HQ)
Saturday – weekly digest
Sunday – reflections
This will form the foundation of my weekly content creation efforts, though doubtless I will be iterating on it. I think there could be a better use of my Sundays but I’m not sure what that is yet.
If all goes according to plan, I will also have six podcast episodes per month rather than four.
Much of my activity will still be shared or summarized on my blog, and I am looking at reviving income reports as well.
Of course, there is a distribution and syndication plan to go along with all of this.
And now you know where you’ll be able to find me moving forward. Like I said, you’ll still be able to see most if not all of what I’m up to on my blog, but this post will stand in case you start to wonder, “whatever happened to his daily blogging efforts?” I’m still in motion, it’s just that my content will be spread across more destinations.
We’ve been trying to do the same things with greater intensity and rigidity this past year, and it’s still not working. It’s exactly what’s been happening politically. This year let’s follow a different path. Let’s do new things in a new way.
My friend echoed and cemented the thoughts that had already been swirling around in my mind.
One of the things I’ve been starting to see in my yearlong leadership program is to not get your identity wrapped up in your work.
Experts often say, “don’t fall in love with an idea.” But this is what they really mean:
When your identity is tied into your projects or ventures, you have a tougher time giving it up when it’s not working. Loss aversion sets in, and you start to believe that you have more to lose giving something up than you can possibly gain from it.
That’s a dangerous way of thinking. Because deadweight is deadweight, and like a boat anchor, it can only weigh you down. Letting go of troublesome clients, purging business units that are only taking up time, and giving up “means to an end” projects is word to the wise. What you free up in terms of mental and emotional space alone makes the temporary loss of revenue far less of a concern.
When is the right time to move onto the next thing? Not even author Seth Godin can say, though he addresses the issue from multiple angles in The Dip.
But some part of you already knows. It gnaws at you and keeps gnawing at you. It’s almost as if the universe is granting you an opening to say, “here’s your opportunity to get out – take it.”
If you get your identity wrapped up in your work, you’ll find yourself in love with an idea who doesn’t love you back.
The idea you had is somewhere back there, in the past. Meanwhile, you’re right here, in the present. In a difference space and time than when and where the idea was originally created. You were a different person then. And that gap can be too huge to overcome. Repairing a foundation is difficult and expensive. It’s always best to build on a solid foundation, even if it takes longer.
We need to be able to give something up when it’s not working.
“Ready, fire, aim” might seem like wisdom for the ages in a fast-moving world. There’s something to be said for first mover’s advantage, but is there any long-term benefit to it? Only if others don’t come along and do what we’re doing better than we can. And that always happens in hot markets.
Move with speed when you know what you’re doing. Move slowly when there are too many unknowns left unaddressed. And accept that there will always be blind spots, no matter how well you cover for them. We can’t know everything. But we can start with a foundation that facilitates success.
We’ve established that publishing is one of the few ways to get traffic online.
So, what about this idea of publishing daily?
Obviously, it’s going to prove quite ambitious for experienced content creators let alone artists who often have day jobs in addition to fledgling music careers.
If I were to bottom line it, I think it’s about finding what works for you.
Standing on the Shoulders of Titans
I’ve been publishing daily for almost 17 months.
After a year, I thought about redirecting my energy elsewhere, but ultimately, I didn’t feel like breaking the chain.
Author Seth Godin says blogging daily is one of the best career decisions he’s ever made, even though he admits to “blogging into the void” much of the time.
Show Your Work! author Austin Kleon recommends sharing your work with the world as it’s being made… preferably daily. Though these days Kleon seems to publish three to four times per week. It’s still nothing short of impressive.
ClickFunnels co-founder Russell Brunson says if you publish daily for a full year, it will solve all your business problems (although there are some stipulations to go with that statement) – it’s a lofty promise my yearlong blogging efforts didn’t deliver on, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or won’t work for you.
Podcaster John Lee Dumas started a daily entrepreneur interview podcast a few years ago, and because he was the only one doing something so bonkers, his show caught fire a couple of years in and now he rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
Although he doesn’t talk about it all that often, entrepreneur James Schramko created daily videos for years, a habit he’s returned to in recent years.
The funny thing about this is that none of these people need to do it anymore, and yet they seem as active on the publishing front as ever.
Take from that what you will.
Personally, I write because I want to write. Because I like to write. I’ve been blogging “into the void” for ages, and most of the time, the only strategy behind that is that many of the posts I write (not all) will eventually make it into a book.
And regardless of how my interests or efforts shift, no doubt I will continue to publish in some capacity.
To wrap up this section, I want to answer a few frequently asked questions.
Do I Need to Write?
No, you don’t.
There are three dominant forms of content online – text, audio, and video. And you can choose the one that’s right for you.
I can tell you from experience that some forms of publishing require more time and effort than others, especially if you’re expecting perfection (please don’t insist on perfection if you’re going to publish daily). There’s no need to make this more complicated than it needs to be!
Do I Need to Publish to My Blog?
No. I have a friend who publishes daily on Instagram and does quite well at it. And considering the time and effort that can go into other forms of content, sharing daily on Instagram doesn’t seem so daunting.
That said, everything I’ve already shared about ownership still applies. You’re in a position of compromise if you don’t backup your content and add as many people to your email list as possible.
What do I Even Talk About?
Many experts, like entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, advocate documenting your journey. And this is what I would recommend as well.
I understand that not every day in the life of an artist is filled with bizarre misadventures and exciting breakthroughs, but can you post a picture (even an old one)? Share a lyric snippet? Talk about your favorite guitar? Show people what you’re up to in your DAW? Film a quick segment of a Zoom call with a fan or friend (with permission, of course)?
Of course, you could. And that would be more than enough to keep your audience engaged.
Do I Need to Publish Daily?
No, you don’t.
Or should I say – I can’t make that decision for you.
It’s going to take something to publish daily. And, again, while I can’t tell you what that is… you might call it a certain determination, consistency, perseverance, or even tenacity in the face of a wild world where there are always more fires to put out… It’s not all going to be candy canes and butts in thongs.
You can publish at a frequency that feels right for you. Not even the top marketers follow their own advice in this regard.
As entrepreneur Noah Kagan says, do 100 of something and then you’ll know a) how it feels, b) whether you enjoy it, and c) whether it works.
It takes something to be vulnerable and authentic. To set aside your insecurities – even own up to them – to create a connection with others. But the results are always worth it.
In this video, I show up authentically. No filters. No music. No sound effects. Double chin and all (mostly because I’m bulking right now – expect that to go way soon). I admit to my own insecurities. And I share about the root of perfectionism, how perfectionism can ruin your creativity, why perfectionism is your own standard, and the impact of insisting on perfectionism.
00:00 – Why do you insist on perfection?
00:57 – I’m insecure just as you are
01:20 – Perfectionism is stopping you from being all you could be
01:51 – Perfectionism is ruining your creativity
03:10 – Perfectionism is a standard
04:44 – The impact of insecurity
05:39 – If you want to be prolific, don’t insist on perfection
What books are you reading right now that are making a difference for you?
As with Ryan Holiday and Ayodeji Awosika, I take the stance that reading is important work. It’s like a job. A non-negotiable. Something you must do as a creative or creator, whether it’s to find inspiration, improve your writing, generate ideas, or discover worthy and applicable strategies and tactics for life and business.
I don’t think it’s necessary to read one book at a time, or even feel obligated to finish a book you’ve started (though I generally do). If a book isn’t quite what I expected, I tend to skim most of it instead of trying to comb through it word for word. There are some books I almost gave up on that got good in the middle or towards the end, contrary to what I’ve heard some gurus say.
Reading is where – more than anything else – inspiration happens for me. And that makes it a worthy addition to my life. Some say they don’t read, and I think that’s fine too. What I do know is that reading develops the tenacity and persistence required to be successful in any area of life, just as learning an instrument does.
Here’s what I’m reading right now:
1. The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham
Ever notice how the quality of questions you ask guide your life?
This is obviously true in every area of life, but where The Road Less Stupid shines is specifically in entrepreneurship. And there isn’t a shortage of powerful questions here.
And just in case you’re tempted to go and buy books by the likes of Tony Robbins and Peter Drucker (because they are masters at self-diagnosis), it’s clear Cunningham took inspiration from the greats while forming the many, many questions posed in this book.
Even if you’ve been reading about entrepreneurship for a long time, you’re bound to have some “aha” moments while digging into this resource.
If there’s a downside, it’s the sheer length of the book. This is an advantage as much as it is a disadvantage, I suppose, but if I’m looking to apply what I learn from a book, its length seems to factor heavily into application.
By the end of a book like Launch by Jeff Walker, my head was swimming. I lost the steps to the method by the time I had made it through the word salad that was supposed to offer more clarity and direction for the reader.
I have been keeping notes on The Road Less Stupid, and I’m nearly 50% of the way through, but I’m afraid it will be one of those books who will only ever be applied piecemeal by me – never holistically.
Okay, so is there any merit to the Law of Attraction? We’ve all heard about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, maybe even took it a step further with Abraham-Hicks. But is Law of Attraction real? How does it work anyway?
Well, turns out The Secret is kind of like the watered down, easy to understand, kindergarten version of the Law of Attraction. Reality Transurfing is a detailed guide to the nuances and subtleties that make it work. And it is heavily intellectual.
Reader be forewarned – this is a tome if there ever was one. It’s not some rehash of The Secret, or any of its bandwagon proponents. It’s the advanced, bootcamp guide to reality and how you can shift to different lifelines (thus transurfing).
Whether you read it, believe it, or apply it is entirely up to you. It struck me as interesting after watching numerous Quazi Johir videos, which is why I picked it up for myself.
Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? is a compilation of some of his best blog posts from 2006 to 2012. And again, it’s a tome if there ever was one.
For me, it’s essential reading because I’ve been thinking about compiling my blog posts and turning them into a book as well. My book wouldn’t be quite as cogent as Godin’s book, I think, because sometimes I talk specifically to musicians rather than more broadly to creatives and creators. But I don’t necessarily think that should stop me. Anyway, for me, this is like going to school on how to craft a book that, in a way, is all over the place.
What I like about Whatcha Gonna Do is that many of the blog posts are short and easy to consumed. They are all self-contained thoughts that fit nicely into the broader theme of the book.
Of course, every thought has the potential to be life-changing, which is one of the things many people have found to be so challenging about reading Godin’s blog.
I got connected to Nate Fancher on Twitter, and I couldn’t possibly call that an accident. Here’s someone who obviously had a direct line to my current struggles in entrepreneurship and life (because he’s been there), and his book, Magnetic Micro-Books expresses it well.
The idea immediately resonated with me, because I have produced a few of my own micro-books and they have sold reasonably well, while helping me gain broader access to my target audience.
But I can see that Magnetic Micro-Books would be taking it a few big steps forward. Just from reading the opening chapters, I’m clear that I have some serious soul searching to do, and some deeper questions to gain clarity on.
I don’t have any feedback on whether the method works, as I’m just getting started with this book. But suffice it to say, I’m looking for an open block in my schedule to work through the key questions presented in this book.