Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for Your Soul fame is well-known for having created The Rule of 5.
The concept is simple – do five things per day that help you reach your goal.
Let’s say you were interested in losing weight and getting in shape. So, your five items for the day could look something like this:
- Get eight hours of sleep
- Go for a 30-minute walk
- Make healthy meals for the day
- Lift weights for 15 minutes
- Drink apple cider vinegar
It works much the same way with marketing – identify five items you can do today to promote your visual art, music, poetry, or otherwise.
Here we’ll look at how you can apply The Rule of 5 to your promotional work as a creative.
How Does The Rule of 5 Marketing Work?
So, you’ve got a new painting, a piece of music, maybe a book, and you’re interested in promoting it. What next?
It’s amazing how, when an artist shifts from creative activity to marketing activity – even if they have previous experience promoting their works – they stall out and lose sight of the goal.
I’m speaking from personal experience, because this is essentially what happened to me as I went to work on promoting my best-selling book, The Music Entrepreneur Code in 2020.
I’m happy to report that the book became a small success for me despite my initial indecisiveness, but that’s only because of the connections I had built up to that point, and the momentum I’d created with my marketing efforts.
We should be so lucky, but most of the time, we won’t be. Marketing requires intentionality.
So, we need a framework. Not necessarily a framework as rigid as a checklist (although that can also be helpful), but a starting point for our marketing efforts.
The Rule of 5 Marketing is a great framework to apply. It’s defined without being too rigid, intentional without being too constrained.
I have my five daily tasks stored inside Evernote:
The act of coming up with five ideas daily focuses the mind on forward momentum. And executing these ideas leads to real results (also see next section).
Why The Rule of 5 Marketing?
Scope creep is a real thing (it applies to marketing as much as it does to our projects), and it doesn’t just show up in the work we do for others. It can easily creep into our own creative ventures as well.
And scope creep is the biggest enemy of consistency. It will see us executing 11 things one day, one the next day, three the day after. Before we know it, we’ve burned out and lost all momentum.
The Rule of 5 Marketing keeps us in check. It sets in stone what you’re going to be doing today, tomorrow, and the day after.
And the game is about as hard or as easy as you make it, so you may as well make it winnable.
Plus, it works.
While working my Rule of 5 Marketing plan, I recently shared a post on Facebook that got more engagement than anything I’ve recently shared.
32 likes, eight comments, one share.
Now, there are plenty of people that get way more engagement on their posts. I’m not much of a Facebook guy, so for me, the above is the equivalent of going viral.
There’s obviously something to be said for the content (picture of me holding up a scribble) that contributed to the success of this piece (it paves the way for future content pieces too). But if all I got were a few likes on Facebook, it wouldn’t be worthwhile.
These efforts, however, are sending a steady flow of traffic to my new beginner guitar program, Chord King Course. My promotional efforts are producing results!
Create a plan, execute against it, have faith, and you will see results from your efforts.
I’m Still Having Trouble Coming up with Marketing Ideas – What Should I do?
The beauty of The Rule of 5 Marketing is that you make the commitment first and then follow through with relevant actions. So, that means once you’ve made the commitment, ideas are sure to follow.
That said, I know it’s easy to get stuck. So, here are some free and low-cost ideas you can implement NOW (they will require some elbow grease):
- Write a blog post and share it on your WordPress blog, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Steemit, CloutPub, or anywhere lese you can think of
- Guest post for sites in your niche
- Record an audio and share it on Anchor
- Make guest appearances on podcasts
- Make a video and upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, Odysee, DTube, Rumble, BitChute, Brighteon, or elsewhere
- Request to appear in other people’s videos to talk about your products
- Share your works on social media
- Write a press release and share it for free on PRLog
- Run a contest or giveaway
- Send a sample of your product to influencers or experts in your niche (e.g., send your book if you’re an author, CD if you’re a musician, a quick doodle if you’re a visual artist, etc.)
- Pull a publicity stunt, engage in guerrilla marketing, go on Tweet storms, go live on Instagram, set up a community of independent artists interested in promoting each other’s works, and more
Wait, 5 Things Per Day? Can I Take Weekends off?
That’s up to you.
I’ll be honest in sharing that with my recent promotion of the Chord King Course beginner guitar program, I have been taking weekends off.
That said, there’s no rule saying you can’t promote seven days per week…
And there’s also no rule saying you can’t choose more than five items per day.
I blog daily, so that tends to form the foundation of the various types of content I need to fulfill on to distribute across various social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Medium, Tealfeed, BitClout, Wisdom, and elsewhere.
Although I don’t hesitate in sharing everywhere I possibly can, the biggest movers for me, historically, have been Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, in that order.
And if I were to 80/20 that, Facebook is responsible for more traffic than anything you can name – Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Medium, Pinterest, or otherwise.
You can also read about The Rule of 5 in Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles.
If you’re stumped for inspiration and real-life examples of marketing in action, my book, The New Music Industry details more options than most people are even aware of, and much of the content is applicable to entrepreneurship, freelancing, and just about any artistic endeavor you can name.
If you’d like to work with me to come up with your own The Rule of 5 Marketing plan, get in touch. I don’t come cheap, but I can help you quickly identify activity that’s going to lead to results in your marketing.
What are you taking away from this? How will you be implementing The Rule of 5 Marketing in your artistic career?
“Don’t multitask – it makes you unproductive.”
“Everything needs to be done one step at a time.”
“If you’re suffering from project overload, it’s time to purge.”
Most productivity advice originating from the mainstream and even the gurus are thoroughly unhelpful or plainly bunk, as they seem to be under the mistaken impression that all of us only have one job, freelancing career, business, or client.
If you find yourself in a position where you can freely choose what you want to work on, and for how long, discard this – it’s not for you.
For most of us, the reality will be moving multiple projects forward simultaneously. Once you’ve accepted this, and I stress this – once you’ve accepted this – you will be ready to move multiple projects forward powerfully.
Project Management is the Bottleneck
At the risk of beating a dead horse, there are no textbooks on project management, as people lucky enough to be tasked with the responsibility, unless especially talented or experienced, find themselves needing to invent a system in a company that’s reluctant to set forth the necessary resources for a new initiative, and want to do everything by the book.
I’m a champion of artistic success, and as such I’m aware that I’m speaking to creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
But understand – even if you’re mostly a one-man or one-woman show, having no structures in place will be the downfall of your success in moving multiple projects forward. Without structures, you will drop the ball on projects, experience major cash flow problems or lose income to prolonged silence and neglect. And no whiz-bang invoicing system will save you the trouble. Read this paragraph again.
We need structures, though complexity is unnecessary. A simple written list of projects can serve as a good reminder (just beware of it blending into your environment so you don’t even notice it anymore). As well, there are tools plentiful enough to satisfy most personalities and inclinations – Evernote, Google Drive, ClickUp, Asana, or the now trendy Notion. Pick something, commit to its mastery, and make it your own. Start simply and don’t second guess.
Crack the Whip on Your Time
As a passionate adventurer, I take it upon myself to dig for the gold in countless resources, whether books, courses, mastermind groups, coaching programs, or otherwise.
No one can give you the tough love you need like author Dan Kennedy, especially in his timeless book No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs. And while his methodology may appear draconian to the microwave success crowd, it’s worth reading for the mindset alone. Let it impact your workflow, and you will expand beyond any level of productivity previously imagined. Anything else I could say in this regard would be redundant or a pale imitation.
Nir Eyal’s timeboxing process would also merit a look, as I have personally experienced great success taking on blogging daily, a yearlong intensive leadership program, community projects, staff writing duties, freelance and ghostwriting clients, and multiple business projects simultaneously. And I still workout at least three times per week, meditate most days and have time enough to wind down for a couple of hours each night.
Act with Great Urgency
There is no time to sit around waxing eloquent about the theoretical. You’ve committed to multiple projects, and now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Don’t wait to get started. Don’t expend more time and energy on planning and project management. Don’t try to fine-tune your routine or time management processes. It’s time to act with urgency.
As actor Will Smith says:
Bite off more than you can chew… Then chew it!
Start chewing now. Don’t wait until later. Adopt the mantra “do it now” and have it lived in your life.
And as you get into motion, you will recognize that there isn’t time enough to be tired or sick. There isn’t time enough for excuses. Only time to do and restore integrity when and where you are out of it.
Create a start and end time for every activity, and unless completely impossible, move every project forward every single week.
Create Margin for Hired Help
If your fees are barely enough (or not enough) to keep you afloat financially, increase them immediately. Your personal solvency is paramount to your initiative’s future success.
In most projects, there will be opportunities to outsource the workload, if not in whole then in part, and that will bring some relief to the project load. Over time, you can create even more leeway.
Smart entrepreneurs won’t outsource everything, though, and will instead discover and feed their passion for marketing and continue to sign paychecks and monitor staff activity.
My book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, introduces several real productivity techniques I use to get results. It was written for musicians, but freelancers and entrepreneurs alike have benefited from the read.
Let go of the need to fight against multiple projects and instead embrace it as a way of life. Get good at advancing every project every week of your life.
Google “marketing and sales strategies,” and with remarkable frequency, you will stumble on trendy twentysomething YouTubers talking about traffic. Which is neither marketing nor sales.
“Start an Instagram meme account,” they say, “it will get an insane amount of traffic!”
Right. Because people scanning trending memes love buying widgets. How ridiculous.
If you can’t connect the dots between how an Instagram meme account stimulates sales from your eCommerce store, infoproducts, coaching programs, or otherwise, all you’re doing is building a following. And a following alone doesn’t lead to positive sales ROI.
This isn’t to suggest that a following can’t positively impact your business. But just because you have a following doesn’t mean you’re making sales, and just because you’re making sales doesn’t mean you have a following.
Practicing Accurate Thinking in Your Marketing & Sales Efforts
As a champion of artistic success, I see it as my duty to steer you clear of obvious flights of fancy, of which ephemeral social media tactics is an obvious speed bump. Here I will erect a massive yield sign.
I am an avid adventurer, after all, as evidenced by my wide-ranging experimentation.
Building a following on any platform takes time and effort, plain and simple, and before committing to any initiative requiring you to achieve viral status, it would be shrewd to consider whether that’s time well invested.
There are methodologies to attracting a following that work with remarkable speed, but to suggest that it will drive sales, fame, or any other desired end is bush league level of naivete.
How can we practice accurate thinking amid the hype? And the answer isn’t elusive as wide-eyed, overexcited microwave entrepreneurs seem to think.
As applied to Instagram, we should be asking:
- How does our Instagram account prepare the prospect for purchasing from us?
- Does the prospect click the link in our profile? How often?
- What percentage of people coming to our site from Instagram convert to customers?
Even this is rudimentary, as you’d be wise to track how many people join your email list, how many of those people convert into customers, as well as the lifetime value of every customer that purchases from you.
If we can’t offer clear, concise, accurate answers to these questions, and have no intention of tracking, we’d be better off steering clear of Instagram altogether to dedicate our precious time to building assets and utilizing proven strategies.
Discarding the Ambiguous, Embracing the Specific
Show me an entrepreneur who tracks, and I will show you an entrepreneur who enjoys results.
And tracking is not some magical superpower only the brilliant can access and leverage. It may require rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work of monitoring your stats and logging them in spreadsheets, but unless you have an especially complex operation, a well-trained virtual assistant could easily handle the daily task load, usually in 30 minutes or less.
With free tools as good as Google Analytics, there aren’t any excuses.
If you deem your time precious, then ask these questions before starting any long-term project:
- What am I looking to accomplish with this initiative?
- Can I accept that building a following might not lead to profitable business results?
- Am I willing to stick with the program for at least six to 12 months (because you’re unlikely to see results any sooner than that)?
- Am I willing to do the hard work of daily, or at minimum, weekly tracking so I’m clear on how my work is leading to desired results?
- Am I willing to abandon the initiative if it proves ineffective (remember – social media is addicting and brainless)?
And I will reiterate, as it is the intention of this article, that followings will not always lead to sales, sales will not always lead to followings. So, succumbing to the pressures of joining another social network is foolish when you don’t know what targets you’re trying to hit.
If you’ve been caught in the trap of the tantalizing and trendy, you would benefit from a reading of The Music Entrepreneur Code. While it was written with musicians in mind, it has also received praise from freelancers and entrepreneurs who merited the no-nonsense principles and next-step resources to retrieving true marketing value.
As noted, you can leverage followings for wanted business outcomes. But if you’re going to take advice from anyone, look for the soldiers with the arrows in their back, not the instant, bush to major league rookies. Those with arrows in their backs will have tried everything already and will be able to tell you what works and what doesn’t, and that’s a far less crowded and less painful road to success.
I’ve covered the fundamentals of asset creation in several places, including my best-selling The Music Entrepreneur Code.
And the main thing you need to understand is what constitutes an asset.
Homes, cars, boats, things that either decrease in value over time, or require a massive upfront cost and ongoing maintenance fees are generally not assets.
People say you can make bank on real estate investments, and that may well be true, but I have only ever seen people pay off their debts after selling their home – never coming out ahead in any other way (not to diminish paying off one’s debts).
Still, property is one type of asset I’ll be talking about here, so you can’t completely write it off.
There are only three types of assets, though, so in addition to identifying them here, I will also share a little bit about my asset portfolio.
Obviously, there are times when businesses are anything but an asset. Investopedia says roughly 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years.
I would posit, though, that your odds of success in music aren’t a whole lot better. So, don’t get caught up in the numbers.
Personally, I would consider Music Entrepreneur HQ a saleable asset. It has a certain amount of traffic, a bit of a social media following, and an email list. And, if someone else wanted to run it, they certainly could. There isn’t any major cred tied to the name David Andrew Wiebe, and I’m not so embedded in the business that someone couldn’t rebrand.
I have some other promising ventures in the works that could certainly develop into assets as well.
I have a couple of whole life insurance policies that act as my Infinite Banking Concept. And while these aren’t strictly investment vehicles, they have certain advantages over conventional bank accounts that make them quite attractive.
I also have some minor investments in cryptocurrency, but knowing that it’s speculative, I have not put large amounts of money into it.
With billionaires buying up land, property ownership is fast becoming rarer by the day.
But intellectual property is also a form of property, and this is where, in a way, creatives have got it made.
Personally, I’ve got six books, 30 musical works, as well as courses, eBooks, and various other forms of intellectual property that continues to produce an income. And I’m far from finished.
Quick reminder – you can now get the Kindle edition of 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!
It’s my experience that most artists don’t even think about this. Because let’s face it, most people don’t think about this.
It’s the job of the boss to figure out how the money is made. So, most people are stifled by an employee mindset that doesn’t allow them to consider, create, and pursue perfectly viable income opportunities.
Sad but true – many artists are settling for less than they could be making, and it’s not even their fault!
If you consider yourself a musicpreneur, though, it’s time you started thinking about revenue streams as a business owner would.
Because most artists go…
- Live performance. Check.
- Merch sales. Check.
- Streaming royalties. Check.
- YouTube. Check.
And move onto other pressing matters.
If they’re a little savvier and worldly, then they know that music licensing and placements is something they want to pursue, but that’s about where the buck stops.
And if that doesn’t describe you, great, you’re more cognizant of what’s happening in the world and the growing creator economy, and maybe this section won’t apply to you. Otherwise, keep reading.
Besides my ever-growing article on 27 Ways I’ve Made Money in Music, which would certainly be worth your perusal, it would be prudent to practice – for lack of a better term – some “outside the box thinking.”
Could you write a book, take speaking engagements, start a mastermind, create your own music festival, get sponsored by a brewery, or create a presence on a blockchain-powered social network?
I’m not saying these would be good ideas for everyone, nor am I saying all these endeavors are lucrative. But anything that gets you in front of more people can only help, in terms of PR, new connections, and experiments that live on as vital life and career lessons.
Not to get too carried away with too many ideas, but start the process of brainstorming, and you will be surprised by the sheer volume and quality of ideas you generate.
At all times, I am abundantly clear on the various financial opportunities available to me:
- Display advertising
- Affiliate sales
- eBook sales
- Book royalties
- Course sales
- Membership fees
- Content creation
- Guest posts
- Speaking engagements
- PayPal donations
What are your revenue models? Are you sure you’re aware of every opportunity available? Is there a way to cobble together a viable income, even if it requires you to pursue multiple opportunities simultaneously? If so, do you have the guts and perseverance to do it?
Quick reminder – you can now get the Kindle edition of 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!