There’s only one way to become the profitable musician you are eager to be: you have to follow the principles, and act like your soon-to-be future self.
In short: be your own role model.
During the past two weeks, I already talked in-depth about ideas on how to up your self-discipline, and how you can spot habits, behavior, and other time-sucking things in your life that you can dump right away.
Now, it’s time to finish this series. I will suggest a few things that can help you overcome the struggle of being overwhelmed by all the “little” things you might be confronted with:
Your persona as an artist, your signature story, your website, your brand, your social media, your legal stuff, your consistent content, your team, your themes and stories, your mailing list strategy, your streaming platforms, your publishing and royalties, your music industry networking, your content calendar, your fan nurturing, your marketing and publicity, your film and tv licensing, your real-life networking, your momentum, your crowdfunding or steady subscription income, your live gigs or streaming income…
I know, it’s overwhelming. And it’s so freaking frustrating when you look at yourself and may think something like “I only have an Instagram channel and Bandcamp, I don’t even know what half of this even means… and how the heck am I going to know what to do?”
Well, you have me, don’t you? 🙂
But in order to get there, you have to reflect where your flaws are, and what you can do to eradicate them.
So, this leads me to a few recommendations for systems and tools that can help you have the ball at your feet.
First of all, follow your artist’s vision, mission, and principles. Write them down (right now if you haven’t yet) and keep them around you to look at them any time you feel lost, depressed, or simply in a bad mood – or, even better, do it first thing every morning.
Stay yourself. You may represent another character with your artist persona. Do not lose track of yourself. Know who you are and who you wanna become as a human being, write down your principles and values, and review them daily so you won’t suffer from selling yourself.
Distinguish between achievement goals and achievable goals. It’s totally fine to have a goal like “in 10 years, I want to play in front of 20,000 people in an arena”, but how do you achieve it? Just by snapping your finger? Nope. You have to work for it. Every day. This goal is a great vision, but nothing for your specific, actionable goals. Determine what you can do every day, week, or month to get closer to this goal. Then do it.
Be disciplined. Do not allow exceptions. They happen, I know, but do not simply accept them. Fight them until there’s (really) no other way around it. If you want to get sh-t done, just do it. If you don’t, you don’t want that music career you’re dreaming and talking about. It’s so simple. There’s no other explanation for it. Accept it. If you do not spend 15 minutes of your time on outreaching to grow your music industry network every day, you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter if you’re scared, have no clue how to do it, or “want” to start doing it tomorrow. To grow habits with discipline is THE key factor for success.
Prioritize everything. You can’t prioritize until you know what you want to do. So, if you haven’t written down your vision, mission, principles, values, goals, and daily habits, do it right now.
(Have you done it? Good.)
It’s important to know what must be done (A), what should be done (B), what could be done (C), and what would be done (just delete it from your mind right away). So write down the tasks and projects that will get you to your goals (this year, month, week, or day), and tag them with an A, B or C. There’s much more potential to prioritize and filter your ideas, but this is a start.
Use a calendar. I don’t know if you belong to the people that don’t use a calendar (like my dad…). If you want to achieve your goals, a calendar could be quite handy. Trust me. Get one. I’m a power-user when it comes to calendars. You don’t have to be. But at least have one to know when you have a recording studio session, a coaching call, or when you should leave to be on time at the venue. Just use whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Know your numbers. Let’s not go too deep here, but let me say this: If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t optimize. If you don’t know how much merch you sold during a certain time last month, you don’t know what inspired your fans to buy. But if you know, you may know that your fans buy more merch from you when you post personal stories on Instagram with a hint that they can buy the hoodie you’re just wearing. It’s important to know this if you are serious about getting (more) profitable. Create a spreadsheet of the key performance indicators that come to your mind. Then find a way to track them so you can optimize your music business where it’s most needed.
Get help if you need it. I don’t like accountability because many times people rely on their buddy rather than themselves. If you want to reach something, you do what it takes to get there.:) But I know how helpful it can be for some people. So if you feel weak, you may want to look for a way to become accountable for your goals. Link your success (of your achievable goals, not your achievement goals) with an activity or something else that you would hate to do. So in case you fail, you have to do something “bad”, like donating 50 bucks to an NGO with a goal that’s contrary to your beliefs. But it can be less extreme, e.g. post on FB “I will release a single in 30 days.”
So… let me know. What system or tool will you start using right now? Let me know! 🙂