Author Archives: D Grant Smith

Be A Badass Like Batman In Your Marketing & Connection Building

It’s no secret that I’m a super hero super-fan. Batman in particular takes the cake for me. I’m a Batman mega-fan especially in films. In particular, the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy are some of my all-time favorite movies. And yes, Christian Bale is my Batman.

But there are also some powerful things we can learn about from Batman to help us be better at building powerful connections, standing out from the crowd of competition, and becoming legends in our own right.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road in making this analogy and comparison applicable to you as a creative entity. You can either be a badass with a set of skills who is prepared for every situation with other people OR you can be a dude with a machine gun who’s trying to serve someone else’s interests. The clip above is a great illustration of this principle.

Become a badass with how you connect with people by setting up a free strategy session with me here.

Diving Into Badass Vs Generic Punks

I have had a few realizations in the past few weeks concerning the link between Batman on film, and our work as connection builders with media influencers (i.e. bloggers, radio shows/stations, reviewers, podcasters, playlist makers, etc).

It’s pretty simple and established to recognize The Dark Knight (alias for Batman, not necessarily the film by the same title) as a badass. He’s an expert in multiple forms of martial artistry. He drives a series of vehicles that are more advanced than the military. He’s a genius detective and excels in technology creation.

Whether Bruce Wayne is in costume or not, he’s a powerful and formidable individual.

Yet often times, as he faces off against his numerous rogues gallery including The Joker, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, the Falcone crime family, or even Bane, he’s taking on a series of thugs who work for the bad guys. The thugs are typically guys with a little bit of fight experience, guns, and lots of ammo. What makes them special? Absolutely nothing at all.

Putting The Analogy Together For You

For you as a creative force in the world, it’s also no secret that music curators (like me and several of my guest on The DIY Artist Route Podcast) get a ton of emails from musicians and artists every day.

They all want one thing: to get their work featured on something we do. And 98% of them present themselves as someone similar to the henchmen of the villains in the superhero flicks we love than they do the heroes themselves.

The blanket, generic email pitch that is designed entirely to serve the artist is the metaphorical equivalent to a henchman with a gun. He just fires away, hoping to hit something and ending up with nothing. There’s very little that is particularly interesting or appealing about him. He looks tough and has a weapon. Who cares?

A blanket, bland email pitch looks the same way. It’s a creator with an product and pieces he’s trying to get noticed by no one in particular.

Nothing special. Nothing specific. No big deal.

Want To Be Batman Or A Common Henchman?

Wouldn’t you rather be Batman instead of a henchman? I certainly would.

That’s why the method you use to reach out to media is so important. That’s why being precise and being specific with how you reach out to media and curators is so essential. You can stand out or you can be generic.

Who would you rather be?

When Batman puts together his utility belt in all three pieces of the Nolan-trilogy, he takes specific mini-weapons with him depending on what kind of fight he’s going to be in. Again, the clip above as a reference is case and point.

Sometimes that includes dust spray to stay hidden. Sometimes it includes little bombs to blow up walls to get away. Sometimes it includes radar to be able to spy.

The batarangs are standard equipment for Batman (he always utilizes them in any given situation). He’s made himself so skilled with them that they’re useful in at all times.

Your tactics for contacting media influencers is similar. Know what you’re putting in your utility belt before you set out to contact individual influencers and media folks.

Who are they? What is their platform about? What audience are they reaching?

The insights into these questions tell you how to approach them, what to say, and how to position yourself as someone worth responding to.

Your batarang is your ability to connect with people. The way you engage with individuals is a skill set that you get better and better at with time. The more you use your skills, the better you are with them.

This is one of the big things I work with musicians, creatives, and entrepreneurs in coaching to improve so that they connect with more people to grow their work and be more successful.

Reach Just One Person And Make A Huge Impact

Here’s one more little piece of advice that we can learn from Batman. It comes from a different iteration of the character, the Ben Affleck version from Justice League.

In this scene, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg are trying to rescue hostages from Steppenwolf. Everyone on the team has experience in combat. Everyone except for the Flash. His lack of experience has him nervous. But Batman gives him some excellent advice in this clip:

You can take the same advice and apply it to how you build relationships & connections with anyone. Especially building relationships with media and influencers.

Connect with one person at a time. Be specific. Don’t try to reach everyone at once. Just reach one person. You’ll learn how to build the connection the right way when you focus on one individual at a time.

Isn’t that what makes Batman so badass? He fights a gang of dudes one at a time. One strike to the head of one thug, a kick to another, a chop to a different henchman. In a matter of moments he’s taken down a whole group of enemies with precision, accuracy, and specialty.

That’s a model to base yourself and your outreach after.

Big lesson here: when it comes to building relationships, marketing yourself, and growing your work, be like Batman.

Don’t be a henchman. Henchmen don’t have names. They’re easily forgotten and mean very little  to the big story than the person who has the skill set and uses it in the right way.

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Want to learn how to connect with influencers, media, and your audience in a powerful way to make them diehard fans of your work?

Join me in the Ultimate Connection Bundle to learn directly from me the methods I’ve used to build connections with world-renowned influencers, media, and others for growth and success.

 

Fear Can Hold You Back Or Be The Fuel To Move You Forward

All of us struggle with fear. It’s human nature. Fear has one big weapon against us: pain.

Think of the things you’re most fearful of and every one of them involves pain. Pain is inevitable in life.

It can be something that you dread ever having happen to you. It can be something you’ve already experienced that you never want to have happen again.

It can be caused by insecurities that you have about yourself, your abilities, your weaknesses, or what you don’t know.

Pain creates imprints in our minds and hearts that cause us to want to avoid anything that looks or feels like discomfort in any way.

Pain doesn’t have to be a hindrance to the life you want. Get help, direction, and be free from the fear of pain with a free strategy session here.

Fear is a big subject that I talk a lot about. It’s the theme of this episode of The Appetizer Radio Show, illustrated through a variety of subjects covered by alt-rock and punk bands like Blink 182, Dry The River, P.O.D., Face to Face and more.

For most of us, pain is caused from bad experiences where someone hurt you, didn’t accept you (rejection and/or abandonment), you lost something or someone, or a result you wanted to happen that went in the opposite direction.

Most pain isn’t physical, but sometimes physical pain leads to fear too.

Often our worst fears are in our minds

We dwell on what could happen, on how something could go that will be a repeat of a negative past experience. So what do we do with fear?

Often, we run from it.

This was my story for most of my life. I’m a small-framed dude (as you can see in the video above). I’ve been on the short and skinny side of body-types since the beginning of my existence.

Subsequently, I was picked on, bullied, and treated as less than for a lot of my adolescence. This led to a ton of insecurities and fears about how others saw me.

But mostly, it had everything to do with how I saw myself. I saw myself as someone who would be overlooked, undervalued, taken advantage of, and put down.

So I ran from people a lot. I could make friends fairly easily. But deep down inside I was afraid that my friends would wake up one day and see the short skinny kid I saw in the mirror and not want to hang around me anymore. Fear was the result of my negative self-perception.

Can you relate to that fear?

When fear became something I could no longer run from

Being a small framed dude, I was also perpetually afraid of getting beaten up. Mostly by strangers or people I didn’t know.

This culminated into an experience I had standing on a street corner one day where I was crossing to go see a friend. I needed to walk across the street, and down the block to go see him.

But at the intersection where I was walking, I looked to the other side of the road and saw this thuggish, rough-looking dude.

And admittedly, I judged his character in that moment as someone who was going to jump me, beat me up, and take whatever money I had on me.

I had no viable reason to suspect the guy other than his choice of clothing and the look on his face. But in my fear, I determined that he had ill-intentions and would cause me physical harm.

So what did I do? I decided to make a 90-degree turn and cross a different street, going 4.5 blocks around to get to where I wanted to go. I justified this choice by telling myself I needed the exercise, which is a bullshit thing to do to justify giving in to fear.

While I walked the extra few blocks, this still inner voice spoke to me. It said, “How much longer are you going to live this way? You’re a grown-ass man. Do you want to live like this for the rest of your life?”

I was 27 years old and was building what would become a prominent career in radio and music. Yet I was afraid to cross the street because of some stranger I didn’t know. What the hell was up with that?

The decision that led to breakthrough and forever changed my life

I decided that enough was enough. I was tired of running. I was tired of letting fear control my actions and attitudes about myself and others. I had to do something to change it.

So I made a few phone calls when I got back home and decided to join a boxing gym. I figured, what better way to get over my fear of getting beaten up by putting myself in a place where that would likely happen? But in the process I hoped to learn how to defend myself.

In the end I gained so much more than knowledge and experience in fighting. I gained confidence, perspective, and some core principles that have carried with me into my personal and professional life in ways that have led to exponential success.

Be solid to win in life & climb out of the pit of fear

One of those core principles is the art of being solid. Solid as a person. Solid as a friend. Solid as a member of communities that help others.

When people see me they think I ooze confidence. Maybe. But confidence has come by facing the things that I’m most afraid of and not backing down from them.

Fear wants to keep you out of the game of life. But it’s up to you to climb out. And in doing that climb, you regain your heart, mind, and confidence.

In that boxing gym I climbed out of my pit.

It was a hard climb. There were tough days. There were days where I dreaded going.

Especially when I knew I was going to be sparring. Sparring is when you put all the principles, techniques, and exercises into use against a real opponent. One that hits you back. One that is also trying to get out in one piece.

Will you face your fear or continue to run from it?

Few things in life are easy. Facing fears is certainly not one of them. But it’s what has to be done in order to be free.

Freedom is the gift of doing what you want without hindrance or opposition. For many of us, fear is the biggest opposition we will face to having real freedom.

What will you do to overcome your fear?

On a practical standpoint, it may be starting a practice of retraining your mind to accept yourself instead of reject yourself. The practice of mantras and affirmations are helpful here (see below for more help).

Rocky comes back against Clubber Lang in Rocky III

It may be doing the work of putting yourself in situations where you face what you dread, be that getting in front of people in a business situation where your skills and talents could be questioned.

It may be asking that lady or man out of a date, when you’ve previously thought they were out of your league.

It may be volunteering to do a presentation where you have to speak publicly, when you’ve told yourself too often that no one wants to listen to you.

Or it could be that you put on some gloves and step into a ring where you get to test to see what you’re really made of.

In any case, running from what you fear will move you backwards because you’re not operating out of your greatness. You’re operating out of your doubts about who you are and what you can do.

Facing your fears will bring you clarity and confidence

When you run away from something, you can’t see what it is that was worth hiding from. But, when you face your fears you’re able to articulate the truth much better.

Often, you realize that what you were afraid of isn’t as bad as you thought it was. Which leads to confidence and a growth in character.

Clarity comes when we see things for what they really are. When we choose to have courage in the face of obstacles, we see the intricacies and details that were once hidden from us.

Which leads to growth. And change. And a different result in the end.

Decide who you want to be and become that person

What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be someone who runs, who quits when things get challenging, and who gives up on yourself? Or do you want to be a champion in life, full of confidence and strength?

A person who is solid, uncommon, and whole is one who doesn’t let the past dictate the future, who doesn’t listen to the voice of fear but instead digs deep inside to overcome any challenge that stands in the way.

This is the person I’m dedicated to become. And I’m dedicated to helping you get to your greatness too.

If fears have been an obstacle for you, keeping you from achieving peace, confidence, and success, let’s talk. I’ll help you overcome your fears and the pains that are holding you back from the life you want.


In my new book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell And Come Out Whole (due out in late 2018), I share more insights into how boxing changing my life, how to heal from loss and pain, and how to become a person who can overcome any obstacle instead of letting challenges get the better of you.

Sign up now to get early access to this book, plus tons of bonuses before it’s released.

How To Ensure Your Next Media Interview Wins You New Fans

Are you using interviews to gain more fans?

Whether it’s a media interview on a blog, a podcast, a radio show, or other platform, there are some specific steps you can take to ensure that interview not only gains you attention.

It can also win you new fans.

How do you do that?

It’s a subject I wanted to dive into with interview specialist and podcast host Rob Lawrence.

In the first part of my podcast conversation with Rob Lawrence, we talked about how interviewers in different media fields can create dynamic and engaging conversations that provide listeners with the kind of connection that leads to real growth for their work.

But what if you’re sitting on the other side of the microphone, the part where you’re the one being interviewed?

diy artist route podcast rob lawrence great interviewsWhat steps can you take to prepare for an interview that is more than just a Q&A?

When you and the interviewer connect on multiple levels, you create conversational dynamic that transforms the experience for both parties. Which inevitably makes for a more engaging, insightful, and powerful experience for the listeners.

The listener experience is your ultimate objective.

Your artistic creations are made to enhance your audience’s lives. Your outreach to media is about impacting a new audience you haven’t reached yet.

Blogs, radio shows, radio stations, streaming playlists (Spotify for example), and podcasts all create content intended to reach a specific audience that gives them an experience that brings them back.

This perspective is key to using interviews to grow your audience too.

“There’s an answer around every corner. We’re all searching for how we can do XYZ. Most of the time, especially with blogs and stuff, the how-to part is framed in the headline but inside the content itself it’s never really explained, like the actual process of how to go about doing it.

“It’s just a bunch of ideas. And ideas are great if you are naturally inclined to be able to put pieces together. But if you’re not, then having some sort of way to take these very big picture concepts and drill them down to very practical steps is really important.”

Put this conversation to work for you in getting the most out of your interviews, become more known, get the attention of influencers, and build your audience with a free strategy session today.

You’ll gain specific, actionable insights to have a fantastic interview that creates new fans and grows your connection with new people. Music curators and influencers in particular.

One killer tip is to get a sense of the audience that you’re going to be featured on because that’s what matters most and it doesn’t take much time to get a sense of who they are and have them in mind the entire time you’re being interviewed.

It’s important to know the aims of your audience, to know their why.

This is especially true when you contact music curators for placement on their platform. It separates you from the competition, and gives the curator a reason to respond to you.

Learn more about how to reach music curators to get your music featured on media in this powerful book.

Grow More Love By Letting Go

We all want to have happy, healthy relationships in our lives. But too often we try to make those relationships work through controlling the steps and actions of others. Because issues that create pain cause us to lose what we hold so close. Yet it’s interesting how letting go creates more of what we want than holding tightly does.

In every type of relationship there is the desire to be in control of the outcome. If you do X-Y-Z, someone will treat you better. Or at least they should. So we tell ourselves.

We all want to be in control most of the time. But with relationships, control is holding on to someone with closed hands, trying to determine their responses, or behavior. But you can’t control anyone else and have them truly give you what you want.

You have to let go. Need help letting go of hurt, pain, or bitterness that’s holding you back from achieving your dreams? Let’s talk and I’ll help you overcome the pain so you can have the peace you seek.

Letting go is the way to healthy relationships

Control causes manipulation. Which breeds bitterness. Which creates loss and division. Which ends up in an ending you don’t want.

People who try to control others hold them tightly with their hearts and minds, using words to steer certain responses. It’s problematic.

There’s no freedom in a relationship like this, be it friendship, family, or romantic. Subsequently, it’s much harder to give and receive love when you’re being restricted, held on too tightly by someone else.

Love is what we all want more of

Love can be defined in many ways. For simplicity’s sake, we can define love as the joining of peace, joy, freedom, happiness, kindness, appreciation, acceptance, harmony, and affection.

Wayne Dyer defines it this way: “Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

Ultimately, love is the art of letting go and letting God (aka the Universe, Almighty Love, the Most High, the Higher Power or however you care to define Deity).

A recent episode of The Appetizer Radio Show is built around this philosophy, describing the art of letting go for a full, healthy and whole life with others. I incorporated music that illustrated this point.

Also in the radio show was pieces of a doctrine that my good friend, mentor and pastor shared with us recently. He gathered this wisdom from one of his friends. I want to share it with you here to practice the art of letting go, one piece at a time:

To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off.

It’s the realization that I don’t control another.

To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another, because I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective.

It is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,

but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,

but to take each day as it comes and to cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,

but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,

but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and to love more.

To be fully alive and fully whole, you have to let go. It’s a process, a practice, and something you get better at with time and repetition. What are you holding too tightly to? Is there someone in your life that you wished treated you better or differently that you’re holding on to? Is there pain in your past that you haven’t released yet because of fear or anger?

Let go. It’s where healing comes from. It’s also a gateway to more love.

Are there things that you need to let go of for inner peace, freedom, and clarity? Let’s talk. In 15 minutes you can gain the peace, joy, and perspective needed to have the life you want.

Together we can work towards you letting go and getting free so that you can have peace, clarity, and a prosperous tomorrow.

The subject of letting go is big. It’s a part of my upcoming book titled Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole. I’m going to be sharing pieces of wisdom from it, and a lot more with you by joining me in the journey. Sign up here to get plugged in (and get early access to the book).


Rob Lawrence Gives Truth On How To Kickass At Interviews

Rob Lawrence

One thing that everyone in the media industry pays attention to is how well an interview is done. Rob Lawrence, host of Inspirational Creatives, is one of the best there is at doing amazing interviews. That’s why I invited him to join me on the DIY Artist Route Podcast to share his wisdom.

What we discovered in our conversation is that it’s important for hosts who interview and guests being interviewed, can both gain clarity on how to have the most kickass interviews.

When the guest and host connect on a deeper level than just a basic Q&A, the audience gets the best experience. Everyone wins.

This is not something I’m seeing a lot of lately, in terms of discussing how to create amazing interviews. Which is why this podcast is a great resource for you because Rob gives some clear insights and very actionable suggestions to help you be a better interviewer or question-asker in any medium.

My Perspective On Great Interviews

My background is in public radio. I cut my teeth in learning the art of doing captivating interviews for KACU FM in Abilene, Tx way back in the early 2000s. My inspirations are folks who have made NPR a standout media platform for decades. I’m talking about radio icons like Scott Simon (one of my personal heroes), Steve Inskeep, David Dye, and Linda Wertheimer.

Those folks really know how to go deeper than the questions to get to the heart of their guests, and ultimately create heart-connections with their listeners.

It’s something that comes from what Rob Lawrence calls “having a natural curiosity.”

This podcast session ended up being something that led to a different kind of production for me: a two-part episode.

Closer Look At Part One

Here in the first part, we take a closer look at how podcasters, radio hosts, bloggers & writers, and other media personalities can create the bedrock for a truly engaging interview.

It’s a How To Be A Great Interviewer 101 lesson, from one of the best podcast interviewers there is.

Rob has a gentle presence, a great voice, and enters discussions with both his mind and his heart. There’s a noticeable kindness in his presentation, which makes him both intriguing, engaging, and easy to talk with.

These qualities make for a conversation that moves both the question-asker, and the answer-giver. Aka, the person hosting and the person being interviewed.

You’ll notice that we switch roles a few times, another mark of a great interview. When an interview feels more like you’re sitting in on an intriguing conversation, everyone wins. Because you feel like you’re joining in a rousing chat that is more than just a “let me pick your brain about XYZ” kind of experience.

If you’ve watched any of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, you see a very similar dynamic. Sure, there’s a bit of comedy and humor involved, but essentially Seinfeld is asking a lot of questions to learn more about his friend. In the process, we all gain both an intellectual and entertaining experience.

What Makes For A Great Interview

When both the mind and the heart are engaged in what’s going on, you find yourself challenged to think differently, and also feel something in the process.

What makes for powerful media, audio in particular, is the presentation of something that connects with the audience’s emotions. That makes for great songwriting and musical performance, as well as any creative medium.

The mind and the heart. Nail the engagement with both of those vessels and you have the makings for a seriously kickass interview.

There’s a whole lot of gold in this podcast episode, and there’s even more in part 2 where we will talk about how to best prepare to be interviewed.

Jumping over to the other side of the microphone, you’ll gain even more perspective on how to craft the best interview to engage both your compatriot (either host or guest) and the audience.

Reach out to Rob and connect with him (email rob@inspirationalcreatives.com). Tell him you heard his talk with me on The DIY Artist Route Podcast. And be sure to subscribe to Inspirational Creatives. It’s one of the best interview podcasts there is. Rob’s also a great coach for podcasters who want to take their work to the next level, build a killer podcast, and gain serious success.

–Episode Notes & Quotes–

-Great interviews require more than just curiosity. Passion is needed as well. Experience helps too. A small amount of research is helpful.

-Preparing for an interview includes finding out about what the guest is curious about right now, and meeting them in that place will really help. Also, making sure that everything is working on the technical end.

-Make sure that the experience is good for the guest so they have the best time and feel a warm welcome.

-Good interview prep for the interviewer includes: Looking up the person’s audience and their site. Dig in deep here.

“I’m more of an explorer than an expert, if you like?” -Rob Lawrence

“A journalistic approach to interviews typically puts the guest on their back foot sometimes. So when it comes to talking about, as we are here, a great interview to build relationships, through a podcast for example, I tend to take a lighter approach. Which is to try and help my guests shine and see them in their best light rather than trying to have them defend the point.” -Rob Lawrence

Takeaways For Your Growth

What was the biggest takeaway you found in this podcast?

Was there anything you wish we would have discussed involving how to be a great interviewer? Let me know in the comments, or contact me and let’s talk more!

 

How To Avoid Failure With Your Networking For Real Growth

Networking explained

Networking.

That thing marketing people to do connect with other people so they can grow their brands. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing when you go to conferences, meetups, and events, right?

Traditional networking and the networking so many creatives and music-entrepreneurs (“musicpreneurs” as coined by my buddy Tommy Darker) do today are vastly different. The old school method was about building a relationship with specific people to provide reciprocal connection.

Or let me phrase that differently for a layman’s term understanding:

Old school networking was about building a two-way street where both parties benefit from connection with each other.

Networking That Fails

That’s not the same kind of networking I’m seeing. It’s likely not the networking you’ve been doing. What folks are doing now (that they’re called “networking”) is one-sided pitching with the intention of getting noticed.

There’s a difference between trying to appeal to someone to like you so that you can benefit from their influence, connections, and network, and actually building a relationship with specific people where both of you benefit from the engagement.

One is focused on the individual. The other is focused on the connection. There’s a big difference.

This is a practice in giving and receiving value. Value is giving worth to something or someone that you prize as being significant. What you value, and place significance on, has a powerful meaning to you in how you treat it.

Networking That Works

Think about this in terms of something you consider valuable.

You’re likely to treat a Mickey Mantle rookie card in mint condition with a lot of special treatment in how you care for it, should that ever become something in your possession.

You’ll make sure it has a protective case, is secured and away from the ground where pets or children might accidentally get a hold of it.

We can treat our relationships and connections with people with a similar kind of value. We can hold other people in regard for who they are and what they mean to us beyond just want that connection might do for us in a selfish way.

This is a different method of building relationships. It’s real networking that actually works.

How To Network At An Event

In a real-world example, let’s talk about an event you may find yourself at like SXSW. What’s a good way to network your band while you’re at an event where 150,000 creatives converge into one place for a week?

Should you get a ton of cards and flyers printed up so you can hand them off to everyone you see? You could, but that’s more of a marketing and promotional endeavor than it is a networking action.

Should you approach every speaker, panelist, promoter, and person of influence with promotional materials, a press kit, and CDs so they can pick you up to grow your music? You could, but that’s another action geared towards trying to market yourself.

Handing someone a flyer, business card, press kit, or CD at an event is an act of “notice me and follow my music!” You can start a conversation with someone to get them to stop and listen, but what is your intention?

Marketing And Networking Are Similar But Different

Networking that works (going back to the old school method) is a actionable steps with the intention of providing benefit to two or more parties. It’s not a promotional act. Handing out materials to strangers with the hope that they will pay attention after you leave their presence, listen to your tracks, and then take the initiative to follow up with you is not what networking is.

That’s marketing. Ineffective marketing usually, but marketing all the same.

Networking is an act of knowing and being known back. It’s something my friend Shaine Freeman excels at. His podcast and music media platform has been instrumental in this way for years.

Networking involves being specific. It involves having a conversation and building a dialogue with someone with the intention of growing something that serves both you and them.

It’s placing value on the individual for who they are, what they do, and the people their work benefits. The intention creates the opportunity for them to value you in those same ways. Then both of you win.

Make Your Intention To Network The Right Way To Win New Contacts

Networking is a focused endeavor. It’s long term growth strategy. It’s keeping track with people. That’s building relationship.

It’s exchanging contact info, be that in business card or flyer or social media details. It’s you taking the initiative to follow up shortly after the contact is made and build on the interaction you shared. It’s what I reference in Being First in this video.

This isn’t a secret, but it is something a lot of creatives, entrepreneurs and people trying to build their contact list don’t do often. It’s old fashioned, like Dale Carnegie old. He’s the man behind How To Win Friends And Influence People. Kinda the go-to expert on effective influence building and growth.

” You can gain more friends in two months by showing interest in other people than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.” -Dale Carnegie

One act is placing value on the connection with the other person. The other is about trying to shine the spotlight on yourself.

One works in creating opportunities for growth.

The other is just playing in the dirt.

Want to be an All-Star at networking? Set up a free strategy session with me now to put all these tools to work for you in how you connect with the right people for success.

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Grow Even More Now. Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.
Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

Tommy Darker On Why Freedom Is The Focus For Success

tommy darker musicpreneur

Tommy Darker

It’s been about ten years coming that Tommy Darker and I sync our powers together to help you grow. Here’s a guy totally committed to the art of success. Who has stayed in the fight for musicians and creatives to win in a complicated digital space for a long time.

Tommy has recently launched a platform called MusicPreneurHub. It’s a fantastic outlet that provides educational resources, mentoring and artistic development for artists. Students there really take their music to the next levels. I’m honored to get to be a part of this platform too.

Tommy Darker Has A Specific Focus & So Does Our Conversation

The overall focus in this podcast is on overcoming challenges all of us creatives face. From fear of failure to lack of education. To blaming others and making excuses for not reaching goals to failure to learn the lessons from everyday teachers.

It’s a combination of practical and brilliant philosophy with specific ways of changing your mindset. If you, “change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” That is a great quote by one of my favorite teachers Wayne Dyer from a book called The Power Of Intention.

Honesty and vulnerability create better ways for people to connect than anything else. We go to places philosophically that built a stronger connection between Tommy and I.

By learning from this example and from insights in our conversation, you’ll learn at least 3 new ways to connect better with other people and practice growth farming well.

I’ve discovered that most of the guests brought onto the podcast get into philosophy and psychology with me in our conversations. This is possibly the most philosophical conversation I’ve ever had with someone that’s recorded.

What You Learn In This Podcast Episode To Take Your Growth To New Heights

How to mix your roots musically with the things you’re passionate about.

Gain leverage to overcome obstacles and find solutions by picturing your life as a movie where you’re both the writer, director and lead actor.

Learn how to create a unique value proposition for your individuality.

How to claim your freedom as an artist to connect more with yourself and with others.

Learn how to challenge yourself in the right ways to go beyond the goals you set.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A Few Powerful Quotes From This Episode

“I never publish things that I learn. I publish things that I do. It’s experiential knowledge.” -Tommy Darker

“Not giving yourself room for excuses is how you make it (your goals) happen.” -Tommy Darker

“If you start seeing your life as a movie, you start having fun. And the character, which is you, will learn something along the way because movies are always about character growth.” -Tommy Darker

“We all get to be scientists and play around with these different potions and chemicals and methods and tactics and strategies. My results might differ from yours. Actually they should because I’m living my story and you’re living your story. And that’s just the way that it’s supposed to be.” -D Grant Smith

What To Do When It’s Your Turn

At the end of this podcast, I talk about how my tribe is passionate and will share his wisdom with at least 3 people.That’s you. Your turn now.

Go spread the love you just received from Tommy and I with at least 3 people in your world who want this kind of wisdom, love and success in the work they do.

You can send an individual note or email with this link or you can click Share and spread the love on your social profiles.

Either way, Tommy and I appreciate you! Thanks!!!

Before You Go:  Plant the right seeds to grow a stronger connection with fans and influencers with one of the best minds in business.
Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

Essential Tools For Cultivating Powerful Relationships

Every artist and creative person who is building anything wants to be connected to the right people. That’s what it means to have powerful relationships, right?

That’s one of the big tenets of growth farming your relationships for success.

To have an influencer (or several) on your contact list is what all of us want because of how potent it makes our growth opportunities. But how do we go about gaining influential relationships?

We spend so much time online trying to find answers. Often, what we end up with is a ton of tactics that can be used to benefit us in small ways.

Those small ways can build over time for bigger results. But too often we expect the little things to produce big results overnight. Rarely does anything work that way.

You Can’t Grow Anything Without Tools

What we don’t spend as much time looking for are the right tools. Just like in a garden, to get the crops you want at harvest time, you have to use the right tools.

For the gardener, she needs a durable shovel that can dig deep, hold a good amount of dirt, and not break the handle when considerable force is applied. She needs gloves to keep from getting blisters. She needs pots, soil, seeds, and plenty of water.

The growth farmer for relationships needs similar tools. She needs to be able to organize her outreach. She needs to have a Roladex that is updated regularly.

She needs a heart committed to serving others, and a willingness to ask for help. She’s not just a networker, she’s a cultivator of people.

Once you have the tools, you need to know the best ways to use them so that your results look like what you want. This is where experience comes in.

The same is true in our growth work. You need the tools. You need the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

You need the practical tips and insights into where to find the right people to make growth happen. And you need to know what to say for those connections to take root so relationships can be born.

Experience + Tools = Prosperity

But you also need the experience that comes from someone who’s done this before, someone who’s done it countless times with people in different fields and different degrees of success and influence.

That’s why I created a new ebook that provides both the tools and the tactics for using them the best way. Grab the ebook and get to some serious relationship Growth Farming.

When it comes to developing powerful relationships with influencers, it’s much more than trying to befriend a “famous person.” It’s creating a connection with a person you value for specific reasons.

Often, that value comes from something in their work that has had a tremendous impact on you.

That was what led me to contact one of my heroes, and a very influential person in the realm of business, marketing, and creative growth initiative. I’m talking about Seth Godin.

What let to our conversation was a valuing of the impact he makes every day in my life, and in the lives of countless entrepreneurial people through his writing on his blog and books.

Value Others To Build Powerful Relationships

Valuing others who have influence and make an impact on the world is one of the best tools you can gain to grow. Giving that value back through your own actions (thank you notes, sharing to social media, etc) creates connections with these folks that transcend what you may imagine.

When you get right down to it, treating an influential person with the same respect you wish to be treated with, and approaching them as a partner in this big project of harmonizing the world together, is how powerful conversations are started. And powerful relationships are born.

Growth Farm Action Step For Your Success

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

Maximize Your Growth With These Books (My 2017 Reading List Picks)

These are some of the great books that got me through 2017

You’ve gotten through this year with a lot of lessons learned. I can certainly attest to learning much from life, people, and reflection. Books have also been an incredible teacher. As I think about some of the best growth that’s come from reading, I want to share my reading list top picks from 2017 so you can add to your book list and experience powerful growth too.

Let’s not leave out audiobooks. They’re equal parts to the learning journey.

The feedback from readers on my weekly newsletter (signup in the right column) has been that folks want to know more about the books that have been instrumental in my transformation, healing, and development this year.

I highly recommend everything I’m going to tell you about. All of these books can be a gift to yourself. Once you have an awesome experience, get a copy and gift it to a friend.

Maximize Your Growth With These Books

Instead of saying too much about each title, I’ve included a brief description of what benefits are in the book and why it was so powerful to me.

1. Secrets Of The Power Of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer

I picked up this audiobook at a library sale and it’s simply the best buy of the last 15 years. I listen to a disc from it every day. It’s been my guide for peace, love, healing, and connection with Almighty Love (aka God, Source, Intention) throughout this year.

I’ve gained powerful affirmation statements and intentions to verbally declare daily that set my mind and heart on a path towards love as a state of being. And hearing Dr. Dyer speak on this subjects, along with his powerful storytelling is one of the most transformational things I’ve ever experienced.

2. 10 Secrets To Success and Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Following the audiobook, I started amassing a collection of Dyer’s work. This was the next book I dove into. He breaks down 10 keys to having inner peace and success in every area of your life. A big one is “don’t die with your music still in you.” You’ll have to read it to get the fullness of what that means.

3. The Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday

I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday’s work. His books are philosophically challenging and provide a different perspective to overcoming obstacles. The ego is something all of us must contend with or it will govern our actions and destroy our potential.

Holiday draws upon the wisdom of the Stoics, while also sharing a bit of his own story. When you reach any level of success, it’s easy to start listening to your own press, and letting your momentum shift from growth to maintenance. This book provides a pathway forward instead of spinning your wheels.

4. The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

My good friend Carlos Castillo posted about this book last year and I added it to my reading list, borrowing a copy from a friend. It’s a relatively short read, yet the wisdom and thoughtfulness in each page will keep you in a place of contemplation and reflection which leads to even more truth and transformation.

I struggle with the 2nd agreement at times, which is don’t take anything personally. Our culture, particularly with social media, makes this harder for a lot of us.

From the guidance of Dr. Dyer who also talks about not taking yourself so seriously and how connecting with Source removes any need to be offended, this book draws more wisdom into these big ideas to change the way you see yourself and the world around you so that you can become whole.

5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen was living a comfortable life with her husband and kids, but realized that she wasn’t happy and set out to do something about it. Over the span of a year, she made a resolution to do things differently, one month at a time.

In the process she found that happiness, like life, is a journey and a process. She discovered aspects about herself that she changed to create improvement and other thingss she did away with to have peace and happiness. We all can learn to be happy, and rewrite our story to have the life we want.

6. The Rock Says by The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)

I honestly finished reading this one yesterday afternoon. I’m a big fan of the Rock, going back to his wrestling days, and especially his movies and TV shows. Watch him do an interview with someone and you’ll discover some profound strategies for how to make a connection with a host or influencer that sticks with them, making them a bigger fan of you (and subsequentially a bigger advocate for you).

His attitude and charisma are magnetic. In this autobiography he tells his story and he changes voices in it too, going from Dwayne Johnson to The Rock. And you see how the charismatic character he created is a part of him, while also being a caricature.

This book taught me a lot about the power of outlandish techniques to draw people in, how audience’s responses can lead to your evolution into greatness, and how to value the people who are a part of your journey to have even more success.

7. How To Sell Your Way Through Life by Napoleon Hill

I’ve learned this year that sales is a part of all of our lives, whether it’s our career path or not. Hill uses old-school methods to describe what makes great connections with the people who buy from you.

Someone is buying from you, whether they’re buying your work or your character or your partnership/collaboration or just buying into you. This book gives some great examples of how to sell yourself in any circumstance.

8. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think “self-love” was something hipsters did to feel better about themselves. Or that it was something for unstable people who didn’t have any backbone.

Turns out I was wrong. And I’ve given away my heart to other people for a long time without giving much love, grace, or kindness to myself. This year changed that and this book helped.

With something as simple as a mantra of “I love myself” you can transform how you feel, how you operate, and how others see you for growth, healing, and success.

9. Totally Fulfilled by Dean Graziosi

I’ll also admit that I’m in the middle of this one but I’ve read enough of it to encourage you to pick it up. Dean talks about how we live in a world dominated by limited beliefs, which we adopt to put a lid on our potential.

Yet people who are totally fulfilled in their lives with their families, relationships, careers and themselves see things from a limitless perspective.

He maps out a way to change your mindset from limited beliefs into limitless beliefs. I’ve adopted this mindset and I’m already experiencing transformation.
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That’s my reading list from this year. Actually, that’s the best of it. I’m working on a few new titles that were recommended from the authors I’ve mentioned here. I’m sure they’ll make next year’s list.

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

Creative PR Tools For Growth With Angela Mastrogiacomo

Angela Mastrogiacomo

The latest episode of the DIY Artist Route Podcast is here! And it features none other than my good friend Angela Mastrogiacomo.

Aside from being one of the most inspiring and kick-ass people I know, Angela excels at the real heart of PR and marketing work: relationship building.

That’s why I had to have her on the podcast to share her insights with you.

As a music curator and media host, there are a lot of marketing and PR people who contact me every day, usually for the same reasons.

They have an artist or band they want to promote. Maybe there’s a new single their artist just released and they want media feature on my radio show. They want a review or feature of some kind.

The Common Problem With Music Promotion

This are some of the traditional ways that music promoters, publicists, and PR companies operate. Tragically though, many marketing and PR endeavors fail.

Whether it’s a company that charges and arm & a leg for their work or it’s a do-it-from-scratch solo artist reaching out to media for feature, the key element in this puzzle is…….you guessed it, relationship building.

Which has become somewhat of a buzzword these days. When subjects as important as relationship building become buzzwords, it’s easy to lose the meaning of the concept. Which is another big subject we dive into in this podcast.

One big thing that trips creative entrepreneurs like you and I up is our own negative mindsets. Wait, what does that have to do with marketing, or with relationship building? Everything my friend!

Like Ryan Holiday Says “The Ego Is The Enemy”

Our ego can be our worst enemy. Ryan Holiday’s seminal book (of the same title) gives a lot of insight into this issue that all of us deal with. For some artists, the ego says that who they can’t connect with a music influencer with their story or music.

So they try to parrot the work that other bigger artists do to promote themselves. It’s not genuine, therefore it doesn’t connect in the best ways that a sincere approach to relationship does.

Other artists struggle with a more arrogant form of ego, one that tells them they should be treated like royalty. So talk yourself up like you’re a god, and have the media eating out of your hand. And if they don’t respond to you this way, screw ’em!

That’s the ego talking.

When you work on marketing yourself, building genuine one-to-one relationships takes you further than anything. It’s what’s made Angela so successful with her work on Muddy Paw PR and Infectious Magazine. She’s written tons of articles for Sonicbids and other music-centered publications, all covering the subjects of marketing, PR, and relationship building.

How To Let Go Of The Ego With Help From Angela Mastrogiacomo

We all deal with ego. Ego affects our mindsets, creates fears and insecurities, and if not dealt with can cause struggles that aren’t overcome. One weapon against the work of the ego is vulnerability. Sounds strange right? How can vulnerability be the antidote to ego? Angela and I discuss this at length in the podcast.

I’m being fairly overt here. Listen to the podcast. Download it. Share it. Then connect with both of us and share your story with us.

Here are some ways to connect with Angela. She wants to hear from you so reach out to her and tell her you heard her on the DIY Artist Route.

Muddy Paw PR

Infectious Magazine

Facebook

Twitter

She gave her email at the end of the podcast, but in case you missed it you can contact her via angela@muddypawpr.com

Fears and mindsets are struggles for everyone. Honestly, dealing with personal fears and negative mindsets has been a very big part of my year in 2017, which is why you haven’t seen me post as many blogs or pieces.

I’ve learned a lot in this process, and understand more how to face deep fears, and what it takes to overcome them to win in business and in life. If this is a struggle for you, you’re not alone.

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.