What if I told you that the real secrets to business growth, building a brand, growing an audience, and being successful in any area had more to do with farming than anything else? What if building a bond with your roladex led to real growth instead of viral marketing or social media? Let me explain.
It’s no secret that success comes from our ability to connect with other people. We’re not operating on islands where punching digits into a computer never interfaces with another human being.
Even if you work in an industry that is primarily digital, there has to be a person (or people) buying the services, products, and work that you do.
Since people are what makes business work, our ability to connect, communicate, and build relationships determine whether we grow what we plant or end up with the bitter dust of lost opportunities.
How One Conversation Changed The Success Dialogue
The concept of Growth Farming began with a conversation I had with one of my biggest heroes: Seth Godin.
He joined me in a ground-breaking and thought-provoking conversation on The DIY Artist Route Podcast in 2016. In just under 17 minutes Seth distilled some of the greatest wisdom available on how to grow and become the successful people we dream of being.
That conversation with Seth led to a person and professional exploration into relationship building from the context of planting seeds, nurturing them into plants and harvesting their output.
Then repeating the process, and expanding the territory.
It’s the work of a farmer. These principles come from my own personal stories, observations on friends and colleagues, and wisdom shared along the path towards success.
From here I’ve spent the better part of the past two years exploring how success works, reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and talking with innovators on this very massive subject.
The consensus is pretty clear: the heart of winning in business and in life lies in the bonds we build with people. That’s why business icons talk about marketing and networking so much. It’s why social media is such a huge part of every creative person’s growth strategy (let alone it being a part of every human with a mobile device’s regular life).
Human connection is the key to success, no matter who you are
But so many people are devoting their interactions to self-talk, self-promotion, and actions that work against their best interests. Musicians and other creatives treat their relationships more like a 30 second microwave meal than a garden of fruits, vegetables and herbs that provide a healthy, balanced, and life-long supply.
Hence the Growth Farming as relationship gardening metaphor. It’s so perfect because it’s so accurate.
What you’re going to find in everything I tag as Growth Farming is specific actions, methods, and philosophies that help you start, build, grow, and cultivate powerful relationships with people to succeed.
It really is who you know that determines how much you win. AND it’s also how well they know you back that determines the ongoing benefits of that connection.
Make Growth Farming Work For You
Since that conversation, I’ve changed the focus and format of The DIY Artist Route Podcast, where several of fellow trekkers have built their brands (and success) around relationship building too. And they share their secrets with you.
You have to plant the seeds to make success happen. I know that if you will take these insights, stories, and principles to heart, you’ll grow a vibrant connection with the people in your world. More power to you!
I want to give you the principles & method of Growth Farming to bring success to your world by connecting directly with you. Book a free 15 minute strategy session with me and I’ll give you an ebook that shines more light on my conversation with Seth just for setting up a conversation with me. Schedule your time right here.
Are you a football fan? It’s ok if you’re not. I am. Here’s a metaphoric epiphany on real growth and success I had recently that deals with playing the long game.
In football, there’s a key reason that successful teams in pro football are always looking for a great QB. It’s not just leadership, though that’s a big factor. It’s not just play-making ability, though that’s also a factor. Success lies in an effective long game approach and execution.
The key reason is a leader with play-making ability who can see the whole field and take calculated steps towards moving forward wins more games than those who don’t invest in the process of operating in the big picture. Sometimes they pick a running play. Sometimes it’s pass. Sometimes is play-action.
Either way, a winning long game is how champions are made.
This principle is true in business (regardless of the industry and whether you work for yourself or someone else). It’s also true in life.
Can you see the field in front of you and set yourself up to create openings that lead to new opportunities?
Or are you going for the big scoring play right out of the gate?
Hey, let’s be honest. It’s human nature to try for the big touchdown play on the opening drive from your own 20 yard line. I see this all the time with musicians and creatives you contact media for features, interviews, and reviews. They start their very first email to media with a ton of links and a huge bio and no mention of the person they’re talking to (or trying to talk to).
When a QB throws a hail mary pass right off the bat, it’s likely to fail. And fail miserably. Then if they repeat that hail mary pass every time they run a play, it’s likely they’ll lose their spot on the team because it rarely works, which leads to losing ground and losing games.
This is a struggle a lot of people have.
Here are some things I’ve heard my coaching clients tell me that they’ve struggled with in building relationships:
“I’m not great at making relationships with others.”
“I have an inner-struggle in my head about thinking that I’m a mooch if I reach out to people, like I’m using them for whatever they can do for me.”
Have any of those been thoughts you’ve had?
Try this out: Take a long-game approach to how you cultivate connections with people.
The process is simple. Spend some time just getting to know the person you want to build a relationship with. What do they like? What are their go-to picks or absolute favorites (can be music, movies, food, etc)? Why?
When you get someone talking about the stuff they like and be interested in them, it impacts the way they see you. You can follow up later to see if they’ve seen or done anything new that fits with the interests and passions they shared with you. Follow up is where the magic of connection-building happens.
How does this serve you?
It shows you are actually interested in them, which shows that you’re a person worth reciprocating that interest and care back to.
It’s similar to what Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in 2 months showing an interest in other people than you can in 2 years trying to get other people interested in you.”
This method of Growth Farming works in building connections with anyone from business prospects, networking opportunities, acquaintances, business professionals and even influencers in your industry.
I used this strategy recently to land a sponsor for my radio show and grow my network of influential connections. It works. Utilize the long game and create winning experiences over and over again.
Be someone who genuinely cares and you’ll be surprised how much care is returned to you.
How about a great week? Or a stellar and outstanding month?
To build up to the best year of your life?
Oooo yeah, that’s even better. But is setting up one good day the key to having a great month or the best year? You bet it is!
Tell you what I’ve learned recently that has helped me have a great day more often these past few months is something that’s really easy to do. We just often forget about it.
How do you start your day?
From reading books by Ryan Holiday, Wayne Dyer, Jen Sincero, and others I’m learning that starting the day off right matters.
Practices involving journaling, affirmations and meditation are how we set our minds and hearts in the right place to have the best outlook on the day, and be most productive.
If you get out of bed and the first thing you do is chores, you’re focusing on the wrong stuff. And hey, I used to do that too.
Actually, I’d hit the snooze button until my cat meeeoooowed enough to get me out of bed to serve her breakfast.
I often was not as productive as I could have been. I certainly didn’t have a great attitude either.
Who wants to make a cat’s demands for food the first answer you do in the morning?
“Not I,” said the D.
Two Simple Ways To Have A Great Day
The two simple ways to have a great day are to get up just a few minutes early with the sole purpose of giving yourself some quiet alone time to focus on what you’re doing, make daily goals, do a little meditation/affirmations, and be thankful.
Tony Robbins has a little mantra he does where he thanks God/The Universe for everyone in his life he’s grateful for. He spends at least 5 minutes doing that before he moves into focusing on himself.
I’ve found this practice to be very enriching too. When we operate from thankfulness and gratitude, it makes our attitudes towards others even better.
Plus, our relationships improve because we become people who are more naturally inclined to serve and give.
What I’ve found is that journaling helps me to get more focused on specific tasks to complete. It also helps me to communicate better because of the repetitiousness of the practice.
Like my old mentor Larry Sabin used to say, “We get good at what we do.”
As a creative who is connecting with people, make a habit of practicing your communication. Journaling is a great step in that direction.
The better communication you have, the more enriched your relationships are and the stronger your connection is with others.
Stronger Communications Make For A Great Day
What helps with that communication is also dependent on how you feel about yourself. What thoughts are you exercising each day that contribute to your well-being and success?
If you have regular thoughts that consist of “I can’t,” “This won’t work,” “I’m not enough for this,” “They don’t want me,” or similar negative beliefs, you set yourself up to lose.
What you plant inside your mind and heart is what your life will produce. That comes through your actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Your inner dialogue contributes to all of these things.
This is why a daily practice of affirmations is so important. By affirming yourself of who you are, what’s inside of you, what you produce, and what you attract these things come into being.
It’s the law of attraction because what you focus on is what grows.
This is the essential piece of your day that kicks your subconscious into high gear to manifest what you plant. Best practice is to not only start your day off with affirmations, but also end it with a repetition of them before you go to sleep.
It has the teachings and affirmations I use to create the life I want of peace, success, and fruitful relationships with myself, my friends, family, network and community, and Almighty Love (aka God/The Universe).
When you plant love inside yourself, it’s what you’ll focus more on which overcomes fears, doubts, insecurities and negative mindsets. It also attracts more loving experiences and people into your world.
In no time you’ll find that your days are consistently better, more fruitful, and more peaceful. You’ll also find your relationship with yourself and others improve.
Set yourself up for success today. In just 15 minutes you can gain more insights into this method of growth and success for peace, clarity, stronger relationships, and success in every area of your life. Book your free strategy session with me here.
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.
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.
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.
Discover how to connect with influencers, media, and your audience in a powerful way to make them diehard fans of your work.
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.
Have fears have been an obstacle for you, keeping you from achieving peace, confidence, and success? We can change that and empower you to overcome any obstacle that’s keeping your from the peace, clarity, direction and success you want. Set up your free 15 minute strategy session with me now!
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.
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.
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).
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 the gateway to love and peace in every area of your life.
To have true success, you have to let go of what’s broken. If letting go is a challenge for you, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do about it: Set up a time for us to talk today on letting go of fears, negativity, and past hurts that are holding you back. Many of my coaching clients have been learning how to let go of the past and move powerfully into a successful future. You can too. Book your free strategy session with me here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let me tell you a little secret about how to get media (radio, music blogs, podcast hosts, etc) to open your emails.
This secret is what gets them to actually read the email too. And reply to you so you can have a conversation about getting featured on their platform (radio station/show, blog, podcast, etc).
Certain Specifics Are Essential
I’m an uncommon person, meaning that I don’t do things that most people do. Most media people (or people in general) don’t open the majority of emails they get, especially from people they don’t know or have ever talked with.
They either don’t have time, and/or they have so many things on their plate that opening every message from a band announcing their release would take an eternity.
How do you think that musicians or promoters get through to radio and media for feature?
Most people assume that they hire a publicist or PR firm to do this effectively. Sure, you can try that. Your average PR campaign runs at $5000 on the cheap side.
Many of these PR companies send one big blanket email out to a few thousand email addresses. The email might have some nice images embedded, a lot of nice things said about the band and their new release, and even a few quotes or reviews.
These don’t get a response, usually. They don’t get opened much either.
The BIG reason for that is a lack of specifics.
I’m not like most of the media entities out there, even though I get a TON of emails sent to me daily from strangers, all wanting their music featured on my radio show and want to book an interview with me. The more music curators I talk with experience the same things I do.
Some of them reply and ask questions. Some just delete the email. All of them want you to know some specific things before you message them, and state specific things in your email. Here’s what you need to know before sending a cold email to a music curator to pitch your music.
Why Not Every Music Curator Responds To Email Pitches
Since I’m uncommon, I reply to people, even if their email doesn’t say what it is that they want from me.
My response always asks a question, because whether or not I am a good fit for them isn’t as important as them (potentially) seeing how a modification to their methods can bring about better results.
The first thing to be specific about is WHO you want to get in front of. Or better stated, WHO you want to contact.
This means that you’re contacting 1 person, not 10 or 100 people at one time.
One-person-connection is both a mindset shift in the way that you communicate, as well as a focus shift on reaching a particular person that you’ve identified as having your target audience.
You illustrate that you’re specific about wanting to reach this person in 2 ways:
You name their station/program/blog/podcast/platform in the subject line
You address them by name in the opening of the email, and state their platform name in the first paragraph (preferably in the first sentence or two) of your message
The reason why getting specifics on talking to 1 person matters is that the message is personal, targeted and meaningful to the person you want to reach.
How do you feel when someone sends you a spam, blanket email? Does it make you feel like they value you or want to connect with you at all?
Or does it make you feel like you’re just a nameless, faceless number to them?
When you identify a certain person and platform that you want to reach, you create the conduits for connection.
Tap Into How You’re Wired To Make The Connection
We are naturally wired as humans to want to connect 1-1 with people.
This means that you know the person’s name that you’re contacting, and what platform they work on.
Names matter when you’re contacting media. As Dale Carnegie said,
“Names are the most important word in any language.” (How To Win Friends & Influence People)
Getting names right plays a vital role in getting the person to read your email, AND reply to you.
The reply is actually what you want. The reply is golden because it can lead to a conversation and potential collaboration (more on this in the next few days of Growth Farming Lessons).
When you do something that is uncommon and send a personal message to a specific person, you gain their attention, interest, and willingness to hear you out.
You may be wondering how to go about finding the right people to get specific about. Where can you find the right media for your audience? How can you know which media is best for your music to grow your audience?
The process for identifying the right media for you, reaching out to specific people, formatting your messaging and building the relationship is all inside the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, and taught through video in the Indie Radio Promotion Course. That’s a learn-at-your-own pace method of taking what I’ve shown you here and moving into the next steps.