Tag Archives: artists

Expand Your Success By Making It Your Focus


I did a Youtube search for success and motivation. This is what I found. It was incredibly motivational. This same account has a great series of curated success motivation from various movies. I encourage you to look them up.

Success is what anyone with a dream has on their mind 99% of the time.

For me to say that you only need to focus on success in order to achieve sounds pretty silly then, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing: most of us think about being successful a lot, and we want to be successful, but what are we doing about it?

I’m speaking from a little bit of experience because fluctuations in different degrees of success have been achieved over the years, but not to the extent of my deepest inner dreams. And I have to hold myself accountable for that, not anyone else.

Image by  Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Image by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Do you know what the core difference is between high achievers, be it in business, music or entertainment, and everyone else? They all share very similar traits. They all want to be the best, they all dream of being great. And they focus on doing what it takes to make that happen. This last part is the difference maker because focusing on doing what it takes to succeed leads to taking action. Actions lead to results.

How often do you achieve a level of success and then sit back and take a break? I’ve made this mistake far too many times and tasted the bitter results. One success is a big win. Celebrate it. Then move forward to achieve another one and another one and another one.

For artists and musicians this can be getting a feature piece in a prominent blog or magazine that gives your work new exposure to a greater audience. Awesome! Celebrate it. Then use that momentum and go after another media feature to keep building. Share your successes with your audience so they can celebrate your win too.

Entrepreneurs and business owners, this could be landing a sale after months of long weeks and countless hours. You’ve put in overtime and then some and  you’ve finally landed the client or account you’ve been working so hard on. That’s fantastic. Celebrate it with your team, staff, and crew. Take yourself out for a night on the town and get a good night’s rest. Then get back at building on the momentum.

What happens when we only celebrate the win but not doing anything to build on it is the momentum fizzles out. The success of the achievement loses its wind and it feels like starting all over again from scratch, like trying to roll a giant stone out of the way with no one to help push. The debilitating feeling of starting all over again keeps us working harder than we should, sacrificing more than we need to for that next win.

Would you like consecutive wins and more success? Would you like to be able to build on your victories over and over again? Good. Let’s talk about what practical steps you can take today to make that happen again and again this week. Let me know what’s obstacle is standing in the way of you winning.

The Art Of Finding What You’re Looking For

abstract-summer-background_MkgLu3u_Remember the U2 song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For?

Sorry Bono, we’re all in your boat too.

I spent my youth and young adulthood looking for something. I (sort of) knew what it was, yet it remained a mystery at the same time. At various intervals I thought I’d finally found it and could relax. The hunt was over, finally. A short time later, however, it became clear that only a piece of what I was looking for had been found, and not the whole thing. So the hunt began again.

Do you think I’m talking about love? In a way I am, but not the romantic kind (that’s a whole OTHER story for a later time).

I was searching for fulfillment, or purpose. It’s what we’re all on a quest for, partially one reason why we’re artists, creative people and/or individuals who get get categorized as entrepreneurs because we venture into unknowns often without a clear map of what’s in front of us.

Sound familiar?

There was a time I thought I’d found fulfillment by way of occupation. I wanted to be on the radio and had achieved that by the age of 16, working as a DJ at a station in Alvin, Tx (89.7 KACC) while in high school. A decade later I was running a public radio station (KACU in Abilene) and had created a music program (The Appetizer Radio Show) that would eventually be picked up on other radio stations across the country (through syndication). I got a piece of fulfillment in each of these capacities, a degree of purpose, but not the whole thing I was searching for.

Changing jobs and industries at the age of 31 after 15 years in the same industry altered the purpose card quite a bit. Suddenly I was in a new world with many new things to learn. I had transitioned into the realm of infinity, aka online marketing. I still do a little work in this industry, but have since transitioned yet again.

I say all of this for a little context. I’m a pretty consistent person who is big on commitments and not jumping from one thing to the next every so often. After graduation from college in 2004, I held a job with the same organization for nearly a decade. I’m good at sticking with a job. However, after switching to marketing in 2013, I quickly learned that your career path and your purpose in life are a rough marriage. They’re linked, yes indeed. But they aren’t always the same thing.

I’ve since shifted the job stuff again, now more in the self-employed sector of the job market. It’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. But that’s not the point. The point is, in each shift, I found a different piece of the fulfillment I was searching for, and made an interesting discovery in the process:

The art of finding what you’re looking for is an evolutionary process that begins at birth and ends at death.

The idea that you reach a destination in your lifetime where you are completely fulfilled with nothing else to aspire to is missing the mark. The pursuit itself is the purpose.

Goal setting is a piece of my life, as it is yours. There are certain things I’ve set out to achieve early in life  that I’m still chasing after. Since I’m still pursuing them, and “success” as I envision it hasn’t happened yet in a gigantic capacity, means there are some more pieces I’ve yet to acquire. So the hunt continues.

At different stages of this journey, I’ve had to learn some powerful lessons, and seek help from people with experience in things I know not of. These stages are necessary in reaching the next fulfillment milestone.

One thing I used to wish was available for me to gain assistance was a How-To guide for radio program creation and development. I spent a few years scouring every online and brick/mortar book store for a book or blog on how to take an existing program and get it carried on stations across the country. When I was looking for this, it didn’t exist. Today, there are millions of artists and entrepreneurs just like you, trying to find the same answers. How do you get your work accepted by other people, people you don’t know, so that you can grow your platform?

I learned from trial and error, risk and reward, mistakes and successes what worked and what didn’t to get The Appetizer Radio Show syndicated. I used my time, energy, and limited financial resources along with networking and relationship building to make it happen. I wanted someone to show me how and instead I found my own path.

Now I know the reason for this: part of my fulfillment in life is teaching others how to do things. There was no teacher for me in this way so I was given a way to learn something that I could later teach others. Now I can teach you how to do exactly what I did. All it takes is a commitment to process, a mind willing to learn, and just a little money.

Want to learn the art of finding what you’re looking for? Reach me directly below and let’s talk about how you can find your next piece of fulfillment with your project.

How To Boost Your Audience With A Free Cookie

heartcookieAudience growth is an endeavor every entity, musician, business, artist, and random guy on youtube is engaged in. Every hour of every single day.

For musicians, the use of cover songs posted on their websites and done in videos (in particular) has been a great way to connect with prospective new fans, and introduce them to your original music.

There is another way, and it’s a fairly familiar method: the FREE song giveaway.

Noisetrade has been incredibly successful with this means of audience growth, whereby an artist can post a single, short EP, or even a full album on their site for free download. The listener only has to provide their name and email in exchange for the free music. I’ve used Noisetrade for several years to discover great new artists, and then feature the better songs on The Appetizer Radio Show to promote the artists. Other radio outlets do the same.

Some artists are turned off at the thought of “giving their music away,” so they pick one of their lesser songs to offer to potential fans.

How would that work for a bakery?

This is where the Free Cookie is so powerful. A local bakery has a very specific market, in many ways restricted to location and confined by proximity to a major grocery store chain. The comparison works well, because as a DIY or indie artist, you have some confines that an artist on a major label or even a larger indie label doesn’t have. How you attract new fans is very similar. Here’s how great bakeries do it.

cakesliceGreat local bakeries offer a free cookie. The bakery builds its reputation for having some truly excellent cake, particularly their lemon mousse crepe cake, and their family recipe sopapillas. Both of those offerings are a little more expensive, but if you get a chance to have a slice or a piece, you’ll buy the whole thing and arm wrestle your coworkers or family to keep them away from it.

The bakery also serves other deserts and caters primarily to an audience who uses their offerings for parties, gatherings, and the morning breakfast desert try. A cup of coffee and a croissant is perfect to take in to work. Yet, the local bakery has to keep working to attract new customers, because settling for only the same people won’t allow them to grow, expand, and set up that other bakery on the other side of town, or even the one 30 miles down the highway in a different town, despite the desire of that town’s residents for their unique foods.

How does the bakery use a free cookie to get new customers, and in essence grow their audience? That free cookie is outstanding. It’s chocolate chip, the most popular and appealing cookie. It’s soft, not hard, fresh out of the oven, and the chocolate chips are of a quality that is not generic. The cookie tastes so good, you inherently want to try everything else in the store. Suddenly, price isn’t a consideration anymore when it comes to that chocolate brownie cake, or the angel food cake with swirly icing.

You’re sold on the rest of the baker’s offerings because that cookie was so amazing, everything else in the store must be just as good or better. In reality, the cookie recipe for the baker has been worked on and crafted for years. She makes those cookies all the time, has the process down to a matter of minutes, and has easily trained her assistants to make them with little effort. That cookie is amazing, but its creation daily takes little effort and minimal cost. Yet it turns casual individuals into die hard customers.

Here’s where your free song boosts your audience growth.

Give away the track that has been in your repertoire for a little while, one that you are fairly known for with your core audience and is regularly talked about amongst your most ardent fans. That’s the one you can play at any show or on when asked on the spot and it be a wonderful experience. Maybe you have a few different versions of it, and you can cycle through those variations every few months to give away something a little different.

Here’s where the responsibility to have the amazing cakes to truly wow your prospective fans comes in: If the rest of your offering isn’t amazing ,the free song is the best thing about you. If the free song is the best thing about  you, and your other music doesn’t scream “AMAZING,” there is some development that needs to be done with your sound and songwriting. The majority of the rest of your music catalog should be great music, music that hooks people into wanting more.

Ultimately the baker is using the free offering to not just get someone in the door. She wants to create an opportunity for a new soul to experience her crafted and unique offering and build a connection with that person. The free cookie serves as the perfect introduction point because she knows her chocolate chip cookie is great. She also knows that the rest of her cakes, cookies, pies, and everything else is truly fantastic, and it’s just a matter of getting someone in the door to have an experience that will make them a die hard fan. She’s also fairly confident that once someone tries her food, they won’t settle for a second rate knock-off at a grocery store or general food outlet.

6172115189_f0b6c08598_zThat’s the same mantra for indie musicians who know that what they offer is Top-Shelf stuff. The free song is the teaser that leads to the exploration of your songbook. Give away an amazing cookie and you can convert a fan instantly. An average cookie (free song) might get them to look at a video or something else on your site, but chances are the mildly sweet flavor and crumbled pieces will just make them want to go find a better cookie elsewhere.

Instead, make that free song the best cookie that they’ll experience all day, or all week. And invite them into your greater songbook with it. Provide an opportunity to experience even more great sounds and stories with the rest of your offerings. When that free song knocks their socks off, they’ll not only flock to the rest of your songbook, but they’ll share your music with their friends. That’s the organic growth that every musician dreams of. All it takes is one fabulous and free cookie.

Do you know if your music is of the caliber to convert a casual listener into a die hard fan, even if you gave away your best song? Have you tried this in the past and it work, but now you’re considering doing it again? Or have you tried giving away music before and it didn’t work how you wanted it to? Let’s talk about how your free song (cookie) can bring in new folks and boost your audience. Contact me in the box below.

*Note: All cookie and baking images are from my better half-Mrs. Smith. She’s not officially a baker by trade but has built a giant reputation for amazing food. Her free recipes on her website have led to massive growth in her audience and business. Read more about her HERE.

Quality Issue With Radio And Music

Radio Mic Old FashionedToday I’m going to give you Keys To The Having Remarkable Sound.

Radio wants good sound. I’m going to reiterate that a bit here but dive deeper into the elements of that sound beyond just the production. But production is where we start.

Sound quality is the number 1 requirement for station managers and program directors in both realms of radio (the commercial side as well as the public/community/web radio avenues).

When big time mainstream artists release “demo” tracks, notice the amount of production work that has been done to the quality so that it’s “radio friendly.” There are exceptions to this rule, and some stations don’t hold to the sound quality requirement due to their broadcast signal, but for the most part quality is king here.

It’s audio only, therefore the sound quality having the top criteria makes sense.Where this applies to you is everything you post on your website, social platforms, and music outlets is a reflection of your brand.

Radio has a QUALITY rule, and you should too.

Put music out to your fans that is of high quality, preferably that has been worked through some form of studio recording and given a little tweaking on the EQ for the best quality.

Remember, some of these recordings and songs could be the first impression you make with a potential fan. You want that first impression to be positive, so give them a reason to come back. Plus, you want the music you link to or include with your Press Kit to be the best reflection of your band/brand that it can be.

Can you still release a demo version of a song or maybe even a video of a new tune you’re working on to your fans? Yes, of course.

There are exceptions to nearly every rule out there, and there are times when a short demo recording could be released to get a feel for what your Super-Fans think. But be careful with how you do that, and don’t make releasing unfinished songs as demos a part of your music release strategy for everything you do.

What if you’re cash-strapped, how can you get a high quality recording of your music made to post to your Soundcloud page? Wouldn’t it be better to release something so you have a representation of your sound?

Good question. This is the reason (excuse) many artists make for putting lesser-quality music on their site or sending to stations. It’s a bad idea.

[Gut Check]  The reason for that has a lot more to do with what stage of the music process you’re on. This may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. From the perspective of a decision-maker for programming, you need to have experience doing this for a little while to be taken seriously, especially when it comes to releasing music for distribution.

If you’re using Reverbnation or Facebook page to get more fans, you can do that and still have a good quality recording. There are ways to get a strong quality recording of your music without having to spend thousands of dollars in a big studio. If you need help doing this, just ask me. The key point though is that you should make quality of recording a big priority for your music.

Quality is a branding avenue in music

As you prepare to post your brand to the world, make sure you are putting representations of yourself that truly reflect the high quality of art that you create. You don’t have to promote every single one of your songs, or promote each new one.
Make sure the music you are publishing for people to see is your best work, and make sure you’re playing these songs at shows. Don’t promote music to radio that you aren’t playing live in your gigs. That won’t serve your best efforts.

The Secret To Getting More

MusicFansAtConcertThere’s an adage in life that the more you gain the more you grow. We all want more of something, be it money, opportunities, fan/followers, happiness, etc.

The idea of more=more is built on the notion that as you increase exposure of your music and your unique offering, you add fans. With added fans comes the increased opportunity to perform which leads to a larger amount of income from your musical endeavors. This is the more that you want.

More=MORE

We know but aren’t always prepared to experience the more than we don’t want. This is increased competition, a growth in the amount of doors to go through or hoops to jump through to get to the people we want to reach. There is an unspecified amount of time and repetition of endeavors that is required to convert someone from just knowing about you into following you, then more time and effort to convert the follower into the fan who attends gigs and buys music. It’s more time. With time comes the increase in opportunities to be frustrated and potentially give up. This happens far too often.

To compensate for that negative variation of more, artists will throw money at the issue, hoping that will turn the tide. Sometimes it does, but other times it just creates even more of the thing we don’t want: the state we are in. It also creates a hole we feel we can’t get out of.

6924223634_74e709f616_oWe spend a lot of time comparing our success (or failure) to other people we know who we think are in the same boat we are. It could be a solo performer in your city who started performing around the same time you did, maybe even in the same venues. You’ve built up a friendship with this artist and enjoy what they do. You even like their music. But they seem to be more successful at getting other people’s attention and showing up to gigs, and it appears that they sell more music that you do. They’re getting the more that you want. Why aren’t you?

If it turns out that they’re doing some of the same things that you are doing to attract new fans and followers, promoting your gigs and shows, and also putting your music out to the world, but not seeing the same results, that more aspect of frustration comes in. What gives? How can one thing work perfectly well for one person but not for you? I’ve been there, and it is very frustrating.

The key thing to realize is that the “secret” to getting the more you want and eliminating the more you don’t isn’t this elusive item that is only accessible to some people, but not to you. The secret doesn’t actually exist, meaning that there isn’t a one-way formula for success in all aspects of your music that once you discover, all of your worries will disappear and you’ll find gold at every turn.

The keys to having the more of what you want is to be constantly learning and adapting to changes. Nothing stays the same, so when you find something that works, continue to work at it and cultivate it. Doing so will make what works, work better. Instead of asking what your music network is doing to grow their fan base and get people to their show, try asking if you can play a show with them and watch what they do in action. Maybe there are some behind-the-scenes things they’re doing to engage with their fan base that you can try out. You could even ask them what they would do to get more people to attend shows if they were in your shoes. That personal application can make a really big difference.

That one-on-one insight is actually one of the main so-called secrets to achieving the good version of more. A generic plan or series of suggestions that anyone can do to produce results will only take you so far. This is the real value of coaching and mentoring. With someone who has experience in the realms that you want to grow in, helping you navigate through that process is the real key to achieving the growth that you’re looking for.

Do you really want more of the good growth? Let me know how I can help you.