Tag Archives: business

Mark Steiner On How To Build A Successful Company

mark steiner gigsalad entrepreneur creative

Mark Steiner

In the 16 years I’ve worked with for profit and nonprofit businesses, particularly in radio, media, and the entertainment industry. There are a few key things that make for thriving organizations.

I knew from the first conversation I had with Mark Steiner at GigSalad that he had cracked the code too. In this podcast episode we both share our perspectives on what makes growth work for entrepreneurs, small businesses, artists & musicians. We find common ground and a lot of perspective that helps to put the art of Growth Farming to work.

Mark Steiner On The DIY Artist Route Podcast

Part of what put me on Mark’s radar is the platform he created and owns that is a marketplace for both musicians, entertainers, and speakers to land better gigs. Every musician I talk with struggles to figure out how to get booked at better venues and how to make their tour schedules work. GigSalad is one method that musicians, artists, entertainers, and motivational speakers can use to land more gigs. Building your reputation in the process is also what drives growth and success here.

I wanted to talk with Mark Steiner because of GigSalad but also because he’s an entrepreneur who has illustrated very specific key points to the Growth Farming method. One particular point he’s lived out is illustrated about 35 minutes into the podcast where we discuss the difference between being selfish and loving yourself:

“If you truly love yourself in the purest sense of the word, that you’re patient with yourself, you’re kind, not rude, you have compassion and love. Then the absolute natural, the absolute natural manifestation of that is love that you give to others. It just oozes out of you. So if you have people who are not expressing love then they’re not loving themselves.”

Throughout our conversation you hear a man who has come to terms with life itself, battled his own sense of identity and made some amazing discoveries in the process. We also talk about the idea of the Heart Garden, which is core to Growth Farming as a means of success.

Inside each and every one of us is a garden. The fruits that come forth out of our lives (our words, actions and attitudes) come from what we plant inside of us. Mark’s success in his business as an artist and entrepreneur illustrate his growth in building the right kind of garden.

One of the past DIY Artist Route Podcast guests, Steve Palfreyman, shares a similar ethos. There’s a lot here that pertains to emotional intelligence, which is a key point to success for any entrepreneur, business, or organization. It’s very much what Mark says here:

“I know my strengths and what I’m good at and I follow what comes natural to me, which is emotional intelligence. I’m comfortable there. I can talk about my feelings and other people’s feelings and relationships. I think those are the driving forces to any successful business.”

There’s a lot of joy that is gleaned from this podcast experience. There’s also a lot of wisdom. What does it take for you to really build success over time, cultivate strong relationships with people to open new doors, and see real fruits come forth? Adopt the method and advice that Mark Steiner illustrates in this conversation.

More On GigSalad & Growth Opportunities

On a side note, I’ve been using GigSalad as a way to get my name out for more opportunities and the system is well setup. Their support team is a group of fantastic people who are easy to work with and will help you along the way. I really believe in this marketplace, and I’m not being paid to say that.

You can get more info on Mark and get signed up for free to use GigSalad here.

Putting it all together for your artistry is also illustrated in both The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, and the Seth Godin Growth Farming Method Ebook.

 

 

Success In Music & Business Is In The Knowing Relationship

The music industry is just like any business. It’s relationship driven. Go to Hollywood and the people who continue to grow and land new opportunities are the ones utilizing their relationship connections. The tech world is the same. So are most business industries. The knowing is where the secret sauce of success is.

Relationship

Why then is it so hard for musicians in the indie, unsigned, and DIY world having such a hard time understanding this simple truth? The mantra of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go out into the world” is a bit of a misnomer.

Yes, you have to do the work for yourself to make growth happen. You can outsource some of the pieces, but you have to build your career to a place where outsourcing is possible and efficient. However, your ability to build relationships with other professionals in the industry is the main ingredient to short term growth, and long term success. This truth and the method for making it happen for you is detailed in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s all who you know in this business” to become successful. That’s true. Yet it’s only partially true. There’s another side to this that determines whether the people you know who have clout and influence will be beneficial to you. And there’s a way to know if you have this other side solved or if you need to dive deeper into the relationship-building process.

Who knows you back?

Over the past 2 months while connecting with new professionals, musicians, industry insiders, and business experts, this subject has come up multiple times. We all agree that relationships are both the engine and the fuel that propel all of us forward. However, we get confused too often into believing that if we just get an industry pro to follow us on social media or like something we post, that now we’re connected. It’s partially true at best.

Networking, in the classic business sense, has to do with a collaboration. There’s a mutual benefit between two parties, who come to know of this reciprocal connection from having interactions and conversations. You don’t get that relationship interaction from clicking “Like” on a post, or even exchanging a few words in a comment thread.

You can start this kind of connection through dialogue. Asking questions, getting answers, and opening yourself up for communication that is back and forth is how any relationship is built. It’s how you go from the idea of “knowing someone” to them knowing you back. Until someone knows you back, and there’s a dialogue that leads to some kind of collaboration, you’ve only solved part of the problem.

handshake

When we reach out to new folks online, we’re extending our hand to create a digital handshake. This can be done through email, Facebook message, DM on Twitter, or comment on a site. The response is where the beginning of them reaching back out to you happens. When that outreach is reciprocated and conversation happens, a relationship connection can be built.

The knowing goes both ways

I’ve got to give credit to putting the phrasing of “knowing you back” to my friend Shaine Freeman of The Miews Podcast. Shaine and I see growth and success for musicians very similarly. It seems like the business world understands the need for relationship connection to grow and find success. Music and musicians seem to have missed the bus on this reality. If you want to really have a successful career, understand that it’s not just who you know, but who knows you back.

DGS_RadioHandbook_Cover-1AMake building reciprocal relationships your goal and you’ll win. Discover the proven step-by-step process for doing this in your music career through outreach to radio and media in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, now in Audiobook for a limited time on Noisetrade for free. Get it now.

Have A Conversation And Make A Ruckus With Seth Godin

Get up close insights into the very big subjects Seth and I discussed in the podcast, along with next-steps for you to apply his wisdom to grow your music or creative project. Download it now here.

How do you get someone you don’t know but highly value to notice you?

That’s a great question. I don’t think there is a one-size fits all answer to it, but I do think that the power of intention can play a big role. You also have to be authentic, and have had some experience with the person you are seeking the attention from, or at least experience with their work (make note musicians, this is for you).

It’s no secret I’m a fan of Seth Godin’s work. His book All Marketers Are Liars/Tell Stories is on my book list from 2015. When I started the DIY Artist Route Podcast last year, he was on my bucket list to get as a guest. I honestly didn’t know if that would ever happen, but it has.

I talk a lot about being Uncommon. It’s a subject Seth covers in detail in his book Purple Cow. I urge you as a creator, builder and member of humanity to be a positively uncommon person for the betterment of yourself and all of us.

The insights from Seth through his blog, books and other media have been a wonderful guide for me in my development as a community builder. His participation in the DIY Artist Route Podcast adds to this development for all of us together.

Seth Godin is an uncommon person who shows us how we can be too

There’s a fun story I’ll tell at some point as to how Seth and I connected. A part of it is this idea that all of us in the creative realm are looking for the Promise Land (i.e. that place where our dreams will come into fruition). At the same time hoping to find a Moses in the wilderness to help take us there. That desert and Moses is a big part of our conversation in this podcast episode.

Do you feel like you’ve been wandering in an unknown land, trying to navigate the course towards success and growth as an artist or creative entrepreneur? I sure have. If you’ve left your job or what you were accustomed to doing, so you could build your own thing, you understand. All the choices, options, and things you’re “supposed to do” to win in this game can easily consume your time each day. That’s why Seth Godin has been like a Moses for a lot of people, including me.

Though he’s known for being a best selling author and business writer, and his blog is something where you find incredible insight, I learned from our chat that Seth used to have his own record label. His affinity for art, music, and expression is fairly obvious, but these little pieces of newness make for an even more enriched story line.

Stories are a big part of everything we do. I’m learning more and more about the power of them in how growth and enrichment works in the communities we build. The power of stories are talked about in our conversation, and honestly something I’m becoming more open to sharing. We should tell the stories that take place in our lives, both our own histories and our present work. It’s important for our communities to better connect with each other through storytelling.

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Seth Godin Seth Godin[/caption]

Make a ruckus. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s what matters.

Are there questions you’re still sorting through from this conversation? Did Seth Godin challenge your ideas of what you’ve been building or even how you see your own work? I am still working through questions from our conversation, and I imagine I will for some time.

Which is part of the joy of getting to engage with someone like Seth Godin. The conversation creates new, challenging questions that move us forward.

That final thing he said about the grass is green and our real job is being a farmer (not a hunter) has been in my head since we spoke a few weeks back. I hope it stays there for a very long time. I’ve spent far too much time hunting, and not enjoying the process as much. What about you?

The best conversations are ones that challenge us to think more and more deeply. I’m still thinking on these things. Let’s think on them together. Hit me up and we can talk about how these ideas fit into what you’re working on and building.

This conversation is further explored with specific insights, tips, and methods to put Growth Farming to work for you and your creative project in this Free Ebook. Download here.

Book List: The Top 13 Books I Read This Year

D Grant Smith-2015 Booklist
After an inspiration from one of the authors you’ll read about soon, I’ve made my first ever book list. I read a lot of books in 2015. These are the best ones of the pack, most of which are Business and Self-Help books with a few biographies and memoirs.

There are affiliate links presented here if you want to buy any of these titles from Amazon. Yes, you’ll be helping me if you buy through my affiliate links and I do appreciate that. If you choose to shop for them at a book store or Goodwill (where I have found a few of these titles) that works too.

The big thing for me is to have a book list given to you to help you grow. Feel free to comment or message me on suggestions you have. If you’re not a member of my subscription list, sign up now to get a bonus mentioned at the end of this list. Connect with me on Goodreads and let’s talk books. You can see my recents and favorites in the widget at the bottom.

The Top 13 Books Read in 2015 (in no particular order)

1. All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authen ticity Is the Best Marketing of All
by Seth Godin

A manifesto on the power of story-telling with anyone who has something to sell be it a product, service or (namely) themselves. Our inability to get people on board with what we do has more to do with our inability to convert powerful stories that incite action than it does our ability to deliver great work. It’s up to us to be better storytellers to grow the exposure and (ultimately) marketing strength that we seek to build and expand.

2. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help By Amanda Palmer

It is a year of reading manifestos, because Mrs. Palmer’s book was a revolutionary piece of writing that spoke to the inner depths of my heart and soul, addressing fears that have stayed with me for most of my life. I credit this book with being a prime source for overcoming these fears and challenging many debilitating thoughts that have hindered my personal and professional growth. It’s also why (and how) I was able to launch my first ever crowd funding campaign and exceed the goal, because learning the art of asking and admitting that you don’t have all the answers (or all the power or all the skills) to do what you dream of doing is a gift in and of itself. Aside from that, Amanda embodies the strengths of seeing individuals wholly, which garners people into her spheres and increases the audience connection she’s fostered for years. It’s very inspirational.

3. Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage By Richard Stengel

I read this book because I believe that we can learn the art of forgiveness and wholeness without fostering bitterness and resentment to others. I knew that from the history of what Mandela experienced post prison. I didn’t know how. Come to find out that Mandela’s peace with his captors was an internal decision to not sink to their level. Though he was technically in prison physically, he refused to think like a prisoner, nor be treated as one. His mental strength was superior to anyone he experienced in prison and he brought that strength (and matured experience) with him when he became South Africa’s President/Prime Minister. Forgiveness isn’t just a decision we make about the people who wrong us, it’s a decision we make about ourselves and how we see our individual worth. That’s the way of Mandela.

4. The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino

I’ve long felt that sales is the biggest weakness I have as a business person, and picking up this book at Goodwill was the direction of seeking a path to become a better salesman. This book is a work of fiction, ultimately, told as a parable about a servant to a great merchant in the Middle East who is tasked with trying to sell a garment that would end up doing so much more. There’s a biblical allegory in the tale but what I did learn from it is that giving to others and sacrificing (at times) what is in your own self-interest for the interest of someone else can result in greater reward that fulfilling that personal interest could ever give you.

5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I had heard that this was a ground-breaking book but I didn’t know exactly how. Amazon recommended it too. Fortunately, Goodwill had it for 50 cents and I got to own it on the cheap. Pausch was a lecturer at Carnegie Mellon who specialized in virtual reality and got terminal cancer. He was asked to give a last lecture on what was most important in life. The entire book I thought was leading up to his actual copy for the lecture, but it wasn’t. He pulled a head fake (you’ll have to read the book to get what that means). The end results of reading this book is looking at life and the pursuit of happiness differently, not because a man’s dying words were to do so but because of the powerful stories expressed here left an inspiration to do more, be more, and matter more to the people in my life than merely just being a big name could every achieve.

6. Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches by Steve Harvey

I’ve always liked Steve Harvey, from his days on the Kings Of Comedy Tour to his work hosting the Family Feud. Despite the recent “event/scandal” with Miss Universe and the teleprompter, Mr. Harvey is a class act and someone worth modeling after. I didn’t know how much of an inspiration he is as a person until reading this book, nor did I know the challenges and obstacles he faced to get to where he is. I didn’t realize that Steve had been homeless for a while, had worked in a few jobs that were not in the entertainment world until he knuckled down and focused his complete attention on what he wanted. Most of this book is about the act of thinking like successful people think, which ended up being a concurrent theme in the majority of the books I read this year. One of the most powerful elements of the book deal with understanding who you are and what vehicles you take on your path to reaching the goals you set. Often times we look at our vehicles as the identifier to who we are, instead of just seeing it as a part of the journey. This truth alone is worth diving into the book and discovering the rest of Mr. Harvey’s wisdom.

7. Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin

I’ll admit to being a Bruce Springsteen super fan. More than that, I’m a student of the art of building a super fan base. The Boss is certainly one of the rare artists who has garnered a strong, loyal, and passionate following that has stayed with him for 40 years. People sell their belongings and travel the country to see him perform. Only a handful of artists in history have garnered the loyal base of followers that Springsteen has. This book is more than a history of Bruce and how he became a star. It’s the only authorized biography written in the last few decades, recording even exclusive interviews with friends, family, and band members that other writers don’t have access to. How do you build an army of super fans? Read this book and learn the Springsteen method. It will change the way you go about trying to build your brand name.

8. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

This was an Amazon purchase and worth every penny. Reading this book would lead to more self-discovery than just about anything else, and make me a big fan of Ryan Holiday. This book list is also inspired by Mr. Holiday’s influence.

I’m inspired by the underdog story, hence my fascination and obsession with the Rocky movies (among other stories). The concept implied in the title of this book was reason enough to pick it up. It also turned me on to Ryan Holiday as a voice of direction in a confusing world of mass-marketing. Drawing on the wisdom of the Stoics (namely Marcus Arilious), Holiday illustrates through stories past and present the power of using our greatest challenges as the means of overcoming them, showing that we have the power to turn our giants into vehicles that propel us forward instead of being the things that hold us back.

9. The Martian by Andy Weir

I didn’t read a ton of fiction this year, but this book was certainly worth the experience. A remarkably quick read and a compelling story that keeps you tuned in the entire time (I stayed up late night after night to get further along in this), The Martian has recently been turned into a film and rightfully so. It tells the tale of Mark Watney, an astronaut who becomes stranded alone on the planet Mars and has to use his wit, engineering, and dogged determination to figure out how to survive long enough to make contact with earth and pray for a means to intercept a returning voyage of astronauts or die alone on the planet. It’s riveting and full of adventure, and will also make you thankful that you live on earth. And it will make you appreciate the brilliance of your average scientist a little more, as well as those who work for NASA. Seriously, rocket science isn’t for the faint of heart (or mind).

10. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

This is a Must-Read for anyone in management, leadership, or building an organization. Diving into what makes great companies just that, great, Simon illustrates that no one gets behind the What of our business, but will support the Why when it is conveyed with clarity. Leadership who follows the precepts outlined in this book are destined to increase not only their bottom line, but also the people who talk about the greatness of what you are leading. This book was recommended by my mentor Steve P and I highly recommend it to you.

11. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker

I picked this up in Audiobook from Half-Price books and listened to it at least 3 times beginning to end. In 3 short discs, Eker illustrates the powerful differences between three different mindsets that are prevalent in America: Poor, Middle-Class, and Wealthy (or Rich). I gained a lot of insights into how wealthy people as a whole think about opportunities, wealth building, relationships, growth, giving, and working starkly different than even middle-class people. One of the biggest lessons gained is that when given (what seems like) a choice between two things, poor and middle-class mindedness will choose one or the other. Wealthy mindedness will choose both. This is just one of several valuable nuggets of wisdom that changed the way I think to increase how I operate my business and family, all with great results.

12. Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig and Marc Kielburger

This year I really dove into the power of community-building, adopting the core principles of community-enrichment as the foundational mission for all I do. This was certainly one of the best books on the subject, highlighting how people around the world who have embraced a We mindset of helping others have transformed societies and helped communities of people thrive. There are great real-world examples that Craig and his brother Marc use including spending time with Mother Teresa to illustrate the power of giving, service, and individual sacrifice in the name of helping others to cut away from the selfish nature of Me-First that dominates the American way of life, and move into a We-First attitude that has made strong, vibrant communities around the world. It’s great examples of real people doing these acts that inspire the kind of change our politicians and leaders aspire to do.

13. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday

I’ll admit, I became a fan of Mr. Holiday this year. Following The Obstacle Is The Way, I bookmarked on my Amazon account this book and bought it for myself for my birthday. The new revised version has even more great content in just 120 short pages. It’s a thorough guide to how to adopt a mindset change to dramatically increase your audience base and marketability with little to no budget, paired with some additional materials including a FAQ and other bonuses. I’m already putting this book into practice and it’s super-charging what both of my businesses are doing. Look for Ryan to be a guest on my podcast in the coming months where he’ll talk more with us on the power of growth hacking, and how you can implement it into your work, especially for DIY musicians and entrepreneurs.

In conclusion there’s more to come in 2016 including a book by me

This year also marked the completion of my first book, which will be published officially in a few months. It’s called The Radio Promotion Handbook: The DIY Musician’s Guide To Growth Hacking Your Audience Building And Networking Through Strategic Radio Airplay. I’m going to be talking about this a lot in the coming months, and some of the biggest lessons learned from this book list found its way into this upcoming book.

Members of my subscription list (up top in the left column) will get a special discount on this book, and those who buy my upcoming book will get an even bigger discount on The Indie Radio Promotion Course. Sign up now if you haven’t already.

Who I Am And What I’m Really All About

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotThis isn’t a typical blog post, with tips or insights into growth strategies. Instead, I just want to shoot from the hip with a little insight about why I post the content I do each week, what drives the subject matter, and who I am so that you can have a better grid for connecting with me.

In the end, that’s what I’m striving for with this online platform: connecting with you.

We connect with people we relate to, folks whose stories are similar to ours and who show us a part of who they are that syncs with who we are.

I work in two seemingly different fields (music and the entrepreneurial business world), but actually they’re very similar. You can read the About page for more of my history, but all of those experiences lead to very concrete ways of doing things in a practical sense, especially since what I do involves working one-on-one with people.

Instead of a narrative, I’ve been asked some questions in an interview format that I’ll share with you so you can know a little more about why I do what I do (and more specifics on the what as well).

Q: What are you passionate about in your career?

I’m excited and passionate about people. I spent a very long time in life being afraid of people, scared for a few different reasons, but mostly thinking that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, or worse, taken advantage of. In the past few years I’ve come out of that shell, thanks to many great people including mentors and my amazing wife.

It’s people who have reshaped my career. Working both in radio, the music industry, and the nonprofit sector, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been impacted through the relationships, networking, and mentoring of some great individuals who changed the way I see myself and the world.

That’s one thing that has made The Appetizer Radio Show so fulfilling to me personally over the past decade and more. Helping to launch someone from unknown and uncelebrated to nationally recognized, showcased, and prized is a big deal. Sharing in someone’s underdog story as they rise to success is a very fulfilling part of why I do what I do.

Q: What or who are you most passionate about?

I mentioned fears earlier, and I think most artists and creative people share some of the same fears. Overcoming them is a vital part of the growth and success process, and at times it’s a daily exercise. From my experience, I’m drawn to people who feel like they’ve been ignored or skipped over by pop culture, who don’t fit neatly into boxes, who have the odds stacked against them but who have a fire burning in them to win. Their ambition and goals aren’t too big for their circumstances. They just need a little help and direction. They are the Rockys who need a Mickey in their corner (I speak often in metaphors and boxing provides plenty of them for me).

Q: What do you believe in?

This is one of my philosophies: Talent is important but by itself it won’t lead to consistent wins, or even the wins that matter most. Heart and determination, paired with talent, that will take you to bigger and better place, and more powerful wins along the way. That’s what champions are made from, talent plus heart plus determination.

The quality of your character is the most important thing for who you are. Do what you say you will do. Treat others with love always. And true power doesn’t come from one person, but instead from the power of community and relationships.

Q: You writing a lot about being uncommon, building community and growth. Ultimately what is the message you are trying to communicate?

The world is inherently selfish. As individuals, it’s in our nature to be very Me-First in what we do and each of us has to deal with those tendencies in our own ways. This leads to a very important question that each of us has to answer as we face our path forward to success: How do you get people to take notice of you and unplug from themselves so that you can build an audience, a following, and a growing platform?

I think we look at the ground, plants, and trees for wisdom here. You water their tree. The basic roots of relationship are in sharing, but giving is required to start. It’s human nature to put yourself out front and shout for attention. What happens when someone notices you first and engages with you? Something happens that is dynamic in its connection power between you and that person. We care about people who engage with us. You then become a fan of this person in some way. So to attract a fan, maybe you should think about the reverse path of how they would come to you and go to them in that way.

Be Uncommon

To build anything you need strong roots. Roots that are deep and well connected to resources. Those take water and a process for growth. I want to be better at growing strong, solid roots and that’s what I work at every day. It’s what I write about here on this blog, speak about at events and engagements, and coach my clients with in their development. Growing roots and nourishing the connections we have to the people we want fruit from is the key to success, to winning at this game called business and life.

Doing growth and process this way is not ordinary, it’s not common. Common people follow the herd and do what everyone else does because it feels safe and not risky. Yet the more people do the same thing in terms of trying to be heard, the more noise that gets put out there. Noise doesn’t lead to wins. That’s why I talk so much about being uncommon. The uncommon path and uncommon people are the ones who are well received, prized and showcased. True, loyal, and solid fans/audiences don’t follow regular or common artists. They follow amazing and uncommon ones. That’s what we can build together.

Q: How about some other insights into who you are that are not business, music or career related?

I’m a staunch Alabama Crimson Tide fan, but only during football season even though I didn’t go to college there. I do love football. My favorite player of all time is Bo Jackson because he was simply a superhero on the field and we share a birthday. If you haven’t seen the 30 for 30 biography on him, Netflix it today.

DGrantTexansManningJerseyBeerUntil last year I was a pretty die hard Houston Texans fan and continue to follow them but for different reasons. I’m a super fan in most areas, so if I follow something it’s with all of my heart. Honestly I was a Texans fan because they had Danieal Manning at safety and he played at ACU when I was in college there. Manning was the first player to be drafted out of ACU since Wilbert Montgomery in the 70s. Unfortunately for my fandom, Manning retired this year and the secondary of the Texans has suffered for it, but that’s my opinion.

I’m a big fan of Batman, in particular the Christopher Nolen Dark Knight trilogy. Actually I have all of the books related to the movies including the novelizations. I’m very nerdy about that stuff. I do have a ton of comics and graphic novels as well. I think Jeph Loeb, Frank Miller, and Brian Azzarello’s writing is top shelf (excluding The Dark Knight Strikes Back, that was rubbish). On the subject of books, I’m an avid reader and am usually reading at least 2 books at a time.

My favorite thing in the whole world is having engaging conversations with people. I love to grab a beer or coffee and talk about anything and everything. Again, people are what I’m really passionate about.

I’m married to a gorgeous and amazing woman who inspires me every day to do things I haven’t thought of, and who makes me laugh harder than anyone on earth. If you want some truly fantastic storytelling plus really awesome DIY ideas for your home, visit her blog HERE.

Now that you know a little more insight into the what, the who, and the why philosophies behind the blog articles and posts, don’t be shy about reaching out and asking questions.

I’m open to you to build your uncommon pathway forward. Reach out and let’s talk.

Jerzy Jung, The DIY Artist Route And You

JerzyJungAwardJerzy Jung embodies everything you can imagine for a DIY artist. She is a musician, actress, music teacher, and practitioner of the golden rule. Her songwriting is comparable to that of Regina Spektor in how she takes common, everyday elements and pieces them together to tell a much bigger story. Her song Black Dress/White Dress is a prime example of using fashion as a metaphor for how society treats women.

I’ve known Jerzy Jung for several years, first discovering her music in 2009 when I heard her songs on myspace. We ended up doing an interview and have kept in touch since. She’s a regularly featured artist on The Appetizer Radio Show, and was a perfect artist to chat with in the DIY Artist Route podcast series.

Every conversation on the DIY Artist Route podcast has featured some great quotes. Here are just a few of what you can gather from this episode:
“The mindset of ‘pick me pick me and my whole life will change’ hurt me. The student mentality will help you better. Now I’m like ‘what kind I learn and attracting people who may help me’ has been more helpful. I make the best work I can and my focus is there, and on attracting people who can help.”

“This industry we signed into is not easy, it’s mysterious, and it’s not kind. You’re wondering where your road map is and you have this goal and no idea on how to get there.”

“To be a good community member you have to give in the ways that people are asking to give instead of just what you feel like giving.”

Hitrecord is this fantastic online community where artists connect from anywhere in the world. Nothing is too big or too small.”

“I’m concerned with the business side (of music) but I try not to lose that playfulness.”

Lessons from crowdfunding: The fear of doing it is worse than actually starting and doing it.

“Doing the crowdfunder and making the video helped me to clarify why I make art and it felt really good to define it and see it on paper. It was a reminder to myself for why I chose this life.”

“The real test with all this ambiguity and all this disappointment, do you still love it (music) and just have to do it? Even though this life we picked is weird, focusing on gratitude is so important.”

*Note: I did just get the podcast on iTunes, yet there have been intermittent issues with the podcast host site, which is why I included the Podbean player above so you can hear it regardless.

I’m working to get that resolved so that this episode will be included in the iTunes list. Suffice to say, I’m learning from trial and error about podcasting and how it works best. I also am gaining valuable experience on who to use and who to avoid when setting up a podcast. If you have any suggestions or insight into the podcast realm, please share them with me. Thank you!

How To Have Music And Business Sales Success

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.25.42 PMFirst things first, if you haven’t experienced the brilliance of RSA Shorts, head over to their Youtube page (which also has their full length video speakers, all are excellent). The cartoon presentation of these clips from great speeches is something that needs to be shared in classrooms, boardrooms, living rooms and anywhere else where problem-solving takes place. The video short this blog deals with is below.

Selling is scary, and I admit to struggling with the sales side of my work at times. I’m not a salsey-styled communicator, and transitioning into the sales part of conversations can be tricky for people who don’t think of themselves as having something to sell. Here’s what I’m still learning about this: the #1 thing we sell is ourselves. Be honest, put others’ best interests at the forefront, and make meeting their needs with your talents the #1 priority and you’re on the right track. Keeping that in mind takes the sales fears out of focus.

In the video “The ABC’s of Persuasion” states (and as life in the new-economy states as well), we are all in sales, regardless of our career path (yes,for musicians too!). Even if you work for someone else, scoot to and from work at a bureaucracy, or are still living at home with you parents prior to (or after) graduation, you’re selling something. Grant Cardone (personal sales hero of mine) has a great book about selling called Sell Or Be Sold, where he articulates that selling is intrinsic in our culture and in our lives. If we’re not selling something, we’re being sold to. It’s best to be on the selling end of that exchange when you can.

 

For businesses with a handful of employees or those will a large staff, we all can learn how to be better at selling. The keys to this come down to some very fundamental aspects to human connection and not a “you need this app, master this subject, and know how to do these 5 things,” approach. There are too many How-To books that sell that formula and most of them are bogus. The keys to selling anything have more to do with you and your sincere interest in making other people’s lives better with your product or service.

Musicians can also take advice from this video because you sell yourself to your fan base with every song release, performance, project, and connection point you have with them. You’re selling yourself and the experience you provide. That’s what brings fans to you.

 

Persuasion often gets confused with manipulation and lying. Most often that confusion comes from our bad experiences. The last time I was sold on something that a salesman convinced me I absolutely needed, only to discover that not only was there something else out there that was better, but I had paid too much, led me to distrust most sales people. We all do this. But then again, we’re all sales people too, so putting myself or the next sales guy/girl I come across in the boat of liars and thieves is unfair. Not all persuasive people are evil, and not all good people are persuasive. Marketing and sales success depends greatly on our ability to be both sincere and persuasive.

 

Attunement, buoyancy, and clarity are the three aspects of persuasion mentioned  in the video and  what I believe are the keys to the kingdom for success in marketing and sales, as well as any business or professional endeavor you take on. You have to be about to sell yourself to gain anything.  In essence, we sell ourselves when we are trying to sell something to grow our business. This is especially true in small business where the lead manager or owner is often wearing the hats of manager, laborer, sales-person, marketer and customer-relations. Your clients buy from you because they’re sold on your sincere interest in helping them and your talents to execute the job. It’s up to us as individuals and team members to learn how to apply these aspects of persuasion to our unique businesses.

 

Need help establishing your persuasion or want to share how you’ve executed attunement, buoyancy and clarity in your music or business to create new levels of growth? Please leave a comment and let me know. We can compare stories and help each other.

Benji Rogers, The DIY Artist Route & You

BenjiRogersBenji Rogers is one of the biggest movers and shakers in indie music today. The founder of Pledge Music, he’s a profound and outspoken advocate for Super Fans. You’ve heard me talk at length, including multiple webinars and past blog posts on the power of utilizing your super fan group of audience. Now, Benji will give you even more reason to key in and make your super fans the focus of your growth strategy.

Aside from the talk about super fans, which does dominate much of our conversation, Benji Rogers also shares a lot about how to do crowdfunding the right way using Pledge Music. Pledge Music was launched on the same day as Kickstarter, and there is a lot of good things Benji says about the crowdfunding platform. But the key difference is the way that Pledge Music engages with campaign creators (musicians and artists) and the support members who fund the campaigns. This key difference ties in perfectly with why your focus on your super fans should be first, and let everyone else follow suit on their own.

Takeaways just for you

Benji is a quote machine. Nearly the entire call was spent trying to keep up with the gold that was pouring from his mouth, which are applicable to both musicians and creative entrepreneurs who can see how to take these principles and apply them to their work.

Great quotes from our conversation include:
“Ultimately all music is free. But what isn’t free is the making-of. If you lift that lid just a bit, you get the magic.”

“Artists tend to forget that what they do is fascinating to people who can’t do it.”

“You allow fans access to that deeper level while it happens. What if you could get a VH1 Behind the Music while it’s happening? Artists can choose to give as much or as little away as possible. It’s really about a personal connection.”

“Each Super fan is your digital gold, they are the ones that value your business moving forward. That’s your tribe, that’s your community. They’re your weird ones and that’s what’s fun.”

“What I want Pledge to become is the largest Super fan community in the world, owned by the artists that bring their fans to the table, because ultimately we don’t own those fans. The artist does.”

“The #1 place artists fail is email lists. Pushing your fans to third party platforms for engagement is a mistake.”

“17% of all music fans categorize themselves as Super-Fans, but they also make up for over 60% of all the revenue in the music industry.”

It was great to connect with Benji and his statements are in perfect agreement with many of the things I’ve been talking about here on this blog for the past year and a half, especially concerning what real growth looks like and how to really boost your music and artistic endeavors by having the right focus. I also learned a lot from Benji in this conversation, and look forward to further engagements/interactions with him in the future.

If the player up top doesn’t work, give this a shot.

Episode 8: Benji Rogers by D Grant Smith on Mixcloud

Is Real Success In Building A Community Or An Empire

Harmony Or ControlWhich would you rather build, a community OR an empire?

Essentially that’s the distinction you have to determine as you set out to build anything, be it your own business or enterprise, your artistic/musical endeavor, entrepreneurial platform, nonprofit organization or a location of existence (be it church, city council, group, or place of residence).

Yes, even nonprofits and churches can build empires, or attempt to do so. It’s all a matter of your attitude and perspective.

To know whether you are building an empire or building a community, let’s look at the characteristics of what each have, how they operate, and what the end results of each are. Determine for yourself which of the two you have established and operate in, and (more importantly) which end result you truly want.

Separating Communities From Empires

Communities put others first and seek harmony for the collective involved. Empires put one person above everyone else, usually whoever is at the head, who has all authority and control. Control is the highest value in an empire.

Communities are established to create peace among people of different backgrounds, needs, and interests but with a common location, belief, and mission. Empires are established to create caste systems, one set winners and the other losers, or one group perpetually fortunate and the other perpetually with loss.

Communities thrive on harmony. Everyone benefits each other, or at the very least works together to achieve benefits for both individuals and groups within the community.

Empires are the opposite, they thrive on tyranny. Everyone sacrifices to serve and benefit only one (person or elite group). Caste systems and the extreme spectrum of wealth-to-poverty are prevalent in empires because of the “Us vs Them” culture.

Empires create conflict and war out of self-preservation and self-interest. Control has the highest value in an empire, and must be pushed to the furthest boundaries to prolong its legacy.

Communities create opportunities for others to be included and shield themselves only against hate, leaving prolonged conflict outside the gates.

Confrontation is done to the betterment of everyone within a community because tension and imbalance require an addressing of issues for resolution, understanding and peace. Even in difficult circumstances or situations, confrontation can be done in a way that still leaves all parties feeling understood and doesn’t excommunicate individuals from the group unless absolutely necessary for the operation of the whole gathering.

15338308235_014a57c693_zEmpires treat confrontation as acts or declarations of war, with hostility being the main emotion that drives how confrontation is made. The only end result that can happen when empires confront other groups is increased tension and loss to one side. Rarely does peace for all parties come at the hands of an empire confronting another group or entity.

It’s seductive to want to be a part of an empire, but mostly from the vantage point of what leading an empire would present you in terms of power. However, to be on the opposite end of power in an empire is similar to what it is like to be a slave, with no rights or voice, completely at the mercy of whatever power is over you.

Communities don’t create slaves, instead they foster participants and members. Interaction within a community is voluntary, and therefore more engaging and appreciative.

Empires don’t see individuals. They only see masses, and therefore assume that the whole has only one voice, opinion, way of living, and belief system. Racism at its core is driven by an empirical mantra that groups all people into one category and judges them accordingly. This is an extreme example of empiricism that we (unfortunately) still experience far too often.

Communities see individuals and value the unique characteristics of each person as someone who brings something special to the gathering, offering a new way to move everyone forward.

Building a community is no easy task, but being a part of a healthy community is far more appealing than being caught up in the agenda of an empire. Which would you rather be a part of?

As you build your entity, be that a following around your music or an entrepreneurial business, keep in mind which of these mantras is determining your course, whether you are becoming more of an emperor in how you lead or a community builder who sees people for what they can do for others as well as for you. And see what you can do for them. This is harmony lived out loud.

Reach Your Goals By Narrowing Your Focus

6924223634_74e709f616_oIt’s becoming increasingly harder to get things done with the number of messages, emails, social engagement posts, and other content all targeting us with headlines that offer something we think we need (or worse, something we think we want). How to gain more money through your network, how to improve your booking and sales, to offerings for a better XYZ option, it’s really difficult to utilize these resources for what they are and take their suggestions to heart.

I do realize that many of my offerings here fall into this category. Which is why I’m going to make a suggestion that might seem to contradict my content, and in some ways not serve the purpose of my business. I want you to pick 2 sources for content to help you grow your music career or your business.

Just two.

Three only if you want a backup option. But don’t continue down this road with 4 or more memberships, subscriptions, and outlets that are constantly sending you the latest tips on how to do this or that.

This requires a more precise focus than we’re used to having as individuals surrounded by constant media and incoming content.

Why would I say such a thing? Because chances are, the more possibilities you have for how to improve your work, the less likely you’ll be to implement even ONE of those options.

The reason is simple. When we have more than 2 options for how to move forward, we spend a lot of time debating on which option is best.  When we have various subscriptions to different email newsletters or Facebook profiles that mostly send us content offering to help you improve what you do, it’s really hard to block out the necessary time to truly plug in to what that one message says. Because your inbox just received a new article or post on 5 ways to improve something else, or 10 things not to do to be successful. Are you going to really take the time to read each of these, or are you going to save them for a later time and never really go back to them?

I’m speaking in many ways from experience. I’ve been a subscriber to only a few e-newsletters and sites that send content to help me improve my business. Ultimately as much as these folks want to be helpful, they also me to buy their stuff, which is why they offer what they do for free. And to be honest with you, it’s why I offer what I do for free in some instances. I want your business. But more importantly, I want a relationship with you where we can talk one-on-one and dive into the specifics of your situation to really make an impact where you are right now and create new opportunities for growth both in your audience as well as your pocketbook.

I can also speak from experience on the value of having a mentor and coach to help focus my energies and endeavors moving forward to reach my goals. I do practice what I preach. Having a coach to help me narrow my focus on only a limited number of options in the direction I’m headed has proven to be monumental in my professional work in reaching specific milestones faster than I ever did before on my own. On my own, I was too distracted most of the time from the never-ending barrage of options. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

MeByAbbeyRoadSign I also realize that if you have too many voices offering you similar but different paths forward, it’s really hard to choose which one to take. And it’s even more difficult to not subconsciously combine a few suggestions from one person and something else from another into an amalgamation of options that might end up benefiting you in the long run, but also might end up causing unnecessary confusion and frustration.

So make a choice for a few months. Stick with receiving content, updates, and tips from only a few select professionals or individuals. Follow through with their suggestions and how they can best be used to benefit you. If you choose me as one of those sources, excellent! I really appreciate the honor. If you don’t, that’s ok too. Check on your results after 3 months. If you’re not where you want to be, evaluate who your teachers, mentors, and suggestion-box people are and make the appropriate changes.

Ultimately you have to serve the best interest of yourself, and having the fewest number of options serves you best. Good luck, and thanks for choosing to follow me up to this point.