Tag Archives: DIY Artist Route

Changing The World Through Music With Bree Noble

bree noble FEM women of substance

Bree Noble

I believe that helping other people in life is the key to being successful. It’s a philosophy shared by Zig Ziglar, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Palfreyman, and the incredible Bree Noble.

Bree is the creator and powerhouse behind Women of Substance Radio, Female Entrepreneur Musician Podcast, a musician and coach for musicians. She’s an inspirational person and a wonderful ally in the quest to help creative entrepreneurs grow.

The DIY Artist Route Podcast continues to showcase remarkable and uncommon people who are making a massive difference in the creative industries. Bree Noble is certainly in the top ranks of world-changers.

Bree Noble On The DIY Artist Route Podcast

There are several reasons I wanted her on The DIY Artist Route Podcast. First, I’ve been following her work for years, going back to when I was running a radio station and seeing her name pop up as an influencer in the music industry. I also first heard her music then and appreciated her sound.

In a culture that places an expectation on most female artists to have to conform to some sort of  objectivity in order to be noticed, Bree joins the fight to combat this messed up ideal. Her work with both her radio station, her podcast, and her coaching helps both women and men combat unhealthy and negative stereotypes that are pervasive in the creative industries, music in particular.

What’s noticeable about Bree Noble from the moment you see her is the love in her smile and facial expressions. My good friend Bird Thomas has that superpower, and so does Amanda Palmer (illustrated in her book The Art Of Asking). To communicate love through your eyes and your smile is something that truly remarkable people who live life as love do. It’s inspiring and it makes a huge difference in the lives of people.

You can tell right away in our conversation that helping people through love is Bree Noble’s mission. If it wasn’t music, it’d be something else where she’s helping people by loving them. That’s inspiring. Let’s follow that example!

Overcoming Obstacles For Creative Entrepreneurs

There are several things that hinder growth and success for artists, musicians, and creatives. Guess what? They’re the same hindrances that investment bankers, world leaders, Olympic athletes and everyone else in the world face: negative mindsets. Doubt is a big challenge we all face as human beings. How do we overcome doubt? We proactively change our mindsets. Bree and I discuss this practice in the podcast.

“Do the thing that scares you the most.” -Bree Noble

How To Create The Change You Want In Your Career

One other big point Bree makes in our conversation, and one I want to highlight here due to my work on The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook and the Indie Radio Promotion Course is that information doesn’t create change. Actions do. We live in a historical era of bountiful information available in nanoseconds. Similar to the fact that there’s more music produced in a year than we can consume, the same is true for information.

The amount of books, podcasts, online courses, and seminars that teach us how to do everything (25 different ways to do anything) could lead us in circles chasing the next “How To” method. Instead of spending your time learning everything, do the thing you learn.

Choose your teacher, and choose people whose values align with yours. You’re reading this blog, and listening to my podcast. I believe that you’ve seen and heard something I’ve said and my values align with yours. If so, I can be your teacher to help you grow. But the key is always going to be that you do something with what I teach you.

Information by itself will never give you the end goal you want. You have to take action.

You can take action on one specific thing that connected with in the podcast (mentioned at the end). The biggest one is to give LOVE today to someone in your world. Love is what changes everything for the better. Also, connect with Bree Noble on her Facebook page (and see a workshop we did together on 5/24/17) because her mission and her heart is so similar to my own: to love and help other people.

 

Rachael Yamagata Shares Love & Music Entrepreneur Help

Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata

I have to admit to having some excitement about this podcast episode. I’ve been a big fan of Rachael Yamagata‘s music for a long time. Going back at least to 2003 when I first heard her self-titled EP and then in ’04 with the release of Happenstance.

Great musicians write songs that connect with our individual stories, and those stories become a soundtrack to our lives. Happenstance was that for me in many ways. The driving beat and stinging lyrics to Letter Read remain one of my favorite songs. It’s probably one of the best sad/breakup songs out there. Add her piano-driven, jazz-styled songwriting to the rest of that album with tracks like Under My Skin, Reason Why, and Be Be Your Love and you have plenty of reason to explore her songbook.

rachael-tightropewalkerThis past Friday, she released her latest album Tightrope Walker. It’s simply brilliant. And it’s already getting featured all over the place. The Appetizer Radio Show is showcasing it, as well a great indie radio platforms like Mountain Stage, NPR Music, and more.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with someone whose music I’ve followed for years but not ever talked with. I finally had the chance to find out. I want to give a big thanks to my good friend and past DIY Artist Route guest Chandler Coyle for helping to make this wonderful conversation happen. Chandler is a connector, and one of my favorite people.

Here’s what I discovered right away in talking with Rachael: the music connection is the tip of the iceberg. It’s really a heart connection that draws us towards the artists we love.

By heart connection I’m referring to the philosophies and ideals we live by. For me, I believe that love is the highest calling we can have. Inside of each of us is a garden. What we plant in our hearts turns to fruits we produce with our lives. My mantra each day is to plant love inside my heart and mind so that it can be reaped to give to others. This is the heart of Growth Farming.

There’s a principle of Like Attracting Like and that’s certainly something that every one of my friends who are past guests on the podcast have in common. We all believe that joining forces to help others is the path to take to succeed. Rachael is a wonderful example of just the heart and mind to do that for artists and entrepreneurs alike here.

Big Takeaways In This Podcast With Rachael Yamagata

My wife Mrs. Smith was very pleased to learn that, like her, Rachael is a very big cat fan. She shares a bit of insight into her love for her cats in this conversation. I thought that was just perfect. One day we’ll have to find a way to get Mrs. Smith and Ms. Yamagata together to compare cat notes, don’t you think?

Writing relationships in their ups is not always easy, but writing about the downs comes more naturally. Some people try to figure out why relationships go the way they do instead of just complaining about what didn’t work. For songwriters who dive into this side of the story, it takes on a whole new thing. We also learn why my friend William Fitzsimmons and Rachael should do a co-write together.

The entrepreneurial side of art and music is certainly within the grasp of any artist who wants to be successful. However, the ball is in your court. If you want to win in this realm, you have to learn everything you can about how to be a business with your music. It’s the realm of what Rachael refers to as “Artist As CEO.” She gives plenty of insights into how to make that happen here.

Patience is a struggle for everyone, especially artists. However, the process of learning an instrument shows us that we can adapt to changes and work towards improvement. She admits to writing a lot of really long and really bad songs early on in her career. We need to make mistakes often to be able to learn from them to grow.

Ultimately, her greatest desire as a person is to leave am impression on this world as someone who exhibited unexpected kindness. As she puts it, “I observe a lot and I love finding that thing that someone would really enjoy  that they don’t know how to ask for and get it into their world.”

Great Rachael Yamagata Quotes From The Podcast

” I think my calling card has always been just to remind people to connect with one another and we all have our stories and are much deeper than whatever masks we put on in daily life.”

“Emotions are so powerful and they hit you in a way that intellect doesn’t. You don’t have control over them often. You don’t always understand them.”

“I am so obsessed with my cats I have to be careful in conversations.”

“There’s a lot of studying we can do and a lot of direct connection with fans, who are your greatest asset as a DIY artist.”

Listen/Download this episode:

Rachael is a fantastic songwriter, musician and human being. This conversation really blessed my heart, encouraged and inspired me in a lot of ways. I hope you have a similar experience.

I also encourage you to dive into her latest album Tightrope Walker, and her deeper songbook. It’s some of the best music you will ever hear. Cheers!

Sponsor For This Podcast Piece

Bandzoogle: Bandzoogle gives you all the resources you need to do everything necessary for success with your music online. You can sell your tracks, merch, and bonuses, build your email list, and more all from your own domain (instead of what bandcamp and similar sites have). PLUS, use the promo code “DIYpod” to get 15% off anything on the site.

Reach Your Music Potential On The Launch Summit

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I’ve been talking about The Music Launch Summit for weeks on Facebook, Twitter, and the DIY Artist Route Podcast. It’s the biggest and best online music launch platform in history. Here’s why:

Every year musicians line up to attend the big music conferences and events. SXSW, Big Sound, ASCAP, and everything in between features both industry specialists and artists who are succeeding in this business. There are countless sessions strung over a short week’s (or shorter) time. You can always get some of the featured speakers you want to see, but not all of them.

Then you get home and try to start implementing some of the things you learned, but there’s so much stuff to try and do at once that if you get started, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. Plus, you’re on your own at these seminars and conferences. Sure, you get a few business cards but you rarely (if ever) get to connect with the actual speakers.

ALL of that is different in the Music Launch Summit. Here you get lifetime access to the masterclass workshops (lifetime means forever, in other words never expiring). For folks who grab the VIP access you also get plugged into many of the speakers and get some personal attention.

Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman is my good friend and past DIY Artist Route Podcast guest. He is the Superman who organized and put all this together. Among the masterclass speakers include other past podcast guests like Benji Rogers and Andrew Apanov. Each speaker will be talking about their specific expertise.  They will also be laying out practical and specific steps for you to take to launch your music to new heights.

Over 40 of the most sought-out, powerful people in music  are presenting in this online platform include Bob Baker, Dave Kusek, Cari Cole, Wendy Parr, Ross Barber-Smith, Yann Ilunga, Rodney Holder, Carlos Castillo, Ariel Hyatt and many others. I’m going to be joining in to talk about indie radio airplay and the power of relationship building in the music industry.

These speakers will be covering everything from social media strategy to business & marketing to music production to building websites to direct-to-fan campaigns to radio airplay and much more.

That’s a LOT of growth opportunity, and it’s all available for free to sign up here.

But let’s take it even a step further because I want to give you even more. I want your growth farming experience to be out of this world and reach levels of success you haven’t dreamed of yet.

Here’s what that means:

The free pass will get you access to the sessions for a few days after each session goes live. If you miss a session and don’t view it within the open window, you will have missed it. That’s a bummer.

However, VIP Access will get you more. With VIP Access you get lifetime access to the Summit’s content (all 40+ video interviews), other bonuses (like an individual development plan), and a 4-week implementation session to put all the advice & wisdom to practice. Plus you get Steve in your corner to answer any questions you have during the entire summit.

Today marks the launch of the Summit. You can sign up anytime during the duration of the online event to experience the difference. Once the event window closes, only those with VIP access will be able to experience the masterclass sessions, so jump in now. Sign up here free.

Shaine Freeman On Why Connections Must Know You Back

Listen/Download the Podcast conversation here:

Shaine Freeman

Shaine Freeman

Shaine Freeman is a really good example of people who value connections. As a musician, you’ve heard a whole lot of people talk about why you need to build your contact list, grow your connections with people in the music industry as well as your fan base, and why “who you know” is so important.

Guess what? Who you know, though it’s a big part of the growth process, is not nearly as essential as who knows you back. This art (and science) is one of the key things that created the connection between my friend Shaine Freeman and myself. His career in music, entertainment and professional sports is vast. So are his connections. But that’s only a small part of what makes Shaine dynamic.

This dude gets it. He gets relationships and how to build them over time. He gets marketing and growth for musicians and entrepreneurs. He gets the process of vetting the people you listen to for advice. He gets the power of reciprocity. AND he gets growth farming.

This podcast episode is full of wisdom, advice, and great perspectives on what folks who do what he and I do (as podcast hosts and music industry professionals) as well as what goes through our minds when people ask certain questions. There are some things that you should be careful what you ask for with certain people. Gaining instant access to someone’s contact list, particularly someone you just met, is a tale of caution.

I highly recommend subscribing to Shaine’s podcast The Miews. Each episode has great conversations and insights into how to build, grow, and be more successful with your music project. There are a few podcasts I’m a proponent for, and The Miews is one of them. It’s connecting with podcast hosts that’s one of the big secrets to getting the attention of music industry influencers. If you want insight into how to do that, contact me and we’ll talk.

Podcast Notes & Quotes:

[Why we need to experience loss and failure]: “At the end of the day you wouldn’t be who you are if you didn’t have those (negative) experiences.”

[Why growing connections and building relationships takes time & you can’t shortcut  it]: “This is an important step in your process to grow the relationship. You don’t get to pull the Game Genie out and advance to Level 30 in the relationship process when you’re barely on Level 1.”

[Why you need to check out the people you want to connect with before you do it]: “If you don’t have the decency to go and at least see what someone’s done before you ask a question, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

“How many musicians would give up their only guitar to someone they don’t know who said they needed a guitar? You probably wouldn’t. That’s how it is if you ask me ‘hey Mister, can you give me the contacts that you spent 9 or 10 years building, can I get that today, and I don’t really know you?”

[On how much you need to know versus how much you actually know]: “When I was 18,19,20 years old I thought I knew everything. My father told me to get out now while I knew everything. There was a strong message behind what he was saying. You’ll go through some realizations that you don’t know everything.”

There are SO many more great quotes in this podcast (essentially every time Shaine talks or answers a question) to list here.

One key thing we talk about over and over again is the process of networking and building relationships with your fan base AND with music industry & media folks. We talked about some of the big things artists get wrong. If you want to change your game and get them right, pick up the manual for making that happen with the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.
Listen/Download the Podcast conversation here:

Build Stronger Audience Connection With Amy Schmittauer

AmySchmittauerMost of us in the music and creative business space are seeing more and more videos in our social news feeds. Why is that? One big reason is video’s ability to build engagement. We’re naturally drawn to the power of moving visual and audio media. This is especially true when people are present in the videos. That’s the power that Amy Schmittauer shows us how to excel at.

I was not aware of how excellent Amy’s work is as a video blog coach until my friend Chandler Coyle pointed me to a video she did that talked about the power of radio for musicians. Her reference points are more in the pop realm of radio airplay, but the points she makes are spot on. In this example alone, we can see how the power of effective communication through video can convert people into becoming not only fans, but tribesmen. I’m not in her tribe, because one video wasn’t enough. I wanted to see what else she was teaching.

This video is how I first saw her work. Is it a How-To for getting radio airplay? NO. She’s talking about how getting your music in front of radio should be the first thing you think of when you think of marketing because it’s a natural fit. That’s completely true.

Amy’s site is full of her numerous videos, all showcasing ways to grow your audience using the power of video. I wanted to connect with her to learn more about her story, get her insights into how to take this platform of video production and translate it into the DIY music space, and build a dialogue. Her helpful personality isn’t just something on screen. It’s who she is  (authenticity is a key to building a solid core audience of super fans in any realm).

Does she talk about doing things in a digital space to build a big audience? Yes. Does that go against the grain for Audience Growth Farming? No. Here’s why: All of Amy’s content is about creating content for an audience you want to build a connection with. She talks about doing something from the perspective of the person you want to reach. That is EXACTLY the Growth Farming Method.

If you hear her talking about “mainstream” media or marketing in this piece, don’t ignore her words altogether because she’s still talking to you. She’s talking about all of us. We need to look at how we can present our

There are some really insightful and strong pieces of advice that Amy shares in this podcast episode (download and stream via iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker). Among them are how to focus on being consistent with your videos instead of trying to start out with the best equipment.

From my days back in the university world of media and journalism, I worked with a lot of young people starting their media experience.  They would hold off starting to work on their dreams of making videos until they got the best gear. Then they’d spend a fortune on gear that sat in a closet unused. Amy’s wisdom and advice here to start with what you have is spot on.

One key (very BIG key) that she points out repeatedly is something that’s covered extensively in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Your focus with your marketing and engagement methods must be on the person you want to reach. Think about what matters to them. This is your tribe of super fans, your core audience we’re talking about. What do these people care the most about? How can you serve their interests? By making your end user your focus, you will not only stand out, but you will find that the right people are magnetized to you.

“No one’s thinking about what the end user really wants, they just put out what they want to put out, and that’s NOT how you get people to like you.”

Amy Schmittauer goes beyond just talking about how to make videos that people want to see. She’s a master at building engagement. It’s not enough to just make a video that has you playing your song, or acting out drama for a music video. The audio element is key too. As Amy puts it, “Audio will kill your video. If it’s not good audio or it’s windy, or it’s crackly, no one’s going to watch that video. But if the video of the video is not the best quality in the world, people still watch it, which is why Snap-chat is a thing and crappy video is fine. It’s relatable. People think, ‘That’s probably the best I can do with a camera too.’ ”

“The best thing you can do is use what you have and actually make a video. Find out what the mistakes are. Find out how important lighting is, how important audio is. Your phone is a powerful device. You don’t need a bunch of gear. You’ve got to test and you have to practice. People want the perfect set before they get started, but we never get the perfect set.”

Everything we do to growth farm our audience involves a process of building trust and relationships. Flash-in-the-pan methods of getting attention are short-lived. They don’t create the connection and growth that we need as creatives to have sustainable careers. For musicians, radio airplay is a big part of this journey, because it builds upon the trust that they listener has with the station they tune into for great music.

“We want to say things a certain way but our audience is not going to understand it until they know, like, and trust us and want to go down that path with us. I think musicians and radio speak to that because if you see somebody come out on the radio, a lot of times it’s because they’ve been working really hard and finally come out with an album or a single track that’s perfect for radio in a popular nature. That’s the thing that gets them the exposure and the eyeballs and the influence and then the second album comes out and it’s like ‘I want to know who this guy is.’”

Listen and stream the full podcast episode here:

 

This is a realm of engagement I’m working on too, concerning video. I’m doing more and more of it, particularly on Youtube and Facebook. It’s important for us to learn more about what actions we can take to get our messages out to the right people who are wanting and needing us. Amy’s insights here are a great resource for that. Follow her on Youtube to gain more insights into effective video production for growth and great tips on being successful in this creative space.

Take what Amy Schmittauer talks about in building a stronger audience with radio airplay to the next level. Sign up for the Indie Radio Course now to get your music in front of more music super fans on indie radio.

Music Entrepreneur & Super Fan Tom Giles Joins The DIY Artist Route

Tom Giles

Tom Giles

Networking seems like it’s becoming a bad word in the music and marketing world. I’m not sure how else to talk about relationship building through our existing friends and contacts. Networking just seems like the best word. That’s how I came to know Tom Giles (pronounced with a “J”), the serial musician, entrepreneur and music super fan whose business SoundBloc was recently acquired by Full Screen to further serve the needs of musicians and creative entrepreneurs in the direct-to-fan space.

Hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast has been a real joy and privilege. This episode marks the 20th of the series. Each new person we learn from teaches some incredible and profound new things. It was past Router and friend Chandler Coyle who put me in Tom’s sphere, helping to set up this chat. But real relationship building and networking, as I’m discovering and living out, is about more than just an interview for a media post. We’ve talked at length about our respective projects before doing the podcast session, and will continue to do so. This is the power of “knowing you back.”

I was very impressed from the start with Tom’s pedigree in music and business. He’s built record labels and promotions companies while also being a musician. His mantra for audience growth is mirrored by Benji Rogers and Derek Webb, who both built similar platforms to help musicians do the same thing: connect directly with their most ardent tribe of fans.

This was also one of the first times for someone to be a guest on the podcast but treat it like a real conversation, turning questions back in my direction to get this side of the story. I appreciate that. It’s uncommon, and made me more connected from the outset.

Plus, there’s a chance that Tom Giles and JJ Watt played backyard football together at some point. Being a Houston Texans fan and having a little bit of a man-crush on Watt, that’s just cool. Chalk up another point for Mr. Giles.

Big takeaways for you in this podcast episode (download and share via iTunes, Spreaker, & Stitcher via the right hand margin) include:

  • How your brand defines everything you’re doing, and why you having full control over how your brand is marketed is very important
  • Insights into artist management and indie labels
  • The power of networking and relationship building to create new collaborations with industry professionals and how you can have those connections too
  • Why you should focus on building relationships to truly grow because it’s the most important thing, even if you don’t think you’re naturally good at relationships or marketing

Tons of good stuff to dive into here and learn from. You should have questions when you’re finished listening. I did. Reach out to me and let’s figure out how to solve your questions together.

Grow Your Online Audience With Help From Brandon Gaille

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 7.07.44 PMBrandon Gaille is an inspirational dude. I’m drawn to folks who overcome obstacles, and Brandon certainly has overcome much in his quest for success.

One big thing he’s faced and risen above is being bullied every single day as a kid. For someone who faced some bullying in my youth, I never dealt with the terror that Brandon did. Yet he overcame.

He also was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Then he found out that his pregnant wife had cancer. Talk about serious challenges and potential setbacks. When I start to feel overwhelmed at the challenges in front of me, I think of this guy and his perseverance.

Did he overcome the brain tumor? Yep. Did his wife successfully deliver their baby without complications? Yep. And deal with cancer? Yep, that’s right.

So what does any of this have to do with building our online audience? I reached out to Brandon to learn more about his story and discover how he has drawn over 1 million people to his blog every month. That’s right, a million people read his content each month. Those are pretty good numbers.

Did I Change Course By Talking To Brandon Gaille Away From Growth Farming?

Let me be clear: I’m not a “massive growth,” “big audience,” “look like a rock star with a zillion fans” kinda dude. You know me. I’m big on slow growth, farming for stronger connections. So why on earth would I double back and talk to a guy whose platform is all about building a massive following?

The answer is simple: Brandon Gaille is an uncommon person who overcame big challenges and rose above them to do big things. That by itself warrants a closer look at his work.

Plus, building relationships and connections with folks is one of my biggest passions. Getting to talk with him on his podcast was a real joy and honor. AND he talks about stuff I really don’t know a lot about.

Despite the fact that I do marketing online for a living, there’s a lot of what he talks about that I’m still learning. It’s also interesting to me that his growth methods take a little bit of time, a lot of focus on details, and dedication to the process. I’m big on that and talk about it a lot.

So…..even if you want to build a massive following of fans or audience members, the magic beans theory of overnight success is a crock. The Blog Millionaire’s philosophy and methods will get you many more online viewers to build your audience. It won’t happen overnight.

Overnight successes disappear just as fast as they arrive. Be different. Be uncommon. Be like Brandon Gaille.

Listen and download from Spreaker:

Insights From The Musician’s Webman Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

Andrew Apanov

In the digital age, we’re not limited to location for who we can learn from or be aided by.

One of my favorite people doing great things for musicians is Andrew Apanov. Based out of Poland, Andrew’s platform Dotted Music is a great resource for all things digital and web for musicians. His blog is a fantastic resource with great articles and posts that shine new light on not just the pieces of building a digital brand as a musician, but the how-to steps to make that happen.

What Andrew Apanov says about online branding for musicians

Andrew and I have had several conversations about what musicians need to do with their online branding and platforms to really grow their audience. We’ve also talked about media, which is why he was one of the first people I sent the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to, because back in the day Andrew was a radio host too.

His inclusion in the DIY Artist Route Podcast is perfect for us as we start the summer. I know a lot of artists are taking the time to re-evaluate their growth and what they’re working on. If that’s you, you’ll gain a lot from this episode. Music marketing online, online branding, relationship building a whole lot more are all in this episode.If you’re looking to hire a publicist or work with a music marketing agency, and you’ve read up on We Spin and Dotted Music, there are some things you should prepare for in consideration before you start writing checks.

What do marketing agencies and publicists look for with new musicians

Great publicists and music marketing agencies look for specific things from artists before they sign them. Do you know what they are? Andrew does, and now in turn you do too. I see a lot of musicians paying for services that they can do themselves. The reason they don’t do it themselves (like music marketing, radio promotion, etc) is because they’ve tried methods that don’t work and they gave up. So they pay money to someone else to do the work that creates networking connections. Except, they pay the money for the airplay, but don’t get the network. It’s so backwards. And it’s one of the things I appreciate most about this conversation with Andrew. His blogs and podcast get you even more form him.

How to be your own music publicist and promoter

Speaking of music promotions and publicity, don’t be one of those artists who get suckered into some promoter’s game of paying 100s or 1000s of dollars for promotion. It’s crap. Literally. Be your own radio promoter by doing 3 big things that many musicians and even labels get wrong. Learn how to do it right. I’ll show you. Click here to get it right.

Warning Signs You May Be Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Photo Credit: Bailey Weaver

Photo Credit: Bailey Weaver

Sometimes the best way to see problems with yourself is to watch someone else act exactly like you do. The behaviors of other people doing just what you do should cause you to pause, reflect, and go “Don’t I do the exact same thing? Oh, that’s gotta change!”

I say this because I’m guilty of doing some of the things that bother me the most about other people. Taking yourself too seriously is certainly one of my flaws, one that I’ve spent the better part of the past 2 years trying to correct. I used to be really bad. Now it’s a less-frequent problem.

Here’s how I know I’m taking myself too seriously, and the problems it’s caused me in connecting with new people

I’ve been working in radio for a long time. I’ve been making a radio show in the same town for over a decade. That can lead you to assume that just about everyone knows about what I do. Not true, yet I used to think that if someone didn’t know what I did they must have been on another planet.

This is the "Angry Rooster Face" dubbed by Mrs. Smith

This is the “Angry Rooster Face” dubbed by Mrs. Smith

I used to get offended if someone who claimed to listen to the radio station I worked for hadn’t heard of The Appetizer Radio Show. Or, even worse, if someone asked about the food that I talked about on the show. I make this face when I’m confused (see left) that my wife calls my “angry rooster face.” That’s the face I used to make if someone made a comment about my radio show and said something about me talking about food. “I thought you said you listened to my show? I’ve never done anything about food specifically. What are you talking about???” would be the thoughts going in my head, but I would not say such things. Yet you wouldn’t have to struggle to see those thoughts on my face. This face and this look don’t hide too much.

Either way, my attitude was that of an asshole. I took myself way too seriously and potentially offended good-hearted people who might have otherwise actually given the show a listen. I assumed that since I was so passionate about my work, everyone who asked me about it must be too. I assumed that if someone showed the slightest bit of interest in my work, then they should know all about it and not need me to explain to them why it is important.

You know what they say about what happens when you assume? Except I’m just the one who was the ass.

Seeing the other side of the serious-taking-issue has revealed a lot of the negative side effects that this attitude can have. It’s also the exact opposite of grace and humility. There is a good chance that you haven’t read my About page, or looked up the articles I’ve written for Sonicbids, CMuse, or other sites, or heard all the episodes on the DIY Artist Route Podcast. That’s ok. Do I want you to experience these things? Yes, of course. Is it a prerequisite for us to connect? Absolutely not.

I’m saying all of this because it’s important for us to put our contributions and our stories into perspective. This is especially true as we’re trying to reach new people we don’t know with our work. I’m not the only music curator discovering excellent talent. I’m not the only radio host who has been showcasing indie and unsigned music for years and years. Several great music radio icons preceded the work I do. The same is true for artists and businesses.

You have a passion for your songwriting and the mission behind your music. However, there are other very passionate, talented, and inspirational songwriters who are changing the world.

Keep that in perspective. It’s great that you’re not alone. What is it about your work specifically that is remarkable? What completely unique and uncommon thing makes you stand out from others who are doing similar work? These are the pieces of your communication that need to come out with new people who are being introduced to your work.

Where I see Too-Serious play out the most

Music submissions are the prime place where I experience my old behaviors play out, and it’s mostly in a digital format. Not every artist who submits music gets accepted. This is true on every platform. When an artist sends an email to me that is full of links to videos or songs, I don’t always follow all of the links. I honestly don’t always spend 15-30 minutes diving into a band’s music, especially not when the sender is a person I’ve never interacted with before. Remember strangers and gold?

I may not read all of the sender’s bio either. And when I reply and ask specific questions to get the artist to tell me more about what makes them unique (or essentially sell me on why their music is attention-worthy), some musicians take that as an affront to their music. That’s not the case.

The reality is that I don’t know the artist (yet), and the first impression they’ve left is that they take themselves so seriously that someone who wants them to tell their story makes them upset. It’s an artist giving me their own angry rooster face, and expecting the interest to be natural and inherent. I hope this isn’t the response that other music curators are receiving when they interact and don’t instantly jump into the musician’s work. It may produce worse results.

Here’s the Takeaway to save face and the connection potential

Most new people won’t know your backstory, and they may not give you the attention time you seek at first. Instead of taking yourself too seriously and getting offended at what a stranger doesn’t give you right away, nurture the first spark of that interest. Build a dialogue. Approach the potential connection with grace and kindness. So many good things come out of a change in perspective and a better attitude.

That’s the win that comes out of this reflection. When we see ourselves in other people’s behaviors we want to see happiness and joy, and not something that leads to looking like the backside of a donkey. Donkeys don’t win beauty pageants, even social ones.

Grace and respect in meeting new people, and learning how to approach strangers in a way that builds their interest while also getting you what you seek is the subject of my debut book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Officially it’s out on May 3rd but you can grab the first 4 chapters for free now. Click Here.

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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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.