Tag Archives: experience

Jeremy Young Teaches Music & Collaboration In Podcast

Jeremy Young musician flypaper soundfly

Jeremy Young

Education for musicians and creative entrepreneurs is at an all-time high. There are multiple courses, books, seminars, trainings, workshops, blogs and everything in between for all of us to become the finest, brightest, and best at our creative endeavors.

Jeremy Young is one such educator. A musician, blogger, and education specialist with Soundfly, Jeremy has spent the past several years blending his experience with music with knowledge and expertise. The results are a powerful combination of expertise and know-how that he shares with us here.

Insights Into Jeremy Young

Jeremy is a student and musician. He’s taken his experience in the realm of musicianship to discover different methods of growth for not only his music career but also his entrepreneurial path. One of those methods is creating different music related companies. This little nugget of insight was really cool to talk about.

There’s a mention of Palaver Press in our chat. It’s a company he created to pair audiobooks and authors with musicians. There’s a market for this kind of collaborative connection between 2 different types of creators. It’s a path no one has carved yet, and one that he’s still exploring. I’m diving into this too, in a little bit of a different way. Grab my audiobook on Noisetrade to see more of what I’m talking about.

On the surface, it may seem like a wild pairing, authors and musicians in one product line. If it seems like a stretch, that’s the results of great education. Great teachers, mentors, and coaches know how to stretch their students to a place where they do more and become more than the common student. Or to put it this way,

“Growth happens by stretching and being challenged. When you stick to just what’s manageable, you’re really exchanging opportunity for frustration instead of exchanging opportunity for opportunity.”

Aside from performing with his band Sontag Shogun, Jeremy teaches courses on guitar and business at Soundfly. He also has a few music related businesses. He loves helping musicians grow by way of the Soundfly blog, Flypaper. Go there to get some fantastic articles.

soundfly education courses musicianThe Pairing Of Values Creates Bigger Wins

When was the last time you saw your core values as a connection point with other people? This is a big subject that has a lot to do with who you attract to your audience tribe, and who you connect with on a collaboration/networking presence.

Values are the beliefs and ideals that drive what you do. For some, it’s authenticity in their creative expression (meaning they’re going to be themselves instead of adopting a 2nd personality when in “music mode”). For others it’s relationship growth. Values drive what we pursue and how we pursue growth. It’s like Jeremy says,

“Interpersonal relationships are always more important than the project itself.”

Our values help to define how we connect with people. Too often, musicians look at their creative process and the end result as something independent of other people. The best results for your work will come from how you pair yourself with strong relationships, and shared values among other people. This is a common theme in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

 

How To Create Opportunities For Collaboration

I first met Jeremy Young through the avenues of curiosity. As I said in the podcast, I read a blog he did for Sonicbids where he talked about the 5 best books every musician needed to read. I had just published The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, and I wanted to see how to get it in front of him. I started a conversation based on his work, and that led to an education on Soundfly and a new friend.

It was clear in his blog article that education is a big value. It was also clear that he is someone who reads to further his knowledge base. He and I share these practices and values. I felt confident that reaching out to him would result in some great connection opportunities and I was right.

This initial contact (by way of email) created conversations that led to collaboration. We both saw how our stories are similar, and how we can be a resource to each other. Education in the digital age isn’t the classroom that many of us grew up in. We’re not necessarily limited to logging in to an online portal and only interacting with the teacher in that portal (like a classroom in school). There are opportunities to collaborate together to grow even more, you just need to ask the right questions.

Need help knowing what questions to ask to build your knowledge base, collaboration opportunities, and further growth? Connect with me and let’s talk.

 

 

Why We’re Already In The Zombie Apocalypse

Artist illustrates modern day life and it's terrifying Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

Artist Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

You have a band and a fan base that is supportive of your music. Excellent. But you hear news and industry reports that music sales are down, that music streaming is rising and that more and more people are consuming music yet not buying it. We’re already living in the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead is a reality. Let me explain.

The Zombies Walk Among Us (And May Be Us)

If I’m not careful, I can waste a ton of time on Facebook. We all can. Youtube is even worse because video is more appealing than any visual medium. Yet many people aren’t aware of their habits towards media consumption, be that streaming music on Spotify, binge watching videos on youtube, or spending all day on Facebook looking at the endless stream of content. This is where the zombie invasion has influenced our behavior towards media and entertainment (music in particular).

Music streaming and media consumption is not inherently a bad thing. However, if your listening experience is driven by an automated program that plays song after song and you never emotionally engage with the music, the artist, the melody or the message. You then have the attitude of a zombie towards the medium itself. Nothing gels or connects that you can build on.

There are hordes of people who consume music all day long, but never engage with it emotionally. Consumption without engagement is the behavior of a zombie that we can see in TV shows like The Walking Dead, video games like Dead Rising, or movies like World War Z (which was a novel first).

Many music listeners are on the big streaming platforms. They have “favorite” bands and artists but own zero music in their library. Hell, they don’t even have a music library. They think that their Pandora Playlist or Spotify playlist constitutes a library. Sorry, that’s not the same thing.

When the mind is not engaged with what it’s doing, or what it’s consuming, you don’t create connections that last. The listening experience doesn’t lead to a search for more music from that artist. As soon as the song is finished, it’s on to the next song. Do you want an audience that isn’t engaged with you and your music experience?

Commercial radio has been programming music stations for decades with this mantra:

feed them the same thing over and over again, program the listeners to only be subjected to a handful of artists because we don’t want them to think or have an opinion that something better may be out there

This is one reason that the big record labels and the big radio stations are trying to get indie radio shut down right now. They want to program to zombies who aren’t paying attention and don’t have engaged minds. They want to control the listening-engagement experience so that they have all the power to determine what music gets consumed.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

In the hit TV show The Walking Dead, there are armies of the undead walking around looking to consume human flesh. They don’t care who the individual is, they just crave flesh. It’s just like people who consume music without thought or care. They will listen and move on to the next song or artist or video or whatever. They “like” you in the moment and when the song is over they’re on to something else.

Why The Walking Dead Is A Metaphor For Music Zombies

The Walking Dead is a show more about the people who are living than it is about the zombies, which is what has made it the #1 show on network television. The people in Rick’s group are another great analogy of the world we live in currently as DIY and indie musicians. Rick’s group is one of a number of humans living in groups across the country. Groups together are strong, and benefit everyone in the community when they decide to live in a community. Individuals out on their own against the hordes of zombies don’t fair well. Often they struggle just to live day to day, or end up victim to the walkers.

Each member of Rick’s group (or family) is a very talented and crafty individual, similar to how your Super Fans operate. Each of them have a particular skill set that adds greatly to you and what you’re doing. As Rick’s group keeps going, they carefully add members to their family and bring people in to help them survive against what awaits them on the outside. This is also the world we live in.

It’s too common and too difficult for us to try and reach the masses because the masses aren’t paying attention for more than 3 minutes. Masses are interested in instant gratification, not becoming an ardent follower and supporter. Those passionate music lovers are out there, sometimes as individuals and sometimes in small groups. When you find them, bring them into your world and give them something they really want: music worth experiencing and a connection with the artist who makes it.

Do these two simple things to survive in the music industry zombie apocalypse. Be on the look out for passionate individuals who not only consume music, but attend shows and buy albums. How can you find them?

They’re at the music venues you attend and perform at. They’re buying music from other bands and merch from tables. Attend other shows and start conversations with the people there on why they love the band you’re both watching, how long they’ve followed the band and how the music has impacted them. Make the connection with them so you can share your music with them and build a true community together.

Do you know who to Michonne or Darryl is in your fan base? They’re your Super Fans. Here’s how to find them.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Be The First To Get It Upon Release (coming very soon!!!)

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Bird Thomas On The DIY Artist Route Podcast

Bird Thomas, Community-Building Maestro

Bird Thomas, Community-Building Maestro

The DIY Artist Route Podcast continues on in 2016 and I’m so excited to present this conversation with you. Bird Thomas is one of my dearest friends who also embodies strengths that I am inspired by regarding connecting with people. To put it simply, Bird is a very uncommon person.

You can generally tell when you encounter someone who changes the way you feel in a moment’s time. Most people want to be associated with folks who make them feel good about who they are, excited about what’s going on, and enthusiastic enough to go out and get others to join in with the movement. That’s one of the things I first noticed about Bird that showed how uncommon and powerful she is as a community builder.

 

A little insight into Bird and why she’s on the latest podcast episode

She is the Curator of Fun Learning Experiences at the Center For Contemporary Arts in downtown Abilene, Tx. That job title is one of the best there is, and it says a lot about her heart towards the arts. She strongly believes in the power of experiences to shape our motives and actions, as well as the power of intention in all we do. These are 2 things we talk about more specifically in this new podcast episode.

When community building first became a realization for me as a creative entrepreneur, and was further inspired from reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, I started going through my Roladex of people I know who do this well. Bird is one of the best people I know. Spend 5 minutes with her and you’ll walk away feeling like the coolest person on the block. Few people have the power to cultivate that kind of impression on a first meeting. It’s something that can be learned, and in this podcast you’ll learn how she empowers others to join in with what she’s doing. This is the essence of community building.

There are so many great nuggets from this conversation. A few of the standout quotes (to go back and listen to again) are:

“If you will learn to just be, moment by moment, you realize that in that particular moment you are ok. Nothing is really threatening you. If you be, as human beings you are meant to do, you realize that everything is fine.”

“The way you achieve things and the way you create things is to first see it in your mind. Everything. Everything begins as a thought. The stronger you build the thought, the faster it becomes a reality.”

“You have to believe that you will achieve whatever you give thought to. You have to believe in yourself.”

If you want to experience what it’s like for the arts community to come alive and involve other members of a community, city or region, venture out here to Art Walk in Abilene. It’s a great way to see a thriving and supportive community in action.

Learn Community Building From The Beach

Mrs Smith & I In BelizeMy wife and I returned from a much needed vacation recently that took us to the Caribbean. In our hustle-and-bustle of self-employment, we hadn’t taken much time to be with each other and had started to feel the connection that we’ve had lose some of its strength. So, after months of planning, Mrs. Smith and I spent a few days closer to the equator in a tropical paradise. During our stay, we both recharged and regained a connection that was needed. We also had an incredible experience from the people we encountered. That experience is what I want to share with you here, community building lessons from the beach.

Trips like this don’t happen often for us, and had it not been for a really cheap flight deal with Southwest Airlines, we might not have taken the leap. We settled on traveling to Belize on the recommendation of my close friend named Bird. My dream vacation has been Belize since this friend shared with me her stories on the people, the landscape, and the constant awesome temperatures. While the weather shifted into fall here in Texas, it was warm and sunny (for the most part) in Belize.

We booked 3 nights at Ramon’s Resort on the beach, which was the best part of the whole trip, and the people who taught me a lot about what it means to truly deliver an amazing experience that builds community. I talk about this dynamic with entrepreneurs and musicians often. For a business to foster the same principles in a tropical region was truly amazing. Here’s what they did:

Community Building With Customer Service You’ll Facebook, Email, and Write Home To Mom About

Hey Musicians, customer service is something you do too. It’s how you treat and interact with your fan base. For Ramon’s, their customer service came out in every interaction their staff and personnel had with us. We arrived in the evening as the sun was setting. We were met at the airport by a smiling, welcome man named Joe. His first words to us were “Welcome to Paradise.” The folks at the airport had said the same thing, so I assumed it was just a cliche phrase people used. It wasn’t for Joe, and it wasn’t for Ramon’s. It was their mantra.

Joe got us to our room and got us set up. We then went to the indoor/outdoor restaurant connected to the resort, Pineapples Grill. Our server was a funny guy named Jack. Jack sat us at our table and asked where we were from. Upon hearing that we’re from Texas, he went into this monologue about all the facets of Texas, stating our state bird, state tree, state flower, and what we’re known for. It was interesting. As he sat other guests and visitors to the restaurant, he did the same thing, and was brandishing facts and trivia about other states.

Jack (middle) was one of the best memories and teachers on our trip

Jack (middle) was one of the best memories and teachers on our trip

Here is a guy who has probably never been to America, reciting facets about the locations people are from as they come in that even they don’t know. He had the attention of everyone in the restaurant. Then he would tell us to look up Jack-o-pedia online to see more of his awesomeness. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t really have a website. But his branding and the experience he provided was outstanding. We spent at least 4 of our meal times at Pineapple’s Grill because of Jack and the other wait staff were so courteous, friendly and attentive.

There are tons of hotels and restaurants on the island of San Pedro, where we stayed. Tourism is the #1 revenue stream for the business culture there. Yet in a town full of other hotels, resorts, and restaurants, Ramon’s has built a reputation for being the best. We were recommended staying there from Bird who had a similar experience years ago. Her recommendation proved truthful and consistent after years of time gone by.

Make Your Visitors Remember You By Delivering Beyond Comparison

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 5.12.54 PMWhen we first checked into our room, which was a cabanna-styled jungle-mini with a bed, linen closet, and bathroom with a hutch roof, we were welcomed with a letter written to us and placed on the bed in a creative fashion of linens and tropical flowers. The letter said that Ramon’s was honored to have us, and that their desire was for us to have a fulfilling and blessed stay. It said that despite the fact that they’re a business, making money isn’t their ultimate objective, but providing an experience unlike anything else is what they wished for us to have. There was a short prayer on the letter wishing us well and blessings.

I’ve traveled all over the US to big and small cities. I’ve stayed in 5-star hotels and small bed-and-breakfasts. I’ve experienced some great service all over the US but nothing that welcomed us like this. It set the mood and the atmosphere for the duration of our time there.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.39.55 PMAside from the great food and the tremendous staff who delivered their services, we also had the chance to go out and snorkel for the first time along the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. It was an amazing experience that allowed us to meet a couple from Indiana and another couple from Denmark. We swam with nurse sharks, stingrays, and schools of fish that looked like special features on a National Geographic video.

On that snorkel trip, we learned that Ramon’s will allow their guests to check out snorkel gear from their shop for free to swim around their pier. We took advantage of that and went swimming/snorkeling another 3 or 4 times off the pier, discovering several types of fish and seeing a lot of aquatic life neither Mrs. Smith or I had ever seen in person before.

Follow The Golden Rule To Massive Success With Your Community Building

As you can see, we had a great trip and highly recommend Ramon’s as the dream destination for a vacation in Paradise. We also enjoyed the people of San Pedro, and some of the other eateries like Elvi’s, Blue Water Grill, and The Hurricane Ceviche Bar. Each of these places had great food and provided a unique experience in conversations from their staff. The thing that unified all of the restaurants and service of the entire San Pedro area is that people there practice the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.44.26 PMWe sat along the beach during the day and took long walks on the beach in the morning and in the evening. There were several peddlers who would come by offering their wares. All of them were very friendly, and none of them were pushy. A simple shake of the head or a “no thank you” wasn’t met with bitterness or a bad attitude (like we’re so used to experiencing here in America) but instead was given a smile and a “ok thank you, have a good day.” That kind of uncommon attitude and behavior is so unique in a place that is surrounded by beauty and a constant stream of travelers. Yet in Paradise, people treat others with respect and love.

Action Steps To Make This Kind Of Community Building Work For You

You don’t have to go to the beach to discover community building secrets that really work, though I do recommend it (actually it’s not very expensive if you travel in the non-peak seasons). Aside from the warm weather and the sights, getting away from the day-in and day-out that occupies all of our time, energy and concentration can be incredibly rewarding. It also provides a way to recharge and gain new clarity.

Step One: Make sure you give yourself the time and space to recharge regularly, even if that means getting out and going for a walk.

Step Two: Community building core principles lie in how you value other people. Make practicing the Golden Rule, and choosing to value other people beyond what they may give you as the #1 priority in your outreach objectives. We’re naturally drawn to people who make us feel valued. We inherently want to support people who do this and be a part of what it is that they’re doing. That’s powerful building principles at work and it starts with valuing others.

Step Three: Make executing your unique experience the goal of every engagement you have with people. Since you’re focus and intention is on providing a great experience for people whom you highly value, operating out of the passion of what you do comes naturally, and it impacts the right people to support your work.

One other little note, we did this whole trip for less than $2000. Artists and entrepreneurs alike can take a great trip and not spend a fortune. My wife wrote a blog post today (ironically) on how we did this trip for so cheap and how you can do the same. Read it HERE.

Does this beach experience make you want to grow a more dynamic community around your work and passion? Good! Reach out to me in the comments and let’s talk about how you can have a more thriving connection of supporters of your work.

 

 

 

Expand Your Success By Making It Your Focus


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

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

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

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

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

Image by  Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Image by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.