Tag Archives: Focus

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.

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

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.

Keys To Building A Focused Audience

Image by  Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Image by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

Get Insights On Focused Fan Growth: Sign Up For The Free Webinar Here

I wrote previously about the difference between trying to gain 100,000 Twitter followers (or simply a giant group of music fans online) and focusing your time, energy and money on a specific group of people. Numbers are a big sales point that most people are looking to increase, but when your focus is on the wrong number for the wrong reason, you don’t win as much as you want to. Here’s why:

You need to grow your audience to be able to keep making more music. That’s a bottom-line reality every musician and small business faces. And yes, you are a small business once money enters the equation. A focused group of fans is much more powerful than a giant number.

The confusion between real, prosperous success and fame (or what is considered “success” in young markets) is an obsession with the wrong kind of number.

Let’s say you have 10,000 Likes on Facebook. For some artists, that’s a small number, for others it’s a goal they’re still trying to reach. In either case, how would you view a band who has 500 Likes on Facebook or 600 Twitter followers? You might consider them to be rookies, newbies, or not very good musicians because the number of followers is small. But what potency does the 10,000 have that the 500 doesn’t other than sheer volume alone? You don’t know, because all you see is a number of followers.

Image by Dave Catchpole

Image by Dave Catchpole

This obsession with the high number without knowing much about WHO is in either group is what’s wrong with musicians and bands trying only to grow the number-base of their audience without trying to grow a specific group of people who are prime fans for their work.

You can buy Likes and followers on any social platform. You can purchase enough “followers” to make it seem you have a substantial fan base when reality tells a different tale. So how powerful is that giant number now, or better stated how real is it?

What the number metric misses is Potency, or strength. This factor is key to success in the short and long term of your music career. Potency is driven by real connection with a focused group of people who are passionate about the unique aspects of your music. Artists and bands with incredible potency include KISS, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Shins. Their fans go out of their way to showcase how much they love these bands including costumes, fan made documentaries, and traveling large distances to see shows.

Think about it in terms of two very popular and potent brands: Apple and Microsoft. Chances are you are using one of these brands right now in some capacity. Mac users are hardcore, passionate and extremely brand loyal. Most PC (Microsoft) users will go with whatever maker or brand they feel like who runs the software they’re used to, be it HP, Sony, Dell, etc. Yes both are powerful brands. But where Apple’s user base may be smaller in size compared to Microsoft, it’s more than compensated with user (customer) potency.

Can you say the same thing for your fan base?

If 10% of your fan base shares your content with their friends (be it online social posts or old fashioned word of mouth promotion), you have a really strong connection with your fans. That’s a high conversion rate for most bands and small businesses. What if only 1% of your fan base is an evangelist for your music? That’s still a good portion. But when a fraction of a fraction of 1% is talking about you, that big number of your fan base that you brag about isn’t as powerful. Actually, that’s more indicative of what your true fan impact is.

Focus on connecting with a specific group of people, a targeted section of folks who make up your Ideal or Super-Fan group. This is the potent, focused group of fans who will increase your music success a lot more powerfully than an arbitrary number of followers online.

How can you grow your connection with a targeted group of people? The strategies and tactics for doing that are outlined in an upcoming webinar. Sign up here.