Tag Archives: growth farming

How The Stories You Believe Lead To The Impact You Have

A story of how my identity and perspective changed based on what I believed about myself in this talk at Abilene Christian University with my good friend Dr. Steven Moore

When I was a little kid I wanted to be Superman. Superman made an impact. He was unstoppable, invincible and incredibly powerful.

I was not.

On the contrary, I’ve always had a small frame. Skinny, scrawny, short. These were ready adjectives you could identify me with. Still can.

impact superman pinterest artwork invincible InspiraAcao

Source: manof2moro.tumblr.com

I didn’t want to be Superman because he was the strongest dude around, could bend iron in his hand, or was faster than a speeding bullet. I wanted to be invincible. I wanted to be immune to the physical damage of bullets or baseball bats or bullies.

Suffice to say, I understood how dangerous it is to be vulnerable. I wanted to be able to create impact, but be immune from experiencing it.

Being capable of receiving pain is a human condition. It’s one I have avoided. Yet avoiding pain is not a way to grow or succeed. Therefore, I’m changing this mindset so I can grow and win.

Most of us have a real understanding of what pain is, both physical and emotional and psychological. Avoiding pain is what we’re naturally programmed for. Yet pain is a part of the human experience, and turning off our ability to receive it can cost more than the pain itself.

Where The Mindset Change Started For Me

Best selling author and life coach Tony Robbins has made a BIG impact on a lot of people. The self-help guru is an empowering teacher worth modeling after. He talks about how every decision we make is either a pursuit of pleasure, or the avoidance of pain. His book Awaken The Giant Within details how to transform your life by changing your beliefs, words, and actions to overcome the fear of pain.

Your beliefs about yourself determine the stories you tell yourself about who you are, and what you’re capable of.

This is something you might have struggled with to from a young age. You may still be struggling with avoiding pain. Pain from someone’s harsh words, or actions, or attitudes, or something else that made you feel less than and unworthy. They became the stories you adopted on your identity.

It’s our human condition to want a few specific things intrinsically. When we come out of the womb we have within us the desire to be valued, to be found worthy, and to be loved. It’s in our DNA.

Life gives us opportunities to experience this kind of love. We have friends who lift us up, encourage us, and make us feel like we’re on top of the world.

All the while there are other people we experience who do the opposite. For one reason or another, they tear down, destroy, hurt, and cause us pain with their words and actions. Try as you might, you can’t make sense of their motivation or reason. Each of us experience negativity this at some point in our lives.

The Power Of Stories On Our Understanding Of Fear And Identity

When I first experienced the pain of rejection and unworthiness from a person, it made an imprint, a story. Imprints & stories don’t go away easily.

Imprints that are negative tend to have more staying power than those that are positive, unless we’re looking for and needing that uplifting stuff. Then it’s received differently. Something that hits you and leaves a mark has a pretty strong impact on your outlook on life and yourself.

As I’ve gotten older I realize that my defense mechanisms for dealing with pain and rejection have always been faulty. An old friend once told me when we were in college that I approached people metaphorically with my arms up in defense (like a boxer).

He said I never let anyone get close enough to know me. Keeping people away from reaching in to (potentially) cause harm.

It’s hard to build community, build trust, and gain influence with people if you don’t let them in. That vulnerability thing is something we all have to deal with. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s risky. It’s dangerous. But it might just save your life.

It saved mine. But it’s also one of the most difficult things I’ve done.

When I realized that being Superman wasn’t all that great, my heart changed. How can I be understood and valued if I can’t feel or allow others to impact me in a way that leads to feelings, good or bad?

I’ve always been a pretty emotional dude, so that whole idea of being immune to feeling is a bit off. I could never pull that off anyways.

Growth Farming Creates Maximum Impact To Change The Story

We have a choice to make in our lives everyday. What will we plant within ourselves produce fruits that others experience. What we focus on, the stories we believe, determine whether we have impact on our spheres of influence, or go ignored.

I used to plant fear in my heart, and with the stories I told myself. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of being harmed. Fear of being beat up. Fear of being found not good enough.

Turns out that fear is what I produced. Afraid of not being received and accepted by people kept the folks I wanted to connect with from wanting to engage. So I felt even more rejected and alone. It wasn’t their fault. We create the worlds we think about. We create our reality.

I would avoid people I thought might cause me harm, physical or emotional. I’d only get so close. One day I was walking around downtown Abilene and saw this dude on the other side of the road I was going to cross.

He looked kinda tough, with tattoos and baggy pants. I judged that guy right then. I thought he might try to hurt me so I turned around and went the other way to avoid him.

That’s no way to live. I can talk openly about that now because it’s not who I am anymore. I felt a little voice in my head/heart ask me, “How long are you going to live like this? How long are you going to be a scared little boy afraid of the nonexistent monster under his bed?”

This realization led to me venturing into the amateur boxing realm to overcome that perpetual fear of being harmed. I ended up joining a boxing gym run by an Air Force coach who engrained in me transformative pieces that changed my life.

I never became a good boxer. But I did lose the fear of getting hurt. Yet I learned SO much more about life, business, and success from Coach Rivas than I ever imagined.

I also learned my calling. It’s bigger than music. It’s bigger than radio. It involves people and giving the thing I’ve wanted my whole life.

Transformation That Came From A Ring

I’ve always not been big on competition. Part of it was scary because it involved the possibility of losing (fear again). It also pitted people against each other, which has never been something I get excited about.

I’ve always enjoyed working with people to make something big happen. I’ve got a gift in being able to recognize people’s strengths, even those they might not know they have, and incorporating them into the mix to get the best out of a collaboration.

We naturally want to be around people who empower us, who make us feel bigger and stronger and able to do more than we believe we can do naturally. Think about the individuals in your life who give you that feeling.

Those people (and there’s probably only a handful of them that you know, they are uncommon folks) who give you the feeling of being able to tackle any giant just by being around them. They evoke a power that is transferred into your spirit. That’s a real superhero.

I no longer want to be Superman. I haven’t for sometime. Surprisingly, as much as I love Batman, I don’t want to be him either. I wish to have that kind of focus and dedication. But the skillset and methodology are too different than my inclinations.

maximum impact professor x james mcavoy patrick stewart mutant x-men movie days of future past

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44546224

I want to be Professor X. You recall him from the X-Men films, played by both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy. In the comics, he was the founder of the X-Men and garnered an extremely loyal friendship to each of the members of the team. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not because of his mutant power.

Professor X’s real power is his ability to inspire greatness in uncommon individuals, bring them together and show them how to use their gifts to better the world. He’s a unifier. He’s a teacher. Because he believes that everyone is capable of great things if they’re just believe in themselves, they’re able to face incredible obstacles and foes.

That’s a hero worth aspiring to. That’s the kind of leader we need. That’s the kind of person who gets the best out of others, and inspires greatness.

Transformation is a process, and this is the evolution that I’m diving into. Like planting a garden, it takes time. But when the fruit is fully ripe, it will be bountiful and bless the world I’m connected with in powerful ways.

What about you? Is there a hero, fictional or real, who has inspired you to be more than you think you are? Do you know what your super-power is? Let’s talk about how you can use your super-power daily to make the world a better place. Click here to talk with me about how you can overcome your fears to achieve success and growth.

 

 

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.

 

 

How 34 Taught Me To Embrace Failure

The one and only Bo Jackson

The one and only Bo Jackson

You may be wondering who or what “34” is. That’s a good question. I’ve been pretty fond of 34 for about a year. The reason: It’s my age (until Wednesday this week). It was also the number of Hakeem Olajuwon, Walter Payton, Nolan Ryan, and Bo Jackson (the greatest athlete ever, in my opinion, and who I share a b-day with).

Over the past few years, I take the cake and the candles and do something a little different. I look back at the year kinda like we usually do on New Year’s Eve. A look back at the successes of the past year and how to improve upon them. There have been quite a few successes I’m very proud of from this year, and one of them has to do with learning to embrace failure.

Why Embracing Failure Is Important


I don’t know about you, but I didn’t learn how to fail in school. I learned how to avoid it. Mostly, I learned how to avoid it at all costs.

Both of my parents are really smart people. My dad is an engineer and my mom works in the medical community. My sister is also pretty brilliant, working for one of the largest design companies in the world. Smarts is something that should have been natural for me, and probably would have been, if only I’d paid more attention.

Instead, I spent a good amount of time avoiding things that were difficult, particularly math. From the story in the video, math was something that I didn’t ever understand as well as I should. My avoidance of understanding led to failures that have taught some pretty profound lessons 20 years later.

This year, while I’ve succeeded at expanding my horizons and connecting with a much larger base of folks in the creative industries, I’ve also faced some pretty big challenges. Whereas in the past I might have run from those challenges, or beat myself up for not winning right away, I’ve taken a different path.

Failure is a great teacher because it costs us something to learn the lesson. What’s something I failed at? I didn’t execute on my launch plan for the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. That’s the honest truth. Did I make a plan? Yep. Did I map out a course of actions to take for 3 months to make it happen? You betcha. Did I start that plan with a lot of energy and enthusiasm? Yeppers.

So what happened? Why would I consider the launch to be a failure?

I don’t consider the launch a failure. I consider my execution of the launch plan to be. I started it the right way. I mapped things out. I had a strategy. But I didn’t stick with it and update my progress as I went. After the first few weeks, I just guessed at what I needed to do and kinda went through a series of actions that ended up working out pretty well.

What’s the lesson learned from this? Several actually. First, make a plan and stick to it. Second, create a calendar for what action steps to take on a weekly basis until those things become second nature. Third, be organized and follow through. Making the plan and executing the plan are different things. They both need to happen for success to be achieved.

Was the launch of my debut book a failure? Nope. However, I can recognize the difference between the success I have had and the success I could have had. Execution on the plan is the difference.

Overcoming The Fear Of Failure

One other big thing that failure has taught me is that it’s not as scary as I thought it was. I have avoided failure for most of my life out of fear. One of the big victories of 34 is diving deep into my heart and digging up the darkest fears that have hindered my growth. Bringing these things out into the light to be examined and discussed has been a tremendous method of creating success.

Fear and failure go together like a tag-team wrestling tandem hellbent on destroying progress and opportunities for growth. Fear builds on the worst scenarios of your life, or the worst-case scenario possible, to convince you to give up. Quitting and not believing in yourself leads to the ultimate failure: one where you throw in the towel.

When I think of that combination, my old days of watching wrestling come to mind. It’s like the terror that the Undertaker and Kane used to instill into people. But facing those two is not an impossible task. We just need to smell a different kind of attitude (yes, that’s a reference to The Rock).

Instead of fearing failure, and instead of looking at failure as a zero-sum game, let it be a teacher. When we don’t end up with the results we want (aka failing), we have the opportunity to go back and look at what happened. Analyze the space and the actions. What could have been done differently? Was something in the plan not done right? Where did things go askew and how?

Failure creates opportunities to improve, to rise up, to grow.

It also makes us much more thankful of the opportunities and happenings of success.

Shifting Gears To Look At Some Big Wins

d grant mcmurray speechSpeaking of that, the success of 34 has been far more vibrant and joyful than anything else. Here’s a shortlist of the big wins this year has brought:

-Outstanding growth through the DIY Artist Route Podcast including monumental conversations with folks (and heroes) like Seth Godin, Derek Webb, Matthew Mayfield, Rachael Yamagata, Kevin Kelly and Jon Nastor.

-Guest spots on podcasts like The Miews with Shane Freeman, We Spin with Andrew Apanov, Bridge The Atlantic with Marcio Novelli and Ross Barber-Smith, Music Monster with Greg Wilnau, Hack the Entrepreneur, and more.

-Being a presenter on the monumental Music Launch Summit, the largest online music growth conference hosted and managed by the incredible Steve Palfreyman

-Being a featured writer for some outstanding music publications like Sonicbids, Bandzoogle, and Hypebot

The Appetizer Radio Show gaining new stations carrying the show across the country

-Launching my speaking career doing presentations about Growth Farming For Success including speeches at universities, organizations, and finishing 3rd in divisional competition with Toastmasters

-Releasing and spreading my first published book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook

 

That’s a lot of great things to come in just 365 days. I’m excited about what is to come in the near year, which will include some new offerings just for you to help you grow. I’m excited to share more with you, including insights on this road that include what is working for me and what isn’t so that you can have the most wins every step of the way.

Finally, since winning and growth are such big focus points in what I do here with helping you growth farm, I’m giving away a few copies of my book. Get a chance to grab a copy by signing up for my email list in the right hand column. The giveaway is for my group and community. Join up with me in there and we’ll talk soon!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Secrets To Media Coverage With Michael Zipursky

 

michael zipursky coach consultant success

Consulting Coach Michael Zipursky

When I read someone with a massive influence talking about some of the same things I do, I take note. Michael Zipursky wrote a recent blog piece about how to get published in industry publications to boost your exposure. He’s been featured in big media platforms like Huffington Post, Fox News, American Express’ Open Forum and more. Turns out his methods are incredibly similar to what you’ve heard me talk about here.

Learning From People In Different Industries

Yet we work in 2 completely different fields. Michael works with consultants in business. I work primarily with musicians and entrepreneurs in the creative industries. His methods for getting big media companies and the people behind the publications to take notice are very similar to what is detailed in The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. Did I know Michael’s methods when I wrote my book? Nope. However, like attracts like.

A few of the past DIY Artist Route podcast guests have come from non-music related industries. There have been a few people on social media who balked at learning non-musicians about music growth. Here’s the thing: growth principles are bigger than any industry.  Don’t choose to close your mind off to people in a different field or industry because it seems to not apply. That’s a dangerous place to live.

Instead, have a teachable mindset. Teachable folks can learn from anyone. If you want to know how to do something someone else is doing, or you want to connect with them, it’s not hard. After reading his blog article, I reached out to him and made a connection. The result of that connection is this podcast conversation.

Michael Zipursky Secrets To Media Exposure

How do you get someone to pay attention to you? You start by paying attention to them. It’s what Dale Carnegie talks about in How To Win Friends And Influence People.  Remember this quote from Carnegie: “You gain more friends in two months showing interest in other people than you can in 2 years trying to get other people interested in you.” That matters when contacting media to get their attention.

The majority of emails sent to media are Spam. Same is true in business when people are trying to get the attention of others. It doesn’t work.

“It’s all about the relationships. When you can establish a relationship with an author or editor, you’re going to get a lot more focus from them than if you send a Spam message.”

In the podcast, Michael lays out 5 specific steps to take to get yourself and your work in front of big media publications. The method is the same for getting in front of radio. The step-by-step process is detailed in 9 videos, a comprehensive training workshop, and coursebook in the Indie Radio Promotion course.

As a coach to coaches, I pay close attention to what Michael talks about on Consulting Success. His platform is about how to be a better leader, how to guide leaders to create more wins, and how to keep growth happening on a regular basis.

His success is in leading people of all walks of life to achieve more using systems and structures. The most successful people in the world have coaches and mentors who work with them to make magic happen in their lives and professions. No one gets to the top on their own.

“One of the big keys to success for every successful person I know and every successful person out there is having a coach. Music artists, athletes, actors and so forth all have a success coach. They identify who is out there and who can they learn from to get that help. That helps them fast-track their success.”

Like Michael, I’m driven by creating big wins for creative people like you. Whether that’s launching your next project, growing your audience, or simply figuring out the next steps to take in your journey, I’m here for you. For more on working with me as a coach to growth farm your success in music and business, contact me here.

 

3 Ways To Growth Hack Music Success With Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor

Jon Nastor

Every now and then the “recommended” notification on Twitter will suggest someone to you who is actually a good fit. A few months back, the recommendation was for Jon Nastor. After looking at his profile and seeing that he’s a drummer, and entrepreneur, and an author, I had to see what this guy was about.

That led to an exploration of his site, diving into his podcast and realizing that he and I share a lot in common. We both love punk rock, both play drums (him far more successfully than I). We both have working in the music and entrepreneurial space for a while. We have also had excellent conversations with some of the same people on our podcasts like Tom Giles, Kevin Kelly (episode coming soon), and Seth Godin. I knew I had to talk to this dude.

Jon is a great conversationalist, and a truly comfortable person to engage with. He was gracious in extending the conversational love to me in letting me join him on Hack The Entrepreneur Podcast shortly after we talked. Listen to our chat on his podcast here.

His insights into what success actually means, how to combine our passion and our freedom to do what we want, and what growth actually is are spot on.

I highly recommend his book Hack The Entrepreneur, the book and the podcast. It’s insights into what real growth professionals like the individuals mentioned earlier and several others give to show the way forward.

Episode 26 with Jon Nastor Show Notes

Jon gives a Cliff Notes definition of “Growth Hacking” for musicians in first 10 minutes of conversation.

You don’t have to have a ton of experience before starting out. If you want to do something do it. It’s how Jon created his podcast and wrote his book. The backstory and his insights are perfect for helping you get started.

We talk about how annoying auto-DM messages and auto-responders are when first making new contacts with people on social media. This is particularly insightful for musicians who do this on Twitter. What Jon says about this is how most professionals in media and with an influential audience feels if you auto-DM them right out of the gate.

We cheer for the underdog in the story but we tell other people we’re the giant. Why that is and how that hurts us about 3/4 into the podcast.

Jon Nastor Podcast Quotes

“Do work that matters. What matters to me might not matter to you. But it’s worth talking about.”

“I like my businesses like I like my music: fast and independent.”

“If you have an idea and you put it onto paper, and then in a digital format, and put it out to the world, that is entrepreneurship.”

“We all go against Goliath in real time, and cheer for David, but then we try to pretend to be Goliath in what we do. Then we lose that personal connection. Everything I write and everything I say is for 1 person. If I treat them well enough there will be that connection personally.”

Listen, download and share via this player:

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.

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.

Ryan Kairalla Helps Protect Musician’s Artistry On New Podcast

Ryan Kairalla, entertainment attorney, podcast host, and author of Break The Business

Ryan Kairalla, entertainment attorney, podcast host, and author of Break The Business

Something I haven’t spent much time with on the DIY Artist Route Podcast is talk about the legal issues that arise in the music industry.

It’s interesting because law is a side of the business that most of us just relegate to someone else if a need arises. However, IF a need arises, you want someone in your corner who knows the rules, has experience dealing with the legal jargon, and can get you back on track.

That man is Ryan Kairalla.

Truthfully, Ryan is more than just a legal professional (also called entertainment attorney in some circles).

He’s a podcast host and author of Break The Business: Declaring Your Independence & Achieving True Success In The Music Industry. His advice and counsel on both his podcast and in his book helps to protect your artistry as a musician and creative entrepreneur before something happens that could throw you off course.

Ryan Kairalla is a music entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. Entrepreneurship is pervasive in our industry, and those who are winning big in the music space are those who embrace the entrepreneurial path they’re on.

Yes, this is music.

Yes this is creativity.

And yes, to be successful in this space with limitless competition, you have to understand some basic pieces of business. The ones who are winning in music do just that.

In this podcast Ryan breaks down how the new model for business in music requires all of us to know a little about music, a little about business and a little about law. He’s helping us with the law side.

Ryan shares with us in this podcast episode (listen through the player above or below this post) about how musicians can be better entrepreneurs.

He also talks about the importance of establishing your career now with the right structures to protect your music and creative entity.

And he has a great piece of advice for entering into contracts with producers, labels, and management so that you don’t end up like a prominent musician (Ke$ha).

We talk about a lot of areas that tend to throw musicians off course. Ryan and I agree that your product as a musician isn’t the songs you write.

Your job isn’t to write and perform music. There’s something more that you’re doing. Details on what that more is can be found about midway through our podcast conversation.

On a podcast production note, this conversation was recorded several months ago, but due to my schedule with radio stuff, book promotion, and speaking engagements, I wasn’t able to get this episode published until now.

I highly recommend you subscribing to Ryan Kairalla’s Break The Business Podcast. Each episode is full of very useful tips and truths about the music business that you need to know to grow  your career.

BreakTheBusinessBookHis book Break The Business: Declaring Your Independence & Achieving True Success In The Music Industry is also outstanding, and should be a part of your reading list for this year.

I’ve read it and gained a ton of useful tips on growth from it. You will too. Dive into Ryan’s work and educate yourself on both the legal side of music, as well as more of the entrepreneurial side.

Ryan Kairalla is a Growth Farmer you can trust, and his work speaks for itself.

We’re both active on Twitter, and welcome your thoughts and comments on this episode. Reach Ryan on Twitter here, and hit me up on Twitter here.

 

Growth Farming Tip: Get Positive Mindset

Graphic by Psychologymd

Graphic by Psychologymd

Do ever have negative thoughts about who you are and what you’re capable of? Are you positive that you’re going to win, or do you question yourself each day? Does “be positive” make you cringe a little because it’s either cliche or seemingly impossible?

I ask these questions because they’re obstacles I’m facing now, and have been facing for about 30 years or more. I just didn’t realize that the thoughts in my head that tell me I can’t do what I aspire to, or that I’m not capable of success in the goals I have are what most people deal with each and every day.

I just took those attitudes and thoughts as the way things are. In other words, I didn’t question it, or challenge it. I just believed it.

Negative thoughts can destroy our momentum, causing us to spin our wheels instead of move forward. These mindsets create negative progress, or periods where growth is so slow and we’re left to just wonder why.

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotIf you can relate to that there is a simple solution I’m experiencing transformation with right now. It’s really just a matter of a positive mindset. Here’s the truth: what you put in your mind and in your heart creates pathways that lead you to new opportunities, or keep you from the growth you want.

Does that mean that if you’re not “thinking positive thoughts” all the time, that you can’t succeed at your goals? No, it doesn’t. However, it may mean that you’ll have to work harder, longer, and face more obstacles than you would have if you evicted the negativity from having residence in your life.

Positive thoughts and a positive mindset can work together, but they’re not always the same thing. Thoughts feed our mindset, and determine what our mindset is. If you set your mind on what is positive and affirming, you attract those things to your life. If you let negativity be present in what you think, you’ll attract negative people and closed doors. That’s been true in places in my life.

Here’s one thing I’ve struggled with for most of my life: a perpetual thought that I can’t be or have something that I want. It really has been just like that. If I talked with someone who wanted to build something new to impact people on a big scale, the first thought that has come into my head has been literally this: “You can’t do that.”

The “you” in my head is talking to me. It’s the voice that doesn’t believe in me, and will never believe in me. That voice may live in your head too. It’s not you, but it’s living in you and it’s working against you. It’s not your job or mine to convince the negativity that it’s wrong. It’s our job to instead choose to ignore or not listen, to give no credence to that thought. This was a foreign concept to me until a few months ago.

I’ve shared a bit here on this blog about facing fears, and overcoming many of them through a boxing gym. That’s a part of the journey into personal wholeness. That’s the journey I’m still on. The mindset we have determines a lot about our progress forward as people who are building something of value, whether that’s music or business, or anything else. As growth farmers, our attitude about other people and with other people is impacted by what we believe about ourselves.

Here’s a little bit of my story about overcoming fears. The mindset we have determines a lot in achieving this too.

 

I realize now that my attitude towards some people in the communities I’ve operated in over the past few years hasn’t been great, and it’s because of the internal beliefs I had about myself. I’ve felt overlooked or invisible to people, which put a little chip on my shoulder. That led to me working to prove them wrong, pushing me to succeed to beat some perceived attitude in someone else. However, the real attitude was still alive and well in me, and that negativity was what needed to be dealt with the whole time.

A friend of mine gave a kickass speech yesterday in our local Toastmasters group that talked about the power of positive beliefs over negative ones. She talked about how it’s scientifically proven that positive people live longer, have more personal happiness, and are more successful than people who foster negative attitudes. I managed to record the tail end of her speech, and wish I had gotten the whole thing because it was incredibly powerful.

One takeaway was a challenge she laid down to us to make a gratefulness journal. Every day for the next 2 months, write down 3 things you’re grateful for and thankful for. I started last night. I’m finding that the things I’m the most thankful for are relationships with specific people. Relationships are our fruit, and the more we work to grow them the more whole we can become, and the more successful we are.

Our attitudes towards ourselves plays a huge role in our ability to connect with others, and build the relationships that lead to more success. But how do we change our attitude and thoughts if we have negativity brewing inside our heads?

IMG_1333Here’s what I’m doing to change the attitude and be more positive:

I start my day with a walk. While I’m moving (activity is a great way to get out of the doldrums and create literal action that changes things), I affirm myself with new beliefs and attitudes that serve to create what I truly want. Here’s what I tell myself:

“I believe in me. My heart and mind are filled with love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. My life produces love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. What people experience from me is love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity.”

This is the opposite of listening to a perpetual negative attitude that says “you can’t.” It’s also powerful to call out that voice and tell it to shut the hell up, and get the hell out. Do that too. It’s a stubborn attitude, but it will obey you. Then affirm yourself with positive thoughts.

I’m about a month into this part of the process and I’m already seeing results. A good friend & mentor today told me that they get more centered and balanced every time we talk. She’s mentoring me, and she’s gaining balance from our talks. That tells me this growth farming method is working.

It will work for you too. Put it into action in your life. And let me know how your garden grows. I look forward to hearing from you.

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.