Tag Archives: growth

Greg Wilnau Shares Mindset Shifts For Success On Podcast

Greg Wilnau Musician Monster

Greg Wilnau

Greg Wilnau has been on my radar for a long time. He’s a fantastic human being and someone who intentionally wants to help people. It’s clear in the way that he engages with you in conversation, and illustrates the power of valuing others as a key to growth.

Greg is a fellow drummer and host of the Musician Monster Podcast. He also is a coach for musicians in helping to build a strong career with gigging and growth. Get more on him at his website here.

Mindset is a big part of our conversation. Personal responsibility is a giant piece of how mindsets work. It’s up to you as a musician, creative entrepreneur, and builder to reach the levels of success you dream of.

It’s not anyone else’s responsibility. Realizing that and owning it will help you take leaps and bounds towards achieving the goals you have.

New Territory Covered In This Podcast Episode

I’m going to Just come out and say something up front that is a big part of my conversation with Greg. We dive into mindset changes that delve into personal responsibility and focus that have been instrumental in my own personal success, as well as his. We also talk about religion and faith.

I haven’t gone down this road with anyone on the DIY Artist Route Podcast before regarding religion or faith. Honestly, I used to be a very religious person. I used to go to church 2 or 3 times a week and stay for 3 or 4 hours at a time.

In my religious days, I had a different set of priorities and my concept of belief meant something completely different than it does now.Though I may not be as religious as I used to be, the focus on love as the highest value and greatest objective in life is VERY real to me. Greg and I both share this perspective on life.

It’s not my intention nor does it come out in our conversation to say or imply anything that is condescending towards religion or faith. Still the subject is something that we talk about early on. Our concepts of God and faith do impact how we interact with each other regardless of your belief system.

How Your Experiences Pair With Others For Growth

DIY Artist Route Podcast Greg Wilnau Musician Monster D Grant Smith mindset religion personal responsibilityWe also talk about the power of empowerment. Greg Wilnau illustrates how talking with people who are going through the sames things that you are empowers you to keep going (22:15). This is especially true for musicians who are in the early stages of your career, trying to figure out your next steps. It’s essential to community building as well.

Other key quotes and subjects presented in our talk include:

[On where the shift happened to go from dead end to growth]

“The biggest thing I struggled with that I didn’t know I struggled with was I would start projects strong and things would fizzle out. That was happening because I would constantly blame other people for my problems instead of taking ownership of them and figuring out how to fix them.” -Greg Wilnau

[Dealing with the human condition to model what we see]

“There are tons and tons of information being passed around, and there’s all these ways we’re told of what we need to do to succeed. But we actually model more of the things we see than what we’re told we need to do.

“We see people blaming others for their problems, and regardless of whether we know it’s not optimal, we often pattern that based on what we see, instead of what we know is best until we choose to change.” -D Grant Smith

[On what success actually is]

“The way people used to do things was they would build it…even launching music. You would write this album, create this masterpiece,hide up in your studio and then launch it. Then fame and glory would  come to you.

“Today that’s not the best way to do it. Making sure that what you’re doing with impact others before you actually do it, or doing your best to involve other people in what you’re creating and then giving them the ability to be involved in that process.

“You can’t do it alone, you have to have other people in the community with you. Getting feedback from others who are on the same journey as you is essential to your success.” -Greg Wilanu

 

[The real super-power anyone can have]

“Unless you’re Tom Hanks living on an island with a volleyball you’ve named Wilson, that’s the only place you’re not dealing with people. And the whole time you’re wishing to God you could deal with people again. So you’re ability to see people and connect with people, that’s the real super power that drives everything you do. It’s why community is such a big deal.” -D Grant Smith

Get Plugged Into Greg Wilnau On Musician Monster

I highly recommend Greg’s podcast as both a musician and as someone who is looking for true, intentional leaders to model after. You can reach out to Greg and get more connected with him here.

Making Mindset Changes Work For You

On the subject of Mindset changes for success, it’s something that I’ve been facing in my own personal and professional life for the past 3 years. It’s a big part of the Growth Farming methodology that transforms lives and careers.

Changing a few things about how I see myself and others has led to tremendous growth and success, including transforming me from being afraid to approach influencers to being able to sit down with folks like Kevin Kelly, Seth Godin, Rachael Yamagata and others.

Your superpower (which we talk about in the podcast and I talk about a LOT on this blog) matters in building community and building success. If you don’t know what your superpower is, you’re not going to be operating at 100% to get what you want. It’s another reason you and I can talk and grow together.

If you are struggling with your own negative mindsets, or brain garbage (as a friend of mine calls it), let’s have a conversation. I’m here to help you win. Get on my calendar by clicking here right now. I look forward to talking with and helping you.

 

 

How To Use Experience & Training For Maximum Impact

GrowthFarming-AppLogoExperience Still Matters. Here’s Why

You used to have to go to college or attend a seminar to get the education that’s now available online at a fraction-of-a-fraction of the cost. However, education alone won’t make you successful, no matter what field you’re in. Experience provides the testing ground to put education to work.

This is one reason why the aspect of selective education is so important. Think about it. In the information age, there’s little you can’t not-learn. The vast amount of data, education and information available can stymie your growth unless you choose to take it in stages.

This is where taking action-steps is so vital. For every blog article you read (including this one), take at least 1 action step towards putting what you gained to work (more on how to do that with this blog later on).

This is one reason why I challenge artists and entrepreneurs I work with through coaching to do specific actions after each of our sessions. The knowledge itself will take you places. However, you don’t reach the milestones you set without taking action. Action and experience paired with knowledge and understanding makes you a badass growth phenomenon.

How Education Is Still A Key For Growth & Success

This year I’ve spent more time diving into education as a resource for my own personal growth. I’ve also worked to develop a powerful network of some of the best creative industry educators, especially those who specialize in specific areas of expertise like marketing, audience growth (superfans in particular), social media, and platform building.

DIY Artist Route PodcastAmong the amazing folks I’ve connected and shared insights with include Jay Coyle (Berklee Online), Jay Coyle (Berklee Online & Music Geek Services), Andrew Apanov (Dotted Music), Brandon Gaille (The Blog Millionaire), Tom Giles (StageBloc), Michael Zipursky (Consulting Success), Steve Palfreyman (Music Launch Summit) and Seth Godin.

Most recently I had Jeremy Young from Soundfly & Flypaper on the podcast to discuss the power of education for musicians and creative entrepreneurs. TONS of great insight there.

Each of these incredible people have shared some very specific ways that education is a win-win for us. They’ve even shared some unconventional education methods. Go back and listen/download their podcast episodes to get more specifics.

Experience & Education Grows Our Ability To Build Relationships

The more we learn the more we have the capacity to learn.

Pair this with a thankful heart and attitude of gratitude (think growth farming and heart gardens here my friend) and you create the perfect outlet for connection with other people on similar subjects.

Honestly, it was partially my curiosity about a subject paired with my interest in these people I’ve reached out to which led to our conversations, and ultimately our ongoing connection.

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-32-27-amOpportunities Opened By Way Of Education

Education creates doorways for longer-term connections. It starts with being curious. Curiosity is an absolutely necessary ingredient to making growth happen.

If you’re not curious how something works, or how you can learn to better yourself, it’s really hard to have the discipline to stick with the learning process.

Education works because of curiosity and commitment to growth. Without those two ingredients, it easily can become another thing we start out of intrigue and put on the backburner when the next shiny thing comes along.

In this phase, asking questions to the many teachers and pros in whichever space you’re spending time in creates a different kind of opportunity. It creates a different kind of connection. If you practice it well, with other insights you’ve learned here, you’ll gain an advocate and friend from the person you originally just wanted help from in an educational capacity.

I read a lot of books, mostly in the nonfiction realm. Though I don’t work in many of the industries that I read about, we can all learn some powerful methods of growth from those who have built something that works and that lasts.

I’m currently reading Tony Robbins’ Money: Awaken The Giant Within.  It’s a book that dives into several areas of personal and business growth. I’ve already learned a ton, and am already putting much of that learning into practice. I want to be great at practicing what I learn.

Another great book I read this year (that I highly recommend to you) is John C Maxwell’s How Successful People Grow.

Obviously, growth is something I’m a big student of. This little pocket-sized book took me 3 months to read because each little section has so much powerful wisdom I couldn’t fly through it. It’s been transformation to my growth this year. You need to read it.

Curiosity and intrigue are why many of my entrepreneurial friends outside of music love The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The nuggets of community-building, effective communication, and networking in the book apply to everyone, regardless of your industry. It’s especially powerful for musicians because the How-To for getting radio airplay, blog reviews, and so forth are clearly detailed.

Investing In Educational Platforms Works

If you’re like me, you’ve probably signed up for a ton of free webinars, email courses, and online training programs that have a $0 price tag.

It’s natural to want to see how to win in this entrepreneurial and creative business without spending much cheddar. However, most of the free stuff doesn’t teach much.

There’s a reason why education continues to grow as a platform for success. What we invest in we practice. If something doesn’t cost us anything, we don’t spend much effort or energy in putting it to work.

However, when the growth method/education has a cost to it, we are naturally inclined to take it more seriously and take action on what we learn. That’s why if you really want to grow and learn how to do something from someone who truly knows their stuff, you should pay them for that information.

Knowledge is power. Experience is power. Knowledge plus experience plus great teachers create the kind of growth that can’t be stopped.

In the grand scheme of things, many of the best online training vessels have a much lower cost than your average semester at a university. Even a $100-$500 training online is cheaper than a semester at a state college that will run you at least $4000, even if it’s a junior college.

Plus, with online programs and training you get to be trained by people who are consistently putting their knowledge and experiences into practice. For a few hundred bucks (max price, often many courses cost much less), you can get the training and insights needed to skyrocket your success.

14206223_10154025032113918_710099330792237955_oWhat Education Platforms Should You Try In 2017

As we look to the future, what goals do you have? Think about the specific areas of your music or creative enterprise that you want to grow in.

Knowing your goals is the first key step in determining where to put your focus and attention for growth through training and education.

This short list is some of the growth and education platforms I have experience with from working with these fine folks in the past, including taking their courses. With the exception of the Music Launch Summit (and my own course listed towards the bottom), there’s no affiliate link in this for me.

I’m including these platforms because I believe in them and can attest to how effective they are. I’m not getting paid anything to do this, so the incentive is purely to help you. It’s a straight plug for folks I know who do great work and who can help you grow.

  • If you want to learn how to build your sound (production), write better songs, learn how to win in the music industry and more, Soundfly has some great offerings. Click here to get in.
  • If you want to grow your social media presence on Twitter, I highly recommend my good friend Carlos Castillo’s course. Click here to get in.
  • If you are trying to figure out how to get radio airplay, blog features, podcast interviews and build a powerful database of music industry influencers, my Indie Radio Course is just what you’re looking for. Click here to get in.
  • If you have thought about hiring a PR firm or publicist to get the word out about you, get interviews or reviews, but struggled to find the right company that wouldn’t break the bank, you can learn how to Be Your Own Badass PR Pro in this great course that I was a part of. Click here to get in.
  • And if you want to learn from the best of the best in the indie music world, my friend Steve Palfreyman’s Music Launch Summit features special training sessions and more with the likes of Dave Kusek, Rick Barker, Cari Cole, Rodney Holder, Yann Illunga, Wendy Parr and a ton more great teachers. Click here to get in for this coming year’s lineup. It’s going to be even bigger and more incredible this year than when it debuted.

 

DGS_RadioHandbook_Cover-1AWant some FREE education? Most of us do. Here’s how you can get a free gift this season, just from me. Like I said in the last podcast episode, I’m giving away a few free copies of The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook to my Growth Farming community in my email list. You can sign up for my email list in the right hand column to connect more with me and have a way to get a free copy sent out soon. Looking forward to connecting more with you!

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

The Secrets To 1000 True SuperFans With Kevin Kelly

 

kklaughsm_400x400

Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is a man with a rich background in writing and science. His wisdom and thoughtfulness is pervasive in not only his writings but also his lectures.

He’s someone with an eye and ear to the future, looking at both trends and technology paired with the human psyche to see what futures await us. The artistic side of this approach to vision casting is brilliant. It’s also intriguing.

How I came to understand and embrace Kevin’s theories on growth goes back a few years to when I was starting my first endeavor in the creative entrepreneurial realm.

The Birth Of The SuperFan Idea

Back in 2008, while starting the initial syndication build for The Appetizer Radio Show, I first met an artist who would become a good friend. William Fitzsimmons had transitioned from one career as a therapist into becoming a full-time musician. He wasn’t famous, but he did have a really strong core audience that propelled his growth.

Years later, I’d connect with several other artists who’d share with me how they’d built their growth strategy around reaching 1000 true fans. It was a theory created by Kevin Kelly in an article he wrote that was published a few decades ago. Intrigued, I looked it up and found it contained the exact formula I was using to build my platform.

Fast-forward to this past summer. My good friend (and fellow DIY Artist Router) Chandler Coyle told me of an opportunity to speak with Kevin. Kevin has a new book out called The Inevitable, and was looking at some artistic, entrepreneurial and marketing related podcasts to get on to promote the book. I put my name in the hat and was privileged to get to connect with him.

The result of that connection is this podcast episode. It’s been several months in the making, but it’s brilliant on a variety of levels. The are several things I loved about talking with Kevin Kelly, especially how down-to-earth and open he is. It was like talking with an old friend.

He’s also incredibly objective, which is refreshing for someone who has done so much in their careers.

A Brief Bio On Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly is most known for being a writer, author, and co-founder of Wired Magazine. He’s also got a rich history in science, photography and digital marketing. He’s the founder of The WELL, a virtual community created with Stewart Brand.

He’s written for publications like The Economist, Esquire, GQ, and the New York Times. His lectures cover subjects ranging from marketing and economic growth to scientific and technological innovation.

His writings and books include New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (Penguin, 1999) and”Forward: 1000 True Fans,” pp. 3–8, in Be The Media, David Mathison, editor, (2009), which is where the concept of the SuperFan was born.

More insights into Kelly available on his website.

Notable Quotes From This Podcast Conversation With Kevin Kelly

“The best way to do research on the Internet is to say something and people will tell you that you’re wrong. Numbers aren’t as critical as just doing it.”

“The Internet was inevitable but the kind of Internet we have (wasn’t). (There’s a) shift to Internet of experiences away from an Internet of knowledge. Much more emotional and experiential overlay will take place.”

“Marketing (The Inevitable) on Twitter was something we did well. Tweeting once a day with a quote from the book was very successful.”

Capture Your 1000 True Fans

What started as a concept and an idea has become something that is used by the truly successful indie and DIY musicians, artists, and creative entrepreneurs to build lasting success. It’s no longer a theory.

It’s a science. Connecting with real people who love and support your work is the theme of another great book that shows you the process of making it happen.

How can you take the science of the SuperFan and apply it to your work? Reach out to me in the form below and we’ll talk about getting your super fan tribe built.

 

Shaine Freeman On Why Connections Must Know You Back

Listen/Download the Podcast conversation here:

Shaine Freeman

Shaine Freeman

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast Notes & Quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Culture Determines Your Growth & Success

 

The entrance to Bonnaroo

The entrance to Bonnaroo, escaping a place of fear and into a place of love & acceptance

There are so many areas in our world that we blame our culture on. The perpetual violence in the US, especially in places where children or minorities are the victims, leads to division among our own people. When we look deeper into the causes of these problems, a destructive culture is at the root.

How can culture be such a powerful influence on the behavior or people? That’s the question I am searching for answers to right now, especially after returning from a trip where a culture of love and unity had created an amazing culture.

What does “culture” mean

I live in a small town in West Texas. The predominant culture is older and white. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as the world has become more diverse with different ethnic groups, beliefs, races, and cultures inter-mingling together, we’re starting to taste the beauty of multi-culturalism in ways we haven’t before. There are positives and negatives that come out of this, but I am going to focus on what we can take away from the growth of culture in our every day lives, as well as how we have the responsibility of determining our own culture for growth and success.

Culture is simply this: the collection of arts and expressions of human intellectual achievement and growth.

Culture determines growth because that’s a part of what it is. A=A in simple math terms.

Bonnaroo Main Stage

Bonnaroo Main Stage

As you know, I recently treked halfway across the country to attend Bonnaroo 2016. We had a little caravan of friends go together, and we all had a lot of fun. There were some standout bands who performed including Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Brett Dennen, and Band of Horses. I also was turned on to the music of Bob Moses, Chvrches, Chris Stapleton, and Dresden  (among others). The music was simply amazing.

However, it wasn’t the music that impacted me the most. It was something else: the predominant culture of love and acceptance to EVERYONE, regardless of race, age, belief, creed, heritage, or ideology.

When you have over 65,000 people converging on one location, you’re going to experience diversity. There’s inevitable (remember A=A). As soon as we entered into the farm (Bonnaroo sits on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, TN), the overall feeling of being safe as ourselves, being accepted for who we are, and love for each fellow person was the established rule of order.

Our Team & New Friends

Our Team & New Friends

The best thing about this culture was that we all knew it going in based solely on what we saw and felt around us. There were no “10 Rules Of Attending Bonnaroo” when we entered in. There wasn’t a form we had to sign that said we agreed to be kind, loving, and supportive of each other before being admitted in. And there wasn’t a punishment of being banished if anyone didn’t adhere to this loving culture. It was the opposite of what our modern society is and does, where rules try to dictate the behaviors of people.

Am I saying that rules and laws are not good and are a problem? NOT AT ALL.

DressedForDay1What I am saying is that it was the cultivation, seeding, nourishing, and continual harvesting of a loving culture that makes this 4 day music festival continue to grow. Any musician who has tried to get on stage at a festival like this runs up against some pretty big-named bands. There’s a reason for that.

Anyone who has tried to start a music festival and build up momentum to keep it going the following year has experienced the difficulties of building something new. The Bonnaroo guys did too 15 years ago.  A farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee isn’t a beacon light for most people. However, give people great music (arts) and a supportive atmosphere of love (culture) and you can build a winner year after year.

What culture are you building

The tragedies of the Orlando shooting took place on the Saturday (day 3) of Bonnaroo, and we all had a lot of serious conversations with fellow Roo-vians that day and the days that followed. It made us confront ourselves, and look closer at this societal disparity in our modern culture where we turn ideologies into things that divide us to the point of death. Terrorism is all about creating more division by killing off people who cause them no harm, yet whose beliefs contradict their own. It’s bullshit. And it’s cowardly. That’s the terrorist culture.

Is the response to terrorism more violence to send a message? I don’t know. Hopefully our political leaders are discernible enough to find a path that works. My response to these acts of violence in our local and national areas is to operate from a culture that is loving and accepting. AND THAT IS FREAKING HARD TO DO IN THE FACE OF HATE AND VIOLENCE.

Don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy. But we’re uncommon people creating remarkable actions. It’s who we are. A=A. I believe that loving culture creates positive change, where people can be more whole and more themselves. Is this a utopian ideal? Hell if I know. I’ve seen and experienced part of this. What if we carried the heart of Bonnaroo with us in our personal lives, our social interactions, and the communities we’re a part of with our art and business? How would that change our society for the better?

These are the questions I’m asking myself, and the question I’m asking you. Are you the difference that you want to see in the world? Ghandi was. In the face of direct violence, hatred, and a negative culture he became the change he wanted to experience. And he changed his world. More on that in this video:

How To Have Success In Business & LIfe- BE The Change You Want from DGrantSmith on Vimeo.

 

Have A Conversation And Make A Ruckus With Seth Godin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Error: The resource attribute is invalid.

Seth Godin Seth Godin[/caption]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes When You Need Just A Little Encouragement

Image by Megan Lynette

Image by Megan Lynette

It’s the start of a new year. Most of us are busy setting to work on getting things really going so that we can achieve our New Year’s Resolutions, or more practically that goals we set to build on last year’s victories.

Are you with me on this?

Here’s something that keeps popping up here and there in just the 4 short days of 2016, and I want to focus a little time on it now with you so we can move forward to achieve our shared and individual goals AND enjoy the process.

Sometimes we need just a little encouragement.

I’m going to be tempted to get bogged down in details with finding the right THIS or the best THAT to use in employing strategic elements to reach my goals this year. And there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll see someone advertising on Facebook or soliciting on Google that they were able to build, grow and reach millions of new people with tons of new business, all in just 3 weeks (or something ridiculous like that), and I might feel like I missed the mark.

I’m still working on reaching the big goals I set 3 years ago as far as reach and I haven’t made it yet. But I will.

However, I’ll admit to you that I do get a little discouraged at the pace of growth sometimes. You might get discouraged too, right? Do you feel a little bit thrown off like you missed the boat when you see an ad or a pitch for an online course, Ebook, or webinar where someone claims to have done something that you’ve spent months or years working on, and they achieved it in days or weeks? Most of these claims aren’t entirely accurate (experience showed me this unfortunately, but that’s a conversation we can have later) yet the feeling is real.

Sometimes we need just a little encouragement to see that when we keep working, stay focused on our goals, and put to use the insights and ideas that even outside events show us, good things can hapen. We’ll see our dreams come to life, and we’ll celebrate the victories that accomplishing goals brings us.

With the notion that disappointment might try to sneak in and throw off my groove, I’ve been on the lookout for some small pieces of encouragement, and have successfully found a few. I want to share them with you, so that you can grab them when the little antagonizing voice of disappointment or failure comes sneaking up on you and tries to throw off your groove. Then you can punch it in the mouth with this great stuff.

Here we go.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 10.08.43 PM

First, I’m a football fan and being from Houston I celebrate the Texans. Sorry Cowboy fans, it’s been a tough year for you guys. Hopefully something good can happen in the offseason.

The Texans made it to the Playoffs this year for the first time since 2012, beating the Jaguars yesterday 30-6. It was a tremendous game that saw the defense do things that would make for a full season highlight reel. The encouragement I found from this was more than just a victory, and more than just a trip to the playoffs. These guys had been written off as losers and a lost season just 8 weeks ago.

Think about that.

Most teams who start 2-5 don’t end up with winning seasons, and they also don’t make the playoffs. The coaching staff (led by Bill O’Brien) changed the way the team practiced, putting the decisions of game-time flow in the hands of the players instead of telling them what to do during the week. That changed everything. They went on to win 6 of their next 8 games, take the team to the post season and do what the sports world had said wouldn’t happen. That to me is encouraging. It means that when things aren’t working out, I can change something small, or something off the radar and get better results.

Switching from sports to politics might be a little off-kilter but that’s ok too. I don’t want to weigh in on the political race of 2016, because it is a bit of a divisive mess right now. However, it’s interesting to look at some recent news posted on the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont (who is running for the Democratic nomination). Like him or not and regardless of your political views, he should be someone that entrepreneurs, small businesses and especially musicians pay attention to because of his grassroots growth.

Remember that little temptation I mentioned earlier that most of us fall prey to, the one that tells us we’re failing if we don’t grow exponentially in our platform audiences in a short amount of time? Bernie has done something in his campaign that most crowdfunders dream of, let alone small business startups and DIY musicians. He’s raised millions of dollars appealing to people on a personal and real way.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 9.42.34 PM

I took this little pic off of Facebook because it’s the easiest to illustrate. Again, I reference these stats and Bernie’s growth not because of his politics but because of how he’s connecting with real people. On a whole, I’ve talked a lot about the difference between building empires and building communities. I believe community building beats empires over time. It would appear that this is true based on these stats too, regardless of whether he wins the nomination for the Democratic party or not.

The encouragement I get from seeing this little blurb is that when you are real with people, appeal to individuals on a common level and not segregate others out or kick people out because of some jaded belief system, you can build strong and powerful bonds with people of different walks of life, different cultures, different beliefs, but shared values. Isn’t that what makes strong communities vibrant and thriving?

A more little note of encouragement on this piece-note that the average gift to his campaign is less than $30. That’s less than the average contribution to a nonprofit fundraising campaign, a public radio pledge drive, or a crowdfunding campaign for a tech startup. Again, it’s not about the size of the gift but the way that individuals are impacted. I can be encouraged by that. How about you?

Me with Iron & Wine in 2010, presenting him a Golden Fork Award trophy (the first ever made)

Me with Iron & Wine in 2010, presenting him a Golden Fork Award trophy (the first ever made)

One final piece of encouragement to start the year off, this time I’ll dive into a different realm in music. I confess to spending absolutely zero time looking at anything involving pop music. I admit to following the latest news with Adele and Taylor Swift only because of the impact of the music licensing royalties with Soundexchange and the new lawsuit against Spotify because it pertains to my work (both in radio and in working with musicians). Their shared impact on music streaming platforms is intriguing as well.

Plus, in an age when music streaming is the standard method of listening for most people, their success highlights the fact that people continue to buy albums. Musicians, make note of this.

I heard a little bit of both Adele and Swift’s albums from 2015. My conclusion? Not really impressed, and it’s not because they’re pop stars. I don’t get the heart, soul and powerful presence from them that I do from the albums by Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell (Sing Into My Mouth), Trevor Hall (who had 2 releases in 2015 and both were stellar) or Brandi Carlile (The Firewatcher’s Daughter). Only Carlile among them got national recognition (via a Grammy nom). Yet despite the lack of national attention, these artists continue to grow their audiences by making great albums, convicted to the notion that real music is found in a full album experience that they deliver time and time again. By the way, they’re all nominated for a big award I do every year and you can hear 2 cuts from their 2015 releases HERE.

In a music world (and industry) that seems to be dictated by flashy imagery and millions of social media imprints, here are 4 musicians who don’t fit the pop culture’s mold of success and yet they continue to write, perform and thrive. That my friend, is inspiring. Here’s the thing though, these are just a very small group of the many MANY musicians out there who are thriving and winning in this constantly changing marketplace for music, one where the industry is panicked. When you connect with real people by giving them a powerful experience, you will win. That’s the way it works.

What experience are you giving?

That’s the question I’m asking myself every week when I sit down to produce The Appetizer Radio Show. What experience am I providing? What experience do I want my audience to have? I think that every musician and every business owner should let that question pass through their brains at some point during every week, at least a few times. In the end, it’s the experience that brings people back to us, that we build community together with, and who help us reach the goals we set out for ourselves.

Did you need a little encouragement to start your week? Good. Now let’s move forward together!

Who I Am And What I’m Really All About

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What are you passionate about in your career?

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

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

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

Q: What or who are you most passionate about?

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

Q: What do you believe in?

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

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

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

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

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

Be Uncommon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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