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Maximize Your Growth With These Books (My 2017 Reading List Picks)

These are some of the great books that got me through 2017

You’ve gotten through this year with a lot of lessons learned. I can certainly attest to learning much from life, people, and reflection. Books have also been an incredible teacher. As I think about some of the best growth that’s come from reading, I want to share my reading list top picks from 2017 so you can add to your book list and experience powerful growth too.

Let’s not leave out audiobooks. They’re equal parts to the learning journey.

The feedback from readers on my weekly newsletter (signup in the right column) has been that folks want to know more about the books that have been instrumental in my transformation, healing, and development this year.

I highly recommend everything I’m going to tell you about. All of these books can be a gift to yourself. Once you have an awesome experience, get a copy and gift it to a friend.

Maximize Your Growth With These Books

Instead of saying too much about each title, I’ve included a brief description of what benefits are in the book and why it was so powerful to me.

1. Secrets Of The Power Of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer

I picked up this audiobook at a library sale and it’s simply the best buy of the last 15 years. I listen to a disc from it every day. It’s been my guide for peace, love, healing, and connection with Almighty Love (aka God, Source, Intention) throughout this year.

I’ve gained powerful affirmation statements and intentions to verbally declare daily that set my mind and heart on a path towards love as a state of being. And hearing Dr. Dyer speak on this subjects, along with his powerful storytelling is one of the most transformational things I’ve ever experienced.

2. 10 Secrets To Success and Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Following the audiobook, I started amassing a collection of Dyer’s work. This was the next book I dove into. He breaks down 10 keys to having inner peace and success in every area of your life. A big one is “don’t die with your music still in you.” You’ll have to read it to get the fullness of what that means.

3. The Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday

I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday’s work. His books are philosophically challenging and provide a different perspective to overcoming obstacles. The ego is something all of us must contend with or it will govern our actions and destroy our potential.

Holiday draws upon the wisdom of the Stoics, while also sharing a bit of his own story. When you reach any level of success, it’s easy to start listening to your own press, and letting your momentum shift from growth to maintenance. This book provides a pathway forward instead of spinning your wheels.

4. The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

My good friend Carlos Castillo posted about this book last year and I added it to my reading list, borrowing a copy from a friend. It’s a relatively short read, yet the wisdom and thoughtfulness in each page will keep you in a place of contemplation and reflection which leads to even more truth and transformation.

I struggle with the 2nd agreement at times, which is don’t take anything personally. Our culture, particularly with social media, makes this harder for a lot of us.

From the guidance of Dr. Dyer who also talks about not taking yourself so seriously and how connecting with Source removes any need to be offended, this book draws more wisdom into these big ideas to change the way you see yourself and the world around you so that you can become whole.

5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen was living a comfortable life with her husband and kids, but realized that she wasn’t happy and set out to do something about it. Over the span of a year, she made a resolution to do things differently, one month at a time.

In the process she found that happiness, like life, is a journey and a process. She discovered aspects about herself that she changed to create improvement and other thingss she did away with to have peace and happiness. We all can learn to be happy, and rewrite our story to have the life we want.

6. The Rock Says by The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)

I honestly finished reading this one yesterday afternoon. I’m a big fan of the Rock, going back to his wrestling days, and especially his movies and TV shows. Watch him do an interview with someone and you’ll discover some profound strategies for how to make a connection with a host or influencer that sticks with them, making them a bigger fan of you (and subsequentially a bigger advocate for you).

His attitude and charisma are magnetic. In this autobiography he tells his story and he changes voices in it too, going from Dwayne Johnson to The Rock. And you see how the charismatic character he created is a part of him, while also being a caricature.

This book taught me a lot about the power of outlandish techniques to draw people in, how audience’s responses can lead to your evolution into greatness, and how to value the people who are a part of your journey to have even more success.

7. How To Sell Your Way Through Life by Napoleon Hill

I’ve learned this year that sales is a part of all of our lives, whether it’s our career path or not. Hill uses old-school methods to describe what makes great connections with the people who buy from you.

Someone is buying from you, whether they’re buying your work or your character or your partnership/collaboration or just buying into you. This book gives some great examples of how to sell yourself in any circumstance.

8. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think “self-love” was something hipsters did to feel better about themselves. Or that it was something for unstable people who didn’t have any backbone.

Turns out I was wrong. And I’ve given away my heart to other people for a long time without giving much love, grace, or kindness to myself. This year changed that and this book helped.

With something as simple as a mantra of “I love myself” you can transform how you feel, how you operate, and how others see you for growth, healing, and success.

9. Totally Fulfilled by Dean Graziosi

I’ll also admit that I’m in the middle of this one but I’ve read enough of it to encourage you to pick it up. Dean talks about how we live in a world dominated by limited beliefs, which we adopt to put a lid on our potential.

Yet people who are totally fulfilled in their lives with their families, relationships, careers and themselves see things from a limitless perspective.

He maps out a way to change your mindset from limited beliefs into limitless beliefs. I’ve adopted this mindset and I’m already experiencing transformation.

That’s my reading list from this year. Actually, that’s the best of it. I’m working on a few new titles that were recommended from the authors I’ve mentioned here. I’m sure they’ll make next year’s list.

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.

How To Get Better Gigs With Help From Dave Ruch

dave ruch get gigs education libraries schools

Music educator and gigging specialist Dave Ruch

Every musician wants to get more gigs, book better venues and be able to perform regularly. Performing for some artists is one of the main methods for profiting from the business of being a musician.

However, getting gigs is getting harder and harder. Fortunately for all of us, there’s Dave Ruch.

Dave Ruch Is Great At Getting Paid Gets

Dave is a seasoned musician with a history of performing and creating new opportunities to perform.

One thing that sets him a part from most musicians, is the types of gigs he gets. Instead of competing with every cover band in the coffee shop/bar-type venue, he’s found a truly uncommon method of getting PAID gigs.

Yeah, you read that right.

One of the best places for musicians to get in front of a captivated (and paying) audience is to go to places that thrive on educational opportunities.

Schools and libraries are two of the best places where both education and supportive audiences await you.

If only you know how to book at their locations.

How To Book Gigs That Give You More Time With Friends & Family

That’s the specialty of Dave Ruch’s blog, a thorough resource for musicians of all walks to find ways to perform in places that keep you active in the daytime so that you can spend time with your family or friends in the evening.

How many of you have families (spouse and kids or grand kids) that you don’t see as much because you’re always on the road or playing late night gigs?

Dave’s method of performing allows him to work during the daytime and be home in the evenings/nights with his wife and kids.

Even if you’re in your 20s or 30s and haven’t settled down with a family, the rewarding nature of being a part of children and youth’s future by providing an educational and entertaining presentation during their school day is a great opportunity.

Helping others is the mark of truly influential and powerful people. In these ways, Dave shows us how to get better at helping others through booking a different kind of gig.

diy artist route podcast cover musician entrepreneur audience growthMake The Most Of Your Opportunities

Dave says, “Most public libraries have missions of entertain and educate audiences.” This is a natural fit for a musician to make new connections.

As a musician and creative entrepreneur, your main job is to build relationships with people and give them something powerful to experience.

This method of booking a different kind of venue opens up new ways for you to grow.  It gives another avenue to take the method of The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook and apply them to a new group of people to create success opportunities for you.

In a way similar to the past several DIY Artist Route guests (like Jeremy Young, Chandler Coyle, & Andrew Apanov) education in this music space is much more than a classroom experience. We all learn from each other.

Sometimes we have opportunities to take our art into new places to positively change the lives of others. In Dave’s method, you can get paid to do that too.

Quotes To Key In On

“What happens in the present is more important than being known in the end.” -Dave Ruch

“We’re all looking for hard, fast wins in the digital world. But few people are taking the time to build real relationships. When we miss building the relationship, we miss the chance to get real gold out of the exchange.” -D Grant Smith

“The wider you cast your net the busier you will be. Leaving your town gives you more work.” -Dave Ruch

Podcast Notes:

A big thanks to Bandzoogle for their continued support of The DIY Artist Route. They have 1 killer deal for musicians to get your own custom domain with a ton of built in features.

Use the promo code “DIYPOD” to get an additional 15% off of any order.

Education is a big part of what I do as a coach and mentor for musicians. I’m going to be hosting a series of free Webinars to show you how to build better connections, and more specifically make better contact with media for submissions. Click here to sign up to join me.

You can also set up a free session with me to talk about how to build your audience, grow your fan base, and more by filling out the form below.


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.



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!

Take The Lessons Learned Here To The Next Level

Want To Grow Even More? Gain a bigger following, growth and success with one of the best minds in business.

Learn Growth Farming The Seth Godin way in this free eBook.


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.


How Radio Promotion Is Done Right With Jesse Barnett

RelationshipBeing a radio host, I’m plugged into different parts of this industry. I’m connected to radio stations, artists, managers, radio promoters, and listeners alike. I see things from the perspective of a radio station manager, music director, program host, and curator when it comes to music submissions. I do also see things from the perspective of the artists. It might seem like these are two opposing viewpoints, but they’re not.

Not if you look at it the right way.

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett

Jesse Barnett (Right Arm Resource) is one who sees the harmony between the musicians and the media platforms who showcase their work. It’s a team effort, where both sides win when they work together. Look folks, there’s no I in team. We know that. It’s cliched. But how often do you, musicians, look at your music promotions to radio as something that offers a benefit to the station you reach out to other than them “getting to play” your music?

Radio and musicians win when there’s a relationship connection in place. That’s why public, community, indie and college radio continue to be powerhouses in the modern media-rich world. Relationships matter. Make that a focus and you’ll see bigger and better wins in your music promotion.

This podcast episode is about just that: relationships. Jesse is the best in the business of radio promotion because he puts relationships first. He has worked with and represented some big names in indie music including Damien Rice, They Might Be Giants, Cage The Elephant, and others. And he works with smaller indie labels and artists too, quite successfully I might add.

We talk about the power of networking and relationship building a lot in this episode because it’s the real key to achieving anything that lasts. Trust me. Or better yet trust Jesse. We’re both proof of this. Radio is a conduit between people who share interest, love, and stories driven by music. When radio works best is when it builds communities together of people who share these areas. That’s not the same thing as it being a platform that just plays music and has listeners. That’s boring commercial radio, which you’re not listening to.

One other thing that is mentioned a few times in this podcast episode is The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook, which illustrates the exact things we talk about in a How-To format. Jesse has read it and shares his thoughts on it. It’s easy for me to tell you that you need this book. However, you decide how much you want to succeed. If you want to win, and you want long term wins, go grab the book here.

After you listen to this, if you get just 1 thing out of it (which I know is an understatement because you’ll get way more than that), do your part in the growth farming process and plant a seed with 3 of your music friends (i.e. share the episode). Cultivate it with me here, and let me know what 1 thing you got the most from in this conversation. We’ll talk soon!

Warning Signs You May Be Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Photo Credit: Bailey Weaver

Photo Credit: Bailey Weaver

Sometimes the best way to see problems with yourself is to watch someone else act exactly like you do.

The behaviors of other people doing just what you do should cause you to pause, reflect, and go “Don’t I do the exact same thing? Oh, that’s gotta change!”

I say this because I’m guilty of doing some of the things that bother me the most about other people.

Taking yourself too seriously is certainly one of my flaws, one that I’ve spent the better part of the past 2 years trying to correct. I used to be really bad. Now it’s a less-frequent problem.

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

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

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

This is the “Angry Rooster Face”

I used to get offended if someone who claimed to listen to the radio station I worked for hadn’t heard of The Appetizer Radio Show. Or, even worse, if someone asked about the food that I talked about on the show.

I make this face when I’m confused (see left) that someone dear to me calls my “angry rooster face.”

That’s the face I used to make if someone made a comment about my radio show and said something about me talking about food. “I thought you said you listened to my show? I’ve never done anything about food specifically. What are you talking about???” would be the thoughts going in my head, but I would not say such things.

Yet you wouldn’t have to struggle to see those thoughts on my face. This face and this look don’t hide too much.

Either way, my attitude was that of an asshole. I took myself way too seriously and potentially offended good-hearted people who might have otherwise actually given the show a listen.

I assumed that since I was so passionate about my work, everyone who asked me about it must be too. I assumed that if someone showed the slightest bit of interest in my work, then they should know all about it and not need me to explain to them why it is important.

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

Seeing the other side of the serious-taking-issue has revealed a lot of the negative side effects that this attitude can have. It’s also the exact opposite of grace and humility.

There is a good chance that you haven’t read my About page, or looked up the articles I’ve written for Sonicbids, CMuse, or other sites, or heard all the episodes on the DIY Artist Route Podcast. That’s ok.

Do I want you to experience these things? Yes, of course. Is it a prerequisite for us to connect? Absolutely not.

I’m saying all of this because it’s important for us to put our contributions and our stories into perspective. This is especially true as we’re trying to reach new people we don’t know with our work.

I’m not the only music curator discovering excellent talent. I’m not the only radio host who has been showcasing indie and unsigned music for years and years.

Several great music radio icons preceded the work I do. The same is true for artists and businesses.

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

Keep that in perspective. It’s great that you’re not alone.

What is it about your work specifically that is remarkable?

What completely unique and uncommon thing makes you stand out from others who are doing similar work?

These are the pieces of your communication that need to come out with new people who are being introduced to your work.

Where I see Too-Serious play out the most

Music submissions are the prime place where I experience my old behaviors play out, and it’s mostly in a digital format. Not every artist who submits music gets accepted.

This is true on every media platform.

When an artist sends an email to me that is full of links to videos or songs, I don’t always follow all of the links. I honestly don’t always spend 15-30 minutes diving into a band’s music, especially not when the sender is a person I’ve never interacted with before. Remember strangers and gold?

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

The reality is that I don’t know the artist (yet), and the first impression they’ve left is that they take themselves too seriously. That someone who wants them to tell their story makes them upset.

It’s an artist giving me their own angry rooster face, and expecting the interest to be natural and inherent.

I hope this isn’t the response that other music curators are receiving when they interact and don’t instantly jump into any musician’s work, particularly yours. It may produce worse results.

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

Most new people won’t know your backstory, and they may not give you the attention you seek at first. Instead of taking yourself so seriously and getting offended at what a stranger doesn’t give you right away, nurture the first spark of that interest.

Build a dialogue. Approach the potential connection with grace and kindness. So many good things come out of a change in perspective and a better attitude.

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

Donkeys don’t win beauty pageants, even social ones.

Grace and respect in meeting new people, and learning how to approach strangers in a way that builds their interest while also getting you what you seek is the subject of my debut book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook.

Unhook Yourself From The Ego-Machine And Experience Real Growth & Transformation

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Jay Coyle Preaches Super Fan Gospel For Musicians

Jay Coyle

Jay Coyle, Music Geek Services

So far on the DIY Artist Route Podcast we’ve connected with fellow Super Fan building advocates like Benji Rogers (Pledge Music), Michael Brandvold, and Chandler Coyle (Berklee Online & Music Geek Services). Recently I was blessed to get to chat with Chandler’s brother and Music Geek founder Jay Coyle on the gospel of super fans for musicians.

Jay Coyle has a storied past with music and music marketing. His approach to helping musicians market themselves is an outside-the-box perspective that made me instantly pay closer attention. It’s the way that I’ve gone about building my audience for The Appetizer Radio Show, and help musicians connect with their fans for years. And best of all, it’s really easy.

What does your fan base want most from you?
Think about that. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience to see what you can do for them to garner more of their support, AND how you can build stronger connections with them.

Jay Coyle thinks like a Super Fan

Chances are you’re a big fan of at least 1 band or musician. What lengths would you go to in order to see your favorite band live? What about adding their music to your record library, even if that’s digital? Let’s throw some merch in too, because most of us Super Fans have merchandise from our favorite artists. What is it that we most want from our favorite artists, and why are we so passionate about them?

It’s these keen insights into what makes the super fan army move in your direction that Jay is so great at. It’s how his company Music Geek Services has helped many small-to-medium sized bands thrive in a constantly growing music market with new artists emerging daily. More competition creates more noise and less room. No musician in this industry can get by on trying to be all things to all people and expect to win. Instead, focus on your core audience of super fans and make them your prize.

Jay Coyle is one more advocate for the essential piece to your audience growth-Super Fans. Take his insights, tips, and advice to heart and to action. What stood out the most to you in our conversation on this podcast? Comment here and let’s chat about it.

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James Moore Joins The DIY Artist Route With PR Tips

“A lot of artists, if they don’t know how to do something, they find some sort of ideological reason not to do it, and that holds them up. You do need to take that leap. Learn about it instead of complain about it.” -James Moore, Independent Music Promotions

Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

James Moore; Image credit: Ryan Donnelly

PR is a buzzword in some business circles. In some music circles it’s a curse word. Author and PR pro James Moore is working diligently to correct the misinformation about not only the the business of PR for musicians, but also the pieces that make it up.

One of the ways he’s done this is from his fantastic book, Your Band Is A Virus. Websites, branding, social media and guerilla marketing are all subjects covered in the book. I’ve read it, and encourage musicians to pick it up to educate yourself on the pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle that is the music business for DIY artists.

I wanted James to join me on the podcast because we have similar mantras about growth, fan building and the essential need that every artist, startup and creative entrepreneur in this space has for using basic business principles to win. His quote above is something we discuss in the podcast, and address solutions for.

“Getting rid of the mental obstructions that are holding you back is the same for businesses as it is for musicians or any endeavor really.”

It’s easy to complain about all the pieces of the puzzle that is entrepreneurial business. There is a LOT to be confused about. There are even more pathways available to learn something new, and grow your ability to connect the dots. James’ work with musicians with his company, Independent Music Promotions, does a blend of education with hands-on networking.

One key piece of this puzzle is the reality of how networking and relationship building actually works in the digital space. I’m thankful that social platforms like Facebook and Linked In have given us the ability to connect with fellow community members across the country and around the globe. However, there is a misnomer that clicking a Follow button is the same as networking. It’s not. Networking is relationship building. This requires time, conversation and shared interests. We build our networks and our relationships over chats, talks, and reciprocal connections.

I’m thankful to James Moore for sharing his insights into how growth works from a PR standpoint, educating both musicians and entrepreneurs on the role of media coverage in the development process, and the myriad of great quotes provided in this conversation.

What stands out the most to you from what James shared? Is there one thing in particular you’ve been trying to figure out about PR and still don’t understand? Reach out and we’ll figure it out together.

In this chat we also talked about my upcoming book, The DIY Musicians’ Radio Handbook: How To Growth Hack Your Fan Base Using Radio Airplay. The book will be out in early May. Make sure you’re on my book list to get first dibs and special bonuses.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Sign Up For The Book Release Here:

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Have A Conversation And Make A Ruckus With Seth Godin

seth godin music marketing growth farming

Seth Godin

When I was asked to reach out and connect with one of my biggest heroes to make a connection, I picked Seth Godin. I didn’t know him personally at the time, but that would soon change. And this conversation would change my brand, improve my perspective and much more.

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 past book list. 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.

Here are some more reasons that this 17 minutes of audio will be the best thing you listen to all day in the form of killer quotes. You have to listen to the podcast to get the fullness of it all. Here are some of the subjects covered:

On how to build a successful audience base

“The goal is not to have a fan base, though Kevin Kelly’s ‘Thousand Fans’ is a critical idea. The goal of connecting with a tribe is to understand:

A). It’s not for everyone and

B). The people who it is for are seeking connection and they’re hoping to be seen.”

On why your Super Fans are the key to real success to reach your goals

“You’re already in the Promised Land. That there is no place where everything lines up and you are Miles Davis. That’s never going to happen.

“What happens instead is you find 10 people, just 10 people, who care so much about what you do they tell someone else.

“You find 20 people, just 20 people, who would miss you if you were gone. Then you repeat it, and you repeat it and you repeat it. The next thing you go is three years later you’re an overnight sensation.

“That it’s believing that ‘the grass is always greener’ that you get in trouble. You’ve already got all the grass you’re going to get. What you need to do is farm it, not go hunting.”

Just the tip of the iceberg

I talk about gold nuggets at least twice in this podcast and for good reason. Listen to the podcast and listen again. Share it with at least 1 specific person you know who is creating something meaningful. Give them this bit of encouragement and insight.

The most important thing to get out of this conversation is that you (Yes YOU!!!) can connect with the people who are looking to sync up. Tell your stories, be uncommon and authentic, and participate in the lives of your tribe.

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. 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.

Get Even More From This Powerful Episode With Seth Godin

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.