Tag Archives: uncommon

How To Avoid Being An Artistic Scrooge This Christmas

Michael Caine as Scrooge in A Muppet Christmas Carol, one of my favorite versions

Michael Caine as Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol
, one of my favorite versions

When you see the name Scrooge, do you instantly think of a crabby, bitter old man who not only hates Christmas but also hates people?

That’s the common interpretation of Scrooge. The other common thought about Scrooge is that someone with that reference only cares about money and is predominately greedy by nature.

I hope that none of these characteristics mark your artistry or humanity. Yet, the Scrooge aspect I want to highlight and talk about here doesn’t involve any of these criteria. There is something redeeming about Scrooge in the Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol that most of us aren’t always mindful of.

The Ebeneezer Scrooge who we first encounter in The Muppet Christmas Carol is not the Scrooge we are left with at the conclusion of the story. There is a transformation that takes place within the man’s heart over the course of the tale, marked in 3 stages as he is taken to memories of his past, realities of his present, and potential for his future. All of these stages have glimpses of hope and tragedy.

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

The Patrick Stewart version is also a favorite

Scrooge is not who he really appears to be

These glimpses show us the real heart of Scrooge, despite how his life has transpired up to the visitation of the three spirits. We see a man who has allowed life to dictate his steps in a way that are counter to his true self. We see a man who, when we comes across boys he knew as a child, has fondness for the individuals. We see a man who experienced joy and love from a woman, but who mistakenly put a quest for wealth above his connection with her love and devotion. The loss of his love was the onset of his downward spiral into greed and hatred for people.

The warning in this tale is simple on the front end, but the real heart of Scrooge’s story is that if we aren’t careful we can easily become manipulated by seeking the wrong things for our happiness, and subsequently rob ourselves of true success. Scrooge was a man who made money by charging tenants for rent and had zero compassion for anyone who didn’t pay on time. He was easily the world’s worst landlord. Yet strangely he had one of the most compassionate and genuine people working for him. Could Bob Cratchet be as deserving of congratulations in turning around Scrooge’s attitude towards life and giving as the 3 spirits? I would argue that and even more.

Scrooge had allowed his loneliness to dictate how he approached other people, and for years that resentment, bitterness, and loss controlled his steps. The results were that, while he was more wealthy than most people in his town, he was also reviled and despised by nearly everyone. Cratchet, on the other hand, had much in the realm of wanting but his life was marked by joy and gratitude despite his low income or the ill health of his son, Tiny Tim.

As artists and entrepreneurs (or people in general), it’s easy for us to fall into the same traps that Scrooge did as a young person, when plans fail or the people closest to us drift away. When our dreams or intentions get off course, it’s common to not correct the ship but continue sailing in a direction that doesn’t take us to a land of opportunity, but instead one of regret. Have you experienced something like this?

We too run the risk of being so preoccupied with our own ambitions, or even allowing the losses we experience in life, to change our perspectives and attitudes towards others. This is human nature. We can spend years in frustration and anger at how our dreams were thrown off or our endeavors spoiled because of one thing or another. And we can build up resentment towards people in the process of just trying to deal with why life doesn’t always go our way.

Or

We can see things differently. We can allow the struggles and the obstacles to provide a new insight into how to change, shift, and pivot. We can look at those in our lives who seem to be constantly full of life and joy and find inspiration in moving forward. We can sit down with individuals, over a cup of coffee, a beer or over the phone and have conversations that build hope and perspective for the present and future.

We can change.

Strangely enough, another (sort of) Christmas story that I’m fond of leaves us with the notion that we can change, and change is one of the best gifts that we can give to ourselves and others. Rocky’s closing speech following the fight with Ivan Drago in Rocky IV not only inspired those who saw it, but ultimately ended the Cold War (want proof? See this video).

You can be a person who is uncommon and makes a difference in the lives of those around you, as well as your own. Don’t be an artistic (or business or startup or entrepreneurial or any other kind of) Scrooge this holiday and Christmas season. If something you have aspired to be hasn’t worked out like you wanted, or a dream you have has not gone as planned, it’s OK. Trust me, I’ve experienced these pains too (something I described briefly HERE). Allow your past to be released and your future to hold hope.

Change. Shift. Pivot. And have joy this season.

Want someone to sit down and talk with? I’d love to talk with you. Contact me and let’s chat.

*Are you surprised that I threw in Rocky Balboa in a post? You must not know me well. Let’s fix that. Reach out to me and we can have a good laugh together. Merry Christmas!

Why You Should Be A Mayweather Fan Even If You Don’t Like Boxing

FloydMayweatherFirst things first, let’s identify a few important types of people: Entrepreneurs, DIY/Unsigned Musicians, and Small Business Owners and Managers.

If you fall into any of those categories, this blog article is for you. If you saw the name Mayweather and the word Boxing and were interested, this will be worth your while as well. If you want to carve an Uncommon Path, Mayweather is a great person to model after because he is Uncommon in many ways.

Any of the people mentioned above (or some combination of any of them) need to pay attention to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It doesn’t matter if you like boxing or not. It doesn’t matter what you think of him outside of the ring (some of his luxurious lifestyle and all of the convictions of assault are not to be proud of) or inside of it. It doesn’t matter if you think he is a cowardly boxer who runs from his opponents (which many of his detractors do) or if you think he is a boxing genius and defensive master (which many of his supporters do).

Remember in 2008 when the housing bubble burst, sending the economy into a downward spiral and fall from a large height? Millions of people lost there jobs, their retirements, and a lot of money went down a black hole. The stock market plummeted. Whole industries took a huge nose dive. Other than politicians, who still made (loads of) money in 2008? Mayweather did.

If you think Mayweather was still able to capitalize his earnings on the fact that he’s a professional boxer, you need to look closer at the details. Not all professional athletes make money, or in this case tens of millions of dollars per year, especially in a downward economy. Boxing as a professional sport is nowhere near as popular in America as football, baseball, basketball or golf. We can chalk Nascar up there too. Where there is popularity there are masses of people who spend massive amounts of money to support athletes and organizations. With the masses come sponsors and advertising, which fuels the whole enterprise.

Boxing has a few big sponsors, but they don’t have the masses or audience. The days when a heavyweight boxer could captivate the nation were the days of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson, and Hollyfield. Though the legendary Bernard Hopkins (the oldest boxer to be champion) is still in the game,the lack of interest in the sports world for boxing has affected the greatest names’ paydays.

Except for one person: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

But you shouldn’t pay attention to Mayweather because he’s one of the richest athletes in the world, or for being the #1 pay-per-view moneymaker in history. That’s not why you should care. The money (no pun intended) only proves the point that he has been able to do something magnificent in a time when everyone else in business and entertainment has made excuses for not living up to their ambitions or abilities.

For Floyd Mayweather, Jr, success isn’t a matter of whether or not the economy is doing well, or even if the market for sports is stable or not. It has nothing to do with the popularity of a sport that continues to decline in viewership. How many business owners or entrepreneurs do you know who will justify the poor standing or quarterly results for their business with excuses on how poorly the market is doing?

Here are 3 Takeaways you can get from Floyd Mayweather’s success and how you can apply it to what you do:

1. Use any attention given to you to draw people into what you do and then you set the pace.

Mayweather is great at being a heel, to the point where he uses the public’s dislike for him to gain more of what he wants (in this case money). He’s a master at making bad press or negative reviews work to his favor. Are there haters in your world? Floyd uses the sentiments made against him to draw his detractors in and make them interested in what’s going on. He makes haters buy in to his events in the hopes that their desire for his defeat will be won. His undefeated record reveals how well he’s executed his plan, and how people continue to buy expensive pay-per-views for the same reason. He sells the conflict, instead of selling one side of it or the other.

2. Mayweather is a consummate student of the game of winning

Nonboxing fans think that a boxing match (especially one that costs $60-$100 to see on TV) should play out like a Rocky movie, with two fighters in the middle of the ring duking it out. Sorry folks, that’s not good (or real) boxing. Without getting into how the sport actually works, defense and technique have more to do with solid boxing than raw power alone. If you want KOs, watch UFC. Rhonda Rousey is really good at that (speaking of carving an uncommon path, a woman who dominates a male-heavy sport is certainly doing an uncommon thing).

The science and art of boxing is different, it’s to hit and not get hit. KOs and knockdowns are an exciting part of boxing, but they’re not the whole thing. Most fights are won by decision, by determining which fighter on a round-by-round basis did the most to score points by landing punches, avoiding being punched, ring generalship, and being aggressive.

Floyd is a true defensive genius in the ring, making opponents (many considered to be more powerful punchers than him) look silly trying to hit him. If he struggles in a round and takes too many shots (as he did in only a few rounds against legends like Cotto, Mosley, or Pacquaio), he rebounds in the next round and changes his strategy.

Mayweather is two important things here: Fluid/Adaptable and Experienced/Studied. For you as a musician or entrepreneur, knowing the ins and outs of the science of your craft makes you an excellent and skilled individual in your ring (market). Being adaptable and fluid (adjust to changes as they come) and not allow an occasional blow to throw off your game will make you a champion.

Mayweather-v-Pacquiao-The-Fight3. Sell the potential for happiness and satisfaction

One caveat here, you should be selling actual happiness and satisfaction with your offering. For Mayweather, since he knows that many people buy his fights in the hopes of him losing, he sells the hype of that coming to pass and plays on it. In the end, he’s still selling the potential for his haters to be satisfied. For his fans, he’s also selling the potential that their happiness will continue, because he consistently trains harder than anyone while also claiming to be the greatest of all time. Both sides win, at least until fight time.

Most of the people who bought Pacquiao vs Mayweather in April 2015 weren’t buying a boxing match. They paid $100 to see Pacquiao, one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport and former undisputed pound-for-pound champion, put Floyd “Money” Mayweather on the mat. It was some of the same fan-fare that led people to watch the first Frazier-Ali fight, and subsequent rematches. It was classic good guy vs bad guy in the billing. Floyd knew that it would bring in non-boxing fans who just don’t like him, and he cashed in on that. Most viewers bought this fight to see Manny beat the hell out of Floyd. That’s why I watched the fight, being a big Pacquiao fan who never had much appreciation for Mayweather.

Until I watched the two greats fight each other.

The  fight spoiled a lot of hope for a lot of people. Mayweather brought his A-game technique and defense, as well as some amazing counter-punching and precision power-shots. Regardless of whether or not Pacquiao was 100% the night of the fight (post-fight his trainer Freddy Roach claimed they knew he had a torn rotator cuff prior to the fight but chose to fight anyways), Floyd avoided getting hit and returned/countered more punches with authority and accuracy.

As far as boxing goes, I became a Mayweather convert after watching this fight. Non-boxing fans hated it, but they bought the potential for satisfaction, aka hype, and not real boxing. Boxing fans got to see one of the best fights in the history of the sport. And at the end of the day, Mayweather walked away with much more than another victory and justification for his claim of being the greatest.

Hype is not something many people want to admit to buying into, and usually not something anyone brags about being said about them. Look at the last 20 years of NFL draft picks in the first round, particularly quarterbacks. But in this case, hype selling was hugely profitable for a sport who has seen better days.

Mayweather “officially” ended his career with a scientific beatdown of Andre Berto. Berto was a long shot on the ticket, a heavy underdog, who never gained any traction during the entire fight. Mayweather, though not known for power shots had a counter and tactic to best every one of Berto’s strengths, rendering them useless. The victory put his professional record at 49-0, tying Rocky Marciano as the all-time best record in boxing.

This tie leads most serious boxing fans (myself included) to believe that Mayweather will return to achieve the yet unattainable 50. Will that match be against Khan, as many boxing fans have wished for years, or a rematch against Pacquaio. We’ll just have to find out.

The big takeaway for you is this. Regardless of the economy or the popularity of your market. Regardless of whether your fan base boasts about you or you have a ton of haters seemingly out to destroy your name at every turn. Regardless of whether your product offering or place in the market is over-crowded to the point of mass congestion, you can still win and win big when you carve an uncommon path. Choose to look at your situation a little differently. How can you out-strategize your competition, lure new people into what you’re doing using uncommon methods, and take negative reviews about your work and turn it into a positive?

Be like Mayweather, and you won’t be able to do anything else but win. But it takes a strong commitment to being focused, dedicated, educated, and uncommon. Do you have what it takes?

 

**Author’s Note**

I am a fan of what Mayweather does inside the ring from a boxing standpoint. In no way do I support or condone his behavior outside the ring, including multiple convictions of assault against women, and the myriad of other indulgences his vast wealth affords him. The purpose of this blog article is to show how he’s done some amazing things in an unpopular sport, not to say that the dark sides of his lifestyle and behavior should be ignored in favor of his winning streak.

 

Master One Simple Way To Grow Your Fan Base

Image of young businessman taking pleasure in his favourite music in office

What you imagine your fans to do when they listen to your songs. Air guitar.

As musicians, our primary focus is on making music and finding ways to grow our fan base.

As entrepreneurs, our primary focus is on expanding our business and grow our revenue streams.

Other things we need to do to grow are marketing and promotion. We turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to make this easier.

How to gain the focus we need to succeed

Like you, I get distracted by the amount of other things to do that take my time, energy, focus, and attention. Do you find yourself distracted, especially online on places like Twitter and Facebook? You’re not alone.

While trying to use these platforms to let your fans know about your next gig or product offering, you find yourself swamped with hundreds of videos, pics, and other posts that take your focus away.

What if you had just one little secret that allowed you to get the word out and grow your fan base that didn’t require a ton of time or money?

And what if I told you not just one, but a few different ways to do this, each producing their own degrees of success for you?

Sounds like a winner, so let’s cut to the chase and get you rolling!

I’m all about simplifying how you do things for growth and success. It’s easier to remember when the process is just one or two steps. And when we achieve results in a timely manner, it makes repeating those easy steps even easier to do because you know it works.

Grow your fan base with this one trick on Twitter

Here’s one way to grow your audience today: Go on Twitter and engage with just one or two of your followers. Pick someone you don’t know well and start a conversation with them. You can just ask a question or say hello.

This serves you because it starts a dialogue. Dialogue shows you how your audience engages with what you do. Make the start of your conversation about them, not about  you. Here’s why:

People are more interested in themselves than anyone else. If you want to get someone’s attention, make the focus on them instead of on you.

Here’s an example from a conversation I started on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.52.02 PM

A conversation on Twitter gets the person (fan) more engaged with you as a human and not just a musician they happen to follow. Somewhere in the ongoing chat you can mention a song  you have that you want to share with them and send them a link. Or you can ask them a question about the music they’re listening to. Once a conversation is taking place, you have a more receptive avenue to get your music in front of an engaged participant.

That’s one more engaged fan, and all it took was a focused approach instead of a blanket post sent out to no one in particular.

Grow your fan base with this one growth hacking trick with radio

Here’s one more simple way to grow your fan base and have the potential to impact a greater number of people: listen to an indie radio station online who plays music similar to yours.

Give the thing you want to receive. It’s a principle Ghandi promoted.

Spend a little time enjoying their programming and finding something about the station you really enjoy.

Then go to the station’s Contact or About Us page and find the email for the Music Director/Program Manager. Send them an email saying how much you enjoy their programming today, in particular the part you heard that really stood out. You can ask if they accept music submissions or requests and then sign off.

The purpose of this email is two fold. One, you are identifying a radio station that may be a good fit for airplay for you. Second, you’re making a direct contact with a station manager that is not built around just pitching your music. Station managers get unsolicited emails daily from artists they’ve never heard of, all wanting the same thing. The focus of the emails they receive are usually just on the artist and not on the station programming, or how the artist’s music might be a good fit for their programming.

Remember, a station has an interest in serving their audience great content, not just playing music from someone who sends in a few songs. By taking the approach of being interested in the station’s programming (and praising the people who make that happen), you’re appealing more to the interests of the station manager. It makes them more willing and interested in hearing what you have to say.

When you get a reply in your inbox, you know you’ve achieved something, potentially a response that tells you how to make a radio submission. You are now on a more first-name basis with the station manager and have a little more connection to them than just an outsider promoting their own stuff.

Do something taught in the 1930s that has tremendous impact in the modern age

Both of these tactics are organic ways of building connection. In the social media marketing of modern day, where everyone is their own evangelist, it’s uncommon for people to take a genuine interest in others. But when you do the uncommon thing, you stand out so much more than the herd that is all shouting about their latest thing. It’s a similar principle to what Napoleon Hill taught for decades in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

To master this simple method, all you have to do is repeat it. Try this every day for a week, then for a month. Look back and see how much you’ve gained and how connected your audience is.

Be uncommon. It’s simple to not follow the herd. This way, you avoid stepping in all the crap that gets dropped, and you make out with better connections.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookGain more insights into how to communicate with people to get them to take action in my  book The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook. While it may seem like just something for musicians and radio, there is a pervasive theme and philosophy throughout the book that anyone can use to gain better attention with real people. Pick up your copy here.