Tag Archives: why

How To Overcome The #1 Challenge You Face Today

The Biggest Challenge Every Musician & Entrepreneur Faces revolves around the same thing. Most of us who go from working for someone else to working for ourselves, or starting our own projects struggle with the early building process because we don’t identify 2 foundation elements to our projects. These 2 elements determine how we keep the machine on and moving. I don’t refer to your work, business, or operation as a machine callously.

The machine is the passionate work you do that you believe in with all of your heart and want to share with the world. It’s your art, your business, your creation. To you, it’s not a machine but a calling. The calling has to have life coming into it for life to come out of it. That income, is where the machine part of the analogy comes into play. Machines are made of pieces that keep the passion/calling going and growing. If the pieces stop moving, life runs out, frustration takes over and you end up quitting (in whole or in part) on your calling. Keep those pieces moving.

Those pieces include
1. Audience/Client base creation and growth
2. Business model & plan
3. Execution of plan and adaptation to changes

None of this is easy, and none of it allows us to be flippant or passive with how we go about achieving our goals, creating success, and repeating that success for growth.

How to overcome the challenge of establishing the base, model, and execution of your plan

There are lots of people with good ideas on how to overcome this challenge. Use those ideas. Even better is finding people who have USED the ideas they talk about in a real capacity instead of “I have clients who took my platform and made a million dollars in just 3 weeks.” I’ve bought into a few of these platforms and none of them work as advertised.

Is there a one-size fits all approach to keep the pieces moving for all 3 of these areas that works 100% of the time, that you can automate to work without having to pay attention and that will ensure that you can make money and have success without having to think about it?

(This is the part where some marketers will tell you YES THERE IS!!!!!)

I’m not that kind of marketer, though I do some marketing. There’s a difference. In any case, I don’t know how to achieve all three of these elements with my eyes closed, hands tied behind my back, and feet propped propped up on the desk while millions of dollars flow in. No one truly does, though lots of people will claim that this is what they do every day and that they can show you how to do it too.

FunCouponsHave you seen Wolf Of Wall Street? The title character is Jordan Belfort, a trained stockbroker who takes his NY skills to penny stocks and transforms how investment trades work. He was a great salesman, and a great marketer. He was also an incredibly greedy, self-centered douche-bag of a dude. There are multiple times in the film where he would lie to prospective clients about how investing in his “expertise” would lead to 3 or 4 times ROI. Did he believe he could do that? He didn’t care, it was all about the money.

Addressing false claims made by sales people is where most of us in the coaching or marketing space have to fight harder and harder. There are many negative stereotypes of being untrustworthy if you’re a marketer or have a product/service to sell because there are people so bent on leading you down a path which makes big promises while costing big money but doesn’t deliver as advertised. Overcoming this stereotype is a challenge in and of itself. We judge others by the experiences we have that are (often) negative and misleading.

What actually works in audience growth, business modelling and execution

The true key to  audience growth, business model/plan and execution is testing, testing, testing. What works you repeat and improve upon. What doesn’t work you fix, edit, amend, or throw out. This is a long game of strategy and fluidity. All business is. The great companies and products are those that not only stand the test of time but also adapt to changes in markets, people’s needs, AND stay true to the core audience of those who most benefit from the product or service.

Success isn’t where you start but how you adapt to the steps on your path to take you there

Success is a milestone that leads to greater and higher milestones, and greater levels of success. Which leads us back to the beginning and identifying who that core group of people are that want and need what you have. Identifying this group of people and building your business model/plan around them is probably the big secret that you’re looking for. It’s the #1 most important part of the whole recipe because you can have a great product/service, outstanding marketing, and deliver 300 times the cost of the service to your client but unless you can identify WHO that target client/core audience is and know the WHY they need you, you’ll spin your wheels.

StormTrooperAimThere are big companies who spend millions of dollars marketing products that try to appeal to everyone out there and bomb. Why? Everyone is too non-specific and far too difficult to position anything for. It’s like shooting an arrow into the sky and hoping you hit something. What were you aiming at? Everything! And so you got some air and hit nothing. Such is the case with being non-specific on what your target is. Plus, who wants to have the accuracy of a Storm Trooper, or any villain in a ’80s action film. Those guys can’t hit air, apparently.

Once you know the WHO and the WHY you can adapt a plan and a strategy around it, execute that strategy and reform it again and again. This is the essence of Growth Hacking, as defined by Ryan Holiday in the game changing book Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising. It doesn’t matter what you build or create as much as it does who you are building and creating it for, AND are solid on the reasons why this group of Who’s are interested in you. Get that nailed down before you spend a second’s time investing in anything else. Then your profits and  your income will flow more surely than anything else. That’s not a big promise, it’s a truth as executed by self-employed, small business, DIY bands and anyone else who has done this.

Why I Work With Musicians & Entrepreneurs As A Coach

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotRemember wanting to be cool when you were younger in grade school? As I get older, the desire to be cool in the eyes of other people still lingers but it’s not near as strong as it was in an
earlier time in my life. Part of that change is due to age, and hopefully a little maturity, but most
of it is because I know who is going to be interested in me, what I have to say, what I do and
who I am. Who I am is not for everyone, and that brings me comfort instead of fear.

The desire to be liked or to be cool with people is the same as the desire to be popular. Often
times, I think we confuse our desire to be respected and appreciated for a desire to be praised
by everyone. As technology keeps allowing for individuals to connect with each other across
spectrums without the former barriers of distance, time, or even language, there are more and
more people to potentially appeal to.

For people who don’t know their specific craft in life, or the certain colors that they paint better than others and the unique story that separates them from the crowd, coming to this realization can be daunting.

This is why I work with musicians and creative entrepreneurs as a coach and mentor. These struggles kept me from fulfilling my dreams for a long time, and they keep talented people stuck for far too long.

Musicians feel some version of this fear in several ways, as do entrepreneurs and creative startups. One way this fear comes into play is how it’s becoming harder and harder to promote your music and your business on a small scale or limited budget.

For musicians this is because the amount of indie and unsigned musicians (not including artists on major labels) is vast and large and growing by the day. For entrepreneurs, often the marketing and development side of networking isn’t something they’ve given a lot of thought to, but is absolutely necessary to reach the levels of success we all dream about.

All of these artists are creating and trying to sell their music. Innumerable options available to a
limited number of people creates fears of how it will work.

The music fan has changed too, because he or she is able to access so much more content
than any period in history, from anywhere in the world, and not have to have a hard copy of it to listen to,or have to take up room on their computer. Oh, and it’s free too. How do you sell a
product to a populace who is used to getting something without cost and who just wants a taste
of it without taking any ownership or commitment to it?

The whole identity thing is bigger than just knowing who you are and what makes you cool. It
helps you know what makes you and your story appealing to others. When you know the what, you can find the who. All you have to do is look inside.

I created a radio program (The Appetizer Radio Show) over a decade ago.  Originally it was designed for people who love music. I’m a big fan on noncommercial artists, but also love the B-side tracks on some very well-known albums. Those songs don’t get heard on the radio, not the big named stations. I was sick of having to listen to the same 40 songs repeated constantly. So I made a show that featured nearly every genre and type of artist. The radio program was called The Appetizer Radio Show, because like food, we sample different types of music regularly for our music diet.

As I tried to appeal to fans of all music, I became frustrated with the inability to really grow the
program. It’s hard to move forward when you’re trying to carry the weight of the world with you.

The whole world wasn’t going to follow one idea, and when I started to discover the stuff I was
drawn to the most, and then started featuring more of that, our audience grew. Growth was not
just in numbers but in quality of connections and relationships. I used my ability to connect with
people to single-handedly syndicated the show to markets across the country and even a few
international ones without using a high priced marketing agency (I did look at a few of those and the cost versus the return was outstanding).

Working with indie artists over the years has taught me a lot, and it’s made me a better
professional, both in music and in the relationship business that is life. One of the biggest
lessons I can give, and help people with in their process, is drilling down deep within themselves to discover the specific elements about themselves that make them great, so that they can know who will be most drawn to their art. If you want to make a million dollars in music, good luck. No one has discovered the formula for making that work, not even the billion-dollar labels. They lose money constantly trying to promote artists who don’t make real music or connections with people.

Relationship building through good old-fashioned methods has brought me more growth and
opportunity than I could have achieved using any other way. It’s what I want to pass on to
others, especially musicians and entrepreneurs.

There is a LOT of competition out there, but there is also a lot of opportunity. People are searching for stories, powerful ones that empower them and inspire them to do more. We’re looking for interesting people worth celebrating and connecting with, who value true connection instead of flash-in-the-pan fakery. Syncing up with the people who fit your music and artistic identity is the key to you finding the ongoing, long-term success that makes for legendary artists.

That’s what I do, that’s what I love. That is my why. Tell me your why. What is it that drives your music or your entrepreneurial endeavor? Connect with me to discover new ways of getting your story out to the audience that is hungry for it.

Why You Must Have A Mission Statement To Grow Your Audience

Why do you do what you do?

This is the heart of every organization, company, leader, speaker and author’s work. This mission statement defines your why to understand the purpose of your endeavors. Understanding your why is what connects other people to your cause, your music, your business, your brand, and ultimately to you.

51mh08K4bsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_World changers operate from a mission statement. They have to because there are so many voices, agendas, lobbyists, and intangibles all clamoring for their support or against their endeavors that, without a clear “why” for their purpose, they will lose their direction. Nelson Mandela was a man of greatness, overcoming 27 years in prison to unify his country and end apartheid. How did he do it? In his own words:

“Have a core principle-that people matter. Everything else is just tactics.”

That core principle, or mission statement, kept his mind focused while enduring imprisonment for over two decades, and was the central anchor in him leading his country to unification despite endless struggles, even within his own party. More on the magic of Mandela can be found in the book Mandela’s Way by Richard Stengel.

What is your music mission statement?

Every truly successful artist has a mission, whether they are actively pursuing it or not. Some artists aren’t aware that they are operating with a specific mission in mind, but there is something discernible that is leading the direction they are traveling with their music.

williamfitzsimmons-240William Fitzsimmons, an outstanding songwriter and musician creates music from a specific place. For him, his professional background of therapy has spread into every area of his writing. He calls his writing “musical therapy” and in doing so, it directs how he crafts his songs. That craftsmanship and mission-led direction has drawn audiences across the globe to his music, allowing songs to be coping mechanisms for fans dealing with loss, depression, mental illness, and other ailments.


What is your music mission statement?

dgrantsmith-ironandwine-2010Fellow bearded songwriter Iron and Wine hasn’t operated from a directly implicit mission statement throughout his decade-plus career, though his early work is indicative of someone who wants to do similar things as Fitzsimmons: provide helpful commentary on life’s most difficult passes. His early work of Endless Numbered Days describes coming to terms with death as inevitable yet loving in songs like Naked As We Came. By making shared experiences a part of the coping process, we are able to live at peace with each other and our trials. Music is one key that unlocks this opportunity.

What is your music mission statement?

Let’s be honest and open-minded with each other: from a market standpoint, the music industry is more supply heavy than the oil market. There are producers of music in every single zip code in America, with many more globally, and all are trying to grab a piece of the limited pie that is the music fan base. We as a music audience collectively are not in a shortage of supply. Demand is also at a medium level considering the massive amount of channels and listening options available to any one person as any time. From terrestrial (FM) radio to online radio to streaming providers (Pandora, MOG, Spotify, Apple Music) to satellite radio (XM among others) to youtube, to cable TV (too many numerous music stations there) to independently produced web stations, the choices are often too many to quantify.

With all of this content, music for music’s sake is an offering that doesn’t warrant attention. Not in today’s market. There was a time when music for the sake of a fun beat and a good time might have gained an audience. But not today. There are too many places where that can be found.

Look inside yourself, your music, your writing, and the thing that drives you to create songs. What is it that you want other people to connect with you on? Be specific. If all you want is “for other people to feel like I’m with them on their journey,” dive deeper into that line. What aspects of that journey do you want people to connect with through your music. You can have a few key parts, from good experiences to tragedies, but be specific.

The more specific you can be about your music mission statement, the better your ability will be to connect with music fans who will support you. Sometimes artists have a very hard time defining who their target audience is. The music mission statement solves that problem.

I’ll ask again: What is your music mission statement?

Let’s talk about it and find out how to take your mission statement to the audiences that are actually look for it so that your audience can grow and  you can experience more success with your music.