Goals are funny things, in that we’re much more likely to accomplish them if we’re very specific in naming them. For example, how many of us have said
……I want to get in shape, lose weight, eat better….did we actually achieve these goals? I know I didn’t. Why? These goals simply weren’t specific enough.
Try this on for size though:
Goal – I’m going to exercise for one hour three times per week. I’ll do this at 9:00 AM Monday, 9:00 AM Wednesday, 9:00 AM Friday. Now there’s a specific goal.
When I work with singer’s on developing and expanding their professional careers, they very often tell me that they want to earn more money with music (in fact, this is often the #1 thing they tell me). The interesting thing however, is that usually when I ask them how MUCH they want to make, they stare at me blankly. One singer actually asked me how much I thought he SHOULD want!
So if your goal is to make more money making music – give that goal a dollar amount. If you want to sell more CDs, well, decide how many If you want to book more gigs, again, decide how many.
Be specific in naming your goals. Then you can begin to work out the plans for making them happen!
Have a great day!
We’ve all heard the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try again”. Right?
I read an interesting magazine article a while back titled “How to Lead a Creative Life”. The article focused primarily on Martin Scorsese (and was a very cool read) but also highlighted several other creative entrepreneurs, including James Dyson – inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner. Did you know that James Dyson created 5,127 prototypes of his bagless vacuum before he was successful! That’s 5,127 times of not getting it quite right, of what some might call failure. Wow!
I’m not an expert on vacuums, but I can imagine that what worked for Mr. Dyson was that with every prototype that didn’t quite work, he learned something and then changed/tweaked/improved his model for the next prototype (and so on and so on).
While becoming a singer isn’t quite the same thing as designing a vacuum, the same principle certainly applies. If something isn’t working, well, there’s a reason. Therefore, doing it the exact same way again, will probably be unsuccessful, again. To me, that’s not persistence, that’s just banging your head up against a wall.
So I propose that we change that old saying to “If at first you don’t succeed, learn, make it better and then try again!”
A few months ago, I got a call from a young musician who is getting ready to graduate from music school. He’s starting to think about what avenues he wants to pursue after graduation and had apparently gone to see a career counselor at his school to get some advice on how to go about making a decent living making music. Sounds logical, right? Apparently, after much discussion, the career counselor’s words of wisdom were “if you want to make a decent living …(drum roll please)…you should become a plumber” (!) No joke. Now, I don’t think this was a personal affront toward the student’s musical ability, but more the counselor’s estimation of the current state of the music industry.
True – The music industry, as we’ve long known it, has changed considerably
True – CD/music sales aren’t what they used to be
True – The competition for a label deal is really tough
And so on…
What’s important to remember however is that the major label artist business model has never been the only business model for musicians. It may have been more attractive than others, but it was never the only option. Musicians were making a living making music LONG before this business model came into existence. Consider: the guy playing the piano at the saloon; or the traveling musical theater troupe; or the musician playing for the King’s court. I’ve heard stories that Bach and most of his family members were busy, working musicians, hustling gigs wherever they could get them.
The key is finding the business model that’s right for you and then seeking out the opportunities. Club gigs, theater gigs, studio gigs, restaurant gigs, private gigs, songwriting gigs, church gigs, music therapy, music education…the list goes on and on. One that I heard about recently (that I LOVED) is a singer/songwriter who got a job as a product demonstrator for a line of vocal effects products. Her job? To travel all over the world, set the products up at music conferences and then demonstrate them by playing and singing her original music. This was probably a lot of hard work, but what a great gig!
This doesn’t mean you have to give up the dream of the major label record deal if that’s what you want, but it also doesn’t mean that you have to wait around for it, or give up on music if it doesn’t happen. Get out there and Design your OWN career!
The way I see it, achieving success really comes down to 3 key ingredients:
Sounds simple enough right? But surprisingly, in building our careers, we often make the mistake of omitting one or more of these key ingredients.
Building a career is kind of like building a house:
DREAM + PLAN but NO ACTION = NO HOUSE
DREAM + ACTION but NO PLAN = A HOUSE THAT WILL PROBABLY FALL DOWN
PLAN + ACTION but NO DREAM = A HOUSE THAT YOU MAY NOT ACTUALLY LIKE.
Whether you’re building a house or building a career, you need all 3!