What’s "Music Biz Hustle Muscle"?
Well, what is "hustle"?
Dang, the word itself implies a struggle. Webster's defines "hustle" as “energetic activity” but in the world of the entrepreneur, it means so much more. –And just in case you weren’t getting where this is going, as a D.I.Y. Rock Star, you ARE an entrepreneur. –As an entrepreneur, it means that you’re doing whatever it takes to be successful (up to an including, doing things that you may require you to reach within an pull out a fortitude an a resolve that they had never thought they’d need). The term refers to a mindset; not a struggle. That is what this post is about. out to you today. I promise you that it had more to do with their hustle than with their art.
Is this about a “side hustle”?
The hustle we are discussing is NOT the kind to create and maintain a side hustle. –Though having side hustle is NOT a bad thing; but it is not something that you intend for your entire family to live off of. —On the contrary, the goals that we have set are so impactful that we are working toward making this a full-time thing for all our partners. We want to make the time and energy we spend pay off in spades. –We see others who make it happen—in the music business, no less—and finally, we are convinced that this could be us.
–However, even though our goal is not to JUST make quick money, here are some ways to do that until your vision grows legs.
Here are examples of a few D.I.Y. Rock Stars
and the hustle it took to get them there.
Hustle strategy: Creating a buzz in local record stores by bringing in the record for the store to stock while having someone come in and ask for the record at the same time, playing a clip in-store, and then having others ask to buy the record too.
Wu-Tang Clan: “How the Wu-Tang Clan Took Over the World”
Hustle strategy: Continually documenting their creative process and putting out their own content in the form of not only albums, but with their own “documentaries,” music videos, merch, etc.
Brockhampton: “What It Means to Be a Boy Band: The BROCKHAMPTON Story” https://thetenaflyecho.com/2091/showcase/what-it-means-to-be-a-boy-band-the-brockhampton-story/
Hustle strategy: Booking her own tours around the world and asking fans to sleep on their couches along the way. (–Not only did make touring affordable, but it made her some fans for life.)
Amanda Palmer: “Has Amanda Palmer's Life Become Her Greatest Performance?” https://www.wbur.org/artery/2019/03/08/amanda-palmer-commentary
Prefer to watch the video for Gab & Jam Episode 7 Be a Rock Star Billboard? Here it is.
As you can see, these artists thought like entrepreneurs and were not passive, but were active and creative in attaining visibility and in generating money. They had a Tim Gunn “Make it Work” kinda attitude and they made moves without the aid of any outside authority (like a major record label or a trust fund). Seeing opportunities and ways to take advantage of them is what they all have in common. The good thing about this is that this is skill that is available to anyone who will exercise the creative hustle muscle. But let’s talk about the dark side of ALWAYS being on the hustle…..
Yeah, even though I have just touted the benefits of a special kind of hustle—the kind that’s necessary to make strides in the music business sans a silver spoon—I have to agree that hustle does NOT equal worth. Just because you’re running around doing ALL the things doesn’t make you more valuable than you were when you just had a small idea…. One of my favorite podcasters discusses in a recent episode, as hard as it is to believe, hustle does not equal worth. You are more than your ability to DO something; you are valuable in and of yourself BEFORE that hustle even begins, otherwise you are perpetuating a scarcity mindset, which is not beneficial for your overall enterprise. Therefore, simply running around and being busy does not mean that who you are or what you’re doing is having more impact than you simply existing alone in the yourself being true to yourself….. However, I will have to say that you may feel slightly better about yourself if you do keep some kind of forward momentum. Though it does not determine your worth, it is sure a great anti-depressant.
Not sure where you—and your band—stand?
Download this Check Your Brand Cheat Sheet
to see how you shape up
(and what you need to shore up).
Busy Vs. Productive: What's the Difference?
Don’t get caught up in JUST being busy; make sure being busy is helping you achieve goals. Personally, I know I have been guilty of this. Doing things that need to be done, but that don’t move the business forward (so that your vision will become your reality sooner). For instance, there have been times when instead of putting together a list of music blogs to send our latest release to, I have decided to update the website. It’s not that updating the website did not need to happen, it’s just that in order to assure that people even know to come to the website to check out our music, they need to know we exist first. Therefore, choosing to send out pitches for reviews and interviews should come before updating the website. So, it wasn’t that I wasn’t working on the dream; it’s that I was putting off what I knew I REALLY needed to be doing (probably because of fear of rejection, etc.). My newer strategy for beating this type of behavior is to think back to all the time we wasted (overthinking and procrastinating), but to NOT just get busy, but to go back to my list of business-minded hustle ideas and chip away at those.
Be sure to factor in rest and creative time; all while chasing your dreams, though, since, weirdly, they all work together—but more on that in another post….
How to Get More Done? Here's how...
Hard to Get Anywhere Without a Strong Hustle Muscle….
Often, we are worried about not getting enough done with the time we have. –We know we are coming from behind (by starting so later in life doing this music biz thing), so that makes me hyper-aware of time and of getting things accomplished as effectively and as quickly as possible.
That’s how we define “hustle” right now. Our hustle is making the best use of all the available time that we have. And if that means that we have what have started calling a “nap date”—two folks falling asleep on the couch in front of the television—the night after a long day at a job and then a long evening doing music-related activities, then so be it. We know that this is what we need in order to juggle all the balls AND to feel like we are moving forward; all of which are important to keep us feeling “good” about this journey. –That’s why working on this week’s blog post slowly—and throughout the week, during the 15 to 30 minutes I can spare in the morning—has been important and impactful. I have felt like I am making good use of a small chunk of time and am getting the best bang for the buck. I feel as if that chunk of time right before I leave for work is helping me to re-shape my future work life. That idea alone is revolutionary!
So, while I would love to dismiss the idea that I need to hustle in order to get things done, in this season of getting the maximum use of limited time, I am happy that using is the gaps is not a distraction, but a help.
Practicing what we preach…
—So it’s probably not a secret that I was SOOOO proud of myself recently for not only getting that SXSW blog post up (http://bit.ly/2ID3xCp) that I’ve been chipping away on (for that 45 minutes I have in the morning) for 3 weeks now, but for also getting the opt-in (South By Southwest Checklist for First Timers By First Timers) drafted, formatted, and then landing page created and linked in Mailchimp! I am a Motherfucker!!!
I had been tempted to save that last bit of the project for yet another day—or night—but something told me that if I just set aside another hour that I’d be able to finish it. And, sure enough, I was able to get it all done in just over the allotted time! I was so pleased with myself. I chalk it up to having done it often enough that it wasn’t as scary and as difficult as I had told myself it would be; mostly, because I had just done it a week or so ago with another opt-in (South By Southwest: Tips for First Timers)….
To be completely honest, we know we hustle to make up for 30 years of second-guessing, waiting for approval, feeling unqualified (and resistant to learn) the things that it took to have the kind of creative life that we wanted. So, while is NOT the way I would choose to be at ALL times, we believe this kind of hustle is necessary for this particular season in our development.
And, in the end, we are beginning to believe that this Hustle Muscle is the secret ingredient to success in the Music Biz. Having said that, we assess our “Music Biz Hustle Muscle” daily to make sure we are putting our action where our desire is, that we are stretching ourselves into doing just that little extra, and that are challenging ourselves to be creative in our strategies. The way we see it is that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can surely create—and be prepared for—as many opportunities as possible. In our minds, this is the closest one can get to creating your own luck and who doesn’t want to be the “lucky” ones?
Now that you know you need it, how can you determine if you really have what it takes to make your vision of