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How to be a better boss (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star) 🎙️

This post loosely accompanies Gab & Jam, episode 257 "How to be a better boss (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)"


Being a good boss requires a unique skill set, because—to be COMPLETELY honest—you can’t MAKE people do ANYTHING!—so, weirdly, you’re on a campaign to convince them to want to do what needs to get done (but NOT by browbeating or begging), but by actually learning how to bring better people skills to bear. –Don’t worry; even us introverts can handle THESE strategies.

As D.I.Y. Rock Stars, sometimes we have to bring in others to help us realize our vision—like, if you’re a vocalist, but you hire out producer duties to someone else—you need to be able to manage your "employee”—for lack of a better word—so that you can get the BEST results from the situation. In other words, you may need to buy the skills that you do not have in order to make your project coalesce into its best. The strategies we are about to share are intended to help you NOT lose your mind and be able to thrive in this unusual authoritative situation.


Here is a master class on how to be a better boss

(for the D.I.Y. Rock Star):

1. First, try to employ better

If you can try to make a better choice BEFORE you are in the situation, you will find that a situation will go more smoothly. Here are some tips for trying to employ better:

  • For instance, don’t try to get a rock bassist to play jazz, etc.

  • Listen to the music they make BEFORE you decide to work with them, so that you are asking for something that they naturally do

  • Consider personality and how it “fits” within your band and with your own

2. Consider your objectives first

Not only do you want to state clearly what you expect to get out of the relationship, but you want to be prepared to return to this list as the relationship and events unfold. In order to better do this,

  • Have a list written out,

  • Have contracts ready to sign in advance,

  • Return to the list as the project comes together,

  • Do not let someone with a “stronger” personality—i.e., someone that’s pushy—change your objectives.

  • Remember, you are paying this person to fulfill YOUR vision and, even if you do not directly remind them, handle your objectives as the FIRST framework from which your work will flow. (So, that, even if you end up adding deviations—based on their suggestions—you be sure that they have gotten what you ASKED recorded FIRST, since that’s why they are there in the first place. Believe it or not, they will respect you more and you will be more satisfied at having stuck to your guns when the dust settles.)

  • Lastly, if they cannot respect your vision, you will quickly figure out that this will NOT be a long-standing creative relationship. This is YOUR hard-earned money being spent on studio time, etc., so you don’t want to let them waste your time and money, trying to tell you want to do, when you ALREADY know what you want to do.

Basic Legal documents for the D.I.Y. Rock Star:

3. Put yourself in your employee’s shoes

Here are some tips that we’ve learned from being employed by others in quite a number of capacities:

  • Show respect first. By doing so, MOST people will give you what you have given them, in terms of courtesy and respect.

  • Learn names ASAP. –One of our artist mentoring coaches’ dayjob is as a psychologist and says that the MOST powerful ways you can engage folks is by calling them by their first names, whenever possible. So, as a former “I am bad with names” kinda person, I am started to amend my ways, because it is worth my while to invest in building this skill. I DO find that people are more endeared to us when I take the time to do this, so THAT’S why we’re recommending this.

  • As a former employee, know what is likely NOT to work. What we mean is that things like micro-managing and nitpicking, but on the flip-side, letting folks do things willynilly and NOT calling them on the carpet when red flags are waving doesn’t work either.

  • If appropriate, give a reason for why you are doing what you’re doing—“State licensing, tax purposes, etc.—they help show that you’re not having them engage in “busy work.”

4. Communicate the vision clearly

By being clearer on the front end, you will clear up much potential confusion on their part, so that they understand what is required of them. It should be your goal to give them as much of the vibe that you want for your song as possible. This is going to require a little more preparation, but it will be well-worth the effort. Here are some ways to make this possible:

  • Have an idea of what you want that bass part to sound like, for instance, when employing a bass player

  • Further, have a rough demonstration track or even a reference track to let them hear the vibe you are seeking

  • Finally, mention—or play—a song, in particular, that the potential employee can hear to better understand your vision for your song.

5. Maintain authority

In this post, we are talking about when you are hiring someone to realize your vision. YOU are the boss, so you should never let them think that you’re their equal. –This might be tricky if you’re hiring a producer. But remember that you should still maintain an executive producer mindset, because, ultimately, this is YOUR project (paid for by YOUR hard-earned money).

Ways to help maintain your authority include:

  • By taking care of the “business “—having contracts ready to sign

  • Having your list of objectives

  • Having your reference songs

  • By giving clear deadlines

  • By checking in as often as you think is necessary

  • By taking actions that show that you take your project seriously, you will maintain a certain authority, which will garner respect from those you have brought in to help you.

6. Instill confidence in others.

This piggybacks on the last point, but putting in this extra bit of effort will anyone who deals with you to know you mean business. Here are key ways to instill confidence in others regarding your project:

  • Show that you are “walking the talk.” –Again, show up on-time, end on time, etc.

  • Show that you actually CARE about the work you there to do. If you have prepared for this employee experience the way we’ve talked about in all the points up until this one, you should have a headstart on this one.

  • Have the folks you hire respect your time (by reminding them of your timeframe, etc.).

  • Respect their time (by starting and ending on-time, as you should have discussed in advance)

File management for the D.I.Y. Rock Star:

7. Stay open and approachable (in a business sense)

What we mean by this is to once you have communicated that realizing your pre-prepared objectives are first, then you are poised to lean in to a little of that music “magic” to come in. Ways to do that are:

  • To allow flexibility and creativity with how the work is done, when possible. –We’ve had folks have the “perfect” part to add to a song that was above and beyond what we had discussed, so after we cut the main parts they came for, they added these additional parts.

  • Allow the folks you hire to suggest folks they have worked with that would be a good fit for this project. –Sometimes, these suggestions will save you the hassle of trying to find these folks yourself, and if they have good chemistry, this might be JUST the magic to make your song become something extra special!

  • Take suggestions that help make work better. –As you might be aware, all suggestions are not equal, but we open to the ones that “feel” right (even when it is beyond the scope of what you intended).

  • Show that you care about them as people —even if you DON'T have drinks with them.

  • Inject joy in the margins, but WITHOUT losing sight that work is to happen when all is said and done.

Take Better Band Photos:

8. Allow folks to thrive in their skill set

This strategy is yet another one that you MAY need to grow into. When you’re starting out, opening up to deviate from the plan may not be a road you want to travel, but they more you learn to employ folks to help you realize your creative vision, the better you will get with this advice. –And THIS one COULD upgrade your project to another level—one you had NEVER anticipated.

  • If you notice that someone has a particular talent, if applicable, see how they can use that skill to help move your objectives forward; that’s why you should listen to what they do FIRST to decide what role they should play in your production.

9. Adjust to fit the role you need to take to get results

And even though we have talked A LOT about how to be “good,” sometimes you will need to be “bad” in order to get what you need from people.

  • Some folks NEED to be browbeat, because that’s how they know to respect you, so you will have to “speak their love language” to reach them

  • Others will need a little more time to give you a quality result —you can determine this by their work product early on and choose whether to allow that extra room or whether to cut them off and send them home. –We ALL know that some folks DON’T have to get up in the morning to go to a dayjob—like we do—and want to stay the WHOLE night to get the part “just” right. Generally, we decide that 11pm is “it,” no matter WHAT! But you will need to decide for yourself and be prepared to enforce it.

Should I EVER play for free?

In the end, as a boss, it is important that you get “your money’s worth” out of a relationship with someone you’re paying and that’s what these tips are meant to help you achieve. Start where you are and consider implementing as many of these as you can, so that you are well on your way to being a boss that gets what you need from someone paid to do the work.

Benefit of Vision Boards:


Did you know that along with putting together our next album, we are working on our first book? Here’s the link, if you want to pre-order:


If you like this, you might enjoy:

· Basic Recording Studio Setup:

· What to do when real life interrupts your artistic process?

· 7 Strategies for rebounding from creative burnout:

· How to give better interviews (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· How to give better live performances:

· How to collaborate better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· How to write quicker, but better (for D.I.Y. Rock Star):

· Should you ever play for free?

· 17 Tips for taking better band photos—ESPECIALLY if you taking them yourself:

· First Music Video? 10 Best Websites for Free Stock Video Footage:

· Further Confessions: I Hate Video Editing:

· “YouTube Frenzy: But the Beauty of this Rabbit Hole”

· “Tips for Competing with Yourself (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)”

· “Tips for Video Making (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)”

Here’s our Funk album, “Sugar Fit,” (Bourgeoisie Paper Jam) on Spotify at


More Ways to experience B L O O M I N G P R E J I P P I E :

· All things “Sugar Fit”:

· Gab & Jam podcast:

· Soundcloud (music):

· Join the Bourgeoisie Paper Jam Street Team!

· Funky Happy People (Who Listen to a Variety of Genres of Music) Facebook Group:

· Be the Next D.I.Y. Rock Star Facebook Group:




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