If you aren’t in it for the long run, don’t even start (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)
This post loosely accompanies Gab & Jam, If you aren’t in it for the long run, don’t even start (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star) (video:https://bit.ly/255longhaulvid and podcast: https://bit.ly/255longhaulpod )
This idea has been brewing in us for a while, but listening to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Every Day is Saturday, re-iterated what we ALREADY believe.
While we KNOW it is quite a few folks’ goal to “go viral” and to have a gazillion fans and make so much money you could bathe in the first six months out of the gate with your music. However, we’re sorry—not sorry—to say that RARELY happens. That’s one of the BIGGEST gambles ever! That MAY be bad news for some, but it should ACTUALLY be an encouragement to folks who want to grow and sustain a music career over the long haul. That’s why we say, if you’re not prepared to work this thing for the next five or ten years, perhaps being a musical artist is NOT what you want. —You’d likely be better off heading to the casino instead. But what if you’re not SURE if you want to commit to making music, releasing music, and building a brand? Well, THIS episode is for you.
That being said, our overarching message is that your effort must match your expectations (as it should in ANY business), but even MORE so in building a music career. So, if it’s a hobby that you enjoy and you don’t care about the reach of your art, then feel free to proceed in a casual fashion, as you see fit. However, if you are looking to make this your living, a business, or expecting to reach a certain number of people—and have a particular response—then you’re going to have to put in a tremendous effort and there’s no getting around that. What’s more is that, if you “make it,” then you’re going to have to up the ante and do even MORE to maintain and/or to get beyond the bottom floor of the “fame” that you found. –Sometimes, the pressure is put on you by OTHERS to go beyond the initial viral moment, but sometimes, it is YOU that has greater expectations, which will take learning something new, meeting new people, and/or doing more creative work in order to achieve. –And, God forbid, you make a pile of money right out of the gate and then expect to make that kind of money all the time. –Needless to say, success does not come without its price. –Or when a record company invests in you, then expect a return on that investment, which means more, more, more demands on your time and energy.
But THAT’S putting the cart before the horse, meaning that most people won’t “luck” their way into music business success. In fact, when you look behind the curtain at their journey, you will find the hard work that they have done—for years, usually—that has fueled their “instant” rise. Their work was met with the valid reward. BUT, as consumers, we like hearing the story of the overnight sensation without taking into account, often, the ten years it takes to get there. Just keep all that in mind as you set your own expectations.
So, really, this episode is meant to help you answer the question if you are ready—or not—for the success you seek.
Another caution: Don’t become a slave to these rules. We KNOW it sounds counter-intuitive to say this, but these are guidelines for folks who are in need of some initial guidance for where to start on the musical artist journey. However, they are in NO WAY the ONLY path to explore to get there; they are just a suggested start.
Goal-setting? Here’s why having a vision board is important: http://bit.ly/rockstarvision
Here are 3 things to try before you decide
if being a D.I.Y. Rock Star is for you.
1. Start here: Find your musical voice, engage in branding, release some music
If you’re not sure yet, try a couple of the tips that we talk about: decide your musical voice, brand yourself with photos and by updating social media platforms, consider putting out some music.
Because there is QUITE a bit of work involved in just this first tier, you will begin to see if you enjoy the process. If you do not, then this might be a good place to jump off of the music artist train right there. However, if you survived that level—and better yet, if you THRIVED—then, this D.I.Y. Rock Star lifestyle might be just your thing.
Yet another caution is to not attach yourself to expecting a minimum number of likes and response right out of the gate. It will take time to build your tribe, but if you can just get used to getting started—and keeping it going—then, you will eventually be in a position to get more engagement from folks outside of your friends and family.
'Still trying to find your musical voice? http://bit.ly/findvoiceblog
2. Step two: Set goals
If you feel on top of the world after doing Step One, then you know you are onto something and should make the deeper commitment. Perhaps your second goal is of creating a website or maybe it’s starting an email list, and of setting some one year and five year goals for followers or subscribers. Whatever you decide, having goals gives you something to reach for, which will help motivate you as you move through this new and wonderful world of creation, distribution, and promotion.
And we’re not sure if it goes without saying, but each goal needs to have an accompanying plan of action, so that you can realistically achieve your goal. –So, for instance, if your goal is to gain Spotify followers each month, then having a practice of sharing a post—at least, once a month—where you invite folks to follow you (on all your social media accounts), then you are MORE likely to see progress in that area. –In our world, we have day jobs, so we create, record, podcast, etc. on the weekend, share the work to all our social media platforms on Sunday, and continue to share the links within our various online groups all week long. But you’re schedule/plan might be very different. Whatever works for you is what is necessary here, but just make sure that you prioritize getting your art created, published, and promoted, as those are the main activities that will lead to your music artist success.
Here's why you need a website: https://bit.ly/254emaillistblog
3. Step Three: Celebrate progress
An indication that your hard work is paying off is growth in your goals. –For instance, are your social media metrics are improving? Are you increasing efforts at networking with peers? Have you joined any Facebook groups that might help you in your goals? (Here’s the link to ours: http://bit.ly/diyrockstarjoin ) Are you learning how to do the things you want to do better? Finally, are you beginning to feel more confident that you’ve found joy in this process? –These might all be questions that you ask yourself along the way. And whether you achieve your goals OR if you fall short, are you checking in to see how you feel about the work that you did to get here? —For instance, if you’re NOT achieving your goals, do you feel as if you should continue the journey (because you absolutely love doing your music)? Or do you feel as if you need to put your energy elsewhere? By checking in with yourself—and maybe your band—you will know what NEW goals to set or if you have decided to call it quits. Knowing now is better than never having tried. Not maintaining the pace of creating, releasing, and promoting is what causes folks to fall by the wayside, so if you can make your peace with low engagement and the work that it takes to stay motivated, then this journey is probably one that you can live with. This means that you’re probably more likely to be happy with the lifestyle that it takes and will receive the reward of hitting those goals in the long run.
The truth is this is what you will be putting blood, sweat, tears, and resources into for the long haul, so you need to be okay with NOT necessarily “going viral.” Just like any profession, making music make money and build acclaim for you takes work AND money. (See our artist mentoring journey; https://bit.ly/217artistmentorrevealblog ) For SOME people, they find it easier to do the hustling that it takes to build this creative empire. (We hear that 50 Cents sold his OWN mixtape on the street corner before he “made” it.) 🤷🏽♀️ However, there are many folks who say it’s just TOO much work to do all that needs to be done to make it sustainable for them. If you’re on the fence, we suggest that you give yourself a good 6 month window and engage in the activities above to help you decide.
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: https://bit.ly/prejippiebklanding