Own It

Forgive the Candor

Time to put on some big boy and big girl underwear. The truth be told art has always lived in the shadow of big business and government (study history). Talent is a dime a dozen, if you did a reality check you may see that you haven't even reached dime status. Accept the fact that there are far better musicians out there, so what's your plan? If these are the facts than you must, you must, you must, be part-time artist and full-time business professional. Because I want you to be a professional I am going to write to you like one, so please treat the rest of this article as a manual - and go through it carefully (perhaps more than once). This should be the beginning of: 'You Inc. It's important that you begin to see yourself as the CEO of a small business or aspiring CEO.  Its not fair to you or those you will serve to think of yourself as anything less.

To be effective you must think strategically. Commerce suggests being in the right place at the right time; which translates into: being everywhere all the time (this is a matter of strategy). Possessing a strategic focus will ensure that you are not taking opportunities for granted. Practice by planning, goal setting, and by constantly adjusting the plan as occasion calls for it.

So what does this mean to you musician? 

Well, where do you want to be in the next 10 years? still slumming the cafe's and bars?
How much do you want to earn in 5 years?
How many fans do you want? and by when?

If you could control these few variables wouldn't it mean success as you define it? the truth is you can! define your goals, begin planning, begin studying, and begin paying the price for you freedom.  If you see potential in the few questions above, imagine what you would be able to achieve if the list was up to a dozen. The implications are incredible and empowering.

Okay, So What Is Your Strategy?

If those individuals who were in charge of your pay check asked you to describe your strategy in painful detail, could you? Could you described what you have quantified and measured or would you provide generalities and assumptions? This is truer that you think, if a well know music manager, music agent, record label or major distributor emailed you to set up a meeting  - could you speak intelligently to these areas? Could you prove to them that you are worth the investment of time and money?

Are You Ready?

It would be in your best interest to devote a portion of your life to planning your strategy for the next five to ten years. Planning insinuates writing and rewriting in painful detail your intention (how you will get from point 'A' to point 'B' effectively at the lowest possible cost) that includes matrices for measurement and time lines for feedback.

If It Doesn't Hurt, You Aren't Doing It Right!

Planning your strategy should not be easy, rather it is a mental and emotional exercise that you engage in that refines thinking, reveals challenges and solutions, as well as facilitates education and accountability.

What's Next?

After you have actually planned and lived your plan for a season begin to consider carefully how much of your attention you lend to the urgent needs of your projects, business, or people and how much of your time is dedicated to executing against a well thought out strategy.
  • Wouldn't it be fascinating to have the capacity to direct your key players in a fashion that produced consistent and measurable results?
  • Wouldn't you define effectiveness as your ability to use your talent (your people, i.e. fans, band mates, street team) in ways that would produce an increasing return on energy?
  • Have you written down your strategic direction for the next five to ten years?
  • Does your strategy live on a document for reference?
  • What are you doing to take ownership of your strategy for personal and organizational growth?
In Conclusion

Remember to focus on growth opportunities, partnerships, training and educating your people, and decide to always document your strategy regarding these matters. Documenting every important strategy will demonstrate that you actually care about those you lead.  All this means is that you plan and put feet to your dreams - if you want to be taken seriously, you have to take yourself seriously. Get off your music and get into your business.

Thoughts On Leadership (Series)

Time To Start
Own It
Be Visible
Push For Improvement
Grab Opportunities

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