How Will You Add Value?
Somehow, we have lost sight of the simple, honest truth that people need to add value, real value, to any organization to be accepted and succeed in that organization. If you don’t add value, the relationship will inevitably end or at least DRAMATICALLY shift gears to accommodate your lack of value.
In real life you have to earn respect.
There are people at your current job who demand respect simply because they outrank you. You want to keep your job so you intelligently play the game and feign respect to these people; but they don’t really have your respect do they?
Your respect is counterfeit because they haven’t earned it.
Consequently, you have people that outrank you and that you outrank at your current job who DO have your respect; they’ve earned it. They somehow bring value to the relationship.
Think about these people for a second. How exactly do they bring value to your relationship?
Let me tell you how important the concept of adding value is to me. I was hired to manage a phone sales room in LA by a friend who knew I could turn the 2ndshift around and make it profitable. He wanted me to start managing right away. I was flattered but one thing I KNOW about killer salespeople is they are cocky; as they should be.
I wasn’t going to have top sales people’s respect until I EARNED it and I NEEDED their respect to get them to perform for me.
So I agreed to take the gig as long as they put me on the sales floor first, so the room could see me work; as one of them. When the room saw I was a real hitter (took 1 day) they would respect me as a manager. Two weeks later after I was one of the top 2 or 3 salespeople in the room they announced I was a manager. The room loved me.
My mother always told me water seeks its own level.
Translation: you’re going to end up where you end up based on the value you are adding.
I interact with young artists every day who simply can’t understand why they didn’t get a blue ribbon for showing up in the music industry.
They are genuinely frustrated by the lack of attention, the missing tickertape parade, the blase reactions they get from industry professionals after pitching their music or act. They are heartbroken because they met someone important in the industry one time that was polite to them and that person didn’t return their call or further the relationship as the artist expected them to do.
These aspiring artists often feel they should be famous or important simply because their parents told them so. Well, that part is true, you are important to your parents because they love you, unconditionally.
The rest of the world doesn’t care.
The rest of the world will need proof that you can add value to their cause before they offer up any kind of help.
It’s impossible to have a reputation based on what you’re planning to do.
You can only develop a reputation based on what you already have done.
If you think about this in terms of managing your expectations, you have yet to prove your music has value in the marketplace. The professionals, whose help you need to break through to the next level, will require something more than a promise from someone they “don’t-know-from-a-can-of-paint”.
You behave like this too, by the way.
Would you let someone watch your kids or your gear because they knocked on your door and told you they are planning on being the best babysitter on the planet?
How about your money? C’mon, man, you should be a good person and give everyone that really wants a chance a shot at managing your money; you know, like a bank. I mean they PROMISED that they would be really good at it, right? Isn’t that enough?
Get the point?
This thought that everyone should instantly respect you before you add value is a bass-ackwards approach that is certain to yield disappointment and frustration.
It is also offensive to the people who are students of the game and have paid their dues. Think about it, if you worked you backside off your whole life to create something and then you encounter someone who wants you to help them (when they haven’t ever really done any work or enough work to help themselves) it’s downright insulting. It’s insulting because the artist is not bringing anything to the table; they just want to take.
When you were 8 years old you made trade agreements the lunch table. “I’ll trade you my Twinkie for your Ding Dong, interested?” You didn’t expect to walk over to some kid and say “I want you to help me get a Ding Dong by giving me yours” because you knew it wouldn’t work.
So how will you add value?
When an artist asks for “help” in the wrong way at the wrong time, it’s insulting the person whose help they require. This in turn leads to rejection which mortally wounds us as artists; but we set it up that way from the start.
This naive method is akin to repeatedly putting your naked hand into a bag full of rattlesnakes, getting bit, and then consistently reacting to the event with emotions of surprise or betrayal.
If you’re gonna handle rattlesnakes, you better know what you are doing or you’re going to get bit; that’s just plain old common sense and animal instinct.
Next time you are at a friend’s house who is waxing negatively about their lack of success in the music business (or the next time you are) consider the possibility that you are going about it wrong.
Consider the fact that whether you are lazy or just naive, the damage is the same. You don’t have enough of a resume to compete at the next level until you have enough of a resume to compete at the next level.
There are no short cuts so KEEP WORKING.
I receive an email every other day from an aspiring artist who wants our “help”. These artists are frustrated because Labels won’t talk to them, booking agents won’t help them, club owners won’t book them, they can’t get a band together, etc.
I am genuinely baffled about how to respond to emails like this.
The real message inside these emails is I want you to make me successful.
I want you to put a band together for me.
I want you to get the club owners to book me.
I want you to make the labels like me.
I want you to find my audience.
I want you to do all this because I won’t do it myself. I promise I will START TO WORK once you get the ball rolling “trust me.”
Imagine someone coming up to you wanting to play guitar for your band. Imagine them saying they are going to be a great guitar player but they really don’t want to commit any time to learning the guitar until they are sure that they have a gig with you.
Can you all read this and consider how insulting this is?
I put my first band together when I was in 8th grade. We played one or 2 parties, we were horrible, but we were practicing and playing gigs immediately. By junior year we had done ENOUGH WORK to get regular weekly gigs and add value to a couple clubs in Milwaukee. Incidentally, I grew up in Delavan, WI population 5,000 (at the time). We had multiple band-member changes in that shallow musical gene pool over the course of the first 3 years. I will never understand anyone who says they can’t get a band together. To me it means you just don’t want it enough.
Where there is a will there is a way; period.
Understand booking agents work on commission.
Once you prove you can ADD VALUE by making them money then believe me, booking agents will fall all over you like a cheap suit.
Record labels need to sell records to survive.
Once you sell 100,000 downloads of your song, believe me the labels will be clamoring to sign you because it would be impossible to deny that you can ADD VALUE to their cause.
Do you really want a counterfeit commitment?
Once you start thinking about how you can add value to a relationships, instead of asking what they can do for you, you whole world will change.
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