Head check time. Take a deep breath.
Â I ask the same question of all incoming Daredevil Insiders, â€œWhat are you most frustrated with?â€
Most common answer:Â â€œMarketing my music and social mediaâ€.
Whatâ€™s the #1 reason most artists say they are not up to speed on marketing?
Most common answer:Â They donâ€™t have time.
There is no such thing as spare time.
There is no such thing as free time
There is no such thing as down time.
You only have life time.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â -Henry Rollins
Ponder that one for second.
I believe in my heart that most of you are not delusional, at least I want to anyway. You are WELL aware that your music will not find an audience by itself, simply through social sharing. If that was the case record labels wouldnâ€™t need marketing departments (yeah, let that one simmer a bit).
No, your music will have to be exposed to an audience that is inclined to like it. That audience will have to get to know you and be subsequently persuaded to believe you are worth a damn before theyâ€™ll line up behind you and support you.
Then youâ€™ll have to further influence them to buy your music.
In order to do that, they will have to like YOU first before they open their hearts, heads, and eventually their wallets.
Some of this targeted audience will like you.
This, you should expect.
Hereâ€™s the recipe: Target, connect, engage, expose, REPEAT.
This is how you build relationships on social media.
You have to find strangers that are inclined to liking your music, turn those strangers into friends, and then turn those friends into customers.
Iâ€™ve got news for you, this is going to take some time.
More time than it took you to write, rehearse, and record your songs.
Are you at the end of your rope?
Are you super frustrated because youâ€™re not finding and growing your audience like you want to?
Are you broke?
Are you panicked?
Are you experiencing doubt about your art?
â€œI donâ€™t have timeâ€.
Letâ€™s dissect that statement for a second. (Why do I feel like Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High right now?)
Imagine youâ€™re driving along a country road during a super harsh snow storm. The kind of snow thatâ€™s heavy because itâ€™s wet and requires your wipers to be on. You come up on a brand new vehicle stranded on the side of the road, hazard lights flashing. As you approach, through the whiteout conditions you see the driver alongside a black 4×4 Jeep.
You think to yourself, â€œHow can this dude be stuck when he has the ultimate all-terrain vehicle? Heâ€™s clearly not down in a ditch or marooned in a snow bank of any kind.â€
You see the driver wearing a brownish-orange ski jacket, green hat, off brand snow boots, and he is clearly hostile. He is CURSING the vehicle!
Heâ€™s red faced and screaming, â€œYou #$%&#@ piece of crap!â€ while kicking his own truck.
Wow, youâ€™re a little scared to get out of your car at this point because heâ€™s so irate, but your compassion wins and you decide youâ€™re going to try to help him.
You open your door and walk over to the driver and ask, â€œWhatâ€™s going on, can I help you?â€
The driver is clearly aggravated, but sensing your genuine concern, he warms up a little bit.
â€œThis stupid truck wonâ€™t work, IT WONâ€™T WORK! Iâ€™ve tried everything. I think the dealership guys are a bunch of crooks! They never wanted to give me a truck that was actually functional. Can you BELIEVE THAT? Itâ€™s a conspiracy! How can I possibly get to work without this truck? How the hell do they expect me to pay the note when I canâ€™t get to work BECAUSE THEY SOLD ME A LEMON?!?!â€
â€œWhoa, this guy got screwed!â€ reverberates in your head.
You ask, â€œHey man that looks like a nice SUV. What do you think is wrong with it?â€
He hastily retorts, â€œThey screwed me, happens every time! Iâ€™m always trying to get ahead and then they screw me!â€
You can see on his face that he means it. He really feels this. Empathy surfaces.
Now you just want to hug him and tell him everything is going to be ok if youâ€™re a girl, and if youâ€™re another guy, you want to help him fix the problem, because thatâ€™s what we do.
So you begin to ask more questions.
â€œWhat happened EXACTLY? Did you hear a noise? A thump? Have you had problems before? Did you hit something?â€
â€œNO!â€ He yells, â€œI JUST BOUGHT THE DAMN THING TODAY!â€ Then his aggressive tone mellows to a defeated kind of submissive whine like an 8 year old who has finally come to terms with the fact that she has to clean her room, or else. â€œMaybe I didnâ€™t get a good enough truck. Maybe I should have paid more for the better one. Itâ€™s so hard, ya know? The world doesnâ€™t like me. Iâ€™m thinking Iâ€™m not really supposed to own this truck and this is a sign. I really wanted this Jeep, but Iâ€™m just going to go back to driving a crusty, rusted out shit box because thatâ€™s all I deserve.â€
You think to yourself, â€œOh my goodness, this poor soulâ€
You proclaim, â€œIâ€™m going to help you!â€ You hear yourself spout out a little white lie, â€œI know a little about trucks ya know! Lemme look under the hood.â€
You pop the hood and this engine is in showroom condition. He really did just buy this truck today! You check whatever the hell every rookie checks when they are looking for an obvious answer with the engine problem, but come up with nothing.
Then you ask, â€œIs it turning over?â€
At this point the poor, beaten-down driver musters a feeble tone, â€œYes, but it wonâ€™t start.â€
â€œSo itâ€™s not the batteryâ€ you surmise silently, which you then satisfactorily qualify remembering the pristine, showroom terminal connections when you examined the engine.
You decide to experience the starting issue first hand and after gaining permission, you jump in the driverâ€™s seat and turn the key.
Turns over perfectly, but just as your distressed motorist described, she wonâ€™t fire up.
Then you begin to glance at the gauges.
Oil Pressure: CHECK!
Engine Temperature: CHECK!
You double check by turning the key on again to ensure the gauge needle doesnâ€™t drop to EMPTY when the key is off but it stays at EMPTY.
â€œExcuse me, buddy, but it looks like youâ€™re out of gas.â€ You thought to yourself â€œWow, it canâ€™t be this easy and why doesnâ€™t this guy know this?â€
He looks at you, dumbfounded, and queries, â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œYeah, youâ€™re out of gas, brother. I donâ€™t know whether youâ€™ve had a long trip after driving it off the lot or if they just didnâ€™t have that much gas in the tank when you bought it, but you just need to put some fuel in there and sheâ€™ll purr like a kitten! Why didnâ€™t you bother to check the fuel level before you started driving in this mess tonight?â€
â€œI donâ€™t have time,â€ he proclaimed. â€œI have a job, 2 kids, medical bills and my mother in law lives with us who I have to take care of. Iâ€™m also an artist, so I have band practice, I write, sometimes I record, and weâ€™re always gigging, AND I have health problems.â€
Your head turns sideways like a dog when you make a funny noise. â€œRuh?â€
â€œIâ€™m serious,â€ he says, â€œI just donâ€™t have any time.â€
â€œHey man, if you donâ€™t put gas in this vehicle itâ€™s never going to go anywhere, you get that, right?â€
â€œYeah, I know, I just donâ€™t have timeâ€.
â€œOK, I get youâ€™re stressed but it really doesnâ€™t matter. No gas no go. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with this truck, itâ€™s not working because you havenâ€™t put gas in it; simple as that. Youâ€™re going to have to make time to fuel this beast or suffer the consequences.â€
He looks down at his feet, now covered in 1/2 inch of snow and kicks a bunch into the wind. â€œIf I could only just meet the right person, someone who could change my situation, I would be in a much better place. Iâ€™m totally due, Iâ€™m a really good artist, Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll happen, I believe in myself.â€
You blink your eyes. â€œUm, dudeâ€¦you need gas.â€
â€œI need a record deal, or a manager, or a booking agent, THEN I wonâ€™t have to worry about gas, this thing will run like a champ!â€
â€œWTFâ€ you softly whisper to yourself. â€œHey man, Iâ€™m not trying to disrespect you, but you are going to have to find the time to put gas in your truck on a consistent basis or it isnâ€™t going to work at all, thatâ€™s like a freakinâ€™ law of physics or something.â€
Now the conversation and the issue at hand skews to the outer limits of reality as he replies, â€œWell, the Shell station is having a contest, theyâ€™re giving away a yearâ€™s worth of gas and Iâ€™m pretty confident I can CRUSH that and win!â€
[Queue The Twilight Zone music: do do do do do do do do]
â€œI hope you win that, I really do, but youâ€™re still going to need to make time to put the free gas in your truck,â€ you state terrified of the coming response and how much more unreal this conversation could get.
â€œNot if I have a record deal or a manager, or someone who believes in me! Iâ€™m awesome, you donâ€™t understand, everybody loves my music.â€
â€œOK, God bless. Can I give you a lift to gas station so you can get gas before the snow gets out of hand tonight?â€
â€œNaw, Iâ€™m good. Iâ€™m just about to win that contest and get a deal, all my problems are just about to be over, thanks anyway, Iâ€™m going to wait here until some big industry executive stops and discovers me. I have my guitar in the back; that should be enough to convince him. A good song always wins, right?â€
And you drive off.
Of course, you never heard from him again.
Because he didnâ€™t have time.
Donâ€™t be this tool.
If youâ€™re frustrated, itâ€™s because things arenâ€™t working properly.
If things arenâ€™t working properly itâ€™s because you donâ€™t know what youâ€™re doing.
Step one: Stop relying on your inaccurate fantasies about the music industry and find out what youâ€™re doing wrong by learning. There are plenty of books, webinars, paid coaching, and consulting resources available if you find the time. I promise, youâ€™ll feel BETTER after the first influx of good information. Learning RECHARGES your spirit! The truth creates momentum.
Step two: Reevaluate what youâ€™re doing wrong and begin tweaking your currently flawed process.
Step three: Witness the miraculous change in your career.
All you have to do is find the time.
I realize that this story was stupidly predictable. Obviously we need to make time for gassing up the car and even though youâ€™re probably not, you know you need to make time for marketing.
However, the real moral of the story is the attitude and mood of the stranded motorist (artist).
Can you relate with his mood swings from hostile, to frustrated, to utter defeat, to doubt, and finally delusion?
From your point of view as the guide of the story, who intuitively knows that all these raw emotions and stress are silly and preventable with a little gas, you thought the stranded motorist was a simpleton.
You understandably and predictably thought this because the solution was obvious.
Until you take that notion seriously, youâ€™ll be stuck on the side of the road waiting out a never-ending snow storm.
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