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Many years ago two creative entrepreneurs were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market potential.
The first entrepreneur reported back, “There is no potential here – nobody wears shoes.”
The second entrepreneur reported back, “There is massive potential here – nobody wears shoes!”
Although it’s not exactly difficult to see which entrepreneur was more successful in this venture and in life, do you think your success or failure as an Artist is as cut and dry?
Unfortunately the world and our lives within it are a complex maze of relationships, cultural norms, socially acceptable behavioral and communication patterns-all of which make distinctions of this nature MUCH more complicated in the Modern World.
Every Artist or Entrepreneur who reads this is going to identify with the second individual right?
Yet, not even a quarter, less than 20% of Artists around the world-will achieve ANY level of success.
Thus, we must realize that there are hidden forces at work here.
Unlike a hemorrhaging flesh wound, Starving Artist Syndrome is an invisible threat with a very tangible track record of Artistic career crushing. The ability to misinterpret comfort with truly rewarding success, or to overlook a sign that may be screaming at you-is at an all time high. The fact is that although there is more opportunity than ever, there are subtleties that to the untrained eye-will go unnoticed.
Yesterday you learned about the single most important pre-requisite for any level of sustainable success. Although the differences in mindset between our two entrepreneurs indeed indicate an obvious conclusion for which one was successful… This kind of psychological and attitudinal distinction is MUCH harder and much more deceptive to recognize as a Modern Artist.
Starving Artist Syndrome can take shape in MANY forms, on MANY levels of severity, and can often completely sabotage an Artists ability to see it, and how it is-or could potentially ruin their career entirely.
Clients and Students come to me with mild cases to severely entrenched symptoms, attitudes and beliefs about marketing and sales, and it’s probably the milder cases that actually pose the greatest threat! This is because it takes hold on a subtle, passive, unconscious level. It takes quite a bit of work sometimes to reset the switch to a neutral and much more accurate setting because their has to be a recognition on the CLIENTS part FIRST, before a real diagnoses and full recovery can be made.
It is not only your inherent responsibility, it is also your DUTY to protect and shelter your greatest asset (Your Mind/Inner OS) from such debilitating ideas.
I know this can sound a bit dramatic, but when you think about it… Is it?
The difference is complete artistic and financial freedom, versus whatever that version of “something else” is for you.
The unfortunate fact is that the majority of Artists, no different than you and I, will slowly succumb to the pressures and complications of life-which will eventually turn into a story or excuse, instead of their dream. I mean, no one is going to see themselves as entrepreneur #1, right? BUT, The reality is that most of us will continue to poor endless amounts of our blood, sweat, and tears into our work as Artists-yet still somehow seem to come up short.
So Let Your Audience Support You!
The bottom line is that you have a gift you can give. Sabotage, limitation, and misguidance are in the air all around you, yet it still remains your JOB to deliver those gifts. As we continue with the training series you are going to see this illustrated for you through Johnny’s story. Keep conscious and remind yourself every-time you catch it, that your mindset needs to shift from money-shame and having to be a “Salesman,” or “overly self-promotional,” to proudly sharing your message through unique value creation and creative delivery.
Remind yourself that you are connecting with-and building real relationships with people who raise their hand and want to support you. That’s the foundation for making the initial jump and recovering from Starving Artist Syndrome.
Now, it’s time for you to meet my friend Johnny.
Today you are going to learn about how an Artist named Johnny, a talented leader whom you just may be able to relate to-began to transform his career and his life starting with some simple, yet extremely powerful breakthroughs. These transformational shifts are pearls I recommend you pay close attention to, that you can learn from and implement yourself-in order to enjoy greater artistic and financial freedom as a Modern Artist in our new economy… the one you CREATE for yourself. The Creators Economy.
Johnny is the leader of his band, a damn good singer songwriter and can shred the strings on just about any guitar in virtually any style. He had many good things going for him. He had the goods, had the chops, Rocked his live shows, and had done his due diligence in maintaining responsibility with the blog, the website, the songwriting, and social media. For the most part, he was doing everything he “should,” and was a respected working class musician.
Johnny’s been doing what he feels are the “right things” for a couple years, yet things haven’t really taken off like he’s imagined and he’s not exactly sure why… He enjoyed what he got to do for a living, sure, Johnny and his band were Indeed talented, their fans certainly enjoyed their music, and they worked to maintain their web presence. They were a fun band to hang out with. They were all pretty close, the comradery appeared to be a healthy dynamic, but after the laughs, the stories of the latest victories and fiasco’s, the rest of the band took off-and me and Johnny got to talking about the business side.
The conversation was fun for a while as we swapped stories including whiskey and women, when suddenly the atmosphere dampened a little, and the conversation started to change… The mood fluctuated a bit in the room as the air seemed to get thicker and I shifted my attention to my yellow notepad. We’d moved on to the bands finances and income.
We began to talk numbers…
Johnny’s tone and demeanor changed a little. It was a partially deflated posture. He spoke authoritatively, yet his body language backed up a message of hopelessness and frustration.
“There’s just no money in this industry, there’s no money being an artist today, it’s hard out here. People don’t want to pay $15 to purchase our one CD, when they could pay $10 to get one million albums on Spotify.” He said with exasperation. “Sure people love our music, our fans show up for us when we play, we love writing, performing, and our bands a happy family, ya know… we’re grateful to get to do it, but at this point it’s just that there’s very little profits in this as a business and that can make things hard at times, ya know..?”
“Of course”-I snapped back, you guys rocked tonight, this place was alive with your music and it totally made the venue… so, you are in the red?… How are operations-If you don’t my mind my asking…?” I asked for clarities sake. “No don’t get me wrong we all make enough to support our families, pay our bills, and do what we love, but sometimes it just seems like, is this as good as it gets, ya know what i mean?”
“You don’t feel like you are continuously growing, and progressing, and taking things to the next level?” I suggested…
“Ya, ya know it’s like we’ve sort of hit a plateau where it’s kind of like the same crowd and the same gig every week. Listen, we work really hard, and we need a new minivan. The drummer needs a new kit, you know it’s sorta of like what you said… What’s the NEXT level??”
Kind of like you’ve hit a ceiling, and you want to feel that rush, that excitement, that momentum again, being the talk of the town, growing your fan-base, and it wouldn’t hurt to earn a little more income either??" I ventured….
We tossed about a few more details that validated this sentiment, and obviously indicated that we’d hit a nerve.
Between his bands leadership roles, practice and the rest of his areas of management, which were a full time job, Johnny wasn’t sure there was anything else he could do… and frankly seemed a bit skeptical that there was anything else he could do to improve his cash-flow and the growth of his platform, (fanbase, web-presence, following) that he wasn’t already doing.
Johnny had a problem. Pretty confident I could help him breakthrough this mental and financial glass ceiling-I restrained from going right to the solution and rattling off different ideas and things he could try immediately, and decided to just continue to listen.
With such obvious talent, a decade of performing and recording and writing together as a band, why weren’t they making much noticeable progress? Why wasn’t there the same excitement that they once had, and how come they weren’t building momentum that continually presented bigger and bigger opportunities, gave them more and more victories, all the while multiplying the size of their fan base?
As I continued to engage with my ear-Johnny laid it all out without me having to do anything but listen.
Before we breakdown the details of what, why, and how things were happening for Johnny and his band, before we get to the tactical elements it is of utmost importance that I highlight this ultra critical point…
Though the “methodology,” the specific activities which led to the results he was getting-were in fact less than effective, and once changed-did begin to yield the favorable results he was failing to create himself… The difference in “methodology/behavior” though, was nominal in terms of impact-had it not been for the fundamental breakthroughs that occurred in his mindset and attitude. This variable, the “mentality,” rather than the “methodology” account for the lions share, the 80% vs. the 20% in any successful initiative of this nature. As i stated earlier, your mindset, your mental model, your INNER Operating System-is without question your most valuable asset as an artist. Do not overlook the tremendous leverage point that truly embracing a mentality that is conducive to your success-really is.
Now, let’s step back away from Johnny’s daily and weekly “activities” for a moment and see the whole picture. I want you to notice if indeed YOU might be able to relate to this in any way….
From the outside, it “appeared” that Johnny was doing all the “right” things. From the outside, no one could really tell him that he could be doing better, or be doing more, or earning more money, or getting better exposure, or exponentially multiplying the size of his fan base…
No one could or wanted to tell him that because it didn’t seem appropriate, he actually WAS making the effort, he was already successfully doing what he loved, and that is absolutely commendable. This is what he was meant to do, he enjoyed doing it, and he was indeed doing it. So far so good!
Yet, there was an invisible affliction. It wasn’t a hemorrhaging wound-but a very real threat to Johnny’s potential, to the bands potential, to his career, to his music and to his larger audience whom might never get to experience his gifts. Again, left undiagnosed, this invisible, unchallenged bug-picked up from who know’s where, could have ultimately been the downward path to career destruction as it has been for so many victims.
The fact was that Johnny and his band were just barely getting by. They had just about resigned themselves to one of two outcomes; keep grinding and doing what they do-trying to make ends meet at the end of each month… Or HOPEfully, someone might somehow from somewhere notice them-and save them from a mediocre fate.
Both outcomes, certainly unacceptable to me, and especially for any client or student I take on.
I told him that based on everything we’d discussed I was ready to make the diagnoses. What Johnny had was a common case of Starving Artist Syndrome. He had found a comfortable level of success and recognition. All the routines had become a bit old hat, he had found his comfort zone and that he’d reached a point where he was right up against that glass ceiling and that he already knew what had to come next.
It was time for a BREAKTHROUGH.
We pulled back the curtain on his game plan and took a look at the roadmap.
Woops… What Roadmap?
He lacked strategy. He lacked a marketing plan. Not surprisingly, he lacked a solid roadmap. Everything stemmed from his mindset…
“It’s just the way things are for an artist today…”
These kinds of beliefs and mindsets were running the show in the background, telling him all kinds of stories and sabotaging the amount of success, exposure, fans, and income he could earn. Because when you think about it, if “that’s just the way things are,” then what’s the point, or how could you really go about changing it!?
The result of these kinds of beliefs were the feelings of overwhelm and confusion he had every-time he went about trying to leverage the “online stuff” to grow the bands reach and sales. They were very good at the things they were doing, they were “the things they’d always done,” and they they did them well.
I did not argue that. But I knew I needed to expand his mind to a perspective that showed him greater possibility.
I told him that while I understand that certainly nothing good came easy, I gently suggested that there might be a smarter, savvier, more effective way to maximize the quality of life for him and his band. That it didn’t need to feel like and be a “compromise.” That perhaps there was a way to have his cake and eat it too. To improve his condition and available resources, earn more income every month, and grow the fanbase all from virtually doing the same amount of “work/activity” that they were already doing, just doing it in a much more effective way. With a strategy and an action plan.
There were a couple major breakthrough’s he needed to have, and it started with the shift in perspective from seeing himself as a struggling artist to an empowered Modern Artist. He had to stop seeing and thinking of himself as the artist who loved performing and playing for his fans yet always seemed to be struggling financially. Again, notice the mindset and underlying belief at play… “that’s just the way things are for an artist these days.”..
He always felt and even seemed to “convince” himself unconsciously, mind you, that there was nothing else he could do to improve the results he was getting financially, and overall increase his quality of life.
I said “if you can start to see that there may be another way, a way to have your cake and eat it too, to break through that glass ceiling and profit from it both emotionally and financially… then feel free to give me a call and i’d be happy to do my best to help him find it.”
The next day I got the call back.
It was a challenge and a project fraught with potential pitfalls… But a noble endeavor, and a battle worthy of a good fight… We embarked. This was the life and occupation that he loved, that he was damn good at, so who better than HE to profit and experience MULTI-dimensional success doing it right?
The first thing we did was take a look at the volume and frequency for what he was doing currently.
• 1-2 shows each week
• 1 blog post a month
• 1 email to his fans a month
• occasionally updated his Facebook status
• occasional tweeter
• occasionally printed and passed out flyers
Next, we drilled down to find his CFA’s, (Core Focus Activities) his CDA’s, (Core distraction Activities) as well as his RCA’s (Recalibration Activities). We also measured his strengths and weaknesses so we could identify the most valuable, highest leverage activities that he could and should be doing, as well as the assets and resources he had to work with.
We did this for each of his bandmates as well.
We determined the direction and identity of the brand he was building, then we:
✓ set goals and a 12 month vision
✓ addressed core values and habits
✓ inventoried assets and resources
✓ identified strengths and weaknesses of the band
✓ diagnosed the primary obstacles
✓ created a custom blueprint, and mapped out a momentum building roadmap
With the custom built marketing strategy and a blueprint roadmap we were ready to hit the road with our next mission, we were armed with what we needed to help johnny and his band make some monster moves and surprise himself for the better. Hopefully…
It was time for Johnny to embrace the development of his Entrepreneurial Skill-set. And put our plan to work.
We’re already going a bit longer than intended, so we’ll break it off here for now so we can get to your mission for today. But don’t worry, we’ll pick it back up right where we left off! In the next module we’ll get back to Johnny’s story, where you’ll see-what, if any, results he and his band were able to achieve. You’ll learn what strategies and tactics we used, why we used them, and how he transformed into a Modern Artist. You’ll learn and begin to understand how Grassroots Music Marketing is your biggest key to success as a local Artist, and why ANALOG thinking may just be the missing link in this digital economy.
Again, I’m happy to share all of this with you and our community for free. It’s time we got to know each other. If you found any of this valuable so far please pass this link (modernartistblueprint.com) along to a friend or group of folks who’d value it as well. Much more training on the way so stay tuned, Johnny’s big breakthrough is coming up next. To get exclusive updates and have the rest of the course sent to you personally, make sure you sign up for that here.
And lastly, don’t forget to complete Mission #2.
Be Your Best,