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TEM Blog

The Entrepreneurial Musician Blog by Andrew Hitz featuring articles on being an entrepreneur in the music business. Show notes for The Entrepreneurial Musician Podcast.

Filtering by Category: Articles

If you feel a little squeamish about your marketing...

Andrew Hitz

...you should probably trust your gut. This means you're doing it wrong.

This short article is a good reminder that there's two kinds of marketing:

  1. The pushy car salesperson who is trying to get you to drive off of the lot that day in one of their cars no matter what they have to say to you
  2. The complete opposite of that

Always trust your gut when it comes to marketing. The bad kind of marketing is like pornography. It can be a little hard define. But you always know it when you see it.

Article: Dana Fonteneau on why freelancing is not a dirty word

Andrew Hitz

Dana Fonteneau.jpg

Garrett Hope's Porfolio Composer blog featured a guest post by Dana Fonteneau about freelancing which is a really good read.

Dana first talks about what many "real jobs" actually entail above and beyond what we might expect and then eloquently makes the case for being a freelancer and entrepreneur.

"As an entrepreneur, you are your own boss. THERE ARE NO GATE KEEPERS BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR DREAMS.

YES, freelancing can have a lot of instability and volatility at first until you learn how to create systems that create stability and take you out of that “feast or famine” cycle. These are not hard to do but require discipline, focus, and long-term planning. There is NO LIMIT to how much you can do and earn, IT’S UP TO YOU!!!!

It takes a lot of work, but then again, what doesn’t?! If you’re going to be busy and work really hard, you might as well be doing what you LOVE!"

—Dana Fonteneau

You should definitely read the entire article. It is well worth it!

Article: "I Used to Think That Freelancing Was a Dirty Word Until…" by Dana Fonteneau

If you haven't heard it, don't miss the conversation I had with Dana for Episode 85 of TEM.

TEM85: Dana Fonteneau on Figuring out Your "Why", Holding Yourself Accountable When You Work for Yourself and How She Got Her First Paid Clients Before She Had a Proven Track Record

Article: Godin on difficult decisions

Andrew Hitz

Sometimes I deal with difficult decisions that I wish I didn't have to make in the worst way possible, I just put off making them. Hiding can be the easiest option for an entrepreneur (or a human) at times.

Seth Godin, in an as always brief blog post, breaks down how we can proceed when being forced to make a difficult decision.

(Note: The hardest part for me is ignoring sunk costs. That's really hard sometimes!)

Click the link in the tweet below.

Article: Godin on the correlation between price and satisfaction

Andrew Hitz

Seth Godin's daily blog post was particularly good today. He talks about the relationship (or lack thereof) between price and satisfaction and includes this nugget about being sure you charge enough:

"Price is unrelated (in creating satisfaction), except for one thing: Charge enough that you can afford to actually keep your promise. The thrill of a low price disappears quickly, but the pain of a broken promise lasts a very long time."

I highly recommend taking 60 seconds to read the whole post.

Godin: Price and satisfaction

You're behind. So what?

Andrew Hitz

"Quitting merely because you’re behind is a trap, a form of hiding that feels safe, but isn’t. The math is simple: whatever you switch to because you quit is another place you’re going to be behind as well."
—Seth Godin

Yet another truth bomb from Seth Godin.

You are always behind so using that as the primary reason to bail on something is just an excuse. Try to get to the heart of why you don't want to continue so you can decide if that is in fact the best thing for you moving forward.

Don't fall for the trap.

Godin: How far behind?

Article: Sometimes You Win the Race Because Everyone Else Stops Running

Andrew Hitz

"A huge, incredibly un-sexy ingredient in my success is that I’ve simply kept going. For almost 10 years, I’ve written blog posts, replied to comments, and promoted things I created. I’ve done this almost every blessed week day. For 10 years." 
—Sarah Von Bargen from the Yes and Yes Blog

I stumbled upon this great post via future TEM guest Dale Trumbore's twitter feed. (Her interview is recorded and will be released soon. Don't miss it because it is awesome!)

Such a simple concept and yet so important to hear. The un-sexy key is you just have to keep running. I highly recommend checking out this article.

(Click the link in Dale's tweet below)

Perspective is Everything

Andrew Hitz

As Seth Godin points out in this spot on blog post, perspective is absolutely everything.

Four different people will experience the exact same thing in completely different ways based on their professions and world views.

Recognizing this fact is very powerful because it enables us to recognize our own bias and intentionally attempt to view something from a different perspective when that is helpful (which it almost always is.)

When trying to provide goods or services to someone (in or out of the music business), it is imperative that we forget everything we know about the product, service or situation and think like the customer.

Of course we think what we are providing is important, but have we made that case to our customers?

Practicing the ability to change one's perspective is one of the common traits that the insanely successful people I've interviewed for TEM all share. Might be good for the rest of us to that skill as well.

Processing Negative Reviews

Andrew Hitz

No matter how convenient it would be for our egos, nothing you could ever produce for the world is going to be for everyone. Literally nothing.

Most Americans have never stepped foot in a Starbucks. Hard to believe if there are five within 10 miles of your residence, but it's true.

Most of us know that trying to please everyone is a fool's errand, yet we all bristle at negative reviews or feedback. 

But that's a waste of time.

Follow the link for a great (and as always, short) post by Seth Godin on processing negative reviews in a constructive manner.

Godin: Processing Negative Reviews

Godin: New Habits

Andrew Hitz

"You can live on old habits for a while, but the future depends on investing in finding and building some new ones with (and for) your customers."

How many schools of music, orchestras, publishers, record companies and music stores should have realized this over a decade ago?

And how many of them either continue to not notice or are standing there with their fingers in their ears, their eyes closed and screaming "LA LA LA" at the top of their lungs?

It's easy to spot the blind spot in other people or other organizations. But can you spot your own in time?

Seth's Blog: New Habits

1,000 True Fans in Action

Andrew Hitz

Kevin Kelly, the author of what Tim Ferris calls the most important thing ever written about marketing, 1,000 True Fans, shares some really cool data that Ramit Sethi shared from his company.

This is 1,000 true fans in action!

And while it is a much bigger scale than you are probably operating at currently (me too!), the principles are 100% the same.

BTW don't miss the episode I did about 1,000 true fans for TEM:

Article: Gary Numan Thinks The Music Industry's Collapse Is A Beautiful Thing

Andrew Hitz

"There are a lot of people who are really frightened about what’s going on at the moment. I’m the opposite. I think it’s an amazing time. It’s a golden era for bands. You’ve just got to be aware. You’ve got to be savvy with the technology that’s coming and adapt it to you, or you to it, whatever it might be. I’m optimistic, because I’m sure there are other things coming that are going to be really useful. But most of it involves direct access to fans."

The above quote is from a great interview in Fast Company with electronic music pioneer Gary Numan. I love his attitude towards the changing music industry.

And I really love this coming from someone who had a bunch of success in the old model.

Fast Company: Gary Numan Thinks The Music Industry's Collapse Is A Beautiful Thing

Article: Entrepreneurship and the Artist-Revolutionary by Mark Rabideau

Andrew Hitz

Below is a link to a must-read article by Mark Rabideau, Director of the 21st-Century Musician Initiative. Here is a money quote from the article:

"Musicians, by design, are built to be creative agents of change, yet, somehow we have fallen victim to a narrowly defined set of professional standards focused on memorizing and mastering set repertoire and a list of career options that hasn’t expanded much since the Middle Ages, particularly if you are a classical musician. Not only does this not align with the opportunities that exist in today’s marketplace, it does not align with what most people, especially today’s under-30 generation, want out of a career – a life of means, the ability to provide for those whom they love most, a life of meaning, doing good work and making an impact within their community and a chance to give back. Rather than fearing the trends of shrinking traditional career paths, we must embrace a willingness to invent our own most promising futures and craft an excitedly uncertain future for our music."

If that doesn't get you fired up I'm not sure what you're doing reading this blog. The entire article is a must read.

Entrepreneurship and The Artist-Revolutionary by Mark Rabideau

Article from The Guardian on the State of the Music Business

Andrew Hitz

Here is a thought-provoking article from The Guardian commenting on the state of the music business and then need for more "portfolio musicians" in the workforce.

Here's a great quote from the article:

"However, the professional development of classically trained musicians still primarily focuses on the pursuit of excellence in relatively narrow terms: interpreting and performing great works of the past at the expense of experimenting and progressing musical skills relevant to the needs of today’s society."

I highly recommend the full article by Sean Gregory.