Independent artists often, not always, have a strong entitlement mentality. Now I must be honest, that statement applies to not only performing artists, but also writers, business owners, and anyone else who seems to think that talent is enough to catapult them far into the world of success. Unfortunately, the truth is, the one who works the hardest will win.
In my music performance life, I’ve always used the statement “do for 2 as you would for 2000.” What I mean by that is, don’t let the circumstances dictate who or how you are. If you want to do a show where you dance from start to finish, don’t wait until you are afforded the “exposure” you think deserves it. Every opportunity is a chance to change your success level. But having that kind of mentality requires a higher level of work ethic.
Have a plan for your path to success. If you have never sat down and really thought through where the efforts are taking you, your work ethic will be average at best. How can you work hard at something undefined? The plan doesn’t have to be perfect. You can perfect as you learn and grow. But there should be a plan. A plan holds you accountable. A plan requires you to work even when there is nothing pressing. If you find that you only think about your image, pressing cds, or your website when some grand opportunity presents itself, your plan isn’t detailed enough. So, take time to map out your success to the best of your ability.
Stop waiting for others to make your dreams come true. Help is great. As a matter of fact, help is inevitable. Just know, no one wants to help someone who hasn’t done all they can do to help themselves. Contrary to what most people believe, there are people who come across opportunities all the time, but when the opportunity presents itself, oftentimes, they feel as though no one is “ready” for it. MicCheck has that problem often. No, MicCheck is the world’s best stage. But it.s a growing stage and platform independent artists who are helping themselves. But whether the Miccheck stage, or any stage, are your prepared to capitalize on it? What have you done so that when someone comes to you, you can say “‘yes” with confidence. If you have waited for someone to design something for you, marketing you, beat the streets for you, talk to the radio outlets for you, and you haven’t gotten out there to make it happen yourself, that answer will often be nothing. You are not prepared to capitalize. So get out there and do what you can. It may not be to the level that you want due to budget, resources, or access. But when the right team, investor, or opportunity comes along, they will have something to work with and help make it better.
Realize that there is no such thing as down time. If you don’t have a show or you aren’t in the studio, you can’t assume there is nothing to do. No down time. You should be working. Attend events, network, write, exercise, research, submit to shows and radio stations, listen to music to be inspired, look for parallel avenues to generate income, etc. You should be doing something. If your name isn’t a household name in the world of music, you have work to do. Just think. The people who we idolize as celebrities do more in a day than most of us do in a week. You have to be prepared for that level of work. It doesn’t start when you get on. It starts before. So while making your plan, build in self-development aspects to make sure you are strengthening your craft, image, marketing, presence, or whatever your plan requires to take you wherever your dreams say you are going.
Grind with the end in mind. Being an independent music creator is the equivalent to an out of shape person trying to get a summer body. We work and we work to be in a place where we can do what we want. We work at it and work at it and feel as though nothing is happening or changing. I’m not speculating. This is what I know. But no differently than that person looking in the miroir after only a month of working out, you have to remember that it’s a lifestyle change. You have to begin to put the right things in to get better results. And those changes can’t be temporary. They must be a conscious decision to change how you think and what you do. That sometimes will be your only motivation. So get your mind away from, “nothing I do works”. Trying it for a few weeks, testing it on one show, or attempting in on one project isn’t enough. Figure out how to get the results you want. Then grind with the end in mind. Don’t give too much energy to the fact that you don’t see quick results. Just keep pushing and working. You will be in shape in no time and people will swear you just got it all handed to you. … Because for some reason it’s easier to believe it just happened than that you worked your ass off for it.
All that to say, get your work ethic up. Be one of those people who are undeniable because you have already considered all your options and have done your best to be ready for everything. And when opportunity knocks, you will be ready to swing the door open.