- “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”
- “Get 10,000 fans in 1 week!”
- “Make a Million dollars in 15 minutes!…while you sleep!…Guaranteed!”
(OK, maybe that last one is a little far-fetched. But you get my drift. And I’m pretty sure I’ve actually seen the other two claims…more than once.)
I admit, these claims have a definite appeal. And if there was a magic lantern to rub or a wand to wave that would make all of my wildest dreams spontaneously materialize, I’d be the first one in line!
But reality is, it’s probably going to take more than 15 minutes or even 30 days to get you to your goal. Especially in the music business.
So, let me ask you this: How long is too long?
If I told you it was going to take you 3 months of working hard, would you still be excited? I’m betting yes and that you’d want to start that 3-month timer right away.
But, what if I told you it was going to take a year? or 3 years? or 10?
Would that be too long? Would your dream be worth that much effort? Or would you simply give up before even trying?
I see musicians give up or burn out all the time. And it’s usually due to frustration and/or sheer exhaustion from chasing that instant-gratification fix over and over again. They’re trying tactic after tactic looking for that magic-wand moment that will make them an overnight success.
It totally breaks my heart. Because the frustration, exhaustion, and burnout are all avoidable. And the success — while not exactly “overnight” — is completely doable.
In fact, in most cases, the secret to reaching success faster is to slow down.
Yeah, that was my reaction too when my business coach first introduced me to the concept of “slow down to speed up.”
We’ve been brainwashed into believing that nothing should take a long time…
- Throw a video up on YouTube and it goes viral.
- Get a song on a popular TV show and you’ll get discovered.
- Or win American Idol for an instant career!
But tactics like these don’t work for everyone. They are the exception. Not the rule.
The rest of us need a more reliable and predictable way of creating a long-term, sustainable, and successful (meaning profitable) music career.
And that means, creating a plan and a strategy behind your music goals, not just throwing a bunch of marketing tactics at the wall to see what sticks.
It means taking the time to ask the big questions – like Who your ideal fans are, Why you do what you do, Where is it that you want your music career to go and What do you want it to look like.
It means allowing yourself real down time. (Can you say VA-CA-TION?)
And it means allowing yourself time to explore, ponder, ruminate, and dream. Without any obligation or a goal in mind.
Most creatives ignore these types of “activities” shrugging them off as “NON-activities,” “not important,” or just plain “too time consuming.” Because, let’s be serious, they have things to do. Actions to take. Promotions to launch. And goals to achieve!
But taking a step back allows you to see the bigger picture and make sure you’re on the right track. And that, in turn, allows you to make faster, bigger, better progress in the long run.
In fact, in a Harvard Business Review study of 343 businesses, firms that “slowed down to speed up” improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over their “go, go, go” counterparts in a three-year period.
So, what about you?
Are you on the go, go, go, full-speed-ahead plan but feeling overwhelmed or like you’re spinning your wheels?
Then maybe it’s time to try a different approach.
Take a step back. Slow down. Give yourself a break and some time to reflect. Ask yourself the big questions. Come up with a strategy and make a plan.
You might be surprised how fast your career can change.
What do you think of this “slow down to speed up” idea? Have you heard of this before? Tried it yet? Let me know in the comments below.