Well, this is embarrassing. It’s been quite some time since I posted. I was on a roll, making regular additions to this series, but then *poof*. You know why? Because I was inconsistent in another area of my career. Let me explain.
We’ve been quite busy at F5. Over the last year or so we’ve had an incredible run of fun projects, writing sessions, Singles, EPs, Records, traveling around the country and doing what we love to do. It’s been AMAZING. But there is an obvious down side to all of this. When we’re working, we’re not actively spreading the word about who we are or what we do. Our marketing efforts slip to the point of being non-existent. We’re not posting on social media. We’re really not advertising at all – in business terms, we’re not “filling the pipeline.”
The same is true with songwriters and performers. Imagine that you’ve had a great summer and have been gigging a ton. Feels good, right? But did you know that all of the Christmas shows you were counting on have already started filling up? And that record you just finished and want to start supporting. Fun, right? Well how long did it take you to write all of those songs? And when do you think your fans will want NEW music? How long did it take you to finish that record and promote it properly? Are you doing the math yet?
It’s a hard lesson to learn, and I’m certain that most of you can identify. So whats the secret? How do we prevent this from happening again? Assuming you’re not already independently wealthy and can’t hire a full-time life coach, it really seems like there are two (more realistic) ways to make this work.
- Do It Yourself. That means making a plan, setting a schedule and sticking to it. How long does it take you to contact, say, 10 venues to attempt to book gigs? 1-2 hours a week? Well, put it in your calendar. Are you slacking on creating new material? If you want to be a professional, be a professional and schedule just an hour a day to work on your craft. Neglecting your social media obligations (Owen)? Get over your technological inhibitions, schedule the time and freaking DO IT. It’s just Instagram, for crying out loud.
- Get Help. Sometimes the hurdles are simply TOO BIG. Maybe you still have a day job and don’t have the time to contact venues or promote the way you should. Find a booking agent and enlist the help of a street team. Is it tough to get motivated to write new songs? Find a writing partner or team and support each other. Too busy (or insufficiently tech-savvy) to effectively keep up with marketing and social media? Hire someone… like I did.
The truth is, it’s harder than ever to “do it alone.” We have so many tools at our disposal to keep us on track, informed and motivated. But it’s not always enough, and when that’s the case, find a team. If this is your profession, if this is what you want your life to be… there’s really no better time than right now to make that choice, to do what needs to be done in order to make that happen. Be strong, be smart, be consistent, and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help… because it’s usually just an IM away.
Now, go do it so you can be happy.
As always, thank you for your friendship, your interest, and your art.
Owen Sartori is a 35-year veteran in the music industry as a musician, songwriter, and producer. Currently, he is a co-owner of F5 SoundHouse in Minneapolis, MN and helps mentor, produce and write with/for artists wherever he is needed.
For more, visit f5soundhouse.com.