In the course of your journey as a musician there will be some things that go right for you. What you choose to do about those things will go a long way towards determining your success (or lack thereof).
The concept of leverage is all about finding your opportunities to capitalize on the things that will give you the best return for your efforts. Like a lever, where you can generate tremendous force without tremendous effort, you have opportunities to get powerful results by using the right things to your advantage at the right times.
For example, let’s say you know in advance that your show this weekend is going to be a lot of fun with a great turnout because it’s the bass player’s birthday and you’re playing at your favorite spot in your home town. Get it on tape! Hire someone to create a professional recording or run a promotion encouraging fans to tape the show. Depending on the venue you could maybe do a promotion of $5 off at the door for anyone who brings a recording device. Next thing you know you’ve got a bunch of videos in circulation that show a packed house of fans having a great time. Put the best stuff on your website.
Promoters don’t want dramatic, clever bios and pretty pictures. They want one thing – heads through the door. If you’ve got actual proof that you play to good crowds who love you, right on the home page of your site, then you’ll do a lot more to capture the attention of the people who can put you in prime slots opening for bigger bands at bigger shows.
Take one success and parlay it into another. This is one thing that I think a lot of young creative musicians miss. Talented artists often find it difficult to compromise in their early projects. They want to achieve perfection, but lack experience, so as a result it can be really tough getting the right other people to play along and bring their vision to life. The real world will only give results based on what actually happens and can be verified, not by what’s in someone’s head.
What usually works better to start with is to get out and create tangible results, like playing shows and recording music, even if they’re not ideal. When you’ve got something to show for your efforts you end up with more experience and credibility and you have things that you can leverage into better situations in the future. It’s all about the things you can hang your hat on. The good things that happen aren’t just ends in and of themselves. They’re stepping stones to get you to the next level.
Do you have a killer website that makes you look good and that does a great job of enticing fans to sign up for your mailing list? Then put the URL under each of your videos on YouTube (*tip* if you put in the ‘http://’ then it will be a clickable hyperlink). Did you get a great quote from a magazine or someone with high status? Put it on all of your promo material! Did you win a fistful of money at a battle of the bands? Triple your money by investing in some new shirts. Train yourself to look for these opportunities and when things go right – be ready to capitalize!
Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.