Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Goals and Sub-Goals

Mountain Peak, Representing the goal
Large Goals Can Seem Daunting, Like getting to the top of a huge mountain.

Sometimes I set goals for myself that seem insurmountable at first blush, but I’ve found that the best strategy is to chip my huge goals down into more easily attainable Sub-goals. After two weeks, I have read many books, blogs and articles, and I have a list of goals that looks something like this:

  • Release Smoke and Mirrors CD
  • Build better website landing page
  • Build better Facebook fan page
  • Post to Facebook fan page at least once a day, preferably toward the evening.
  • Post to Twitter more than once a day, maybe three times.
  • Order Business Cards
  • Play at open mic nights around town.
  • When playing open mics around town, pass out the business card, ask that people take pictures, and ask that they get on the mailing list.

Naturally, these goals have several sub-goals that need to be completed in order for them to be considered complete. When I completed my list of these long-term, over-arching goals, I found them to be a bit overwhelming, so I created a list of sub-goals for each goal that listed each little thing I would need to do in order to complete the huge master goal. For example, that first goal, “Release Smoke and Mirrors CD” has several mini goals that need to be accomplished in order for the CD to be released. This is what they look like in a bulleted list:

Release Smoke and Mirrors CD

  • Choose 10 or eleven tracks to include on the album
  • Mix those 10 or 11 tracks
  • master those 10 or 11 tracks and render them to 16bit/44.1k
  • Decide which packaging to go with. Jewel cases? Digipacks? Sleeves?
  • Request price quotes from several online CD manufacturing companies, in my case, for a quantity of 100.
  • Make sure the price includes a UPC code and shrink wrap.
  • Download Templates from CD manufacturing website.
  • Decide on cover art, font and layout
  • order CDs.
  • Get Square (www.square.com) to process credit card orders when no one has cash

Now I have a fairly clear road map that is much easier to insert into a daily “to do” list. I can use the momentum of accomplishing these smaller goals to drive the inspiration engine that will help me to get through the rest of the sub-goals, and therefore, complete the Master Goal itself.

Let me know what you think! Email me at: seth@sethburrows.com

First Steps

Stairs
I’m on the first tread.

Over the last few days, I’ve been voraciously consuming articles, books, and podcasts related to web marketing in general, and music marketing specifically. Here are links to some things, and my thoughts, just to give you an idea about where I’m coming from. On the advice of several podcasts, including the soloprenuer hour, I picked up “Crush it! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk. In “Crush it!” Gary Vee explains a strategy for transforming the thing you are the most passionate about into a business that can be monetized using social media tools. The three pages in Appendix A alone make this book worth picking up. When you start investigating the world of internet marketing, you don’t have to look for long before people start telling you to “work your email list” until it contains AT LEAST 1000 subscribers. …1000? …Really?! I know. I’m not a huge fan either. I only enter my email if I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY into somebody. I think the emails I get right now are from Darrell Scott, Rachael Yamagata, Haley Dreis...and even when they come to my email box, I am weary that I am being SOLD something. I guess I am the stereotypical “passive” fan, and all the web marketing gurus (guri?) tell you that you need SUPER FANS. How do you get these Superfans, you ask? Well, by engaging, and being interesting, and CARING about your fans and what they are about. Do this long enough, and sooner or later, you will find people being attracted to you and your message and what you have to sell. All the web marketing gurus tell you to create a CALL TO ACTION or CTA, that compels your would-be superfan to give up the valuable email address. Usually, this comes in the form of some contest or giveaway in which they provide their email address in return for a chance to win something, or get something for free. …so that’s where I am right now, trying to figure out a decent enough CTA to get my followers or facebook likers to give me their email address gold…(and I don’t have anywhere near 1000 yet, even combining those two groups). I think it’s going to have to be better than a few free songs…it seems like that is a sort of weak lure. It would have to be something tangible and shippable. I’ll think about it. In the mean time, let me know if you have any suggestions about something I could give away here to WORK THE LIST by emailing me: seth@sethburrows.com

Zero Day

Mountain Road
A lot of climbing ahead

I’m about to go on an adventure. I’m getting all the things I’m going to need in order, gathering the tools and supplies and support system to go delving deep…deep into the world of trying to make a living as a musician.

It seems like I’ve always known that this was what I had to do, from the time I was 4 or so and being rocked to sleep by my dad on his antique spring rocking chair, being taken away by Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Dylan…all the singer songwriter greats of the 60’s and 70’s.

The desire to be a musician continued and was even amplified when I first heard Van Halen and spent hours listening to 1984 doing jump kicks. It continued through middle school when I focused on guitar playing, listening to Metallica, Slayer, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai. Into high school when I got into fusion: Scott Henderson, John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola.

I wanted to be a musician so much that I went to music school. I attended Berklee College of Music and got into Jazz, but I found out about half way through school that I really would rather be a songwriter than a shredder. I took classes with the amazing Pat Pattison and Jimmy Kachulis, and found that I wanted to JUST WRITE more…and after graduation, I moved to Nashville.

The thing about Nashville is that it’s a hustler’s town, as I’m sure LA is, and I would work as a front desk person at a hotel, or in retail or whatever, and write during my off time, or go see songwriters I admired when they played around town, but I got discouraged pretty early. No one was writing what I wanted to hear anymore. Due to some poor relationship choices, I found keeping my head somewhere near the surface of the financial water hard to do while trying to be true to my musical core.

So I did something that no one should ever do: I stopped trying. I stopped wanting to be a musician at all. I stopped seeing that music had any value whatsoever.

I had drifted into a career in luthiery, and I seemed to be average at it. I was good enough to make a decent wage, but it was far from my passion. I had drifted into comfort and ease and so far, it had given me a roof over my head and food, but I had never received anything like contentment or satisfaction from it, to the extent that it is possible to find.

Which brings me to now…

To date, I have recorded somewhere around thirty songs, I have about 30 songs started and half finished, and I’m writing more all the time. Of those complete thirty-ish, I’ve chosen 11 songs to put out as my first downloadable album, and I’m going to be shooting for an early fall release date.

This means I’m going to have to learn a huge amount about social media and internet marketing in a very short amount of time.

In the coming weeks, I will outline all the things I’m reading and doing in order to try and get this thing off the ground. I’ll tell you what seems to have worked, what seems not to have worked, and I’ll report my findings here.

Stay tuned, it’ll be interesting…and FUN!

If you have any suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, or classes to take, please let me know by emailing me at seth@sethburrows.com