Innovate or Perish

[RANT] I am sick and tired of reading articles and blogposts that scream out

“… doomsday – the sky is falling, the music industry is dead – it was killed by the internet. Blah, blah, frikkin’ blah!”

Enough already!  It’s just so much crap!  The music industry isn’t dead.  IT’S CHANGED!  What’s dead are the companies that refused to change with it.  And I am just so over the reporters and bloggers who are much more interested in talking about doom and gloom.  What’s failed, dead, dying.  Instead of looking at what’s actually working now.

In The Recession-Proof Business: Lessons from the Greatest Recession Success Stories of All Time, Victor Cheng gives us specific guidance about how to create a successful business in the midst of great upheaval and change.

And I think we can all agree that the last 15 years has been a time of great upheaval and change for the Music Industry.  The last 6 years have been a time of great upheaval and change for all industries.  This is old news.

So what’s my point?  We can whine and moan about what’s past and gone.  We can doom and gloom about how HARD its going to be for you to create your successful business given the challenges of the time.

innovation, music business, music industry is deadBut I say – To HELL WITH THAT!  What does that give you?  It certainly doesn’t help you move forward towards your goals and dreams.  Instead of focusing on all of the obstacles and challenges:

  • Look at who is making their business work for them.
  • Look at who your specific target market is and what their needs are.
  • And look at where your fans are currently spending their money.

“Forget the overall macro economy numbers; look for where the money is flowing to and position your business to piggyback off it.” Victor Cheng

And then innovate.  How can you uniquely solve their problems?

Apply your creativity to creating a promise that will not only solve your target market’s problems, but shows them how deeply and clearly you see them, understand them and serve them.

In my class “Internet Marketing & Social Media – a Complete Waste of Time or the Key to Your Success“, I use Jonathan Coulton and Amanda Palmer as case studies of 2 artists who did exactly that.  They saw the opportunity of the internet and social media and put themselves in front of that wave.  There are companies and artists who are making a fine living in this world.  I say find them, study them and then apply their lessons to your unique voice.

You can either ride the wave of the future or be wiped out by it.  What will you choose?




How to Say: “NO” – Boundaries Part 2 by @ArtistsEdge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor

I promise, with practice, being able to choose – yes or no – according to your values and priorities will give you tremendous empowerment and the freedom to create the life you want.

And as I promised in Boundaries and the Power of “NO” (or Go Ahead, Be the Bitch), here’s HOW to say “No.”

Know Your Yes

When you are unclear about what you are saying “Yes” to, saying “No” feels very uncomfortable. Let me give you a few examples:

Your neighbor (insert your person who just assumes you’re available all the time) rings your doorbell and says, “You’re not busy, right? I just had the biggest fight with my boyfriend and I need a shoulder…” And you say “Yes,” because you don’t have anything clearly scheduled. There aren’t any client appointments or external deadlines for your new business. Of course, there are a million things you could be/would be doing, but in that moment, when she knocks on your door – none of those things are clearly scheduled in your calendar. And she needs support, wouldn’t saying “No” be selfish?

A new client really wants to work with you and thinks you’re great – you’re soooo flattered and excited! But when it comes to setting your fees, you are tentative. And when they dicker you down, you agree, because you really want the work and you don’t actually have set fees and frankly the whole money discussion feels really uncomfortable. So, you say “Yes”. You’re grateful for the work, but you feel just a bit uncomfortable perhaps even resentful. Because you’ve allowed them to undermine your value. And that’s why negotiating those fees left such a sour taste in your mouth.

In order to be able to make a clear, clean “No”, you need to know what you’re actually saying “Yes” to. If you have your workday scheduled and a clear action plan for the day, it’s much easier to turn down those spontaneous requests. If your fee schedule is set, it’s so much easier to simply email the fee schedule to them. Then there’s no need for discussion. There it is, in black and white.

In order to create this clarity for yourself, you need to set up your systems: your time management system, your product/service systems, your marketing systems. In my “Systems Creation – Work Smarter, Not Harder” class – one of the fundamental principles I teach is that systems reduce stress, because you’ve already made the decisions in advance.

You’ve decided your schedule. So when someone calls and asks if you’re available – you can clearly answer, “No, I’m so sorry, I’m just not available this morning.” And here’s the coolest part – they don’t need to know what you’re busy doing. You are simply not available.

You’ve decided your rates and prices. So you can clearly and cleanly tell a prospective new client exactly what you charge – what your time, energy and expertise is worth. And then they can make a clear choice to work with you.

When you are clear about what you are saying “Yes” to, making your choice becomes much simpler.

The fundamental truth is, whenever we say “Yes” to one thing, we are saying “No” to everything else. And when you are clear, excited and passionate about what you’re saying “Yes” to, saying “No” becomes a No-Brainer!