Posts

An Idea is Only as Good as the Implementation

What is implementation?

im·ple·men·ta·tion /impləmənˈtāSH(ə)n/ (noun)
the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.

As a creative business owner who loves what you do, you are probably inundated with great ideas every day. You probably get them in the shower, as you’re driving, while you’re sweating on the treadmill. But how many of those great ideas do you put into action and see through to fruition?

That’s what I thought. I know, I know, it’s hard! You’re so busy running your business. It’s hard to find the time for something new. A new idea may require you to learn new skills to bring to fruition. It may involve getting help, spending money, investing time.

And new is scary. What if it doesn’t work out? How do you know if its the right idea at the right time?

Of course, there are no guarantees. But think about it. What if Steve Jobs had never moved forward on the iPod? What if Ford never invested in the assembly line? What if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson quit before writing the Declaration of Independence?

What world changing, business revolutionizing, life impacting idea have you set aside because you just don’t have time?

So, how do you, as a ridiculously busy entrepreneur make your ideas a reality?

“It is not always what we know or analyzed before we make a decision that makes it a great decision. It is what we do after we make the decision to implement and execute it that makes it a good decision.”

–William Pollard

Create the Structure for Implementation

idea, action, implementationIf you are not implementing ideas, it is likely because you don’t have an existing system or structure for taking an idea, developing that idea into a plan of action and then implementing that plan. So the seed of the idea floats around for awhile but doesn’t find the fertile ground to settle into and begin to grow.

Put a few simple structures into place and your ideas will have a place to land:

  • Have a notebook (online or a physical notebook) to record your ideas when they come to you.
  • Schedule time in your week – every week – to explore and develop new ideas. Back in the day (they aren’t doing this anymore, I don’t think) Google used to allow their employees to take 20% of their time to work on ideas. You don’t need to spend 20% of your time – but set aside an hour or two every week. It’s the quality and consistency more than the quantity of time that’s important.

Implement One Idea at a Time

I recommend serial monogamy when it comes to projects – 1 project at a time! Too many projects means you won’t effectively deliver on any of them. So pick one idea and for all the rest, keep them in your idea notebook for the future.

So how do you decide which idea to pursue?

  • Remember, you’re jotting down your ideas in your notebook – is there an idea you’ve written down more then once? Is there an idea that keeps popping up, over and over? That might be the first one to go with
  • Maybe go through your list and pick the one that seems most exciting, most shiny to you.
  • All your other ideas, go into the notebook for later. Keep writing them down – but don’t let them distract you.

Once you’ve picked your idea:

You may discover from this process alone that your idea isn’t really going to work. That’s OK – it’s not wasted effort. Because you will have learned a lot – and you may find a way to pivot your idea or this may open up other ideas or clarify ideas you’ve already had. Just pick the next idea and move forward.

Put Your Idea into Action

Once you’ve made the decision that this idea is the one you’re going to move forward on, make a specific schedule in your week for when you will work on it. Get coaching and support and most importantly get into action.

Let me know how you do in the comments!

 

 

Save

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?

 

Save

Save

Goals – What Are They Good For?

I’ve been reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink.  I expect I’ll be writing an article about Motivation when I’m done with it.  But while the book does question the value of setting goals, I am still a big fan of them.  In Drive, the studies seem to discount the value of external drivers toward accomplishment.  And I agree that externally motivated goals are not the way to go.

Goals, Vision, PlanningBut that’s not how I teach you to write goals.  A well-written goal must include your internal motivation, your experience of what your life will be like when you have accomplished the goal.  Because while we benefit from external rewards.  We are driven by our internal needs.  Your goals need to reflect and express your life’s purpose.  And when well-written, I believe that goals allow us to create our lives with volition.

In my experience, goals serve two main purposes:

1 – Definition of Your Path and Your Direction

When you set a goal, you are by its very definition determining that you are going in this direction and you are not going in that direction.  The more specific the goal is, the more defined your direction and the more options you have eliminated.

I believe that’s a good thing.  Very often people become completely paralyzed because they have so many choices, they don’t know where to start and so they just don’t … start….

In my experience with clients and in my own life, it is better to start down a road in a specific direction and change your mind than it is to wait until you know for sure.  Very often, if you begin to move in a particular direction, you can discover information that you would never discover if you wait.  Finding out that this path is the wrong path is extremely useful information. You can decide what you don’t want, which can lead you to more specifically determine what you do want.

And you will develop skills in the process that will greatly enhance your abilities to create success once you clarify your path.

I don’t believe there are any mistakes in life.  Because as long as you are in a learning process you will benefit from your experiences.  And your experiences will feed the next choice.  I have often “accidentally” discovered an amazing opportunity that I would never have seen had I been waiting for the “right” path.

2 – Placing Your Order With the Universe

So, first, I believe in the Law of Attraction.  As a reminder, here are the two main tenets of that law:

  •   What you focus on expands
  •   You get what you expect

So, in terms of goals – when you are focusing on your goal, you are actually expanding your opportunities in that direction.  And since by the very action of setting a goal that you believe is achievable within the time frame you’ve set – you are setting the stage for the achievement of the goal – because you expect it.

I look at goal setting as placing your order with the Universe.  You are inviting the Universe to align with your intentions and support you in manifesting what you want.  You’ve heard the expression – be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.  That’s what this is.

And it’s better to place a specific order than a general, vague order.  Think about it.  What if you went into a restaurant and said to the waiter, “Hello, yes, I’d like some cow, please.”  Do you know what you’ll get?  You might get a steak, but you might get tongue (yech!).

On the other hand, if you say to the waiter, “I’d like a filet mignon, with a baked potato, sour cream on the side, and an order of steamed broccoli.”  You’re more likely to enjoy that meal.

So, what are your goals for 2013?  And does this help you begin to think more specifically and clearly?  Please share your insights!

How to Use Goals, Actions and Strategies to Craft a Plan

In Part One of this article – Goals and Actions and Strategies – Oh, MY! – I clarified the differences between goals, actions and strategies and talked about why that is a difference that makes a difference.

In this article, I’m going to explain how you can design a plan that employs all three aspects.

In my experience, most people have a focus level that is their comfort zone.  There’s the big picture thinkers and the detail-oriented folks.  Which are you?

Big Picture Thinkers

goals actions strategies vision planning

  • You are a dreamer.
  • You are excited by big goals for the future.
  • You love new ideas and starting new projects, but when you get bogged down, you just go on to start another project.
  • You have little patience for the details – the details seem hard and even boring.
  • You get overwhelmed easily by details
  • You are often unhappily surprised by the outcomes of your big plan, because you forgot a simple detail.
  • You make a lot of big plans, but don’t seem to get very far in executing those plans.  And usually those big plans are very sparse on the details.

You love to fantasize about your big success, but when you look around, you don’t understand why you’re not there yet.

music business coach, success, promotion, marketing, artistsDetail Oriented Folks

  • You love to feel busy.
  • You are constantly thinking in terms of, “What should I do?”
  • Thinking about long term goals feels uncomfortable, even frightening.
  • You’d much rather focus on this email, that paperwork, those phone calls…
  • You have lots of lists and every time you listen to an expert or read a book you add lots of items to those lists.
  • You can tend to over think things and feel the need to get all the details and plans perfect before taking action.

You work really hard all day long, but when you look around, you don’t understand why you feel like you’ve gotten nothing accomplished.

I don’t think either focus level is right/wrong or good/bad.  Actually, in order to be successful in life and in business, you need to be able to pull focus. You need to have some facility with both levels of thinking which will enable you to think big, create useful plans and then implement those plans to take consistent and productive action.

Whether you go from microcosm (the details) to macrocosm (the big picture) or vice versa, when designing your plan doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that:

  1. You create the big picture outcome (goals and vision)
  2. You choose some guidelines for making decisions (strategies)
  3. You develop a step-by-baby-step action plan for accomplishing those outcomes with a specific order and time frame to get you from where you are now to where you intend to be
  4. You implement that plan on a daily basis
  5. Assessing and adjusting as you go

goals, plans, vision action

Start with Your Comfort Zone

The order is less important than doing all 5 parts.  If you’re a big picture thinker, start with the big picture, but don’t stop there!  And if you like the details, but thinking big scares the bejeezus out of you, then start with the details and extrapolate out.  Here’s how:

If You Start with the Big Picture

Close your eyes.  No, wait, read this part first, THEN close your eyes!  OK, think about one year from now.  And as you’re imagining one year from now …

  • What do you see around you?
  • What do you have?
  • Who are you working with?
  • What are you doing?
  • What do you hear?
  • Get specific.

Now, open your eyes and write down everything you saw.  Do it in bullet point form.  Create a brainstormed list of all you want to have and be.

Once you’ve got your list:

  1. Go through and turn each bullet point into a specific, measurable goal with a deadline.
  2. Group those goals together by category (such as fitness and health, business, relationships, etc.).
  3. Within the business category – you can use the 5 Hats of the Business Owner to group your items in more specific categories.
  4. If you see other goals that need to happen in order to create that goal, add them to your list.
  5. Put the goals in the order that makes the most logical sense
  6. Then break out the objectives and action steps for each goal.

You will end up with a specific, step-by-step actionable plan for each goal.

Now if that feels overwhelming, don’t do it for each and every goal.  But do it for the first group of goals that put you on the road to those longer term goals.  What are the goals that need to be accomplished in the next 3-4 months?  Develop a plan for each one of them and then get busy making them happen!

Or You’re Starting with the Details

To do listIf all you think of when asked “What do you want?” is all the stuff to do, all the steps to take, all the different things you’ve been thinking about, “If I only do these things, I’ll be successful.”  Then start there.

Make a big brainstormed list of all the actions, all the steps, all the ideas of actions, all the things people have told you that you have to do.  Make a big list.  Now I recommend doing this in excel, where column A is your long list of stuff to do and each action item is in a separate row.

Now, take that long list and:

  1. In Column B, put the categories of your life each action falls into (such as fitness and health, business, relationships, etc.) and again, you can use the 5 Hats of the Business Owner to break out the work category further.
  2. Then, use the sort function in Excel to sort by category.
  3. Cut and paste the sorted list into a separate worksheet for each category.
  4. One category at a time, ask yourself, which actions go together?  And group them together.
  5. And then ask yourself, if I do these 6 actions that seem to go together (for example) what will I have?  What will that give me?
  6. Write a specific and measurable goal or objective to express that.
  7. Put a deadline on that goal and add start dates and completion dates on each action.
  8. Fill in any actions that are missing in order to create those goals
  9. Think about all those goals together, and create a vision of what that life looks like.

And here too, if creating a full-fledged plan with start and end dates on every action feels overwhelming, just work with the goals for the next 3 months.

StrategyWhere do Strategies fit in?

Strategies, by their very nature, fall into the category of big picture thinking.  Because they apply to everything.  When you choose a strategy, it will effect:

  • How you state your goals
  • Which action items you choose when creating your plan
  • How you implement your plan

For example, if you have a strategy of

Always be learning!

And you apply that to your goal.  It might change:

A CD of toe tapping songs

to

A CD of toe tapping songs with expanded musical influences

Your action plan might include studying Cuban and Jazz music styles in order to help you expand those musical influences.  It might also include taking a songwriting class or studying recording techniques.  It might include participating in a songwriting circle to get ongoing feedback on your writing.

Without that strategy, your goal and your actions might be very different.

So, start with creating a few strategies and test them out.  Apply them to your goals and action plans and see how they change.  And work with them for a few weeks to decide if you like how the strategies are affecting you and whether you want to keep them or change them.

It’s also an interesting question to analyze what strategies are you currently using, unconsciously?  But that’s a subject for another time.

What are your goals, actions and strategies?  I’d love to hear them!

 

Save

Are Goals Really Necessary?

I was having a conversation with a client the other day.  He’s an engineer and is always working on cutting edge, invention type stuff.  He said that setting goals doesn’t work in this type of  design.  Because when you are inventing something for the first time, you don’t really know what you’re going to end up with.  And that it rarely looks like what you were thinking about inventing when you started out.

I suggested that you had to at least have some general framework of what you were creating.  Even if only in terms of a problem you’re looking to solve, otherwise how could you even begin? I suggested that setting an umbrella goal, a goal that determines the general direction is better than no goal at all.

Create Your Vision, Goals, DreamsAnd if you up with something different than you expected, that’s all good.  It doesn’t invalidate the original goal – you just assessed and adjusted as you proceeded down your path.  That’s step 6 in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Roadmap to Success!

After we finished our session, I got to wondering about this and thought, perhaps that’s one of the challenges for artists as well.  If you’re sitting down to write a piece of music, do you know what you want to end up with?  Or is discovering the music part of the process, just like discovering a new invention?

And even if you don’t know what you’re going to end up with, don’t you need to start with at least a framework?  In music, don’t you at least start with a key, a mode?  Do you decide the rhythm or B.P.M.?  With a painting, do you start with at least the size of the canvas?  What medium you’re going to use?  The style?

Don’t you have to start with some general idea of what you are creating, even when you are inventing something from scratch?

What Does This Have To Do with Goals?

This process is true with all goals, not just in design but in all areas of your life.  You are inventing something from nothing.  You are bringing choice and direction to your path in the present and creating the vision of your life in the future.  The pursuit of your goals is always an invention of something you didn’t have before.  And you won’t really know what you have until you are there.  Because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Goals are Always a Leap of Faith!

But that doesn’t mean you don’t set Goals, specific and measurable.  As you work through the process of birthing those goals, you will hone and sharpen them, even completely rewrite them.  But if you don’t set specific ones now to the best of your ability, with what you know to be true now, then you won’t get to work bringing those goals into fruition.

So what if it changes as you go?  That neither lessens the validity of the goals you set today nor undermines the life you are creating for your future.  It’s just part of the process.

What are your leaps of faith for 2013?

Save

Save

Multiple Streams Step 8: BOP Positioning

Artists MBA, Professional ProgramThe final step of the Multiple Streams of Art / Music Income process, establishing your BOP (Bold, Outrageous, Provocative) Positioning, is bigger than your Branding, or your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

Your BOP Position is about who you are and what you stand for as an artist, as a business and as a human being.

What is Your Purpose?

In this Class, we’ll discover:

  • What is a BOP?
  • How some artists are using their BOP to make a difference in the world
  • 3 Key questions to help you identify your BOP
  • How do you use your BOP to build your Multiple Streams of Art / Music Business?

Your BOP is your BOLD OUTRAGEOUS PROVOCATIVE statement of who you are and what you stand for.  What is your BOP?

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Classes:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access this class today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

(Transcript coming soon)
Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Click Here to Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today


Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA foundation, professional Program members only. Click here to access.

Next Class:

How to Write the Dreaded Business Plan

Artists MBA, Professional Program“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

We’ve all heard this quote, and yet, we struggle and resist against writing a business plan. For most artists and creatives, there’s the myth that the plan will cramp your creativity. But what my private clients discover over and over again, is that the plan empowers your creativity and just makes life easier.

To be clear – the method I’m teaching won’t result in a 60 page business plan to get financing from a bank or Angel Investor. This is a plan you will use to guide you to create your successful business. If luck is truly when opportunity meets preparedness, your business plan is the first step to prepare for success! In this class, we’ll explore:

  • Why you want to write a business plan
  • The key components in your business plan
  • How to use a business plan to move forward in your career

Additional Resources for this Class:

Prerequisite Class:

Listen to the Class:

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Professional, Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Foundation Program
to access the following classes today ($5 for first 10 days/$27 per month Tuition):

Read the Class Transcript

Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA Mastery Program members only. Click here to access.

Enroll in the Artists Marketing & Business Academy Mastery Lab to access the transcript of this class today


Thank you for your interest. This content is visible to ArtistsMBA foundation, professional Program members only. Click here to access.

Next Class:

Setting Goals for 2011

Every year, I take some personal time to assess, adjust, write new goals for the New Year and make a plan for achieving those goals. I’d like to share part of this process with you – and encourage you to use it for yourself to create a powerful, prosperous and joyful 2011. I hope you will find this peek into my process helpful.

In this eighth post in the series, I’m moving into the second step of my process –

Goal Setting for 2011

There are three steps to this process:

  1. Reviewing my Goals for 2010
  2. Setting 1 Year Goals for 2011
  3. Breaking those goals down into 3-4 month increments

Reviewing My Goals from 2010

When looking back at my goals from the previous year I want to do 3 things:

  1. Celebrate my successes – Woo Hoo!
  2. Look at what worked and didn’t work – particularly around the goals I didn’t accomplish
  3. Apply those lessons to the coming year

Looking at my goals from last year was very confronting as for the most part, I didn’t complete them.  Yes, I’m admitting it publicly.  I’m a coach – and I’m not perfect.

Whew – there, I said it.  But that’s part of the point of this blog.  It’s not about – look at me, see what a guru I am – don’t you want to be like me?  It’s more about – here’s my process.  I’m human just like you.  And I’m a work in progress.  And that means – if I can do it, so can you!  And hopefully, there are things I can contributed to your process to make you more successful.

So, in looking back at last year and looking specifically at what worked and didn’t work, I’ve seen some things that I want to share with you.

Set Goals With Specific Deadlines

In writing my goals last year, I just wrote the goals – I didn’t give each goal a specific deadline.  I was writing what I wanted to accomplish at some point during the year.  What didn’t work was being specific about when I would be accomplishing it.  Lacking a specific time frame, I didn’t know when I was supposed to start working on them and they just kept getting pushed by more urgent things.

So, this year, I will not only write specific Deadlines for the accomplishment of each goal, but also set a start date for each project.

Keep Goals in the Forefront of Your Awareness

I wrote those goals and then set them aside.  I didn’t post them anywhere and I didn’t refer to them.  Yes, I knew they were my goals for the year.  But they weren’t in the forefront of my awareness – and so it was really easy to postpone beginning those projects.

In addition, because I’m not currently working with a coach and no longer have a business partner – there were no other voices holding me accountable to those commitments.

So, this year, I’ll do a few things differently:

  • Send my goals to my accountability partner, and ask for her support in achieving them.
  • Post my goals on my bulletin board and read them every morning

Build a Structure for Accomplishing Your Goals

Last year, I moved my business out of my home.  And I somehow never re-established my time management structure with my new circumstances.  It all fell by the wayside and I found myself running my day by the seat of my pants.  That has never worked for me in the past – and there were many ways it didn’t work for me last year.  And I knew it wasn’t working for me.  I intended to spend the summer really setting up those structures.  But then my Dad got sick and everything changed.

Now that I’ve moved across country and I will be having even more demands on my time, I know that re-establishing my foundation is absolutely vital both to my business success, but also to my own happiness and satisfaction in my life.

So, here’s my plan:

  1. Write my goals with start and end dates and share those with my accountability partner
  2. Break the larger goals down into sub-goals with start and end dates
  3. Create PRD’s for 2011 first quarter for each area of my life and make sure my goals are built into those PRD’s
  4. Create a Time Map for my current situation and implement that map immediately
  5. Re-institute my daily bookends (morning and evening rituals)

Planning for the New Year – Part Seven

Every year, I take some personal time to assess, adjust, write new goals for the New Year and make a plan for achieving those goals. I’d like to share part of this process with you – and encourage you to use it for yourself to create a powerful, prosperous and joyful 2011. I hope you will find this peek into my process helpful.

In this seventh post, I’m completing the first section of my process which comes from Brendon Burchard, author of Life’s Golden Ticket. This series of questions helps me to look at the year past as well as clarify what I want for the coming year.  I love these final questions, because it’s all about creating a successful context or mindset for the coming year.

Envisioning 2011: Move Forward

Whenever I get stressed in 2011, the phrase I’ll repeat to myself is  …

Read more

Planning for the New Year – Part Six

Every year, I take some personal time to assess, adjust, write new goals for the New Year and make a plan for achieving those goals. I’d like to share part of this process with you – and encourage you to use it for yourself to create a powerful, prosperous and joyful 2011. I hope you will find this peek into my process helpful.

In this sixth post, I’m continuing the first section of my process which comes from Brendon Burchard, author of Life’s Golden Ticket. This series of questions helps me to look at the year past as well as clarify what I want for the coming year. I’ll be answering them over the next several blog posts.

Envisioning 2011: Move Forward

The three feelings I’m going to focus on feeling consistently each day in 2011 are …

Read more