Fear of Success or Fear of Failure?

What’s stopping you?  Do you know?

What blocks you from pursuing your dreams with all that you have, all that you are, all of your might?

Often when asked this question, the answer is either:

Fear of Success


Fear of Failure


And often it’s even expressed as both – “Maybe it’s fear of success or failure.  I don’t know….”  Really, the truth is, it doesn’t matter which.  Because it’s not logical.  And you’re not going to be able to logic yourself past it.  Although understanding the underlying belief that’s driving your fear can be an important step in moving past it.

But Debra, how can you say it doesn’t matter?!?

In our society we’ve done ourselves a major disservice when it comes to Emotional Intelligence.  We’ve confused, disguised, conflated or combined thoughts with emotions.  The statement, “Fear of Success,” is emotion + thought/belief.  A better way to look at it is “I have beliefs about Success, and those beliefs cause me to feel fear!”

Remember the Cognitive Behavorial Cycle:

Belief, emotional intelligence, Fear

By saying Fear of Success, you are combining two different steps in the cycle!  But what you’re really experiencing clearly is the Feelings State.  And most likely the beliefs that are causing that feeling state are unconscious!  Which is why you might be unsure – is it success or failure or both that you fear?

As you can see from the cycle, what’s stopping you is the emotion, which is fueled by the beliefs.  Clearing or shifting those beliefs is the best, most long term solution to the problem of being stopped by fear.  But that’s a longer term project.  What if you just need to get into action now?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Remember that fear is just an emotion, like happiness, sadness, anger.  But fear has been hardwired into our neurology because reacting strongly to fear was an evolutionary advantage.  But unless your fear is a lion about to eat you – just breath and move forward.
  2. Notice what you’re telling yourself about the action you’re afraid to take.  Could you reframe it so that it’s not quite so life and death?  If you take a risk and it doesn’t work out – could that just be an interesting experiment, instead of the end of life as you know it?
  3. If it’s a big project, break it down into bite size pieces and then promise yourself you only have to take one action today.  Just a nibble.  You don’t have to eat the whole elephant today.  Just one nibble…

In last month’s ArtistsMBA class, How to Move Past Your Fear of Success or Failure, I explained several specific and concrete methods for managing your fears around success and/or failure.  The most important first step is to acknowledge that this is what’s going on.  Because often, we miscategorize what’s going on.

You might name it procrastination or avoidance.  Perhaps you just feel pulled to take any action EXCEPT the one you know you need to take, even allowing other people’s needs to distract you from moving forward.

Haven’t you noticed that when you operate from fear, you end up manifesting the very thing you’re afraid of?

I’m not going to tell you that facing the fear, feeling the fear and moving through the fear will be easy and light.  In order to move through it, you must own it.

What I will tell you is that moving in the direction of the fear, rather than at the behest of the fear will create amazing results in your life and your career.  Fear can be a wonderful guide.  If you’re willing to let yourself feel it.

And let me leave you with this inspiring TED talk by Brene Brown:

In order to embrace your path to success in the Arts & Entertainment Industry – you must allow yourself to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

How can you use this to overcome your fear?  Please share with me what you discover!


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


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!



Goals and Actions and Strategies – Oh, MY!

I was on the TAXI Forum and I came upon this thread “Post your Goals after attending the Rally” (the yearly conference for TAXI Members). While reading through people’s responses to the question, I noticed that most posts were a combination of goals, actions and strategies, with the posters conflating their intended actions, strategies and goals as if they were all goals.

I believe that this confusion can actually create some of the struggles and road blocks that many of you experience as you pursue your dreams. So, in this article I will explain the difference and why it matters.

In short, the difference is:

  • Actions are WHAT you do
  • Strategies are HOW you do
  • And Goals are WHY you do


“Henry Mintzberg from McGill University defined strategy as ‘a pattern in a stream of decisions’.”

“In game theory, a strategy refers to the rules that a player uses to choose between the available actionable options.”

So, strategy has to do with:

  • Your methodology
  • How you choose to think about your goals and actions
  • And the underlying principles you use to determine which path to take to achieve your goals

Strategies affect how you prioritize each project in the larger scheme of things as well as which options you choose in your pursuit of your goals.


“Basic action theory typically describes action as behavior (emphasis added) caused by an agent in a particular situation. The agent’s desires and beliefs (e.g. my wanting a glass of water and believing the clear liquid in the cup in front of me is water) lead to bodily behavior (e.g. reaching over for the glass). In the simple theory (see Donald Davidson), the desire and belief jointly cause the action. Michael Bratman has raised problems for such a view and argued that we should take the concept of intention as basic and not analyzable into beliefs and desires.

In some theories a desire plus a belief about the means of satisfying that desire are always what is behind an action.”

Belief, emotional intelligence


In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, it is your beliefs about yourself, the universe and your place in the universe, as well as your emotions induced by your beliefs which, at a minimum, color your actions and more likely completely determine which actions or behaviors you choose.

Although these choices are generally occurring in your unconscious mind. These behaviors then lead, seemingly inevitably, to your outcomes.



“A goal is a desired result [snip]. It is roughly similar to purpose or aim, the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.”


So, a goal is an outcome, an objective. It is the result you seek. But very often when asked, “What are your goals?” People respond with their actions and strategies. I elaborate on how I design goals with my clients in “Goals and Success”.

So, what does it matter?

Well, if you are only focused on WHAT to do, without a clear picture of the PURPOSE, it is very easy to become confused, discouraged and even completely derailed.

If you don’t know WHY you are taking these actions, if it gets hard to take the actions or they don’t work out they way you think they will, then you may give up entirely.

But when you are clear about your objective, your WHY, then if one action doesn’t get you there, you simply find another way. You think about your strategies. You brainstorm your options. You ask for help and advice.

You figure it out!

But if you are only thinking in terms of actions – then what happens when the one idea you had of something to do doesn’t work out? Well, what else is there to do, but quit?

Having a strategy may help you think of other things to do, but how do you evaluate which are the right things to do and when is the right time to do them, if you don’t know what you want!?!

Or as one gentlemen said to me in a workshop years ago – if I don’t know where I’m going, how will I know when I don’t get there?

If you still aren’t sure whether you’re thinking in terms of goals, actions or strategies – share them below and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out!




The Devil on Your Shoulder

In my life, I’ve done a lot of work with the critic’s voice, learning techniques and getting quite good at transforming my inner critic to support and inform my forward progress (rather than criticize and impede it). I’ve gotten to the point where, these days, I rarely hear a critical voice in my head.

inner critic, devil on your shoulderAnd in that silence I’ve become aware of a different voice – I call him “the devil on my shoulder” or “rebel without a cause.” I grew up watching the old 1940’s Bugs Bunny cartoons on Saturday mornings. So, the image of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other has stayed with me. But this is not the devil telling me to hurt someone or retaliate for some slight, real or imagined. No, my devil tells me to do things that are bad FOR ME. Does this sound familiar to you, or am I the only one?

My devil tells me not to exercise. Or go ahead and have that ice cream (even though in 2 hours I’ll be doubled over in pain from it.) He tells me it’s OK not to do my finances or deliver on my promises (like writing this newsletter, for example). And sometimes he just says, “Come on! Let’s be bad.” (Hence the “rebel without a cause” moniker – think James Dean.)

I’ve spent the last few months, first becoming painfully aware of how much this devil gets in my way of having the life I want, the body I want, the income I want. This devil actively advises me counter to my own best and highest interest. And about a month ago, I decided, I’ve had enough. It’s time for this devil to get the hell off my shoulder!

But how?

One thing I know, when dealing with procrastination, there is always an underlying issue.  And the only way to stop procrastinating is to deal with that!  So, I started working with the devil and I thought you might be interested in the techniques I used and the discoveries I made – in case you’ve got one on your shoulder!

The first technique I used was to talk to a dear friend who also has a background in NLP and ask for some support. We came up with a question for exploration:

What is the underlying belief that drives the devil?  What master does he serve?

And then I re-instituted writing morning pages. If you’re not familiar with morning pages, it’s an exercise from The Artist’s Way. I faithfully wrote morning pages for most of the 10 years I was ill, but have dropped the habit over the last few years.

So, every morning, I wrote. I didn’t right about the question, necessarily, because morning pages are 3 pages of whatever. You write for three pages – and you just write – whatever comes out of the pen. But I did remind myself of the question before I started writing. Just threw it out there. And then I wrote. I did this every morning for several weeks.

I discovered a few things along the way. I was reminded of what a tremendous stress reliever the morning pages are. I was reminded of how they cleared the space for me to have a more productive day. I started having and remembering more of my dreams and writing about them in the morning pages. Very little of this directly addressed the question or issue at hand. But I was clear I was working through something – because those dreams were wild!

And then one morning, while in the shower, I saw it. There were really two beliefs driving the devil. One was “I don’t want to become my Mother.” This surprised me, because my mother and I are quite close now. But, growing up I definitely had issues with Mom. We fought like cats and dogs. Mom was the super Mom of the 1970’s. She worked full time, she cooked dinner every night, and she did our laundry. All my friends loved her because she truly cared.

But what I saw was a woman overworked, always busy and tired, doing things for everyone else but never playing and very rarely getting anything for herself. And I didn’t want to be that way! In my tweens and teens especially, I very avidly did NOT want to be my Mother. As an adult, I’ve gotten over it, of course. I have tremendous respect for her strength and resiliency. In fact, I moved in with my parents, largely to support Mom as she cares for my father through his illness. And yet, that motivation, “I don’t want to turn into my Mother!” was driving the devil on my shoulder to give me all kinds of bad advice.

The other belief is even older. My family is a very high achieving family. Both of my brothers are genius smart. And I could never quite do as well in school as they did, no matter how hard I studied. I’m no slouch academically, but I just wasn’t on their level. And no matter how well I did, there was always another level to get to, another area to work on to excel at more. And so when I worked hard, I was always expected to work even harder.

So the second belief I uncovered is, “No matter how hard I work, I’ll never get to play and have fun.”  So, why work hard at all – what’s the point? And that’s what the devil is telling me – it doesn’t matter how hard you work, it will never be enough – so why not play now. Except that “play” in his mind equals doing things that are bad for me – eating candy, playing video games, being a “bad girl.”

And in a way, he’s right. Because no matter how much I accomplish today, there is always another project, more work, more stuff to do, right? So there’s never really a time when I’ve done all my homework and now I can go out and play.

How do I kick this devil to the curb?

Here’s what I decided – I need to play regularly – not when I’m done with my work or when I’ve been a good girl – but as part of my every day and every week life. And not play the way He says, but find ways every day to do things that feel good. For no other reason than that they feel good. And I need to take breaks intentionally and on purpose – even when there’s more work to be done. I need to find things that both are “good for me” and are fun and feel good.  So, I’ve begun to look for ways to do that.

How do you take good care of yourself? How do you make time to play and feel good? I’d love your ideas!


Websites and the Artist Entrepreneur

Internet Marketing Part Deux

In last month’s Newsletter, I talked about the importance of not only having a presence on the Internet but having a presence that would be easily discoverable by your prospective customers, clients and fans. And that the trick to being found is through the use of good key words and SEO principles.

But first you have to have a website. It amazes me that there are still people who think they can get away with a MySpace, Facebook, or ReverbNation profile as your primary internet presence.  Using your Facebook page, or whatever, as your landing page on the internet is a mistake for several reasons including:

  • You have no control over your content – because you don’t OWN Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation.
  • These sites can shut down with no notice or just shut down your profile/page with no notice and you will lose everything.

But beyond that – it communicates to the industry that you’re just not that serious. You aren’t willing to invest a few hundred dollars (or less) to set up your own website.

I also don’t recommend the template options that are abundant out there. For example, if you’re a musician or band, you can build a template website on Bandzoogle, Nimbit or Hostbaby to name a few. And it can be useful as a quick and dirty shortcut. But I don’t think you save money in the long run and you run the same risk as using Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation for your website – you don’t own it.

I recommend using WordPress to build a site that you host on a web host like Hostgator. This way, you own it. And using WordPress will allow you to update it, edit it, and even change the look and feel of the site as often as you need to without spending thousands of dollars to do it.

OK, now that I’ve convinced you that to grit your teeth and create your own website – what should you have on it? I recommend 5-6 main pages – some will have more, but I don’t think you want to have fewer:

  • Blog
  • Bio/About
  • Store
  • Calendar of Events (If you never play out or show your work – you can skip the Calendar/Tour page)
  • Press Kit
  • Contact

You can use either your Blog or the Bio/About page as the landing or home page (I hate the flash entry pages). The store can also have music samples, your art images, etc. as long as it also has a way to purchase those items. You can call that tab “Store” or you can call that tab “Music” or “Art”, it’s up to you.

Some websites have “Video” as a separate section – but you can also just build it into your blog – which becomes a vlog. Actually I would recommend posting the video’s first to YouTube and then using the YouTube code to pull it into your website – but I digress…

I recommend that the Contact page be a form rather than your email – it’s still too easy for bots to steal your email and flood you with spam. I also recommend using your website domain in your email address ( or whatever). This promotes your domain with every email. If you don’t want to use your host’s server for email – and there’s a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t, you can create a Google Apps account for free with 7 Gigs of memory.

In addition, the Theme or Frame must be built with a sign-up for your mailing list and links to all your social media, so that they appear on every page and post.

If you are tech savvy – you can probably figure out WordPress in a few days.  Several of my private clients have done it in a weekend.  But if you’re like me, NOT tech savvy or with other things to do with your time, I recommend hiring a designer.  Then you can get them to give you a quick tutorial on WordPress (I learned the basics in an hour).  And you can add your copy and blog posts yourself.

“The confused mind doesn’t buy.”

Andrea J. Lee, Author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and Money Meaning and Beyond

Here’s the bottom line about your website.  Less is more.  The purpose of your website is to engage, entertain, and develop prospects into customers, clients and fan.  If it’s unreadable people won’t stay.  If it’s too cluttered, people won’t stay.  If they can’t easily and quickly find what they’re looking for, people won’t stay.  So:

  • Use larger font
  • Light type on a dark background is impossible to read – if you want a cool dark frame, that’s fine – but use a lighter color for the background of the text box and a dark font
  • Make the navigation easy and simple to follow
  • Don’t be mysterious about what you do – be ridiculously obvious – state it in the frame, so it appears on every page and post.

What are your biggest questions about your website and internet marketing?  What are your biggest pet peeves when you land on someone’s site?  Please share with us!



Internet Marketing and the Artist Entrepreneur

Whether you’re in music, film, dance, the visual arts or writing, the presence of the Internet has significantly changed your industry in the last 20 years. For many of the big corporations who in the past controlled your industry, these changes have been terrifying, threatening their very existence.

For the artist entrepreneur, the DIY artist, the internet is the great leveler. It has opened the doors of opportunity that were previously jealously guarded by the studios, record companies and publishers.

But the key question that should be on your mind is:

How do I use the internet to advance my career as an Artist?

How can you use the internet to:

  • Sell more of your work?
  • Connect with fans outside of your immediate geographic location?
  • Increase the size of your impact?
  • Make a decent living doing what you love?!?

The good news is that the internet is huge and it’s global. The bad news is that the internet is huge and it’s global… There are over 2 Billion internet users in the world.  And there are over 350 Million websites.  Google alone gets 2 Billion searches each day.

So, while it’s critical to have a presence on the internet – how is anyone ever going to find YOU unless they are specifically looking for you and already know your URL (web address)?

Think of it this way, imagine that you are a fisherman and you are fishing in the middle of the ocean in a spot that is teaming with fish.  You would think – well this is easy, right?  I’m surrounded by fish, I should be able to catch dinner, no problem.  So you throw a hook and line out there and wait and wait and wait.

Meanwhile the fish are swimming all around that hook and not a one is biting!  Why?

Because they’re not looking for a hook.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the prettiest, shiniest, most beautiful hook in the world.  If the fish aren’t looking for your hook, they won’t bite and you don’t eat!

So, the key is having bait.  Bait that the fish will see, will notice, will be intrigued by enough to bite!  So, it can’t be just any bait.  It has to be the right bait.  The only way to know what bait to use is to get to know your fish really, really well.  Not all fish.  Not any old fish.  But the particular kind of fish you want to catch.

What kind of bait are they looking for?

With internet marketing, the first key to being found is knowing what your fans/customers/clients are already searching for – what are their key words?  But it’s not that simple.  Because if you pick things that are too broad, too general, then you could have millions of other websites also using that same bait, I mean, key word.  And so when your prospective fan is searching, literally millions of websites could come up in response to that search.  And let’s face it, few people get past the first page of a search.

So, simply stated, the essence of effective internet marketing is to be specific enough with your key words, so that when your target market are looking for them, you show up on the top of the list.  In order to do that you must :

  • Know what your target market is searching for
  • Show up on the first page when they search for it.

So, how do you do that?

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – creating a website that the search engines LOVE.

I’ll be talking more about that in my next Newsletter Edition – stay tuned!

MUSIC INDUSTRY SECRETS – Trends in Radio Panel

I was invited to attend this panel sponsored by ReverbNation and hosted by The Knitting Factory last week.

The Panelists were:

  • Moderator: Valerie Gurka, Marketing Director – Knitting Factory Entertainment
  • Lynda McLaughlin Producer – Premiere Radio Networks, Founder/Partner – LYVA Music and Espresso Sounds Publishing.
  • Liz Berg Assistant General Manager – WFMU Radio
  • Seth Hillinger, Creative Technologist – iHeartRadio, Organizer – Music Tech Meetup
  • Michael Gunzelman, Radio Host – The Gunz Show, Idobi Radio

I found it very informative.  And overall, the panel answered one of my key questions about the Music Business in the 20-teens:

Is radio still relevant?

I was happy to discover that today’s radio, as a curator of music and as a place to discover new music, is still alive and well.  And thanks to the Internet as well as local, college and NPR stations, radio still has a place in the marketing and promotional plans for unsigned, independent DIY bands and musicians.

How and where people listen to radio depends largely on their demographics and geographic locations.  People Over age 50 and/or living in rurul or suburban areas are more likely to listen to terrestrial radio in their cars and home. Younger audiences and urban audiences are more likely to listen via the internet and their smart phone, ipad or ipod.  So, knowing who you’re targeting will help to guide your decisions when promoting your music to radio.

According to the panelists, today’s music fan is still introduced to new music via radio, but unlike 30 years ago, their next step isn’t to buy the album at a brick and mortar retailer.  Now, when someone discovers new music via either radio exposure or the use of that music in TV shows, commercials or films, their next step is to listen to that band or artist on YouTube and then seek to stream or purchase their music via Spotify, iTunes or the like.

Which means that getting your music up on YouTube as well as using an online distribution center such as CDBaby or SoundCloud is critical.

They also commented that using Internet Radio and other curator services such as Spotify and have been great in the past for reaching an international audience, and they are currently hampered by international licensing issues.

How do artists pitch to radio?

The biggest mistake you can make is sending your CD to a program director and then calling her a million times, leaving the “have you listened to my CD yet?” message. Program directors are inundated and they don’t owe you anything.  Be respectful of their time and their process.

First research and make sure that your music is a good fit for that stations programming.  Send your CD to the music director, but don’t call over and over!  You’re more likely to get a response from targeting specific DJs.  Search the radio website to target DJs who play music like yours.  Another sources is the CMJ NMR Report

Another important aspect is to network at live events.  A personal connection is always better than a cold submission.

This panel didn’t seem high on using Radio promoters.  And if you do decide to go this route, they highly recommend that you do your research before hiring a radio promoter.  Get the list of bands your prospective promotor is working with and talk to them.  Find out if they’re happy, find out what kinds of results they’re seeing from the promotion and if they’d work with this promoter again.

Another suggestion was to use and be a bit sneaky.  Become a DJ and curate music within your genre, and create a fanbase as a curator, then periodically slip in your music.

The idea of people curating music for their friends creating play lists and sharing seemed both intriguing and a bit threatening to this panel, basically they felt that DJs are the better choice for learning about new music (an understandable bias).  They mentioned that Spotify had merged with Facebook, making it really easy to share play lists with your friends and requiring a Facebook profile to join.

Other Resources Mentioned:

Artist affiliation on iheartradioUnsigned, undiscovered artists can submit to “Discover & Uncover”

WFMU Free Music Archive for creative commons – The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads.  The Free Music Archive is directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America.  Radio has always offered the public free access to new music. The Free Music Archive is a continuation of that purpose, designed for the age of the internet.  You can tell people it’s safe to use for podcasting and then promote your music to music blogs.

Tumblr is also getting huge for music blogging.

How does radio fit into your music promotion?

Get the Learning – the 5th Key to Maintaining Focus in the Face of Chaos

As I teach in How to Use Feedback and Criticism Constructively, every experience is fodder for growth and development, if you are willing to get the learning. Assessing and adjusting as you go will make you more successful, because the ability to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions is a key success principle. So, the concept of “Get the Learning” is both useful in your immediate ability to function as well as ensuring your long-term success. The first step of this Key is to be asking yourself, as the Former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, was famous for asking, “How am I doing?” Here are a few questions you can use to evaluate how you’re doing:

  • What accomplishments and successes did I have today? (no accomplishment is too small)
  • What did I think I’d be able to accomplish, but didn’t, and what a) got in the way and/or b) did I choose to do instead?
  • What worked and didn’t work, today?
  • What were the choices I made and how do I feel about those choices?  What could I have done differently?
  • What resources did I use and what resources could I have used that might have enabled me to achieve more?
  • What obstacles did I overcome and how did I overcome them?
  • What am I proud of myself for and what I am I grateful for?

These questions can be asked on a daily basis and they can also be asked at the end of the period or project as you look back at what happened. Once you’ve answered these questions – and I think it’s useful to write your answers down – you must follow it up with these two critical questions:

  • What are the over-arcing lessons and principles I can take away from today? (These should be the larger concepts that can be applied to multiple areas of your life)
  • As a result of these learnings what adjustments or changes am I going to implement tomorrow?

If you approach each day and each challenge with the mind of a student, solidify the learnings and then apply those changes in the future, you will be able to rise to any challenge, adapt to any change and succeed in business and in life. What lessons did you learn today?

Manage Your Emotions – the 4th Key to Maintaining Focus in the Face of Chaos

Just to refresh your memory, in the 1st Key, we looked at the big list, and in the 2nd Key, took everything off the plate that we could.  In the 3rd Key we talked about getting help and delegating.  But one of the biggest problems in maintaining focus during times of chaos and stress are the emotions that overwhelm us.  Emotions like anxiousness, worry, and fear can muddle your thinking, sap your energy and at their worst, stop you dead in your tracks.  So, what do you do?

Well the best thing to do is to practice your skills for managing your emotions when you are NOT under stress.  Of course, that doesn’t help you much now, does it.  Here are a few things that might:

Name the Emotions

Sometimes just saying – I feel anxious right now – can actually reduce how anxious you feel.  Notice I didn’t say I “am” anxious.  The difference may seem subtle but it’s profound.  The first is identifying a feeling.  The second is defining yourself by the feeling.  You are not your feelings, right?  You have feelings, they don’t have you…

Here’s my theory.  Your emotions’ job is to get your attention and bring your attention to a particular belief or issue.  If you ignore, suppress, push away your emotions – well, they just have to shout louder to get your attention.  If you dive into them, use them to define who you are or in some other way wallow in them, they still aren’t really doing their job. And so they don’t dissipate then either.

See, it’s not about the emotions.  It’s about the underlying belief or issue that your emotions are calling your attention to.

Try this phrase:

“I’m feeling XXXX right now.  Huh, isn’t that interesting (said in a tone of wonder and curiosity).  I wonder what I’m thinking/believing right now that is having me feel XXX?

The first part of this statement is simply naming the emotion.

Identify the Belief

The second part of that statement is about allowing yourself to become aware of the thought/belief that is stimulating that emotion.

Now, if you’ve taken my Transform Your Belief – the Key to Success class, you already know that I subscribe to the belief that no beliefs are right, real or true.  (I know it disturbs the time/space continuum).  So, identifying the belief isn’t about deciding if it’s right, real or true – because I already know it’s not.  And it’s not about proving that it’s not true or even really engaging with the belief in any way that leads to taking any of this too seriously.

For example:

I’m sitting down to do some work and all of these other things float into my head and I start feeling really anxious.

“I’m feeling anxious right now.  Huh, isn’t that interesting?  I wonder what I’m thinking/believing?  Oh, that’s interesting.  I’m believing that I’ll never get it all done and as a result I can’t succeed.”

There.  I’ve said it – that’s the belief.  Now remember, I’m not taking it too seriously.  I’m not surrendering to that as “truth” and then wailing about the injustice of it all.  I’m just observing – that’s the belief.  Huh.

What you may notice at this point is that you already feel a bit better.  Just naming the emotion and naming the belief connected to it can relieve some of the emotion that is overwhelming you and give you the ability to set it aside and focus.

Going one step further, if you can name the emotion and the belief with both respect while maintaining the knowledge that no belief is right, real or true, that can give you the perspective and clarity to release both the emotion and your attachment to the belief.  And with practice that can become second nature.

What are you noticing about your emotions and beliefs?