Together Everyone Accelerates Movement: Preparation

“I don’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game.” –Tom Landry

I’ve noticed a lot that people focus so much on motivating those around them that they forget the all important step of actually preparing their team.

This stands correct for any situation.

In the music industry, there is so much that has to be done, that without a team, you will fall behind very quickly.  However, many artists and business people alike make a very fatal flaw, they forget to actually prepare their team for the tasks at hand.

The most important factor in gathering a team is making sure you have dedicated individuals.  People with a passion to learn and excel.  People who all share a common dream.

Notice in there I didn’t say expertise.  While expertise is an important factor in more advance stages of a career, in the beginning phases, I feel that you really just need a team of dedicated people who are willing to strive to achieve the same dream.

This is where the preparation comes in.

You must prepare your team members by giving them each roles based off of their strengths, and you must prepare them for the roles that you delegate to them.  If you have tips and tricks to get a certain task done, make sure you share that with your team.

Give your team the tools to succeed by preparing them to handle daily tasks.

If you let your team know how to network, when it comes time for that all important music conference, you’re not going to be the one with the team who is sitting in the corner looking scared.  Your team will have the confidence to get out there and network while making the connections to accel your future.

Even in the more advanced stages of a career, preparing your team so that they may be able to answer questions with detailed answers can really aid you in getting things done quickly.

This is HIGHLY important with promotional teams, I’ve seen teams built that had HIGHLY driven individuals, who really did not know how to properly promote.  Its much more beneficial (and cheaper 😉 ) to train these people than it is to waste time hoping to find people who are driven and very knowledgeable.

Prepare your team, so that when it’s crunch time, they will be able to pull through for you.  Be a leader.

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Booking is in the Details

“I’d like to perform at your venue, how do I go about doing that?”

“Send us a press-kit”

End.

I’ve heard this exchange MANY MANY MANY times.  The truth is, a lot of beginning artists don’t know how to go about trying to get booked for shows.  I like to liken getting booked for a show (in the early stages) to job hunting and job interviews.

When you are trying to get booked for a show a lot of times you are trying to find the venue that has the right fit, just like a job that is the right fit.  If you are a BRAND NEW artist your first venue should be in your area.  A little basics real quick, capture your market (city) first. Once you find the venue that you feel is a good fit for you, there are a few options to explore.

One, you could try to book a show on your own night, this is good for people who have a decently established fan base.  But, here I want to talk to the young artists.

The other way is to try to book as an opener for a larger act.  This is where it is also like a job interview, going in to speak to the booker, you should already know the date and who you are trying to open for (i.e. know the company).  Also, a lot of times promoters are the ones who determine who is at the concert, so find out whether the venue is booking the acts or if an outside promoter is.

The reason I say booking is in the details is because the more you know, the less you’re asking the booker to research.  If you know the name of a group performing, the date they’re playing, and you think your style compliments them, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the new guys who call up and say “I’d love to play a show, what do I need to do to do this?”

By knowing exactly what you’re after you are taking out a lot of guess work.  Most bookers are still going to need music, so also try to find out when the person booking the acts will be in so that you can deliver a sample of your music to them.  This will raise your chances of booking a show a lot more than the person who decides to just leave it at the venue for booking to pick up when they get a chance.

Remember, it starts with one.  Once you get that first show booked and you can build a following of people to show up, you’ll keep building your leverage for other shows.  Just make sure when you’re doing shows, you capitalize on the opportunity!

-Eric Phillipson

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Procrastination & Writers Block

I’m not even going to lie.  Today…my brain is not functioning.  I guess you could call it writers block.

Earlier today I sat at the computer trying to figure out what I was going to post, and I honestly could not think of one thing to write.  I also have an archive of articles I’ve written for use on here, but none of those really appealed for use today.  They’re all great articles, but I like to have a reason for using them.

Anyway, as I was sitting here organizing some things, I remembered how many times musicians or writers get in a rutt when it comes to writing or creating in general.  I would say I am pretty good about getting out of writers block, or avoiding procrastination.  But, I wasn’t always. I used to procrastinate like (insert similie here).

Today, I wanted to share tips on how to avoid writers block and procrastination.  Because, honestly, the two go hand-in-hand.

A lot of times during writers block we can’t put our thoughts together the way we need to.  What I will generally do is take an hour break and go work on something else.  As musicians there is always something you can be doing to focus on your career.  If you are having trouble writing a song, take an hour break and focus on some of the business aspects of your career.  Then come back to your song,  a lot of times putting in the work for business will get your mind moving and your creative juices flowing.  The key here is to make sure you are staying active.

Speaking of staying active, besides business, working out is another way to get your brain in motion.  Its amazing how the ideas just start flowing in after a good workout.  Its a wake-up to your entire body, plus a great way to motivate yourself into a yes-I-can attitude.

Now here is something that I might get flammed for when it comes to procrastination.  A lot of people say you should start with the most difficult task first (eat the frog), this is great if you are not a true procrastinator.  Here is what works for me:

When I wake up, I find the quickest task that requires some work.  Notice I’m not saying easiest.  I’m saying if I need to get a hold of someone for business as part of my tasks, I will make sure that I start by trying to get a hold of that person.  Or say I need to do some quick research, I will do that.  If you do the hardest/toughest task first, as a procrastinator you may get discouraged or bored for you ADD folks out there.  By starting with a task that is quick, you build yourself up for the long haul.  Eating the frog should be second in my opinion, you need appetizers before any large meal 😉

Then again, I’m also a very energetic person who has a hard-time focusing on one thing for too long.  So how do I combat that?  Chunks.  I’m not talking 50 minute time chunks (though this is a GREAT method for getting things done), I’m talking task chunks.  Say you’re working on a business plan.  Break that down. Something like “Once I complete my summary page, I will take a 10 minute break”.  Be reasonable though with breaking things down.  If you start doing things like “Once I write a paragraph, I will take a 10 minute break”, you’ll fall right back into a procrastination hole.  Generally, in order to be more effective, I will create a breakdown of my tasks the night before, that way I am not wasting time in the morning working on them.

Now, have you ever woken up and just written the five things that come to  mind?  If you’re a songwriter, I suggest you try it.  If I had a bad day before (as far as ideas), waking up the next day and jotting ten things down that come to mind usually puts me on the “write” foot 😉 to getting things done.  Ok, Ok, bad pun, sorry.

Hope you have a great and productive day!

-Eric

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