riskApply Yourself

It sounds cliché and like a given, but most people give up before they know whether or not they could be successful.

You can look for guidance instruction and mentoring, but everything we accomplish happens through practical application. You can learn all the theory in the world, but if you don’t go out into the world and practice it, nothing will happen. Taking risks, trial and error, being adventurous…all of those things will make you money. You have to be willing to fall flat on your face sometimes in order to be successful. Most things we try don’t work perfectly the first time. It’s a matter of digging in, taking a chance and seeing if your idea has merit. It may mean adjusting your approach, or doing something several times before you see success.

Do you love it?

If you’ve chosen a path and you aren’t enjoying the journey, it might be time to re-evaluate you career. The process is all we have;especially as artists. Those moments of glory are few and far between. The journey is everything. When you really feel passionate about your career, you will gladly spend sleepless nights, experiment and fail over and over and constantly look for ways to get to that next level. If you are spending more time trying to avoid doing the work or making excuses, this might not be your path. Looking to blame others for why you aren’t successful? Look in the mirror. You are in control of the path you go down. That doesn’t mean it won’t be rocky or have some unfortunate pitfalls, but the only thing that can overcome adversity is persistence. How long have you really given your best most creative self to your career? How hard do you really work every day? Be honest. This is YOUR life’s work. If you aren’t turned on by the small successes and the challenges that face you every day, don’t quit your non music day job.

Build and Break It.

Feeling entitled to have doors opened for you before you have spent years in the trenches slugging it out in the music Industry?No one is obligated to help you. Help yourself. The amount of time you should spend before you get out there and experiment with what you learn is zero. When you have been given a gift of knowledge, get out there and test it out. Not once or twice, but dozens of times until you find the formula that works for you. Every individual will have to adjust and learn to apply new ideas in a manner that makes sense for their career. What is the worst thing that can happen when you try out an idea? Failure? So what? You may just learn volumes from that failure and next time the success could be significant. Don’t be shy, build your business. Test out your “theories” and when you fail, fail big! Go for broke and take chances. In advertising, its approximately eleven times that someone needs to see an ad before they react. Eleven times. How many times have you tried out that idea you said would never work?

Efficient but not effective?

Are you an efficient person? Do you always do things the right way, being organized and perfect? Then how come you aren’t accomplishing anything?Just because you are doing things the right way that doesn’t mean you are doing the right things. If you are practicing avoidance by making lists without taking action, you are getting nowhere in an orderly fashion. Really look at the actual amount of practical application being done every day. How much are you really accomplishing, besides having neat and organized lists? You be better off scribbling your action plan on a cocktail napkin and then hitting the road to get to the nitty-gritty. Again, be honest with yourself.

Look for the naysayers

It seems logical to surround yourself with like-minded people, but is that really effective?If everyone you know always agrees with you, how will you ever break out of your comfort zone. Out in the real world, many will disagree, dislike and just plain hate what you do. Take it as a challenge and a learning experience to kick you out of your comfort zone. Take a risk and connect with individuals who make you think outside the box and offer imaginative concepts. Challenging doesn’t mean negative. “Yes men” can’t help you, and in many instances they can get you into a heap of trouble. Surround yourself with people who are operating on a higher level than you are and absorb as much knowledge as possible. Maybe it’s not the way you would do it, but it might just be incredibly effective!If everyone you work with is constantly telling you just what you want to hear, expand your circle of colleagues. Get a fresh perspective, be bold, and don’t shy away from constructive criticism. It may be the push you need to get yourself out of that rut and onto a higher level.

Be The Worst

Don’t be afraid to hang out with people who are more successful than yourself. If you want to be a pro tennis player for example, you need to play with people who beat you every time. As soon as you win a match, find a new partner. If you obsess about having to be the best in the room, you are probably mediocre. Mediocrity is sure to lead to obscurity. Find killer musicians who blow you away and spend as much time with them as possible. Be a sponge sopping up knowledge and emulating their successes. The more you play with people who are out of your league, the faster you will improve. The same is true in business. Seek out the super successful and find out how they did it. If you are happy being a big fish in a small pond, stay with your “Yes Men.” If Not, look for the naysayers and broaden your horizons. They don’t think you can do it? Make it your mission to prove them wrong.

Find a Mentor

Most of us can look back at our lives and identify someone who inspired and motivated us. Having that special someone who is knowledgeable in their field and believes in you is invaluable. Will they have all the answers? Of course not!But having a pro guide you throughout your career and tell you the truth is worth its weight in gold. Someone who doesn’t sugar coat the picture for you can catapult you ahead of the pack. Once they’ve been working with you for a good amount of time, they can push you to take those all important risks and help analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Be open and patient and try to embrace novel ideas. There is a reason they got to the top of their game, so take it all in and be grateful if you find that special working relationship. Usually there is one idea or thought that you glean from their guidance that sticks with you forever. Treasure that person and enjoy your time with them. It’s a beautiful and rare find.

Listen

Are you spending most of your time talking and very little actually listening? Some of the smartest people on the planet are great listeners. If you are aware, engaged and paying attention to everything going on around you, there is much you can learn. If you are in love with the sound of your own voice, there probably isn’t much growth taking place in your business or your life as a whole. Take a step back, really listen instead of thinking about what you will say next. People really respond to good listeners and you may make a fan for life just by being quiet and giving someone else the floor.

Be Solution Oriented

You can bitch, moan and cry all day about what isn’t working. How’s that working for ya?Venting is healthy and really important, but there is a point of diminishing returns. Instead, try taking all that energy you are wasting on complaining and look for a solution. If you take a “get it done” attitude, things will fall into place much quicker for you. Constant complaining is a bad habit and can be difficult to break. Try to stop yourself the next time you catch yourself going off the rails about something, and instead, think about ways to fix the problem. There is always a solution if you are creative enough. Pick your battles. Was it really worth all that time and energy and did all the complaining fix the problem?

Be Cool

If you behave like an arrogant ass, no one will want to help you. Whether you are paying people or not, be cool so people will want to go to the ends of the earth for you. What good will it do you to be the person everyone avoids because you are such a drag to deal with?Being difficult and a know it all will get you nowhere fast. If you are fun, energetic, enthusiastic and just really a blast to be around, people will flock to help you. You choose. Your reputation is everything and having a reputation as a nightmare will slam doors shut really quickly. Be kind, grateful and appreciate, and watch what happens. That doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. No one wants to be taken advantage of, and that includes the people you are asking to help you. You are entitled to nothing, so keep yourself in check.

Know yourself

You can go to school for decades but until you know what drives you and what you are passionate about, you probably won’t be successful at anything. What do you love, hate, enjoy and want to spend time doing?Take a break and analyze what you spend most of your time on. Is it what you love? What turns you on?Is it what you are doing twelve hours a day?Sleepwalking through your life, can lead to a lifetime of regret. At some point, you really have to get to know yourself and not waste a minute doing something you hate. Be practical yes, but identify your strengths, weaknesses and look at your successes and failures and figure out why they happened. Set your path toward the thing you want the most, and then line up the steps you need to get there.

You are never done

With any career, the learning never ends. Things are always changing and tomorrow brings new challenges and obstacles. No matter how successful you become, there will never be a point where you can say, “OK I’m successful, now I’ll lie down and take a nap!”Forget about it. There is always more work to do. If you look over your shoulder, millions of people are just waiting to take your place. Always be a student of the music. Never stop practicing, learning, experimenting, breaking things to rebuild them and stepping outside the box. Keep inventing new ways to market promote and present yourself and your music. Stay hungry and passionate and you will continue to have great success. Be realistic. Nothing happens overnight. Be willing to try and fail and then try again. Stay on your feet no matter the obstacles. If you don’t, the millions behind you will for sure. Be as creative with your business as you are with your music. No one can hold your hand and make it happen for you. Even if a door is opened, what will you do once you walk through it?Have a plan?Tried it before so you know it has merit? Keep striving, learning and experimenting and never be afraid to fail.

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan

10 Responses to Creative Business

  1. Cal says:

    Knowing what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it is all about asking the right questions. I feel that you’ve touched upon some of the most important questions that must be taken into great consideration. You have a real knack for staying positive in your advice, but still driving home the truths of the matters. This was a very good read that I’ll be referencing again for council and encouragement.

    • Ghezzi says:

      Thanks Cal. I have to be direct in order to get the truth out. Sugar coating it doesn’t help anybody. This really is a great time for DIY artists. The rules of the game have changed quite a bit though and that’s what is important to know.

  2. Nikki says:

    This article is something else…I am at this place right now with my personal and professional life and I honestly think I will always face these trials and tribs till my end. I already get the “no’s” and i am still learning to beat the odds. I know this industry isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible. What makes the most sense is trying and learning patience and understanding time. Its taken me a very long time to acknowledge that and I’m still learning how to do it. I love this post because it reminds me of why I am doing this. It takes me back to when I started even thinking of the music industry back in 1990 (in Junior High). With Ghezzi and Fame Wizard behind me and all that you guys do keeps me above water and even if I am treading, you guys give me a step to stand on 🙂

    • Ghezzi says:

      Hey Nikki,
      The “nos” do seem to be abundant don’t they?That’s OK though, trail and error, you will get there. Persistence and talent will out. Keep going!:-)

  3. Greg Holland says:

    Great points Ghezzi; what a wonderful (not sugar coated) list of never ending responsibilities, reminders, and reasons to stay the course. I wrote in my journal once “The limits of my success are the limits of my creativity,” meaning that if I wasn’t finding success, it was probably a result of not being creative enough. I’m printing this article off and hanging it near my work and practice area. Rereading it regularly will help keep that quote/feeling in check, providing tangible things to strive toward, and reflect upon, especially on days when doubt sneaks its way into the studio 😉 Thank you.

    • Ghezzi says:

      Thanks Greg, glad this post resonated with you. Artists have a tough time with the business side of the Industry. We forget to be creative and frequently get stuck in a rut doing the same things that may have worked several years ago, but don’t anymore. The Industry is so fluid, now is the time to push the boundaries and see what is possible! Have some fun with it;-)

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thanks Ghezzi! Very powerful post. One I needed to hear right about now. We are all here to experience life and live our vision and the challenge becomes staying on a path and not swaying when things start getting uncomfortable and new. So much New & Good things going on for me and I see that that is when the real test comes in… Thanks again! I am willing, able and fully ready to fall flat on my face..over and over again. lol.

    • Ghezzi says:

      Good for you Jen. In this business you will hear “no” much more often than “yes.” You just can’t let it throw you. If something doesn’t work, look for the solution. I guarantee there is one. It may not be pretty but persistence is the key. Nothing is perfect…especially not art.

  5. With everything in this life we must constantly learn,or pay the penalty for ignorance. Dedication.practice,learning,interacting with like minds and interests, are some of the elements needed for success in any business,profession,vocation,or life for that matter. Love what you do, and do it to the best of your abilities at this time,learn,and your knowledge increase bringing with it dedication, and a greater LOVE for the process of success. You can only be a failure if you want to choose that answer. I say go for it, the clock is ticking.

  6. Shecky says:

    Love the article! I agree 100%. You have to love the down times as much, if not more than the good times. This is the reality of chasing that dream and its not all roses and lollipops. Good job G

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