Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cleaning House

Are  you basking in the glow of  your holiday buzz?  You know the buzz  from the endless stream of baked goodies that has filled your tummy?
In this glow cast your thoughts forward to the New Year and ponder what 2011 will bring your way.

 Are you ready to move into a growth phase in your artistic business?
Did you have a hard economic year in 2010? And not care to repeat that this year?   
Then this is the perfect time to take advantage of some year-end down time  & get your "business house in order".
This will give you a head start on your competition, and make it easier for you to start, or expand your business plan for 2011.

Memberships / Conferences / Subscriptions-   Get your computer, checkbook and a notepad.  Make a list of all the sites  & services you pay a submission fee or monthly membership fee to:
 Your NACA, Folk Alliance, Grammy memberships, monthly newsletter service, Sonic Bids, Taxi, or any other organizations you might have paid a membership, re-occurring, or submission fee to.  If you don't already track your monthly expenses and income check out   Google documents they have some really great free templates to get you started keeping track of your monthly expenses and income and have this information easily accessible. Then next year when you do this you have everything in one document at your fingertips.

I had a client this year go through this exercise this summer and nearly died when they found they had spent  over $7,500 in re-occurring charges going out to Sonic Bids“ artist song submission & performance opportunities” 

1)    Return on your investment?  Ask yourself what did you get out of those expenditures?  Did you get any gigs from your $2,500 worth of Sonic bid submissions? Probably not. 
How about the $1,500 for festival/conference submissions?  Perhaps you got 1 festival booking, but that was the festival that you  forgot the bag that had  all your merchandise you had planned to sell, which would have paid for the trip. Or a expensive booking conference that resulted in NO new bookings?
     Or how about  those $99 submissions to get your song on 500 internet radio stations?- next time find your favorite charity to donate $99 to you will then at least get the tax write off for your charitable contribution.  

You will quickly see where your business might be hemorrhaging, AND as important where you are getting the most “bang for your buck”.
 If you have a membership to a local organization that provides you access and information which will help you grow your business; then, you will  want to keep them as a valuable tool for your business.
Or, if  you are just dumping endless submission or monthly fees into a black hole and getting nothing in return, time to cut your loses and move on.

2)    Grow-Learn-Look at ALL the tools you are using. Are you maximizing their effectiveness?  If not take advantage of  Google and watch a 5 minute quick tips video- read blogs, talk to colleagues, volunteer to help out at a upcoming industry related events, these are  excellent ways to  educate yourself & give back.
What professional networks do you belong to?
Are you meeting new people every month? and actually following up w/ the meetings?
Are you developing collaborative relationships?
Or are these area's that you need to work more on? 

3) Share: What are you doing to give back? Are you aligned with individuals, organizations and professional networks that support your core values? If not, time to start seeking them out, and volunteer at a upcoming event, no better way to learn and grow that to be involved right?

If you feel you can be doing more, you probably can be.   For tips check out,, Many folks do not realize our Performing Rights Organization or P.R.O.'s  have many  valuable resources available  for you to check  out!

Remember, face to face interaction has NEVER stopped being important.  Take a break from your online “friending” and schedule time to schedule regular meetings for lunch or a drink after work, or go to that workshop or panel discussion on a topic you need to learn more about.  Meet individuals  to see where you might have some common interests, and a opportunity to create something successful TOGETHER.

I would love to read your comments on any of your surprises from your  “house cleaning” exercise.  If you want to get started on organizing your year then Lets talk!


Providing business solutions for creative minds


Google Documents-
Photo credit:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life is what happens

When we are approaching the New Year we are reminded of resolutions, which ideally have evolved into thoughtful focused and specific goal setting to map out targets for success in 2011.

I started going through my notebook and list of goals, thinking to myself that I hadn’t really accomplished that much this past year.
And as I looked through the list of things I committed to do, and realized-
 I had a really big emotional setbacks in the fall,   saying goodbye to both our beloved dog and cat within 2 weeks of one another. I was lucky enough to share 10 of their 12 years with these two. For those of you who don’t care for animals this doesn’t seem like a big deal, and to readers who adore their little furry friends, understand how special our 4 legged “kids” can be.  My point here is that “Life happens, when you’re making other plans” 

Transitions of all kinds create distractions that can knock you off course.  Storms blow in, a relationship end, a new boss you don't agree with,  your health, or the health of a loved on unexpectadly changes.  You navigate through them as best you can.   Then, you check in to see where you’re at on your “list of goals” and make corrections, or if you’re lost at this point, be smart enough to ask for help. Think of it as asking for directions on a road trip. 
Hopefully I haven’t just lost all the male readers!   

As I navigated through my “storm” this year, I had forgotten about the tremendous progress I had made prior to that time, and some wonderful new opportunities and clients I have acquired since that time.

 For that I am very grateful!  If you have been so busy that you haven't been able to, I  hope that as each of you are checking in to see where your at, during the year end you are able to smile and appreciate how far you’ve come, I would love to hear your stories.
Or if you don't have a list,  or you  need to stop and ask for directions, I am happy to help. Just click here

Happy Holidays!



“Life is what happens when you are making other plans” John Lennon
Photo credit:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Juggling your Social Media

Are you juggling your Social Media?

Most artists  I speak to regardless of their mediums -music, paint, sculpture, photography 
have realized that  having a social media presence is a necessary part of their promotional program if they expect to make a consistent living.   

 Then, they proceed to bad mouth the social media site(s) for not respecting their privacy and not bringing them thousands of product buying customers.  Honestly, is that that the social media platforms fault? Or yours for not knowing how to properly use the free promotional tool?

Your social media program is only effective with good content that your people care about reading.  Remember the consumers drive social media not the sellers, so you need to give YOUR people what they want or they ignore you and go away.

Trying strategies that mainstream acts  like Radiohead or Coldplay are using are not the tools YOU as a new or emerging artist need to  employ since these bands  already have a massive fan base.  What you need to focus on is creating your own fan base of loyal, product buying customers.
If your a newbie to the social media world where do you connect?   Do you have to connect with all the platforms?  what do I say? when do I say it? and how the heck does this site work?

Most of these sites encourage you to "friend" or grow your list of followers, are you targeting your customers?   If you haven't already read 1,000 True Fans this can help you start thinking about who "your people" are.


Each of these sites all have different business models toward privacy and disclosure.
Facebook is frequently making modifications to their privacy guidelines and they suggest you only friend your friends and family.  While on the right side of your page they strongly encourage you connect to someone who ISN'T your family or friend.  Facebook is interested in promoting huge growth in users of ALL kinds.

While Twitter  in their privacy guidelines indicates "most of the information you provide us is information you are asking to make public".    So a good rule of thumb is if you don't want certain information made public then DO NOT put it on the www!

For many of you Twitter remains a confusing platform, limited to 140 characters how do you maximize it's effectiveness?

I always encourage my clients to connect with your fans, or people who will be interested in buying your products or services.   What is the best way to get started?

1) You need to follow others start by "following" fans that are already buying from you. Go to your email fan list-  these are people who are asking  to keep in contact with you. Take the time to write then a personal note thanking them for the connection. Just a couple of lines that thank them and include a link to your website.
Google their email address and see if they have Twitter / Facebook accounts and then you can see  which sites you should connect with them on.

2) Provide value for your followers  (if they just came to a show, or perhaps missed a show) put together a short video or picture slide show with one of your songs playing in the background. I don't know any artist that feels they have enough product buying fans so your show or installation highlights show them what there missing.

Play a fun holiday song to share w/ your fans- load that video on Youtube and create a link to it then tweet about it.  "Look at the great time we had w/ our fans  at Sat's show", or "Happy Holidays from _insert artist name here__
Include your website or where they can connect w/ you in the message!!
   Use  to shorten your links, AND Bitly has analytics built in so you can track how many folks click on the links and you can begin to develop ideas about what people really like to see, think about how YOU can engage them, and get them to respond and share the links.

3) Speak consistently, when there is something worth discussing- For your networks to be useful you need to not only provide information but RESPOND to others you are following, what bands and artists do you like, what projects are you working on together.  Things move so quickly on in the Social Media world that you need to regularly participate, while communicating with your fans.

At the end of the day with more and more users on these platforms being able to have  your "voice" heard by your customers is extremely important. We are quickly reaching  a saturation point.  Have you noticed it is getting really difficult to  stay on top of upcoming shows on Facebook.  When artists spam events multiple time your little event may be buried and not even seen.
So these tips are just starting points to help you with your online promotional strategy,
if this is the extent of the planning you are doing, your voice will be lost in the sea of other voices.  Ask yourself are the people you are connected to on line the individuals who are waiting to buy more of your product?  If not then  we should talk. and thanks to the internet, we can do that no matter where in the world you may be.

 Now is the perfect time to start planning your social media strategy for 2011, Let me help you connect with your TRUE  fans, that  hearing your voice, and buy your products.

   If your ready to get started, let me help you.

Just click on the words Business Strategist  to schedule your Business Strategist consultation or gift package from anywhere in the world.  Gift packages purchased before Dec 24th will save $41!!

I am excited to help you make 2011 the year you see benefit from your social media strategy.

I also love to hear your comments, and invite you to share my blog with artists that you would love to succeed! 


Photo Credits:

1,000 true fans:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Help another artist

I have been talking alot about gift giving,  

One of the gifts that each of us have, that is taken for granted is our lives, and our health. 
 You certainly cannot put a price tag on something so precious and so fleeting. 

  Most days, I feel like we get so caught up in rushing here and there, that we forget the importance of what is right in front of us until it is threatened, or suddenly, like a rug ripped away from us.  
During my lifetime,  I have lost a brother a sister and my mother, and just a few months ago our beloved 12 yr old dog and cat.   Not a day goes by that I don't think about  each of them;  I couldn't begin to put a price tag on what their presence had meant  to me.  

So what does this have to do with helping your artistic business??

I don't know if any readers realize that being a musician you are self employed, and your earnings; unless you are a well established act, are often really just pennies from shows, cd sales.
 Most artist have so little money that like many American’s,  they can't afford things like health insurance.
If  you are a touring artist and in a accident, or crack a tooth on that fast food burger you got after the show, your in a strange town or country and left to pay cash out of pocket.
What if  you are suddenly diagnosed with a  catastrophic illness, and physically cannot work ? 
Suddenly you are worried about financial ruin instead of the important business of healing.

It broke my heart to get a email last week from a client who had been  on tour with a favorite band of mine Girlyman.

I am going to leave you with the direct note from their website to fill you in on the details,  If you love music, 
I implore everyone that reads this blog to please donate any amount you can. 
THEN, please forward this blog to your friends.  If you have a faith, ask your guiding spirit to shine a little light on a sweet dear person in need.

If you are a artist looking for medical coverage contact your Performing Rights Organization or P.R.O. (ASCAP, BMI or SESAC) any of their websites  each offer "discounted" health care for musicians.

   I wish you all blessings of good health, and balance,

As some of you already know, last week Doris was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Fortunately, due to great advances over the past decade, CML is now a very treatable form of leukemia, with high survival rates (95+%). Doris is currently at Emory University Hospital and will be working with both eastern and western healing modalities. She's holding up well, coping with the symptoms of the first phase of treatment, but is still understandably in shock. We all are, but we are lucky to have a tight-knit community that is pulling together to help. The doctors have said that in time she'll probably be able to return to an active Girlyman-esque lifestyle, but we can't risk bringing her out on the road so soon, and have cancelled our December midwest tour. Right now Doris needs close medical attention and lots of rest.

The four of us have every intention of continuing on as Girlyman, playing tours, writing songs, and making CDs. That said, we don't know what this change will mean in the long term. Without the December tour, Doris will have two full months to rest and to allow her treatment to start working. For now, we're still planning to tour the west coast in late January as scheduled.

Many of you have asked about how to support Doris and the band during this critical time. We can't tell you how much we appreciate your love and concern. Your healing thoughts, prayers and visualizations have lifted us - they've been the best possible medicine for us all. If you'd like to send a personal note to Doris, you can write to and we'll make sure it gets to her. We'll also be posting updates about Doris on our Facebook page and at

For those who would like to support us financially, please click here.

Again, our deepest thanks. We're so grateful for the opportunity to bring music into this world, and to share it with such a special, intimate family of fans.

With gratitude,
Doris, Nate, Ty, JJ




Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Gift Cards

Are you are looking for fun unique holiday gifts that are FREE?
Something for that special friend or family member,  who  is willing to try technology (but needs a little help).

Next to chocolate, there is nothing quite as good!

I like to make a  custom gift cards.  Using free templates like the one I have included, you can use card stock and print  on  your computer.
On  the gift cards include  links to  a couple of cool apps that can help them stay connected with you!  


Sometimes, the simple act of just "being there" no matter where you are is the sweetest gift.
 Today, with our little gadgets, we can have crystal clear voice and video connections that remove the space between us, and with no fees memberships or contracts you are instantly connected to the people most important to you.  Don't worry about using up minutes, roll over minutes, they don't matter anymore when your using these free apps.

Of course, these free app's are a great gift for YOU to help your artistic business.
Being accessible to your fans and customers!

Here are two must have Apps:

Skype:   (video phone)
Free video calling / instant messaging / conference calling
Set up skype to skype international calls and call for free ANYTIME!

Viber-VoIP iPhone App. –

When you use Viber, your phone calls to any other Viber user are free, and the sound quality is much better than a regular call. You can call any Viber user, anywhere in the world, for free. All Viber features are 100% FREE and do not require any additional "in application" purchase.
(Android and Blackberry versions coming soon!)

Embedded video:

Try it out the  gift card idea. Do you have a favorite free app? What would you add to your gift card?  Post your thoughts in the comment section!


Link to gift card template: