One of my favorite things to do is talk with aspiring singers about their goals and share any tidbits of knowledge that may have helped me along the way.
The phrase “wow, you’re so lucky” has come up in conversation a few times before and although I know it’s meant as a compliment, it’s a very dis-empowering statement for the compliment giver.
I’m not special or lucky or more favored by the universe than anyone. My response is always something along the lines of “I find that the harder I work, the luckier I get”.
I don’t personally believe in luck in the way that it’s complimented to me. I spend 45+ hours a week creating that “luck”. And you can too! Even if you only have 5 hours a week.
Now, I get that some people are born into countries, families or areas where musical opportunities are more prevalent, but there are enough success and failure stories surrounding those situations to negate this idea.
Take for example my friend Aggrey Akena. He was born in a small village in Nigeria where musical opportunities are not as prevalent as say, Los Angeles, but he is creating his own “luck”.
He appeared in my inbox some time ago wanting to connect with me. I get a TON of messages of this type and so it’s tough for me to respond to them all. He unfortunately fell into that “non-response” pile for qutie some time.
He never gave up though.
Some time had passed and after several attempts on his part to connect he finally just sent a video of him playing piano and I was floored. It was BEAUTIFUL. Some of the most gorgeous piano playing I’d ever heard. He played with such ease and musicality and beauty. And come to find out he’s actually trained in cinematic stlye music which is a genre I love to do.
Long story short, we’re now working on music together that I’ll be trying my damndest to sync in film and TV and I will be splitting these proceeds with him. What if we both land in a huge blockbuster film and get a nice fat paycheck? Some may call him “lucky” for landing such an opoportunity. I would not. I would call him a talented hard worker who did not give up.
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard” – Kevin Durant
Are you finding others more “lucky” than you? Here are 5 ways you can CREATE YOUR OWN LUCK.
1. Make a schedule and stick to it
This is arguably the most important step. I’ve been working for myself since I was 25 and nothing propelled me forward faster than saying I’ll be at my desk from 9 – 5 and actually sticking to it.
If you can’t put in at least 8 hours a day, start with one. If you are a night owl, make your one hour at midnight. Regardless of how many or when, STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. No phone calls, Facebooking, nada.
If someone tries to drag you out of your hour, tell them “I’m sorry, but I have work at that time” and schedule their call or outing for another time.
In those early years I didn’t have enough client work to fill those hours so I spent that time working on securing new clients to fill the time.
As you move forward in your career you can leverage your time so that you’re not stuck in the “hours for money” arena, but in those early years, and now really, but especially in those early years, my success was directly related to how many hours I put in.
If I put in 3 hours worth of effort that week, I got 3 hours worth of results that week.
In my humble opinion, you need to work your goal like a full time job if you want it to BECOME your full-time job.
We’re currently living in Covid-19 pandemic times where in-person networking isn’t really a thing, but that’s ok. I never did that anyway. Although I understand how important that is and should probably have done/do more of that, I’ve been an online digital gal for a long time so I’ve made it work remotely and you can too.
- Find the heavy hitters in your industry and follow/like their pages so you can stay abreast of what their working on and who they’re working with
- Take a look at your friends list. Take note of the person doing the most in your industry. Go to their friends list and find beneficial relationships based on job title (producer, A&R, music marketing, composer, musician, blogger, podcaster, youtuber, etc). Get to know the persons work. Send them a friend request WITH A MESSAGE. Make the message about them not you.Compliment them on something you’ve actually listened to. Let them know that you’re looking to grow your network and fill your feed with industry professionals that are doing great things.Do not bug them or spam them with links.Simply follow their work and interact for a while. All the while you make sure you are constantly posting your work on your own feed. Chances are they will eventually take notice.
If they don’t, after some time has passed you can go ahead and make your “ask”. But just make sure this whole process is as natural and non-spammy as possible.
- Join Facebook groups specific to your goals.
A question I get asked a ton is how to get more session singing work so I’ll run with that as an example. The answer to that would be to hang out where the people doing the hiring are (producers, composers, songwriters).When joining these groups, remember to always give more than you get. Avoid being spammy, follow the group rules, interact with posts, give feedback, be a contributing member rather than trying to get work at every turn.
Here are a few for example:
PRO TIP: The group search bar is your friend
Continuing on using session singing work as an example; utilize the search bar in these groups and type in the term “singer” or “vocalist”. This will pull up all posts talking about what you do. Even if the post is in the past, you can always reach out to this person and let them know you saw their post and that if they ever need someone in the future, you’re available.
In general, I use my personal Facebook profile for networking and my music page for fan engagement.
I know many enjoy having their Facebook profile as a place where they can privately post photos of their animals and kids and personal lives, and I do that as well to a degree, but in general, I keep it clear of anything that would be seen as “unprofessional”.
Baiting political posts, client bashing, personal drama, etc would be examples of posts that I would suggest leaving of your personal page if you do decide you’d like to use it for networking. Unless that’s your genre/niche/target market. Then have at it! But you get my point :p
I’ve gotten quite a few jobs and opportunities off my personal profile which to me is more important than being able to utilize the profile for other reasons.
3. Work on your mindset
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford
Depending on your relationship with your mind (or lack their of) your career can either flourish or you can create blockages. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between what we believe is possible for us and what actually transpires for us.
This contrasting mindset is known as Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. Google it. Lots of great info out there.
A person with a growth mindset believes that with education, effort, practice, consistency and a strong will, success can and will eventually come.
A person of this mindset finds inspiration in others success. The seek to learn how they can apply this to themselves. The praise rather than compete. They congratulate rather than sulk.
They hold intelligence in high regard and never cease learning. Whether it be to enhance a musical skill, performance ability or a brand new skill that will help them get to the next level.
A person with a fixed mindset on the other hand believes that success boils down to innate (they were just born that way) ability. They will see a person at the top of their game and think “wow, how amazing, I wish I were that smart, talented, capable…” where as a growth mindset person will see the successful person and think “wow, how amazing, let me see what steps I can take to reach that level”. They will hit the practice room, enroll in a course, strive to get to that next level with a belief that they CAN.
Fixed mindset folks take their lack of success as personal failures rather than motivation to learn and do better. This causes them to lose steam on their dreams and eventually they give up.
This is a BIG topic that requires much depth, but I’ll stop there. Google is your friend. Research ways to strengthen your growth mindset.
A few ways to strengthen your mindset could be:
- Create habits
- We are what we repeatedly do. Act as if you have the career you want. If you were a full-time singer, would you not do vocal warm ups daily? Would you not practice, take care of your health, work on your music frequently?
- People love to hear me sing
- I am a successful singer/songwriter
- The more I sing, the bigger my audience gets
- I am confident and capable
- Set small achievable goals and knock them out
4. Write down your goals
Studies show that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Want to almost guarantee that you’ll achieve them? Put it in your calendar.
It’s like that saying “show me your calendar and I’ll show you your priorities”. You may think you’re working towards your goals, but if your calendar is filled with more non-musical items than musical, chances are you wont get to your goals at the speed you’d like if at all.
On that note, I’d love for you to join the I Dare You to Dream challenge with me!
Nearly all the items on my #IDYTD pic have come true! Looking on the others featured, nearly all theirs did too. Pretty neat!
I encourage you to join by writing down your #IDYTD goals.
5. Education and Outreach
An education is the most important investment you can make. Want to get better at singing? Hire a coach. Want to learn some marketing techniques? Enroll in a course. You’re only a few brain nuggets away from having the knowledge you seek. Much of it for free these days!
And don’t underestimate the value of just asking for help or guidance. I’ve reached out to some people that I thought would never respond and guess what, they did, and they shared some great info with me. You can’t hit if you don’t swing.
And that about wraps it up! I hope something in this article was helpful for you. Wishing you so much success and goals fulfilled.