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The Artists Declaration of Independence: Johnny's Story Part 2

Jamie-legerBy Jamie Leger of Modern Artists Academy.

This is part two of the ongoing series - The Artists Declaration of Independence: The Transition To The Modern Music Industry.

If you’d like to have each new post in the series sent to you automatically so you don’t have to worry about missing any of the training-you can sign up here and also receive a free copy of The Grassroots Music Marketing System, gratis.

We pulled back the curtains on his current Game Plan and took a look at the bands Roadmap.


What Roadmap?

They lacked strategy. Didn't even have a marketing plan.

How can you get to where you wanna go, without knowing where you are going?

How do you get there? How will you ever know when you get there!?

But I can already hear some of you... it's all about the Journey, the Process, just go with the flow, whatever happens…!


It is absolutely about the Journey and the Process… But, with a more detailed GAME Plan, you'll have a more rewarding Journey, you'll develop better processes, and you'll ultimately be able to recognize that you are not only the creator of your content and career… But you are also the creator of your LIFESTYLE, your legacy, your income level.

The red or the blue pill…?

Back to Johnny.

I kindly told him that his career lacked the nutrients it needed for growth, but fortunately, there was a solution, that he could control, which all stemmed from his mindset.

He had to stop seeing and thinking of himself as the artist who loved performing and playing for his fans, yet always seemed to be struggling financially. Again, notice the mindset and underlying belief at play... “that’s just the way things are for an artist these days.”..

Our first breakthrough started with the shift in perspective from falling for the syndrome. "You gotta kick that habit dude." "What are you talking about?"

Starving Artists Syndrome.

Before he spoke again, I just jumped in and told him that it didn't matter what he thought, or what you call it…

I said to him with a smile on my face…

"There are beliefs, ideas, feelings, hunches, and habit patterns, who knows how we pick them up, that just get stuck in our brain somewhere down the line. We don't challenge or debate them. We don't really even talk about them… But they turn into accepted "estimations," and over time form unconscious beliefs.

I can tell that you have some of them. It's ok… So did I, so does everyone. But when i first spoke with you-you mentioned some things that stood out and put me on alert. Would you mind if I went through them with you?"

"Uh, Ok." He replied.

We cannot go into the entire discussion at length here, but recognize that there were beliefs and mindsets running the show in the background, telling him all kinds of stories and sabotaging the amount of success, exposure, fans, and income he could earn.

This may sound a bit "woo-woo" to some, but it's actually not that complicated.

Because when you think about it, if "things are just the way things are," then what's the point of trying anything different, or how could you really go about changing it!?

Here was another one...

"or sell out and make cookie cutter crap…"

as if to say that those are the only two options. What they're getting, OR go and create music for the masses without any passion, soul, or meaning behind them…

When people say that all the good music has already been made. All the great songs died with the traditional music industry and now it's only untalented, untrained Artists and musicians making up for the fact that they can't sing with auto-tune… etc.

I just shake my head… This is a whole other discussion, for a whole other time.

The result of johnny's beliefs and attitude were the feelings of overwhelm and confusion he had every-time he went about trying to leverage the “online stuff” to grow the bands reach and sales. They were very good at the things they were doing, they were “the things they’d always done,” and they they did them well.

I did not argue that. But I knew I needed to expand his mind to a perspective that showed him greater possibility.

Tabled for now. We'll come back to that later.

First we took a big picture look at the current activities and routines he and the band had formed.

We concluded with the following:

    •    1-2 shows each week
    •    1 blog post a month
    •    1 email to his fans a month
    •    occasional New Video, inconsistent.
    •    occasionally updated his Facebook status
    •    occasional tweeter
    •    occasionally printed and passed out flyers

Next, we drilled down to find his CFA’s, (Core Focus Activities) these are what we call your Main Moves; his CDA’s, (Core distraction Activities) as well as his RCA’s (Recalibration Activities). We also measured his strengths and weaknesses so we could identify the most valuable, highest leverage activities that he could and should be doing, as well as the assets and resources he had to work with.

We did this for each of his bandmates as well.

We determined the direction and identity of the brand he was building, then to summarize, we:

    ✓    set goals and a 12 month vision
    ✓    addressed core values and habits
    ✓    inventoried assets and resources
    ✓    identified strengths and weaknesses of the band
    ✓    diagnosed the primary obstacles
    ✓    created a custom blueprint, and mapped out a momentum building roadmap with clear, focused, sequential Missions.

With the custom built GAME Plan and solid blueprints, we now had a detailed roadmap and a better structure with clear objectives to help structure the bands creativity and productivity a bit more. Johnny and his band were ready to hit the road with their next Mission, we were both armed with what we needed to help johnny and his band make some monster moves and despite his well-mannered skepticism, surprise himself for the better. Hopefully…!

It was time for Johnny to embrace the development of his Entrepreneurial Skill-set. And put our plan to work.

It was time to step his GAME up.

"The first rule of the GAME," i shot off at him, "is that from this point on you acknowledge that you and your band are the creators of your own economy."

It was a sort of half-smiling, not quite convinced smirk I got back from him.

It's ok i assured him. You'll further understand what i mean by that a bit later.

There are only two types of Artists and Creators in the modern world.

The first type believes, hopes, relies, waits for someone to swoop down from the sky and like a genie, instantly create the success, fame, and good fortune they've vaguely dreamt of…

The second type believes that it is all in their own hands. They hustle and prepare, set realistic goals, build a plan and CREATE opportunities. Then when they achieve their success-they aren't surprised. They also find a greater sense of victory and satisfaction knowing that it is something that can't be taken away from them. Regardless of if anyone likes or approves of them.

There is nothing wrong with either type of artist, but my methodologies and systems have been specifically created for the second type of Creator, the Modern Artist. Further, anyone ready to step their GAME up to the next level, would ultimately, eventually wind up here, or suffer their way through having come to the same conclusions on their own.

Unlike much of life, business, relationships… This is a pretty black or white distinction. Which kind of Artist are You?

We had to take baby steps at first...

At first Johnny was hesitant... He intellectually “understood” the importance of mindset, clarity, building marketing systems, structuring campaigns, tracking ad dollars, managing projects and expenses, etc. but he sure wasn’t thrilled to be discussing it... He was still a little bit resistant. Sort of like the way my dog suddenly forgets how to walk, jump, or be carried, whenever i attempt to get her into the bath!

It’s this awkward, two leg drag and two legs flailing shuffle, which converts into this nerve-racking mule-kick maneuver that has luckily, yet to sterilize me as a man.  

It’s a little bit of a dance, but i prefer carrots to sticks... so I bought the beer, and we got to work.

Note: EVEN though he knew how important it was, AND he consciously acknowledged it, there was still some traces of resistance...

It can be hard, harder than you may think... But after peeling all the layers back, we finally got to the bottom of his reluctance to fully embrace these breakthroughs in mindset and technique. See, at the root of it-Johnny feared that this would destroy who or what he did as an artist... “It seemed too rigid, or structured, my fans wouldn’t like it... It wouldn’t really be any fun, or at least not as much fun...”

Johnny thought things like, “I just make the music, i’m not a salesman, it just doesn’t seem like, well, me...!”

Very normal reactions, I assured him.

I tried not to act like i’d heard it thousands of times-and that it was such a debilitating, perhaps the single most debilitating form of sabotage that Artists and Creators subject ourselves to... As tempting as it was, I knew that wouldn’t help him feel heard... Instead, i started to ask some more probing questions...

Here’s where the AHA’s are usually made, and although they are obvious, the client almost always proves his limiting belief as being just that. It was important to set up the frame of mind for Johnny to be in, and the attitude he has when he reached these conclusions. More important than me understanding the situation and his perspective… It was of utmost importance that HE come to the conclusions on his own to get the full benefit.

It's important that all the elements are their to feel trust and confidence so Johnny could TRULY gain the greatest benefit, and optimize his chance at maximal results.

This “I see the light” part of the conversation is very critical for you to have. If my job was to provide you with “information,” then this additional legwork would be a waste of time and effort. But the fact is that when i’m serving my clients or students-my job is to inspire, guide, and influence transformation. To cater to and give MAXIMUM effort, benefit, and results to those few who are committed-and who’ll work as hard as me to create and help them maximize their results.

I'm looking for the minority of Artists who are truly committed and willing to do the work. These are the Artists who'll make a difference. Who'll inspire their whole town or niche community.

The residual impact that one great success story can have on their circles of influence and in their communities, is far greater than 10 partial success stories. Go and be that one story in YOUR town, and/or for YOUR global tribe, then be sure to share it with me and the rest of the community when you do!

Our job as artists and creators is to unlock that ora of success and possibility and cultural, community, local-influence that beams brighter than the darkness or the non-sense. It is now, that we live in literally the best time in the history of our planet and have the capacity and access to truly touch, impact, inspire and let our voices be heard in a way that's just never before been possible.

It’s a tremendous honor to play a part in this process, but it requires a two sided effort.

Johnny Started To See The Light - In 3D!

After walking through stories and exercises and light bulb moments-Johnny was starting to notice the negative impact that his fuzzy ideas and burrowed unconscious beliefs were having on his circumstance, and it didn’t help that he really didn’t KNOW how to manage a business, or develop his entrepreneurial skills, either.

What i intended and began to inspire in him was the possibility, coupled with stories and examples and practical exercises Johnny came around. He saw the light. And in making these concrete shifts in attitude and approach he soon found how much additional fun, effectiveness, and cohesiveness this difference in attitude made.

The first breakthrough was in making the shift from a limited, everything is just stuck the way things are, Starving Artist mentality... to an expansive thinking, innovative, solutions focused MODERN Artist mentality.

GEE, is that all!? 3 easy payments of 9.99! Pop it, plug it, or shoot it! The new wonder drug...

Obviously, this doesn't just happen on it's own, it requires the active development of new skills, different ways of thinking, and the ability to see the world through new/alternate lenses. Noticing more perspectives, and eventually recognizing how to add more value in, with, and for your Content Business.

That's the heart of it all. Developing your ability to add more value in, with, and for your Content Business.

Part of my mission is to inspire and rejuvenate the fresh, infinite capacity to use your creative mind, your unique gifts and talents to develop and better utilize that unlimited value creation device that rests between your earlobes.

In order to embrace the additional opportunities available to Artists in the Modern World, Johnny needed to embrace the additional roles and responsibilities required to take advantage of them. Namely the leadership roles and responsibilities as a leader of his tribe of fans and followers. A Major breakthrough Johnny made was that he consciously, and fully accepted responsibility for being the CEO of his content business. He was no longer just running a band, he was leading their content business. He was now the creator of his fate, the designer of his lifestyle, he became a self-reliant professional.

He committed to mastering the tools of the modern creator, (the communication formats, the distribution channels) starting with applying our Game Plan, and the prescribed regimen of Music Marketing strategies we had mapped out.

Another notable AHA came when Johnny made the shift from thinking he had to do it all alone, all by himself, and went from doing it ALL themselves, to offloading a lot of the tedious responsibilities by leveraging a team to take care of activities that they Johnny and the Band did not need to do themselves.
We call this breakthrough going from DIY to DIWY, a Do-it-WITH-You mindset.

We created an optimized environment, a workflow and project management structure, as well as a much more modern business model that didn't require much added work or effort, just more precise, more focused, better leveraged efforts that made them more income and reduced stress and confusion.

Artists are not half-in, half-out kinda cats… We play and perform at our best, so we have to train and structure our environment to facilitate that.

As i said before, Johnny was a bit resistant to the idea of structure and productivity and creating systems, refining processes… But do you want to know the ironic thing… It didn’t actually hinder or limit his creativity. In fact it allowed him to develop greater levels of creativity and expression because he could see the WHOLE picture as one COHESIVE experience that he was able to create and communicate to his audience. The process of doing it, the packaging of it, the promotional methods and tools were combined to increase the creative potential, add more congruent, more valuable, and yes, more profitable results.

This was done with the SAME content and resources he had before, mind you. It's just the mindset, the resourcefulness, the systems, and the methods that we used that allowed him to optimize, amplify, and maximize that content.

He was beginning to to think in 3D. He was beginning to build a 3 dimensional brand. He began seeing how all the dots connected and how important it was to account for not only the "what" he did, but also the "why"and the "how" that he and his band-did it.

It was all an artistic expression of his brand. The message, the connection, the experience he was creating. Now johnny was beginning to think like a Modern Artist running a Content Business and instead of limited, rigid, or 1 dimensional, he followed his creativity and was developing an expansive mindset.

With our entrepreneurial hats we started looking at his numbers-making small adjustments, and everything started to improve geometrically.

He'd never really tracked or broken stats down like this before.

He was performing on average 1 show per week with his band at local and regional venues, and they were getting around 20+ fans that consistently came to see them play.

His mailing list was about 700 hundred strong as was his twitter and Facebook following.

When he went to play shows they were usually making 5-10 cd sales and collecting around 15-20 new subscribers.

•Now, there are a lot of metrics to break down here, but I don't want to scare you off yet, so let's just focus on the cd sales, which at this time were the bands secondary source of income. Performing and lessons on the side were his primary.

“Forget about cd sales for a moment...” I told him.

“What is the M.O.P. (Mission, Outcome, Purpose) in this effort anyway"?

The Mission in Johnny’s case here-was to supplement his other income sources and build the bands fan base in the process.

Instead of approaching this with the question-‘well how do we sell more CD’s...??’

We recognized the mismatch or incongruence in approach as demonstrated below…

Indeed, we were working with a “FLAWED MODEL,” an inefficient, outdated way of thinking about the growth of our Careers… Get the picture! :P

This is NOT how 3D Creators and Savvy Artists think in the Modern World…

We’ll pick back up from here in Part 3.

This is part two of the ongoing series - The Artists Declaration of Independence: The Transition To The Modern Music Industry

If you’d like to have each new post in the series sent to you automatically so you don’t have to worry about missing any of the training-you can sign up here and also receive a free copy of The Grassroots Music Marketing System, gratis.

Stay Fresh,

Jamie Leger
The Content Business Architect for Artists and Creators