A new year means a new opportunity to take your budding music career to the next level! One of the best ways to ensure you start things off right, is to establish goals from the outset. Here we look at how to do this most effectively.
Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo of the Symphonic Blog
I’m just going to put it out there—I love goal setting and workshops. There’s not a lot that I enjoy more than taking pen to paper and mapping out my greatest visions, biggest ideas, and then putting together a plan of action. There’s just something so incredibly satisfying and calming about knowing what you’re going to do and having a solid plan to accomplish it.
Of course, not everyone is as nerdy as me in their planning endeavors and for many, goal setting can seem overwhelming and even daunting. While many of us may wish that it was as easy as dreaming up our futures and watching it unfold without any effort, it’s just not a realistic way to operate.
This season, we’ve put together a goal setting how-to, in order for you to get the most out of the New Year and start 2019 off on the right foot.
Here we go.
Figure out what you actually want in the long-term
Most of you probably think you know the goal that you’re going after. But my guess is a lot of those goals are pretty arbitrary. And arbitrary is the enemy of goal setting. For instance, I hear a lot of artists say they want to make a full time living from their music. But what does that mean? Does it mean you’re only making music you want to make and surviving off the sales and touring revenue? (If so, that’s a lot harder) Or does it mean you’re also teaching and play in a cover band twice a week to pay the majority of the bills while you work on your original music taking off? Also, what does making a living off your music look like? How much do you actually need in order to pay your bills and have the lifestyle you desire?
Try to get really specific on what you want, what it actually means, and why you want it. Having a clear long term goal to look towards as you build your career will really help you stay focused and on track.
Create 2-3 main goals for the year
Once you’re clear on what exactly you’re going for in the long term, you’ll want to choose your goals for this year specifically. Try to keep them to something attainable—you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Also, try to get specific. For instance, an attainable goal might be to increase your fan engagement on social media. But I’d encourage you to go deeper and ask yourself what that really means. Does that mean aiming for an average of 100 likes or comments on most posts by mid-year? Does it mean people sharing your videos? What will make you feel like you’ve hit that goal?
Another attainable goal might be to do a one-week tour in the summer. Again, get specific. Where will this tour be? How much money do you want to make? (That should be realistic too—you can and should make money off tours, so don’t sell yourself short).
Keep brainstorming until you’ve landed on a couple (no more than 3) goals for the year and have a strong understanding of why they matter to you and how they feed into the bigger picture.
Turn those into monthly mini goals
Next, we take those 2-3 goals and create mini-goals throughout the year that feed into the larger goals. So, going with the tour example above, if you know that you want to tour for a week in July, the first thing you’ll want to do is nail down an exact set of dates. Next, you’ll work backwards to figure out what needs to happen from Jan-June for that July tour to happen. To do that, you think about all the steps that need to go into it, and create goals from them, and assign them to each month based on urgency/how they build off one another.
For instance, by June you’ll want to be focusing on marketing that tour, so that’ll probably be the June goal. Which means in order to market by June, you’ll need all your material/final schedule/roster in by May, so that automatically makes May’s goal to organize the information/get final graphics/etc. January’s goal will likely be figuring out the routing, with February being nailing down venues…you get the idea.
Monthly becomes weekly
Once you get to the month in question, you’ll want to create weekly goals to keep you on track. This isn’t something you need to do ahead of time—when late March hits, that’s when you break April’s goals into weekly tasks. You don’t need to do it any sooner.
However, the process is the same. All you’re doing here is assigning certain tasks to certain weeks so that you can make sure you’re getting everything done that you need to.
Perhaps the most important part of the process—remembering to check in and re-evaluate where you’re at! It’s completely normal for your goals to change as the year goes on—you may decide to pursue something that’s working especially well and make that your focus, or ditch something that’s not. Checking in every few months to take stock of the progress you’ve made and how on-track you are is an important part of staying disciplined and making progress. Have a plan, have your goals laid out, but don’t forget to be flexible and experiment a bit.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.