A Guest Post by Jamie Leger

The Make REAL Progress System for DIY Artists and MusicPreneurs

Ya know, as i peruse my overloaded inbox yet again seeping with confounded confusion at the amount of skills to learn, hats to wear, funding and time they don’t have, tools they don’t understand…

Having been in the same place they were, feeling the exact same feelings they are right now, I know the uselessness of lecturing or ranting, or throwing some comparative story at you that you should strive to be like.

I am not going to pretend to tell you that it is easy to manage the complexity of being a DIY Artist in the Modern world.

The fact is that it is not.

But as I read through email after email explaining how overwhelmed many of us still are as DIY Artists and MusicPreneurs, I’ve thought for a little while about what i could really do or say that would help you get out of that place of frustration, confusion, spinning wheels, sorta kinda making progress, but not quite having things all working together…

What i’ve come up with is that you need to have a simplified structure that takes the guess work out of WHAT you need to be focusing on, so that you can fully engage in HOW you are doing those specific things. Thus improving and making progress, gaining momentum and enjoying greater and greater results. Since info overload and wheel spinning are the DIY Artists Biggest Challenge in the beginning, here is a solution that hopefully helps you.

This little system is a structure that i’ve developed and figured out over 10 years-that keeps things much less overwhelming, and much more on track. I figured the best thing I could give you would be to:

1. inspire you a little bit-back into action doing the things you already know you gotta do. and/or

2. help give you some perspective on the Critical Focus Activities that will alleviate a bit of the overbearing complexity that our world, and our work as artists, has become.

The Cause or Kryptonite of Your Success

I’ve sat here for a couple hours just reading through the recent industry news, way to go Reznor… by the way… eyes roll.

I love how so many artists and entertainers have perspectives that-at least, resemble, a “my way is the best and only way,” attitude.

But some of his points led me to thinking about the single biggest challenge our community wrestles with in the modern world… Overwhelm and under-development, lack of knowledge, lack of a plan.

However, on the flip side, its root cause is also its cure.

Your MINDSET is the piece of the puzzle that will make or break your success. Please read that again. …and a third time for good measure.

Fact is-you could have all the talent in the world, all the resources you need, a thriving audience that loves you and shows up when you perform…

But if you don’t have a successful mindset, you will not be successful. Period.

I hate to say it, but look at all the superstar talents that died before they were 30….

They didn’t have it together where it counts. (may all their souls rest in peace)

But…

The tools we have at our disposal are here. That digital data box (your computer) fueled by that insanely powerful processor (your brain) is incredibly equipped to literally CREATE whatever you want with it.

Connection. Cash. Recognition. Change. Fulfillment.

While most are struggling with scraping by, frustrated that they can’t get enough people to listen to or “like” them, or complaining that the music industry sucks…. major labels… meaaanhhhh..

You’re one of the few who’ll take control. Journey with me for a few minutes as i share with you some insight through the lens of anothers perspective, as well a few jewels i’ve found work-to get me out of the confusion, and into my creators paradise.

Disclaimer: For those of you who’ve never worn these glasses i’m about to give you, please understand that they are in 3D because i was given a cartoon mind. Don’t be alarmed when things come to life!

The Creators Paradise

The Modern World is the Creators Paradise.

With nothing more than you already have, you have the capacity to create anything you’d like.

This is not just a workspace you sit in, it’s a rocket ship that can take you anywhere you want to go.

Every time you sit down at your computer you step out into the global conversation and showcase your content.

With a clear direction, better structure and an optimized environment, you can navigate to any outcome, traveling along any route you’d prefer to take.

Your first goal is to build a solid platform on a strong foundation. Every time you connect with someone you try to over-deliver value to them. You focus on the experience and the relationship you are building, and you just try to rock their world.

To thrive in the new economy you need to build a Platform with a Loyal Audience that Loves What, Why, and How you do what you do. So you share what you’re creating as well explain why and how you are doing it.

You are not at a computer, you are on a farm planting seeds you’ll harvest later. You know you have to sing for supper so you work hard, and figure out how to get the most out of your effort.

You aren’t just reading and writing, you are traveling with a toolbox, collecting, applying new tools and techniques you learn along the way.

If you aren’t completely enthralled with the infinite joy and sheer potential of the deadly combinations we can concoct and create with nothing more than our think-box, a laptop, and a microphone…

THEN STOP.

Take a deep breath, walk around the room or the neighborhood a couple of times to clear your mind, and then come back.

Now that the clutters wiped from the screen of your mind, here are the only things you need to focus on until you have reached your first goal.

Consider this to be the foundational structure that will increase your productivity, and decrease the mental and physical stress that’s hurting your ability to work with maximum effectiveness. You need to completely remove yourself from being in a state of overwhelm, confusion, anxiety, EVEN IF you have bills to pay, your boy/girlfriends mad at you, you’re down in spirit and motivation…

Stop the confusion.

Enter The Creators Paradise!

The Get Out of Overwhelm and Make REAL Progress System for DIY Artists and MusicPreneurs

G.S.P. – (Goal, Strategy, Plan) Just direct your attention and effort on ONEGoal at a time, i.e. (make the next 10 genuine fan connections and get them into your funnel) then choose your Strategy, (i.e. on the street, through your blog, through social media, etc.) then create a roadmap or Plan to make it happen. (i.e. step by step, break the project down.)

M.O.P. – (Mission, Outcome, Purpose) A mission is a clear task and/or project that covers the most specific action steps of any given outcome or result you are working to create.

Your MOP, (Mission Outcome Purpose) is that handy little mental framework that you’ll remember-and be glad you learned next time you are confused about what you are supposed to be working on, and are bouncing around in several different directions.

When you get too bogged down in the details of any mission, you’ll come back to your Objective (s) – the underlying intentions, or Outcome – the final results. Inner vs. Outer… Whichever you prefer to focus on, or what is most applicable for the specific task…  (Two sides of the same coin)

And, if there is any further question about your “O,” you of course come to your ultimate “why” your Purpose.

Now, many times you won’t need to spell this stuff out consciously, but it can certainly provide you some insights you may not have had-when you “dumb things down” to this level for things you automatically do-at current.

While it’s clear that tying your shoes requires no consciously defined M.O.P. I.E. Your mission is to “tie your shoe,” your outcome is to “get your shoes tied,” and your purpose is to walk with greater ease and comfort, and not trip and fall on your face…

Don’t overcomplicate it. It’s just a tool for consciously clarifying WHAT, FOR, WHY you are doing any task or project.

It is relevant and useful because it will allow you to identify and distinguish the important aspects in, on, and of the work you are doing. Don’t forget your MOP!

Environment – Clear up and clean up your environment and workspace so that you have nothing toxic, no emotional or mental poison lurking around you… and organize things to the degree you feel necessary to create a healthy, functional workspace that you can really make massive progress in.

Roles –  As an Entrepreneur you have to understand what that means… do you? That’s one role. As an Artist, you’ve probably got that one down. As a Leader of your tribe, you must be able to communicate and add value to them. What is your role to them, in THEIR life…? Do you know? Start there.

Responsibilities – Skills development and management, as well as your basic responsibilities as a DIY artist include hosting, domain, email service provider, gas, strings, food, and insurance costs, as well as your overall health and fitness and any other expenses, plus of course your important relationships.

CFA’s – Your Critical Focus Activities are the only thing you should be spending your time on. Minus the 5% of trivial stuff that you have to do, they should account for 95% of your daily and weekly workload.

Here is an example, a recommended set of CFA’s to base your regiment upon.

Producing content, connecting, (abc’s) pitching, promoting, sequential learning (see below for definition)

These are some of the most important, results producing single activities you could be spending your time on.

CDA’s – Your Critical Distraction Activities are those time wasters that you sometimes catch yourself unconsciously fidgeting with or throwing away time or energy on. Some example CDA’s would be Tv/movies, facebook/twitter, partying, tinkering with projects, starting new projects before finishing that last one. any other time wasters? If you are not a graphic designer, you don’t need to be learning photoshop, etc. Don’t be dabbling with things that other people should be doing, or that your time is not best spent doing.

RCA’s – Your Recalibration Activities are those things that revive, rejuvenate, and refresh all your systems and your overall state of being. These are the things you must identify and come back for when you find yourself a little sleep deprived, forcing yourself to cram the task or rush to get something done, or feel any imbalance or uneasiness in your body and performance capacity. Some examples for me personally include: Exercise, meditation, singing, relaxation, massage, music, good conversations, good food.

Prioritizing – Prioritize your tasks and projects in order of most important to least, and then focus on your biggest opportunity next. Not much more need be said. Just make sure you do this. Write them down on index cards and assemble them by order of significance.

Sequential learning – Take the time to figure out the next thing you need to learn FIRST, and then go and learn that thing, apply, and repeat. The key to sequential learning is to completely eliminate overwhelm by JUST narrowing your focus to the ONE next thing you need to learn to do the ONE next thing you are trying to do, that you don’t know how to do now. There is an art and science to this, and if you practice it, you will have unlocked one of the biggest secrets to productivity many of the most effective human beings utilize to great effect. It’s simple. But I encourage you to try it.

Making It All Work

I hope this quick and simple framework will help you get out of overwhelm and thinking that you have to manage more than you can handle. I empathize with you, as I am ONE of you, I understand how frustrating and complex things are, but I can guarantee you that you will find immensely greater results and peace of mind if you apply and/or modify this basic structure to fit your workflow.

If you are struggling with wrapping your head around the massive amount of info coming at you and things that everyone is trying to tell you to do, i get it, my best advice would be to strip away all the clutter, get back to basics, just focus on these few things, and start making real progress again.

Please share any questions or comments you have with me below.

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If you haven’t already gotten a free copy of my short ebook The MusicPreneurManifesto you can get it here.