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Baby Steps And The Road To Success
By Chris Standring

It's very easy to sit at home and get frustrated with the apparent lack of forward movement in your music career. Especially when you know in your heart that you have what it takes to succeed. It's very easy to get discouraged, for the simple reason that it seems "you are only as good as your last event".

Musicians and actors are similar in that we like the highs that our performances give us. We thrive on the exhilaration. It's like a drug. When it goes away we want it again.

Gearing up to a live event is exciting. We can talk it up to friends and fans, promote it the best way we know how and enjoy the thrill of the performance itself. Then it is over and there may be a lull between events. It can seem like your career is going nowhere. It's very easy to feel that. However, other people's perception may be entirely different and probably is.

The music business is all about perception. It is based on hype and salesmanship ability. I wish it was different but it is not and will never ever be. If your band is perceived to be doing well then people will talk. If your band is perceived to be on the way out then people will also talk. If your band is doing nothing, nobody will talk! It is therefore extremely important that you keep the hype factor up!

This is one of the things you need to be focusing on between events. Sit back and think about what you clearly have achieved so far in your career. Think about the things that were absolutely in your control.

We are constantly bombarded with new creative marketing ideas, most of them excellent, inventive and effective. However, the ideas that you personally will primarily adopt are those ideas that you are totally comfortable with. These are the things that you will make a priority. It's too easy to get overwhelmed with new promotional ideas so we put them off and resort to the things we know we can do.

I have two words to give you. BABY STEPS.

It's just too damn hard to do every new promotional idea to get your band to the next level at the same time. Especially if you don't have a team of people working with you. But you can start by doing just one thing today.

If you can achieve one successful thing a day to help your music career on the right path then you are on the right track.

The only way you can get successful as an independent artist is by letting people know you exist. So ask yourself for example, "What can I do today to expand my fanbase?" Well, there are infinite possibilities.

Pick one thing, just one and do it today!

Let's say you want to increase your e-mail database. Think about the most effective ways you can do that. The most effective ways to build a database, (but more importantly get those people to be fans and come to shows), is to personally get to know them. So start with friends, have them refer their friends, and so on. Hand out flyers and sample CD's or tapes to everyone you know. (Make sure you have a good stack in your car.) Grab business cards of all the people you meet and get their e-mail addresses. Send them a very personal e-mail asking them if they would be interested to know about your band.

Be creative. But DO something that you know you can personally do to expand other people's awareness of you. It takes a good amount of time but you can help yourself by really being active and productive.

Read everything you can about promoting your own shows and do the things that you are most comfortable doing, the things that you know you can be effective at. Then, step out and try something new.

Do one thing a day to help get to where you want to be, and at the end of each week think about what you have achieved. There is nothing that fuels drive more than drive itself. And there's nothing that fuels lethargy more than sitting at home wishing you were successful and doing little about it!

It can be extremely overwhelming when there seems such a long way to go. Take it one step at a time. That's all truly successful people ever did.

Chris Standring is the CEO and founder of A&R Online (www.aandronline.com). He is also a contemporary jazz guitarist presently signed to Ultimate Vibe Recordings. For more info on Chris' recording career go to his personal website at www.chrisstandring.com


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