Episode #049: Becoming an Online Musician: Your Key To Future Success

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS EPISODE

On the show today, CJ and Leah look at what it really means to become an online musician in today’s music industry, talking about what it takes, the buy-in and commitment to achieve the results you have always wanted. Leah starts off giving a brief definition of what she thinks being an online musician is and from there they look at ways in which you can add this branch of activities and income to your current setup. Leah runs through just how much this can help you and the multitude of benefits you can get from relatively low overheads once you commit to the goal of becoming an online musician. They talk scaling, social media formats, time constraints and adaptability. All things you should be clear and aware of going into this. Leah shares a bit of her personal story and how she overcame great odds and a difficult situation to get to where she is today, helping others do the same. For this, be sure to join us on the Savvy Musician Show!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • A student spotlight message from Steven! 
  • Simply defining what an online musician is. 
  • How to add the online component to what you are doing right now. 
  • The amazing benefits of adding this dimension to your repertoire. 
  • Understanding the important concepts of scaling and adaptability.  
  • Reports about the changing format of Facebook’s newsfeed. 
  • Getting ahead of the game and becoming an online musician now! 
  • Common misconceptions and misunderstanding about this field. 
  • The time you put in contributes to the results you get.
  • If Leah can do it, so can you! 
  • Some action steps that you can take today!  
  • And much more! 

Tweetables:

“Without touring then, you are doing better than some of the more successful touring bands in terms of each member, what they earn.” — @metalmotivation [0:09:05]

“If you’re an indie artist, you don’t have a label with a huge amount of capital to do it for you. This is an easy, economical, affordable, doable way to do it.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:13:13]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Savvy Musician Academy on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/onlinemusician/ 

The Superfan System Elite Program — www.callsma.com

Savvy Musician Mastermind — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Crossing the Chasmhttps://amzn.to/2WdFcpT 

Blue Ocean Strategy https://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/what-is-blue-ocean-strategy/

Steven Vrancken (student spotlight) — https://stevenvrancken.com/   

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome again to the Savvy Musician Show, this is CJ Ortiz and I am a branding and mindset coach here in the Savvy Musician Academy and I’m delighted to be joined once again by the lovely lady herself, Leah McHenry. It’s good to see you.

00:38 Leah: Hey, good to see you too.

00:40 CJ: Isn’t this awesome?

00:40 Leah: Even though we’ve been chatting for an hour already.

00:44 CJ: Yeah, there’s a lot of – there’s the offline podcast that nobody gets to see or hear. Was telling somebody just the other day, again, this is a conversation that you and I have had Leah, about just that what you want in a podcast is for someone to feel like a fly on the wall as they say. 

You know, people they respect and say, “Boy, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when those two meet up,” or what have you. That’s been more or less the sentiment from the students in the Elite Group. Even though they hear from both of us separately, they’re like, “Well, this would be fun.”

01:18 Leah: Yeah.

01:18 CJ: Let’s hear them talk together and that’s actually really flattering coming from them Leah, because I have been through some of your other courses, they’re going through the Elite Course and they have monthly coaching calls with you and whatnot. 

So they know so much in detail that the general public doesn’t know about what you teach but yet they are still so interested to hear you and I chat about these things because there’s just certain things that come out through a conversation that maybe they didn’t catch, you know? In a particular module or what have you. That’s really pretty cool.

01:56 Leah: Yeah, exactly. There’s so much that happens organically in conversation that it’s not in the notes and that’s great. We’ve always said we’re never going to run out of things to talk about, surprisingly, when it comes to the music industry or just mindset or success or business. We’re just never going to run out of topics.

02:17 CJ: No, that’s why – like you just said, we kind of kick ourselves because we – or shoot ourselves on the foot as they say because we end up catching up before and we end up eating into our podcast recording time. 

Here we are even now trying to get to the podcast but I think it’s all again part of that dynamic of just – we’re both very passionate about these subjects and I know Leah that you have such a heart for seeing musicians succeed in this new era of the music industry.

A lot of people are saying that now, a lot of people are saying new era this and I’m – Leah, in all honesty, I see ads all the time from people who would be within your niche market in terms of the Savvy Musician Academy and I’m looking into their copy, I’m seeing what they’re talking about and I’m not seeing even anything remotely close to some of the stuff that we’ve talked about. 

That’s your main I think now, even to what we’re talking about today which is being an online musician because that’s really what we’re saying. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about that, you know? There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what that means, I can find – you can ask the average band or single artist, Leah, “Do you have a Facebook Page for example?”

They’ll say, “Sure.” Then we go to their Facebook page and all you see is a bunch of posted events, you know? There’s no engagement, there’s no intentionality to anything that they’re really doing, it’s just a place for them to post. It’s not any different than putting up flyers back in the 80s on Sunset Boulevard. The exact same thing. 

When people say online musician, they don’t necessarily know what you mean, Leah. When you say, online musician but – we’re going to talk about that today ladies and gentlemen. First I want to share with you a student spotlight which is something we like to do in the savvy musician show. 

Today is by Steven and he writes, “#win. A little while before the course started, I was already busy contacting user-generated playlist curators. I never asked them to consider placing my song in the top five to 10. This helped me with one specific playlist of plus 8,000 followers to get one of my six songs in this playlist, moved to position three. This approach is definitively helping.” 

Now, he’s referring to the Spotify course, right? That you recently put out.

04:39 Leah: Yes, we have a brand new Spotify course to help people learn how to take advantage of it. Spotify is your friend, it’s not your enemy. Streaming and just how to increase revenue, that’s awesome, He’s applying it and it’s working, that’s great.

04:52 CJ: Yeah, he said, “Yesterday I got 914 streams and 584 listens,” highest numbers he had gotten so far. He’s excited about moving forward, he finishes by saying, he’s so grateful to be a part of this community and community is truly right, in fact, that’s one of the benefits that I’m seeing in any sort of group coaching thing is not just having that support but having that sense of community, well, you’re filled with people who are just like you.

Motivated people that are trying to create an online music business. You’ve got a couple of groups, right? You got the – 

05:28 Leah: Yes, we have a free group, it’s called the Savvy Musician Mastermind and that’s for anybody can join that. Whether you have ever taken a program from us or not, we welcome you there, we’re going to give you our podcast content, it’s kind of a nice convenient place to get it and we post free stuff in there all the time and we just have amazing discussions and if you want help with anything, we’ve got amazing admins there to answer your questions, it’s a great place to be.

Then we have our official student groups. If you are in one of our programs, you can ask course-related questions there and we also have great admins there as well.

06:03 CJ: Online musician. Leah, first of all, let me just ask you. Simply stated, how would you define what an online musician is.

06:12 Leah: Of the top my head, this is not in my notes. Of the top of my head, an online musician is adding an online component to your music career. If you’re even like a full time touring musician, that’s awesome, I’m not saying to quit that, I would never tell you that.

It’s literally distributing your music, marketing your music, growing your fan base doing all the different online digital marketing activities and adding that component to your career. Thereby leveraging your time, leveraging your talent, growing your brand worldwide, while you’re sleeping. So that’s how I define it.

06:51 CJ: That’s really good because I think, this goes back to mentioning what I did about the other people that are doing something similar and as the Savvy Musician Academy, marketing your music and things online. Is that people, when they think that the rules have changed, because of the internet and social media that you know, from the old days of the record labels. 

It really hasn’t changed in terms the way people are still trying to approach this. Until they learn that they really have to do a lot of the things that you just described, you’re going to talk more about what some of these things are.

07:28 Leah: Yeah.

07:28 CJ: It’s really not an online musician thing yet. You mentioned something I thought was really key which is setting over against a touring only musician, you know what I mean? To somebody need then, if somebody’s going to make this decision, to become an online musician.

Are you saying they’re just adding this component to it or in your case, you don’t tour, you’re doing more success, you’re doing – you’re having more success, Leah, then probably, I’m going to speak only from the metal community, there’s a lot of popular bands but I guarantee you, there’s not a single member of any of these recorded artists who are touring and playing in all the big shows not anyone of them are making the money that you’re making. And you don’t tour.

08:12 Leah: Yeah, let’s just distinguish, this is just my music sales, this is not from my coaching academy. I always have to make that distinguishment because people always on my ads, people are so original, not. They’re just like, “I know how you make six figures, you just teach courses on it.” I’m like, “Wow, so original, no one’s ever said that to me before.”

No, it’s all separate, yeah. You were going to ask me a question about that or I just kind of butted in.

08:41 CJ: No, I think it’s an important point of distinction here that you, without touring, okay, are earning more just through your music and again, to make that point all the haters and everything that are going to accuse you of saying, well, you’re just telling all these, how they do this and so that’s how you’re making your money. No, she’s doing that now because she’s making that money from her music and merchandise sales.

Without touring then, you are doing better than some of the more successful touring bands in terms of each member, what they earn because I know a lot of guys that are in big bands and I follow them on social media and they’re right back at the day job when they get off the road from touring.

They do it for the love and they’re hoping for obviously something better. But, you know, as I exclusively touring musician, that’ s a very difficult nut to crack. How then can somebody add this online component to what they’re doing right now?

09:40 Leah: There’s so many things to add. I mean, you can start with the basics with social media and that sort of thing. I think every band out there realizes they need to have that but I don’t know if they understand to the extent that they need to add it. I was just telling you, before we got on this podcast episode, about, I recently made a very kind of vulnerable scary post to my fans about some of the health issues I’ve faced.

If any of my students know that I’m really into health, I’m really into fitness and I’ve just struggled so bad to meet my goals and you know, I’ve been doing lab tests and all the stuff to try and figure it out. I’ve never really expressed this to my fans before, I’ve always tried to maintain an appearance of – I’m the same as I was five years ago. I look a certain way, I’m very careful about the photos I post. I just told them, “Guys, this is what I’ve been struggling with. I just have to be transparent and honest with you guys.” 

I really let them into my vulnerability and I told them, it’s difficult for me to post this, it’s scary for me to post this but I feel that I cannot be an authentic artist without sharing with you what I’m going through. That’s the extent I’m talking about, when I say social media, I don’t mean posting posters and little graphics to your next tour. You can do that and you should. But going so much further with it, letting them into who you are for real and being vulnerable with them, it’s not easy, it’s the internet, so it’s very foreign feeling to kind of wear your heart on your sleeve and just put yourself out there.

Beyond social media, there’s so much more to it than adding the online component. I mean, we’ve talked about this in the previous series. From everything from list building, advertising, all the email marketing. There’s so much you can do where once that system is running, it works for you. I just posted a brand new opt-in ad to build my email list. I’m getting very aggressive about building my email list again.

I want to add a thousand people a month to my email list and brand new fresh people. The reason is because I plan on doing another album launch at the end of this year and I’m going to give myself a nice, long, runway with fresh new people who are interested in what I’ve got to offer. I’ve got that running, I’m getting opt-ins at less than 40 cents each for people to get on to my email list which in the marketing world is an unbelievable, amazing price and I always get these prices.

That’s always what I’m paying for even a brand new ad. It’s because I know my audience online, these are cold by the way, these are not current followers or cold traffic, they never heard of me before. They’re opting in, I’m sending them emails, all about who I am, I’m sending them free music, I’m taking them to, hey, here’s YouTube. I’m getting them multiple touch points is what we call it. 

I’m doing all of this and it’s all happening while I’m sleeping. Of course, I monitor it. I never want to say it’s completely passive, I don’t really think that’s accurate. You have to monitor it, you have to tweak things, you have to keep your eye on it but adding this online component, I cannot – I don’t have the time – there’s not enough time in the day or the week or the year for me to go out and literally shake every single person’s hand compared to how many tens of thousands of people are seeing my ad every day. That’s not humanly possible and yet I’m building a brand by doing this. 

When I say adding an online component, there’s many things you can do but this is just one example is having something continually running where it’s basically a huge awareness campaign, we need mass exposure, if you’re an indie artist, you don’t have a label with a huge amount of capital to do it for you. This is an easy, economical, affordable, doable way to do it.

13:24 CJ: List some of the benefits that this – people, the obvious thing that people are going to think of is just well, I could sell more CDs or maybe I can sell some shirts. But there’s a lot more to it that someone, especially as a touring musician can add by just having this online component working for them.

13:41 Leah: Yeah, for sure. First of all, like I just said, I’m always building my audience, right? The fact, if you’re a touring musician, you could just put two and two together here. If you can reach tens of thousands of new people who have never heard your music before and you can do it for pennies every single day, do you think that that will have an impact on your ticket sales when it comes time to sell that?

Do you think that if you learn digital marketing and advertising that you could sell more tickets or more VIP experiences or more merchandise? Do you think that if you just add two plus two equals four? I can only say that it will enhance everything else you’re doing offline. Hands down.

14:31 CJ: If you have a lot of competition. Because I run a venue before and in Dallas Fort Worth, that’s a very competitive space and if you have a following and if you are prolific on social media and you’ve got great brand awareness. Then you’re going to get more of the gigs, you’re going to get more of the slots, venues, promoters are going to take you seriously because again, in a very competitive space, lots of bands and artists are out there, all competing for the same stage time.

What can really differentiate you is if you have a crowd. Doesn’t necessarily – there might be other bands who might be better than you but you’ll get the gigs because you’ve got the audience. Remember, the vendor and the venue is not – they’re not selling music per se. What they’re selling is warm bodies in there, drinking beer and you know, to them, like I used to say to people when I get original artists who would come and criticize me for running cover bands.

I’d say, “Hey, listen, man, I’m just a glorified jukebox. I’m here to sell Bud Lite, I’m not here to – I’m with you offline, we can talk about your music all day long. I’d love to hear your CD but when it comes to what we’ve got to do to make money, I need bodies in the door. If you can’t bring me bodies in the door, I can’t put you on that stage.”

15:50 Leah: Right.

15:50 CJ: Somebody’s got that following, they can do that.

15:54 Leah: Absolutely. I mean, I think that’s probably the easiest sell ever. That’s probably why I built my career backwards in a sense, for one reason, I had to because I couldn’t be a touring musician with my little kids at home and homeschooling, all that. Although, now that they’re a little older, we’re extremely mobile. We spent five months kind of going through Ireland and the UK and we were able to bring our kids and they were doing home school on the computer.

Hey, never say never, I definitely plan on touring one day. The other reason, I just saw the advantage of being able to build my fan base online first and build my – basically, create a demand before I ever go on tour. 

When I do tour, I’m going to be able to sell out my shows and I’ll also create more opportunity because now I’ve actually made a name for myself if I want to get ton like a bigger tour with maybe a much bigger band than me, hey probably have heard of me by now. The opportunities it is going to create for me in the long run by having built my fan base online, by having a huge email list, by having a YouTube audience, by having an Instagram audience and all of this. It’s only going to benefit me in the future for anything I want to do.

17:03 CJ: Tell me, you mentioned something a little while ago about scaling. I know that’s one of the benefits that somebody can explain what that means.

17:10 Leah: Right, scaling just means that whatever little thing you’re doing that’s working. If you add more budget to it, you can increase the results of that current result. That means, for example, anything I’m doing online, let’s talk about my opt-in add right now that it’s really cheap, I’m adding new people to my email list every single day. 

If I want to scale the ad and it’s working well, I can add more budget to it and it gets more people on my list. I can do that with advertising, I can do that with email, I can do that with – mostly it’s an advertising scenario, that’s usually when we’re talking about scaling something we’re referring to advertising. You can apply it to other things as well.

The point is that you can’t scale something that’s not working, you can only scale something that’s already working. It will only – that’s why I don’t recommend boosting posts. I know there’s other competitors out there that actually tell people to boost posts and I’m like, “Dude, you do not run a large business then, because – maybe even a small one. Because you wouldn’t be telling people that.”

Because again, it’s like – boosting post is only going to force people to see something that the algorithm already deemed was not worth showing people. Why would you throw money at that?

18:25 CJ: I think, Leah, in all honesty, the average band or musician that has a Facebook Page in a little website and what have you and is doing their best to be an original artist, probably when they think of what we’re talking about, they think, well that means I got to boost posts because that’s the button they see on their little – they see those buttons.

18:44 Leah: I mean, Facebook.

18:45 CJ: They’ve never been in the ad manager.

18:45 Leah: That’s just a cash machine.

18:46 CJ: You know what I mean?

18:47 Leah: That’s right, yeah, that little boost post button, that’s just a little ATM for Facebook. That’s not really going to help – that’s not real advertising. There’s so many limitations to it. 

That’s literally just going to force it into the newsfeed and by the way, there are rumours and not just rumours, there are reports that the newsfeed as we know it right now is going to be going away like the top — I think Facebook’s newsfeed guy, I forget his name but he’s actually left Facebook now. He is gone and the newsfeed as we know it is going away. 

We don’t really know exactly, it looks like it is going to become more and more like Facebook stories. Where it is going to be not vertical but like a horizontal experience swiping left and right sort of thing. We don’t know what exactly it looks like but the bottom line is that it is going to be ever-changing. We don’t know exactly and you have to be able to adapt and this is why you need to know the ads manager and you don’t want to be boosting posts. Like who knows if that feature isn’t going to be there and then what are people going to do?

So you have to be adaptable. You have to be on your toes and need the latest information and that is not something you can get even at marketing school. I heard a stat the other day that said, “When a university course is launched or released, by year three, that information is obsolete.” It is literary irrelevant and especially in the marketing world. So that it why I tell people “Yeah, you can go to Berkeley online and spent 20 to $50,000 on a music marketing degree, that would be completely irrelevant to you or you can work with us and we actually give the latest and greatest information.” 

And I think that is a huge decision or part of the decision of becoming an online musician is understanding what that means, what does that even mean in terms of your headspace, your mindset around this. It means you have to be open to constant change and that is something people are not always prepared for. Constant change, especially with technology things, are changing so fast. 

Like I just said the newsfeed as we know it is going to be going away. They are replacing it with a different kind of format. They are already making changes right now and I just saw some new things on my mobile newsfeed yesterday. They are different, they are really heavily promoting groups and all that sort of thing. But adaptability and knowing what the latest trends are where things are going and going, “Hey, cool they made a change. How can I make that work for me?” 

Instead of freaking out. And I think all the bands out there that are not willing to be adaptable and not willing to be a student of it, they are going to seriously lose out. They are going to leave tens of thousands of dollars on the table over the course of a year or two and they’re just going to hurt their music business. So I think you got to have an attitude of adaptability. 

21:33 CJ: Yeah and these things that we don’t know will hurt us in the long run and people are somewhat embittered when it comes to things like social media especially Facebook. Facebook obviously gets a lot of heat, some of it deserved. But yeah, I mean these are the things where we are forced to adapt because we can say, “Okay, well now I am just going to get off online.” Well fine, now what? 

21:58 Leah: Right, now you are back to gigs and playing in front of 30 people and hoping that somebody buys an album? 

22:04 CJ: Yeah, so you don’t have a choice. I mean there is that. There’s the fact that you have to move forward into this online space. So better to be equipped, better to put the emotional reaction aside and just say, “Okay, well let me see how I can start to master this,” and again, you know going back to what you said about scaling is you can get some of these basic components down, how to properly run a Facebook page, how to run some basic ads as opposed to boosting posts. 

How to engage with your followers, you know what kind of post, learning the culture and all of the things that you talk about, Leah. Just those simple things alone, would so revolutionize the average musicians I hate to say profession because they are still working on it but you know what I mean. What they are doing musically would be so enhanced. 

22:53 Leah: Yeah and it is interesting too, where we are and this episode is about making the decision to become an online musician, we are really laying the groundwork and not just me but we have lots of other colleagues out there in the music industry and business people I never heard of before, people I haven’t met but we’re laying a groundwork here in the marketplace in general for a collective awareness of the fact that they even need to make this decision to add this online component. 

And to become wise and become an entrepreneur in some sense and I was explaining too in our staff meeting yesterday just to our – I have to cast vision a little bit for our Savvy Musician team and I was just telling them, “Listen guys, there is a book called Crossing the Chasm and it is all about – it is more a book written for technological trends and market places but it is so applicable to what we are seeing right now and there is basically a bell curve in market awareness of something. 

We’re at the very, very bottom of the curve where people don’t even realize that they need to make this decision to become an online musician. To add this component that they should be leveraging their time and their talent and learning new skillset here. Five to 10 years from now, I believe that every musician will be a digital marketer. I believe that then that will be what we called kind of like – there is going to be a general awareness. 

Right now, people who are studying with us and learning right now they are what we call the early adopters. They are also probably the same people that go out and buy the new iPhone and they don’t care that it has bugs. They don’t really care, they are going to just get it. They stand in line for 24 hours to get access to the latest technology because they want the latest and the greatest. 99% of musicians I would say are not these people. So the people in our programs are way ahead of the game. 

Way, way ahead and 10 years from now they will be making a lot more money than anybody else but 10 years from now, most musicians will know that they should be doing this and by then, it is going to be a very crowded extremely competitive place. So the decision to become an online musician can be very prudent to make that decision now and jump in with two feet and say, “What do I need to learn? What skills do I need to learn and create and improve on to get a head start now?”

25:19 CJ: Yeah, I think that has to be heeded as a warning and so in a sense, guys, you are being called to this. She is beckoning to you to come join because she wants you to do well. She wants you to thrive. She wants you because you can do it. She did it. 

And that is the important point. So you got to believe it is possible, right? These are all the misconceptions that we have and why don’t you address some of those? When you try to explain this sort of thing, what do people normally misunderstand about it? 

25:53 Leah: I think with some of our students I’ve heard complaints about, “Oh, I didn’t know it was going to cost me this tool and that tool and these ongoing monthly expenses and everything,” and I am going, “What are you even complaining about?” First of all, this is a business. If you are running a McDonalds or any kind of business, you are going to have expenses like what did you think this was. I mean this is not entertainment where you just sit back and relax and let things happen to you. This is a pro-active business-minded approach. 

So yes, you are going to have tools, you are going to have landing pages. You are going to need website hosting. You are going to have advertising, you are going to need a little advertising budget. But it is so much less expensive than the alternative or compared to the old school model. What were our options before the internet? That is my question and what would it cost to get on the radio? What would it cost to go on tour? 

It is still extremely expensive. What would it cost to get a billboard or TV spot? Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the venue, you know? It is so less expensive. I mean the fact that I can run a Facebook ad for $10 a day and get 50 people to join my email list that day, incredible. You don’t even appreciate how inexpensive this is. So that is one thing. It is a huge thing that I always want to address. 

And I always tell our students, don’t cheap out on crappy tools and try to get everything for free online. It will hurt your business. You know, sell an extra pair of shoes in your closet on Bidding Wars on Facebook. Do what you got to do, get that extra 50 bucks a month so you can get proper tools. Like really, you’re creative, think outside the box. I don’t really have a lot of tolerance for people who say they can’t afford these tools. 

You can, you are just spending your money somewhere else or you have a bunch of crap that you don’t want to sell and you are lazy. So you know, you just say it the way it is. It is very inexpensive. 

27:51 CJ: Now what about time? I mean that is a big deal, right? How much time is this going to take Leah? 

27:57 Leah: Yeah, it does take time. I mean do you ask yourself that question when you want to learn an instrument or do anything? I mean yeah, it is going to take time. If you want a six-pack of abs, is that going to happen in a week? No. That is going to take some time and it is going to take consistency and dedication and not falling off the wagon and a whole lot of other things. It is the same thing with anything, right? 

Yes, it is going to take time but again, the advantage of being an online musician is the time leverage you get. So again, I am not out there, I am not even talking to a single person and yet they are joining my email list, listening to music and buying stuff. You know I think I made $500 by the time it was 10:00 this morning. So without having to talk to a single person or having to leave my house or still in my pyjamas I was doing my workout this morning and it was sales were rolling in. 

So you know, time-consuming? Yeah, it takes a little time especially the learning curve to learn how to do this stuff but once you know it, I mean think about all the time I am saving now and think about the leverage I am getting. So that is really amazing. 

29:04 CJ: So now it is just something that I see a lot, Leah, is people think, “Oh, well it is going to work for her because she is this or she has that,” or what have you, does this work for everybody or are they just going to keep comparing themselves to you?

29:18 Leah: Yeah, I think sometimes people do and I think more even so our students who think, “Oh well, Leah is successful because she has this really special little niche and everything and I admit, I have kind of carved out something unique and special but I encourage everybody to do that. I mean this goes back to branding in some of the episodes we have talked about in the last few episodes here. You know I have created a – you know it is The Red Ocean, Blue Ocean. 

I don’t know if you guys have read that book. The Red Ocean, it is very crowded and the sharks are feasting and there is blood in the water. The Blue Ocean is where there’s not a whole lot of competition, the sharks is not really circling and there is a lot of space and so that is why I like micro niches. That is why I like niching. That is the whole idea behind niche marketing and so I would say besides the fact that yes, I worked very hard to find a blue ocean for my music and get into a niche, based on what my fans are telling me and feedback and all of that. 

But I would say outside of that you guys, I’ve had every disadvantage that you could have when it comes to building a brand and you might look at me and say, “She is so successful, so it is easy for her.” I was not successful before. Like I said, some of you guys know my story but I had no connection in the music industry, whatsoever. I had no fans. I had one album really that I had help creating. 

I had kids, babies in diapers. I sang that first album nine months pregnant with very limited diaphragm space and no extra budget. I was doing this, it took me two years to make that album because I would record it on the weekends when my husband could watch the kids when he was home from his construction job and that was the only time I could do it, right? So I had no advantage in the music industry. I didn’t even know anything about business, I knew nothing about it. 

So you know I would say if it worked for me, it can work for anybody because I guarantee you, most of you don’t have five kids. Most of you aren’t homeschooling. Most of you have more time on your hands than I did and I just didn’t have any extra help guys so. 

31:32 CJ: You didn’t have any band members to do anything.

31:35 Leah: No, there you go. Yeah, exactly so I had to compose everything. I had to hire people and I did it on a shoestring budget. I’ve had an enormous challenge in front of me to accomplish everything I have. But it also served as an advantage and that I was forced to bootstrap and I think bootstrapping, there’s entire books in the business world written about bootstrapping and what a useful advantageous situation that is. When you are forced to bootstrap it, I mean there is something psychologically, especially if you are all in and you have that switch turned on that says, “I am going to succeed no matter what.” 

If you have that switch turned on nothing can stop you and that is what I am looking for in working with people. I am really not interested in working with people who are like, “I want to pursue this but it is a little thing on the side. I am not really all in.” You’re never going to see results. You have to have that switch turned on where you are almost mad. 

You almost have to get a little angry and have that little bit of an aggression behind your decision just like, “I am angry that I haven’t seen results and I am going to find out how to make it happen.” That is what happened to me and long before Savvy Musician Academy was created, I remember sitting in a chair in the living room and Steve telling me, we were just advised by the government. The government told us because we are so far behind in taxes that we should file bankruptcy. 

And when the government advises you to file bankruptcy because of your taxes, you know it is bad. And I just looked at it. I was so angry not at him but just the situation because I knew it was bad. The Canadian government by the way pretty much rapes businesses who we were very lower middle class. One income household and it was like pay for groceries or pay taxes, which one are we going to do? Well we have kids to feed. 

So I got angry in that moment and I said, “Like hell are we going bankrupt. That will not happen.” So a switch turned on in me and I said, “I will find a way. I will find a way to use whatever gift is inside of me. Whatever I have and whatever I can do at home, I will take this little and I will turn it into much.” I don’t know how and I made a decision. My first decision, I am going to make a $100,000 with my music and I am going to somehow figure out how I’m going to do that. 

I just think I know there will be expenses, I know that that might not all be profit but I am going to figure out how am I going to make a $100,000. So I made a decision out of anger and frustration in a good way, in an aggressive way, that I am going to change our family situation and I am going to do it with my music and from that moment on, it happened. Literally months later, I started making incredible progress with my music just by using social media. 

So before I knew anything about advertising and just putting in the effort making the decision, declaring a number saying this is the number I am going to hit and I will reverse engineer how it is going to happen. That changed everything, that changed our entire lives. So that is the story behind how Savvy Musician even ever came about guys. 

34:51 CJ: Wow, I don’t even want to add in because I want people to just meditate on what you just said because that’s this whole episode is about deciding to become an online musician and the key thing of what you said was you were brought to that place where you had to make that decision. “This is what I am going to do.” Now you didn’t have necessarily a Savvy Musician Academy to lean on. So it was double — you described with doing all of this on your own. 

Being pregnant and struggling financially so let us add to it the fact that you don’t have any resources to figure out how to do this and so this is several years ago and so look at where social media was at that time. So to be able to do this now and for someone to make that decision now it is so much better to make that decision now and before things change too much and everybody starts crowding this online space now is the best time guys. 

Now is the best time for you to decide to become an online musician, what action step would you give them, Leah? 

35:52 Leah: Well today, if you haven’t fully, fully committed to yourself, your music your career I want you to make that decision right now. I mean you know there are some sayings out there, “Crap and get off the pot.” Whatever you want to say but it is just like, make the decision. Are you all in or are you out? There is no in-between, you can’t dabble in this stuff and get a result that you really are looking for. You got to be fully committed, all in. 

Educate yourself and you know if this is something that you really want to pursue and you would like our help, we are here for you. So number one, the fact that you are listening to this podcast is a very wise decision. So the first thing that I want to tell you is subscribe, make sure you are getting these podcasts. What we are delivering to you is the best advice that we could give for free. We have a lot of advice that is not free and it will give you 10X what is on this podcast. It will 10X the results. 

You can’t get everything you need here but the other thing I would have you do is book a call with us, so we can help you see if and how we are able to help depending on where you’re at in your music career. You can go to callsma.com and somebody, myself or one of our team members will help you. We are going to help you get some clarity on where you’re at. So that is what I am going to leave you with today. 

37:23 CJ: That is awesome. So, guys, I hope you are going to make that decision today. There is again, minimal things that you can do right now but it is important that you do something right now. If you put it off, you are going to keep putting it off. So do something today, sign up, do something today, make that phone call and I guarantee you good things can happen when you begin to take action. 

Leah, thank you so much once again for all your counsel, wisdom and advice and it is always a joy to be with you and do one of these. 

37:50 Leah: Thanks CJ. We’ll see you guys next time. 

Leah McHenry

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.