Episode #062: How Leah Became A Successful Music Marketer


On today’s episode, CJ and Leah add another dimension to last week’s podcast, where they pulled back the veil on digital marketing, to talk more specifically about Leah’s own digital marketing journey. Having been a songwriter her whole life, music was present, but not always considered as a career. When her family was pushed into dire financial straits, she realized that it was now or never for her music career. This led her to try many different platforms and marketing tools, but nothing got her the results she wanted. The music industry in 2010 was what she called the Wild West, where Napster and peer to peer sharing had turned everything on its head, so she saw that she needed to take a different approach. It was not until she heard the idea of 1000 true fans that it clicked that she did not have to be world-famous to make a living as a musician. Instead, she needed simply to cater to these fans, so that they would spend money on her. Once she began to put these principles in action, she really started to see results, even paying off her family’s debt within two weeks of starting her fan club. Many of the marketing strategies came to Leah intuitively, but that did not stop her investing in her education. She always strived to keep learning more about the world of digital marketing, which lead to even greater long-term success. This does not mean that she was not afraid, she was terrified! But she believes that fear is necessary because it shows you how much you truly want something. She shares her story because she has made all of the mistakes that others do not need to. Your road to the top can be quicker and smoother than hers. To find out more, join us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What Leah’s family situation in 2011 was like. 
  • Why she called the music industry in 2010 the Wild West. 
  • How she found the motivation to continually write music despite constant rejection. 
  • What her initial marketing strategy looked like before she had any education. 
  • What the 1000 true fans premise is and why it was her ‘aha moment.’ 
  • The first two things she did to gain more traction after releasing her first album. 
  • Anger can be channeled in creativity and productivity when directed into work. 
  • What happened once she started her fan club? 
  • The moment she realized she had to start investing in marketing education. 
  • Why it is so difficult for newbies to filter out and discern what the correct advice is. 
  • The reason that she is choosing to share her story. 
  • What she spent her first royalty payments on and why. 
  • Although it is scary, spending money on yourself is the most important thing. 
  • Marketing and sales skills are necessary for everyone. 
  • What you can do today to kickstart you career today. 


“Stop trying to be really world famous and just try to make your goal 1,000 true fans.” — @LEAHthemusic  [0:16:30]

“All of the success I’ve had since I validated my music is due to investing into myself and it was uncomfortable. It hurt to put that money there.” — @LEAHthemusic  [0:33:26]

“If you don’t have that skin in the game you are not really committed.”  @LEAHthemusic [0:34:41]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah on Twitter — https://twitter.com/leahthemusic

Savvy Musician Inner Circle Newsletter — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Online Musician 2.0— https://savvymusicianacademy.com/tribe/tom/

Superfan System Elite Program — callsma.com

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show, the podcast for your music marketing. This is CJ Ortiz and I’m the branding and mindset coach at the Savvy Musician Academy and joined once again by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry. How are you doing Leah?

00:40 Leah: I’m doing fantastic.

00:41 CJ: Always a pleasure to do cool stuff like this and help musicians. We just did a – our last episode was – I really enjoyed Leah because we pulled the veil back I think on the true – not just what you do exactly, but really, what digital marketing is and if somebody wanted to really maximize whatever they’re in, not just music but I mean, anything. That is an incredible podcast for them to listen to.

So, we’re going to get into a different dimension to that by talking about your story today. But once again, ladies and gentlemen, you can be a huge blessing to us if you would be sure and rate and review this podcast, whatever player you’re listening on, whatever review options they give, please give some stars, leave a positive review, we do read these things, in fact, we share them in our team meetings.

01:37 Leah: We do. We read all the reviews from the podcast as a part of our team meetings.  So, whatever it is you write, will get heard. Good or bad.

01:47 CJ: Good, bad or ugly. Be sure and do that, we certainly appreciate that. Before we get into Leah’s story, let me just share a student spotlight, this is one of our elite members, Justine and she writes, “#win, our second album is sold out with 1,000 physical copies.” She says, “Leah, methods do work and people still buy CDs.” Isn’t that amazing?

02:16 Leah: Look at that.

02:19 CJ: You’re selling vinyl too, Leah and we’ve done episodes on this as well. People will still buy physical products and as we said in our last episode, you know, having some of the instruction that you give on Shopify helps to facilitate these types of sales. And again, go back and listen to episode 61 to hear more about that, but good for you Justine, that’s a great win.

02:46 Leah: Yeah, fantastic.

02:47 CJ: Great testimony that the principles do work.

02:50 Leah: Yeah, we’re proud of you, love it.

02:52 CJ: Yeah, it’s awesome. Now, Leah, this is something that I think you’ve told in different formats and different ways. But being in the position that I’m in now and having to sort of answer for you sometimes and respond to people, you know, on behalf of you, on behalf of SMA. I see where I think people are not as familiar with – we think they are because I’m sure you’ve told the story so many times that you think everybody – but really, so many people have not because so many people again are still baffled at your success. They’re still baffled at your results. 

So, typically, when somebody is that way, they tend to question the origins, they tend to question the starting point, so that’s why sometimes you hear marketers often say, “I was broke and sleeping on my mom’s couch and unemployed and then I did this and this and achieved success.” 

They almost have to keep saying that because people just can’t believe that you went from where you say you were to where you are now. Now, the short of it is, here’s a stay at home mom with at the time four kids and you know, you were in literal dire straits. Paint a picture for us. I mean, where were you guys? This is back in what? 2010, 11?

04:19 Leah: Yeah. Way back then. You know, I wanted to share this too because I actually get a lot of these questions even from our lead students, the people who know me, they want to know how did I get my very first beginning. What did I actually do? So, I thought, everybody can benefit from that story.

So, yeah, we were a single income household, we got married young. So, my husband Steve, he had a construction business, that’s just kind of what he did his whole life, that was his trade. And of course, I’ve been a songwriter all through my – all my life, you know, as long as I can remember, I was singing. But really, writing like intense songs when I was like 13, 14 and you know, we ended up getting married and settled down. I had a band at the time and everything, but shortly after we started a family, I didn’t expect it to happen so fast but it did.

I’m very fertile. If you haven’t noticed, I have five kids.

05:14 CJ: Thank you for that. TMI, Leah. TMI, Leah. 

05:23 Leah: Anyway, started a family young and then I had a band like I said, then I was having kids so then the band obviously stopped and my desire for music never did. And I was still you know, nine months pregnant writing songs in the piano, that was just part of my life.

So then I had about three little ones and I was still totally writing songs whenever I could. This was like my outlet when I wasn’t reading books or vacuuming crushed Cheerios out of car seats. I was writing music. That dream, it didn’t die. I really didn’t think that – I had no idea that I would be where I am right now. Not talking about SMA, just music career alone. I never dreamt that I would have a thriving music career that is like self-funded and like working with the people that I get to, the guess musicians that I get to have. 

I can almost like contact anybody I want and if they agree, they’re available, I get them to play on my album and because of work up to that point where A, I can afford them and I’ve created a little bit of a name for myself in my little, tiny niche.

And so, you know, that takes time to build that up. I had no idea that I would be ever be sitting here talking about this. Or that this would even be my reality because back then, you know, back in 2010, I mean, Napster was still making its waves and nobody knew, you think it’s the Wild West now, 2010, that’s almost 10 years ago, that was really truly the Wild West. The whole paradigm of the music industry was thrown for a loop. The table-flipping flipped over and nobody knew what to do with themselves.

The labels, everybody was breaking out, the labels were really hurt by the Napster scenario, what happened just all this new peer to peer file sharing. You know, artist were hurt and nobody knew how digital marketing and eCommerce, nobody’s really doing much of that back then. So, I’m getting Amazon was around but like, what did it even look like? I don’t even know, 10 years ago.

So, especially the music industry, this was like the end, this was like the apocalypse of the music industry. So, I’m in that I guess in that period of time, still writing my songs and still hoping that someone would discover me. So, and by that, I mean, I would go to the studio and I would write songs, I’d have friends I would write songs, we go to their studios, write songs with them and we would send of packages to labels and I would hope that I would get a response. 

Even back then, I didn’t even have my micro niche dialled in, I just really had something unique going on in my own style and nobody knew what to do with me, ever. No one ever knew what to do or we just wouldn’t get any responses.

So, I did the old school like send in a press kit style with like a CD and photos printed out and like the whole thing. Not mentioning anything about me having three little kids at home or anything. But I yeah, just did that old school style approach and that was obviously discouraging like I was hopeful, I’m a glass half-full kind of person I think, naturally.

 And that was just discouraging, but I kept writing music. So, I think the point is that I didn’t let the dream die, it was still there with me and I just knew that if I’m going to be – well, even just like saying as a person, you know, some moms will go out for like a mom’s night or something or maybe go out to the bar with their friends or they do – I would go to the studio and I would be writing music, I was already picking and choosing how I would spend my time then and so that’s what I would do. 

And then, from there, I really, 2008 to 2012 was like the birth of like artist profile sites. It’s like SoundCloud and ReverbNation and there was a bazillion little songwriting content sites and sites sponsored by radio shows and organizations and stuff where you could upload a photo, a bio, your featured songs and there would even be like little rankings. I can’t remember the name of this one. It was like the 61 or something like that and I remember uploading like crappy demos on this site or some site out there and hoping that like someone would just hear the potential in my music because it was not professionally – or at least some of it was not professionally done. 

You know, just nothing ever came of this stuff ever. Nothing. I mean, I got some like, random listeners, but I mean, it never went anywhere. And then, I tried licensing sites, like these licensing libraries or things like TAXI, where you pay a fee and they say that they’re going to submit your songs to music executives and you know, film executives and all these music supervisors and such.

And 99% of the time you’re never going to hear anything back. So, you know, wasting money there. I could list a paragraph of the different things that I tried on the internet that were designed for musicians, all the different Bandzoogle type stuff out there. I’m always leary of anything that was designed for musicians because on the internet, even today.

Even though it’s a lot slicker than it used to be. So, yeah, that was really like what I was trying to do and then 2010, I started recording a real album, that was my first real record that I released, called Of Earth and Angels. And I did it with a friend and it was – that was my real shot. That was my first big release and you know; it took me two years to create that. 

If anybody thinks I was some kind of overnight success, that is not true. Yeah, 10 years in the making.

11:26 CJ: Right.

11:28 Leah: Took me two years to create it and again, I was doing it on weekends, you know? I was writing during that time and recording on weekends. And so, I’d go out for the day, record, drive home and that was my thing, that was like my one outlet.

And then, I never thought past that, I never thought about what happens after I release it? What are we going to do? I didn’t even do a press release I don’t think the artist development company I was working with apparently they did those. But yeah, we talked about artist development companies in a different episode. I won’t go there now. 

Needless to say, we did not really have a good marketing plan so my marketing plan was uploaded to YouTube and see what happens. So, I uploaded each individual song to YouTube and hoped that that would do something. I mean, now at least have some like really great sounding stuff, maybe I’ll get discovered and someone will stumble upon it, some ANR, some label will stumble upon it. And that never happened. Six months went by and really, I had zero traction, at all.

I think I still had 11 fans on my Facebook page and half of them were my relatives. So, that was my beginning guys, I had no connections. I didn’t know anybody, I could never – even still, I can’t really name drop for you, you’re not going to hear me name dropping because I don’t like it to begin with and second of all, I don’t really know that many people, even now.

So, no connections. No knowledge of the music business, no knowledge of internet marketing, that’s for sure. Really, the ultimate starting at ground zero.

13:07 CJ: The whole time, you’re – it’s not like you were kicking around doing the stuff in luxury and ease because your husband was making so much money that it afforded you the time to go – you guys were in financial straits?

13:21 Leah: Oh yeah, hence why it also took me two years to make the album, right? It took a while and I had help too. Like I said, I made the album with a friend and that really made a huge difference. So, you know, there was no money for – I mean, absolutely no extra money for anything like even press releases or extra anything. 

After I released that album, we really were struggling financially as all families do but the economy got really tough where we were, in the area we lived and like my husband was struggling with finding work. And at that point, I started to really think hard about my music and what the potential could be, if I figured some things out with it.

I was like you know; I was starting to feel a little desperate myself like I’m a stay at home mom, I’m really unemployable at this point. I’ve been out of the market, the workplace, the workforce for a really long time. I haven’t like gained any skills. I don’t have much to offer, I would get a minimum wage job is what I would get.

So, I was trying to think about what could I do with my talents? All I have is like an album. I think I had an album and an EP, that’s as far as I’d gotten. And I figured that if I could somehow raise my skill level a bit to the point where I could make a bit more money, well maybe if there’s something there, and it wasn’t until I came across the famous article now by a guy named Kevin Kelly.

I’ve never even read anything else by this guy, by the way so I have no idea if his other works are good but he wrote an article years ago called 1,000 True Fans. A lot of people know about it and it’s very simple concept. Up until this point, I was studying like – I was reading all the articles on ReverbNation and Bandzoogle and all the different sites that were trying to help artists make money.

None of them got me anywhere. And It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this article by this guy that I had a real light bulb moment. And the premise of the article is that if you just have 1,000 true fans, you don’t need a million or tens of thousands or even you know, yeah, you don’t’ even need 10,000. You just have 1,000 true fans, who spend $100 a year from you, that’s really easy math, you could live a pretty comfortable life. That’s $100 000 a year or if you could break it up different ways, right? If you had 2,000 fans who spent $50 or break it up different ways. 

But the point is a very small group of people who are committed to you and were like real super fans, true fans, not people who like your Facebook page and then keep scrolling. People who are like so excited that you’re creating something, if you could get those people and convince them to spend X amount of dollars with you per year, you could live a comfortable life off of that. And so stop trying to be really world famous and just try to make your goal 1,000 true fans.

And I was like, “now that is something I can grab a hold of.” That is within arm’s reach there because a thousand is really not that much. And so, from there, I really had to switch in my brain that happened. It was not a gradual thing, it was like, it flipped, I was like, “oh, my gosh, I’ve been trying to, all these other methods I’ve been trying.”

“The artist profile sites, the licensing sites, the songwriting contests. It puts my destiny and my fate in somebody else’s hands where they’re saying yes or no to it. Whereas this model of getting a thousand true fans to pay me, it’s like direct to fan, it’s like artist to fan.” 

There’s nobody in the middle. And so if I create something, whether it’s like a fan club or just music or merchandise or something, that they would pay that, what would that do for my family? And so, I got to work and so by this point, I’ve been doing enough groundwork that I had started getting a few fans. I started to build a bit of a brand for myself, just off the one main album.

And I – two things happened. Number one, I launched my first big crowdfunding campaign, that was one huge thing that I did to create the next album. And the second thing I did was I launched a fan club. But before I did that, I asked, I surveyed my fans, I didn’t even know that serving was that valuable, it just seems like a logical thing.

“I don’t really know what you guys would pay me for. Can you please tell me what you would pay me for?” And so, I sent out a survey and I had already been building a bit of an email list. I don’t know even where I got that. Again, it wouldn’t have been from the music industry, I probably already started studying some online marketing and stuff for me to even get to that point.

And so, I may have sent it out maybe on my Facebook page. But again, I did not have that many people on my list. I started serving them and getting specific answers. I was asking like you know, “if I were to start a fan club, what kind of things would you like from me?” And this is before Patreon was really a big deal.

And they started telling me, “oh, we’d like this, we’d like that.” And then I also asked, “you know, how much would that be worth to you?” I wanted dollar figures and they gave me dollar figures and they were all over the map. They were like everything from like $5, $1 to a thousand. People were all over. I was like, “holy-molly!” This was so unexpected and I didn’t know really even what to do with that information. It was just like, wow, the ballparks are everywhere.

How do I assimilate this data and then make decisions off of that? That was a big, hard part there. Let me tell you something. I launched that fan club and you know. I think I’ve mentioned this in another podcast episode, but you know, we’re at the point where you know, the Canadian government was advising us to file bankruptcy because our taxes, we had got so behind on taxes as a single income family and because he was self-employed, that put us in a whole different tax bracket. 

The Canadian government is so brutal with taxation that we’re at the point where it’s like, “well, should we buy groceries or save for taxes? We’re going to feed our family so that’s what we’re going to do.” And we just got behind, you know, that adds up real quick when you have business expenses and you have contractors and you have other things going on. That builds up real fast. 

So, you know, we had a good chunk of debt hanging over our heads and to get that call was devastating to me because we had already been struggling so bad and like, I was already feeling kind of desperate and then to get that call, I was just – there was an anger that welled up in me about it. Kind of like I was pretty raging mad about it.

But what I did was I funnelled that rage into productivity and I funnelled it into action and I funnelled it into making some money is what I did. And that’s what I think that’s a good place for anger, that’s where it should go if you ever find yourself in that position is it could be very destructive or it could be constructive I think, depending on where you direct it. 

So, don’t direct it at people. Direct it at a project or something because you can actually do a lot. It’s like gas in the tank or something and so I launched that fan club and I am not kidding; within two weeks we were able to pay off that debt. That was gone. Like paid off completely and I was like, “I can’t believe that just happened.” You know, what? 

And so, I didn’t go out and spend the money and do this not even on my music. I paid, you know it was there to help my family. So, I mean if any of my fans ever listen to this, you can know that I can’t even thank you enough for believing in me at that point as like this unknown, underground artists that you would support me in that way, buy my album or buy a membership to my fan club. That changed lives. You know you affected my children in a positive way and I can never show enough gratitude for that. 

So, and I will never forget that feeling of what it’s like to be there no matter how successful I ever become; I will never forget that feeling you know? I think God allowed us to go through that for a very good reason. So yeah, that really – there is other details and parts of this story and I don’t know how long you want this to go but – 

22:20 CJ: Well, I think that what it does is what I appreciate about it and again when you compare it to our last episode, it just really shows the unique, almost providential path that you were on. So much of what you just mentioned, for example, was intuitive, instinctive. You didn’t necessarily know that you were supposed to do the survey. So, you were operating on what you felt like was the most that would bring the kind of results using the stuff that you knew about the software and things, like these fan pages or fan clubs and you were still able to produce results. 

Well that is going to create tremendous incentive then for you to then launch it into a whole other season because remember, we are just talking about you getting moving some product and you put out this album, you are very proud of it. But you are just using this right now to pay some bills and when does the coin drop for you, Leah? Where you’re like, “okay, I have to start really learning more about the marketing.” Because it obviously produces some results. So, when did that light go off for you? 

23:26 Leah: You know it was all this crowdfunding stuff that I did and you know what? And you know what? My timeline of events is I think so much happened that I probably even getting it mixed up in which thing happened first and next because it is such a blur of between this stress, life stress and financial stress and then all of these exciting things happening and me really making an effort that I am probably am getting everything mixed up at some point here. 

But don’t quote me on it too much because if I were to go back and look at my memories from five years ago, I’ll go, “oh, wait a minute that was there.” But when the crowdfunding thing happened, my first big crowdfunding campaign, which I was trying to reach $25,000 and it was all or nothing campaign. It was either everybody is all of it or I am not doing this because I know I budgeted it out how much it was cost and especially for me to work with people in Europe. 

And with the exchange rates and things like that that it was going to be really expensive. And to work with a producer I wanted and blah-blah-blah. That was a life-changing experience for me as well because I was trying to raise $25,000. I raised 27,700 or something and all without Facebook ads or paid traffic or anything. I did that with just an email list and social media that was it. 

And I got some free press out of it and stuff because by that point, I had become enough of like an up and coming underground artist that I got a few interviews out of it. I got a record deal offer, which I didn’t take. Or at least I was starting to get some interest due to this little buzz that I was creating. And so then I was like after that crowdfunding campaign, I mean I was so floored that I couldn’t even believe it. I couldn’t even believe it. I felt like before I started it I was waiting for permission or something to do with it and I was just like yeah, “I am just going to do it and have a little faith.”

It was definitely a big step of faith for me to do that and it all worked out. But after that, I realized that I just crossed into a different territory after that campaign. I have now more responsibility because it is a big deal to fulfill all of those perks and those orders that went through because there is a lot of logistic stuff and I was like, “ooh, I have” – sometimes you do feel like a business I think when you have all of these transactions that just happened. 

25:46 CJ: Right. 

25:46 Leah: Right? It was like a launch. It is an album launch. A crowdfunding campaign for an album, whether you have already completed it or you haven’t started it yet that is an album launch in itself. So, you’re really launching it twice if you then have the physical album, then you are actually doing the launch. There are multiple launches happening. So, like you said, some of it was intuitive for me and I don’t even know where that came from because I studied marketing my entire life. 

But it was there and yeah, I think it was just from that point on it was like, “okay, it is time for me to get serious here.” And I think if I really, really want to up my game and do the 100,000 again, I need a plan. I need to understand more about what scaling means and systems and software and things like copyrighting, things like brand. I inherently some of those things in place without it being too – I hadn’t really worked hard on it yet. I was still trying to find my identity a little bit especially after my first album. Still trying to find my identity.

But yeah, I think it was so many events. It is hard to really say there was one moment. I just know that at that point, when I had launched that crowdfunding and I saw that money was being raised. It was coming, I was like, “okay, I need to level up here because these people believe in me. I need to believe in myself too.” And I think I can go much further with this. 

This is like in a way in the marketing world they talk about the MVP -the minimum viable product, yeah did I say that right? MVP, yeah minimum viable product and for me like those first couple of albums, we are like the MVP. I was like, “does anybody like this? Is anybody going to listen to me? I don’t really know, I mean I am doing it for me. But if people do like it and I validated the music this niche, I have validated this market I think I can go bigger. And what do I need to do to do that?” So yeah, all of this stuff guys I am just trying to recall. 

Because so much happened and so much has happened. If you asked me what goes on in one of my weeks right now it is a blur because so much is happening in my week and so many people and the kids and stuff going on. So if I sound a little fuzzy and foggy it’s because there has been so much. 

28:08 CJ: I know, yeah. Well sure there has and I think again what is important is that people understand that you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Your success was not overnight. It isn’t some mystery. It costs you dearly. It took a lot out of you. You had to this; I mean it is one thing for me to say it but I am a guy. I don’t have these small children that I have to tend to etcetera, etcetera. So, you had all of this against. You have finance against you but through it all – 

And of course, you’re in like this remote area out in British Columbia, right? So, all you’ve got is this internet connection. You got your ability, obviously your art, but then all you got is an internet connection. So, your opportunities were limited to the internet. So, you weren’t going to be able to consider touring, you weren’t going to be able to consider all these things and so you have seen that necessity is the mother of invention, right? 

And you had to come up with it during the Wild West days, 2010-2011. I mean we weren’t even talking about the Facebook algorithm at that time. We had Business Pages, we had Facebook Groups coming along the scene but we didn’t have what Facebook would eventually become as a marketing tool. I don’t even think it was publicly traded at the time. So, you were talking about still it was still the college dorm business at that time. 

So, you were using like the fan club. You don’t use the fan club anymore necessarily. But you were using what was available at that time. Using your street smarts, your smarticles as they say and you did what you could to carve something out of it. And then once you saw the success particularly of the crowdfunding campaign you said, “okay, I’ve got to be serious now.” And you started to invest obviously more of your time in learning more dedicated, proper systemic comprehensive marketing systems. 

Now that must have been because you didn’t know. You’re like a lot of students listening to us or a lot of old people listening to us. They don’t necessarily know what’s right or what’s wrong, you know? They just listen to whoever guru shows up on their newsfeed and if this person says marketing on YouTube is right then that must be what’s cutting edge. If this person says Facebook Ads then that must be what’s cutting edge or Spotify or this or that. 

So, they don’t know how to discern what the right voice and again, go back to our last episode in the podcast to check out more about that but you had to navigate that, right? That took you time, that took you money. All to say is this is the price that someone has to be willing to pay, but your story does not have to be like Leah’s. 

You can get there faster, you can get there easier because she’s already paid the price. She’s already gone before you, she’s already made the mistakes. She’s already spent the money. I mean I am a part of the Savvy Musician team, so I see a lot and hear a lot of what gets spent for example, just on Facebook advertising. Trust me guys, you guys will choke at the amount of money they spend testing ads and whatnot. 

So, I know the proving process, Leah, that you go through and it’s still that very same person who got started there in raw form that is the one who is at the helm today. It is just much, much more sophisticated now. Much more streamlined, a whole lot more people involved, a lot of moving parts in this thing but it is still basically that same thing. Because you know I am only seeing you on a screen here, but I know if I can go into that screen and turn the corner out of the office that you are in, I am going to find those very same kids and I am going to find that very same husband and the very same needs that were there back then. That stuff never goes away with success. 

But what is important here is that no matter anybody is and you’ll tell them this, they can achieve that very same thing if they are willing to pay that price. 

32:23 Leah: And I will say that one of the critical keys to the success that I had in snowballing any – once I have validated my music a bit, the first thing I did when I made money, like those first royalty payments I ever saw show up in my TuneCore account, guess where I spent that? Well, aside from helping out with groceries and gas and food and diapers and stuff, my money went into marketing courses. That’s where it went and so you know it didn’t even go to my music. 

It went to my knowledge and my education and learning from people that I thought I could really trust that knew more than I did and that’s really when things snowballed for me. I am sharing my story of like sequence of events of what my career was like. I am sorry if that is boring to you. But if I could just help you understand that all of the success I’ve had since I validated my music is due to investing into myself and it was uncomfortable. It hurt to put that money there, especially being in the situation we were in, where it felt like do or die. 

It was like, “I have to make this work because I just paid $2,000 for this marketing course.” And that means I’d better squeeze out every drop that I can out of this because I have to find a way to make that back. And so, I know what it’s like, I know how scary it is to sometimes invest in a program or coaching or something, especially when you are feeling like a bit desperate but just know that this is not a sales tactic by the way. This is not even what I am trying to tell you about like, “Oh you should invest with me.”

I just know from experience. I know the feeling in my body when I think about that. It was really scary and I think that it should be. If you are not scared about it, there may be not something quite right with you. It should be scary. It should make you nervous. It should hurt a bit because you have to have skin in the game. If you don’t have that skin in the game you are not really committed. 

And I will tell you like I have said this and I am very honest about this, anytime we have ever given – I am not going to say every time, but let’s just say 95% of the time what we have ever given out free content or a scholarship that kind of thing. Most of the time, most people do not do anything with free stuff or a free pass or a free ticket. It didn’t hurt them enough. It didn’t hurt them to be there. So, then why would they try very hard? There is nothing wrong with them it is just human nature. It is how we’re wired. 

So, I just wanted to throw that in there that I too have been in a position where it was scary and it hurt to invest in myself, but it was the best. Can I tell you the ROI that I have received since then? 

35:40 CJ: Yeah. 

35:42 Leah: It’s been like you wouldn’t even believe. The ROI in my music career and then to apply some of those same skills and principles to create Savvy Musician Academy. Maybe there is an academy inside of you and you don’t even know that it’s there yet because you are too scared to even invest in yourself. Like this is where the rubber meets the road and where lives are changed is when you are willing to put skin in the game and find out what you are really made of. 

I mean I had no idea I’d be sitting here, talking to you as a multiple six-figure recording artist and coach of Savvy Musician Academy helping tens of thousands of people. This is still surreal somebody pinch me.

36:24 CJ: And you had no idea you’d be sitting here, talking to me. 

36:27 Leah: No and that is another pinch-me moment. Wow, CJ is on the podcast, what? 

36:34 CJ: And she means that when she says she is not making some sort of sales pitch to you. Now, me on the other hand, I will certainly take advantage of that because and you have said this before, we are all marketers, Leah. We’re all salespeople. People who will tell you they can’t sell just ask them about their kids or ask them about something they’re great at, a hobby they are passionate about, a food that they love. 

36:58 Leah: Yeah, the movie they saw. 

36:59 CJ: Yeah, the movie they saw, they will pitch it like an old school snake oil salesman. So, everybody is a marketer to some degree. But our objective here is to get you to the place where you are able to take advantage of the thing that you are most passionate about, which is your career in music and so I do want you to go to the next level. 

We have all sorts of listeners. We have people on our Elite group Leah that are listening. We have people in your student group that have taken like something like the online musician and there is others that haven’t taken anything. Not one of our courses, they just listen to the podcast. Everybody can do something today, everybody. I want to challenge every listener to do something. So, if you are in the Elite group and you are listening, I want you to sign up for the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter. Now everybody can sign up for this. 

Anybody can do that. It is $19.99 a month. It is the insider music marketing. It is from this team. We are giving you the latest up to date information on what’s happening in music marketing, social media. We give you tools, software to use, tips that you can implement. We give you mindset and motivational stuff. You get one issue per month. You need to sign up for that today. Maybe you haven’t taken the online musician that is something you need to sign up for. 

There is a great deal right now that you can get in The Online Musician. If you get The Online Musician 2.0 you will get the free upgrade to version 3.0, which will be coming out soon. All of the information will be on the show notes to get to these. And if you have taken The Online Musician before and you have been kicking around for the longest time to become a part of the Super Fan System Elite program. That is where I coach in and it really is elite. I want you to book a call today with us. 

Let us talk to you and see if it is a good fit for you. It is not necessarily going to be a good fit. You may not be ready. We don’t take everybody guys, okay? This is not about the money. It has to be a good fit. There are some people we don’t want necessarily in the program. They don’t have the attitude for it. You know the music is not quite there yet. Maybe they will be ready in a year from now or two years from now, but for somebody who you have been working at this. 

You’ve got great music, you have a website. You have been trying to build your Facebook following up, you have gotten great feedback, the Elite program is going to be the perfect fit for you. So, book that call today. I want you to go to callsma.com. That’s callsma.com. But everybody can do something. You can all sign up for the Savvy Musician inner circle. Some of you need to get the online musician and some of you guys need to sign up for Elite because otherwise, what are we doing here? 

What good is it to sit around and just all podcast about all of these things if the needle isn’t being moved and your music isn’t getting out into the world and you’re able to be this independent artist that you have always dreamed of? It’s possible guys! It is possible and you can start on that today. If you’re not chicken and you are willing to invest in you. That is what I call sacrifice. Give yourself for yourself because that is what it’s going to take.

But you can do it. We are here to help. Again, leave a review. Give us some stars whatever you are listening on, we appreciate that. Leah, always a pleasure. 

40:32 Leah: Thanks for letting me share my story and listening guys. 

40:35 CJ: We’ll see you guys next time. 

40:36 Leah: Bye. 

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.