Episode #094: Making Good Use of Your Isolation, Pt. 1


Whether your work has been affected by the pandemic or not, now is the time to seize this opportunity to improve your online music business! People are still online shopping and with Amazon limiting it’s service, there’s a greater opportunity for you and your business!

In this episode Leah and C.J. discuss what you can be doing right now to expand your fan base and earn more with your online sales. There is so much information and tips they have for you that this is just part 1 of “Making Good Use of Your Isolation.”

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Leah’s booming candle business during the pandemic
  • Focusing on your specialty
  • Synching with your culture and posting more
  • Building your email list organically
  • Creating more YouTube videos
  • The major difference between YouTube and Facebook
  • How YouTube is currently changing
  • Improving your e-commerce store and sales
  • Online shopping has not stopped because of Amazon’s “non-essential” policy


“I like focusing on the things that you can do, things that are within your grasp, your control.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:16:12]

“You’re not going to build any followers if you’re not posting anything… You need to understand your culture, because then you know what to post.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:21:38]

“Focus in on what is the culture you’re trying to build, who are you and also think about what your fans have in common.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:23:00]

“Because social media enables you to focus in on the culture, and if you can focus in on the culture then you have something more in common than just you and the promotion of your music.”  – @metalmotivation [0:24:03]

“YouTube is a search engine, Facebook is a share engine.”  – @metalmotivation [0:26:40]

“Put yourself in the shoes of someone. What are they actually searching for?”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:31:23]

“When we’re talking about making money in an online music business, Leah, e-commerce plays such a major role.”  – @metalmotivation [0:34:06]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist — explodeyourfanbase.com

Ben Stubbs (TOM Student) — https://www.facebook.com/Flamenco4U/ 

Book a Call With Us — http://www.CallSMA.com

Inner Circle Membership — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy and I am joined again by my lovely co-host, the queen of marketing herself, her eminence as I like to call her, miss Leah McHenry. How you doing, Leah? 

00:38 Leah: Good, it’s super great to be back and talking about the music business, marketing all these things. I’m just happy to be here sharing. 

00:48 CJ: Well, and that is kind of a mouthful to say because you’ve got about I don’t know how many things right now that you are kind of focused on. You’ve got a candle business which we went over the details of, but that has just kind of taken on a life of its own. 

01:04 Leah: Yeah.

01:05 CJ: Now you’ve got this other empire you have to manage. 

01:08 Leah: Yep. Yeah, that’s number 3 so, I mean we can come back and circle back to that at some point if people want to know the updates, but yeah it is kind of taking off and going bananas. I wasn’t expecting that, I thought it would be this little side thing I did for fun and it’s really growing like crazy. So yeah, that’s turning into a whole other family business that we are going to do for fun and hopefully get it off the ground to the point where we are hiring people so I don’t have to be in there every day making the candles, I can just create stuff and then come back to my music and back to SMA to do the other things that I do.

But at first, of course, it takes an incredible amount of rocket fuel to get it off the ground, right? So you’ve got to focus, put energy, time dedication, blood, sweat and tears all have to go into getting that rocket off the ground. That’s what I’m doing. I mean everybody knows, 2020 for me I am taking a little more of a break from the music side in terms of I am not making albums. I’ll write if I feel like it but no pressure sort of thing. So that frees up quite a bit for me in terms of bandwidth. 

02:18 CJ: Right. 

02:19 Leah: And then we have Savvy Musician Academy, of course. And we are building that out too so that it is not 100% dependant on me as well. Because I am finding out where my skills really lie and what I’m really good at is creating new things. Creating constantly, whether it’s new products or updating the products or the programs we already have, doing research, those kinds of things that are a lot more in the product development side of things rather than in the maintenance side of things. So that is really where I need to be. And it’s the same thing in the candle business that I have that is just getting going, my best energy is spent creating new stuff, new collections, new scents.

And I really feel like it’s the same thing for most musicians. A lot of you are going to be the same where your best energy is spent creating new things. New music, new merchandise, new stuff. So that is where one day down the road when things become a little more financially viable and you’ve got regular income, having an assistant and having other people to fill in those gaps where that’s not where your best time is spent. I

t’s not the thing that only you can do, somebody else can certainly do those things and I think that is where you are going to see a lot of progress and the rocket really will take off when you get there because now you’re utilizing your genius zone. And I really do believe in that genius zone, being in your flow, being in your gifting, doing the things that you are really good at rather than doing the things you are mediocre at or are not good at at all. At the beginning, in this candle business, I am the one doing all the stuff I don’t really want to do. I don’t like pouring candles for 8 hours a day. That’s not my idea of fun. I like it. Making a few is very therapeutic.

So sometimes you start off doing the things you don’t love to do or want to do out of the gate and that’s okay. So I don’t want anybody to feel discouraged like “oh, I’m not doing the things that only I can do”, but that’s how it begins. That’s always how it begins and that’s okay. So unless you have a crazy amount of capital to begin with and you can hire people out of the gate, you are going to be in that position. But just know that you don’t need to stay there and the goal is to grow to the point where you can introduce somebody else in that position so that you can go do the thing that only you can do. I’m always mixing that up.

Doing that thing that only you can do. Only you can create the music. Only you can be the creator in this unless you are collaborating with other people and then that’s the way it is. So anyway, sorry to go down a rabbit trail here, but I just…

05:03 CJ: I asked. 

05:04 Leah: You did. And maybe people want to know, I don’t know. My life is strange. 

05:09 CJ: Well yeah and I am just glad you knew that it was the Savvy Musician Show that you were on today.

05:15 Leah: Yeah. 

05:16 CJ: Because of all this going on. You don’t want to be that artist that tours so much and they show up in Cleveland and they say “Hey Dallas”. You know…

05:24 Leah: Yeah, oops. 

05:25 CJ: So. 

05:25 Leah: Sometimes I do, I wake up and I am like “What year is it and who am I?” I really don’t know. So it happens, it happens. But I think, that is where…man I could go off on a tangent on random things right now but I think that is where having a routine can really help because that becomes your constant. That becomes…you know your morning ritual, your evening ritual, the things you just do every day, that grounds you, you know. It just does. I think that the crazier your life is, the more you need just those couple of little anchors that bring you back to earth so you just know who you are and you can remember your name. 

06:06 CJ: Well, you and I were chatting a little bit last night and you were sharing just some of the victory with the other business going on right now and so I commented to you “Oh, I bet you didn’t see any of this when you started out” and you were like “No, I didn’t”.  And I think that is a marvellous thing because the old mythologist talks about following your bliss and that is really what you did. You pursued your talent, your ability, your interest, your passions, wherever they may lead. And you didn’t know necessarily where they were going to lead, but you followed them because you’re being faithful to that calling.

You’re being faithful to that passion and talent and ability that you have and so look at all the wonderful things. And it was on the other side of taking that step of faith, right? Taking that and being willing to invest everything you have. Not faith in the sense that something is going to be done for you, faith in the sense that you believe in yourself, you believe in the principles that you were taught and learned about marketing and business building and all of that. And so you had confidence in yourself, confidence in the principles and you just said “After this, it’s up to life, it’s up to the market, it’s up to what the possibilities are”.

But, you know, with each new threshold that you cross, with each new mountain that you climb, you didn’t arrive. It was, well now you can see so much more from this new vantage point that you’ve reached and you’re like “Okay, well I’m going to take that same energy, that same passion, that same faith, that same worth ethic and apply it to that next mountain”. There have been no plateaus for you so far and that’s an important lesson, because maybe the people who we are talking to right now are not where you are. They would sure love to be where you are, but that’s not where they are right now. That doesn’t matter.

There’s still some mountain peaks for them to reach and they need to hear some of this. Because again, ladies and gentlemen, I know you’ve heard it a lot if you’ve been listening to this podcast or following Leah for any length of time, she wasn’t born into this, she was facing bankruptcy, stay at home mother, husband working in the construction industry, and it was not a good time. This was an either-or, life or death situation for her. And now it’s not. She’s not in that place anymore, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still take it just as seriously as she did back then. And I think that’s the real lesson here. 

08:54 Leah: And, for what we are about to talk about too, making good use of your isolation, your time at home, all the extra time we have right now, government-mandated time at home, the exciting thing about this is that, just kind of tying in what I’m doing with my new candle business which is my sister brand, it’s very much related to my music in a lot of ways. A lot of cross-over in terms of audience and moods and vibes and all that. The list we’re going to share with you, things that you can do today, are the exact things that I’ve been doing to build this business and I can tell you, at the moment with what we’re doing, we are tracking, we will have a million dollar year. We will.

I mean, I said that a few episodes back, I believe that we will based on the numbers and the confidence I have because of the skills we have to do this, but now it’s actually happening. We are actually tracking, that will happen. So maybe even before the end of this year, I don’t know. I mean, there are cool things in the works, my mind is blown at the moment. And the way I made that happen is all the things I said in the previous episodes, but they are also the things that I’m doing constantly in this list that we’re going to share with you today. And the reason why I’m excited about this and why you should be excited is there’s simple things. They are things that are within your control. They are things that you can do if you can’t leave your house for 6 months.

You can still do all of these things and you can do it over and over and over again. A lot of them are free. Some of them don’t cost money and if you don’t have a budget for things like ads and stuff, all that means is you are going to be more creative with how you get your message out there and how you use organic engagement and reach that you do get. Obviously, the more budget you have, the more people you can reach, but I always see…any limitation I see is a challenge. And that’s how you have to look at it. That’s a limitation, well that’s a direct challenge for you to overcome. So figure out a way. Figure out a way to make it happen. I want everybody to get excited about what we’re going to share here.

11:16 CJ: Let me share a quick student spotlight to set this up. Because it really is an important topic and I’ll explain why that is. This is a little win from one of our TOM students, from Ben Stubbs, he says “I spent a year running FB ads and had gained some likes. After going through TOM”, which is The Online Musician “I learned how to run a much more successful campaign! I gained 100 e-mail subscribers in one week! Thanks, Leah and team!”. Now, when Leah is sitting here throwing out million-dollar figures, people may say “Well why is this person excited about 100 email subscribers?” Well because, for where Ben is, that is the first little mountain top that he has to reach and that is an important thing. 

12:05 Leah: Oh, heck yeah. I was so excited about my first 100 subscribers in my candle business. You think I’m not impressed by, you know 100 anything, I totally am. I am doing jumping jacks for joy. I was so excited about that. Never underestimate the power of just getting your first 50 people, 100 people. Then it’s like let’s double it. Okay? 

12:35 CJ: Yeah, it’s like I tell people whenever we talk about Facebook engagement, they’ll say “Well, I don’t want to post much because I have so many thousand followers but only 250 people have seen it, so it just doesn’t add up”. I say “Well, unless I put 250 people in your house”. 

12:53 Leah: Yeah. Then it’s a lot of people. 

12:55 CJ: Suddenly it’s a lot of people. But 100 people is going to turn into 1,000 which is going to turn into 10,000 and on and on. So Ben is on his way because he’s moving. If we can move it an inch we can obviously move it a mile. But Leah, recently as the whole virus thing really began to break outside of China, you took initiative, you went on our Facebook page and you wrote this post about the things that people can do. The quarantine type thing was just starting to begin, but you got ahead of the curve and you said these are the things that you can do while you’re in this time.

Now, at the same time I’m getting things ready for the next issue of our Inner Circle newsletter, which is our Inner Circle Membership, and I had a plan for other articles and things to be put in that and as I got closer and closer and this quarantine isolation thing kept developing, I just kept thinking no I need to change that, I need to change it. So at the last minute I said forget it. So I went back to your post and said let me flesh that out in article fashion whatnot and because this is just so so important. In fact, Leah, I just posted in our Elite group, my best friend, who is a very accomplished song writer producer and all that, great singer, he’s been doing cover songs. He’s classic country and one he just did is from a 1975 Rod Stewart song.

He’s got a beautiful voice and he does great production so he’s been playing these cover songs on Facebook. Producing them and just putting them out there. Not taking a whole lot of time but they sound incredible. People are just going bananas about his songs. I thought to myself, because he’s in isolation, right? So he has this opportunity to do these things. There’s any number of things that anyone who wants to build an online music business can be doing right now instead of griping, instead of worrying, instead of fretting. Leah, you put a whole truckload of things that they could do. Let’s start from the top. 

15:07 Leah: Yeah, and I love how you fleshed this out in the Inner Circle. And if you’re not a member, you want to be a member because we’re talking about a lot of the tactics, things that are changing a lot more social media-related stuff, rather than some of the bigger marketing more heavy-duty things that we do in our programs. This is something you can consume in a relatively small amount of time and we have it in multiple formats. We have it in written form, you hear CJ’s beautiful voice read the audio version. So if you’re on the go you can do that. And we also have mini-trainings in there every month.

Something new, we’re bringing on more outside guests and experts as well. Definitely join, it’s not very much at all per month. So go check that out, the link is in the show notes. So in terms of things that you can do to make the most out of your situation. By the time this comes out, we don’t know what is going to happen. It will be like 2 or 3 weeks by the time you hear this from the time of the recording, anything can happen. Anything at all can happen. It could get worse, it could get better, we don’t know. What I do know is that these are things you should be doing anyway and if you are still at home, if you’re out of work or all the different scenarios that are happening, these are things you should be doing and can do.

I like focusing on the things that you can do, things that are within your grasp, your control. For example, you can build your email list. You do not need to leave your house to do that. In fact, it doesn’t require that at all. How do you do that? There are organic ways to do that and there’s paid traffic ways to do that. In our program, The Online Musician, we really want people focusing on really nailing their micro-niche, their branding, website, mindset, a lot of these foundational pieces and organic social media, which is really free traffic. So, we really want you to focus on what can you do without spending money on ads just yet because if you’re not a developed artist yet, trying to put a bunch of advertising budget into something that is not solidified yet, is really just a waste of money.

You might get some data but unless you know how to interpret the data that’s not really helpful for you. So, we believe that you can do this organically. Obviously, you need some kind of CRM or customer relation management system. There’s millions out there, maybe I’m exaggerating, but there’s bazillions, well that’s exaggerating…anyway…there’s MailChimp, Drip, I use Drip. If you really want to go hardcore in e-commerce, Klaviyo is the gold-standard of e-commerce CRMs which I am going to be trying out pretty soon just to see how I like it. There’s Constant Contact, there’s… it doesn’t really matter which one you’re using. I will say if down the road, you want to get serious about e-commerce in terms of selling your music and merchandise then MailChimp is not the way to go but if you are getting started then absolutely. And I think, I forget how many subscribers you get for free before they make you start paying and do the upgrade, but one or two thousand somewhere around that ballpark.

So, you need to get going, right? They even have free landing pages now that you can use to get people to opt in. I wasn’t a fan before because they have limitations, you couldn’t put a Facebook Pixel and do things like that, but now they do. Use their tools. Use whatever you can and a lot of you have Bandcamp profiles. Now, they don’t have landing pages and stuff but anytime someone has ever purchased music from you, you’ve got their name on a CSV sheet you can download and put into MailChimp. They’ve given you their email address. You probably have one or two hundred names just sitting in there and you don’t even know it. A lot of people don’t even realize that.

19:15 CJ: Right. 

19:16 Leah: So building your email list any way you can through organic, I think that if you are not using paid traffic, you should be promoting people signing up for your email list. Maybe even 2 to 3 times a week depending on how often you’re posting. I like to say anything that’s promotional, do it about 20% of the time, or less. It just depends how often you’re posting. The other percentage is other stuff, so not promotional. But 2 to 3 times a week in various places like once on Instagram, one on Facebook, but people need to keep seeing it, so keep doing it.

So I really wanted to focus on that one point because that is one of the biggest things that will give you a huge ROI. It just will. All the crazy sales we are doing in my Mythologie business, which is the candle business, a huge portion of them are coming from email. I’m doing giveaways, I’m doing all kinds of things to continue building that as fast as humanely possible. So, there should definitely be an emphasis on that. Do you want to talk about the next point? 

20:26 CJ: Yeah, because I think the two relate and maybe… I like that you coached the previous one in the TOM aspect which is focusing on organic. Because this one is another one of those things where it’s an organic element as well. Even though paid traffic is obviously a primary way to do that. But how do you build your social following? 

20:55 Leah: Oh, yeah. So, I just did this from scratch all over again with Mythologie, so I start with nothing. Had no following at all. Obviously you have to have those accounts. I’m building my Facebook page and I’m building my Instagram. I do have a YouTube channel where I’m putting customer testimonials and I eventually plan to do some vlogging and stuff. But starting from zero, absolutely nothing. So, oh gosh, I cannot summarize everything you have to do to build a social following in one or two sentences 

21:32 CJ: No, I understand. 

21:34 Leah: But, first of all, start posting stuff. You’re not going to build any followers if you’re not posting anything. That’s for sure. And, of course, in The Online Musician, we really help you dial in what is your culture. We do that in the Elite program as well but as we refine our programs more, it’s a foundational piece. You need to understand your culture because then you know what to post. I think that’s where people get stuck, right? They don’t know what to post. So, if you know who you are, what your artist identity is, you know, what is your brand, what’s your niche, what books and movies and memes and quotes… what are all the things that people who listen to your music, what do you guys all have in common?

Surely you’re going to have a mixed bag of people, right? Because I have people who don’t listen to heavy metal that like my stuff and I have people who like heavy metal and don’t like my stuff. You get a mixed bag of people. But there’s something we all have in common, obviously, which is why they’re fans and why they’re all following. So, for me it has more to do with culture and the Celtic culture, the fantasy aspect of things. A lot of those people all would agree that Lord of the Rings is their favourite movie. A lot of them would agree on that even though they’re politically all over the spectrum, spiritually all over the spectrum, just so many different people. So, focus in on what is the culture you’re trying to build, who are you and also think about what your fans have in common.

Think of it like inside jokes. Like if you posted a quote from your favourite movie and it will be like an inside joke, like only people who watch Star Wars are going to get this. Right? That’s share-worthy because they are like “Oh my goodness, that was awesome”, “Oh, I love that scene”, or whatever. Only people who watch that or are huge fans of that are going to like it and want to share it. So, think of it in terms of that. What do you think, CJ, in terms of tips you can give?

23:33 CJ: Yeah, I mean I think what you’re talking about is probably the key, especially when it comes to organic, is to be really in sync with culture. I think with the recent student interviews I’ve done this really comes out, because it’s a big discovery, it’s a big “ah-ha”, it’s so not what the music industry used to be. Where you had the record labels would promote you and music magazines or record stores, or what have you. Now you’re trying to build your own audience and it’s like okay well it’s just me, my music and them, right? No. It’s you, your music, the culture and the both of you.

And that’s the missing thing that people don’t understand and why social media is so important in light of all that. Because social media enables you to focus in on the culture. And if you can focus in on the culture then you have something more in common than just you and the promotion of your music so that creates a relationship, that creates a bond to where they almost garner a sacred obligation to you. It’s almost like… it’s a beautiful debt that they have to you because you’ve participated in the lifestyle with them. You do a great job of this, Leah.

It’s a culture you both share, so when it does come to the place where you ask them to do something, whether it’s purchase something or get on a list it is so much easier. They don’t even feel like they’re being sold. 

25:02 Leah: Exactly. 

25:03 CJ: They’re glad to do it. 

25:06 Leah: Yep, exactly. That’s really good. Other things that we have on the list, you can finally get around to creating all those YouTube videos you’ve been meaning to do. With all your footage that you have already pre-recorded, vlogs, gigging, footage that your fans have sent. You can finally do all that stuff. That’s something you can do from your couch in your pyjamas. And it’s something productive that’s going to help build your brand awareness. 

25:37 CJ: And just as an almost irrelevant footnote to that, I saw a news story the other day which I thought was funny in light of the isolation from the virus. Retailers were saying, I think it was Target or something, that sales for just tops, were…

25:53 Leah: I saw that. 

25:55 CJ: Were way way up. As opposed to bottoms. Just goes to show you people are broadcasting…

26:01 Leah: That’s right, they’re broadcasting or they’re working from home so they still have meetings so they’re meeting on Zoom like we are right now. You can only see from the top up, so they are just buying shirts. No pants. In fact, they aren’t wearing pants at all. 

26:15 CJ: Oh my gosh, yeah I thought that was funny. 

26:19 Leah: That is funny. 

26:20 CJ: But yeah, get around to that YouTube video because… we don’t talk a whole lot about YouTube on here, only because it’s a search engine. THat’s a big thing that people miss, we did an article in, I think it was issue 9 of the Inner Circle was to differentiate between Facebook and YouTube. To say YouTube is a search engine, Facebook is a share engine. And the way Savvy marketing philosophy works we are more targeting an audience. That doesn’t mean that YouTube is not still relevant, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have your content there.

So that is a good thing to do and I would encourage you to go back to the last point, which is obviously post that stuff on your Facebook account as well. 

27:05 Leah: Yeah, and you know YouTube is not so much my thing in terms of where I spend my energy and my time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t . It all depends on where’s your audience hanging out. I think there’s a lot of people on YouTube, it just hasn’t been a focus of mine because I’m a recording artist, I’m not really doing a lot of gigs, I don’t have a lot of music videos. That’s just not where I put my time and energy, but if you are a very very visual artist, and I’d like to be. I’d like to do that a lot more in the future, but if that’s you, if you have a lot of videos, music videos and lyric videos and stuff, I just think you should really be working it for sure.

YouTube is harder I think, it’s more difficult to gain subscribers. Some of their algorithms, I just find it harder than any other platform. 

27:51 CJ: It’s changed a lot. Even for the big YouTube influencers, they’re raising hell right now because they are getting shut down. They build YouTube. YouTube built itself on the hard work of these content creators who are not stars, who are not celebrities, just video gamers and whatever. And now that YouTube is the size that it is, it’s now giving its newsfeed over to the major media networks and all of that. They’re getting first bids. So, everybody’s getting pushed further and further down the feed so now they are resorting to Patreon to try and make up for the lost ad money and that’s still a difficult thing to do because you’re giving so much to them on YouTube itself, it’s hard to now get them…

28:39 Leah: Yeah, to change platforms. 

28:40 CJ: Yeah, non-profit organization approach where they say “Hey, throw me 5 bucks over here because you love all my good stuff over here, I’ll put some content over here that you may not get over here” but it’s really more donation-based than it is actual sales. And it’s hard to target an audience, man. 

28:58 Leah: It is. It’s really hard. Even at SMA here, we really haven’t focused much effort over on YouTube and I’m like, man, maybe we should put more effort into it. We upload our episodes there, but we haven’t spent a bunch of paid ads, that’s one way you can do it but it’s a whole other beast, let me tell you. It’s not like Facebook ads, it’s completely different. There’s a lot of people who have not mastered it, which is why you don’t have as many advertisers over there, it’s hard. Google advertising is hard, it’s not like it was back in the day.

And then on the organic platform, it’s just tricky to get the algorithms to work in your favour so you really have to work off of the keywords, the descriptions, you can now put hashtags in your descriptions so that can help if someone’s doing a search. But it’s tough. 

29:47 CJ: Well, here’s… I can take a musician… I mentioned my buddy earlier, who is doing these cover songs and he plays in a particular kind of country style and I can take him, with one music video, which doesn’t have to be a professional music video, it can be him just playing in his living room and that’s what he did and they look great. I can take him as soon as I finish recording this podcast and if he sets up a little ad account with Facebook, which doesn’t cost any money, we can start running ads and targeting people to see his music video within 24 hours. 

30:30 Leah: Oh yeah, and you’ll have hundreds of views. And it’s dirt cheap. 

30:36 CJ: It’s dirt cheap. YouTube, you know how long you would have to wait before anybody even picks you up in a feed and you have to make sure that you’re putting in… for example when I’m handling YouTube for Savvy and I’ll put in some of, there’s the hashtag things you can put in but then there’s the keyword type thing. So people think, okay I’m going to do the keywords just like I do the hashtags. So, I’ll do #onlinemusician #something, no because that’s not necessarily what they’re putting in. Instead of saying just “online musician” you want to say “how to market my music”, “how to market my music online”.

31:23 Leah: Put yourself in the shoes of someone. What are they actually searching for. And this is what we do teach in The Online Musician, we have a module on YouTube, which is going to be totally refreshed by the time you guys get into TOM 3.0, there’s going to be a new refreshed module on this, updated. And what we do teach is you need to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is actually doing a search. Because like you said, YouTube is a search engine, so instead of just typing “country music”, I mean you could, but most people are looking for something a little more specific than that, so they might type in like…

I know sometimes I couldn’t even remember the name of the song so I’ve even typed in lyrics before. Like a line to a song because I couldn’t remember how it went or what the song was called. Details. So, that to something like a micro-niche, like I only want to find female-fronted pirate metal, or whatever, best of 2019, or whatever. And people will have playlists of this stuff. Other times people are looking for more of a mood-based thing, so it’s like relaxing music and you can find 3 hours of piano music all there for you. So, that’s another great use of YouTube, is putting together big long compilations for people using it as background music. So if you are an instrumentalist, we actually have a lot of instrumentalists in our programs.

32:42 CJ: Yeah, we do. 

32:43 Leah: We do. And they do very well. Some of them do very well for themselves. You could upload your entire album, if you haven’t already, or just create some tracks that are really long. An hour-long, two hours long. And you have to do the research. We teach you those methods in our module, how to do the keyword research, there’s some tools out there. But you can even just go and type into YouTube, let’s say I go “relaxing piano music peaceful rain sound”, something like that. Guaranteed if I type that in, there will be a million search results that come up.

And some of them will be playlists, some of them will be actual long tracks and everything under the sun. I just think this is something you could… now is the time, while you have it, you’re not distracted by going to work and doing these other things, now is the time to just dig in. Go deep and really figure it out. You know, we’re not going to get through this whole list in this one session because we’re actually going kind of in-depth on this, which I like. So, maybe we continue this on a part two pretty soon. 

33:56 CJ: Yeah. Okay, so obviously as artists, very concerned about performance and putting out their music videos and all that kind of stuff, but when we’re talking about making money in an online music business, Leah, e-commerce plays such a major role. Your side business now is exclusively an e-commerce business. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the music, but what brought you to this place, obviously, was being very successful in tying the e-commerce element to your music brand. So, that leads us to what people can do with their e-commerce aspect to their music business during this time of isolation. 

34:40 Leah: That’s right. So, and I will say, this is the crazy thing is, I’ve launched this business officially right at the beginning of the pandemic. Which was not the timing… I would never have chosen that, but that’s what happened and it has not stopped sales. We’ll put it that way, it has not stopped sales. Like I said, it’s going bananas, I think there are reasons why some people have a little bit of discretionary income. Not everybody’s lost their jobs either. But the way they are spending their money, and where they are spending it is different.

Right now, Amazon, as we record this, is only shipping “essential items” right now. So everyone else who is shopping for designer shoes and coats and stuff, that’s all being delayed. So, they are not really focused on shipping any of that stuff. Which means, that everybody who would be searching for those things, they are now going to have to go off of Amazon to look for that. So, people who would normally buy music, physical music or vinyl and merch and t-shirts and stuff, they can’t buy it on Amazon right now. So, they’re going off Amazon and they’re going to look at other e-commerce shops. This is good news for you and me.

It means that we actually have a lot more opportunity at the moment to really lean in. We can lean into it rather than taking your foot off the gas pedal. There’s a huge percentage of the population that’s still spending money, they’re just picking and choosing and it might be lower-ticket items, you know. So, I think the reason why even our candles are taking off during this pandemic and during this crazy economic shut-down… it’s going crazy and I think the reason is people still view small luxuries as a necessity. Like I’ve said to you before, CJ, I think people still buy lipstick right now, because it’s less than $10.

People still buy the little things that bring them comfort. They still buy alcohol. The alcohol stores, the liquor stores are still open. 

36:54 CJ: Oh yeah. It’s an essential. 

36:57 Leah: It’s an essential. You can clean with it. It cleans the virus, so you’re good. You’ve got a lot of vodka in your house. 

37:07 CJ: No, you’re really making a great point because… you and I share something in common which is these monster work ethics and of course, now that my kids are grown, unlike yours who are still at home, my “extra time” went into just more work. And so people are like “Well, you need some time off”. And I’m like you know what I take mini-vacations. That means I may just disappear in the middle of the day for 2 or 3 hours and for me, meeting with someone for lunch and just talking, like you and I talk offline…

37:42 Leah: It’s refreshing, right? 

37:44 CJ: It’s very, very refreshing. And I think, it’s the same thing with coffee, you mentioned lipstick, beer, Netflix, little subscriptions to things. These little things give us, they’re like little cheer-ups, it’s our own little therapy that we do. 

38:01 Leah: Little endorphin releases. 

38:04 CJ: Yeah, exactly. Little endorphin releases. I’m sure you’ve seen that meme where it says the therapist says to the lady “Ok, now what do we do when we feel it coming on?” And the lady responds “Add to cart?”. Therapist said “No, no, no, no, no, we don’t add to cart”. 

38:26 Leah: Retail therapy, right? Well, that’s a real thing. 

38:29 CJ: It really is. 

38:30 Leah: It totally is. But I think my… because I was really flabbergasted when the pandemic hit, we had already planned this pre-order and we had just launched and we’re like “Oh, crap, what’s going to happen? This is really uncertain now”. And it didn’t slow down, it ramped up. And I was like “What?” So I’ve been psycho-analyzing this whole thing and this is fascinating to me and I’m just trying to be fascinated by people’s behaviours like why is this working right now. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when the economy comes back and everything’s booming all again.

Like whoa, I’d better be prepared for that, but during this literal shut-down of the entire economy, why are people still spending money on little things like music and candles? They are because it makes them feel normal. Makes their lives feel normal, even if it’s not. They’ll do anything to feel like that. To get back in their comfort zone and sometimes those simple little luxuries like that help us feel that way. It’s that little dopamine hit. So, I think that’s why people are doing it. It’s a little gift to themselves and actually during this pandemic, too, I’ll say shout out to Lindsay Matheson, Lindsay Shcoolcraft who we’ve had her on the podcast and she did a Facebook Live with me, she recently last weekend, she is doing a new harp album.

Her and I text back and forth because we’re also friends offline, and she was asking me about, or telling me about her plan to do this little vinyl album launch during this time and she was a little bit nervous about it, but she sold out of all her vinyl, it was a limited edition thing. I think it was in less than 24 or 28 hours. And she was like it more than funded the whole rest of her album. So, it was just like holy cow, people are absolutely spending money. Your fans are still spending money somewhere, might as well be you. So, do not take your foot off the gas pedal, lean into it, go hard, it’s time to actually put your battle armour on and go to town on this.

Don’t back off. So, if Lindsay, who has a very specific niche, she doesn’t have a huge email list, she’s growing it, but she absolutely got a huge ROI out of it. She was texting me, she was so happy about it, I was so happy for her. That should tell you that you can do this during this time. You can actually be profitable during this time. 

41:08 CJ: You know, I’ve got to highlight that because back in our day, Leah, we would call that a prophetic message right there. In other words, it was something that needed to be said and there’s somebody or a lot of people listening to this right now who need to hear that “lean in” message. Because that’s not what they’re doing. They’re holding back, they’re fearful, they’re speculating. You’re projecting that if you’re in a bad situation that everybody else is in a bad situation.

I just saw somebody’s post earlier today and they said, posting from work, he said “Anybody else out here like me in a non-essential business working 40 hours a week?” And just comment, comment, comment, comment, everybody was at work. Some people were at home doing the work but they were all still working. We can think that the whole world is suddenly unemployed, they’re not. And these are people who are used to liberty, they’re used to freedom and sometimes making these little purchases are their way of saying “I’m still in control”. 

42:15 Leah: Yep. Oh, that’s true. 

42:18 CJ: You know what I mean? My life is not subject to these circumstances. So it’s almost a little bit of rebellion in people when the government is telling you to lockdown, you’re like “Well, I’m buying lipstick, then”. Your little Patrick Henry stand, you know. Give me lipstick or give me death. 

42:36 Leah: That’s great. That is so good. 

42:40 CJ: So build your store, I guess is what we’re supposed to say, but…

42:43 Leah: Yeah, well and honestly I am actually thinking, CJ, do we need to do a part two because I feel like if I start getting into this e-commerce stuff, it’s going to be…

42:53 CJ: You know what, as a fact, we’re going to make an executive decision right now. Because she and I already worked out what we wanted to do, so we’re going to not be able to cover everything on the list. We’re going to do that in the next episode. And then we’ve got something else after that about entrepreneurship that is going to blow your mind. So, let’s just continue on this train of thought. So, before we jump into then…we’ll push the e-commerce element into the next episode, we’ll go even deeper on some of these things, but like I said, I just really feel like somebody needed to hear that today about leaning in during this time.

And you heard Leah’s testimony, just if you think she’s unique somehow, oh it’s Leah and everything Leah does turns to gold, well then we just shared Lindsay’s testimony, too. What happened with her, and she just… I mean, she is still less than a year in Elite. She just left a major touring international heavy metal band, so she took a huge risk going on her own. When she did that, she immediately met resistance from people and challenges and it was a whole bunch of drama, she pushed through these things, kept working, kept doing it and then did this launch and like you said within 24 hours sold out to not a large list. Showing again, like we opened up with Ben’s little testimony there about getting 100 email subscribers, man. 

44:26 Leah: That’s where it begins. 

44:27 CJ: That’s all where it begins. 

44:28 Leah: Yeah guys, lean in, put your battle armour on, it is not time to back off. You go and press forward, that’s the call and we’ll continue that into the next episode. We’re going to continue on that note. 

44:42 CJ: Alright guys, once again, please leave a review for the podcast. We so appreciate when you take the time to do that. We read those reviews in our meetings, they’re very important to us. Keep in mind that we’ve got a TOM 3.0 launch coming soon, so you want to do what you can to keep up with that, go to explodeyourfanbase.com. Leah mentioned earlier our Inner Circle program which is at savvymusicianacademy.com/innercircle.

And there’s more stuff too, but I’d be burying you in URLs right now. We’re staying extremely busy here at SMA because again we want to serve you and help you create that online music business. Never been a better time. Doesn’t matter what’s going on right now, still never been a better time so stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll talk more about what you can be doing now during your isolation. Leah, thank you again. 

45:34 Leah: Thanks, CJ. We’ll see you guys in the next episode.  

45:36 CJ: This episode is sponsored by The Online Musician 3.0, the upgraded version of the flagship music marketing course from the Savvy Musician Academy. This cutting edge music marketing course is set to release soon, so sign up now for our waiting list to receive up to date information at explodeyourfanbase.com.

Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins recently said in an interview, “If I was going to give you 60-seconds of advice, I would put your whole focus into reaching people through the internet.” There’s no better way to start reaching your ideal fans on the internet than by The Online Musician 3.0, which covers cutting edge to topics like mindset training, branding secrets and tutorials, creating a website that converts, Instagram for musicians, YouTube for musicians, using and leveraging Facebook groups monetizing your music, creating a successful album launch and much, much more. If you’re ready for your next level in creating your own online music business, then sign up now for our waiting list at explodeyourfanbase.com

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.