Author: 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.

Episode #103: Behind-The-Scenes at SMA, Part 1 with Amy Roy (Customer Service Director)

If you haven’t already, you get to meet our very own Customer Service Director, Amy Roy. This is a treat not only personally but also professionally. You name it, she’s seen it and is now giving you priceless insight into a musicians journey through SMA and an online music business.

From your first phone call to SMA to years down the road, Amy and C.J. discuss what most musicians wish they had known years ago! Get ahead of the curve with this week’s episode of the Savvy Musician Show.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introduction to our SMA Customer Service Director Amy Roy
  • Jaded musicians not being a good fit for SMA
  • What is seasonal and what is not
  • Be the engagement you want to see
  • Having a clear goal
  • The pros and cons of the course
  • Progressing before establishing your micro-niche
  • Writing copy that’s simple and emotionally effective
  • The demand for your music
  • Getting a taste of victory


“Success in the online music business is really about principles.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:58]

“You have to learn how to do things year round. It can still be in seasons, but you can’t just start a course or start building your business but then take six months off because you’re not feeling it.’ – Amy Roy [0:12:20]

“If you want people connecting with you, engaging with you, you better make sure you’re also in there connecting, and engaging, and encouraging.” – Amy Roy [0:22:13]

“I am a perfectionist, which means I’m also a procrastinator because if I can’t do something perfect the first time right away, I don’t do it at all.” – Amy Roy [0:30:24]

“I think another good thing to do when you do come up with something you’re just stuck at is at your desk or wherever have a notepad or piece of paper and just write it down. Getting that out of your brain onto paper.’ – Amy Roy [0:33:23]

‘What’s going to sell is you communicating with someone emotionally.” – @metalmotivation [0:35:15]

“Whatever genre you do, I guarantee you someone needs to hear your music right now, and someone needs to hear your thoughts and your heart right now, and it’s your job and your responsibility as a musician to give that to them.” – Amy Roy [0:39:02]

“Selling that first shirt, and getting your website up, or your Shopify store up, or reaching your first 1,000 fans, these are big victories. What we want for you is to get a taste of that. We want you to taste victory.” – @metalmotivation [0:41:42]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle —

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz and the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. So enjoyable to do this podcast, and one of the best things about it is I get to talk to very, very cool people. But before I get to today’s guest, I just want to mention again that you can always do us a favor and leave a review for this podcast on your favorite player, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher. Just go there, write a cool thing about us, click stars if they tell you to click stars, and the reason being is twofold. Number one, it helps other musicians like yourself to discover this podcast and find the answers they need for their online music business.

Plus, we actually read your reviews in our team meetings here at Savvy Musician Academy, which leads me to the person who actually fields those reviews and reads them to us. You know we all wear several hats at the Savvy Musician Academy, so I thought for a long time I want to get some of the team members on here to give you guys a behind the scenes look at the Savvy Musician Academy. The person I wanted to start with is our very own, Amy Roy. Amy, thank you for being with me today.

01:36 Amy: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.

01:39 CJ: We’re usually in a meeting.

01:42 Amy: Yes, yeah.

01:42 CJ: So we have to remind ourselves that we’re not in a meeting right now, so there’s no agenda that we need.

01:48 Amy: Yeah. We can’t just… Yeah, what we usually talk about in meetings, so much.

01:55 CJ: So much fun stuff. But when I tell people on here, Amy, that we read the reviews … As we say every single podcast episode that we read the comments that people leave about the podcast in our team meetings. Is that true or not true?

02:11 Amy: True, true. Very true.

02:13 CJ: It is an encouragement for us. Obviously people for the most part leave good things when they write their reviews, but we’re open to whatever anybody says.

02:23 Amy: Yeah. I mean, any time I get feedback, I always say thank you to that person, because I know we always think or have our opinions about companies, or customer service, good or bad, but it takes a little bit more effort to actually send that in. It takes time to write a response or feedback and then click send. So I really appreciate any feedback that we get. Constructive, that’s what we use to better the student’s experience. So we need that just as much as we need the positive, but of course the positive is always so good and encouraging, and just reminds us that what we’re doing is helping and is making a difference. Who doesn’t love some positive feedback?

03:17 CJ: Oh, yeah, especially me.

03:18 Amy: Everyone, yeah.

03:18 CJ: Especially when I’m the target of those reviews oftentimes.

03:20 Amy: Yeah, yeah.

03:22 CJ: Okay. Well, let’s kind of back up a little bit. Again, Amy is on the team here at Savvy, a very valuable part of what we do, and a lot of our students will know her, but let’s get just a little bit of backstory. Amy, how in the world did you end up at the Savvy Musician Academy?

03:38 Amy: That’s a great question. It’s very random. Most of you, if you’ve been with us for a while, will remember Melissa. She was our customer service director before I stepped in for her place. My husband actually danced with her, my husband is a dance teacher, and 15 years ago maybe, before … Maybe even longer, because I’ve known him for 16, 17 years, and they danced together before I was even in the picture, so quite some time ago, and they’ve been friends ever since. I met her a couple times, and she moved up to Canada, but we’re in Washington State, so right underneath. Let’s see, she had … SMA was new and growing, and they were looking for some more help. We have two kids, and we needed something that I could do from home, and it just fell in perfectly, and I’ve been here almost three years so far.

04:47 CJ: What did you start doing when you first came on?

04:48 Amy: Just customer, part of the success team. So just answering emails and everything. Then that grew to helping out with the social media, and now I’m helping with the Elite students and customer service director. So it’s been great.

05:07 CJ: Her measure of rule has increased incrementally because Melissa did move on, what? End of last year, was it?

05:14 Amy: Yes, yeah, mm-hmm.

05:17 CJ: Melissa was very hands-on, and so Amy had a lot to learn quickly and absorb, and she’s done a fantastic job with that. So we all rely upon each other-

05:28 Amy: Yes.

05:28 CJ: … heavily, to do what each other do. I really, really appreciate the backend of the Savvy Musician Academy, especially as people see that Leah’s plate is growing, and she’s extending into so many other things. She has said repeatedly, she did not want the Savvy Musician Academy to be so focused on her, because she can’t be that. She’s a mother, like yourself, you got things to do. You can’t be a personal brand out there, and besides, success in the online music business is really about principles. It’s about applying things that are taught in our courses and whatnot, and so that doesn’t require a personality, although we understand why people get latched onto her, because of her personal success in these particular areas. 

But again, I wanted to share more about the team of the Savvy Musician Academy, and give people who don’t know us at that level, give people who may not have taken The Online Musician, Amy, or the Elite course, kind of a backstage look, a behind the scenes look at kind of how we operate as it relates to students themselves.

06:36 Amy: Yeah.

06:36 CJ: So what’s the most challenging and what’s the most rewarding aspect of working with students?

06:44 Amy: Ooh, that’s a good one. I think the most challenging aspect is when students their …

06:53 CJ: And you can speak freely.

06:54 Amy: Oh, I will. I don’t, I like truth. I just don’t want to … I want to make sure I get it clear.

07:05 CJ: Just don’t use names.

07:06 Amy: No, I mean, in all honesty, I know if someone reaches out about our courses, I know pretty instantly if they’re going to be the right fit, if they’re going to be successful, and if they’re even going to buy a course, because of how they speak, their attitude, even via text, email, which can be very hard to decipher sometimes their intentions. The main thing that I know that they’re just not going to be the right thing is one, if they’re jaded. I know a lot of musicians have tried other courses, put a lot of money into something and have gotten burned, and they’re just like … Nothing I can tell them, no testimonials, the outline of the course, all the benefits and resources we have available, they just … 

Sometimes you just need to jump and make a leap of faith with things, especially for your business and investments and stuff, but some just can’t do it. So that’s frustrating because I know that we’re different and what we offer is different from other places, and what we have to offer is so beneficial and helpful. I’ve heard so many amazing testimonies from students, but sometimes people just aren’t, they’re kind of blocked to that, and jaded, or just burnt, and they’re not ready yet. It’s not their season to join, which could change.

08:58 CJ: Right. Can we stay here and just kind of revolve around a certain … because you just said a lot, because you’re delving into kind of the territory which I’m very, very concerned about, which is mindset, attitude, and that sort of thing. So before she tells us what the good part of it, because this is critical, Amy. What you just said is absolutely critical, because not … Because you’re seeing it on the front-end, right?

09:24 Amy: Yeah.

09:24 CJ: When they first inquire, which is interesting because they’re jaded, but they’re still inquiring.

09:29 Amy: Yeah.

09:29 CJ: You know what I mean?

09:31 Amy: It’s like that smidgen of hope, but I feel really quick that if they come to me with that mentality, they’re almost … What am I trying to say? They’re almost wanting to kind of pick a fight, or they want to complain, or they want to just tell somebody else that they were burnt. When we’re hurt we want other people to feel that as well. So I think it’s almost like an outlet to like, no, you’re not going to work but tell me why maybe, change my mind.

10:08 CJ: Right, right.

10:09 Amy: Yeah. 

10:10 CJ: Well, and the reason why this is important is because, and as Amy said, she’s talked to so many people. When you talk to so many people you can start seeing certain patterns, and you can see defense mechanisms and all of these sorts of things. So she’s becoming kind of like a psychologist in short order, reaving a “body language”, if you will. But here’s the thing, guys, is what this tells you is it’s really not so much exclusively about the course, it’s about your mindset, it’s about your attitude, because somebody, and I’ve said this a 100 times if I’ve said it once, Amy, somebody with half the information could go all the way, because when Leah started, there was no Savvy Musician Academy. There wasn’t a TOM course you could go to, there was no Elite program, there was nothing, especially for musicians, that she could really draw from to build her businesses.

So she was operating on whatever information was available from other sources outside of the music business and applying these things to the music business. But again, it just makes the point, is that it requires that level of self-confidence, being willing, like you said, to take that step of faith. But it’s not so much a step of faith if you’re confident that if someone else has done it, it can be done. Unless you’re just completely convinced something is a scam. Okay, well, there’s going to be helpful information here but it really does come down to me. So you do have to wonder if, when they talk to you, Amy, that jaded is not so much because of the courses they took before, but still may be something in them, and like you said, they may not just be ready right now. What do you think?

12:06 Amy: Yeah. The seasons, we talk about this a lot, Leah preaches it and lives it, and especially as artists, there’s inspirational seasons, and you can’t really force that inspiration and you can’t force when songs will come to you, or when that art, the art side of things will work. However, to be a business owner and to have that business mindset, in addition to your music, business is year-round. You have to learn how to do things year-round. It can still be in seasons, but you can’t just start a course or start building your business but then take six months off because you’re not feeling it. For a business you can’t do that, you have to keep it going. But I do understand that the season that I’m talking about for not starting a course, or say you just went through a life experience, or you lost a job, or you have a new baby, or someone passed away and you just, you’re not in the mindset, you’re not in the financial realm of starting something like this. 

Those are completely, I mean, that’s life. I have students reaching out that are like, “Hey, I’ve seen Leah for five years on social media and it’s my time right now.” They weren’t ready for the last five years, but they are now. So that’s, yeah, the seasons of starting something. But once you start it, you got to be ready to stick with it.

14:03 CJ: So when you talk to students on the phone, Amy, I’m sure you, like you said, you go probably deep on what’s offered in the course and whatnot. Are they surprised at how much is offered?

14:17 Amy: Yes, yeah. We’ll have the student every once in a while who just wants one course that teaches them everything, but I try to reiterate nothing is like that. This is something you’ll be working on for the rest of your career, and not everyone is exactly like you. Not everyone is ready for a whole course. I think for our brains it’s easier to take in chunks. Some people can only handle or only need the Inner Circle right now, you know? Something smaller that’s monthly, that they can digest, and just keep them going throughout the year. 

Some people just are like, “I have no idea where to start.” So TOM is the place for them, and just kind of do this massive course, build a really good foundation, and then they need to sit on that for a while, work on that, build that, and then maybe a year later Elite is going to be the next thing for them. So I think Leah is very strategic and knows from experience how much to offer and when, and in what kind of chunks, and what timeline. I forgot the question you asked.

15:45 CJ: Well, you just answered it.

15:46 Amy: Did I answer it?

15:47 CJ: You just answered it.

15:48 Amy: Good.

15:50 CJ: Okay, so going back to my other question, the one I started with, which is the good and the bad. So what’s the upside? What’s the thing that you love seeing?

16:00 Amy: I just love positive people. I love positive energy. People who ask questions and are thankful for an answer. Right now, because we’re upgrading all of our TOM students to TOM 3.0 free of charge, and I love when they ask, “Hey, do I get that? I’m willing to pay because I know the value of this.” But like nope, you get it for free, and they’re just so grateful and positive. Students who celebrate the small successes like, “I just got my website.” That is such a big deal and they’re so proud of themselves, and they know how hard it was to get to that point, or I just sold my first shirt, you know?

16:52 CJ: Mm-hmm. It’s a huge win, it really is.

16:58 Amy: It’s a huge win, and we really encourage them to celebrate every … I got my first email. Someone gave me their email and it’s not my friends or family.

17:07 CJ: Right.

17:09 Amy: I just love positivity like that, and people who know that this is a long journey, and I also love students who search for things, for answers on their own. I get a lot of students who ask me questions that aren’t necessarily in the course, but all they would have to do is go to Google and search it, and find the answer. So I say, I’m like, “Yeah, I did a quick Google search, which you can do next time.”

17:48 CJ: I’ve said that too.

17:49 Amy: Students who put in the work themselves, I think it’s so much more valuable I think when they do it themselves. Leah has very good outline, very good strategies, very good information, and she always says, “I’m not going to hand-hold you.” And that’s so important. It’s the whole if you teach someone how to fish they’ll be fed forever, and that’s what we do here, and I think it’s really important, but not everyone likes that.

18:24 CJ: Right, right.

18:26 Amy: Then they’re not a good fit, I guess.

18:30 CJ: Yeah. Well, and what’s that like, telling somebody they’re not a good fit? Because these are artists, they don’t want to be-

18:37 Amy: They don’t want to be told that.

18:37 CJ: … critiqued or told that.

18:41 Amy: I try to do it as kindly as possible, but as plain as possible. I don’t like to … SMA is not here to sucker people into buying courses. We don’t want you here if you don’t want to be here, because it’s not fun for anybody.

19:01 CJ: Right.

19:02 Amy: Right. We want all of our students to succeed, and if they’re not willing to put in the work, or if they don’t appreciate what these courses are all about, it’s probably not a good fit, which doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed, but we have a very good community here, a very positive. Our Facebook groups are great. We encourage people, we want people to succeed. It’s a good culture here, and not everyone fits into that, and that’s okay.

19:34 CJ: Yeah, and I think that’s an important point for people to realize, is as you just mentioned, we’re not just trying to put money in the cash register here by selling courses where the only criteria is that your heart is beating and you breathing. We want it to be a good fit because, as she said, which is an important point, we want you to succeed, and if we don’t feel like maybe you’re ready for a particular course, like Elite for example, or if we just don’t feel like you’re going to get what you need to get out of it, then Amy will tell you it’s not a good fit.

So again, we want to keep, as she said, that culture the way that it is. Again, going back to what you said just a little bit ago, when you work with people who are very positive, and have a great attitude, and celebrate all of their little victories, when you work on the front-end of things, like for me social media with my own projects and Savvy’s projects, you meet all kinds, and yes, you get quite a few who have snarky, cynical, mean-spirited, hating, critical just attitudes. You’re just going to get that, it’s social media, right? It’s digital roadrage, I like to call it. 

But when you get past that and you get behind a paywall where everybody in there is out for the same thing, not competing with each other, they’re competing with themselves, but they’re leaning on each other with accountability, and encouragement, and inspiration, and motivation, even though it’s in a group, an online group. Of course, we all should be better acclimated to that now after a few months in this lockdown, but it really is a powerful environment for growth. So it’s not just the course, right Amy? It’s not just the coaches.

21:33 Amy: Mm-hmm.

21:34 CJ: It’s that the community that they experience with other musicians like themselves, isn’t it?

21:40 Amy: Yeah, yeah. For anyone who ever tells me, “No one really answered my question.” Or, “No one commented on my whatever.” I ask them, “Well, how many posts have you commented on? How engaged are you?” It’s hard to be engaged within a group, because SMA, I’m sure, isn’t their only group. They probably have a bunch of other groups and stuff, but put out what you want in. If you want people connecting with you, engaging with you, you better make sure you’re also in there connecting, and engaging, and encouraging, and yeah, because if you’re not doing it, then why would anyone else do it?

22:25 CJ: I can already tell you that’s going to be a clip that I’m going to use and put out on social media, Amy.

22:33 Amy: Okay.

22:33 CJ: I can already tell you that right now because I’m going to make sure that one gets driven into the ground. Again, there are so many things she’s saying, and I’m sitting and going, “Yeah, I know what she’s talking about.” Because I experience the same thing at a different level, because I’m more on the social media side, you get it earful.

22:50 Amy: Yeah.

22:51 CJ: You get inboxed, and email, and all that. So I just see in a Facebook comment somewhere, but I know exactly what she’s talking about, and you have people who don’t chime in enough. They’re not engaged themselves, and so they get a little offended maybe or have questions when they don’t get a response right away. As a coach, I’m getting tagged, or I see notifications from so many different things, and oftentimes a lot of these questions I know that other students will hopefully chime in on, and that’s something, again, that as she just said, that they can do. They can chime in, and even if it’s just not … 

Maybe you’re not answering someone else’s post, but you’re just leaving an encouraging comment, you’re making yourself known, and for someone to so quickly revert into their protective shell and take that sort of … They’re not being disagreeable, but we don’t want you to be hurt either. You need a little tough skin and a little perseverance here, right?

24:04 Amy: Yeah. Well, an example, our moderators, who are fantastic, we have a good group of moderators for all of our Facebook groups, they’re always saying like, “I’m learning more as a moderator because I have to engage and I have to find the answer again, or I have to.” And they’re like, “I do a lot better, or I feel more connected to people.” Because they’re having to engage, but they’re more positive about it, they feel more connected, and they’re learning more, so yeah.

24:43 CJ: Wow. Amy, you’re dropping bombs here. I know if Leah hears this, she’s going to be going, “Oh that’s good, that’s a good one.” Because again, these are things we kind of wish people knew, and if they ever come to mind when Leah and I are doing a podcast, we’ll obviously bring them up, but again, we’re not seeing it at the depth that you are. We’re not communicating with people at the depth that you are, and so that’s why again, I felt it’s important for them to see because there is a student life here, there’s a student culture, as Amy noted. 

A culture we want to protect, and enhance, and grow, but there is a student life. For those who are active and participating who are sharing their #wins and that sort of stuff, I tell you what, it’s just even though I’m a coach, for me it is such a delight to see them experiencing these victories. You see those students, I wish it was all of them, but you see those students who it’s a win after a win, after a win, after a win interspersed with their struggles, but they’re posting the struggles and the questions that they’re having just as much, and so you’re seeing people actually their whole process being lived out in front of you in the Facebook group, and that’s a great thing to be able to see. 

So again, I can’t overemphasize what she’s saying enough, because again, if it’s not just the course, then your success is so much dependent upon you, how hard you work, because it’s a lot of work.

26:33 Amy: Yeah.

26:33 CJ: So in fact, tell me a little bit about that. How a lot of them are, now that they’re in a course, whether it’s TOM or Elite, in particular, they’ve gotten started and now they’re starting to meet the challenges.

26:45 Amy: This kind of goes along with that, but I feel like it needs to be said because I always … People are always kind of on the fence, or what do you do? What do you offer and stuff? I always ask, and it relates to the why. We all have a why of what we’re doing, but I think it’s important to go a step beyond that and ask, what do you want from your music?

27:12 CJ: Good question.

27:13 Amy: You have to know exactly what you want, because not really knowing what you want, your drive, and your path and your seasons get murky, and slower, and there’s no consistency, there’s no reason because it does get hard. If you don’t have that what, that end goal in mind, then it’s not going to work very well. I mean, it could be I want to just beyond social media have a small following, connect with them, and sell a couple CDs a month or a year. It could be small, and that’s fine for somebody if it’s a part-time thing, or just what they enjoy to do, or they don’t need the money, whatever, or it could be I want to be like Leah, I want to be making six figures, I want this to be my family’s only source of income, I want … 

Both of those, even though they’re completely different whys and what you want, they don’t require the same amount of work, but you need to have those in place to know how to keep going through each module and each lesson.

28:38 CJ: Yeah, because I guess otherwise the course itself becomes your goal, you’re just trying to finish it, do a good job, just like when you’re a kid in school.

28:49 Amy: School.

28:49 CJ: Yeah.

28:50 Amy: Yeah. You’re like, “Okay, I just want to get my A.” And then you’re done, which was maybe how I lived my school.

29:02 CJ: Yeah, but there’s no, as you said, there’s no larger vision or goal that’s being attached to that, so it becomes … We don’t want the course to be an end, we want the course to be the means to the end, right?

29:18 Amy: Yes. If you purchase the course, it is yours. You don’t lose access to it, you get all the upgrades, it’s your course, and you can go through it at your own pace, which has pros and cons. Pros is that you can go through it at your own pace. If you have a full-time job and family you can listen to a module a night, or a lesson a night and a module a week or something. You can stop when you need to focus on something, and get that really good, and then move on, or you can just go through the whole course really quick, see kind of the path in front of you and okay, that’s a lot I have to do. Now I’m going to go back through the course and break it down, go step by step. 

We all learn differently, so I think it’s really good that it’s laid out how it is, but it also can be a negative for some people, like myself. I am a perfectionist, which means I’m also a procrastinator because if I can’t do something perfect the first time right away, I don’t do it at all. Then life happens, and then you kind of forget about this course that you spent a $1,000 on, or however much, and it kind of just time goes by, and it gets harder and harder to pick back up.

30:55 CJ: Yes.

30:57 Amy: So there’s kind of pros and cons to that.

31:00 CJ: This is so interesting because … See, by the time this podcast is posted, the previous week’s podcast is the one I did on seven reasons why musicians fail building their online music business, and you just covered two of them. One was going over the course more than once, going over the material repeatedly.

31:22 Amy: Yes.

31:23 CJ: So in other words, people fail to apply the things, because they think they know it all.

31:28 Amy: Yes.

31:28 CJ: And they go over it again and they realize how much stuff they missed, and then the other part about it was how hard it … Being consistent because of how difficult it is to get back up and going once you’ve taken that time. I always find that it’s better for me to keep momentum. I don’t have to be the fastest person at something, I just want to keep showing up every day. I might realize that sometimes we’re going to take some time off, and that’s planned vacations or what have you, and of course you can have sicknesses or whatever, but that’s different from time off because you’re frustrated or discouraged, or don’t know what to do next. Sometimes that can stifle people because they don’t realize … In fact, another thing I said in that podcast was that the best way I find to motive someone is to show them how to solve their most pressing problem.

So if I had a student, for example, contacting me late at night, and it’s one o’clock in the morning, let’s just say, and they’re dog-tired but they’re frustrated and we just happen to talk, and they just say they’re discouraged, they want to quit, they don’t want to do anything, and then we talk about the primary issue that they’re dealing with, and I give them a solution, and the lights turn on, I guarantee you they will not go to sleep. They’ll probably spend the next couple of hours excited on the edge of their seat working on what they feel like is a little breakthrough, meaning they had so much more power still inside them. So much more energy than they thought they did, so much more inspiration, and it was coming from them, not from me telling them they can do it, but from me telling them, “No, here is how you solve that particular problem that’s frustrating and blocking you right now.”

33:14 Amy: Yeah.

33:15 CJ: Now, of course, you’re going to meet another one, but as long as you know that there’s an answer to your problem, you can keep going, right?

33:23 Amy: Yeah. I think another good thing to do when you do come up with something you’re just stuck at is at your desk or wherever have a notepad or piece of paper and just write it down. Getting that out of your brain onto paper. Most people getting started, because Leah pushes micro-niche so hard, they get stuck there.

33:51 CJ: They do.

33:52 Amy: And they don’t get anywhere else. They don’t do anything else, they don’t go to the next lesson or anything. Yes, it’s very important for targeting, but we’re not there yet. Just start with what you have. If you just have your top umbrella genre, that’s fine, just put that on a piece of paper and then move on. Get it out of your body so you can see it, and you don’t have to think. Get it out of your head, put it on a piece of paper and then move on, because I guarantee you in the next lesson, or a couple lessons down the road, or a couple days from now, something will trigger and answer that for you. So please, don’t stop.

34:39 CJ: Right. She’s touching on so many things that I’ve seen myself. That’s one of my biggest complaints. Early on I saw that they were getting neutralized, literally paralyzed over the micro-niche.

34:53 Amy: Yeah.

34:54 CJ: Because they didn’t want to make a mistake.

34:56 Amy: Yeah.

34:56 CJ: They felt like it was going to make or break them, and I would tell them the same thing, Amy, which was really the micro-niche is about your targeting more than it is about how people … Because you can have this description of this odd micro-niche that you’ve got listed. I mean, it’s not going to sell necessarily. What’s going to sell is you communicating with someone emotionally, and that can be a very simple line, and a simple lyric video, and that’s how they discover you. They’re like, “No, no, no. Don’t.” Because everybody, when I would do the one-on-one branding session coaching with a lot of Elite students, I would look at their video views ads, for promoting with their videos, lyric videos or something, and they would have three or four paragraphs of copy. If you like this artist, and you like that artist, and all of this descriptive stuff, and they would write out this elaborate micro-niche thinking that that’s going to be the thing that makes them, and it doesn’t make a difference at all. They’re not getting the engagement, they’re not getting the reach, none of it.

So I’ll ask them like, I’ll say, “Well, tell me what this song is about.” And they’ll say, “Well, it’s about finding love again.” Oh, okay, well let’s meet people there, because your little video promotion is going to show up on social media. That’s where people are going to meet you, and it’s going to show up right before a post from the best friend and right before a post from their mom. So you don’t want to come across like an elaborate billboard. I said, “So just say this. Just say, ‘Do you think you can find love again? This song is for you…’ and that’s it. That’s all I want you to write.” That’s your ad, and then just that big ‘ol play button overlaying your video is all it’s going to take to get someone who you just touched. But what that person doesn’t realize is that you put all that micro-niche targeting into the Facebook Ad Manager to select someone who would be more akin to your genre of music, even if, as Amy said, all that you used for targeting was the general genre that you were using. Even that, just so long as you’re out there knocking things over in the internet, I’m fine.

I’d rather have the person, as I often say, who’s posting 50 times a day and I have to reel them in, say, “You’re doing way too much.” Rather than the person that I have to keep lighting a fire under their blessed assurance to get them to get out and do something because they’re shy, or they’re whatever. In fact, we had in a coaching call recently, Amy, I don’t know if you know the couple from the UK, kind of a jazz duo, husband and wife, he plays keyboards, and she said, “CJ, I’m just so shy. I’m the shiest person ever.” And I said, “Well then, that’s what you need to do.” I told her, I said, “I want you to be the shiest person on social media.”

37:53 Amy: Like, what?

37:56 CJ: What does that mean? That means start your posts by saying, “I’m the shiest person on social media. I can’t tell you guys how hard it is for me to write this post. I’m nervous as a cat, but here’s my video.” And you know what? You’re going to get so much love, and so much engagement, and so much response because you’re being who you are. We’re not trying to narrow you down to all these things, even though that’s taught in the course and we need to think about it scientifically, but still, this is very, very human, you know?

38:26 Amy: Yes.

38:28 CJ: I think people think, Amy, that maybe, I don’t know if you see this, but that they feel like maybe they can’t be like Leah, so, therefore, they’re not sure if a course is right for them. They want to have that kind of success, but they’re like, “Yeah, Leah can do that, but I can’t do that.”

38:48 Amy: Yeah. Well, we don’t need another Leah.

38:52 CJ: Right.

38:53 Amy: We’ve got her, and it’s great, and we need, especially music and art right now, it’s so needed. Whatever genre you do, I guarantee you someone needs to hear your music right now, and someone needs to hear your thoughts and your heart right now, and it’s your job and your responsibility as a musician to give that to them. If it’s just for your family members, or just for your partner, or yourself, you need to make the music, and if you feel that you’re called to give it to more people, it’s your responsibility to do that, and right now it’s on social media and it’s on online platforms. So you better step up and get it out there, because people need to hear it.

39:53 CJ: Man, if I was to say to her to close this podcast, what’s the one thing you want to leave everybody with, that was it. Amy, that’s another clip.

40:05 Amy: There it is, right there.

40:06 CJ: Guys, I honestly couldn’t leave you with a better thought, because again, Amy’s not been on my coaching calls, but she sounds a lot like me, because I talk about that with, just you have a responsibility to share your art with the world. It’s not supposed to be just isolated to you. Like you said, even if it’s just a few people. Be faithful with that little bit and it could become something more, and you’ll grow with that. You may not feel like you can handle more than that, but with each level of success you grow, you grow in the process and you’ll be like, “Okay. I’m ready for another 1,000, I’m ready for another few 1,000 people.” Or what have you.

40:48 Amy: Yeah.

40:49 CJ: But again, and I hope you got that clarion call that Amy just left you, that there is a responsibility that you have to share it because the world needs more art, and the record labels, and the streaming services, and the big tech and all of that, once again, are doing everything they can to rob the musician blind and at the Savvy Musician Academy we want to be advocates and defenders or artists, and musicians, and finally put them in the driver seat and have control over steering their own music career. Amy and I have seen it firsthand. We know people by name, and we can bombard you with testimonies of people who are having successes at all levels. 

Yeah, selling that first shirt, and getting your website up, or your Shopify store up, or reaching your first 1,000 fans, these are big victories. What we want for you is to get a taste of that. We want you to taste victory. We want you to taste what little achievement. We want the coin to drop for you to say, “Oh my gosh, it really works.” Like Amy said, I got somebody to follow me or give me their email and it wasn’t a family member or a friend that I coerced or twisted their arm. It’s very, very powerful stuff. Well Amy, I’m so thankful you did this today. But hearing more from you, just very thankful for the job that you do at SMA. It is certainly ground I could never cover. It is ground Leah won’t cover. 

Leah is very clear about the boundaries of her gifting and calling.

42:54 Amy: And I don’t want to do what she does, so here I am.

42:54 CJ: Oh lord, no, right? In fact, guys, go listen to her recent podcast that we just posted. I believe it’s episode 101 on her Leah Life Update.

43:04 Amy: Yes, life.

43:04 CJ: She’s talking about seasons and boundaries, and she’s putting down the most serious boundaries I’ve ever seen her put down.

43:11 Amy: Yeah.

43:12 CJ: Are put down now as she goes into the summer season, but it’s all good things, and it’s all … We want to do what’s best, so it’s good that we are surrounded by people who are observers of life and walking in wisdom. So Amy, thank you.

43:28 Amy: Yes.

43:28 CJ: Anything else you want to add?

43:29 Amy: No, I’m just so honored to be here. This is way out of my comfort zone, so I’m glad. I like to be behind the scenes, so I’m glad to do it and I hope it brings some light, and clarity, and peace. Yeah.

43:49 CJ: Well, thank you for doing it. Thank you for doing it, and you can certainly bill me for your time.

43:55 Amy: Okay, I will.

43:58 CJ: Well listen, guys, thank you for joining us today on The Savvy Musician Show. Like I said, leave a review, some stars if you can. If you’re ready to maybe get started, one great way to do it, we just revamped our, we call it 2.0 of the Inner Circle, the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, and we’ve gone off of a recent mastermind that we had, which was live video events which was so successful. Amy helped with that, and we had close to 500 people from all over the world participate in that for three weeks, and again, it was so successful we are revamping the entire Savvy Musician Inner circle to follow that line. So I’m hosting this, so you get to work with me. If that’s not reason enough, heck, I’ll send you some money and persuade you to come join me, but it’s going to be great. So you can go and learn more about that today at It is we just reduced the price.

44:57 Amy: Yes.

44:58 CJ: Knocked off another $20, so I think it’s now just $27 a month.

45:03 Amy: Yeah.

45:04 CJ: If you can’t invest that in your music business, like Amy said earlier, you’re probably not right for it, it’s not time for you, you’re not serious about it. You probably just want everything to be brought to you on a silver platter. For you, the easy way is the only way, but this is-

45:21 Amy: Or we’ll see you in a couple months when-

45:21 CJ: Or we’ll see you in a couple months, right. When you keep knocking your I’ll figure it out from YouTube videos.

45:25 Amy: Have your job back, hopefully.

45:28 CJ: We see that all the time, I’ll figure it out. You can get this free on YouTube. Yeah, well after you knock your head on the wall a few more months, we’ll see you again. But we’ll be covering a lot of great stuff, and it’s all live video-based interaction, and so we’re going to be answering questions, and we’re going to get you comfortable with marketing language.

45:47 Amy: Yes.

45:47 CJ: We’re going to get you comfortable with all of these things you may not know about, but if you’re even more advanced, we’re still going to be covering things and getting questions answered because I can go deep on a lot of these topics, and so it’s going to be a great environment for everyone to be in. So, and if you think you might be ready for something at the level of Elite, then maybe you want to talk to one of our coaches, would they even be talking to you, Amy, or that’d be some of the other folks?

46:17 Amy: Yeah, they can talk to me. I usually ship them off to Michael, because he knows all the details and stuff. Reach out to us at succe[email protected] and you’ll be hearing from me.

46:35 CJ: Wonderful. Of course, we also again, just recently released The Online Musician 3.0 aka, TOM 3.0. Where do they go for this? That’s still

46:49 Amy: Yes, I believe so.

46:51 CJ: Yes, so we have a …

46:52 Amy: Yeah.

46:52 CJ: Yeah, so we still have a webinar video there that they can watch. So go to

47:00 Amy: Or straight from the website, yeah.

47:01 CJ: Yeah, so and learn more about that. And after all that, don’t even say we don’t try to help you. Amy, thanks again for being with me.

47:12 Amy: My pleasure.

47:13 CJ: I’ll see you at the next team meeting.

47:15 Amy: Tomorrow, yeah.

47:17 CJ: See you then.

47:18 Amy: Bye.

47:19 CJ: The entire music industry just changed overnight. Suddenly every band and musician has had their live gigs canceled indefinitely. No one knows when live events are coming back, and when they do, the competition will surely be fierce. Artists are realizing they have to pivot quickly if they want to earn an income with their music. Musicians are now scrambling to figure out how to sell their music online. They need answers and they need them now. If this is you, then discover our new Savvy Musician Inner Circle membership. It’s a private subscription-based coaching group to help you launch and market your online music business fast. For one low monthly subscription, you’ll get live weekly marketing instruction plus tips, tools, news, updates, and your questions answered. It all takes place in a private Facebook group that I, CJ Ortiz, will be hosting and I’d love to help you build your online music business. To learn more go right now to

Episode #102: 7 Reasons Why Musicians Fail in Building an Online Business

C. J. has spent countless hours coaching musicians one-on-one on their marketing and out of it he shares seven reasons why musicians fail in building an online business.

What might be surprising to discover is that the main reasons for failure or quitting don’t have to do with marketing knowledge or proficiency in technology. It’s more mindset and attitude, and most students just need to get out of their own way!

Check out this week’s episode to find out not just what these seven things are but how to understand them and more importantly what to do about them!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The 7 reasons why musicians fail
  • Not following instructions
  • Standing in your own way/self-defeat
  • Getting stuck on technology
  • Not being resolved
  • Not being consistent
  • Not understanding the significance of social media
  • Being afraid of the future


“By the middle of 2020, it should be clear that everybody needs an online business.”  – @metalmotivation [0:02:49]

“The best way to stay motivated is to know how to solve your most pressing problems.”  – @metalmotivation [0:08:28]

“Just do something every day, just show up every day, because if you stop and you let that go for a few days, not doing anything, it’s so much harder to start up again.”  – @metalmotivation [0:17:02]

“You don’t need to punish yourself. You just need to get right back at it as if you never faltered… Stop turning on yourself. Don’t be your own worst enemy, be your best friend.”  – @metalmotivation [0:19:27]

“Social media is the answer to the music problem created by Napster at the end of the 20th century.”  – @metalmotivation [0:21:10]

“The key to being unafraid of the future is to strengthen yourself—to equip yourself because your best defense in life is to build a stronger you.”  – @metalmotivation [0:24:41]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle —

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. Thank you so much for being with me again today on this awesome podcast. If you are enjoying the episodes that we deliver here on The Savvy Musician Show, do me a favor and leave a review today on your podcast player: Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, doesn’t matter where it is, please leave a comment, leave a good report, and as many stars as they’ll give you to click, because this helps other people like you, other musicians, to find this podcast. If it’s made a difference in your life, I’m sure you want it to help a fellow artist or musician, so do that for me today. It means a lot.

We also read all of your wonderful comments in our team meetings, so it’s a huge encouragement to us. On my motivational pages, which I do, people always ask me, “What motivates you, CJ?” I tell them this: “You want to motivate me? Tell me how much I motivate you.” It’s great to hear from you about how much the information being shared here is making a difference in your life and in your business.

Speaking of business, I want to talk to you today about seven reasons why musicians fail in building an online business, seven reasons why musicians fail in building an online business. Sometimes people are working on their online business and they don’t know that they’re doing things right now that are going to lead to failure, lead to discouragement, lead to poor results. If you can overcome these seven things, which is really not all that hard to do, but if you can overcome these seven things, it’s going to make a tremendous difference in your success. It’s going to make a tremendous difference in how far you go in your particular online business.

You see, not everybody is the same. Not everybody has the same determination. Not everybody has the same vision. Because of that, hey, they’ll make a little bit of money and that may be enough for them, but for you, and I’m speaking to you, I know you want to go further than that. I know you’re not just out here trying to make some gas money or a little money for food or a little money to pay an electric bill. I believe you want to make a living playing your music. I believe you want a thriving online music business. We all know now how important it is to build one, right? We’ve all seen it. By the middle of 2020, it should be clear that everybody needs an online business. You need an online music business.

What are the seven reasons why musicians fail in building that online music business? Well, I would say number one is they don’t follow instructions. That seems kind of funny, doesn’t it? They don’t follow instructions, or as I like to say to our elite students, “You’re not following the course.” I can’t tell you how many times I will read questions from elite students and they’re asking about something that is covered in the course, something that Leah covered in the course itself.

Number one is they’re not following the course, but attached to that is they don’t go over it again and again. One of our recent interviews with one of our students named Anna, she alluded to this. She said that she was going over her the elite course again, she’s going through our Online Musician 3.0, this new version, again, something she’s already done before, and she listens to every episode of this podcast.

In other words, she is going over this content again and again and again. Isn’t that the way it works, whether you’re watching a movie or you’ve read a book, or like in this case, taking a course, isn’t it true that you pick up little things more and more, that you better understand the importance of things more and more the more and more you go over them? Not just not following the course or following directions, but you fail to go over this information again.

I know it’s boring. I know you feel like you’ve heard it before. I know you think, “No, I got it,” but that’s not going to work. If you’re not following the course, I seen people skip certain portions: “Oh, I know that.” No, you don’t know that, right? You think you know that, but you don’t know that. It’s always good to go over the information. In fact, you would change things so much just with this alone, by making sure you are following the course and making sure you’re going over the information again and again, as much as you can. That’s why it’s good. Sometimes you just need to listen to it in the background, or if you’ve already gone through it once with your notepad, listen to it in the background while you’re doing something else. Just go over the information again and again.

Number two, number one two, outside of number one, is a psychological issue, which is people standing in their own way. People standing in their own way. It’s amazing to me how prevalent self-defeat is, right, how people can actually talk themselves out of success: They’re on the path, they spent the money on the course, and so here they go.

Then they literally talk themselves out of it. They’re still going to have the payments to make to pay for something, but they literally talk themselves out of following through. They’re standing in their own way. They have self-defeat, right? They talk themselves out of it. They believe that they don’t deserve success: It’s too good to be true or they engage in fatalism where they think, “Well, it’s just not meant to be. If it meant to be, it would be a lot easier than this. If it was meant to be, I’d be getting more results sooner,” and so they can’t press through the difficult seasons when they’re not getting results, when there’s those dark seasons where you just don’t feel like there’s answers when it’s dark outside and the wind is blowing and the wolves are howling and every temptation is for you to quit, to give in to frustration and anger and fear and reluctance and just stop.

You just want the ease of comfort, so you’re willing to compromise. You’re willing to settle for mediocrity because it’s just too hard. It’s another steep climb up that muddy slope where it just seems so difficult, so hard, but this is the crucible, this is the critical season for you. This is when you must push through. You felt good going through the first couple of courses or things, things seemed easy, picking a name for your page and getting a logo together or something like that, but then it gets more difficult, it gets more complicated.

That takes us to number three, which is getting stuck over questions about technology and marketing and social media and software and all of these things. You get stuck because it gets hard because you’re delving into areas you’ve never been before. You’ve not been this way before. You’re great at your music, you’re great when it comes to being creative, but now you’re into all the head stuff of technology and all the gory details of marketing and software and social media and now you’re getting bogged down because this is not your gifting, right? No, you’re an artist. You don’t want to talk about marketing. You don’t want to talk about writing copy. You don’t want to talk about apps and software and all of this stuff showing up every day on social media. You don’t want to talk about that stuff. You’re an artist. You just want to create, so you get stuck, stuck on these things, questions.

I’ll tell you what, this is a real key to motivation. I’m a motivational speaker and I’ll tell you that right now: You don’t need more and more cheerleaders. That’s not what you need. You don’t need more and more people telling you you can do it. The best way to stay motivated is to know how to solve your most pressing problems. That’s the best way to stay motivated: You got to know how to solve your most pressing problems.

In fact, this was the essential premise behind our new updated release of the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, which I am hosting. We had such a great success with our three-week mastermind last month, so people were like, “Well, where to from here?” because it was great. Instead of just following a course, per se, everything with all the teaching was based on a live stream video, and then answering questions right there.

Somebody had recently wrote in saying, “I don’t know what to do now because where can I go to get my questions answered like CJ was answering my questions?” I thought, “You know what? This is probably the best way to do our new version of the Inner Circle private Facebook group,” the reason being is because I knew that the key to motivation is to help people solve their pressing problems. With building an online business, you have those pressing problems or those questions every day and you want to get them answered, so I said, “This is the way I want to set up the Inner Circle,” if you understand that, because if you don’t, what you’re going to think is there’s something else wrong. No, the reason why you’re struggling with motivation is not anything because of you. It’s because you don’t know exactly what to do next, right? You have clouds, you have darkness, you can’t see things clearly.

But once you do, you could hit me up late at night when you’re about ready to go to sleep, when you’re dog-tired and you’ve been working on your music business all day long and you’re about to give in and you’re just: “I don’t have any more energy, CJ. I’m done. I feel like I’m burnt out,” then you tell me the most pressing problem you’re dealing with in your online music business and I help you get an answer, I help you get a way forward, guess what? All of that burnout, all of that tiredness, all of that stuff is going to immediately leave your body and guess who’s going to be staying up late tonight? You. That motivation and that power and that energy is inside you, it’s got nothing to do with anything else. The key to motivation is knowing how to solve your most pressing problems. That’s the key.

Number four, not being resolved, not being resolved. You say, “CJ, what in the world is that?” Resolution, man. You ever heard of the New Year’s resolution? What’s a New Year’s resolution, right? It is a determination, a goal, a determination that you have. The reason why people struggle so much with keeping New Year’s resolutions is simply because they’re not resolved about what it is they want. They’re not resolved, therefore, because they’re not resolved or resolute, they can’t fulfill a resolution. Being resolved means there’s no room for self-doubt. Being resolved means there’s no second-guessing of yourself.

11:53 CJ: Think of a lion charging out of the brush, surprising a zebra or an antelope and seizing it. Do you think that lion is second-guessing itself, questioning whether it deserves to have that zebra, questioning whether, “Is this the right time for it? How should I do it?” No. If we were to literally be there on a safari in a Jeep watching it happen, our breath would be taken away at the ferocity of the way that lion would seize its prey. We would be overwhelmed by how ferocious an event it would be. That is being resolved.

We can take it even in a more simple example. For the longest time, I had this little terrier who, if it saw a squirrel or a bird or a kid, man, that terrier would literally choke itself on the leash to go after what it wanted. I mean, literally choke itself. It would be panting to go after what it wanted. That is being resolved, right? With no concern of your own wellbeing, just absolutely ferocious going after what you want.

Well, why wouldn’t somebody who signs up to learn online marketing for their music business, not be resolved? Why would somebody, who’s obviously a very talented musician like yourself, not be resolved to go after what they want? Well, it’s because they don’t know who they are. They’re fine when it comes to playing music, they’re fine when it comes to recording music, playing live or something like that, but when it comes to online marketing, they feel like they’ve got to be somebody else. When it comes to online marketing, they think, “Man, I need to be more like Leah. I need to do things a different way. I’ve got to become something else. I’ve got to do a shtick. I’ve got to become a personality or whatever,” instead of just being truly who they are.

It’s just one of the main issues I see all the time when I’m coaching one-on-one with my elite students: They’re not just resolved about who they are as an artist, what their brand is, what their niche is and they overthink things too much, so they’re not abandoned to the mission, they’re not abandoned to what they need to do to show up every day on social media and email to deliver on who they are. They’re afraid. As long as they can stop themselves and second-guess and keep going over and over what their niche is, over and over what their brand is, over and over who they are, then they can busy themselves with other things on the backend of an online music business and not do the things on the front end that are going to connect with their ideal audience. They are not resolved because they don’t know who they are and they’re not being who they need to be.

You just need to be who you are every day, your true self. I mean, I had somebody we just talked to in my recent elite coaching call, a lovely lady from the UK who is a very talented vocalist, her husband, very talented keyboard player, they have this wonderful jazz act, great music, no reason to hold themselves back at all. Well, she’s struggling with showing up like this online and social media. Why? Because both her and her husband are very shy. They’re just very shy people and it’s difficult for shy people to go out on social media and have to be something other than shy.

I just basically told her, “Here’s my objective for you. I want you to be the most shy person on social media.” I know that sounds weird: “Be the most shy person on social media.” Well, what does that mean? That means start your post by saying “It’s so hard for me to write this post. I’m the shyest person on social media.”

In other words, she doesn’t have to act like she’s bold, act like she’s not shy. Share that part. Be vulnerable. Tell everybody, “Hey, man, I’m struggling. It’s hard for me to put myself out there.” Guess what your fans will do? Rally around you. They’ll rally around. You see, that’s the game-changer, and I’ll talk more about this in a second.

Number five would be not being consistent, not being consistent, consistent in all the things necessary to build an online business. Once you’ve done things like follow the course and you make sure you went over these things, you know what you should be doing, but you’re not doing these things every day because people think it’s a race sometimes. They think they have to get it all done in the 10 weeks allotted for the course or whatever.

No, you don’t have to get everything done within those 10 weeks. This is not a race, okay? You can go at your own pace if you need to. What they fail to do is be consistent because they feel like it has to be all or nothing, either they’re crushing it every day, so they don’t know how to deal with the downtimes, they don’t know how to deal with the times when it’s a struggle, when it’s boring, so they stop and they’re not being consistent.

It’s better for you to at least do a little bit every day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, even if it’s just a half an hour, go through one of the courses, go through one of the modules again, listen to a podcast or whatever. Just do something every day, just show up every day, because if you stop and you let that go for a few days, not doing anything, it’s so much harder to start up again. It’s like when you go to start exercise and you go to the gym or whatever, you get going, and you’re there for a week or two and you’ve got a momentum, so it’s easy to do it.

Then something happens, you can’t make it that day and then you didn’t get enough sleep the next night, so you don’t show up that following day. Then within a couple more days, now you’re engaging in self-defeat you talk yourself out of it. Now we’ve gone a week without you exercising or going to the gym. Isn’t it that much harder to start up again? Isn’t it that much harder to start up again?

But you think, “Well, yeah, but I couldn’t get to the gym.” Okay, you couldn’t get to the gym that first day. What if you just did some pushups or sit ups or something, just take a little bit of time to do something that trains your mind to show up every day. Consistency truly is, as they say, a key to success, because it’s not just the physical stuff that you’re doing, it’s reassuring yourself that you can depend on yourself to show up every day.

That’s why it’s important, because if you don’t show up and you’re inconsistent, you’re going to start condemning yourself and then guilt is going to get in and then it gets all emotional and psychological now. Something that should be very mechanical, showing up every day, doing the things you need to do, very, very mechanical, this shouldn’t be emotional, but we make it emotional, we make it personal: “I didn’t show up. Woe is me. I’m so guilty. They should throw me in jail.” Nobody’s going to throw you in jail because you failed on your diet. Nobody’s going to throw you in jail because you didn’t show up to the gym and nobody’s going to throw you in jail because you didn’t show up to do something every day for your online business.

But that’s what we do: If we don’t show up, we’re not consistent, we make it personal and we start attacking ourselves. Let’s not do that. It has nothing to do with guilt or self-condemnation. Just get right back to work as if you never faltered. That’s the key. See, but people think, “Yeah, but I deserve punishment. I deserve it. I didn’t show up, so I need to punish myself.” No, you don’t need to punish yourself. You just need to get right back at it as if you never faltered. Isn’t that powerful? Isn’t that powerful? Man. You can keep yourself in this. You can keep yourself consistent. You can be your own coach, your own motivational speaker, just stop condemning yourself, stop turning on yourself. Don’t be your own worst enemy, be your best friend.

20:21 CJ: Number six: The sixth reason why musicians fail to building an online business is they don’t understand that social media is the real game-changer here. Social media is the real game-changer. You see, when we say “internet marketing,” internet marketing is not the same thing as it’s always been.

There’s been internet marketing for years, right? Online marketing has been happening for years, but back in the old days, you had to rely upon Google ads, you had to rely upon search engine advertising. The whole way internet marketing was being driven was by trying to be available to people who were online searching about how to solve a problem, so somebody wanted to know how to make more money, you had to show up and put all those keywords in. If somebody wanted to learn how to cook something or recipes, you had to make sure that with your website, you were using all the keywords in your articles and blogs and you were doing your Google ads so that people would stumble on you, you were hoping to get on the first page of Google List. It was a very, very competitive space.

That’s great because you can still have an online business, but that ain’t even close to what social media can do. Social media is so much better than that, it’s unreal. Social media is the answer to the music problem created by Napster at the end of the 20th century. I’ve been telling this to Leah for a very long time. I said, “What you’ve done with Savvy Musician Academy is the single greatest thing on Napster, because it focuses on the power of social media.”

Now, we do get into email marketing and all of that, and that’s where you do a lot of your selling, but the front end of everything is social media because you can’t get people on the email list without it. You can’t get people to follow you without social media and social media is not waiting for people to stumble on you on YouTube or Google searches, social media is going to your ideal audience and showing up in front of them while they’re just visiting their Facebook app or their Instagram app everyday like they always do. They’re may not be looking for you, but suddenly, you show up and because they already liked your kind of music and you put that information in the Facebook ad manager, your ads, your promotions, your videos show up in front of them and they’re like, “How does the Internet know this is what I want? I wasn’t looking for it, but it shows up in front of me.”

That, my friend, is the power of social media. If you don’t understand that social media is the real game-changer, you’re going to keep hoping that someone stumbles upon you. You’re going to think that if you just build a website, that everybody’s going to come visit it, that if you just set up a Facebook page, everybody’s going to come visit it, that all your friends are going to rally behind you and be your street team and promote your music business. No, it’s not going to happen. You’re going to have to reach people, but you’re never going to do that until that coin drops and you understand that social media is the real game-changer, okay? Social media is it. You’re going to have to master this stuff.

Finally, the seventh reason why musicians fail in building an online business is because they are afraid of the future. They are scared to death of the future. You see, fear, we still have fear. Everybody has fears and most of our fears, like fear of success, fear of failure and all of these things are just a grownup versions of a child’s fear of the dark. Why? Why are kids afraid of the dark? Because they can’t see, right? You turn on a nightlight or something like that. They can see. If we can see what’s going on around us, if we can see what’s ahead of us, we’re not afraid. You’re still afraid for the same reason. You’re still afraid of the dark because you don’t see what lies ahead.

It’s amazing that people would be afraid of things like success, but success says responsibility, right? You’re going to have to be responsible for more because as business grows, you’re going to have more to do, more to be responsible for. Being afraid of success, it means putting yourself out there on social media and then getting negative comments from people, getting trolls and getting critical people who say the meanest things to you or criticize your music.

That’s a reason for people to be afraid of what the future will be: “The more successful I get, the more arrows are going to be shot at me, the more people are going to criticize me. How am I going to know what to do? What’s going to happen?” or “How long has this online music thing going to last?” or “How long before Facebook shuts down or things change?” and all of this, fearful of the future. No, you’re going to adapt and overcome just like you’re doing right now. You have to grow. The key to being unafraid of the future is to strengthen yourself, is to equip yourself because I always, as I love to preach, it’s your best defense in life is to build a stronger you.

I can’t write enough self-help books, I can’t write enough self-help articles, I can’t produce enough self-help podcasts or videos to cover everybody’s personal situation, but the one thing I can say that solves everybody’s problem, no matter what it is, psychological, emotional, financial, relational, you name it, the one thing I can say that covers everything is that your best defense is a stronger you. That’s the one thing I can say: Your best defense is a stronger you, because a stronger you means the circumstances don’t really matter because the stronger you will be resourceful, a stronger you will be confident, a stronger you will be more determined, a stronger you will work harder, a stronger you will be more consistent, a stronger you will persevere, a stronger you won’t procrastinate, a stronger you won’t hide and cower. A stronger you is going to attack every new season with determination. Even though you don’t know what to do next, you’d be like, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t know. I know that I can depend on me.”

Like I like to say, “If you tell me that it’s up to me…” You ever heard someone say, “Well, it’s up to you”? If you’re telling me it’s up to me, well, then you’re giving me good news. For a lot of people, they can’t depend on themselves, so you tell them it’s up to you and it scares the hell out of them. If you telling me it’s up to me, you’re giving me good news.

Let’s build you up. Let’s make you personally stronger, which is why we always have the motivational mindset component to our courses, especially in the elite group. In fact, when Leah first brought me into SMA a couple of years ago, that’s what she had me doing. She says, “CJ, I just want you to talk about mindset. You’re a motivational guy. I want you to talk to my students about mindset because that’s half the battle.” How much of this we talked about today in the seven reasons why musicians fail in building an online music business has to do with the psychology, your psychology. You’ve got to fix yourself. You’ve got to build yourself up. You’ve got to get stronger. Does that make sense?

Well, that’s the seven reasons why musicians fail in building their online music business. They’re not following the course, right? They’re not going over it again.

Number two: They’re standing in their own way with self-defeat, fatalistic thinking, thinking they don’t deserve success.

Number three: They’re getting stuck over questions about technology, marketing, all the gory details they’re artists, right, so they don’t want to deal with all the mucky-muck of technology, not understanding that the key to keeping themselves motivated every day is to know how to solve their most pressing problems. If you can get those questions answered, yes, you the artist will sail through all of these long seasons of learning, marketing, and technology.

Number four: They’re not resolved and they’re not resolved because they don’t know who they are. They’re not fully committed to just being themselves.

Number five: They’re not being consistent, they’re not showing up every day, doing a little bit every day.

Number six: They’re not understanding that social media is the real game-changer. Master the front end of your online marketing business. Master the front end and the front end is social media because now you can go direct to your ideal market and not wait for people to stumble upon you.

Lastly, number seven: Don’t be afraid of the future. The key and the secret to not being afraid of the future is to build a stronger version of yourself.

Man, I sure do hope this was helpful for you. I mentioned earlier that we have the Inner Circle program revamped, so check that out today. Go to If you feel like you’ve done things well and you just have plateaued, maybe you’ve done The Online Musician, TOM 2.0 or something like that before, and you feel like you need more questions answered. You need to go to your next level, well, then you might be ready for our elite program and you can learn more about that at, Finally, we’ve just recently released TOM 3.0, so I want you to go to and learn more about that.

But again, leave us a review. We’d love to hear from you today. Thank you for always supporting this show. We believe in you and we’re committed to your success. This is CJ, the mindset, marketing, and branding coach at the Savvy Musician Academy. I will be with you again soon.

Episode #101: Life Update From Leah

Leah’s been devoted to so many things it’s wonderful to have her back on this week’s podcast and to hear what she’s been up to and her plans for the Summer.

As we all know, you can work yourself so hard you just burn out. Leah explains how to recognize signs of this happening and how to go about taking a break and staying healthy. Check in with Leah this week to hear more and also her plans for this summer!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Leah’s quick overview of the last years
  • The origin of Mythologie Candles
  • Preventing a burn out
  • Acute vs. chronic pain
  • It’s okay to take a break
  • Leah’s book suggestions


“This idea popped in my head about releasing candles to go with the music, because I wanted to create a multisensory experience and I just thought, wouldn’t that be cool?” – @LEAHthemusic [0:06:01]

“When you become obsessed with your fans and your followers and your customers, that’s where it becomes lucrative.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:13:23]

“And let me tell you, burnout, it doesn’t always look the way you think it looks and this is something I’m dealing with constantly.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:14:26]

“Chronic stress leads to lowering your quality of life and you can’t be in an inspired state when you’re also in a chronic state of stress and burnout.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:23:44]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle —

Leah’s Business Instagram Account —

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. So delighted once again to host this podcast. If you are getting something out of this weekly podcast, let me encourage you to do something for me today. Please go to your respective podcast player, whether iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and leave us stars and leave us a great review because it helps other people to discover this empowering show. Also, we read your comments. We read your good reports. We want to hear from you. So do me a favor and do that today.

This is a special episode today because I asked Leah to sit down and record a special message for you guys. As you know, so many things have changed in 2020 and maybe a great deal has changed in your own life in 2020. The same goes for Leah, her family, and what’s happening at the Savvy Musician Academy.

So just to give everybody an update so you know where Leah is at, what her plans are, I asked her again to sit down and she left a heartfelt, informative message that I believe is not just going to give you an update about where things are. It’s instructive as she practices what she preaches as she walks her own talk. The Savvy Musician Academy is about principles, not personalities, right? It’s not about CJ or Leah or a particular student. It’s about empowering you with the proven principles of direct marketing applied online to help you create your successful online music business.

But we also know you want to hear from Leah. We also know her example has been so inspiring to you. So again, I just said, Leah, would you mind sitting down and sharing your heart with our listeners, which she gladly did. I’m so excited to share this with you today. So without further ado, here’s Leah.

02:14 Leah: Hey, savvy musicians. It’s Leah here and I’m just happy to be here giving you a life update and just let you know what I’ve been up to, where my head is at, and things that are happening. So, I hope you are doing well, first of all. The world has been such a crazy, crazy place, and we’ve all had to try and adapt. And one thing that I’m thankful for is that so many of us now know how to be an online musician. We know how to market ourselves. We know how to create anything we want and market it to a very specific group of people who appreciate it and want to support us in an ongoing and sustainable way. And it’s been a pride and joy of mine to be able to help cultivate that, help disciple people up in that school of thought.

And I always like to say there’s many people out there that are doing a great job also and I feel like we’re all in this together helping people do this. And I think it’s interesting too because I never meant to get into this line of work, so to say. I never expected to a Savvy Musician Academy. That was me being creative, thinking outside of the box during a time where I was creating multiple sources of income for myself as an online musician, and sharing my knowledge and experience was one of the ways, out of five different ways, that we teach. And so that was me just walking the talk. It was just me sharing what I had learned and the successes I had had that helped change my family’s life and put it into a consumable piece of information.

And it started out as an ebook and then it grew into the Academy very quickly. And before we knew it, we had thousands of students and it was really quite an overwhelming thing to happen and it’s been amazing and I wouldn’t change anything about it. It just taught me so much about humans, behavior, psychology, sales, marketing, running a business, personal development, time management. It’s taught me so much and that’s been an amazing thing to be able to learn so much in a very short amount of time and having a success like that throws you into it, whether you’re ready for it or not. Leadership, I would say also and then there’s just been so many different even administrative type of things that I learned as well. Just project management and hiring, firing. All the different processes that take place in a business on a whole new level that weren’t happening in my music business. Let’s just say that.

And still to this day, my music business is mostly just me. It’s mostly just me and I have a very small team. I do a lot of outsourcing as you know, and I plan to always keep it small. I don’t plan on turning my music business into some corporation or anything. It’s always going to be a personal brand, as it should be. I’m an artist. As an artist, you don’t need a corporation, you don’t need an office, a head office in some building or something. Your home, wherever you dwell, wherever you create, that’s your office.

And so, anyway, I’m just reflecting on a lot that has happened in the last five years now. It’s just been wild. So, I am in an interesting season of life at the moment. And it’s interesting because it all started with this thing, my crowdfunding campaign last year in 2019 when I was coming up with some creative ways to sell some bundles and merchandise. And this idea popped in my head about releasing candles to go with the music, because I wanted to create a multisensory experience and I just thought, wouldn’t that be cool? I’ve never seen that done before. I don’t even know where I got the idea. I think I saw, I don’t know, a picture a candle or something.

I was like, “Oh dude.” I don’t know how to make a candle before. I’ve never made one, but it can’t be rocket science because they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. So I’m pretty sure I could figure that out. It’s super artsy fartsy. I’m totally down to try this. And that’s when my love for just being crafty or making candles, it just grew into something more than that.

I was like, “Man, I really enjoyed this process.” Coming up with specific scents to match the theme or mood of music and making it go together. This is really not only just therapeutic, but it’s creative in a whole new way that I’ve never experienced before. So anyway, that was a lot of fun putting that whole thing together. And the more I thought about it, the more I was like, “I know exactly what to do with this. And if I ever want to make a sister brand to go with me, separate from my music, but related obviously very similar influences and what I’m making, it’s all to do with the culture of my music. Same thing. If I ever want to do something with that, dang it, I know exactly what to do.

I’ve been studying all this eCommerce. I know how to build a team. I know online marketing. I know advertising. I understand the customer journey. I understand all the different things. Plus I would get to be creative in a different way. I think I got to just go for it and do that. So, I started making all these candles over the Christmas season and everything and it was like a switch that turned on in me. And you’ve heard about this probably if you listen to the other updated podcast episodes in the past, when I gave an update on how we were doing with my new brand called Mythologie Candles, and I made a decision, and it’s very similar to the decision I made when I decided to become an online musician when I decided I’m going to make six figures in my music business and nothing will stop me, no one and nothing will stop me.

I don’t care what I have to learn. I will learn it. I don’t care if it’s a steep learning curve. I don’t care if it’s painful, I will do whatever it takes because I’m going to save my family and I’m going to help us out of this financial situation and all I have is my music and the internet and that’s all I got and I don’t care what I have to do. I will do it. Well, that kind of determination sets things on fire in a good way. And something got set on fire about Mythologie Candles for me, something about it. A switch flipped on in me and I was like, “I have to do this.”

It’s really crazy time because we were just about ready to move. We weren’t even sure exactly when we were going to move because we were moving back to Canada and we weren’t exactly sure about the timing of that and I had just launched this new company and was taking preorders and thousands of orders were rolling in. I was like, “Oh my gosh.”

So, it was a really crazy beginning of the year between January and April. It was nuts for my family because not only were we trying to fulfill hundreds and hundreds of orders out of our kitchen and get them shipped and learning new processes, new software, new apps for processing physical goods that we were producing ourselves and making all these candles and pots out of our kitchen.

09:36 Leah: But then we found out we did need to move and it was just a timing thing and so we were also trying to move at the same time. No joke, it looked like a warehouse in my kitchen and my whole living room. There was boxes everywhere.

There was candles everywhere. It was insanity. And I don’t know. I was trying to go on a diet at the time too and that failed because I think my body just rejected the diet and assumed that a tiger was chasing me. So, it decided to gain weight instead of lose weight, even though I was in a deficit. So. The body does crazy things, it really does, when you’re under a lot of pressure. And I’m going to circle back to that whole concept of pressure and expectations of yourself because there’s a lot that I’m learning about myself.

And I think sometimes I’m not understanding or learning the lesson, but we’ll circle back there. So anyway, we ended up driving all the way up from Arizona. We’re back up in Canada, in Southern BC and the candle business is starting. We opened up the second preorder and it’s starting to boom. And that’s when the whole pandemic thing hit and everything shut down. It was right in the middle of that is when we really launched Mythologie Candles, that’s what I consider.

The whole … Up until now it was all just basically a test. And I want to say right up until this moment, it’s a test. Now we have only been taking orders for these candles for a total of 10 weeks now. We’re in about 10 weeks where we’ve been open for biz, taking orders. The rest of the time, it was shut down in between. We were sold out. We were not taking orders. You couldn’t give us money if you wanted. And in that nine, 10 week period now, we have crossed the six figure mark.

So we’re heading into our second set of six figures. So, that’s … Wow. We had a big celebration and it’s really strange to me because on the one hand it’s just a number and when you’re in the numbers every day and you’re doing what you know to do, it’s really no surprise at all. And I struggled with this in my crowdfunding campaigns because when you know marketing and when you know what you’re doing and you understand that these things are predictable when you have systems and processes to follow and you understand how to communicate and messaging and pricing psychology and you know all these things, it’s really not a surprise. And on the other hand, I’m going, what just happened? Somebody pinch me. What just happened? How did we already generate over $100,000 selling handmade candles originally coming out of my kitchen? How did that just happen?

So, I fluctuate between being completely amazed and also like, “Well, yes, of course.” Because that’s the nature of knowing what you’re doing, but also trying to enjoy the journey and go, “Wow. Wow. This is, this is insane.” So yeah, on that note, I have decided that I really want to take this thing to seven figures. I’ve talked about it in the past and I didn’t mean to be boastful or anything like that. It’s just, I’ve made this decision too, similarly the way I made it with my music business, I was like, “I’m going to do this no matter what and I don’t care what I have to learn. I’m going to do it.”

I’ve made the same decision with Mythologie. I said, I’m going to, I really want to take this thing to seven figures and beyond because it’s just in me to do it. I see the potential. Not just the potential of the candles, but the customers. I’m obsessed with our customers. And that is a beautiful thing. When you become obsessed with your fans and your followers and your customers, that’s where it becomes lucrative. And I’m not doing it because it’s lucrative. I’m just obsessed with them because they are so great. They are so positive. They are so receptive. They’re absolutely loving the candles we’re doing because we’re putting our heart and soul into it. There’s a lot of love going into it. I’m thinking through the details of their unboxing experience and just all this stuff, and it’s a blast and they’re appreciating it.

So because of that, I’m decided that I’m really going to go all in on that. And I’m really going to focus on that throughout the summer and that means that I can’t be focused on other things all at the same time. And here’s where I’m going to circle back now to things I had mentioned about working in seasons, because some of you have heard me speak about working in seasons. And when people ask me, “Leah, how do you do it all?” I say, “I don’t.” I don’t do it all. If I try, I burn out.

And let me tell you, burnout, it doesn’t always look the way you think it looks and this is something I’m dealing with constantly. It’s why my body rebels when I try to get it to cooperate and do things, it rebels because I’ve actually put too much on myself. There’s too much on my plate. And so my body perceives that, even though my brain feels like it can handle it, my body says no. No, Leah, you have limitations. You can’t do it all.”

And so I am learning to work in seasons even more so than I have before. And there’s a season at a time for everything. And there’s real wisdom in that. So I was just saying to my husband, Steve, that when our kids were little, life was very simple. Little kids under the age of seven, baby to seven, life is very simple with them. And it’s not that they’re not all demanding and it’s not all encompassing, but it’s very simple.

Your whole day revolves around mealtimes and nap time and bedtime. The whole day revolves around that. And it’s like, “Okay, what can I put in between those things?” So, after that point though, now that my kids are getting older, I’ve got a teenager and a couple of preteens and my youngest is five and a half. They are all very gifted in different ways and I am, as a mom, trying to facilitate all these different things and their gifts and interests and I’m trying to help facilitate and help them develop those things and so I feel like I’m going in multiple directions and I’m not even at the point where I’m driving them around all day kind of a thing because they’re not doing that right at this point.

But they are interested in very different things and because we homeschool already and we follow more of an interest led based type education, because I believe that by following your interests, you’re going to be passionate about it, you will immerse yourself in it and you’ll become an expert in that thing. Just read up on Elon Musk and why he doesn’t require anybody to have a college degree when he hires people, when he’s looking for that. Some interesting stuff.

So, because I believe that, that means I’m facilitating all their different needs. So all that to say is that it’s a very different season of life for me as a mom right now too than it was when I started my music career. And it means that for me to be all in on motherhood, that I need to be more available to them, which means I can’t be so divided all the time. And so it just comes down to seasons. It doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on things, it doesn’t mean that you have failed in things.

I went into 2020 knowing it’s going to be a rest year for me for music. I already knew that. I had a very strong sense about that going into the year that 2020 is the year I’m not making music and I’m perfectly okay with it. I worked my butt off the last two years I released two albums in two years. That’s a lot. It was a lot of promotion, a lot of crowdfunding, a lot of campaigning. It was just brutal. And now I can rest and I can be okay and be at peace with it and not feel like I’m a failure as a songwriter or something.

17:42 Leah: So, I accept that already. Now I’m realizing Mythologie Candles is where my heart is at right now and I need to follow that. I need to follow my heart there. So that means putting my energy there and going all-in on that. Now I’ll say, I have the most supportive husband in the world. He’s totally in and helping me with that and we’re at the point where the business is doing well enough that we have a commercial warehouse now. We just hired our third person to help actually manufacture the candle.

So, guess what? In the last two weeks I have not stepped foot in the warehouse physically and I have not made a candle myself. So we now have three people helping and they got their system down and it’s a beautiful thing. And so I’m learning how to build a physical team. In the past with building Savvy Musician Academy, all of our team is virtual and they’re all over the world and that’s a beautiful thing as well. But this is a different kind of business where we’re physically manufacturing things, we’re building a physical team.

So, I am able to delegate that process to these people who are just thrilled to have a job right now, and boy does that warm my heart to be able to give people jobs right now where people need them the most in a small community. And I will say, this candle business is actually, believe it or not, we’re operating out of Northern Washington. So we actually cross the border to go to work and it’s okay because some of you might not know, but I’m actually a dual citizen. I’m Canadian and American. So, it’s no problem for me to get passed through the border at the moment.

So having said that, working in seasons, that means, listen, you can’t do everything all at once. And I love the idea about how rockets work. In order to get a rocket off the ground, it’s going to take the most rocket fuel at that point to get it off the ground. And the same thing is going to go with your music or anything you’re pursuing creatively. And it’s also why I tell people, just choose one niche. You can’t, you can’t do everything. You can’t get two or three bands off the ground at the same time. You’ve got one rocket and you have one chance to get that thing off the ground.

So, you need to consolidate your efforts, consolidate your energy, and it needs to go into one thing. So, that’s where you’re going to see me this summer. So you might feel like, “Where’s Leah? I haven’t heard from her in SMA.” But really I’m around, but I’m just walking the talk. I live what I preach.

And so you’ll see me in Mythologie Candles. That’s where I’m going to be. You’ll see me doing a lot there. Not so much my face necessarily, but you can just be sure that everything going on, Leah’s doing that stuff. I might not be pressing every single button myself, but I’m certainly orchestrating a lot going on behind the scenes.

And that brings me also to talking to you about just burnout and yourself, because burnout doesn’t always look the way you think it’s going to look. And this is something that I have had to recognize and the reason why it’s brought me to really consider am I really working in seasons the way I need to or do I say that I’m working in seasons and really I’m piling stuff on myself? So burnout can look like not sleeping as well, it can look like anxiety, it can look like depression, it can like stress habits, little things that you’re doing out of stress, and it can look like a weight gain for no reason.

Your body is an incredible machine that’s trying to keep you alive and it will slow your metabolism down just so that you can survive another day because it senses danger and so there’s a difference between chronic stress and acute stress. And I was just talking about this to my husband, Steve. And I said, I sometimes think I don’t know the difference between chronic and acute. Acute is like, if you step on a nail, that pain is acute pain. It’s radiating. It can’t get more intense than it is at that moment.

But chronic pain, something you’re living with that’s a lower grade pain that’s day in and day out. Sometimes you almost forget you even have it because you’re so used to living with it every day. That’s actually happened to me with … I have a jaw pain and I don’t know where it came … I woke up one day and my jaw didn’t feel right and then I had a dentist visit and I think something got messed up at the dentist.

You have your jaw pried open for a long period of time. And I feel like I got some kind of a micro injury and that made it worse. And now I just am living with a lot of strange jaw pain and lack of mobility. Well, that pain has become chronic and low grade. So, it’s interesting the way the body works.

And so burnout can happen when you’ve had long amounts of chronic stress and you don’t even recognize it anymore. And I’ve said, I think my meter is broken. I think my stress meter is broken. I don’t even feel stressed out at all. At least I don’t perceive it anymore. And so I’m sharing with you my reality because I feel like these are things we don’t talk about enough as musicians and people, you’re taking on a lot.

If you’re becoming an online musician, you’re taking on a whole lot. You’re learning a lot, you’ve committed to a steep learning curve. You’re learning to be a marketer. You’re learning to be an entrepreneur. You’re still an artist. You’re managing and balancing your family and your personal time and your health and exercise and shopping and family drama and there’s a number of things. And sometimes it can really pile on you. And so I just want to bring attention to the fact that I go through this too, and I have to reevaluate things regularly, and I have to determine what’s the priority right now so that I can stay healthy and grow as a person.

Because chronic stress leads to disease. Chronic stress leads to lowering your quality of life and you can’t be in an inspired state when you’re also in a chronic state of stress and burnout. So, in order to get back to that state of inspiration, you’ve got to clear your plate. Take stuff off your plate. Remove the pressure. And so that’s what I’m doing. And in fact, I’m going to go so far in my music business to completely remove that pressure entirely, where I’m actually going to close my shop for the summer. I’m going to have a summer break, a summer vacation from the Leah shop. And that means I’m going to reduce my bills.

So, I’m going to pause my shop and I’m going to pause other things I’ve been doing so I can focus on one thing and completely remove the pressure. And it’s okay to do that. I think the important thing is if you are intentional about it. Always be purposeful and intentional. If you can be purposeful and intentional with it, then you’re good. You’re good. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that.

24:49 Leah: So, if you end up browsing on my stuff at some point in this and you’re like, “What happened to Leah’s shop?” That’s what happened is I’m just taking a summer break from it so I can focus on the thing where my heart is at right now and that’s Mythologie Candles and it’s already being successful, it’s become successful and I’m going to take it to a whole other level. And boy oh boy, will I be having a lot to share about that as time goes on.

Because just keep in mind, I’m branching off of the culture that I’ve already created from my music. It’s a sister brand. Now you could do this with so many things. You could do this with jewelry. Daniel Coates, one of our wonderful students, he’s done tremendous things with his jewelry line that compliments his band. And sometimes they sell more of the jewelry than their CDs at shows.

So, gosh, there’s so much you can do. And so I hope to just keep inspiring you just by being transparent and yeah, you’ve got to follow your bliss as CJ and I like to talk about. Follow your bliss. Now I will leave you with a couple of current books that I’m reading right now. I just thought you might enjoy to hear what I’m reading at the moment. And by the way, even though I won’t be … I’ll probably also take a social media break from my music too. It’s okay to take a break.

I’m all like, “Yeah, come on. You guys got to be posting more often.” But if you’re intentional and you communicate that to your fans, “Hey, taking a social media break. Here’s why, here’s what I’m doing, I’ll be back.” They totally get it. They totally understand. And sometimes you have to go into your shell and become a hermit for a little while so you can emerge with a new project, a new music, or whatever you’re doing. And that’s totally fine.

So in the meantime, I won’t be updating my music social media as much during the summer for the same reason, but I do have a new Instagram account where I’m talking more about just business in general only, which you can follow. It’s @realleahmchenry. So, we’ll put that in the show notes. Real Leah McHenry. And I’m just sharing about just business epiphanies I’m having on a regular basis. So, it’s not to do with music necessarily. It’s just building a business. So, I have to scratch a niche, right?

So anyways, let me leave you with the couple of books I’m reading at the moment that are fascinating, I’m about halfway through both of them. One is called the Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. And it’s all about the secrets of highly successful groups. Again, this may or may not be as useful to you in music marketing, but I learn from so many different sources. And in fact, the more stuff you read that may not even be relevant to music per se, the better copywriter you’re going to become, the more persuasive messenger, messaging that you will have because good copywriters draw from many different sources and use them as examples.

So, anyway, that’s just a little side note. But the Culture Code is really interesting. It’s about just what makes any group of people succeed? So, if you’re building a business and you have a team, why do certain large corporations, why is it so compelling? The Zappos where they’re billion dollar businesses. Why do people move for that job? Why do they uproot their lives to come and work there? What is it about it?

And yeah, some cool psychology stuff that I really enjoyed learning about how people influence groups too. So if you have a bad apple, for example, that’s in the first chapter, if you have a bad apple who comes in, most of the time they will spoil the bunch. The bad apple spoils the bunch, and just how their attitude will affect other people.

So they gave some examples of this experiment where there was one guy, it was a corporation where they had different groups and they were all sitting at tables, brainstorming marketing ideas or something like that. And they would have one guy come in specifically to be the bad apple and try to influence the groups. And so he would do three different things.

Either he was lazy, he was the jerk, or he was the downer. And in all three instances every time. It was like the productivity in the group decreased by at least 30%. except for this one group. In the one group it didn’t work because there was one guy in the group who basically deflected it and was able to kind of offset that bad apple vibe that he was giving the rest of the group. It was just really fascinating hearing about that and you can better believe that I had a lesson for my kids about that. We talked about not being the bad apple and being a good influence and all that.

So, I always draw interesting things out of there that are relevant to my children. And the other book that I … This one will actually be amazing for you to read if you can understand that this is not about music, but it will help you in your head space, is called Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million In No Time Flat, is a subtitle, by Michael Masterson, very famous author. Business. This is a business book. But I love this book. I think I’ll have to do another little segment just on the things I’ve learned in this book. Holy cow. I like to read with a highlighter in my hands. It helps me pay attention. Social media has trained me to be a little bit more ADD than I like.

And so I’ll sometimes read an entire page and didn’t compute anything I just read. So I find that if I read with a highlighter that actually stops that from happening and so this book is filled with my orange highlighter all over it. It’s so good. Basically one of the big takeaways I’ve gotten from this is sell. Just freaking sell and then dial it in after the fact. Hence the title. Ready, Fire, Aim. So fire, aim afterwards. Dial it in after. So that is one amazing principle. But like I said, I’ve gotten so much out of this book. I’ll come back and do an entire episode or segment just on the lessons I’ve learned. It’s so good. So, go get that one. Ready, Fire, Aim. And we’ll have show notes for you and everything.

Thank you so much for listening today. If you enjoyed this little life update and me just laying all my cards on the table, would you leave me a review or just let me know if you enjoyed this because we’re doing some different things right now and … So hey, if you don’t happen to hear from me for a little while. Just know, Leah’s up to good things and she’s learning a lot and I get to benefit from that later.

So that’s what you can know, and I’m going to do my artsy fartsy thing. I’m going to go make a lot of candles and do a lot of fun things, maybe write some songs in my downtime. And I really am going to try and take a season of simplicity and a season of just taking things off my plate, letting my body relax, letting my adrenals restore themselves and just not have so much pressure on myself. So, that’s where I’m at. Hope you have a great rest of your day and enjoy your summer as well.

Episode #100: Interview with Anna Brzozowska (Elite Student)

This week C.J. interviews another successful SMA student, Anna Brzozowska, an ethereal pop artist originally from Poland but is currently living in Spain. Anna shares her story of how she almost gave up on her music after the expenses of touring, but after finding SMA, she’s back to building a lifetime music career.

If you’re wondering about your artist identity, how to write your own copy, what is the basis of marketing and building your online business, then this is the episode for you!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Developing your micro-niche as you go along
  • To be yourself or a character?
  • Why you shouldn’t just get someone else to do it for you
  • Being yourself in your copy
  • The principles of marketing are still the same
  • The expenses of being a live musician
  • Anna’s experience with Savvy
  • The two mental blocks that every musician must get past
  • The significance of having the right mindset and a strong heart 


“I want to encourage anyone who’s starting out; who doesn’t really know what their micro-niche are, to not fixate so much on it, and just move on because your fans are going to help you discover that as you go along.” – @aniabmusic [0:02:53]

“I think that marketing, to me at least, is just learning how to get in front of the right ears.” – @aniabmusic [0:09:41]

“You’re the one who’s initiating the relationship through your ads.” – @metalmotivation [0:11:59]

“I don’’t think anyone else can write your copy for you as well as you can. Even if you think you suck at the beginning, just be yourself.” – @aniabmusic [0:14:28]

“The best motivation I’ve ever seen happen in anybody’s life is when you understand how to solve your most pressing problems.” – @metalmotivation [0:29:17]

“The education is important, but without heart; without the right mindset; without overcoming yourself, it doesn’t matter how much information you have.” – @metalmotivation [0:42:45]

“I will recommend Leah to the death to a musician, but it’s up to them, obviously. If they sign up for a course and watch videos, that’s not going to change much for them. They will need to change.” – @aniabmusic [0:43:50]

“You’re not going to get anywhere until you conquer your mind.” – @aniabmusic [0:44:11]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle —

Anna’s Facebook Page —

Anna’s Website —

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, blessed once again to do another one of my most favorite things to do on the podcast here, which is student interviews. And this is someone that I’ve actually worked with personally in the past. We did some branding work together last year, and what a positive spirit, such a hard worker. And I’m so delighted to have my dear friend, Anna, who I’m going to have her say her last name for you because even though she’s living in Spain, she hails from Poland. My dear friend, Anna, why don’t you tell everybody your last name?

01:00 Anna: Brzozowska. Good luck.

01:02 CJ: She was trying to coach me through that before the podcast and I said, “There’s no way, honey. You’re just going to have to do that.”

01:11 Anna: The Polish people like to make it hard, throwing a bunch of consonants all together.

01:19 CJ: And I should be used to it. One of my closest friends, I think I told you about him.

01:23 Anna: Yeah. You’ve mentioned him.

01:24 CJ: Mike Chliasiak. That’s not how you say it, you may know how to say it.

01:30 Anna: How do you write it?

01:31 CJ: It’s C-H-L-I-A, Chliasiak, something like that. I don’t know. The key would be to have those first few letters.

01:47 Anna: Yeah, it might take a while to decipher that.

01:49 CJ: Right. Thankfully, we just call him Metal Mike, and so that makes it really easy. And your artist name is Ania.

01:57 Anna: Ania.

01:57 CJ: Ania.

02:01 Anna: Yeah, because Anna and Ania is the same name in Polish. Anna would be the more formal version in all the formal papers. But friends usually call me Ania, which that’s why I chose that, the more personal form.

02:14 CJ: Okay. Well, I’m just going to call you Anna today. But everybody will have contact information in the show notes. And of course, we’ll have you mention those in a little bit here, so that everybody can find you and enjoy you. But let’s go back in a little bit of history, Anna, and tell me first of all, when … No, first of all, tell me the kind of music that you play. And I want to talk a little bit about how you discovered Leah for the first time.

02:42 Anna: Well, my micro-niche, ethereal, pop, folk blend. That’s what I have called it. And it took me a really long time to figure that out. So I would want to encourage anyone who’s starting out, who doesn’t really know what their micro-niche are, to not fixate so much on it, and just move on because your fans are going to help you discover that as you go along, so don’t fixate on it. It’s totally possible to write ad copy and to communicate with your fans and to portray the kind of emotion that you think your music has without knowing your micro-niche. So if you have trouble with that from the beginning, let it go and move on. You’re going to get there.

03:24 CJ: Right. Well, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that in the elite coaching group with other students because, and even some of the TOM students, because as you know, they do get fixated on-

03:36 Anna: And that was probably one of them, which is why I’m kind of mentioning it right from the get-go because I know it’s kind of one of the big hurdles, and it doesn’t really need to be, so that was my point.

03:50 CJ: Well, do you find, Anna, and this is a bit of a rabbit trail, but do you find that the micro-niche was really helpful for you to target in your audience more so than something to describe yourself?

04:06 Anna: I would have to say I don’t think it was the most important part of … I believe, I think actually, I came to the realization that it was more ethereal pop after I started talking to you. Was it last year when we had our call? And I’ve been doing ads and getting people on my email list a long time before that, and I think I did a good job nailing it. I haven’t actually changed the ad copy for my opt-in since then. Yeah. Because it’s working, it’s really working well. So I have used this description on a lot of other places, like on my website, because I think this is exactly what it is, so it helps me communicate it better to my fans. But I don’t think it’s imperative. It hasn’t been imperative for me to get the targeting right.

05:01 CJ: Yeah. Well, as I mentioned offline for those, again, who listen, I consider you one of the more exemplary students from the elite program. And I’ve enjoyed not just working with you, but also to watch what you do because your genre, your brand, everything is so reminiscent to me of Leah, not in the sense that it’s the same. But I mean, it has a similar sort of vibe and intrigue and a fantasy element and all of these type of things. And it’s just so, you can just look at your stuff and just see, oh, wow, it seems like she has everything just targeted in. And it looks beautiful, all well done, the photography, the artwork and all that. But then you don’t appreciate all the effort that went into something like that, just like in Leah’s case. It didn’t just fall out of the sky. She had to put in so much time and effort. What was that process like for you?

05:57 Anna: Well, I think I struggled more with finding the description and finding out where to exactly place my music, like which box to put it in because we are, as you know, forced to put it in a box. If we release our music to iTunes, we have to put a genre and a sub-genre at least. And I think that was more of a struggle for me than the visual part because I just consider it to just kind of be me. And I like nature photography. I like beauty. I like that ethereal. I think kind of also the way I look and the way I behave, I think it kind of all goes into that just because it’s the way I am. It’s not a character that I’m playing because sometimes people have this character, and that’s totally okay. That’s their character. But for me, it’s just me. So it just came very naturally for me to find out the visual stuff. But to be able to describe it, that’s a whole nother story. I need help with that.

07:09 CJ: Yeah. And I’m laughing because it’s so true. I mean, I’ve seen the pain that others have gone through trying … It’s you. It’s what you’re doing. And yet, it’s so hard to put it into words sometimes.

07:20 Anna: I think that’s why it’s hard because you’re too close to it.

07:24 CJ: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s well said.

07:26 Anna: You have a different perspective. 

07:28 CJ: Yeah. Well, this really brings up a point. And I was going to ask you a little bit about the history, but now that we’re into this, I’m going to just keep going in this direction. But I think this is a really important point, Anna, because I’ve had this conversation a lot recently. And it’s been one of the most paramount and prevalent problems with a lot of the students that I have worked with. And that is feeling like it’s okay, not just okay, but coming to the conclusion that you can really be just you, not somebody else, not … Like I said, it’s okay if you’re going to be a shtick, or a front, or whatever, a character so to speak. But what I find with the elite students, most of them aren’t looking for, most of them want to be themselves.

They just don’t understand all of these terms like branding and micro niche and all these sorts of things, so they feel almost pressured to be something they are not. And then what that does is it holds them back because they can’t be resolved. You know what I mean? Because you’re always, every time they try to do something, create an ad, write copy, or do something, they’re neutralized because they’re afraid they’re going to send the wrong message, write in the wrong voice, that sort of thing, so they can never fully be committed because they’re always second guessing themselves.

08:49 Anna: I think maybe the hurdle here sort of is the term marketing. It’s kind of unromantic in terms of the artistic world. And I think it’s important to know that it’s not like you’re learning some kind of magic tricks. You’re learning principles, yes, but then you have to apply them to you and be genuine in what you’re doing because, I mean, it’s okay if you’re a character and that’s really you. That’s like a movie character or whatever. I don’t think that’s necessarily a wrong route. But you’re pretending to be something that you’re not, you’re going to get exhausted really soon. So I think you can only pretend for a short amount of time, and then you just get tired of it. So I think it’s important to be you, and I think that marketing, to me at least, is just learning how to get in front of the right ears.

09:47 CJ: Yes.

09:48 Anna: We have to narrow down our targeting because we don’t have the budget to just throw our ads out to the whole world like record labels or huge corporations do. So we have to be a little bit more savvy and know who we are looking for, who might be inclined to like our music. And then once they hear it, they can decide whether they like it or not. But first, they have to hear it. And this is about building lifelong relationships, so I think if you’re pretending to be something you’re not, it’s not going to work, at least not long-term, which is why I think coming to terms with the learning marketing, it’s not that you’re learning a bunch of tricks or a bunch of tools that you can use, it’s principles that work, yes, in psychology. But it’s about being genuine and about building the relationships, those are important factors here.

10:46 CJ: You said that very well, so well that people think, “Wow. That sounds really simple.” But like we just noted when you tried to describe yourself. Trying to describe yourself, it’s not an easy thing to do, and to give yourself permission to be you. And I had a coaching call recently with our friend Helen from the elite. And we were talking about this very thing, and she was just trying to get things dialed in on her branding. I may have her come on and we’ll talk about that more in detail. But again, it was that challenge of, she’s like, “You mean I can just be me?” I mean, but across the board.

In other words, the difference that social media has made, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this, and I want you to speak to it, but part of the difference the social media’s made is that you’re more than just the musician. You’re also the messenger. In other words, there’s a personal element here that’s inclusive that you couldn’t include in a YouTube video. You couldn’t have as the end result of a Google search, or somebody stumbling upon you on the internet. It’s you’re reaching out to people for the very first time. You’re the one who’s initiating the relationship through your ads and that sort of thing. But it’s more than just them hearing your music. You’re not just posting music. You’re posting you, your life, all of that. What has that been like for you?

12:12 Anna: You kind of, you introduce yourself from the very beginning with your emails because, yeah, they see your ad and they sign up for the … They see something that intrigues them, the description, whether it’s a photo or the description of the music. And they get curious, so they sign up and want to hear the songs. And yeah, then they hear the songs and like the music, or love the music even, and are very excited about it. But you also introduce yourself, even though you write out these email sequences beforehand and it’s automated, but you are the one personally writing it. You’re pouring your heart into it, and you’re really letting people into your life, sort of, and also through social media. For me, it’s just easier to be myself because then I don’t have to think about it. You know?

13:06 CJ: Touche. Yeah, that’s an important part because it’s like the old truth about telling lies. You have to remember all of the lies that you tell. So much easier to just be yourself. And that brings up a question that a lot of people will ask oftentimes on webinars and things, Anna. They’ll say, “Well, can’t I just have someone else do this for me? Or can I hire?”

13:36 Anna: Yeah. But is it a good idea? I don’t think so.

13:39 CJ: Yeah. Well, why don’t you think that’s a good idea?

13:42 Anna: Because I think you need to be personal, and there is nobody who knows exactly who you are like you know yourself. And you need to put yourself out there because you’re the artist. You’re the one connecting with your fans. You’re the one who is trying to build a lifelong relationship with those people. And I, in many cases, really consider them friends. You know? And even though we have different backgrounds, different ages, even different interests many times, there is this musical emotional language, sort of, that brings us all together because music is emotions, it’s expressing emotions. And that is what binds us together. And I don’t think anyone else can write your copy for you as well as you can. Even if you think you suck at the beginning, just be yourself.

In the beginning actually, I remember, I even told this to Leah. And I think one of the first courses that I did when we actually had calls with her, I told her, “I find it really difficult to write ad copy for the ads if I try to be short and concise.” But I had absolutely no problem just writing emails because I was considering these people, I was writing to a friend, being just honest, being who I am, and introducing myself. See, I’m a person who loves using emojis, so I use them very often in my emails and my copy because I just like it. It brings some color into my life. So just be yourself, nobody can be yourself like you can, obviously.

15:27 CJ: Well, yeah. I mean, the emoji thing actually fits your brand, much like it does with Leah. And there’s a few others who can. You get others who don’t. Like for me, if I used it in the stuff that I do in my own personal projects, it wouldn’t go over as well. But that just makes your point, which is, you’ve got to be you.

15:44 Anna: Yeah. Exactly.

15:45 CJ: And if that’s who you are, then that’s part of what makes, creates the flavor of your personal brand to these people. But what about also, Anna, not just being yourself, but in terms of handling all of your social media, not farming it out to someone else? But what about getting to know your audience, getting to know their likes and dislikes? If you’re farming that out to somebody else, then you’re still, two or three years down the road, you’re still just as ignorant of your audience as you were when you started.

16:17 Anna: Exactly. Then you’re just putting yourself in the place of being a product. You’re not really the artist and the person connecting with people. You’re just a product that someone is trying to sell, someone else is trying to sell.

16:30 CJ: Yeah.

16:31 Anna: And I just don’t feel like that’s right. And even if it would work, if you would have some sort of awesome copywriter or whatever, I think what would end up happening is that people wouldn’t really get to know you. They wouldn’t [inaudible 00:16:51] what they were writing. Might’ve been excellent copy, and engaging and all that, but it wouldn’t be you. And probably at some point, that would come out.

17:02 CJ: Yeah. It would come out. You would become disingenuous at that point. And people see through that. And it’s social media, and I was telling someone recently, and I’ve said this a lot. But if you have learned the principles of marketing, and that’s one thing that Leah’s good about is that-

17:20 Anna: I’m still learning.

17:21 CJ: Yeah. But these are tried and true principles that have been around before the internet. And so one of the things that I always appreciate about Leah, because I come from traditional marketing, but is the fact that nothing that she’s doing is some sort of tactic, or trick, or anything like that. It’s very much based on the proven principles of direct marketing. However, okay, and this is a big, however, social media has changed even that. And so the best way I can describe it is if we went back to when advertising and marketing began, let’s say over 100 years ago or so, when you started to see ads in papers and things like that, and written on the side of a building, and then eventually television and radio, all the principles that we know from marketing came from the history of marketing because you couldn’t talk to somebody one on one.

You were always putting something out in front of the public hoping the right person saw it. Right? So that means you have to, whether it’s a direct marketing letter that you get in the mail, or something, people have to create that know, like, and trust element within a few seconds. You know what I mean? So that created the kind of language, the words that they use, keywords for marketing and all of that, so imagine if marketing and advertising started at the very same time that social media began. Would the marketing rules be different? Absolutely, because now you’re no longer showing something on a billboard or in a magazine ad, not knowing who you’re talking to. You know exactly who you’re talking to. And oftentimes, it’s face to face.

So in that sense, the rules have changed. You’re still using the same thing with incentives and benefit driven and branding principles and all of that. But you have the social media element. So to me, that’s why with social media coming in, and SMA at the same time, is the best response to what happened with Napster at the end of the 20th century. In other words, what happened, what hurt the music industry because of technology is now being turned around because of what we can do with technology. And again, you’re a great example of that. So what has that learning process been like? How empowered do you feel now? I know you said you have much to learn. We all do. But now sitting behind the keyboard, knowing what you can do.

19:59 Anna: Yeah. I feel very empowered. And even though I might not be exactly where I want to be yet, but I have to say I feel empowered and I feel in control over my life and over my music. Contrary to what went on when I actually released my first album, which I’m a perfect cliché actually, of someone who did everything wrong. I was true to the music and I’m so proud of it. So I didn’t listen to all these voices, oh, I know what’s going to sell on the radio. I did my thing, and I’m proud of that to this day. And the process of creating that album took me two years, but I had absolutely no plan whatsoever after that. I did not know anything about marketing. I did not know anything about anything, to be honest. I just released it kind of hoping for the best. And we all know what kind of strategy that is. That’s not very good.

And kind of relying on other people to do certain things. And I think it’s cool to rely on people to do certain things after we actually learn what is involved in those things, so that you can actually control whether they are doing a good job or not, which at that point, I couldn’t. So the situation was, I released my first album. I won some internet contests. Yeah, my music received recognition from strangers. And I received offers to play in clubs across the country even, things like that. But for ticket sales, though I played with very good musicians, session musicians that, very talented musicians. They all have families to feed. I, of course, paid them. So if I had to travel across the country to play a concert, I would have to pay for transportation, pay my musicians, and then hopefully, maybe make something back from ticket sales without having a fan base first that I could even contact beforehand. Listen guys, I’m going to play here and here.

Or even better yet, do a presale of tickets, so that I could actually get a feel for the demand, and have a fan base and a foundation sort of, of people who I could contact and tell them about it. If the club puts up a poster that you’re going to play, that’s not promoting anything. And also, people come in there anyway, buy drinks, so they don’t really care that much. So it just turned out to be an expensive hobby. And I got really depressed and frustrated, and I actually left music for more than a year. I engaged in another project. I started blogging about an unrelated topic, also started doing some marketing courses and learning the online thing, just kind of touching basically a little bit. And then my then boyfriend gave me one of the best presents he ever gave me because he introduced me to a Leah webinar. And I’ve been listening to this podcast. I’ve heard people say that they have previously seen Leah ads. I have not seen not even one Leah ad before I saw her webinar.

And I saw the webinar because he brought me the computer and said, “Listen, this girl, I think she’s cool. Listen to this. I think it will be good for you.” And I listened to it and immediately I was sold. I was sold. I had not seen any ad, just by what she was saying, it gave me … It was like a light bulb, and I was listening to this girl talking about these marketing principles that I’ve already listened to other marketers talk about. And I was like, “Duh.” Why didn’t I think of it like I could apply it to actually music and not this blog that I was doing? You know?

24:13 CJ: Oh, yes.

24:14 Anna: She did an amazing job of translating all of these terms into the art world, the music world. And also, I think the fact that she had five kids, and I think at that point, she had released three albums and never did a tour, and everything was online. That also spoke to me. I was sold on it because as much as I love touring and I want to do that in the future, and I think that giving live shows is one of the most rewarding, but also stressful for me. So I wouldn’t want to have to rely on it to make a living, living on suitcases and having to tour all the time to be able to pay my bills. That’s not the kind of life I want for myself.

So this model that she was presenting was really, really speaking to me. And my gut told me that, yeah, this is my path. This is the road I’m going down. And it’s probably going to take me a long time, but this is the road I’m going. So since then, I’ve done several courses. And I consider Leah to be my mentor.

25:24 CJ: That’s great. That was my next thing, going to be my first question. Glad we’ve got to the history. But tell me then. What was the first course that you took? Do you remember?

25:34 Anna: I believe it was TOM 2.0. Yeah. I printed out a whole bunch of notes and I took them with me to Poland. And I was studying it over Christmas. And I was like, “Oh,” and soon after that, I left the whole blog project that I was doing because I knew I had to focus on my music. And I’m actually surprised that I think it’s because I’m a little bit nervous talking to you in the setting. But normally, when I tell this story, I get tears in my eyes because I believe that I am not sure I would be doing music if I hadn’t seen that webinar.

Maybe I would be, but eventually I would get to it, but it will take me a long time. And I was really, I wasn’t happy. It was like a year maybe, where I couldn’t even listen to music because then all these emotions kept bubbling up. I really think music, it’s one of the most emotional languages and kind of a catalyst, I think, emotional catalyst. It brought up emotions that I wasn’t ready to deal with, and I felt like a failure for leaving it and all of those things. So this kind of gave me new life. I get really sentimental when I think about it.

27:02 CJ: Well, I’m glad you didn’t tear up because there’s no crying on this podcast, at least not while I’m here.

27:07 Anna: I’m happy about that too.

27:11 CJ: That’s right. I was going to say, Leah’s the soft one. But no, she’s not very soft either. She can be pretty brutal too. No, I think that’s really important to say. And I think that really spoke to a lot of people who are listening to this podcast, Anna. Because isn’t it amazing how you can have a gift and a love for a talent and an artistic expression as much as you can have one, and yet be willing to shelve it, be willing to put it aside, simply because of a lack of information? It wasn’t because-

27:49 Anna: Yourself.

27:50 CJ: Yeah. The heavens weren’t against you. There was no … The force was not against you. It wasn’t written in stone. No, it was just simply without that information, without that confidence.

28:02 Anna: Yeah. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Without that information, you have absolute … Without clarity of what the next steps can be, you’re just kind of frustrated. You don’t know what to do with your life. In summary, if you get the right information and you believe in your ability to figure things out, because that’s also very crucial, you’re not going to know everything from the start. And you’ve got to accept that fact that you’re going to have to take it step by step, but with the right information and kind of clarity of where it can take you, it’s really so, so much easier to just list the first …

Okay. What’s the first thing I need to do? What’s the second thing? What’s the third thing? What is going to bring me to the next level? Kind of figure that out. But you’re absolutely right. You need the right information.

28:55 CJ: I love the fact that you added that clarity aspect because confusion can stop you. It can neutralize you in your tracks because again, you don’t know. And I do a lot of motivational speaking. But I’ll often tell people, “You really don’t need a motivational speaker per se because it’s like throwing gas on top of a car instead of putting it inside the car.” The best motivation I’ve ever seen happen in anybody’s life, it’s happened in my life, is you’ll never be more motivated than when you understand how to solve your most pressing problems, whatever they may be, financial, or personal, health, or relationships, whatever. When you understand and you can see light at the end of the tunnel, and you can see, it may not be solved overnight, but you know what to do, you know where to go.

29:43 Anna: When you see small improvements in what you do, like you can see, okay, this is not exactly where I want to be, but look at where I was and where I am now. And you see that you’re going in the right direction. That can be very motivating as well, I think.

29:58 CJ: Well, you would be a good example of this because you’ve obviously made a lot of progress down the road. And so you took us back to that time where you gave it up for a year. You watched this webinar, you get in some of the courses, so obviously, things are changing. Now we fast forward to the present day. Do you see yourself quitting?

30:18 Anna: No. Don’t make me laugh.

30:22 CJ: “Don’t make me laugh,” she said. Right?

30:25 Anna: Of course not. No, I’m in it for the long haul. This is my life. And let’s just put it this way. I already tried quitting, and we saw how that turned out.

30:35 CJ: Right.

30:36 Anna: Being depressed and frustrated with my life and not being able to listen to music. How bad is that? You can’t do it.

30:43 CJ: Right. Yeah.

30:44 Anna: Not doing that again, no.

30:46 CJ: So then it’s reinforcing. It’s self-reinforcing with each new day, with each new victory, with each thing that you learn and apply, et cetera. These little victories every day, these little adjustments you make and the little hurdles and the little troubles you come across and the problems you have to solve. I bet you’ve grown tremendously in your ability to troubleshoot and solve problems because you went from artistic, and yeah, you were blogging so you’re doing technology things. But I bet this was a much different level with all of the email and different things, and shopping stores and e-Commerce. And that’s a lot of technology to learn.

31:27 Anna: It is. It is. But you take it one day at a time. And I actually like the part of doing a course and building things, and having kind of instructions. Okay, I’m following this. It can be really interesting and fun. It’s like putting together a puzzle piece.

31:45 CJ: You have to then appreciate the way Leah outlines and structures her courses because she knows what hurdles you’re going to come to. She knows what not to cover and what to cover and when to cover it because everybody wants … They want to jump to the hardcore stuff first, and they don’t do the foundation.

32:08 Anna: Yeah. Leah has an absolute awesome ability to … She tells you stuff in the right order. And she explains things very well. She translates it really well for us musicians. Like I said, when I listened to the webinar, I had to like, “Duh. Why didn’t I think I could apply this to music?” You know?

32:33 CJ: Right.

32:33 Anna: It was such an obvious thing when she was talking about it. But it’s not as obvious apparently for very many people. And she has a really brilliant, I think, ability to not only translate this into this language that we need as artists to understand this, how this business works because we have to treat it as a business. But also, she’s a very good teacher, which is why I’m in many of her courses, several of them. And one of my near, short-term plans for the near future is going back over TOM 3.0, which she just released. I’m going to. And since I was TOM 2.0, I got an upgrade. And I’m definitely going to take advantage of it, yep. I think it’s important to always think … Never think you learned everything there is to know. There’s no such thing.

33:35 CJ: Yeah, such a great example to go back and go over things again. And isn’t it amazing? Because I know you’ve probably done that with things in elite, et cetera, certain modules you may go over again. And it’s kind of funny how you can actually pick up more things that second time or third time in town. I mean, you mentioned to me offline that you’re a dedicated listener to this podcast. And so man, that’s such a great example again that you never stop learning. And that’s what I look for in people. Do you have that hunger? Don’t think you know it all. Right?

34:11 Anna: Oh, yes.

34:15 CJ: What do you think are your big victories in this journey that you’ve been on now as an online musician? What are your victories?

34:24 Anna: Well, first of all, overcoming some of my personal hurdles, like mindset things. One such thing is I think, and I don’t think I’m very original in this, I think this is the case with many musicians. We have a tendency to downgrade ourselves in the way of, we’re just doing music. We’re not really helping people with anything. It’s just music. Can I really charge for this? But actually, I was surprised at how much my music can help someone. I was so surprised at the amount of emails that I’ve been getting, really awesome emails from my fans, telling me how my music helped them through a difficult time in their lives or helped them get through chemotherapy, for example. And many emails like that, that brought me to tears, and it makes you kind of realize, yeah, music is an emotional language, I think, like I mentioned before.

And it touches my soul greatly, to the point that I couldn’t listen to it for a period of my life. So why would I assume that it’s nothing? And yeah, of course, not everybody is going to like it and relate to it. But there are those people that really appreciate it, that it actually changes their lives. And those are the people that you’re doing it for, so that is kind of one thing. And the second thing that I think, mindset thing, that I had to overcome is getting over the guilt of charging for your music.

36:04 CJ: Oh, wow. Yeah.

36:08 Anna: And I suddenly thought to me this way, because like I mentioned, I was blogging, hair stuff, like hairstyles. At one point, I did an eBook even. And I was thinking, “If I can do an eBook in a month, yeah, there is a lot of work involved. But there’s relatively low cost involved in creating an eBook.” And you can be done in a month, and you can very well charge $15 or more, much more even, for an eBook. And then you feel guilty for charging for a CD, where it took me two years to create the music, two years. The cost of productions, production, the studio, and not to mention the instruments, equipment, all of the years of education that you put into it, the hours you put into practicing. You’re not paid by the hour as a musician for practicing your craft, for sitting and writing.

And after all that, you’re guilty, you’re feeling guilty to charge $15 for a CD. Let’s add also the photography and all of the manufacturing of the CD itself. So it’s ridiculous to feel guilty about it. After that, I stopped feeling guilty. So I think these are the things we as musicians oftentimes have to get over. And the fact that I was able to build my store, that I now have fans that are buying my music, strangers that are signing up that are loving it, that are buying it. I don’t have to spam my family, “Like this.” I’m not doing that, “Oh, like my page,” no, no, no. None of that anymore.

38:01 CJ: You don’t care if you ever post anything about your music on your own personal Facebook profile, because you know how people can be so tempted. They’re so reluctant to devote themselves to their business page, their Facebook business page because they’re so used to getting love from family and friends on their personal page. And they just say, “Well, can’t I just do it there?”

38:22 Anna: In my case, I think it’s different. It’s completely turned around because I’m hardly active on my personal page. And because I’m hardly active, I don’t get a lot of engagement there. I think just start posting on your page, then you’re going to get more engagement when you’re actually posting, I think that’s the key.

38:40 CJ: No, you’re right. I’ve been teaching a lot lately, just in light of the virus and lock downs and things, we did a popup mastermind and whatnot, as you know. And so many of the concerns that people have is how much they have to post, or how much they have to show up on social media. It’s a shock to them. But understanding this new era of the music industry, as we said earlier, you’re not just the musician, you’re also the messenger, so there’s this element of your personal life that, yes, you’re sharing. It doesn’t mean you have to take your phone into the bathroom with you and broadcast every personal moment.

39:26 Anna: You don’t.

39:30 CJ: How have you found that balance there between the musician and the messenger?

39:35 Anna: Well, I think a big part of it is what I mentioned before, is just being myself. And then I don’t think about it as much. And of course, I don’t post everything from my personal life. You have to have some boundaries and you have to know what your own boundaries are that you’re comfortable with. And I mean, let’s face it, even on my personal pages, I wouldn’t post everything. So basically, I think I’m just used to whatever I post to my friends, I feel I can post to my fans because I’m not a person who likes to air dirty laundry. It’s not a huge struggle for me anymore because I have I guess figured out what it is that I like and what my fans appreciate, which is a lot of, like I mentioned, the ethereal is kind of in my music and in the nature, magical places. I follow, for example, Instagram accounts, and I see some photos that I absolutely love, and I just share it. It takes me a second. I see something I like, I share it, or I program to share it later.

And then you can also recycle some things because not everybody is going to see it the first time you post it. So you can just as well recycle things, and you have even tools to help you with that. So the longer you do it, the easier it gets, I believe.

41:04 CJ: Yeah. You’re right. And it’s such a simple concept, but people do struggle with that. But again, I think it’s a mindset thing. And I think it’s why I appreciate when I asked you about victories, you described mostly the things that were victories over yourself more so than learning about this particular software, or some special trick that Leah taught in her elite program. It was really more about you. And that’s what I tell people. Listen, you could do so much more with half the information that we talk about on Savvy Musician Academy. It’s really more about you. When I went to school for visual communications way back when, we’re not going to talk about how far back, Anna, thank you. But this was before the desktop revolution, so this was before everything really changed with computers, not just the internet.

I mean, this was way before the internet. This is 10 years or so before the internet. But if I go back to the course material, I mean, how much of that is even relevant to me today? Not much. But yet, I would not be here if it weren’t for that. And I’ve got a few friends, maybe five or six, who were in my graduating class, and it was a very big class, but just five or six. And only a few of those actually did something with it. So it just goes to show you it’s yes, the material is important. The education is important. But without heart, without the right mindset, without overcoming yourself, doesn’t matter how much information you have.

42:53 Anna: The course is not like you’re swallowing a magic pill, and you watch a few videos, and suddenly everything changes. No, you need to put a lot of hard work into it. And a lot of times, it will take different people take different amount of times. I consider myself one of the ones who take longer time, actually, to get certain things done. But that doesn’t matter. It’s my journey, nobody else’s. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It really is a question of mindset, and I think the key is to believe, believing in yourself that you will … Believe in your ability to figure things out. And sometimes to figure those things out, you have to seek good teachers that you connect with and who you kind of feel in your gut are giving you relevant information.

And I will recommend Leah to the death, to a musician. But it’s up to them, obviously. If they sign up for a course and watch videos, that’s not going to change much for them. They will need to change. They will need to change, I think that’s why I mentioned those mindset victories because I think that’s the most crucial thing. You’re not going to get anywhere until you conquer your mind because if you don’t do that, then you’re just going to stop yourself in the tracks.

44:22 CJ: Yeah. That’s what I mentioned earlier, the resolve thing. It’s hard to be resolved if you’re always questioning yourself. It’s hard to be fully committed if you’re questioning yourself. You never see when a lion attacks an antelope or something, it’s not like the lion’s going, “Should I? Is this the right time?” They don’t wonder about anything. They’re a lion. That’s what lions do. So if anything, we marvel at how ferocious it is. You know what I mean? And we need to be that way, ferocious in a good way, aggressive in a healthy way. And again, I appreciate what you just said. This is something that I share a lot of my motivational stuff, which is I just want people to have confidence in two areas.

Number one, confidence that there are principles that exist that’ll help you create the results that you want. And number two, confidence in yourself that you can discover and apply those principles. And that’s really all it is. You’ve got to know that Leah’s success, or Anna’s success, or anything else’s success, is not a mystery. It’s not chance. It’s not that being in the right place at the right time. No, very, very hard work based on proven principles, nothing more than that. Very unglamorous, but they’ve been consistent.

And so they were confident that there were principles that existed that can help you find your audience. I know there’s a lot of musicians out there, Anna, you see them in the groups, where they think their little micro niche or genre’s just the most unique thing in the world. But no, there’s people out there who will be your ideal super fan. Right? And if you apply these principles, I’m not guaranteeing or promising you, you’re going to reach what you’ve seen in others, but I guarantee you, you will have a much, much more enjoyable time playing music. And look at Anna. She said she’s not where she wants to be. She’s got so much more that she wants to do and express. But she’s not going back.

46:17 Anna: I’ve enjoyed the journey, and with competence comes confidence.

46:23 CJ: Yep.

46:24 Anna: So the more we learn, the more confidence we get. And it’s like a circle. So we need to keep learning. That’s what I believe firmly.

46:34 CJ: So Anna, what lies ahead for you?

46:39 Anna: Well, like I said, short-term, I’m going to go over TOM.

46:45 CJ: She’s going back to school, guys.

46:48 Anna: Going back to school. I’m just going to keep researching my data and tweaking things because I haven’t mentioned this yet, but during this lockdown, I might have suffered some financially in other areas. But I have to say my online store is doing better than ever.

47:06 CJ: Good.

47:06 Anna: It really is a great time to be an online musician, guys. So if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, I suggest you do because it’s really no time like the present to get started. And I have to say that also gives me more confidence because I see where it is going. And it’s not only the fact that I’m making money from my music, but also the messages I get from my fans, the impact I see that it has, the emails I mentioned to you before. That is also, that is maybe even more valuable, not to downgrade the monetary part because obviously, it is important to keep making music.

And everybody has bills to pay. And we all want to live comfortable lives and we all deserve that. So that’s also a mindset thing that I think we should get over, or I don’t know how to phrase it better. But yeah, it’s not only the monetary part that gives you the reward. But then you see that you have a bigger and bigger and bigger audience. And those are people who are connecting with you. It really gives you the control. It puts control in your hands. You’re the only one who can mess it up. And you’re the only one who can make it into a success, so it’s up to you.

48:34 CJ: Wonderfully said. How can people learn more about you?

48:38 Anna: Well, they can visit my website. I’m not using my last name.

48:43 CJ: Thankfully. I can’t pronounce it, let alone spell it.

48:48 Anna: So it’s Ania with an I, so it’s A-N-I-A, B,

48:58 CJ: Very good. And so from there, you can also get all of her social media channels. We will include this in the show notes, ladies and gentlemen, so you’ll be able to connect with her and follow her because, I mean, I recommend you follow the students because you’ll be able to see realtime the application of this stuff that’s taught in the course. You can learn a lot just by following some of our students. And of course, Anna is a great example, as I said previously. So thank you, everybody, for listening to us. Anna, thank you so much for joining me.

49:26 Anna: Thank you so much for the invite. It’s an honor, really.

49:30 CJ: You bet. So again, guys, if you’re interested in going further in what Savvy Musician Academy has to have, if you feel like that your music might be at the place, you’ve made some music, you’ve got some albums, you’ve got a social media following, you might consider our elite program, which Anna is in. And you can learn more there at We’re also changing and going to a new format for our inner circle, so if you’re just getting started, you’re not ready to drop a huge chunk of change right now, and you would just like to get your feet wet, because maybe all of the stuff that Anna and I talked about just sounds Greek to you. All these words and marketing terms you’re using, I don’t know anything about that. Well, we can get you up to speed in a very inexpensive way in our inner circle program.

You can learn more about that at This is CJ, branding and mindset coach here at Savvy Musician Academy. So good to be with you. I will see you on the next episode.

Episode #099: Interview With Ty Richards (Elite Student)

In this weeks episode C.J. interviews Ty Richards, a self-described Nintendo Psych Rock artist from Austin, Texas. Ty shares how SMA jumpstarted his music career a few years back and all the valuable lessons he’s learned in the meantime. 

Going from no fans to being the number four college album in the country very quickly, Ty really gets into what works and what doesn’t. Get ready to take notes!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Ty’s backstory
  • The reality of gaining fans fast
  • Getting a PR agent
  • Building momentum before your album release
  • Handling success
  • Staying focused on building your online business
  • Solidarity of all your media
  • Passive income
  • Being stubborn in a good way
  • Self-resistance
  • Being a representative not a substitute 


“I had zero fans in my whole life of being in bands and stuff until that point, until I think two months of doing her course, I built up. I went from zero to 10,000 fans on Facebook. And I went from zero to about 2000 people on my email list.”  – @iamtyrichards [0:06:17]

“The function of PR is for top of mind awareness… It doesn’t really equate to fans or equate to super fans. It doesn’t equate to people buying stuff. It doesn’t equate to record sales at all.”   – @iamtyrichards [0:18:48]

“If I’m going to make music for a living, this is the only path for me to do that.”  – @iamtyrichards [0:33:53]

“I would challenge everyone to stop romanticizing this whole artistry thing, and the whole entrepreneurship thing, and just be stubborn.”  – @iamtyrichards [0:39:57]

“The reason why we entertain negativity, I tell people it’s because when it shows up at your door wanting entry, it looks like you.”  – @metalmotivation [0:44:46]

“If you want authority in your music business in this kind of marketplace, you have to represent what’s being taught and not substitute.”  – @metalmotivation [0:49:01]

“But I think people are expecting it to be like, ‘Oh, so I paid for this course. Why am I not successful now?’ It’s not a magic bullet. It depends on you, but just do the work… If you fail, it’s because you didn’t show up and do the work.”  – @iamtyrichards [01:00:07]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

Ty Richards —

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. Man, I’m excited to be hosting this podcast because I get to do so many cool things. And one of them is I get to talk to students. And what makes this particular episode doubly enjoyable for me is that this is a very good friend of mine. And I’m going to tell a very brief story about my good friend after I introduce him. But I think you’ll see why this is such a cool happenstance in the universe. And again, I’m delighted to have my dear friend, Ty Richards, on The Savvy Musician Show. Ty, good to see you, man.

01:03 Ty: Yo, what’s up, CJ?

01:05 CJ: And for those who have been in the elite coaching calls, they have already met Ty because I keep bringing Ty in every time he shows up on the coaching calls because of our friendship. Now I want you guys to listen very closely because this is kind of a cool, I’ll keep it very, very brief, but a very, very cool story. I met Ty, I want to say as far back as 2013. And so it’s been a long time. And Ty and I both worked for a mutual client, I guess you could say. Our arrangement was different.

He was a little bit more of a vendor. I was working more as a barter thing, so I was handling the entertainment and promotion marketing for a very successful music venue, restaurant/bar. They basically owned about a block of real estate, and it was in the Fort Worth area in Texas. And Ty was doing a lot of the corporate identity work, in other words logos and stuff like that. He was doing menus and handling the website. So as I was handling dates and stuff, Ty, I would give you information and we would kind of work behind the scenes on things.

02:16 Ty: Yeah. We were always working in tandem on that.

02:18 CJ: So of course, I had no idea Ty played music or anything about his personal life, so we would just end up at staff meetings together and team meetings together. Whatever the owner, should we say, Ty knows why I’m laughing. Ty was working in the chaos, just like I was. And we should both, bro, get a rubber cookie for our stint during that time.

02:48 Ty: That was crazy. I mean, that whole world is crazy, though. I mean, if you look at any venue, the amount of drama that happens around any venue is usually very high.

03:02 CJ: So yeah, this was a high on steroids.

03:04 Ty: Yeah.

03:06 CJ: So anyway, Ty and I met back then. And then, I don’t know, two or three years later or so, you’re still basically around when I’d hit you up for certain things. You moved, relocated to Austin. And next thing I know, this is probably, I don’t know, 2015 or 2016, I’m online. And of course, I know Leah. I’m not working with The Savvy Musician Academy, but I know Leah very well. And so I would see her ads and promotions on my social media news feeds. And the next thing I know, there’s Ty Richards. And I’m thinking, “What in the world is the graphics and web developer doing featured on The Savvy Musician Academy?” And so of course, I had to immediately stop and find out. And all of a sudden, I find out this huge secret life that Ty has, secret to me, but not secret to apparently a whole bunch of other people, that Ty is a student in The Online Musician at The Savvy Musician Academy. Now, Ty, how did that happen?

04:09 Ty: Yeah. It was definitely a-

04:11 CJ: Because I was booking music entertainment and you never said a word.

04:16 Ty: It was a collision of worlds. So I had been, I probably, I don’t know, three or four years before I met you, I was really, I was as into music as I am now. I wrote probably 200 songs in college.

04:30 CJ: Wow.

04:30 Ty: And playing nonstop, was getting my start at learning how to produce, learning how to record, all that stuff. Got married, had a baby, and I literally did nothing for five straight years. And that was in that time that I met you, so 2010 to 20, I don’t know, ’14 ish, did nothing. And it’s not like I was trying to do nothing. I was busy with babies. I was learning how to be a dad, learning how to be a husband, learning how to take care of finances, buy a house, all that. I was learning how to adult, basically. And honestly, that was one of the best times for me because it gave me the … I started a business in that time as well. That’s when I started my own design firm.

And it gave me what I needed going into Leah’s course. So by the time I met Leah, same way, I didn’t know Leah at all. But I did see her ads. I think she hit me with one of those. Now I know all the inner workings of ads and how they work, but she hit me with one of those probably friends of friends ads, where my friend, Suzanna Choffel, I saw that she had liked something. And if Suzanna liked this, Suzanna Choffel’s an awesome here in Austin. She was on The Voice and stuff too. We shared the same publicist for a while. And so if Suzanna liked this, I should check it out. And sure enough, I checked it out, and it struck a chord with me. It’s time to get serious about this stuff.

I was halfway done with an album, and I was just trudging through it. And Leah, that class is really kind of the fire under my butt that I needed to get the album done and get the album marketed. I had zero fans in my whole life of being in bands and stuff until that point, until I think two months of doing her course, I built up. I went from zero to 10,000 fans on Facebook. And I went from zero to about 2000 people on my email list.

06:36 CJ: Wow.

06:37 Ty: Yeah. That just, I don’t know, man.

06:40 CJ: That’s a weird feeling. Isn’t it?

06:42 Ty: Yeah. It’s weird, especially after you try really hard and nothing happens for 10 years. So before I got married, it was a solid all of high school and all of college of just busting my butt at gigs, promoting, web. That’s how I learned how to build websites in the first place, was I’d do it partially, mostly for a living for now. But that’s how I learned how to do that in high school and college was doing it for the band. Somebody’s got to design the T-shirts. Somebody’s got to design the album artwork. Somebody’s got to design the website. Somebody’s got to do everything, and that ended up being me for most of that.

07:23 CJ: Well, let me just ask you about what we’ve just talked about a little bit, as we’re both drinking. Are you slamming coffee out of a Yeti silver mug? Dude, is it literally the same one?

07:37 Ty: It’s not coffee. This is a knock off Yeti. It’s called a Kodi. Sponsored by.

07:42 CJ: Are you serious? Anyway, double the rabbit trail. But I wanted to go back to this thing about the fans thing. You said you went 10 years, nobody knows about you for that aspect of you music wise, outside of I’m sure friends and family. So does that shape your outlook on what’s possible? In other words, the idea of having 10,000 fans on social media, and then 1000 people on a mailing list. Was that in your mind like skipping the Grand Canyon? How do you jump from nobody knowing me to all of a sudden that many people connecting with you?

08:17 Ty: Yeah. I think the numbers were interesting, but more enough, it was just the actual interaction. I’d never had people. We played shows and we’d have the occasional people that are like, “Hey, man. We really like your band.” And you put the little email list paper out on the merch table, and you might have a few little names on it or whatever. But no one really cares. It’s seen as more of like a charity type thing. You go to your friends shows because that’s what you do, you be a good friend. It has nothing to do with this band is freaking awesome, and if I don’t see them, my life will end.

08:52 CJ: So I better give them my email address to keep in touch.

08:55 Ty: Yeah. And so this level, Leah had talked about in the course that you might run across people that they’re going to be really excited that they found you. And they’re going to be … And sure enough, there were people who were mad they hadn’t found me earlier.

09:13 CJ: Wow.

09:14 Ty: That’s how extreme it was. It was like, “Dude, how did I not know about you?” How do people not know about, that’s how excited they were.

09:22 CJ: Isn’t that a paradigm shift? Because that is something when Leah talks about super fans, that it’s hard for that coin to drop sometimes with people. It’s hard for them to imagine because like you said, with you, they’ve been slaving for years, whether in bars, or on their own, even try. They set up a Facebook page, posted some events. They don’t get any traction. They’ve had 200 followers for six years on Facebook. Nobody does anything great. It must be some kind of trick. That must’ve been a radical paradigm shift to say, “No, there are people out there who are wishing.” A guy said, “I wish I would’ve known you earlier.” So right now, they are wishing to know you, they just haven’t come across you yet. That’s got to be radical.

10:08 Ty: Yeah. Honestly, I don’t think I was ready for it. And then what came after it too, that was the first domino, getting those 10,000 people and the 1000, or the 2000 email list, and just people regularly reaching out to me. I wasn’t ready for that, and I definitely wasn’t ready. I’m glad you guys do the mindset coaching now because this is TOM 1.0 times. This is, I don’t know when. Am I doing 2015, 2016?

10:33 CJ: Yeah. That’s back when Leah just taught calculator and the stopwatch app.

10:47 Ty: It was good. I still use all of the techniques from that. My brain was not ready for it though. My brain was not ready for what … If I knew everything that was going to happen, I probably would’ve not done it, or I would’ve just freaked out because it dominoed for sure.

11:06 CJ: Well, and I was so again taken aback because I didn’t know that this was the other half of your life. Of course, I was delighted to know that. And then it was a joy, Ty, to get that front-row seat to just watch what you were doing because I was following to some degree because now you were on my feed, so I would see. Man, you were going out and getting on airplanes and stuff, interviewed on radio. Now you had to rethink some of that now. And like we said offline, so much of that has made you who you are now, which we’re going to get to. But you literally did push the envelope. You got public relations people involved and you started, again, interviews and live gigs across the country. It’s kind of amazing, man.

11:57 Ty: Thanks, man. Yeah, it accelerated really fast. And I took some things that Leah said and I … What do they say? I 10 X’ed it.

12:09 CJ: You 10 X’ed it.

12:09 Ty: I 10 X’ed it. I think I 10 X’ed the wrong things though. So she has this checklist of all these things you need to knock out for prelaunch, for those pre, pre-launch. There’s prelaunch, there’s launch. There’s post-launch and this whole process. And I talked about this to her a while back, but I took notes with a to-do list. I took notes with this app called Trello. And so instead of just taking notes, I’m putting down actionable stuff out of every lesson. And I made, I don’t know, I made a checklist on steroids.

But yeah, when it got to the PR item, man, she was like, “You need to reach out to a PR company,” blah, blah, blah. And I was like, “Okay.” And that was a minor step for her. For me, for whatever reason, I did the steps of I found 10 or 20 contacts and started reaching out to people. Literally no one got back to me out of the 20 that I contacted. And so there wasn’t some magical thing that I did to get an awesome publicist, other than I happened to be playing some gigs with these other musicians, and they had a PR contact, and you need to call this person. They’re the best person in Austin. And I was like, “All right. I’ve already tried 20. Let’s try 21. It won’t hurt.”

So I sent the same thing I sent the other ones, and I sent … But part of that was because of Leah’s course, I had my ducks in a row. I had the website. I had the bio. I had that social media built up. I had campaigns going. I had things, it was already put together and ready for a publicist to kind of run with it. The album is done. The album artwork is done. Everything’s ready to go. And sure enough, the publicist freaked out, was like, “Yeah, I’ve got to work with you now. Let’s do this.” And it was one of the biggest publicists in Austin.

Yeah, long story short, I could go into all these little parts if we want to later, but what it dominoed into was I had built up those 10,000 fans off of two songs. I didn’t even have an album out. I didn’t have one album out yet. So I built up all this momentum with just two songs. And then I had the album ready to go, and I’m handing it off to the publicist. And by the end of that album cycle, I was on, I don’t know, 90 college stations. I’m charting on every station.

14:40 CJ: Wow.

14:41 Ty: I’m in top 10, top 20, top 30, somewhere in those ranges. I’m in the top 20 of probably 25 different stations in California, which is that’s music mecca. People can say Nashville, or Austin, or whatever, but Los Angeles and that area is actual music mecca when it comes to music licensing. And that’s where all the music business is happening when it comes to entertainment and entertainment industry. Yeah, so long story short, I was number four, USA Today. So I was number four college album in the country. The day that I put out my record, the day that I put it out, I’m artist of the month.

15:24 CJ: Oh, my gosh.

15:25 Ty: No. That’s what it was. The day I put it out, I was given an NPR … The NPR station here in Austin had me do a studio session with them, where they did this whole taping and everything. That was the day that I put the record out. That’s what it was, a month after that was South by Southwest. And they dubbed me the artist of the month during South by Southwest. And for anyone in Austin, that’s the holy grail thing to get. You can’t get a bigger thing. That’s the goal. And there’s not really a goal in Austin that’s higher than that PR wise. You could whatever, play the Paramount, play The Continental Club. Those are live gig goals. But as far as PR goals, that was it.

And that was on pretty much day one of album number one. And yeah, so I ended up doing a West Coast tour later that year in the summer, and did a radio tour and hit all these radio stations in California, and kind of on and on and on. All these articles written about you. It was just weird because even successful albums that I had heard from other artists weren’t that successful. The momentum was still going four, five, six months after the album was dropped, which is weird. Usually, you get some excitement for a month max, maybe two months. And it was just cool, man. I’m seeing myself on the charts with some of my favorite bands. I’m seeing Ty Richards, Ryan Adams, The Shins.

Depending on when the records drop, it’d be funny because it would be like, “Oh, I’m beating Ryan Adams.” But Ryan Adams’ album had been out for six months or something. It was just kind of a fun game to play, but I think that was my takeaway from all of it though, was I did that with album number one. And I guess I’ll get to the takeaway in a second because I basically did it again with the second album. I did a second album one year afterwards, so I released an album called Zillion. That’s the first album. And then I released an album called Welcome to Flat Earth. And my goal was to kind of just repeat the process and keep going. But the whole time, I’m kind of ignoring things. There’s things I had gone through in Leah’s class that she talks about shiny object syndrome. Right?

And dude, I had it full on at this point because to me it’s like, PR, radio, PR, radio. Oh, yeah, I’ve got a store. You can buy my records. I’ve got social media. All that other stuff was on the back burner. And even after I had raised those, built up those 10,000 fans and the 2000 emails, I got so distracted by the famey-ness of all the other stuff, that I gave it zero time and zero effort for the rest of the actual business, the rest of the actual e-Commerce side. And yeah, man, it came to kind of show me I didn’t even understand the function of PR or the function or radio promotion.

And now this one record company guy that I was talking to, he used to work at A and R for Universal or something. I was talking to him and he was like, “Yeah, PR doesn’t give you record sales.” And it kind of hit me in the face of, no, it really doesn’t. The function of PR is for top of mind awareness. It’s for you’re not a thing, and then PR makes you a thing, and that’s it. It doesn’t really equate to fans or equate to super fans. It doesn’t equate to people buying stuff. It doesn’t equate to record sales at all.

19:06 CJ: And that’s where the leverage comes in of, especially the online presence. I mean, God forbid you had to try and do this back in the days before the internet or before social media. So not to say that PR is bad or any of that, but PR and live gigs and all that with a very strong type of social media and email marketing type thing as taught via The Savvy Musician Academy would’ve left you with so many of those fans on a dedicated mailing list buying God knows what from Ty.

19:40 Ty: Yeah. So I think really I was over-leveraged in that because, I don’t know, I mean, to be truthful, it’s like I was kind of getting a big head about it. I got so distracted and allured by the, I don’t know, fame.

19:56 CJ: Famey-ness was a great way to say it.

19:57 Ty: I don’t know how else to say it other than that. It’s like fame has never been a goal of mine, but it’s seductive when you get that amount of validation for music that you’ve made. It’s like I know my music’s good. Any musician who is good on some level knows that they’re good and knows that they’re making something good. But when you get that amount of validation to go with it, it’s almost like the scales tip because it’s … I don’t know. There’s always this dichotomy of … What do you call it? Egotistical-ness, egotistic versus extreme doubt, like I’m not good enough. It’s like I know I’m good enough and I know I’m awesome. And then everyone else is telling me I’m awesome.

20:44 CJ: That’s dangerous.

20:45 Ty: Dude, it is a dangerous place because I just … Yeah. I let it kind of lead me astray from what I initially set out to do because what I initially set out to do, album number one was to build up a business, build up a business, build up record sales that could sustain record, after record, after record. And I’m back on that path now. I’m excited about that. But I need to fight distractions at all costs.

21:14 CJ: Well, you know it’s funny you say that because we joked offline before we started this interview. I said, “Ty, I think I’m going to call this one The Prodigal Son Comes Home.” And in some weird way, it kind of does tell the story a bit, where it’s not coming home in the sense that he had forsaken anything that he was taught. No, it was the shiny object, which if you want to describe a shiny object, that’s textbook shiny object. That’s something that’s going to get everybody. There’s nobody that sits there, “Oh, I wouldn’t be moved by all that fame and attention and records appearing on the record charts.” Yes, you would. Any of you would.

But I love the fact that I love your sense of humility to say, “Okay, well, I’m still a realist. And I want to have a future, and my family’s getting larger and they’re depending upon me to be a breadwinner.” And so you start to move back. Now when did you? Because all of a sudden, you suddenly appeared one day on an elite coaching call. And I go, “That’s Ty.” When was that? That was several months ago.

22:21 Ty: February, yeah.

22:24 CJ: So anyway, so Ty shows up, and this was before COVID-19 and all of that. And so Ty is basically telling me a similar story. And I’m excited because, and this is something again we talked about offline, we don’t want to beat the bush too much, but Ty’s a very multifaceted individual, apparently, because I didn’t know he played music.

22:46 Ty: Very compartmentalized when I’m dealing with … So I run an agency as well. And it’s like when I’m doing business, and I’m very professional. I don’t bring up personal stuff. I don’t bring up other business stuff or other, so I’m very [crosstalk 00:23:05].

23:04 CJ: Multiple storefronts, right?

23:06 Ty: Yeah. There’s no way that you would know that I’m a musician.

23:11 CJ: Exactly. But one of the things that great is, Ty, like myself, you and I share this, is that our different storefronts serve one another. They help one another. And so for you, we both have the art background. We both have the design background. So it helps when you’re running your own show to be able to do these sorts of things, be able to take care of your own artwork and what have you. And so that’s how come you were ready on the spot when the PR agent was there. Everything was ready to go because you didn’t have to wait on anybody else. Right?

23:45 Ty: Yeah.

23:46 CJ: Able to get everything done yourself. And I do the very same thing.

23:51 Ty: That’s one of the reasons why I like making records the way I do too, because I just don’t have to run decisions by anyone. I can just do everything.

23:58 CJ: And let me just ask as an, again, going back to the story that you just told. Looking back on it now with the chart-topping type stuff, getting on the charts and having this type of airplay, what have you. What do you think it was? I mean, we know the music’s good. But is there anything you can point to? Is it the genre? Was it an album cover? Was it something you … I mean, something must’ve been picking up with all of this that-

24:30 Ty: This is what I think. So there’s all these elements that are going into it. Right? You’ve got the graphic design. You’ve got the music. You’ve got the sound. You’ve got the instrumentation of the music. You’ve got the way the music is mixed. You’ve got the way the PR campaign is being rolled out. You’ve got a way that the radio promo is rolling out, the social media, all that stuff. I think the more that stuff can be kind of unified, you talk about this all the time with branding, the more it can kind of all tell the same story and all really just be very clear, very to the point, we’ve talked about this. It’s like a good joke. If the joke is just landing immediately, then people just get it. You’re not making people figure out what the crap is going on, so I think that was a big part of it, was the album cover. When you look at Zillion, you can look at the album cover. You can look. It’s me in a spacesuit.

25:21 CJ: It’s so creative, man.

25:22 Ty: It’s just weird. You’re like, “What the hell?” This guy’s just in a spacesuit and he’s trying to drink coffee through his … And so, I don’t know, that and just kind of having a good team in place too. As much as we just talked about how I did everything myself. But at the same time, we all reach a point, and this is different for everybody. For some people, you hit the graphic design part and there’s no way you’re going to just be awesome overnight. You need to hire someone to be awesome at that. Mine, I’ve been doing graphic design for 20 years, so that’s not my point. My point was PR, and I think PR is probably a lot of people’s point too, where it’s like, “I’m not going to go make phone calls all day, every

Actually, it was one of those things, I was going to go do that. I actually did the research on: How do I do my own PR? And I looked at the workload that it was going to be and realized that it was not possible for my life. So having a good team in place is one of them too. Another thing was, this sounds kind of weird too, but having the money to do it. I had kind of way too … I’m not going to say it happened just because I had some money, but it freaking helped. I’m just going to say, I put, I was over leveraged in PR. But that is one of the reasons why it happened too. If my songs would’ve sucked, the money wouldn’t have mattered, but my songs were good and I had money. I did two record cycles. And the first record cycle, I actually had two publicists. I had a national publicist and I had the Austin kind of regional publicist.

And yeah, so it’s like you could count on a solid publicist, you could count on about $6000 to $10,000 for one record cycle. And I had the money. We had just sold a house, and honestly, I was an idiot with the money. I was like, “I’ve got some money laying around.” It’s amazing how fast what you think a pile of money can just disappear. And that’s another cautionary tale of that first album. I was so over leveraged with PR and radio that I hurt my family, man. I sold a house. I think we probably sold it and got whatever it was, like 40 grand out of that. That 40 grand disappeared super fast. And I’ve got kids to feed, it’s not … I laugh about it now because it’s far enough away. But it was hard times.

27:58 CJ: And so now four wives later, you finally learned. No, I’m kidding.

28:05 Ty: At the time, I had three children. At the time of releasing Zillion, I had three children. Now I have six children. We had twins. We had twins, and then we just had a boy about a month ago.

28:15 CJ: Wonderful. Congratulations.

28:17 Ty: I have six children. And to me, I see the Savvy Musician stuff and building my business as an e-Commerce business, it was a necessity before, but now it’s a definite necessity where it’s like I can’t play music for a living unless I do it this way. If I choose to play around like I did before, I can dump another 20 grand into stuff again and do it again. But guess what, I’m just going to be hurting my family some more. And I’m not going to be able to live. I’m not going to be able to financially survive. And so if I have a store that’s generating 100 bucks a day, 50 to 100 bucks a day, or if I can build it up over the course of a few years to be bringing in 200, 300 bucks a day, dude, my life is totally changed.

29:14 CJ: And you’re with someone like Leah, who is such an inspiration because for her, it’s like, if she heard you say that, oh, we’ll double that.

29:27 Ty: Yeah. That’s like 100 bucks a day. When you’re going from zero, 100 sounds like a lot because it is. And it’s game-changing. It’s like whatever that is, I think it’s $36,000 or whatever. But the way I see it is that’s a profitable business. It’s not a $200,000 or a million dollar a year business, but it’s a profitable business that is you can count on 100 bucks a day. I see it as it’s basically passive income. Once you set up the infrastructure, once you set up your website, once you set up your store, once you set up a nurture campaign with your emails and all that stuff, it’s a ton of work and a ton of time that you’re not getting paid upfront. But then it’s built. Yeah, you’ve got to keep it up. You’ve got to create some new sequences. You’ve got to keep the social media going. You’ve got to do that. But when you’re rolling in whatever, $100 a day, even just 30 grand a year, $36,000 a year, whatever it is, that’s money that you’re making while you’re doing other stuff that makes money.

30:33 CJ: Right.

30:34 Ty: I see that, I see passive money as totally different. Making a dollar of passive money is better to me than making $10 of other money. I can go build a website for somebody for 10 grand, but I would rather make that 100 bucks a day. Honestly, I’d rather do both. I’d rather make that 100 bucks a day while I …

31:02 CJ: Sure.

31:02 Ty: That’s kind of the magic of-

31:05 CJ: Yeah. I think it’s sometimes hard for people to get their head around certain people’s results, Leah’s especially. But when you’re talking about that in this way, so say 36 grand a year. We’re calling it passive income because again, as Ty noted, most of the effort in something that’s e-Commerce is in the front end. Once you get the systems down, your funnels down, all that kind of stuff, it’s much, much easier to grow. But then you have the scale thing, which is going to be the first thing that Leah’s going to jump on. She’s going to say, “Okay. If that $36,000 was earned by what you did, then let’s throw that $36,000 at that system and scale it 36,000 times.”

31:46 Ty: Yeah. If it’s working really well and making $36,000, your ad budget is X, then make your ad budget XX.

31:54 CJ: 10X.

31:54 Ty: 10X it.

31:59 CJ: And that’s the beautiful part of this. And Ty, one of the things that I think people are now really beginning to understand is everything that The Savvy Musician, Leah, even myself over the past couple years have been saying, is now so much more readily understood and appreciated in light of the lockdowns and all of this sort of stuff, where suddenly, I don’t care if you’re the biggest artist in the world, or you’re playing acoustic at a corner bar, nobody is playing music right now.

32:33 Ty: Not in a venue.

32:35 CJ: No, bands are playing in their bedroom and recording separate parts. And everybody’s being entertained with this for now. But nobody, it doesn’t matter, I don’t care who you are. You could be-

32:48 Ty: It’s funny to me how new it seems to everybody. Like, “Wow, somebody’s playing in their bedroom and everybody can watch.” Dude, I was on Twitch three years ago. This has been going on for a long time.

32:59 CJ: Oh, yeah.

33:00 Ty: People live-streaming music. This is not a new thing at all.

33:03 CJ: Yeah. So again, you’ve got people like us who are in online marketing, we’ve been doing live type stuff. We’ve been hammering it out because we were building an online business. Now suddenly, everybody has an online business, so to speak. Even if they’re just doing these live, they’re just trying to stay relevant, just trying to stay current. Want to keep everybody, have them top of mind so that when the economy does start to come back, which we don’t know when that’s going to be. But the thing is, now you had better learn the lesson. You have to have an online component to your business. I forget how you said it, but it was such a quotable line a little while ago, Ty, that if you’re going to have a music business, it’s going to have to be online.

33:52 Ty: Yeah. I mean, if I’m going to make music for a living, this is the only path for me to do that, where it’s hard to say if it’s surefire, it’s going to be hard work. It’s not a silver bullet. I can’t just choose this path and then magically, my dreams come true. It’s going to be hard work. But I don’t know, it is the path of this current era, I would say, just having an online business, running my artistry like an e-Commerce business.

34:26 CJ: There’s another thing that you, myself and Leah, we all share in common, and a lot of the other students that I’ve encountered say we’re doing well, they all have the same thing. I often talk about them because I’ll say, “These particular students, if you gave them half the information that they’re taught in the Savvy Musician Academy, they would still succeed.” Just like you said, you were TOM 1.0.

34:49 Ty: That’s kind of what I did. I took half of one point, I did everything 100% until a certain point. Then I was like, “I love PR and I love radio,” and I got distracted. But yeah, I literally did take half of what she taught.

35:06 CJ: And that’s because it’s what a coach looks for, heart. Right? It’s not the biggest guy, necessarily. It’s not the fastest guy or the strongest guy. It’s the guy with heart. I’ve got a friend of mine who I do a podcast with, and he was 13 years in the Army’s Elite Delta Force and all this kind of stuff. What a grueling selection process these guys have got to go through in order to get in these tier one special forces units.

35:29 Ty: My brother’s in the middle of that right now. He was training to be a PJ, and he just jacked up his knee. And then he has two herniated disks, and he’s out.

35:41 CJ: Oh, man. So he was going through a selection?

35:45 Ty: Yep.

35:45 CJ: Yeah. I think my buddy missed his first one because of an ankle injury, I think the very first day. They let him come back and he got it. But anyway, whenever he gets asked, “What are they looking for?” All the guys, it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in it, they’ll tell you. We still don’t know what they’re looking for, but it’s not what you think.

36:08 Ty: Yeah.

36:09 CJ: They’re always looking for the right guy. But I did tell him this. I said, “Well, I guarantee you this, though, Mack,” his name is Mack. I said, “The one thing they all share in common, heart.”

36:21 Ty: Oh, yeah.

36:22 CJ: You know what I mean? Because there might be another guy who has a skill set that you need, but if he’s completely self-defeated and doesn’t follow through and won’t push past, he’s not in, period. It doesn’t matter what the sport, or field, or career is, there has to be that heart. So we were talking offline beforehand, and you had asked me, you said if I had read The War of Art, which is a Steven Pressfield book, which believe it or not, I haven’t. And everybody and their grandmother has told me I needed to read it.

36:50 Ty: It’s so good.

36:51 CJ: I’ve got a feeling I’ll be down with everything that he’s saying. My son has read it. One of my sons has. But we were talking about something about how you defined that basic perspective because I think it is so, the idea itself is so incarnated in you. Won’t you describe that?

37:08 Ty: I think in this world, especially in the age of social media, it’s easy to compare ourselves to other people. Someone just joining TOM, just found out about The Online Musician, is looking at Leah and instantly comparing them to the teacher of the course and thinking, “Okay. I’m never going to get there,” or even just finding people who’ve been working the course for whatever. I’ve been working the principles for more than, I don’t know, almost four or five years, whatever. And they kind of compare and see I’m not there. It’s like a 15 year old looking at 30 year old and being like, “I’m not where that person is, so I could never be there.”

No, you’re going to have some more birthdays. You’re going to learn some things. And so what I’ve found is a lot of people will be like, “Well, Ty, I get that you had some success in this. You had some PR success. You had some business success in this. But not everyone can be their own designer. Not everyone can afford to hire a designer. Not everyone can afford this or that. Not everyone’s as talented or whatever.” And I’m not trying to be a jerk, but sometimes I have to say to those people, “I put 10,000 hours into design. That’s why I’m good at it. I’m not good at it because I’m talented at it per se, I’m good at it because I’m a … ” I don’t want to cuss, but it’s because I’m a stubborn SOB.

I think that’s what I love. Go read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It’s not The Art of War. That’s a very famous book. He kind of intended to play on the words. It’s The War of Art. The whole thing is kind of a knife, almost a knife jab at creative people, where it’s like do what you’re supposed to do or you’re an idiot. I think he cusses in his book too. He’s the guy who wrote Legend of Bagger Vance. He wrote a lot of really popular screenplays. But that whole book, stop romanticizing entrepreneurship, and romanticizing talent and being an artist and all these things. Don’t romanticize it. Just be stubborn. Say, “I’m going to get this done.”

I’m going to make an album. That was for me, my first album was the thing. Leah helped push me to finish my first album. I had four other albums that were incomplete before that, four whole albums of stuff. I have a whole folk album. I have a whole … It’s one of the reasons why my first album is so good, it’s because I already wrote four albums before that. But I was an idiot and didn’t put them out. And I wasn’t stubborn enough. I had all the talent in the world. I’ve always been good at music. I had talent. I had the design skills before that. I had all these skills, but I wasn’t stubborn enough. And so I would challenge everyone to stop romanticizing this whole artistry thing and the whole entrepreneurship thing, and just be stubborn.

You’ve never built a website, but you’re going to build a website. And just be determined to build a website no matter what. If it takes you a week, if it takes you six months, be a stubborn SOB and make a freaking website, or whatever your hurdle is. Finish the album. For me, mine was finish an album and release it. That’s it. But there are obviously 60 or 100 to dos in between those points that I’ve got to knock out, but write them down. You know what you’ve got to do, just get a piece of paper out. Make a giant freaking to do list. Okay, that looks crazy. Put it in order now. Put them in priority order, whatever. Do the work. Stop being a wimp. I guess it’s getting into CJ’s around here, metal up.

40:58 CJ: I was going to say, dude, that is so metal motivation. Holy crap. Again, this is why I love Ty. And I saw this because when I look back on the relationship we had, even back in 2013, I could see the streak in him. There was a determination there. He was stubborn because I dealt with it on the other side with the owner. Do you know what I mean? Because the owner wanted more done without putting up any money, whereas Ty was like, “No, no, no, no, no. We’re not doing that.” And so Ty would be very, very insistent on the money. But that’s that stubbornness.

41:39 Ty: Yeah. It’s the whole everybody wants… When it comes to websites, and anyone who’s gone through the TOM course, it’s a big part of it is building your own website, building your own store, building your website and your store. You’re building two websites. That’s a lot for someone who hasn’t touched a website. But so for me, I’ve built websites for people my whole life. And it’s like everyone wants a BMW, everyone wants the best website in the world, but they want to spend zero dollars. It’s always like, “Okay. If you want to spend 500 bucks, you’re going to get a Volkswagen. All right? I’m going to build you the best Volkswagen you’ve ever had, but it’s still going to be a Volkswagen.”

42:17 CJ: Yeah. And this is again, and I love that fact that you touched on these things because it is truly a war of art because the creative personality is a sensitive one at times, fears judgment, doesn’t want to put itself out there. Can I have somebody else do my social media for me? I don’t want to necessarily be seen. They should just buy the music. It shouldn’t have to involve all of this.

42:44 Ty: Artists are affected by this more than anyone. And I mean, not to get spiritual on you. What do they say? They say, “Lucifer was king of all the angels,” not to get…

42:57 CJ: He was an art guy.

42:59 Ty: Yeah. He was the rock star dude, let’s just face it. Yeah. I think artists are particularly affected by this struggle. In Steven Pressfield’s book, he calls it resistance. Dude, go read this book, man. It’s just the resistance, he compares it almost to the alien in Aliens, where it doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care if you live or die. It’s like this alien creeping around and it just wants to get you. It sounds very bogey mannish, but it’s like resistance is like that, where it’s like if I sit down in my studio right here, and if I just show up and start doing the work, it gets done. But I get these thoughts in my head where it’s like, “You should whatever. You should just go play video games, or go watch all five seasons of Breaking Bad, or whatever.” And it just will do anything to get you to not just sit and just show up. For me, 90% of it is just showing up. And so the resistance is-

44:16 CJ: I think that’s why I think everybody keeps forwarding the book recommendation to me. In fact, one of my quotes I posted yesterday on all my social channels said, “Be ruthless with your own negativity, it’s out to destroy you.” So it’s the same kind of concept, is you’re being way too friendly with this resistance, way too friendly. And I think there’s a genius there, and of course, him being a creative person himself, to personify this resistance because you think it’s you. The reason why we entertain negativity, I tell people it’s because when it shows up at your door wanting entry, it looks like you.

44:53 Ty: Yeah.

44:53 CJ: You know what I mean? So I think, “Well, I am that person, so I am lazy. I want to watch the Breaking Bad. See, I suck. I’m not this. I’m not.” No, but the whole time, you have every single bit of capacity in you to stay in that studio, stay in front of that Mac, get that website knocked out, get that last song finalized. You have all the wherewithal in the world. It is the battle that you obviously have to win. Survivor song, right? Every day it’s ultimately, it’s you against you.

45:22 Ty: Yeah.

45:23 CJ: And who’s going to win that battle? And I just love, again, the simplicity of the stubbornness. And I think-

45:31 Ty: Be stubborn. Another thing he talks about in his book too, I’ve always … I’ve felt like I’ve felt this way always. He put it into really good words. But he just says, “Be stupid.” This is a good one for us too. What does he say? He doesn’t say be … He says, “Stay stupid,” where don’t try to think that you’re the smartest dude in the world. This is exactly what I did with The Online Musician course. I took Leah’s checklist and I’m like, “This is great.” I’m going to do a few little online ads, build up an email list, build the website, do this. And I’m supposed to just get a basic PR thing. And she didn’t even talk about radio.

But you know what, I’m a lot smarter, I’m going to get the best PR person ever. I’m going to pay a crazy amount of money. I kind of was smarty pants about it, where I just decided to be a smart boy. No regrets, I learned so much. I got my total education on the old school music model and how it works and how it’s still kind of operating, but it’s not working. I got my PhD in that after two albums of that. But he just says, “Stay stupid.” And so if I would’ve just stayed stupid and just done exactly what Leah said, my store, the stuff I’m doing this year on my store, I would’ve done three years ago.

47:07 CJ: Yeah, think of how far you’d be.

47:09 Ty: I’d be three years into building my business instead of really just kind of starting over.

47:15 CJ: That’s such a great point. There’s something that I teach on my motivational side, and I’ll mention it sometimes to the elite students. And that is the concept of representation versus substitution. Everybody remembers maybe being in school when you were a kid, and you had the substitute teacher come in when your regular teacher was off sick or whatever. Well, whenever we saw the substitute teacher as kids, we thought, “Goof off day.” We’re going to watch something and we’re going to do a handout or some other, not even do the handout. And the teacher’s not going to do anything. Who the heck is she or he? And so if your regular teacher is Mrs. Jones, then yeah, if Miss Smith comes in, and Mrs. Jones is not there, Miss Smith is the substitute, substitute can’t do anything. Why? Because the substitute has no authority. Why? Because the substitute doesn’t know anything about what we’re doing. She’s not a representative. She’s a substitute.

But if you get a representative, so let’s say for example, you’ve never seen Miss Smith, the substitute. Mrs. Jones has been there every day, but it just so happens that Miss Smith is Mrs. Jones’ roommate and protégé. And so she has been daily sharing everything that she does, and so Miss Smith knows everything that you’ve been taught. So here Miss Smith comes in, you realize Mrs. Jones isn’t there. Miss Smith writes her name on the board and you think, “Substitute, awesome,” until Miss Smith says, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen Mrs. Jones because I’ve been eating and drinking what she’s been teaching you for years now. We’re roommates, so we will continue with the curriculum as if Mrs. Jones herself was here.” Suddenly, it’s not goof off day because this is not a substitute anymore. This is a representative.

And the question is always if you want authority in your music business in this kind of marketplace, you have to represent what’s being taught and not substitute, period. It’s as simple as that. So for me, Ty, it’s such a, just from personal, I think everybody’s going to get that once they hear this interview. I know you talked to Leah on the podcast a long time ago. This one’s going to be so much better because it is Ty a few years later, a few kids later, and so much more awakened and illuminated and working things out.

49:35 Ty: Twice the kids.

49:37 CJ: So we’re going to be, I think everybody’s going to be really super excited to watch your continued journey because we’re still early on in this process, but I’m going to be honest with you, man. I have complete confidence in you. I don’t say that much, dude. I know you. I’ve watched you. I know your heart. But again, I think what it is, it’s that stubbornness. I know that’s your testimony, man. That’s who you are.

50:02 Ty: I’m going to get this done if it’s the last thing I do. It’s going good too, man. I’m in the process now, so I’ve totally rebuilt my website. For the first time, I actually just built my store in January. And I tore it down and rebuilt it from the ground up in Shopify just in the past couple months. And now I’m just smack dab in the middle of just writing a ton of emails for a nurture campaign. I’m doing a four-month nurture campaign, the biggest one I’ve ever done. But and honestly, man, I’ve hit a slow down, really half for good reasons, half for me just struggling. But half of it’s we just had our first baby boy. I’ve got five girls and one boy. And just enjoying family. But yeah, I’m slowly just kind of speeding the train back up to finish these emails, man. These emails are kicking my butt.

51:05 CJ: Well, why don’t you, first of all, because we never really discussed it, and I think it’s good that we didn’t so the people didn’t get too fixated on a genre, but tell everybody about your musical genre, and then how they can-

51:17 Ty: My music is all under my own name, so it’s just Ty Richards. I don’t have a fancy band name or anything like that. It’s just me, my name. And I call it, depends on the album, but the last album was psychedelic Nintendo rock. It’s almost punkish. Depending on the song, when I’m marketing a certain song, sometimes I’ll call it psychedelic Nintendo punk. The first album is always more poppy. I called it psychedelic dance-rock. It was a lot more poppy. It was the hit, it was definitely the hit record out of the two records. The second album is like my all straight to tape. It’s all directly to tape. It’s low fi on purpose and it’s kind of intended to kind of stir the pot a little bit. And I did. The other one was intended to be popular. I wanted it to be popular. This one, I kind of wanted it to be infamous. And it actually, that’s a whole other podcast, but it did become infamous.

52:15 CJ: Yes, it is.

52:16 Ty: It was an inverse of the other album. As popular as the first album was, the other one was very popular, and then kind of flipped around and became … It actually got me, I’m the only artist that I know that’s completely banned from Austin.

52:33 CJ: Now every artist is banned, but temporarily.

52:38 Ty: Yeah. Now we’re all banned. But yeah, before COVID-19, I was completely banned from every single [inaudible 00:52:45] in Austin. I thought I wasn’t for real either, and I actually tested it, and I’m verified banned. That’s a whole other story. We can talk about that later. That’s like an entire podcast on how to deal with … We can do a podcast on how to deal with being validated. And there’s another one. It’s how to deal with-

53:11 CJ: Negative press.

53:13 Ty: Mega insulted, mega, or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, I’m completely banned from Austin after this one song that I wrote. But I had a blast though. Honestly, I had a blast the whole time. I did what I set out to do with that album, which was stir the pot, and that’s exactly what happened.

53:32 CJ: If you call an album Welcome to Flat Earth, obviously you’re going to stir the pot.

53:36 Ty: And it worked.

53:39 CJ: Yeah. You’re highlighting the trends. You’re highlighting the things that are going on in social media. It’s the weird world in which we live. You’re at the apex of technology and innovation, yet at the same time, people have never been more into everything from ancient paganism and esoteric stuff to God knows what. It’s not homogenous anymore. It’s diverse and you’ve got weird political things and strange ideas. And it’s all being vomited on the internet and we’re making a parody of it all.

54:11 Ty: Yeah. I have a very satirical approach to my music. And so even with both albums, you can hear it. So first one’s poppy. The second one’s more punky. But at the same time, it’s all critiquing American culture and satirizing American culture. And some people don’t like that, I guess.

54:32 CJ: It’ll get you in hot water either way. So is it Is that?

54:38 Ty: Yeah,

54:40 CJ: And that’s Ty, T-Y, everybody. Ty Richards, not Richard. Ty, T-Y, Richards. It’ll be in the show notes, of course, because I think a lot of people are going to want to immediately jump off this podcast and say, “Okay. I’ve got to hear what this music is all about.”

54:56 Ty: Yeah. I’m a huge … I throw in the psychedelic because I’m just a huge fan of anything fuzz guitars. I just love fuzz guitars and I love old synthesizer. I’ve got this old synthesizer over here from the ’70s. And I love, I brought in kind of more Nintendo sounds too. I’m a huge fan of the nostalgic Nintendo vibes of the ’80s.

55:19 CJ: Well, as I noted too, one student, one elite student, who does kind of something a little bit similar, but his is more based on violin, but it’s all about the Nintendo. So he gets dressed up as characters and whatnot. I said, “Nostalgia’s not a bad thing to push.” You look at even the most popular shows on the streaming platforms, it’s still Friends, The Office, Seinfeld.

55:42 Ty: Stranger Things.

55:44 CJ: Yeah, it tends to be things that have a bit more…

55:47 Ty: Even new shows seem old. Do you know what I mean?

55:49 CJ: Yeah.

55:49 Ty: Stranger Things is a newer show, but it feels like the ’80s.

55:54 CJ: Yeah. It feels like a glorified ET meets something. You know what I mean? What is it? Was it Lean On Me? What was the one where the boys take the long bicycle trip? Stand By Me.

56:10 Ty: Yeah, Stand By Me. Yeah. My wife watches that all the time. You could go watch Stranger … I’ve watched Stranger Things 50 gazillion times because my wife is super obsessed with it. I like it too, but when she was pregnant, she would just watch it on repeat. And dude, I’ve listened to the music so much and seen the scenes so much that I see exactly what movies they took it from. You can see parts that are taken from Terminator, parts that are taken from ET, parts that are taken from Alien. There’s just different sounds. They took the production verbatim from a lot of these movies. So I’m doing that with my new record, where I’m taking actual Game Boy sounds, I’m taking a straight-up sample of the Game Boy sounds and putting them as the main tracks on a lot of the songs.

56:58 CJ: Wow.

56:59 Ty: But yeah, I think what you said, nostalgia’s good too. But I think the goal is to make something new with it too. I’d rather do that than just kind of rehash, or rehash an old thing.

57:10 CJ: Yeah. So And I knew this was going to be an interesting discussion, so I think it’s going to get a lot of value out of this, my friend. And again, I’m appreciative to have a front-row seat to what’s going on in all things Ty Richards. Go check out his website also because … And go to his store just because, again, I brag on this a lot with him, is he is a phenomenal graphic designer. And so all the stuff that you’re going to see when you get to his store and stuff, his posters and all the album work and the T-shirt designs, that’s all done by him, a lot of them by hand. So you’ll see that he is a phenomenal artist in a lot of ways. Again, puts him in a very advantageous position. But hey, Leah couldn’t design her way out of a box. So obviously, you don’t have to be a designer as well as a musician in order to-

58:04 Ty: Get a good team. Yeah, I would say there might be some musicians out there, some of you guys who are good at design, or web development, or whatever, but if you know you’re not going to be awesome at that, find a good team.

58:17 CJ: Right. Well, Ty, I know I speak for Leah when I say, I remember messaging her when you first came, showed up on the radar. The first thing I did was message her. I said, all I said was, “Ty’s back.” She’s like, “I know,” exclamation point.

58:32 Ty: Back on the wagon.

58:34 CJ: That’s right. But again, I know I speak for her when I say it’s so awesome to have you in elite now, where it gets even more intense.

58:46 Ty: It’s intense, man. It’s kicking my butt right now. I’m at that 80% mark where I’m just like, “Ahh.”

58:53 CJ: It’s like the last 80 miles from a two day road trip. Right?

58:58 Ty: Yep.

58:58 CJ: Oh, my goodness. All right. Well, listen man, we’ll have to definitely do this again. And I know people want to hear from you again. But again, man, thanks so much for taking the time, and again, appreciate the friendship.

59:09 Ty: Thanks for being a part of this, man. I think Leah was onto something four years ago. She’s onto it now. And I think it’s more relevant now than ever. I think it’s time for musicians to up their game, be more stubborn, do more epic stuff. Get it done.

59:29 CJ: Yeah. I told her. I said, “Girl, I’m not joking. And I’m not exaggerating.” I said, “What you’ve done with SMA in your own personal music business, and what you’ve done with the SMA, is the single most important thing to happen in the music industry since the blow delivered by Napster.”

59:47 Ty: Dude, man, I have to agree. And you and I have been around long enough to see both sides. We’ve seen the people that criticize Leah. And we’ve seen the people that really vouch for her. But the thing is, Leah is amazing in and of herself, just her and her music without SMA at all. And then you bring in SMA, and it’s this whole other amazing thing. But I think people are expecting it to be like, “Oh, so I paid for this course. Why am I not successful now?” It’s not a magic bullet. It depends on you, but just do the work. She’s outlined all the work that you’ve got to do. Now just do it. If you fail, it’s because you didn’t show up and do the work.

01:00:29 CJ: Exactly.

01:00:29 Ty: And I think people, I don’t know, and the people that have been around in the scene for a while with The Online Musician, just look at Leah all by herself with just her … She’s dropped how many? Four albums now.

01:00:43 CJ: Mm-hmm.

01:00:44 Ty: She’s four albums in. Her albums look amazing together. They sound amazing together. She’s got this whole business built around that, that even if she didn’t have the SMA business, it’s completely beyond sustaining itself and doing amazing. She’s just showing you how she did what she’s doing over here.

01:01:07 CJ: Now she’s doing it with Mythologie Candles.

01:01:09 Ty: Yeah, the candle thing, that’s a whole-

01:01:11 CJ: Blowing up.

01:01:13 Ty: That’s next level with just these two businesses that-

01:01:17 CJ: In fact, she’s so busy, I’m left to hosting this podcast. But that’s the thing, is that she does-

01:01:27 Ty: That’s a good problem to have.

01:01:27 CJ: That’s a good problem to have, right. Yeah. But that’s the thing. Dude, I would not spend my time with somebody who wasn’t legit. I would not spend my time with somebody who was full of crap. I would not spend my time. The only reason I’m working with Leah is, of course, we’re friends from a long time ago, but because I was there was she was facing bankruptcy. I knew her when she didn’t know anything about marketing. And I watched this happen, and she applies the principles. This is not gimmicks. This is not hacks. This is not secret software. This is not any of that. This is pure, this is the marketing that has been governing marketing long before the internet. It’s the same thing, same branding, same force of copywriting, same way you build any kind of business, which is why she has the confidence to move from her own music business to a music academy to candles, and God knows whatever else she’s going to get her little paws into next. You know what I mean?

01:02:20 Ty: Leah’s stubborn.

01:02:21 CJ: And that’s the thing, there you go. Very stubborn.

01:02:25 Ty: She set her mind to it, I’m going to get this done, and she gets it done.

01:02:27 CJ: Yep. That’s all there is to it, man. So anyway, again, I think we could probably have three or four episodes here. But again, awesome. So guys, listen. If you are a fan of this podcast, do me a favor and be sure and leave a review on your favorite podcast player. If they say, “Press stars,” give us five, four, I don’t care how many, whatever the max is. Just give it the like-age because this is a great way for people to discover the podcast themselves, share it on social media. We would appreciate that. If you have any questions or comments, you’re welcome to leave them in any said Facebook group that you might be a part of, whether the free mastermind, or The Online Musician, or even just go to our own Facebook page for the Savvy Musician Academy.

Keep in tune for what’s coming right now, which is TOM 3.0. Ty was on TOM 1.0. TOM 3.0, which is about to release, go to Listen for the outro here, and we’ll have more to say about that. Again, Ty, thanks again. Guys, we will see all of you soon. Take care.

Episode #098: The Key to Success is Mastering Fundamentals

If you were to ask someone for $20, who would be more likely to give it to you, a good friend or a complete stranger? Obviously a good friend.

Have you ever met someone and had so much in common that you immediately became good friends? More than likely.

If you can understand this, you know the foundation of building an online music business. That’s all it is, getting more and more people to know, like, and trust you, just like that good friend who’s willing to give you that $20. What do you and this good friend have in common? Your music and the culture that surrounds it. How do you find these good friends and build these relationships? Social media. In this episode C.J. discusses this fundamental aspect of the business in greater detail and is so important you do not want to miss out!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Are you self-defeated?
  • The unstoppable mindset
  • The essential fundamental to successful online marketing
  • How to build your relationships
  • Funnels
  • Why Facebook and Instagram?
  • Studying your audience
  • Getting comfortable with sharing yourself on the internet


“Getting you in connection with your ideal super fan is the core. It’s the recipe for success in the online music business.” – @metalmotivation [0:02:19]

“You can’t be successful when you’re self-defeated before you even start… You have to get out of your own way.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:26]

“If you believe that there are principles the cause the kind of results that you want, and you believe that you have the ability to apply those principles, isn’t that all you need?” – @metalmotivation [0:07:17]

“Here’s the essential, basic, fundamental truth about online marketing in 2020. Getting more and more people to know you, like you, and trust you as an artist.” – @metalmotivation [0:10:06]

“Funnel is the process of taking somebody who doesn’t know you to see the first promotion that you ever offer them, bringing them along in a relationship with you until you finally create a sale.” – @metalmotivation [0:29:00]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

Click For Full Transcript

00:02 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I hope you’re staying safe during this time, but I also hope you are working diligently on your music business. Adding the online component to your music business is so critical right now and I hope that this podcast is helping you to that end. If it is, please do us a favor and leave a review and some stars on whatever podcast player you listen to. This helps other people to discover the podcast and we read every review that you leave in our team meeting. So we love to hear from you. So please do that for us today. Before we get into this, let me share again, a student spotlight. This is from one of our TOM students, TOM means, The Online Musician. This is Firas Al Bakri and he writes, #win, it’s been a week since I started my Facebook cold conversion opt in ads, and here are the results. 100 complete registrations, spent about $60 and that means the cost per result is about 69 cents per conversion.

He goes on to say, I’m going to be testing out how I can double my completed registration numbers in a short time, search, a key word there is testing. And if he continues to test, he’s going to amp up those results considerably. You might be thinking a hundred registrations in a week. Is that a lot? Is that not a lot? Let me tell you something. The issue is never the quantity, the issue is a quality. He has a hundred people that are probably going to be the most ideal super fans for his music business. And that’s, what’s important. I’ve seen people with very small email lists make a good deal of money because the leads or the people that they have on their lists are so ideal to what they’re doing. That’s the key. That’s what we teach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Getting you in connection with your ideal super fan is the core. It’s the recipe for success in the online music business.

Now in light of this, we recently just completed the three week pop-up mastermind. I don’t know if you had the opportunity to join us in there. It is something that Leah and I began, and then I continued it on to complete the three week workshop and it was awesome. Hundreds of people from all over the world joined us. Why did we do that pop up mastermind? Because everybody has suddenly been isolated to the home, the live music industry was completely shut down for everybody. Mega stars to somebody playing in a corner bar. The whole live music scene was completely shut down and we were hoping that people would now start to listen to what we’ve been banging the drum on here on the Savvy Musician Show for so long. You must start an online music business. You must add the online component to your music business. And well, now it’s just not an option, now it is a must. It is a have to, it is something you simply have to begin to do today.

But here’s the problem, man. Here’s the problem and it came about when someone wrote in to me, they were asking about marketing help and whatnot. And I said, listen, you should join and sign up for this popup mastermind. It’s only $47, three weeks private Facebook group. So he looks at it, he eventually writes me back and this was a talented player, a talented musician. He writes back to me and he says, ‘Is this legit? Sounds impossible.” Now, granted, I’m teaching this thing. So not only is that an insult, but I thought, wow, this is so emblematic of what I see all the time. So what did I write back to him? A long defense? Did I try to sell him on it? Absolutely not. I simply wrote back and said, “Then don’t sign up for it.” And you know what he said? He said, okay. And it just confirmed, he is his own biggest obstacle. Doesn’t make him a bad person, doesn’t make him less talented. None of that, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with you standing in your own way.

If you begin with the premise that it’s impossible, if you begin with a premise that it’s too good to be true, if you begin with the premise that I don’t know if I can and all of the self-defeating doubt, then guess what? It doesn’t matter how good the information is. You’re not going to apply it consistently. Why? Because with every little piece of resistance that you experience, as you start to implement these things, if it gets too difficult, you’re going to throw in the towel and say, it’s not meant to be. You’re going to throw in the towel and say, this is too difficult, you’re going to throw in the towel and say, it’s too much. It would never work for me anyway. You can’t be successful when you’re self defeated before you even start, I could take somebody who has heart and desire and passion and the willing to push through.

And I could make them successful with half of the information we taught in the three week popup mastermind. With half of the information, because if there was any gaps in the information, they would figure it out. They would look it up, they would find out, they would push it, they would discover. As I even said in that three week mastermind, I said, you know what? I would rather have the person who’s doing so much that they’re doing too much, that I have to reel them back in and say, “Hey, don’t post so much.” Than the person that I have to continually light a fire underneath them to get them going or the person who’s constantly neutralized by their self doubt. I’m talking to you today about the key to success is mastering fundamentals and that is the premiere fundamental. It doesn’t matter what the information is guys, if you are stopping yourself before you even start, you have to get out of your own way.

You have to stop saying everything is so hard, everything is so difficult, because the more you say that something is so difficult and the more you say how long something is going to take, then guess what? The more difficult it’s going to be. And the longer it’s going to take, you have to begin with belief. Number one, a belief that principles when applied will create results. And number two, that you have the ability to apply those principles to whatever it is that you’re facing. If you believe that there are principles that cause the kind of results that you want, and you believe that you have the ability to apply those principles, isn’t that all you need? But what happens is, is because we don’t understand the way things are achieved, we think it’s magic or a secret or a hack or a special piece of software that someone else has achieved success. So again, he asked is this legit? Sounds impossible. It’s absolutely legit and it is anything but impossible.

So many people have done it, so many people will continue to do it. So if you fail it’s because you fail in the fundamentals. Think about a winning team, does a football team go to the Superbowl because they did it through winning every game by trick plays? No, the reason why they go to the Superbowl or the reason why they have a losing season depends on their mastering of the fundamentals. The fundamentals of football are a strong passing game, a strong running game, controlling the line of scrimmage, good defense, but especially not turning the ball over, right? Fumbles and interceptions or too many fouls, right? It’s all fundamentals, it’s not trick plays. And so if you lose or you succeed, it all comes down to the same thing. Are you mastering the fundamentals or are you constantly failing in those fundamentals?

You can have all the right software and still sell little to nothing. You can have loads of Facebook followers, but still sell very little. You can have great music and yet still not make a dent. You can know the latest technological hacks and still produce no results. More than half of marketing is mastering of the fundamentals. So don’t fall into the trap of the little details, the hacks, the tricks, the methods. For example, in this mastermind, when I was talking about e-commerce, selling things like merchandise, t-shirts and whatnot, people got a little too preoccupied with what specific software there was. When I wanted them to think about, well, what was possible in relation to the products that they could create. But even more than that, what were they doing right now to create the know, like, and trust element that creates sales. So what is the essential basic? What is the essential fundamental to successful online marketing? You want to know what the secret is? Here’s the essential, basic, fundamental truth about online marketing in 2020.

Getting more and more people to know you, like you, and trust you as an artist. I’ll say that again, getting more and more people to know you, like you, and trust you as an artist. And you know what? That’s the way it is in any business. Anyone who wants to start an online business, I don’t care whether you’re an author, a blogger, a coach. It doesn’t matter what it is. You’ve got to get more and more people to know you, more and more people to like you, more and more people to trust you as an artist. You might be saying to yourself, CJ, we’ve heard you guys say this before. Yeah, but are you living it? Are you practicing it? Are you getting sales and results? If you’re not, then it’s because of two reasons. Number one, you’ve forgot the fundamental or number two, you’re not applying them consistently.

Because if you were applying them consistently, you would further refine, you would know better your audience, know better what they want, know better what they respond to and then increase your results. Because you would be testing like our friend at the outset and our student spotlight said, he’s going to test in order to get more results. He’s going to test in order to get more results. You see the simplest funnel that you can create. Now, funnel is the process taking somebody who doesn’t know you to see the first promotion that you ever offer them, bringing them along in a relationship with you until you finally create a sale. That process, that journey, that path, marketers call a funnel. So they get really complex with these things, but the simplest funnel that you can possibly do is to gain new followers on Facebook and Instagram, get them engaged with you daily, with relevant content and then marketing to them, right? That’s the simplest funnel.

Get new followers on Facebook and Instagram, let’s get them engaged with you daily and relevant content and then let’s market to them. If you can master these, then everything else that you do just scales it. So everybody gets so preoccupied with the software, they get so preoccupied with the tricks, they get so preoccupied with the actual, I need to have that click funnel software, and then it’ll work. If I just get, if I could just see Leah’s email campaign and just copy it, then I know that will work. No, it won’t work. Her email campaign is based on her knowledge of her customers. She knows what they want to hear, she knows what they respond to because she’s tested it and done it over and over again and refined her funnels and customer journey down and down until she has it completely dialed in. If you can master these fundamental things then everything else that you do just scales it.

So when we get into then what’s the best print on demand platform to use? What’s the best e-commerce, Shopify or Square or this or that? What’s the best website host to use? And what’s the best email service provider to use? Et cetera. All of those questions, all of those little details, all they do is scale, which you can do fundamentally without any of those things. So in other words, if you can continue to add new people to your social media pages, Facebook and Instagram, primarily, if you can get them engaged regularly, I would prefer weekly myself with relevant content. In other words, content that they respond to and then you market to them, you will create sales. If you can master this, everything else is just going to help you scale it. But if you can’t do it here at the organic level, then you can’t do it no matter how many tricks and tools and pieces of software that you add to it, it’s not going to work. So master the fundamentals, everything else that you do just scales the process, elevates what you do.

So you might be thinking, okay, wait a minute, CJ, add new followers to Facebook and Instagram, really? Just that, that right there. Well, yeah. How else are you going to get to know people? YouTube? Ain’t going to happen. YouTube is a video based platform, it’s a video based search engine. Facebook and Instagram are share engines. You don’t go searching for things necessarily on Facebook or Instagram, right? You do that more so on YouTube, which is owned by Google. The biggest search engine, Facebook and Instagram are share engines. It’s where people share content. That’s where we get the term social media from. Well, look at the word media, the word media means to broadcast right? Mainstream media, alternative media, these are ways of broadcasting. So now instead of receiving the broadcasting from these mainstream outlets, you’re getting broadcasting from person to person, friends, and family and followers. That’s social media or social broadcasting and that’s why social media is the game changer as I said not too long ago. Talking about social media as being the key to changing the music industry.

15:38 CJ: Facebook and Instagram are ways to target people directly and that’s what you want to do. That’s why Facebook and Instagram are important. That’s where you want to build your brand awareness. That’s where you want to reach new people, right? Getting out there and connecting with them on Facebook and Instagram. And if you show up regularly with content that is relevant to your music and the culture or lifestyle that surrounds that music, then they’re going to follow you and they’re going to interact with you. And like I said earlier, what’s the fundamental, what’s the fundamental thing? Get more and more people to know you, like you, and trust you as an artist. It is literally that simple, so simple that marketing gurus have to help you misunderstand it, right? It’s so simple that marketing gurus have to help you to misunderstand it, to get you to think you need their special hack, their special trick, their special method, their special funnel software and then you’ll get the results you’ve always wanted.

No, get more and more people to know you, more and more people to like you, more and more people to trust you. And when you do that, you can sell them just about anything. And where are you going to meet those new people? Facebook and Instagram, you’re not going to meet them on YouTube. You’re going to meet them on Facebook and Instagram because that’s the social environment where you can do the promotion. And as you bring them on, get them engaged with relevant content means again, that which surrounds the culture and lifestyle that surrounds your kind of music. And they’re out there. You might think you’re special. You might think your music is unique and maybe it is, but guess what? There’s a lot of people into the same kind of stuff all over the world, just waiting for you to reach them. So that’s a very simple funnel that you can follow. Is it not? That’s a very simple process that you can follow. Is it not?

Just getting people to know you, just getting people to like you, just getting people to trust you, right? That is the fundamental, there’s no trick play here, there’s no secret here. It’s getting to know them. So how much do you know your clientele or potential clientele? How much time have you spent getting to know your ideal super fan? One of the keys to effective marketing is basically knowing the buying and or interest habits of your potential audience better than they do. Isn’t that the experience that we all have online every day when we go on social media and we see ads that just seem to be targeted towards us? How does someone know you like to eat that kind of food or drink that kind of energy drink or buy that kind of handbag or play that kind of instruments? How do these retailers know to target you? Because they are putting that information into Facebook and Facebook keeps a track of the fact that you like all of these things, you like this cookie manufacturer, you like this handbag manufacturer, you like this music company, you like this artist, you follow that TV show.

And because you do, Facebook keeps track of all of that information. So someone wants to target you precisely, they can do it. Well, guess what? So can you. You can do the very same thing. And by getting your music or your promotion in front of new people, who’ve never heard of you before, but they’re targeted. In other words, I’m not trying to push hairspray out to bald people, right? That doesn’t make any sense. But if you play a particular kind of music, whether it’s country or hip hop or heavy metal or pop music, if you can put in comparable artists and things into Facebook and maybe some other items that help them to identify the people you’re looking for by their interest, then yeah, your promotions can begin to appear in front of those very people. And all we get them to do is press play to watch your music video or follow your page or buy your CD or what have you.

But what you want to do is get those people to follow you, get them to like your page, follow you on Instagram, follow you on Facebook. But then once they do that, you can not show up, you got to show up and meet them there because that’s where they’re going to see you, right? That’s where they’re going to see you. So you want to have cultural content. Content that makes sense for them. So for example, I have a project that I do called, metal motivation, which is basically motivation, self-improvement content, directed towards people who love heavy metal. And that’s what it’s for. It’s motivation for people who love heavy metal. Now those people who love heavy metal, they also might consult self-improvement resources from people that aren’t heavy metal artists themselves or metal heads themselves, right? They probably do, but they enjoy the fact that it comes through me, someone like them.

But then when I show up every day posting on my Facebook page, I can’t be posting things from Justin Bieber or Eminem or something like that, Adele. Why? Because that has nothing to do with the culture, it has nothing to do with the mutual interest or lifestyle that we share. I have to share something like maybe a little clip from Judas Priest or something from Iron Maiden or something from Metallica or a more contemporary, heavy metal band or my own content, which is motivational content that has that edge, right? An edge that relates to that audience, relates to that culture, relates to that lifestyle. This is a fundamental, you have to understand your audience. The more that you do, the easier it is for you to reach them and the cheaper it is to reach them. Again, going back to our student spotlight, if he keeps researching as he said, researching and testing, he’s going to better understand how to dial in more effectively the culture, the lifestyle, and the interest to bring his cost per conversion down even lower. And that’s what you want to do.

So you have to study your audience, you have to do whatever you have to do to learn the psychology of your potential fan, how they think, what makes them take action, what are their pains? What are the things they’re frustrated by? What are the things that bring them pleasure? What do they like to do? What are they interested in? What do they read? What do they watch? What do they like to eat? There’s any number of things. And you can begin by asking yourself that question, because obviously you would be like your fans to some degree. What are the things that you’re interested in, right? These are all the elements that you’re going to use to target your ideal audience, to target your ideal fan. But this is fundamental. So it’s fundamental to know your potential audience and again, the essential basic, let’s get more and more people to know you, right? So let them see your promotion for the very first time or someone share them, share your content with them. They get to know you.

And then as you get that content to them every day, relevant, engaging content, they learn to like you. And as they learn to like you, then they eventually learn to trust you. And at that point, they’ll pretty much buy whatever you sell. It won’t matter to them anymore. So you’ve got to show up, don’t stand in your own way, don’t be blocked or hindered by doubt, unbelief, self-defeat. Don’t think you can’t do it. I know this may not be germane to your personality profile, you might be someone who is shy or introverted. A lot of creative people are. And so they’re afraid to put themselves out there. Don’t let fear stop you. If you’re going to succeed in this new era of the music industry, you have to do it this way. You have to put yourself out there.

24:21 CJ: So many people have asked the question, can I hire somebody to do this for me? No, you can’t. You have to do it, you have to know them, you have to get to understand your followers and your potential fans. Nobody can do that for you. Nobody can be you. This is social media, you’ve got to show up. So well, I’m just not comfortable with that, well, okay, that’s fine but it’s going to be very difficult for you to have an online music business. Well, they should just buy the music. I’m sorry, it’s not the world we live in anymore. Way too much competition. Way too much. You have to make yourself stand out and to do that you have to show up. Nobody else can be you, right? No, snowflake is the same so let’s use that so that we can differentiate yourself in this crowded online space where there’s other artists competing for the attention of listeners. No, you can’t just put your music out there, you got to put yourself out there, you got to put your personality out there. A little bit of your life out there, not everything.

You don’t have to take your phone to the bathroom and broadcast from there, you don’t have to share everything, but you have to share something so that they can get to know you, they can get to like you and they can get to trust you. Don’t fail in the fundamental. Success really comes down to these. If you spent the rest of this year, mastering fundamentals, I guarantee you, you would have a longterm successful online music career. Can you dig that? Ma’am I hope you can. Now speaking of this, and I know there’s a lot more information that you do need in order to succeed in this business, even though it’s all based on the fundamentals, if you’re ready to go to the next level, then what we’ve got coming up very soon here, depending upon when you hear this podcast, is the new release of the upgraded version of the online musician. 3.0. Leah has been slaving over this for months and months and months, getting everything up to speed as you know, information and technology changes all the time.

And so she’s updated it to TOM 3.0, The Online Musician, and you’re going to want to be a part of this. We got a lot of extra added bonuses, it’s an irresistible offer I promise you. What I want you to do right now is go to and check that out. Also, we are upgrading our inner circle and you’ve heard us talk about the inner circle before, it’s going to be changing in a way that you are absolutely going to love. So you want to get in now because the price will go up. Again, I don’t know when you’re hearing this particular episode of the podcast so if I were you, I would get signed up as soon as possible. Just go to So thank you so much for joining us today on the Savvy Musician Show. So much more to come, interviews and yes, Leah will be back, you will hear from her again, this is a new season for us at the Savvy Musician Academy.

Leah has got so much on her plate right now, I’m more than happy to help carry the load for the podcasts. We will see you guys next week.

Episode #097: Find Your Niche – The Difference Between Failure & Success

Before we go any further, do you know what your micro-niche is? It cannot be overstated how important it is to be rock solid in defining, understanding, and utilizing your micro-niche, because it is the foundation of building your fanbase and music business.

Whether you’re just learning this word for the first time, or well acquainted with it, Leah lays out some incredible insights into the micro-niche approach in this week’s episode of the Savvy Musician Show. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What is your micro-niche?
  • Standing out in the crowd
  • Being important to the people that matter
  • Being easy to find
  • The difference between SEO and your niche
  • Finding your twist
  • Going smaller
  • Your niche title accurately describing your sound
  • Targeting your sub-genre fans first strategy


“You only need to be famous in your micro-niche.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:03:07]

“My fans in my genre know exactly who I am, and that’s all that matters.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:03:34]

“The nice thing about going smaller and becoming the big fish in the small pond is that it makes it so much easier for people to find you.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:05:24]

“If you think you can put up a Facebook page and you can put out music and that people will magically find you, you’re delusional.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:05:45]

“There’s a big difference between search engine optimization and keyword titles, say in a YouTube video and a niche.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:06:30]

“People should be able to imagine and know what your music sounds like based on what the niche title is.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:08:15]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

The Online Musician 3.0 —

Book a Call With Us —

Click For Full Transcript

00:16 Leah: Hey, how’s it going? It’s Leah here and today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about niches and why it’s so important that you find your niche in music if you want to be successful today online with the internet and with just thousands and thousands and thousands of musicians all around the world, all competing for the same eyeballs and the same ears that you are.

Let’s talk about it. Do any of you guys know… I want to know this question of the day. Do you know your niche right now? Mine? I’ll tell you. My big genre is in the metal category. That’s when I’m doing heavy stuff. My sub-genre is symphonic metal and my niche is female-fronted symphonic metal and my micro-niche is Celtic fantasy metal. Sometimes that last one will change a little bit from project to project depending on what I’m doing and depending on the album and all of that, but generally speaking, what I’m doing consistently is the same for the top three.

Here’s the premise with niches, is that with Facebook and the internet and really anything in general, it’s an incredibly crowded market. Facebook just hit 2 billion people. 2 billion users on the platform which is incredible. What that says is that our audience is here. This is where they are. People who are worried that, “Oh, young people aren’t on this platform anymore.” That’s totally not the case. They’re coming back. Like I said, we’re facing such a crowded marketplace that the only way you can stand out…

There’s only two ways you can stand out. Either you’re with a label that has millions of dollars that can put your music through money, through volume, and can put it in front of enough ears and eyes. Sometimes that music isn’t even that great, but people… It’s like they can put it in front of them enough that they get a familiarity and they’re like, “Okay, well, maybe I like that song.”

It’s like it grows on them even though it’s not all that good. We all know some mainstream artists were like, “How did you get a record deal?” Well, that’s how. Because they have so many millions of dollars supporting them to get them in front of all those people. We don’t have that, right? What we have to do is we have to be a little smarter and a little more strategic. Okay?

The way to build an audience is not from trying to get famous worldwide. This is the biggest takeaway I want you to take from today. You only need to be famous in your micro-niche. You only need to be famous in a small crack. And that’s why I always laugh when people say to me, “Well, Leah, I’ve never heard of you.” Well, duh. Unless you listen to Celtic fantasy metal, why would you have heard of me?

My fans in my genre know exactly who I am, and that’s all that matters. The point is that you can’t… Let me give a different analogy. And when I heard this, I’m not really into war, military strategy stuff, but this just made so much sense to me. Okay? And it uses the strategy of thinking of World War II. You can’t put all your resources and energy and then spread yourself thin. You’ll never win that way. Instead they put all their resources, all their money, all their energy and effort into winning one tiny little beachhead. When they took over that little tiny beach, they then could move further inland, and they took over each little piece of land a small piece at a time, and before you knew it, they had won the war.

The point is that it’s not about becoming worldwide famous. You’re going to have to shift your headspace in that way and stop thinking about the old-school label model where it’s a label supporting you, putting millions behind you and you’re trying to get out to as many people as possible.

Now, exposure can be quite large on Facebook if you know what to do and that’s fine, but just because people hear you doesn’t mean they’re going to become fans. It’s a lot better to try to find a smaller amount of quality fans who really, really, really love your music and they’ll buy anything you put out. They just truly appreciate your art.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t eventually get famous or that you couldn’t ever become a household name. You can, but it’s more important that you become a household name in your tiny little genre. You need a little beachhead.

The nice thing about going smaller and becoming the big fish in the small pond is that it makes it so much easier for people to find you. People who are already looking for that kind of music, they’re searching for it really, and you just made it so much easier for them to find you. It’ll happen so much faster.

If you think you can put up a Facebook page and you can put out music and that people will magically find you, you’re delusional. That just won’t happen. It’ll be a complete fluke if that happens. I’m here to just let you know that that is the answer is go smaller. Go smaller.

The niche is typically something that already exists. In 98% of circumstances, if something that is already there that has been created, and it might be kind of new, but what it is not is a string of adjectives. Okay? It’s not what you wish it to be. It’s not, “Oh, my music is feel-good. This kind of… That like…” I don’t know, a bunch of adjectives that you just made up because is anybody searching for that in YouTube? Is anybody searching for that in Google?

What they might search for is, if they’re in a specific mood, that is the case, but now we’re dealing with more of SEO. It’s not a niche. Okay? And there’s a big difference between search engine optimization and keyword titles, say in a YouTube video and a niche. They definitely go hand-in-hand, and when you go to label things in YouTube and all of that, you’re going to use certain keyword phrases, and it should coincide with your niche, but you’ve got to just separate that. Don’t get lost in the woods on SEO.

Right now, the first thing you need to do is define that niche. How else can people find you? And if you’re not sure what your niche is… It’s always going to come back to the question of what is your twist, right? Because if you sound exactly like five other bands… Certainly you have your own twist, there’s something a little bit different about you, so you’re going to have to ask yourself that.

Yeah, the most important thing, guys, is that once you have a good grasp on your umbrella genre, you can then move to the sub-genre. It’s interesting even when you go to upload your music to iTunes, even they want a sub-genre. Having an umbrella genre isn’t good enough. They need one more qualifier to narrow it down.

The same goes for if you submit your music to Amazon or Google Play. They sometimes have three levels of genres, like, “Okay, you’re this, you’re this, and you’re this, that your music could fall under these categories.” Because even they need you to narrow it down or else their users, their consumers, won’t be able to find you. There’s just too many musicians out there. Right?

The smaller you go… It’s so counterintuitive to go smaller, you think, “Well, aren’t I cutting out my market? Aren’t I cutting out my market if I go too small?” You’re not. In fact, you need to look at it as a starting place. Okay? Your niche should describe what it is. People should be able to imagine and know what your music sounds like based on what the niche title is.

08:49 Leah: It shouldn’t be a poll on guessing like, “What is that?” They might be curious to hear it, like, “Oh, I wonder what that sounds like?” But they shouldn’t be wondering what does that mean? If it invokes the response, “What does that mean?”, then it’s not clear enough and you’re being too artsy-fartsy with your title.

I’m the same way. We can get really creative, but this is an instance where the idea here is to not be cute or witty or clever. We’re not trying to be clever with our micro-niche. We’re trying to be accurate.

When you get into the more advanced stages, when you are doing Facebook ads and stuff, now you have something to work with. If you didn’t know what differentiated you from everyone else, and you didn’t know your twist, and you have no idea what your targeted fan base is like, and you don’t know what makes them tick, what are the books they’re going to read, what are the blogs they read, where do they hang out online or the websites they’re hanging out? If you don’t know all of that stuff, your ads will bomb, and you’ll say, “Facebook ads don’t work,” and you’ll waste your money. That’s why I never encourage people to start spending money on Facebook ads until they get their free traffic down.

That’s why I have Facebook for musicians. I have The Busy Musician Bootcamp. I have a new product coming out actually this week. It’s a little small one on how to get 10,000 fans in seven days. But all of this is centered around having a micro-niche and knowing that you’ve got to get narrow, because if you don’t get narrow, you’re going to get lost. The idea here is to stand out and get smaller so that you eventually can become more well-known. You start small and then you can progress from there.

Facebook now has over 2 billion people here, and there’s a lot of people competing for the same fans that you are and the same eyeballs, the same ears, and how are we going to make it stand out? The way to do that is to get into a very specific niche that actually makes your market a lot smaller. It’s easier to be a large fish in a small pond, than to try and be another fish in an ocean of other fish. That’s so much harder, so much harder, way more effort.

What’s cool is that sometimes you really have combined some new things that really do sound fresh. I believe there’s really nothing new under the sun, but there’s definitely some new combinations of things that haven’t really been done before or just sounds fresh. Right? It has a new spin on it. I don’t believe there’s really anything completely, totally stays original.

No, we all got it from somewhere. We all have influences. Somebody at some point started something maybe in the beginning of time, but there’s really nothing you can honestly call original now and that’s totally fine. That’s actually how some of the best creative people work is by using inspiration from other people and making it their own and giving it their own twist.

As a qualifier for if you have found your niche, is when you describe it to someone or when you say the title, do they know what it is? Is it descriptive enough? Is it accurate or are you being really artsy-fartsy and creative and trying to be witty or cute with it. That’s not the goal. We want to just be descriptive so that, hey, when people type this into YouTube, your music comes up.

There is a little bit of crossover between your micro-niche, and you’ll know it’s a thing if people actually search for that thing. If it’s not that thing, you may have for that… There’s that 2% of people who genuinely have created something new that hasn’t really been done before, and for that you have a little bit of a greater challenge because now you’re going to have to… You’ve started a thing.

Now people are going to have to get used to the name. They’re going to have to also identify with that name and say, “Oh, I like that kind of music.” They’re going to have to somehow find you. Your challenge is a little greater if you have truly stumbled across something very unique. And I have several students who really have, and I was like, “Yeah, you really do have something that hasn’t been done before, or you have a twist that is very unique and not many people are doing.” So for that you’re really going to need to follow the steps that I teach as much as you can so that you can really stand out and attract people to you.

What you might do is end up using more of the layer above that micro-niche. You might want to stick more with the sub-genre to first attract people and then start educating them in a way as “You found us because you love this sub-genre. This is actually what we really are.” As we get to know you and love you and trust you, and when you develop relationships with your fans, it’ll become more apparent that, “Oh, it’s actually a layer deeper,” right?

You find that all the time. If you listen to Spotify playlist, and people get very generalized, and sometimes you’ll hear songs on a playlist, you’re like, “How did that make it onto this playlist? That doesn’t even make sense.” So people get generalized a lot in things and it drives us nuts as musicians, but for the consumer, that’s how they’re discovering music is through some of those generalizations. So I think the key is become a household name in your little niche, your little genre, and then you can expand from there and become more well-known, get more exposure, but it all starts with that tiny little beachhead that we talked about and then expanding from there.

So this was really fun and thanks for hanging out. I hope you have a wonderful week and we’ll talk to you soon.

Episode #096: How Social Media Is Changing The Music Industry

This may be the most concise, yet comprehensive, description of where we are in the music industry and what may be the greatest opportunity for artists in the last 25 years.

At the end of the 90s, Napster changed the old music industry with illegal downloading of digitized music, and a few years later, iTunes capitalized on that by now selling downloadable mp3s. And just a few years ago, another shift happened when apps like Pandora and Spotify eliminated the mp3 with music streaming.

All of this represented just more taking advantage of the artist as new companies made bundles while artists got pennies. They’re all just another version of the record labels.

But, the problem the internet created by Napster, iTunes, and Spotify has also now provided artists with a way to finally control their own careers and make the money they always wanted without a record label!

In this special episode, C.J. breaks this down in such as way that you’ll be fired up and ready to go to work on marketing your music. Buckle your seatbelts because you’re in for a ride!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The impact of the internet and Napster
  • Sad tales from the road
  • Social media is the new music industry
  • Why being discovered doesn’t matter anymore
  • Dialing in your Facebook ads
  • Getting more gigs because of your strong social media presence
  • The superfan system
  • Creating merchandise to sell while having no inventory


“Social media is the single biggest game-changer for the music industry since it began.”  – @metalmotivation [0:05:01]

“It’s not about potential fans discovering you, it’s about you discovering fans.”  – @metalmotivation [0:10:37]

“If you have a musical brand that you can now push out to an audience and you know how to target those people, then you can build an online music business.”  – @metalmotivation [0:16:45]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Book a Call With Us —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: This is CJ. I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. No doubt everybody has learned now that you simply cannot go on as you were before. This current crisis that we’re undergoing has really revamped the way everybody is looking at life, the way everybody’s looking at career, the way everybody is looking at possibility and opportunity. Think about that. So many dear, dear friends of mine play music for a living in that they play live events. They play live gigs at venues, in bars and the like. Well, that has all been shut down. All of it has been shut down. And so, now they’re scrambling to try and find other things to do to try and earn a living. As we always know, it’s artists, it’s creative people who always seem to get screwed. Screwed by record labels, screwed by media players, screwed by Spotify, iTunes and what have you.

Now even been screwed by the economy. So what do you do when something like this is happening? What do you do? What’s the challenge here for us? Well, you’ve got to build an online music business, and that’s the primary thing that has changed since the music industry experienced its last and almost detrimental revolution at the end of the 20th century. And that was essentially that you, your music, the music that you wrote could suddenly be distributed worldwide without your permission because of Napster. Napster changed the way the music industry was being handled. It essentially shut things down. Everything got shut down. Bands were up in arms over this, music was being distributed for free. And we understand that and we went through that.

The next change was when iTunes came out, and now they started to sort of capitalize on what was happening with downloadable MP3s and the iPod and all of these things begin to change that. So people were now buying and downloading music, but still the artist was getting pennies for what the tech companies were getting. Now the last one is streaming music. Now streaming is taking from the artist. Now, it’s great to get exposure and people are getting exposure on YouTube and the like. But now the music industry is what? What value is there right now for a record label? What can a record label do for you right now? Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot.

I know touring musicians, in fact, I did an interview with Lindsay Matheson who played in an international touring band. She said, in the discussions that she had with other professional touring musicians, that they were shocked to find out that the bus driver was making more money than they were. The bus driver was making more money than they were, and so oftentimes they have to go back. I know members of that band, when they get off the road, they have to go back and work in the bars or do some construction or whatever it is they have to do. There’s just not the type of profit or revenue that there used to be. Now what? Well, this is where the internet has begun to revolutionize things, even though it is the internet that caused the problem to begin with, in the sense that Napster began this MP3 download, file sharing thing, the internet is also the solution. It’s not just what created the problem, it’s also what is creating the solution.

However, something specific had to happen in the internet in order for us to be able to take advantage now of the power of the internet. You see, prior to social media, people were marketing things on the internet already. For example, Amazon started in the ’90s. So people were already using the internet for e-commerce prior to the advent of social media. In other words, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. So internet marketing had been around since the internet was born. However, we did not have the opportunities that we have now because of social media. That’s what’s important to understand. Social media is the single biggest game changer for the music industry since it began, and that’s a big thing for me to say, but I assure you that is the case and I’ll explain why that is.

Now, I have been in marketing for 30 years. 30 years I have been in design, advertising and marketing. My degrees are in this. This is what I’ve done all my life and now I help out with the Savvy Musician Academy as both a branding and a mindset coach. I work with our elite students on a one-on-one basis, helping them with their branding, their marketing, et cetera. I’ve done this. I’ve got my own pages that I do. So believe me, I have done this for a long time. Here’s the thing you have to understand, is that the internet prior to social media, do you remember the things you used to say when you first discovered the internet? Do you remember what you thought? You were like, “I wonder if so-and-so company has a website yet. I wonder if this band has a website yet.” What did you used to say about someone who was goofing off on the internet, wasting time on the internet? What did we used to say? How did we describe it? We said they were surfing the web. Surfing the web. Well, do we even say that anymore?

Does anybody say surfing on the web anymore? Absolutely not. Nobody says that, because the web, internet, is just a part of our lives now. So what do we say now when somebody is wasting time online? Well, they’re checking their social media, they’re checking their Facebook. So we went from surfing the web to checking Facebook. So everything now is down to the little screen. That’s why you see advertising and whatnot being spent there. It’s because all of the focus now is on the little screen. But think about how revolutionary this is because, prior to social media, you had no hope of someone discovering you online. How would they find you if you’re a band? It doesn’t matter how good you are. How would someone find you? How would they know where you were? How would they know that you even existed? Well, prior to social media, information on the internet is searched for. You search for information on the internet. That’s how you do it. So it had to be a key word search, but nobody is necessarily going to be putting into the internet your name because they don’t know who you are.

You see, prior to social media, information on the internet was searched for. Now I want you to really listen to what I’m about to say. Prior to social media, information on the internet is searched for. After social media, information is shared. I want you to contemplate that for just a second. After social media, information is not searched for, information is shared. For example, we’re got this virus going on, and I’ve used this example for years. It’s going to mean a whole lot more now because we’re dealing with this COVID-19, coronavirus thing. But if I had a flu virus, how many people could I effectively infect if I stood in the middle of Times Square as people are moving by quickly? Not very many people.

08:38 CJ: I can’t affect very many people if I’m standing out in the street, but what happens if I get on a boarded airplane that’s full? Every seat is full on a commercial airline flight and had that same flu, that same virus. How many people could I infect? A lot. You’re seeing this with the cruise ships. Quarantining the cruise ships because it’s a captive audience. It is a isolated audience, an encapsulated audience. That, my friend, is what social media is. Social media is the internet contained, because people have to have an account in order to be on it. You can’t be on Facebook without a Facebook account. Therefore, you are able to spread things virally on social media like you could not do prior to social media.

You look at something like YouTube. A lot of musicians focused their attention on YouTube thinking, really thinking the old way, just like the record industry was. The old way, the record industry was, “I hope I get discovered by a record label.” Now they’re on YouTube thinking, “I hope I get discovered on YouTube. I hope my video goes viral.” Not likely. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a search engine. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a search engine. Facebook is a share engine. Think about that difference. So the power of social media and why it has changed the music industry now is because it’s not about people discovering you, it’s about you discovering people. It’s not about potential fans discovering you, it’s about you discovering fans. Because what Facebook does is track all the movements that we make, all the things that we click on and engage with and have interest and passions about. Facebook keeps a record of that. Therefore, when you use the powerful Facebook ad manager, you can target the exact people who would love your music.

Man, you better be clapping your hands and tearing up your ceiling right now because that is the best news anybody could have given you since Napster did what it did. This is the single most important thing to happen since the end of the 20th century. The problem that Napster and the internet created at the end of the 20th century now has the potential to be solved because of what we have now through the power of social media. I want you to think about that, because now you can go direct to market. Now you can target people who like this band, that band, this person, eats that food, watches this, does that, and you can put your music video right in front of the most ideal person who want to hear it. Man, that’s powerful. That is absolutely powerful.

Now, I do a project myself. The other half of my life is motivational speaking. I want you to listen to this example really, really closely. I’m serious, man. I’m about to put horseshoes in your boxing gloves. I’m about to help you cheat the system if you’ll listen really, really closely right now. I have a side project that I’ve done. I launched it in Halloween of 2009. It’s called Metal Motivation: Daily Screams for Living Aggressively. Metal Motivation. Now, the other half of my life is being a personal development person, self-improvement, motivational speaking, that sort of thing. I target, however, people who like heavy metal, hard rock. So I’m targeting those people. So my short hand description would be, I’m like Tony Robbins meets Metallica. Simple. Tony Robbins meets Metallica. It’s called Metal Motivation. Now, I set that up again in 2009. Well, here was the challenge. How do I target people for that page? Well, because of what the Facebook ad manager can do, I can target them.

But try and target that sort of thing before social media, because nobody prior to Facebook would ever sit down at the Google search engine and say, “I wonder if there’s a heavy metal version of motivation. I wonder if there’s a heavy metal motivational speaker. I wonder if there’s a heavy metal self-improvement program.” They would never say that. What would they do? They would sit down at the search engine and they would say, “How to be more motivated.” And they might be a lover of heavy metal, but they’re not looking for a metal motivation. They’re looking for how to be more motivated, and so they’ll take the information from whoever it is, whether it’s a metal motivator or not. But how much more ideal would it be if they had a metal motivator? But they’re just not going to discover me on a Google search. With Facebook, I can discover them.

So what I do, because of the Facebook ad manager, it has different layering. So I can say, “Find me, Facebook, people who like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. But they must also like, they must also like Tony Robbins. They must also have read the book Think and Grow Rich. They must also have listened to this motivational speaker or follow this motivational page.” So now I can run ads directly to people who love heavy metal and love motivational content. Think about that. I’m targeting people who love heavy metal and love motivational content. So now when I put my ads in front of those people, they click like. I spend, and this is something Leah teaches in her courses. Both The Online Musician, what we call The Tom Program, as well as the Super Fan System Elite Program. She teaches this very thing, where she spends $10 a day on bringing new people to her page. I do the same thing. I spend $10 a day, 24/7. It’s $300 a month. I don’t even think about it. It’s money I spend on my business. That’s my business.

I’m in business here. So I spend $10 a day on that advertising, and it brings me in about 150 on average new likes per day to my page. My page is over 130,000, so it brings in 150 or more new likes every day like clockwork. It’s anywhere between five to 7 cents per like. Very, very cheap and inexpensive. Why? Because I have my audience targeted in. I couldn’t do that with a Google search engine. I couldn’t do that with trying to get a viral video on YouTube. I’m not waiting for people to discover me, I’m discovering them. I’m targeting them. That’s why social media is changing the way the music industry is being done. Now, what this means for you is that if you understand who you are as an artist, if you have a brand, a musical brand that you can now push out to an audience and you know how to target those people, then you can build an online music business. You can build an online music business.

So instead of putting just your video on YouTube and hoping somebody comes across it, or bothering all your friends on Facebook and say, “Hey man, share my video,” no, you can go directly to the people who want to hear the kind of music that you make. If you play ambient music, just instrumental. We’ve got in our Super Fan System Elite Program, we’ve got instrumentalists, ambient players. We’ve got, I mean, weird stuff. We’ve got pop music, we’ve got rock music, we’ve got all kinds of players. And they all have an audience that they can reach. We’ve got people that are very mission-driven in their music, very mission-driven. I’ve got one guy in our Elite Program, he’s just a solo music player, but he’s very passionate about the environment and social causes. He’s the real deal, man. He puts his money where his mouth is, and so he has a message to go along with it. Well, he’s able to now find an audience specifically for him.

17:51 CJ: Even if, maybe you want to do a combination. Maybe you want to do both online and build up your local gigs whenever you’re allowed to start playing again, and it will come back. Local music is going to come back again. But you maybe want to do both, sell some of your merchandise, sell your CDs and vinyl records online, as well as maybe sell some of your shows locally, you can use the same show social media marketing tactics there as well. Imagine this. Now, let me tell you something. For five years I ran a music venue, a very big music venue in Texas. It had two stages, indoors and outdoors. I would run a dance band on the indoor stage. I’d run a rock band on the outdoor stage and switch them up, every Friday and Saturday night. So believe me, I know what it means to host local bands. I know what booking is. I know what bar owners and venues are looking for.

One of the number one things when new artists would come to me and say, “Hey, can you book me?” One of the first things I would want to see is their social media presence. What kind of following do they have? They were trying to rely on the bar’s following. If you really want to attract a venue, you really want to get booked locally, then you want a venue owner, a bar owner, to see that you bring people out. And you can tell them, “Listen, I’ve got a huge Facebook following and people will show up when I play. I have an engaged following and they will show up when I play.” Well, guess what? You are going to get booked. That’s why it’s in your interest to build your social media audience, create brand awareness. See, what most people do. They say, “Oh, I’m already on Facebook. Oh, I know social media.” No they don’t. They’ve got a Facebook page and all they got on there is their events.

There’s no engagement. There’s nobody commenting. There’s no life going on. They’re not posting anything. They’re not doing anything. They just set up a Facebook page because that’s what people do. That’s a recipe for failure, I promise you that. You can’t do it that way. There’s a way to market your music via social media. Any music, maybe you give lessons now in light of the fact that there’s a downturn in these things. And you need to make some extra money. You can use the powerful tools of social media marketing to build your personal brand and target people just in your zip code. Isn’t that amazing? Let me tell you how powerful this is. When you’re going for the little screen, targeting the little screen … I get direct mail, as you probably do too. I get direct mail to my mailbox, my physical mailbox, every day. Now, I’m serious about my nutrition. I do the ketogenic diet to be specific, but I’m very serious about my nutrition. But I’ll get direct mail postcards and mailers from fast food restaurants or pizza delivery or takeout places.

Would they bother to send me that mail? Because it costs them money to have it produced. It costs them money to design it, it costs them money to buy a mailing list, it costs them money to mail it to me. Would they bother? Wouldn’t they love to know that I don’t eat that food? But you see, what does it tell me that I keep getting these mailers in my mailbox? It tells me that their targeting options are very, very limited. In Facebook, you don’t do that. In social media, you don’t do that. Nobody receives my advertising or my post that is not specifically and specially targeted for exactly what I’m going to put in front of them. Well, yeah. If I’m targeting people who love heavy metal and love motivational content, if I put in front of them an ad that says, “Hey, I’m the Metal Motivator. Get daily inspiration for motivated people who love heavy metal,” guess what they do? They click like, because I’m not putting it in front of people who don’t like those things.

Again, this is so much better than the internet has ever been. This is why you can have an online music business. Because, again, think about this. It’s what we teach in the Savvy Musician Academy, the Super Fan. What’s a super fan? A super fan is somebody who’s just crazy about your music, so crazy about it that they’ll buy stuff from you. That’s a super fan. If you had 1,000 super fans, 1,000 people who really like you and really like your music and those people, those 1,000 people, spent $100 in a year with you, t-shirts, hoodies, CDs, vinyl, whatever. If that 1,000 super fans just spent $100 in a single year with you, that would be a six-figure income. If they spent just $100 a year, that would be a six-figure income. Again, I have built my Facebook page up to 130,000-plus. Leah, three or four times as that. All you need is 1,000 people who will spend $100 a year with you and you have a six-figure income with your music business.

Hey, let’s make it easier. 50 people. I mean, excuse me, 200 people spending $50. The same thing. But you can build it up so much more than that. You can go well beyond 1,000 super fans. You can do so much more. You couldn’t do that with just the internet, you needed social media. That’s why social media has changed the nature of the music industry itself. This is powerful. Absolutely powerful. Absolutely game-changing. I know we’re living in trying times. I understand that this virus thing hit us all unexpectedly. We did not see it coming. But here’s the big lesson learned, you need alternative means of income. You can’t just go by by that day job anymore. I think everybody’s awake to that fact now. Now is the time for you to launch and build your online music business.

Again, you can use this to help build your live music playing. You can use this to bring people out to your shows. You can do all of it if you can build your audience, create this brand awareness, get that audience engaged and maybe get some of them then I’m on to a dedicated email list and you stay in communication with these people, going live like I am now. Creating this relationship where people know you, where they like you, where they trust you, where they enjoy hearing from you, where they love your music. Those people will buy your shirts, they’ll buy whatever you want to put in front of them. And you say, “Well, CJ. Listen, man, I don’t have the money to get a bunch of inventory. How am I going to get a bunch of shirts made? How am I going to get a bunch of hoodies and hats and mugs and all these things made?”

You don’t have to. For example, we use print-on-demand services. I have a store which has well over 100 products. I’ve got smartphone covers. I’ve got hats. I’ve got shirts. I’ve got necklaces, ladies’ stuff, men’s stuff. I’ve got coffee mugs. I’ve got all kinds of stuff and I don’t have a single piece of inventory. Not one. I do it through a Shopify e-commerce store and that’s all hooked up to these print-on-demand vendors. If someone places an order, they make the shirt to order. They don’t keep an inventory either. They make a single shirt, a single hat, a single hoodie per order, and they ship it to them. I don’t ever touch the product. All I have to do is build an audience, get them to know me, like me, trust me, engage with me on social media. Then if I build them up and I give them value, if I add value to their life for free, they’re more than happy to get a shirt. They’re more than happy to get a hat. They’re more than happy to get a mug, to support what I’m doing. I call it wearing their attitude.

It’s awesome, man. It’s awesome. This is the power of social media. This is why social media has changed the face of the music industry. This is why you can create an online music business. Man, I hope the coin is dropping for you. I hope you understand what I’m talking about. Like I said, I’ve done this for 30 years. I know I don’t look that old. I’ve been doing this a long, long time. I’ve watched the internet. I started long before the internet, so I’ve seen it grow. Marketing, design and advertising and promotion, I’ve seen it grow. I was in the early stages of promoting on social media. I was doing it beforehand. So again, again, this is so important for you to grasp and understand. You have options. You don’t have to stay where you are. If you know where you are as an artist if you know who you are as an artist, if you know who your target audience is, and it may take some thought. But these are things we teach all at the Savvy Musician Academy.

One of the things that we’ve got coming up here very soon is something that Leah produces. She’s about to release the most upgraded version, which is The Online Musician 3.0. Or as we call it, TOM 3.0. It will launch here in May very, very soon. So if you want information about that and you want to get on the list, then I want you to go to that URL right there, If you are somebody who’s down the road. In other words, you got a pretty good following. You’ve got a website. You’ve maybe sold some music online and you’ve kind of plateaued and you need to go to your next level, then I want you to check us out at Go to, because then we can talk to you about our Elite Program.

You need to be an elite. Keep believing. Don’t give up right now. This is not the time to be discouraged. This is not the time to be fearful. This is not the time to be anxious. This is the time to advance. You need to go on the offensive. I know it seems scary out there. I know it does, but you can dissuade. You can assuage your worries, your fears and anxiety by taking action. Stay strong. We will see you guys soon.

Episode #095: Making Good Use of Your Isolation, Pt. 2

Part 2 of “Making Good Use of Your Isolation” gives you more pro tips on what you can be doing right now at home to expand your music business. With so many people at home and online, this is such a great opportunity for you to provide people with some normalcy while building relationships and increasing your sales. 

In this episode, Leah and C.J. discuss what you can be doing to reach more people and how to do it as effectively as possible. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Selling music vs. selling anything else online
  • Short-term vs. long-term fan building tactics
  • Optimizing your online store
  • Incremental long-term profits
  • Nurture emails
  • Spam email trigger words
  • Online concerts
  • A different approach to merchandise
  • Seizing this opportunity with people at home and online
  • Being an encouragement to others right now


“Something that screams unprofessional is one product page is using one font and one formatting and whatever and the next product page is a completely different font, different size, different color, different style images, different everything.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:21:30]

“Your goal is to just bump that little percentage up half a point at a time. Just continuing until you’re getting a really good take rate on that upsell. So, the devil’s in the details on those numbers, you don’t go for big numbers.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:25:59]

“The way to optimize it (your email), first of all, take a look at your open rates and take a look at your click-through rates. That’s really the starting point, when I’m looking to improve it, that’s the first thing.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:27:13]

“Usually the subject line just needs to be changed, we need to try something else. Sometimes certain trigger words will end up in the spam, will cause your email to end up in the spam.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:27:29] 

“Sometimes the right shirt or thing to have is one that says something about the person wearing it.” – @metalmotivation [0:31:14]

“So many people are home, they’re online, they’re bored, you have the opportunity of a lifetime to capture their attention.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:33:17]

“Take advantage of this time to be encouraging. It’s not just about you going on to play, it’s about you talking to them, too.” – @metalmotivation [0:33:52]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Sam Morrisson (TOM Student) —

Book a Call With Us —

Podcast Episode #083 (Top 9 Marketing Metrics You Need to Know to Grow Your Music Business —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, joined once again by her eminence, your mentor, my friend and colleague, the lovely Leah McHenry. How you doing? 

00:38 Leah: I’m doing wonderful, great to see you. 

00:41 CJ: It’s great to be seen. 

00:43 Leah: Yeah, just saw you 10 seconds ago. 

00:45 CJ: That’s right. It’s good to see me, isn’t it? Well, listen, we had such a really really powerful time in this last episode that we did something we don’t normally do which is kind of change the plan. You know, sometimes this is the way life and business is when you’re an entrepreneur, Leah. You are changing the tire while the car is running down the road. 

01:08 Leah: That’s my life. That’s literally my life. Change the diaper while the kid is already running. 

01:16 CJ: We got into just what was built off of a post that you made just as the pandemic was starting to break out outside of China, had some foresight. You started to write out a list of things for people to do while they were in isolation to build their music business. It really went over well. And then you did a video about it on Facebook and then it changed the whole editorial plan for the Inner Circle magazine. I changed that because of it. And now we are doing a podcast. So we started to just go over this little list of things you said to do and all of a sudden…

01:56 Leah: Kaboom. 

01:57 CJ: It went deep. It went deep and the theme that really came out of that last one was about leaning in, which was to say that, hey, people are spending money, man. They are spending money. Not necessarily high-ticket items, not cars and houses and that sort of thing, but they are buying smaller things. Things that make them feel good, which a creative artist, like yourself or those listening to us, can produce. Whether it’s shirts, merchandise, music or what have you.

So, we got to the place where, and I’m going to share a student spotlight here in just a second, but we got to the place where we were about to get more into the e-commerce elements, specifically Shopify and stuff and you just kind of said “Hey, you know what, I could go really deep on this so why don’t we stop it here and we’ll jump to another episode” and so that’s what we are doing today. So, we changed it and added a part two to this very very important thing that Leah began on making good use of your isolation.

Before we get into that, this is a little student spotlight which is our little testimonial and this is from Sam Morrison, who is a student in the TOM program. TOM means The Online Musician, he writes “Win, I’m happy to report I’m finally seeing success from all I’ve learned from SMA. It’s been a lot of work, I’ve completely rebuilt my website and store” wow, that’s something you should be he should be doing, right? 

03:20 Leah: It’s huge. 

03:22 CJ: “I’ve started running Facebook Ads and created my first funnel. My email list is up to 1,118 people and this month so far I’ve brought in $439.58 in sales. It’s not change my life money yet but in a way, it is because I see that it’s possible. My biggest breakthrough was when I started actually putting a story behind my products. Copy is everything. I’m anxiously awaiting TOM 3.0, I’m REALLY wanting to jump into the Elite program and with things going the way they are I’m sure it won’t be long. Thanks, Leah.” Man, I love that. 

03:59 Leah: That’s great. On every level that’s great. 

04:02 CJ: That’s like a podcast in itself. 

04:05 Leah: Right. 

04:06 CJ: Hit all the topics we want to cover and mentioned TOM 3.0. 

04:09 Leah: Yep. Copywriting. Story behind the merch. 

04:13 CJ: Uh-huh, email list. 

04:15 Leah: This guy is going places, I can tell. 

04:18 CJ: Well, one thing I loved about what he said there is, “It’s not change my life money yet, but in a way, it is because I see that it’s possible.” 

04:26 Leah: Yeah, like 4 hundred and something doesn’t necessarily change your life until it starts becoming regular and every day you just keep doing it again and you keep doing it again. That’s what I said to my friend, Lindsay we were talking about in the last episode, who sold out of all her limited edition vinyl during the pandemic. She was nervous about… she didn’t know how it was going to go over, I was like launch it, just launch it, it’ll be fine.

And she sold all out of all of it and I’m like amazing, now you get to do it all over again. And this is it, right? It’s like that’s amazing, do it again. That’s amazing, do it again. Do it again. Do it again until you eat, sleep and breathe this. And that’s when you get really good results. Until it has become second nature to you, and you don’t even have to think about how to run an ad and you don’t even have to think about how to run a campaign and how to launch something, it’s going to be a struggle. That needs to become part of who you are.

You really have to adopt that as a person and then you really see the results. So, congratulations to this guy, congratulations to our students who are doing it, do it again. Lean in like we talked about, do not back off, do not take your foot off the gas pedal, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and do more, not less. 

05:49 CJ: That’s huge. And again, like you said, to the outsider who looks in at it, Leah, who says “Oh, he just made $400 something dollars. You going to have a big music career with that?” You know a skeptic or a cynic would say. But he’s right, he goes yeah it didn’t change my life radically as far as paying all of my bills…

06:10 Leah: But it did. 

06:11 CJ: But now that I see what’s possible, that $438 will become $43,800, which will become $430,000 if he keeps on this trajectory. So, the most important thing is what is changing in him and for those listening, the most important thing is that something changes in you when you see what is possible. Leah, we finished the last episode where we started to go into one of the things you can do in isolation, which is to build or optimize your Shopify store. That turned into an in-depth discussion on just the power of e-commerce and where things are right now.

06:57 Leah: And I’ve got to say, let me just kind of kick the rest of this list off by saying I believe now having sold other things other than music is that music is one of the hardest things to sell because we’re just in a new paradigm and we’re still getting used to it. It’s a tough sell, it’s harder to sell that than other things. So, what I can tell you is that I feel prepared now for anything. Because I learned how to sell music, I learned how to sell a lot of it from home as an artist who is just a recording artist and doesn’t tour, I feel like because I gained the skills to do that, now everything else is easy in comparison. Like the easiest thing in the world in comparison.

I will never sugar coat that, okay? Selling music is tougher than selling candy or selling other things, it’s just the nature of it. We still have a culture of people who are getting used to buying online, there’s certain demographics, we have other cultures who are only streaming and so artists are having to be creative in other ways, selling merchandise, selling VIP tickets, selling experiences, selling Patreons. They’re having to think really outside the box and that’s what makes it tricky is for any of that stuff to work, you’ve got to have the foundation, you’ve got to have the skills.

You still need to develop yourself as an artist. You still, no matter what you’re going to do, I don’t care if you’re streaming on Twitch and video games at night and then gigging during the day, I don’t care what is is you’re doing, you must know your artist identity, you must know your brand, you must know your culture, you must know your niche, you must have a good website, you must understand social media and you must know how to grow an audience. I don’t care what you’re doing. So, I feel like if you can learn how to sell music, everything else will be so easy. I really wanted to start off by saying that.

In this training that you get from us, especially in The Online Musican 3.0, which every musician needs to start out with this program until you’re making three to five thousand dollars a month from online revenue or different streams of revenue, not gigging. Until you’re doing that regularly every month, you need to go through this program. Until you’re doing that, every musician needs to go through that program to build that foundation. It’s the foundation of the house, if you try to put a roof on before there’s even walls up, that’s not really going to work.

So, this is where everybody starts out. I just want everybody to understand that it is sometimes awkward, it is sometimes difficult, which is why I created the program because I did not know how to do it and every time I took a business course or every time I took an advertising course I felt like it didn’t apply to me and it was really awkward to try and apply abstract business ideas to something that’s art. Very difficult transition. Difficult to bridge that gap, so I created what I needed. I created what I wished I had and that turned into Savvy Musician Academy, that turned into The Online Musician, our flagship program.

And now we’re on the third iteration of it and updating it with all the new things that we’ve learned and the way the markets have changed and the way the platforms have changed and helping you develop yourself. This is what it is, it’s an artist development program that focuses really on your brand, your music, your image, your culture, the things that are going to be the launching pad for everything you do from here on out. Even though music is more difficult than other things, trust me, you learn that… and I always tell all of our clients and all of our students, if you take this training and really let it become second nature, there’s no reason why you couldn’t start a six or seven-figure business outside of this too.

It’s the type of skills that really permeate that really translate to the real world and that’s really what makes us different. And of course, what makes it different is it’s put together by somebody who is doing it. And that doesn’t just have to be me. A lot of our coaches are doing it, they’re either working for people who are doing it or they are musicians themselves who are doing it or they’re closely related to the industry. So, we all have our hands in the real world and we’re actually doing this, we don’t just teach it. I just wanted to start off on that foot as we go through this list because I think it’s important for people to understand, just to have that basis. 

11:39 CJ: No, it’s a valid point because we don’t want to be unrealistic in anyone’s expectations. I mean, the music industry in this regard has never been so easy, because before you had to be discovered and get with a record label and all that. Yes, it’s never been so easy because of the technology and the online element all these things, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 

12:04 Leah: Right. 

12:06 CJ: It’s easier than it used to be, but it’s not easy. 

12:09 Leah: Yeah, well it’s like anything, you know when Tik Tok started, I don’t know if you know that app, it’s a brand new app, maybe not super brand new but it’s very very popular with the kids. It’s all like 15-second videos and stuff and people just entertaining themselves being stupid. I hear several months ago because it’s so brand new and there’s millions of people on there, all of a sudden, if you posted a video on there, it got a million views. People are like what this is crazy, I just uploaded a video and like 24-hours later I have like 3 million views, this is insane.

This is what happens whenever any new market opens up or new app opens up. So, yes, with this turning of the tide it’s never been easier to be heard, be seen and at the same time it’s also part of the newness and then over time what happens is it become saturated, it becomes flooded, everybody’s there and it becomes white noise. And now the algorithms have changed and there’s so much content they prioritize things that are already getting engagement. This is how it always works. It was the same thing on Instagram, same thing on Facebook. It’s always the way it is.

So, this is why you need to understand the basics and the foundational pieces of real marketing because if you think that you’re just going to have some wild success just because you are there, that’s the whole “build it and they will come” mentality, which doesn’t work long-term. You might get a fluke where you join a new platform  and the first two weeks something takes off, but you should never count on that. I just joined on there to see what it’s doing and I don’t think everybody’s always getting those types of views anymore at all. Suddenly it’s saturated. They always say, what is it like “marketers always ruin a good thing” or something? 

13:58 CJ: Yeah, yeah. 

13:59 Leah: So, now marketers and businesses, they hear about Tik Tok, now they’re all on there polluting the feed and skewing all the numbers and stuff. These things just don’t last. That’s my point is those kinds of flash-in-the-pan visibility, it doesn’t last which is why you need to know how to build a Shopify store. Real e-commerce, how to build an email list, how to build an audience from scratch, which I just did recently myself for my Mythologie candle business. You need to know how to do landing pages and you need to know how to dial in your culture.

All of those things are what is going to last. And if you don’t do that, it’s going to be really hard for you to sell a lot of music or sell anything. 

14:48 CJ: This is so important because it’s something that’s been on my heart as of late, because you see this sort of thing yourself on Instagram or what have you, these young e-commerce guys and gals that are selling info products or whatever, they’re coming out of the woodwork. 

15:06 Leah: Oh, yeah. 

15:07 CJ: Tons and tons of them. 

15:09 Leah: Their Lamborghinis and their jets in the background. 

15:11 CJ: And it’s all very short-term stuff. There is no long-lasting thing. They’re selling a tactic, they’re selling a gimmick, they’re selling something like that. So, I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing with Metal Motivation, for example, for 10 years. You’ve been doing yours for almost just as long. Leah started at the end of 2011, or…

15:30 Leah: Yeah, my first album came out 2012. 

15:33 CJ: Okay, so we’re talking a long time here. I remember, there was one of the TV evangelists up the street from a church I went to in Texas. One of the big ones that got caught in the scandals and all that back in the late 80’s. He had like thousands of people at his church and our little church had like three hundred and something. But our pastor, he was the cool one, he was a straight-up guy, he was a good guy and so I remember we were sitting in a meeting with him and someone had said “Pastor, what do you think about so-and-so, brother wonderful down the street? Who’s just building, growing by the thousands and thousands and we’re struggling to get any growth.”

And he said “Well, it all comes down to what you’re trying to build.” And it’s true, because that guy is long gone. But now the guy who had the 350 members, now he’s got satellite congregations all over the place and I think that church is now like 15,000 members or something. So, point being is that like in anything, if you want something long-term, and we say this in a lot of our copy, a long-term music business, not something short-term…

16:46 Leah: Sustainable. 

16:47 CJ: Right, sustainable. So, it’s built off of a brand. That’s what Leah is saying, because the listener might not be thinking about this, Leah. They’re thinking “Okay, tell me the secret software, tell me the secret trick, Leah.”

16:58 Leah: Yeah “Should I do Click Funnels?”

17:00 CJ: Yeah, exactly. Instead of really thinking through your artist identity, like she said, instead of really thinking through the culture, really thinking through the organic things that you can do, really thinking through your branding. These are the things that are going to matter, that are going to give you the long-term growth. Then what you grow into the email service that you use, the copywriting, the paid advertising and all this sort of stuff, man that just scales it. That just maximizes it, but none of that is going to work if you don’t have this fundamental stuff, not just in place, I mean fortified. 

17:41 Leah: Yeah. 

17:42 CJ: Like roots, grounded. You didn’t build your house on the sand, you built it on solid rock. And the solid rock is who you are as an artist and who your ideal audience is. Even though I know we’re supposed to be going through this list, I just really feel like where people are right now, Leah, because of this crisis, has kind of re-oriented them to where they’re like “Oh my god, I should have been listening. Now I’ve got to go back through all these podcast episodes.”

Because I guarantee anyone who listens to any one of our podcast episodes now, in light of this crisis, in light of the fact of being out of a job, everybody’s stuck at home and not being able to depend on things like you used to, I guarantee you would hear every episode differently. 

18:24 Leah: Mm-hmm. 

18:25 CJ: I guarantee you because you’ve got new ears to listen now because this crisis has changed the name of the game. Now, it’s changed it for everyone else out there, it didn’t change it at all for the Savvy Musician Academy and the TOM program, the Elite program or the Inner Circle. What it did, is it just made us more relevant than we’ve ever been. 

18:45 Leah: Yeah, we have a lot of students saying “I’m going to go back through the course again right now.” Because they have the time and they know, it’s like I really need to up my game. People are spending money right now, so the issue is not that. The issue is do you have your act together and are you in the position to actually make that revenue, and you don’t need a ton of money upfront to make it happen. There’s a lot of people not spending very much and they are still making money.

If you have an ad budget, that will help, absolutely. It’s going to magnify what you’re already doing. 

19:22 CJ: Yeah, well just to make that point, you don’t need somebody to pay you a thousand dollars right now. What you need is a thousand people to pay you $10. 

19:29 Leah: Right. Absolutely, that thousand true fan model, right? You have a thousand fans pay $100 or two thousand fans pay $50 or however you want to do it. However, you want to break it down, just like ten bucks here absolutely makes a difference. The average product on my Mythologie candles is only like a $20 product, if you look at the smallest one and the highest one. So, they’re not huge tickets items and it’s going crazy right now.

I think I’ll just say this too just to drive the point home, this new business, I just call it my fun business because that’s all I’m doing it for is for fun, it’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever done and I think because I’ve put in so many hours and done the hard work of solidifying all these e-commerce principles between like do I need to write an ad or write copy or write an email. I know this like the back of my hand. This is so easy, I know how to put together a new Shopify store and make it look amazing in 48 hours.

I can write these product descriptions, I know exactly what to include, I know what people are looking for, I’ve done my research, I’ve talked to people, I’ve polled them, I’ve posted pictures in groups and I’ve just asked them their opinions so I know the way they’re ticking and if you know the way people tick then you have such an advantage. That kind of brings me to the rest of this list, which is building a Shopfy store if you don’t have one yet, during this time while you’re at home or optimizing your store. That’s actually what we’re doing in my music business.

This whole last first quarter we were just doing a whole bunch of optimizing. If I had too many products, at one point I had way too many, so we got rid of a whole bunch and did like a spring cleaning. There’s all different kinds of optimizations you can make in terms of cleaning up your store. Making sure that every product page looks the same and uniform and so there’s continuity between them. Something that screams unprofessional is one product page is using one font and one formatting and whatever and the next product page is a completely different font, different size, different color, different style images, different everything.

That just screams unprofessional. Those are little tweaks and things that are kind of time-consuming that you might not always have time for, now is a great time to clean that up. Clean up your offerings, decide or create new offerings that you didn’t have before, hey it’s time to launch a new design on a whole bunch of different print-on-demand products or whatever. Now is a good time to do that. Making sure the formatting is good. Maybe you want to play around with some different apps that you haven’t tried and have been meaning to try, now is a good time to do that. 

22:12 CJ: Yeah, I mean one of the things that I think people don’t realize is just how versatile some of the software is and specifically Shopify, which is the premier e-commerce software. You can try other things, but there’s just more apps available for it, it’s integrated with other software, Facebook-friendly, so I mean it really is the best one, at least that’s the one that we’re recommending. 

22:39 Leah: Oh, yeah.

22:40 CJ: But again, that people can take advantage of this time, Leah, and really explore the possibilities. Like you said, even though music is one of the most challenging things to sell online, as we’ve said before, there’s so many things tied to the cultural aspect that they can get out there but then, as you said, once you get it out there you can now refine and optimize and do things. Maybe put together some bundle-like things, maybe the upsells, there’s apps you can do to upsell just like Amazon does.

Someone who bought this also bought this and also bought that as a recommended product and they’ll add it on their way through checkout. So, again, ways to increase the size of your order. So, talk about that, how somebody can improve the average order value. Because, like you said, your Mythologie candle thing the average order value is $20. 

23:39 Leah: Well, the average cost of the item is $20 but our average order value is much higher than that. Meaning, yeah they’re $20 candles, but they’re not only spending $20, they’re spending somewhere around $57 or something like that. And our average lifetime value, like the whole total of 5 weeks we’ve been open, between the pre-order and then this new pre-order, is somewhere around $67 which is significant. I am very, very happy with those numbers right out of the gate just launching.

And the reason that’s happening is because, well, first of all, we’re doing sample packs of stuff so people try it out and then find the ones they really like and then they upgrade to things later. So, that means they bought something last month and then they came back and bought something more this month. We call that a lifetime value, how much have they spent during the whole duration that they’ve been a customer of ours. And we actually did a whole episode a few back on the 9 marketing metrics you need to know.

We go really in-depth on these numbers that you need to know, including average order value and lifetime value and what those mean and how to get those numbers and how to track them. So, definitely go back and check out that episode. So that’s one thing you can do. You can do sample packs, you can do sample packs with music where it’s like a music sampler. You can do that, if you offer physical items or handmade goods, we have a lot of artisans that are musicians as well, they do handmade goods, jewelry, all kinds of things.

So, it’s about creativity, not about copying exactly what I’m doing. And the other way you can increase average order value is through simple things like upsells. So, there’s a lot of apps out there that help you do that or bundle apps where it’s like hey, if you buy these two or three items together, you’re going to save 10%, so they actually save money when they buy more. It’s just more of a psychological thing. That’s another staple of how you increase average order values, offer either bundle deals where they’re buying more volume or some kind of an upsell where when they’re in the checkout process and you offer them something else and they add it to their cart.

A small percentage of people will take that offer and at the end of the year it really adds up over time. So, your goal is to just bump that little percentage up half a point at a time. Just continuing until you’re getting a really good take rate on that upsell. So, the devil’s in the details on those numbers, you don’t go for big numbers. 

26:14 CJ: Yeah, it is. Again, you’re essentially learning the gory details of digital marketing and that’s where the real multiplication of profit comes from. You mentioned in the last episode about building your email list and, again, that’s kind of a general thing, you’re adding people to a list, but you’ve got to send them something. You teach about nurture sequences and all these sorts of things, so during this time of isolation what can somebody do about improving what they’re doing email-wise. 

26:49 Leah: Yeah, so if you’ve got an email list and you’re sending them nurture emails, that’s what we call them, where you’re nurturing your relationship, it’s all about real relationship. Maybe you send out a once a month newsletter or you’re doing it every week or you’ve got a pre-designed series of emails that when someone signs up for a free download or whatever, you’re sending them five to ten emails that you’ve already pre-written. The way to optimize it, first of all, take a look at your open rates and take a look at your click-through rates.

That’s really the starting point when I’m looking to improve it, that’s the first thing. Usually, the open rates are the first thing I try to fix. If I’m not impressed by it, I’m going to take a look at why. Usually, the subject line just needs to be changed, we need to try something else. Sometimes certain trigger words will end up in the spam, will cause your email to end up in the spam and there’s a lot of different free tools out there where you can basically put all your text into a tool and it’ll tell you if you have any keywords or trigger words in your subject line or in your email that could land it in the spam.

So, that’s another reason why people don’t actually open the emails because it didn’t get delivered properly. Things like that, absolutely now is the time to do that while you’re at home. So, that’s another big thing. Also, we’ve got a bunch of other things on this list. You can do online concerts and events. Tons of celebrities are doing that right now. Big bands, little bands, solo artists. I’m seeing people playing music in my newsfeed constantly who I never saw before, they are friends of mine and stuff and I’m like hey, everybody’s coming out of the woodwork playing music live-streaming right now, it’s great.

So, you could even charge for it, I’m seeing bands like, I saw Backstreet Boys is doing online concert, online events. Everybody’s doing it. So, that’s definitely something you can or should do during your time off. Could be interesting too if you have other bandmates, maybe you could find like a streaming app that allows you to stream from different places, that would be wild. And then on the more tech stuff, you can improve your landing pages, your opt-in rates and click through rates. Those are always things that are sometimes kind of a pain in the butt as an artist but you’ve got to do it.

It’s like brushing your teeth, you just have to do it if you don’t want your teeth to fall out of your head. So, if you don’t want all your marketing to rot and not be useful at all you’ve got to check up on that, make sure they’re healthy, that there’s nothing wrong with them and if your opt-in rates are really low, if you’re getting like less than 20% or something like that, definitely want to make improvements to your landing pages and opt-in rates. If you’re in our programs, we talk about that, we teach about that. Especially in the Elite program, where we’re really getting in-depth on those things. And then, I’ve got to write new ads or optimize your existing ads.

It’s about striving for excellence, you can do better. I guarantee you can do better. I can do better. I’m always looking to improve and test things and sometime they don’t win, so you’ve got to start over. You can create new merch. We already covered that a little bit and if you haven’t tried print-on-demand services, there’s a bunch out there and the huge benefit of that is you don’t have to… definitely it’s contactless, you don’t have to touch anybody, you don’t have to see anyone or shake hands or you don’t have to even have the merchandise in your garage or stored anywhere. They have it all for you and drop-ship it for you. That’s a beautiful thing. 

30:21 CJ: One of the things I like about that, Leah, is just what you said. I still see bands doing it all the time, they’re always trying to stock up their inventory. It’s so frustrating because certain sizes sell and you end up with all these mediums leftover or whatever. You don’t have to do that. You can start selling something now and one of the things that was really, really eye-opening, Leah, in the coaching group over this past year as I was working with students in the group calls, is a lot of them had just kind of their album cover or something about themselves.

You’ve had great success with that because yours is a very personality-driven brand, so it did well, but others were really struggling with it. So, I would challenge them to say, well, listen sometimes the right shirt or thing to have is one that says something about the person wearing it. That’s really the ultimate key. So, somebody doesn’t feel that personal pride, like one of your fans who walks around with the LEAH shirt, they want to tell people about that, you might have something that says something about the person. For example, in my shirts as Metal Motivator, my thing doesn’t say anything about me, it says “Motivated by metal” or “Eat, drink and be metal”. It says something about the person wearing it.

Sometimes a lot of these artists that we have in our group have really great lyrics, you know, really very positive lyrics and I said you can take any one of your lyrics, put that on a shirt and have that up for sale, I mean, today. Literally today. You don’t have to have it shipped to you, you don’t have to bring in inventory, whatever. You can literally take a line from one of your songs, put that on a shirt, put that on a store today and start promoting that to your existing list. 

32:15 Leah: Totally. 

32:17 CJ: Yeah, what she’s saying there about creating new merchandise, don’t just think it has to be your album cover or your band, it can be a lyric…

32:25 Leah: It can be a philosophy, a cool emblem of some kind. With my crowd, they love the Celtic culture, I could just put a cool Celtic knot and be done with it. That’s all they need, so it doesn’t have to be crazy elaborate or expensive at all. It’s a beautiful thing. Last couple of things we have on this list is you could do live streams daily or even weekly for your fans. Do it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, wherever you want to go, Twitch, wherever you are and wherever your fans are. Do those live streams.

I would be doing it except I’m super busy with Mythologie, my candle business and our launch for The Online Musician 3.0, otherwise, I probably would be doing something myself. So, in this case, you’re just going to have to take my advice and do it because it is working really well for so many people, they’re having great success with it. You have people’s attention now more than ever. So many people are home, they’re online, they’re bored, you have the opportunity of a lifetime to capture their attention. So, be doing that. 

33:27 CJ: Yeah, one of the things I would encourage them to do as a motivator, myself, is… Leah, I’ve got thousands of videos already recorded that I could post, but what people need right now is something more relevant. So, I have to go live. 

33:44 Leah: Yeah. 

33:45 CJ: I’m not a musician, but what I would tell these musicians who are listening, is take advantage of this time to be inspiring. Take advantage of this time to be encouraging. It’s not just about you going on to play, it’s about you to talk to them, too. You can sit there with your keyboard in hand, you can sit there with your guitar in hand, you can sit there, in Leah’s case with her harp in hand and you can have a little conversation with them and then just share some music with them.

But be inspiring, people need encouragement right now, they want hope, they want to have some sense of normalcy and friendship and this is a great way for you to do this in real time. And Facebook absolutely loves live video. I mean, loves live video. So, the more you do it, may be a little weird if you haven’t done this before, start now, maybe a little hit and miss and you may struggle, but if you just keep it up Facebook is going to start warming up to you and saying okay, let me share it to more of your audience. 

34:43 Leah: That’s right. 

34:44 CJ: It’s not just a one-off. Do it regularly. 

34:46 Leah: Yep. And last thing is just now is a good time while you’re home to make more itself. I mean, write a new album, write a new single, collaborate with other people online. There’s all kinds of apps and software out there where you can meet other musicians and meet in online meeting rooms and jam. Now’s the time to do that and create more stuff. Just go to create. I think that so many people are just stuck sometimes on like a mental hurdle that they’re stuck on, all these technical things or whatever.

Sometimes you’ve just got to take a breather from it all and just go create new music. Go create new art. I think that’s a great note to leave off on is make the most of this time. Again, we just want to reiterate to lean into your music business. Do not back off, this is the time. This is actually the opportunity of a lifetime for those who have eyes to see it. Many people are “Crying in their coffee” as they say and just like oh no everything’s going to hell in a hand basket. There’s others of us that are saying no this is an opportunity. There’s always opportunity during a crisis, there is. There’s always opportunity.

If you have eyes to see it and you’re willing to take that opportunity, work harder than everybody else, you will reap the rewards and when things get turned back on and we can leave our houses and the economy bounces back, you will see an incredible unleashing of all that hard work and a huge reaping of all those seeds that you just planted during this time. I’m confident that you can not only survive but thrive during this time. 

36:22 CJ: Amen. Amen or oh me. Very, very very good, Leah. Thank you so much, again. All this came out of that little post that you did and so glad that you wrote that and put that together. I know a lot of people are going to get a lot out of this, guys. Again, remember that, let that be your mantra here for the next month or so, lean in. In fact, until they release you from the lockdown and all this sort of stuff, let that be your mantra every day. I’m leaning in. I’m not going to whine, I’m not going to complain, I’m not going to worry, I’m not going to waste my mental energy on these other things, about my problems.

I’m going to spend my time leaning in on my music business because I believe that people want to hear from me. They want to hear my music, they want to connect with me. Build your audience, if that’s all that you do, just build your audience, get your brand awareness out there. There’s so much that you can do. Take advantage of that right now. Again, if you’re listening, please leave a review for this podcast. We read all of those reviews. Leave us some stars if they offer that. We would certainly love to hear from you.

Again, keep in mind that good things are coming, the new release of TOM is coming out. The upgraded version, TOM 3.0. Please get some more information right now at If you’d like to connect with us in our Inner Circle program, the most inexpensive way for you to get started to become a marketing master is to join the Inner Circle membership, it’s just less than $20 a month. Your life and your music business is worth at least that much. So, go to

We appreciate you guys. Leah, as your co-host,  I appreciate you. 

38:06 Leah: Thanks. I appreciate all of you guys listening and please do leave those reviews. We read them and I cherish them. Thank you, guys. We’ll see you next time. 

38:15 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

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

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 —

Ben Stubbs (TOM Student) — 

Book a Call With Us —

Inner Circle Membership —

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 Leah mentioned earlier our Inner Circle program which is at

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

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