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 #090: Interview with Noe Venable (TOM & Elite Student)

In this episode C.J. interviews elite student Noe Venable, a mother of two living in the San Francisco area, who has experienced great results by faithfully following the course work in the Savvy Musician Academy (SMA).

This is more than a plug for our courses. Noe has tirelessly wrestled through multiple challenges trying to dial in her audience and get results, and her breakthroughs have both inspired and taught other SMA students to try and achieve the same.

In fact, Noe also applied her new skillset another small business she has, and that has also gone to the next level for her.

If you are wondering how to figure out who your audience is and how to motivate yourself to take the next step with putting your music into the world and sustaining yourself by finding your super fans, this is the episode for you!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Self-Determination
  • Background on Noe Venable
  • Finding super fans through culture
  • Frequency of social media posting
  • Sharing content that’s authentic and deep
  • Protecting and tending to your fanbase
  • Audience is digital capital
  • Pushing past inner resistance
  • Sticking to the principles
  • Living the culture you portray
  • Maximizing your potential


“Success is about you. It’s about how much you determine that you are going to make this work no matter what.”  – @noevenable [0:04:20]

“If we as musicians want to be successful at getting our work out there and making a sustainable life for ourselves as artists using these tools, we have to be culture makers, we have to be culture nurturers.”  – @noevenable [0:13:18]

“It’s a joy that you do get to share community that it’s not just as you said chumming your fans with just drivel, social media drivel, but very deep conversations.” – @metalmotivation [0:17:57]

“Tending a culture really requires a certain amount of fierceness when necessary. I have to be willing to be the tigress sometimes.”  – @noevenable [0:18:38]

“True capital in the era of the digital age is an audience.” – @metalmotivation [0:27:48]

“If you want to live in a way that lets you bring your deepest gifts to the world, you have to make it sustainable and money is a big part of what it takes to do that.”  – @noevenable [0:29:42]

“I’ve learned from this course how to push past inner resistance.”  – @noevenable [0:33:19]

“Scarcity, impoverishment, these are real mentalities that war and neutralize people.”  – @metalmotivation [0:35:50]

“You know, the biggest, most valuable thing that I have learned over this last year is this, if people are not really responding, if you feel like you’re not being seen somehow, it’s because you haven’t made it visible.”  – @noevenable [0:37:23]

“When we focus on the things that fascinate us, that’s when we start to be able to create content that’s fascinating to others. We have to be fascinated.” – @noevenable [0:40:34]

“Your creativity doesn’t have a fear of rejection. Your creativity is not afraid of people.” – @metalmotivation [0:42:51]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Noe Venable (TOM & Elite Student) —

Book a Call With Us —

Inner Circle Membership —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome once again to The Savvy Musician Show, this is CJ Ortiz I’m the Branding and Mindset Coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I’m excited today, not because my co-host is not here. That’s not a reason to be excited. I’m excited because, in light of the fact that she’s not here, I get once again to talk to one of our students at Savvy Musician Academy. I’m really excited about this one because I was just talking to her offline and telling her how much we brag about her offline. So it’s really a joy to get to introduce her to you. And before I do, let me just say that again, if you’d like to help out The Savvy Musician Show, please leave a review or comments on your respective podcast player, Spotify, iTunes. Just go and leave, they say stars and give us stars and leave a kind word.

It helps us to be found by other fine musicians like yourself, or you’re always welcome to go to our Facebook pages, Facebook groups, leave a comment or question, maybe a suggestion for a topic you’d like to hear Leah and I cover in the future, and yes, she will be back. She and her family moved across country and out of the country. So they’re getting situated now. She’s got a lot on her plate. She will be back soon enough. But again, I’m excited to have this special lady with me here today, a unique recording artist, very, very hard worker who has had some great breakthroughs that I’m looking forward to her telling you about. Let me welcome Noe Venable, thank you for being with me today. Noe, how are you?

01:59 Noe: Thanks so much, CJ. I’m great. It’s really surreal to be sitting here looking at you because I’ve been listening to podcasts so much and just your wisdom and the course and it’s awesome to talk to you.

02:10 CJ: Oh great. Thank you. So, yeah, it’s funny, back in the radio days when you’d hear somebody’s voice always on the radio, and then you get to meet them in person, you’re like, “That doesn’t look at all like I imagined.” But in this case, we see each other all the time in the group and you’ve been so diligent to participate in the group, which I must say for those existing students who are a part of either program to follow your lead in that, to be active in the group. You’re very active with your questions, with challenges you might have and your victories. So you found some real value there in participating in the group.

02:54 Noe: Oh yeah. It’s been incredible. I mean honestly, I would say as inspirational as the video content has been and as helpful as the podcasts have been, I would honestly say that maybe 60% of my learning in this course has really come through those Facebook group interactions in the Elite Group, both with coaches and with the other students. It’s just been incredible.

03:18 CJ: Wow. That’s a lot to say because obviously somebody is going to get fixated on the course itself and let’s see what’s included. Is it going to cover Facebook ads and how Leah does this or that and you don’t realize that yes, principles are important, but so is that accountability, and you’re obviously in there with other people just like yourself who are also battling it out in the trenches. And I guess you’ve learned a lot from others as much as they’ve learned from you.

03:54 Noe: I learned so much from others and I’ve also learned a lot through repeatedly working on verbalizing the things that I’ve been learning as I learn them. I learn, process a lot through writing. That has been incredibly helpful. I think what it really makes me think about is that I know you’ve said this so many times, but I had to have my own breakthrough of realizing it, that ultimately success is about you. It’s about how much you determine that you are going to make this work no matter what. It’s about saying, “I am going to be an artist in this life. I am not going to let this life go by without being the artists that I know I can be, and without setting up the sustainable systems that allow me to do that. I’m going to bring my message, I’m going to bring my music, I’m going to make it happen.”

And so then you know, all the video content is awesome and helpful, but the most important thing is really your own process and what are you doing with that and what kinds of questions are you asking and how alive are you in the process and how hard are you working? And the Facebook group is really the place where that plays out.

05:07 CJ: Yeah, that was very, very well said. Not because you’re quoting me at all, but no the fact that… Because I know that you speak for so many in the sense that they might feel… we said this offline briefly how you can get… There’s a cynicism almost amongst musicians today because breaking into music is hard enough as is. It always has been. But then when you add to it, this new era of the music industry where record labels are struggling, where music is so readily available through streaming services or YouTube or what have you, people feel like, well, and you just can’t make any money, you certainly can’t have your own audience. But with those challenges, they can only be met with sheer determination, which means you’ve got to come first to that realization that, “I’ll do whatever I need to do to realize this dream.” But to find out more about you Noe, tell us a little bit about your music, what you do, what you play.

06:20 Noe: Yeah. Well, I play the harp. I also play guitar and piano, some mountain dulcimer, I kind of play whatever I need to really. I’m also a home recording artist and engineering for me and creating arrangements at home is a huge part of the process of the songwriting. And so yeah, I play a lot of different things, but harp is my main instrument now and it’s part of what drew me to Savvy Musician Academy and what has drawn me into this stage of realizing that I wanted to put music out there into the world and in a big way, again. My genre, I call it Ethereal Folk Music for Seekers. And before I started doing it this way, I had a really, really beautiful experience. I had a lot of success when I was very, very young, really being out there in the world touring a lot.

I got to open for a lot of really amazing people, meet a lot of my heroes. But I was the classic story of exactly something that I’ve heard you talk about so well, which is when a young artist gets a lot of that attention and the success comes to them really easily and they don’t build up the character to be able to really cope with that and be able to sustain it. So I majorly burned out in my late 20s and just felt like I couldn’t figure out a way to do this that felt okay and good and safe and stepped away from it for a long time and then have come back, and Leah was like a huge part of what made me see that now there was a way to do this that would be integrity for me, where I could feel safe and clear and find my people and bring the message that I need to, to the world. 

So I feel more empowered than I ever have before and than I ever did back then, even when I was enjoying a lot of that sense of being in the flow and receiving a lot of feedback. This is better, now is better.

08:28 CJ: Right. And what’s interesting about this is, as I said in a recent interview with another one of the students, Jeff Pearce, is that you guys have these unique little niches in the musical marketplace and you get into things like the ethereal or in Jeff’s case, ambient music. I mean that’s not everybody, that’s not pop, that’s not Top 40. So you’re not reaching out to the mainstream. Before you got involved in the Savvy Musician Academy, what were your thoughts about the possibility of reaching a targeted community like that?

09:07 Noe: I just would never have thought it was possible for one because I wasn’t really using social media too much. And secondly, I frankly just thought that my music was way too strange. I thought I was like a big weirdo and my music was so weird. Throughout my life as an artist, there have always been people who have responded really strongly to my music. They’ve been very unique people, a few really unique people. So in a sense, like I always actually had Superfans that I would not have thought that there were very many of them. I mean how could I have known, because I don’t know many people like that in my daily life. Really it is such a niche audience that this is the only way that I could have found them. And what makes it even a little bit trickier for someone like me is that the people who tend to respond to my music are not unified by the fact that they love folk music.

Some of them love my folk music, they might love some other folk music, but they might also love gothic rock. They might also love heavy metal. There’s actually a huge spread because what they have in common is not a shared taste in a musical genre, it’s something else. And what this course gave me, the skills to do and the curiosity to do was to really try and figure out what that was that unified them and ultimately I did, through a lot of research, come to figure out some of the things that we had in common. And once I started to then use the power of online targeting on Facebook to reach these people, I’ve come to see that there actually are a lot of us. There are so many more people than I knew. So it’s about so much more than getting my music out there now. It’s honestly been about the feeling of realizing that I’m not alone in seeing the world the way I do, and that’s brought so much joy and fulfillment into my life.

11:13 CJ: Wow. I’ll tell you what, that I could close the interview right there only because what you just said is so important. And it’s powerful because it’s what people are not even thinking when it comes to promoting their music. They tend to think, “I’m going to promote my gig”, so their Facebook page is filled with events. Or they may share a song here or there, but that’s the extent of it. Not realizing that in the day in which we live, when we say digital marketing, don’t think just sales, digital communications here. You do have to think well of what you just described, which is, “I realize it’s not just a musical genre.” Man, that’s huge. It’s so important. It’s not just a genre. There is something that all of these people who have broad tastes in music, but yet are your ideal Superfan.

There is something beyond the music that they share in common. And again, the average musician, no matter what the genre is, is not thinking that way. Their minds aren’t there, therefore when they see something about what’s possible, for example, with digital marketing as promoted by the Savvy Musician Academy, they immediately discount it. They immediately try to say, “No, there’s got to be some other way. It’s a scam. It’s this. They must be doing that. There must be some hack, some special piece of software, whatever it may be.” No. What proceeds the sales, what proceeds all of these things is this thing that connects you and your audience. This shared thing. Now, of course, we talk a lot about culture and so why don’t you speak to that for a little bit, just about the culture as a means of connecting you and your audience.

13:18 Noe: If we as musicians want to be successful at getting our work out there and making a sustainable life for ourselves as artists using these tools, we have to be culture makers, we have to be culture nurturers. We have to find our people and create a safe haven where these people can communicate with each other and where we can all see that we’re not alone. And that part of the work is awesome. It feels so good. It’s so fun. I do my social media each morning in the wee hours because I have two little kids, which is part of the reason why Leah was the only coach in the world who could have spoken to me about these things. Anyone else had talked to me about it, I would have been like, “You’re crazy. That’s not my life. I have two kids. I’m working, I have to do, there’s no way.” But because she was a homeschooling mother of five…

14:18 CJ: Yeah, only the woman with five kids can speak to the woman with two kids, right?

14:25 Noe: So I’m up at 3:00 or 4:00 AM doing my social media and every day I start the day with the sense of touching into this community that I’ve been nurturing. And it brings me so much joy. Not because people are commenting about how wonderful I am or how wonderful my music is, although I do get a fair amount of that. But because I get to talk about things that are really exciting and nourishing to me, things that I’m fascinated by and things that are fascinating to them too. And everything just flows naturally from there. It’s a partaking in shared values. It’s a partaking in things that you all care about, that excite you, that are your ways of bringing your joy to the world. Because my unique culture, because of the particular people that my culture really speaks to who tend to be oftentimes are highly sensitive people, they’re people who love nature, where people who are really interested in working on ourselves on personal transformation, the conversations actually get really deep and they feed me too.

And this is where I think maybe what I’ve been discovering is a little different from what I’ve seen a lot of other people doing and I just want to share it because I want other people to know that it’s possible. It is really possible to get into really deep stuff when you’re building culture on social media. It doesn’t have to say stay shallow like, “Hey guys, what do you think of this thing?” You know, it can really get into deep stuff and it just matters that it reflects you and the interests that really naturally fit with your music. Like that’s what’s going to speak to people. It doesn’t have to look like what anyone else is doing.

16:25 CJ: Yeah. Isn’t that great? That not only do you get to play music but especially when a musician like yourself, the music that you play has these deeper philosophical elements to it and that you share now this with a community who, like you said, doesn’t mean they only listen to folk music. And I’ve said that to other students in the past, Noe where, because of their particular genre. Like there’s one guy, Christopher Elie who is very socially aware, especially environmental activism. I mean, and he’s a die-hard, and he’s a real champion for the cause. He plays folkish type music, but it’s all acoustic and he’s pretty much solo. But because he’s so much a leader of that way of thinking and voicing that message, I told him, I said, “You’re going to get people from all walks of life.”

In other words, the metalhead, let’s use a metalhead as an example, the heavy metal person who just happens to be very passionate about those very same things, who would normally not listen to any folk players, will listen to you simply because he feels so passionately about what you do. And it’s a very interesting phenomena, and again, something not usually anticipated by anybody who’s trying to break into the music industry in which we live. But it’s a joy that you do get to share community that it’s not just as you said chumming your fans with just drivel, social media drivel, but very deep conversations. Now, obviously you’re having these in the group setting, so you have a Facebook group for this and I know that you’ve been very diligent about your group, both growing your group and setting boundaries and that sorts of things to protect the kind of environment that you’re cultivating. Tell me a little bit about that.

18:31 Noe: Yeah, that’s been super interesting and important. Tending a culture really requires a certain amount of fierceness when necessary. I have to be willing to be the tigress sometimes. “No, that can’t happen here.” If you don’t do that, if you don’t really stay super present and make sure that you’re keeping abreast of anything like that, anything negative, then you’re dead in the water. Like the group will stop feeling like a safe place for people. It’s really important and especially… It’s interesting too how it gets… You have to find your own way with it. Like I know Leah, in her groups, will say, “No negativity, let’s keep this positive.”

I’ve never been comfortable saying that because my group is also really about authenticity, so I want people to feel free to share about hard things that they’re going through and I don’t, want ever that feeling of being positive to be something that makes people feel like they can’t be authentic. That means that without having a clear rule like that I have to be probably more assertive in really making sure that if anything goes south that I am right there and I’m deleting that comment and I’m reaching out to that person and saying, “that’s not going to happen here.”

I want to just say one other thing because I know a lot of us struggle with building engagement on our pages and it took me many months of really concerted work on it, showing up every day and taking Leah’s, the approach of just experiment, fail, learn from your mistakes, keep going to begin to really figure out what worked. And I had this insight the other day that I shared in the group, but I want to share it here-

20:29 CJ: Yes, please.

20:30 Noe: … if it’s useful for anyone, and that is that my brand is all about remembering the magic that’s possible in life and through mythos, through spirituality, also through literature, like Harry Potter is something that a lot of us share a passion for along with books like Lord of the Rings and Ursula Gwyn. Anyways, so this is a Harry Potter reference, but I want to say that I think a great social media post is like a sorting hat. And if you have watched Harry Potter, you’ll know that this sorting hat, when the kids arrive at Hogwarts School for Wizards, they put on the sorting hat and the hat rumbles on their head and then says out the name of the house that they’re going to live in, and they’re going to stay in that house for the rest of their time at Hogwarts.

So different houses have different identities and it’s really like the hat is going to tell you here’s what your identity is. So a good social media post, it sorts people in the same way. When you see it, if you are like meant to be with that culture that the post is representing, you feel this sense of resonance. And if it’s not for you, you’re just kind of scroll on by. You’ll probably just ignore it. You’ll probably won’t say anything. You’ll probably just be like, “Oh yeah, that’s not for me,” and move on. But your posts have to be strong enough and clear enough and reflective enough of the culture that you’re creating that they can have that sorting power.

If they’re just neither here nor there, then they won’t really have that effect. They won’t ever give someone that resonance of, “Oh, these are my people.” For me, the most beautiful sweet spot is where a post makes you go, “Wow, I feel that way inside, but I never quite found words for it.” And here’s this person saying this thing that I feel inside and then you have to know more, you have to go and experience what they’re creating and if it’s a group, then you want to contribute to it and you actually become an active member of that group and pretty soon you’re co-creating the culture together and friendships develop. And it really is like you found your house. Those relationships can really last and transform you and also pave the way for sustainability in your creative work.

23:05 CJ: Yeah, and it’s, so off the beaten path for what people think even a new approach to the music industry would be. Because most people tend to think or they approach it, not all that dissimilar from the way the music industry was before. They just feel like, “Well now it’s online so somebody else will do my marketing for me, somebody else will do my whatever for me.” Artists didn’t have to do that back during the record label days, and so they certainly shouldn’t have to do that now. And so there’s not this level of sophistication. I say sophistication because I know a lot of people out there again, are simply not familiar with it. Someone like yourself, you’re used to this to some degree now. This is the arena in which you operate.

So now you’ve created a culture, you found your little niche, your targeting people and anybody who’s listening to you and who knows you especially knows, man you’re an earthy, you mean what you say, you are into the things you’re talking about. Okay. So that means you are not, I don’t get the idea of greed or somebody lusting for popularity or any of that sort of stuff, but Noe, you’re marketing online with Facebook, evil Facebook and targeting people in an ad manager and spending money on advertising and putting together things that will ultimately be sold, God forbid. I mean, how do you harmonize that in your own mind?

24:41 Noe: Well, as far as I can see at least for now, social media is here to stay, at least for now. So we can use these technologies for good or we can use them for ill and I am determined to use this for good. And for me, there are a lot of different ways that I want to do that, that all relate to my music-making. But my music-making is a small part of it. Sales are a part of it and I have to crack that because I need to make this sustainable. I do not have a trust fund. I’m not someone who is… Like my husband and I, we’re a two artists family living in San Francisco.

25:22 CJ: Oh, wow expensive.

25:24 Noe: Which is crazy. Yeah, but I can really see now that it’s possible. I have to say that I have not really leaned in too much on sales yet but definitely have been… things have been selling very organic. Just got the results of the work I’ve been doing around building culture and building these systems and developing my relationships with people. But for me, the reason I haven’t really leaned in on the selling piece yet has to do with where I’m at in my artistic career. You know, because I am transitioning to a new instrument and I’m releasing a new album probably next year that’s going to be music that’s in some ways really different from what I’ve done up until now.

So it’s made more sense to really focus on just paving the way for this new direction and selling somewhat along the way. But building the foundation that’s going to allow it to be sustainable when I really do start to bring more of those really super amazing technical Ninja powers that Leah teaches around the more like selling oriented marketing, which I’ve done not too much of yet. But what I have done has been really effective to the extent that I’ve done it.

26:46 CJ: Well, you’re laying the foundation and you know, this is something that I often have to share with folks because everybody has their perceptions about what should happen when it should happen and what their expectations are. Because Leah can make it sound easy, not her fault, it’s just that she’s so matter of fact about her results that people are like, “Oh, well if I just go through a course, I will have these same results.” Not realizing the amount of time that it can take to, like you said, zero in on your audience, your niche, your culture, and then cultivate that. I mean this, what a culture is, right? It’s about to bring something out, right? Agriculture to bring something out. So to take a group of people like they are a piece of ground and grow something out of it, that takes time. That takes effort.

And so I like to tell people that what is true capital in the era of the digital age is an audience. That’s capital. And even if, because sometimes people are reluctant to sell… like yourself because you don’t feel like you’re at that place right now, well that’s where you want to place your emphasis. Others are just hesitant because they’re fearful of it, they are just not ready to pound their list so to speak with sales or something like that. So they’re still getting over their views about sales in general. They kind of still see it as dirty, they still see it as something that’s beneath what an artist should be. Not realizing that that’s what a record label is going to do for you.

So either way, somebody’s selling, but the fact that you build something, a community as big and as far and as wide as you want to build it, and that if those people are engaged with you, as we say in the group, if they know you, if they like you and if they trust you and they value you and they celebrate you and you celebrate them like you said, it’s organic in a lot of ways, but then when you get even more intentional about it, even more organized about it, then the results can even be that much better because the fact of the matter is, like you said, you’ve got a husband and two kids and you’re both artists and you are living in one of the most expensive areas in the world.

It is not an… for those of you who are listening who don’t know anything about San Francisco, it ain’t cheap to be in the Bay Area at all, any place in Northern California and California in general, but especially that particular region of the country, very coveted area of the country. Silicon Valley too, you name it is out there in Northern California. So it’s expensive. So you have to sustain yourself and if you don’t do it with your gifts, talents, and abilities, then you’ve got to do it with things that can some degree take you away from your gifts, talents and abilities.

29:42 Noe: If you want to live in a way that lets you bring your deepest gifts to the world, you have to make it sustainable and money is a big part of what it takes to do that. So what’s been amazing for me has just been this shift in my mindset over the last year since I started working with this course, that once I came from a place of scarcity and doubt and fear around money, and now I have total faith. I have no fear about this. I am going to make this work. And part of the reason that I feel that way is that I have actually seen it work. I took maybe a little bit of an unusual approach in the way that I applied some of the skills that I learned from this course because I had another thing that I was doing.

I actually have two music brands and I’ve been talking about my Singer/Songwriter one, but I also do something in person with families that is kind of like the children’s version of my adult Singer/Songwriter music. My adult Singer/Songwriter music is I guess you would say maybe it’s like a fairy princess or priestess sort of an archetype. It’s very much about magic in nature and I also write music for children that’s really like literally about fairies and magic in nature and I teach this class and I quickly figured out that in the beginning of this course realized I was going to really need more capital to work with, in order to be able to spend money on advertising, things like that. So what I did after testing the waters, just starting to get my Singer/Songwriter stuff up and running, was I decided to take the skills I was learning and apply them to my in-person teaching business.

It was a little different because it wasn’t online, it was in person, but I used all the same principles that I was learning. I created the automated email sequences that allowed me to basically be building relationships with people even when I wasn’t face-to-face with them, just through sending them content that I had created and also with the change in the self-worth. The way I saw myself had changed because of what I was learning in the course. So I quit any situation where I wasn’t really getting paid what I was worth and where I felt in any way like it wasn’t really serving me and really serving, bringing my work to the world in a bigger way. And within two months, I had quadrupled the income of my in-person teaching business. Now, granted, it wasn’t a huge income to begin with, but it was a substantial shift and it was completely because of applying these principles.

So I tested them, I saw that they work, I generated just a little more of a buffer so I didn’t feel stressed about money in the same way, and now I’m taking all those skills and beginning to really bring them to my Singer/Songwriter music and because of having had that experience, I do so with total faith. Like if anything is not working, it’s not the principles. Like it’s something about the way that I’m applying them. It’s something that’s not clear yet or it’s something that’s simply not ripe yet. Because the creative process is very mysterious and there’s this organic unfolding that’s always going on and I’ve learned from this course how to push past inner resistance.

I’ve learned how to work so hard. I’ve learned how to do things that I do not enjoy because I know that I’ve pushed through that inner resistance so many times at this point that I know, yeah I am not digging, sorting out all this technical stuff, but on the other side, it’s going to feel so good when all that automation is just working for me and just doing its thing. It’s like having this team of magical robots that are just going to be round the clock, working to help, bring this goodness to the world that I want to bring. Yeah, so it’s an amazing thing to test the principles, find that they work and then say, “Okay, now I know I can do this. I know I can do it.”

34:07 CJ: That’s outstanding. I’m going to make you the Mindset coach. You can take my role. That was so well done. You could be the Mindset coach, how about that?

34:17 Noe: Awesome. A ton from you and we have something in common which is I went to Divinity School. So religion and just thinking about why we are the way we are and how we learn and how do we get past all those inner gremlins. I live and breathe this stuff. It fascinates me. So I think in a way, a lot of what you have brought to this course has been a really big piece of what’s kept me really interested. Like, yeah, that’s important, that’s fascinating. I’m going to try that. I want to see how does that work?” You know.

34:56 CJ: Yeah. We speak the same language. That’s outstanding. What a great, great little interview here because I just… Everybody’s got their different thing, how the courses in the Academy has affected them and I just love the way you kind of combined some of the key elements that really determine success. We say this often that, in fact, in my own coaching calls with the students, most of what I talk about, and we’ll talk for a couple of hours and probably 95% has nothing to do with software or any particular app or anything like that because it’s these human things both in you and in your audience. The psychology of you, the psychology of your audience. Like you said, just how important it is for you to get over the concept of scarcity, impoverishment, these are real mentalities that war and neutralize people.

So people are literally in a doorless prison cell and there’s no guard at the door and yet still they stay there. So those plastic chains of their mind are much, much stronger than any real chains in life that they would literally hold themselves back from doing the very thing they’re wired to do. The very thing that they could make the greatest contribution to the world is the very thing they’re most terrified of. For whatever the reason is, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, whatever it may be. But they literally hold themselves back. Or they have, as you said, this mindset about scarcity and that the problem is not in the principles. The problem is something we messed up, or like I said, could be out of timing, could be you didn’t get your audience to where it needed to be yet.

So those principles are done too early or you do have a great audience, but you’re not applying them consistently. There could be any number of reasons and that’s again why as you said at the outset, the coaching element and interaction with other students to see what their challenges are is so important because you’re able to get this real panoramic view than you would have if you were just dealing in that plane of just you and your screen and a module. You need that extra input, don’t you?

37:23 Noe: You know, the biggest, most valuable thing that I have learned over this last year is this if people are not really responding, if you feel like you’re not being seen somehow, it’s because you haven’t made it visible. You haven’t made yourself visible and probably in my case, this was true for me for a long time. It might be that you’re kind of actually holding back from really stepping into your own fullness of your whole message and what you really embody and stand for in the world. Like, I learned… you said something that was so helpful. You said I said this in a coaching call, I think, I don’t prepare what I’m going to say. You said, “I focus instead on just preparing the messenger.” That really spoke to me. I realized when I looked at my feet that I wasn’t really there. Like I was sharing a lot of culture-related stuff but I wasn’t actually there.

How could I be expecting to show up and respond and interact with me when they didn’t even know really who they were interacting with and I made this decision then that I was going to get so fascinated by the things that I love that are core to my message. That I was going to live inside my… That’s not going to stop thinking of my artist identity as something that was outside of myself that was an ideal to aspire to. I was going to step inside. I was going to live it. I was going to make my whole life feel like the things that drive me to share my art in the world. I was going to live it more deeply and not only that, but I was going to put it out there. I’m going to risk it. I’m going to say those things that people are afraid to say.

And I committed. I committed to a rhythm. First, I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t even imagine doing this once a week writing a revealing kind of post once a week, so I’ll do it three times.” So I started three times. Once I had done three times, I was like, “Okay, I’ll do five times.” So now, five days a week, sometimes seven days a week. I show up, I write five posts a week, and they have to be something that either makes you think or makes you feel or ask some kind of question. You know that invites you to really reflect on something deep and to do that, it’s not easy.

I need to keep myself really inspired, but it’s been like the best thing I ever did for my music because I’m so in the heart of it now. Like I really am, I’m living it now. So it doesn’t take any… There’s no disingenuousness, it’s just so real. It’s so reflective of just my process and wherever I’m at. And when we focus on the things that fascinate us, that’s when we start to be able to create content that’s fascinating to others. We have to be fascinated.

40:43 CJ: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I couldn’t agree more. As you were saying that, I was thinking of the ancient verse that says, as one senior minister is talking to a younger guy and he says in light of preparation, he said, “Meditate upon these things. Give yourself wholly to them that your profiting would appear to all.” And that’s what has to happen. It’s this to give ourselves fully to something and it should be a message. God forbid we’re devoting ourselves to television or mindless things that don’t produce any result. And it’s tempting because we live in a comfortable world. I mean, we can turn on light switches and set thermostats and order food and have it delivered to our house and things are seconds away, clicks away. You can get very, very comfortable and very, very at ease in a society like that.

So we almost have to be intentional about creating some hardship for ourselves. We have to be almost intentional to self inflict a little bit of healthy suffering to buffet the body as they say so that we don’t fall prey to those things. So that we can maximize our life and that’s our sacred duty, right? To maximize all that we are and all that we can do, hopefully for a purpose greater than ourselves. And I think that’s the key to fulfillment regardless of how much money somebody makes or how big a house they live in or any of those type of things, how well known they are. If they maximize all that they are all that they can do and do those two things for a purpose greater than themselves, I don’t know how you get any more happy than that. I don’t know how you get any more fulfilled than that.

I don’t know how you get any more content or satisfied because you’re then somebody that you can go to sleep with at night, which is a big thing for a lot of people. But then also the gratification of knowing that you did not betray what was inside you. You didn’t betray your gifts, you didn’t betray your creativity. That stuff is ready to come out. Your creativity doesn’t have a fear of rejection. Your creativity is not afraid of people. You have to get involved with that creativity to withhold it and restrain. And so I’m so glad to hear about your own personal victories, Noe in this particular thing because you are obviously a hardworking person, mother and artist and all of that when you came into the Savvy Musician Academy.

But now we gave you more things to be fussy about, more things to do, more tools to implement and you’re doing such a great job. So tell… I’ll include it in the show notes but tell everybody real quick who might be listening, how they can find out more about you.

43:34 Noe: Oh yeah, sure. So my website is and yeah, it’s Ethereal Folk Music For Seekers. If you’re curious to hear my music or see more about the way that I am storytelling and building community and culture, feel free to sign up for my free song sequence and see what I’m doing. I love doing that with other people. I love hearing whatever I was doing, and feel free to join my Facebook group, Nature, Spirit and Creativity. It’s an awesome group of people. If anything I’ve been sharing resonates for you, you might find some kindred souls there.

44:10 CJ: Yeah, and that’s Noe Venable so that’s, N-O-E and then V-E-N-A-B-L-E. So for those who are wondering how that’s spelled, Noe Venable. But Noe, he thanks so much for taking the time. I might bring you back some time to catch up on how progress is going. I think people are going to be interested to see more about what you’re doing down the road.

44:35 Noe: Thanks a lot CJ. It’s been a pleasure.

44:37 CJ: Once again, thank you, everybody, for joining me on The Savvy Musician Show, which you can do besides leaving a review. If you’re interested in getting connected with the Savvy Musician Academy at even an entry-level which you can do is sign up for the inner circle membership, which is a great way for you to get acclimated to digital marketing and learn a whole lot comes with a full-color newsletter that’s downloadable. You get an audio version of it, which I read if you’re not already tired of my voice just yet, and you also get a mini-tutorial there and it’s really, really helpful. People are raving about it. You can learn more about that at Leah will be back soon enough. We miss her and we will see you guys in the next episode. Bye-bye.

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 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 #089: Interview with Jeff Pearce (TOM & Elite Student)

At the Savvy Musician Academy (SMA), we have musicians and bands of all kinds and different genres. One of the interesting genres is ambient instrumental music, and our special guest in this episode is a prolific recording artist who’s released 15 albums of his ambient guitar music!

Jeff Pearce’s last album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard New Age sales chart, and he credits what he learned from SMA—became a student in 2016—for helping him achieve his results. In this interview, Jeff shares his recording experience and learned insights that are helping him to continue to build his own musical empire online. Enjoy!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Different approaches to guitar
  • Before the internet
  • First impressions of SMA
  • Audience discovery
  • The extensiveness of The Online Musician Program
  • The importance of enjoying your own genre
  • Targeting your super fans
  • The demand for physical merchandise
  • Updating the course


“(The Online Musician) really changed how I approached not only what I was doing in a marketing sense, but also what I was doing as far as audience discovery.” – @jeffpearcemusic [0:15:35]

“The course… takes a serious amount of time.” – @jeffpearcemusic [0:16:09]

“Google is a search engine, Facebook is a share engine.” – @metalmotivation [0:17:04]

“(The Online Musician) challenged a kind of long-held belief that I kind of knew what my audience was.” – @jeffpearcemusic [0:18:46]

“You’re not looking for millions and millions of just generic listeners. You’re looking for the superfans. You’re looking for a smaller community of dedicated people who really are invested in this form of music. With that and with that alone, someone can sustain their livelihood.” – @metalmotivation [0:28:50]

“My second-most recent album, the one that was released in the fall of 2019, it debuted at number two on the Billboard New Age sales chart. I’m completely convinced it was because of what I’ve learned through Savvy Musician Academy and the courses.” – @jeffpearcemusic [0:32:24]

“What Leah does with her courses that other people don’t is that she goes back and updates them.” – @jeffpearcemusic [0:33:03]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Jeff Pearce (TOM & Elite 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 am the Branding and Mindset Coach at the Savvy Musician Academy. Hope you’re having a great week. Thanks for being with us today. This is a special little podcast we’re doing today. Have a dear friend who’s also a student at The Savvy Musician Academy, currently in our Elite Program. He’s also been through The Online Musician, or TOM as we call it for short. I’m going to bring him in just a second. First of all, if you would like to please give us a review, go to your respective podcast player. If they have stars, click on as many of them as you can or write something nice. You can also always go to our Facebook Groups to leave a comment and/or question. In fact, if you have a certain topic you would like for Leah and I to cover in the future on The Savvy Musician Show, please do so.

I’ve been loving having these student interviews because when you say student, you kind of think of, “Well, this is somebody who’s not a professional.” No, they’re only a student in The Savvy Musician Academy. They’re very much professionals as it relates to music. The people that we’re bringing on are capable, experienced musicians and the gentleman that I’m bringing on today is one such, and that’s really the crux of his story. I’d like to welcome Mr. Jeff Pearce. How are you, my friend?

01:45 Jeff: I’m doing good. How are you, CJ?

01:47 CJ: Wonderful. You and I have become friends over this past year, dabbling with each other online in all sorts of formats and whatnot. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, Jeff, and just what you’re doing. Just to talk a little bit about your music, just to get everybody on the same page with what you’re doing, tell us a little bit about the music that you play, the music that you write, and how long you’ve been doing it.

02:18 Jeff: Well, I’ve been doing what I’m doing for, wow, approaching 27 years now as far as putting albums out into the world, compact discs and all of that. It gets described as ambient music, and that’s probably as good of a description as it’ll get. I do everything on electric guitars, just layering and processing. Sometimes it sounds like an electric guitar, and most of the time it does not. It’s creating more of an atmospheric kind of ethereal sound as opposed to what people normally associate with electric guitar.

02:58 CJ: I think when you and I first talked, we talked a little bit about that particular genre of music, ambient music, and even though I kind of come from the side of the heavy metal side, you’re also very familiar with-

03:09 Jeff: Right, yeah. Well, it’s kind of hard to be our age and not be familiar with-

03:14 CJ: Not be, especially a guitar player-

03:15 Jeff: A lot of the metal groups. Oh yeah.

03:16 CJ: Especially a guitar player. Anyway, oftentimes as I said, because I also work in design and advertising and so much of what I do professionally, Jeff, requires thought, I can’t have some of the music that I love playing in the background because it’s too distractive. The lyrical content especially is too distractive, so I love music that’s instrumental, in particular, ambient music, because even instrumental stuff like your Steve Vais and Yngwie Malmsteen and that sort of thing, even those can get somewhat distracting.

03:53 Jeff: Right.

03:54 CJ: Ambient music is supposed to be just that, it’s creating an atmosphere, so I’ve learned to appreciate it over the years and specifically anything that’s come out of Windham Hill, which is kind of the watermark there of ambient music. You’ve worked with those guys.

04:11 Jeff: Oh yeah. Yeah. Will Ackerman that founded that label, he’s an old friend of mine going back to 2002, I think, 2001 or 2002, somewhere in there. They were not only one of the first instrumental labels like that that just sort of put their flag in the ground and saying, “This is what we are”, but at the start at least, they were an indie label. Will started Windham Hill so he’d have a place to release his own albums.

Over time, I’ve just begun to see there are a lot of labels like that, a lot of good labels like that that have followed. People just didn’t have an outlet for their own music and they were shopping them to labels and, of course, getting most of the time no reply at all one way or the other. There in the late ’80s, early ’90s, there kind of seemed to be a whole bunch of people saying, “You know what? I’ll do it myself.” They went on and did it themselves.

05:19 CJ: Yeah, and so that’s… I remember discovering that in the ’80s. I was, like yourself, a guitar player. I was overtaken initially by that age of guitar gods, and as you advance from Eddie Van Halen and Frank Marino and Randy Rhoads, then Yngwie and Steve Vai and then Vinnie Moore, then you keep pressing onward and into like Eric Johnson. Then, you discover these ambient players. When you listen to a Will Ackerman and… Who was the other guy? De Grassi-

05:54 Jeff: Yeah, Alex De Grassi, yeah-

05:56 CJ: You’re looking at… I mean, they’re doing it all on acoustic.

06:00 Jeff: Right, right.

06:01 CJ: These heavy-string acoustics, but you learn to appreciate the power of ambient music. Now, obviously, it’s grown into other things like kind of more of a New Age thing, and so there’s a culture there, but I mean just the pure instrumental stuff is really, really powerful music and a huge niche. There’s a lot of people around the world that listen to that music, don’t they?

06:24 Jeff: Oh yeah, yeah. There is and they listen to it exactly how you were describing. You’ve got work to do, you’re working on stuff. You need something because, let’s face it, if you’re immersed in something, sometimes you can go down that rabbit hole too far. You just kind of need something surrounding you and that’s probably not the time for Judas Priest or anything else like that. What I’ve appreciated over the years with ambient music, and it was natural for me to do it with my own music, is that there’s an amount of space in it that it’s not about filling all of the space possible. It’s about being okay with some things being quiet and some things just kind of floating.

That was something that resonated with me early on because when I was a guitar student taking classical and jazz lessons and all of that, I would just love to hold a chord and listen to it ring out and not even move on to the next one. It’s just, “No, I want to stay here. I want to stay here. I just want to listen to what’s happening as the notes fade.” As you know on the guitar, you play five notes at the same time on different strings, and each string’s going to fade out different. Some notes are going to last a little bit longer, some are going to fade out sooner. It’s just a beautiful sensation as a player to be able to experience that, but as a listener, I love that as well. The whole concept of space was really important to me to keep in my own music.

08:20 CJ: When did you start recording your own music?

08:23 Jeff: That would have been in 1993 and it was in the days before the internet as we know it. There in early ’93, I don’t think I knew anyone that even had an email account at that point. Computers were kind of the domain of businesses and a personal computer was just kind of a weird thing. You’d hear about someone with a computer in their home and it was like, “Oh, wow. They must be a scientist or they must”… Or something like that. My first album was just… I recorded it at a local studio and I had a friend of mine mix it and another friend of mine master it. Then, I had a thousand CDs in my apartment and I was going, “Okay, what do I do now? What do I do with all of these CDs?” There was just nothing at that time that you could say, “Oh, okay. Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll take these and I’ll sell them on CD Baby or Bandcamp or start my own E-commerce store.” None of that was an option. The sight of all of those CDs was kind of frightening at that point.

09:48 CJ: Well, that’s always the challenge for the independent artist is, how are you going to move this product? Beginning in ’93 to let’s say about the time you discovered The Savvy Musician Academy, what year was that?

10:03 Jeff: Oh my gosh, late 2016/early 2017.

10:10 CJ: By then, how many albums had you had out approximately?

10:14 Jeff: Oh boy. Okay, I’m about to release album number 15. 14… I would have had 12 albums out at that point I think.

10:25 CJ: You’re an experienced recording artist, independent. You know your genre. You know the kind of music that you’re making, you know? You’re-

10:33 Jeff: Mm-hmm.

10:34 CJ: You’ve got your little niche. Up until the time that you come across Savvy Musician Academy, where is your head in terms of the music industry? Are you frustrated with it? You don’t know what the next way forward is?

10:46 Jeff: I didn’t know what it was. I mean, I knew that there had to be something different than what was happening because I saw the old model just crumble. I’ve told this to people. When I started releasing my music in 1993, it was kind of like getting on a roller coaster. It’s like, “Okay, I can kind of see what’s going to happen next.” You can kind of see what’s ahead as you swoop down. Then, everything just started changing. The internet changed everything, and then you had illegal downloads. You had places like Napster or the original Napster, where it was a lot sketchier. You just saw labels. I mean, like really big, solid labels just kind of crumble and disappear and they didn’t know how to handle this new thing called The World Wide Web.

They were using basically marketing techniques and approaches from the 1960’s to try to navigate this whole brave new world. I’m not going to say that I’d given up because at that point I’d released enough albums to where I knew I was still going to be doing that. That wasn’t much of a question. It was just a question of, “Well, gee, where is everyone?” I had a fairly loyal listener base at that point from basically the mail order days of when people would send me a cheque in the mail and I’d send back to them. I’d been able to keep up with them, but as far as finding a new audience, I just had no clue. I didn’t even know where to start.

12:44 CJ: Yeah, and it’s amazing because you have this access, in other words through the internet, but I said, “How do you go about that?” It reminds me of the Iron Maiden song Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “Water, water everywhere-

12:55 Jeff: “But not a drop to drink.”

12:57 CJ: “Not a drop to drink”, so it’s there but you just can’t touch it, you can get to it. It’s 2016, you’re 12 albums deep. Again, experienced musician, experienced recording artist. You have an existing base. Did an ad from The Savvy Musician Academy maybe featuring Leah hit you and just say, “I wonder if”? Or were you kind of in a mode where you were looking for something?

13:24 Jeff: I wasn’t really looking for something and, quite frankly, there was a reason I wasn’t looking for something and that’s because most of the ads that I encountered online at that point were, and I’m going to phrase this as nicely as I can, they had “con artists” behind them-

13:46 CJ: Right.

13:47 Jeff: And they were what I would call not trustworthy sources. The ad that I saw with Leah, I just thought, “Why not? I could give this a try. You know what? If she rips me off, she steals my money, I’m not going to like it but I can always replace money.” What bugs me more at this point in my life is when someone wastes my time because I can’t go get time back. I can go sell one of my way-too-many guitars to get money back, but I can’t get my time back. I thought, “I’ll just start”… I think the program… I’m trying to remember. I think it was Facebook For Musicians. It’s like, “You know what? I’ll just try it. I’m probably not going to like it and it’s probably going to be full of stuff I already know, but that’s okay. I’ll try it.” Of course, I was blown away, I mean, just immediately, not only by the amount of information but the depth of knowledge that Leah had about it.

At that point, I was kind of like, “Okay, this is impressive and I can see what this can do for my career.” I started putting it to work and then when I saw The Online Musician, I thought, “Well, I’ll try it. It’s probably not going to be any good, but her first one was good. This one probably won’t be, but I’ll try it.” Of course, that was just next-level for me. Everything that I learned from that was just… It really changed how I approached not only what I was doing in a marketing sense, but also what I was doing as far as audience discovery. That was just an amazing course to have under my belt once I got it under my belt because there is a lot there. As you know, you just don’t sit down with one of these things and 45 minutes later you’re at the end of the course and you’ve got it all done. It’s not like that at all. It takes a serious amount of time.

16:13 CJ: Isn’t that interesting that… This is a big part of The Online Musician. Again, we call it TOM, T-O-M, about The Online Musician is that it does focus so much on your target audience, which is not something that your average musician or band is going to think of-

16:35 Jeff: No.

16:35 CJ: As it relates to selling music or doing anything. They assume that and so if you’ve never thought deeply about your potential target audience, then yeah, you’re going to feel lost in this online space, so you have this ability to reach people. As we’ve said in other podcasts and we’ve covered recently in our Inner Circle membership program that Facebook is a search engine, Google is a… Excuse me, Google is a search engine, Facebook is a share engine. Since Google also owns YouTube, YouTube is equally a search engine. People go to YouTube and they put in search terms, but nobody goes to Facebook and puts in a search term, no, so Facebook is a share engine. It’s not a search engine.

People get excited about content, whether it’s a silly cat video or a political story or whatever it may be and they share their memes or whatever. That’s what we call viral, viral meaning something spreading from one person to another. Then, you run into this thing of then what musicians were early on doing once YouTube came around is, “Oh, well, maybe people will discover me, and to do that I need a lot of video views on YouTube.” These become what we call vanity metrics. In other words, data that just promotes vanity. It really doesn’t do anything. You can’t do anything with these people. You don’t know who’s clicking “like”. You don’t know who’s watching, but then, with Facebook, you’ve got this ability now to target specific people who like specific things and live in specific places, et cetera.

18:17 Jeff: Exactly.

18:18 CJ: Now, the challenge for you is, “Well, I’ve never thought about my audience before.”

18:24 Jeff: Right, and once I did start to think about them at that point, especially after going through the TOM course, that completely… It went against what I would normally have done, which is good because what I was doing was nothing really. It kind of challenged a kind of long-held belief that I kind of knew what my audience was. To a certain extent I did, but there was just a lot of holes that needed to be filled in. TOM went a long way to do that. I mean, just going through that course was fantastic.

19:14 CJ: Also, early on in The Online Musician program, Leah covers culture, which again, has something to do with the shared lifestyle and community of now you as the artist and this new targeted audience that you’re trying to reach. I mean, since when does somebody think about culture? Was that an eye-opening thing for you? How important is that to what you’re doing?

19:43 Jeff: Well, first of all, that’s really important. Second of all, and I am not saying this to be self-serving so forgive me if it comes off sounding like that, I had somewhat of a fairly good if not slightly nebulous idea of my culture because of live shows that I’ve played over the years, something like that. The people that come out, you can start to spot common trends. Also, and this was important for me, 95% of the time I’m a fan of the genre that I play music in. You’d be surprised how many musicians I’ve met over the years that are playing a genre they don’t particularly like. They’re playing music that they could either take or leave.

When you have that situation, you’re going to be completely clueless as to who your culture is because as a person, you’re not going to want to hang out with the people that are really, really into the music even though you’re the one playing it because you’re not really, really into what you’re doing. When you have something like that, you’re going to be really confused as to what your culture is. As far as my culture, ambient music goes, I would say ambient listeners, and I put myself in here, too, we are very pleasant introverts. There’s a large amount of introversion. I’ve had feedback from listeners saying, “I love to take your music out into the country, put on headphones and stargaze or watch sunsets.” I don’t get a lot of people saying, “My wife and I had a party last week, so after Screaming For Vengeance by Judas Priest was over, we put on your latest album then.” So-

21:53 CJ: They’re not taking it to the gym to do squats.

21:57 Jeff: Oh, I hope not. Oh, Lord, I hope not. I can only imagine the tempo there because if you’re doing the squats, you want something fairly fast, so down up, down up. With ambient music, you just down and you wait for like 30 seconds. Okay, now come up.

22:14 CJ: Right. Now, you’ve got this culture issue, culture and lifestyle which is going to start now informing the kind of information that you’re going to put in something like this Facebook Ad Manager, which is keeping track of everybody’s interests and likes. Now, you’re discovering, “Wow, I can”… I’m really thinking now and I think we don’t ever really do this. We don’t think about, “Well, what would my ideal superfan be like? What do they read? What do they watch? What other music do they listen to?” Maybe other things. It could be in terms of the food they eat, the places that they frequent, the shows they go to, concerts, magazines. Sitting down and thinking about that and then putting that in the Ad Manager and then being able to see the actual results, that had to be incredibly empowering considering where you came from.

23:16 Jeff: Right, right. It was an awful lot of information definitely to deal with, to sit down and say, “Oh, wow, this kind of makes sense.” You can just see all of these different bits of information just kind of come together and interlock and just form… I was talking earlier about the holes of perception I had. Again, I’ve been doing this for a while, so I had a decent idea of what the culture was around the people that listen to my music, but all of that information in the Ad Manager, all of the TV land, I guess I’d say, demographics, all of that just sort of came together. It’s like, “Wow, I had not considered that.” Astronomy was the big one, and I guess-

24:11 CJ: Wow.

24:11 Jeff: It shouldn’t have been with all of the feedback I’d gotten over the years of people saying, “Yeah, I’d love to take your music out and listen to it while I watch the stars.” Well, you know what? If they took my music out, they were taking music out by a bunch of other ambient musicians, too.

24:30 CJ: Right.

24:31 Jeff: It couldn’t be just me. The astronomy one was a really big one.

24:38 CJ: Wow. It’s really interesting because, and again, you and I could talk about any one of these things really in-depth because you’ve been at this a long time now, and the fact that you are doing the natural thing that we assume which is target people who like similar artists, right?

25:00 Jeff: Right.

25:01 CJ: Let’s say there’s a whole lot of other musicians like yourself targeting those same things, but then the ad price becomes a little bit more competitive, which means that prices go up. You add this other element that maybe the other ones weren’t thinking of, which is-

25:18 Jeff: Exactly.

25:18 CJ: Something like astronomy, and suddenly now, you’re targeting something they’re not targeting, and so your ad spend goes down and you get better clients, better listeners, better superfans-

25:30 Jeff: Oh yeah.

25:30 CJ: More high quality, and again, this is all from the simple things that you learn about understanding your micro-niche, understanding your culture, understanding your superfan, and being able to survey your fans and get information about what they want. It’s empowering, man.

25:49 Jeff: It is, it is, and I also found out that pretty quickly, and I kind of suspected it, but it really drove home that people who are serious about listening to ambient music and all of that, they still love physical product. I mean, they do, and I have seen that. In my case, when I’ve just released a couple of singles, just digital singles, I’ve released them. I still… My main thing is physical product, but if I release a digital single, I will get an email within 24 hours from at least one person saying, “Oh, this is great. When are you going to put it on a CD?” It’s like, “Okay, maybe next –

26:36 CJ: Is that just… They like just holding the product? Is it the fact that they feel like it sounds better? Are they noise snobs? I mean, I sound snobs?

26:43 Jeff: Yeah. Well, there’s plenty of audio snobs that are serious ambient and New Age music listeners, but I think the product, it has to do more with engaging more of the senses. You sit down and listen. I’ve been like that with every kind of music I like. I mean, I still like physical product. I love liner notes. The more the better. When I could sit down… Even when I was a teenager with rock and metal, I’d sit down and I’d scour the liner notes. I wanted to know who the producer was. I want to know who mixed it. I wanted to know who the recording engineer was, but I also wanted to know, “Okay, what are the lyrics to this song? Any insight from the musicians themselves, even funny stuff, any funny stuff in the liner notes, I’d want that whole experience and –

27:47 CJ: A special thanks?

27:48 Jeff: A special thanks, yeah. Who do they thank, and is there an interesting story behind who they thanked?

27:54 CJ: Yeah. It’s always like maybe like, “We thank so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so, and Hershey bars.”

28:00 Jeff: Yeah, yeah-

28:00 CJ: It’s like always something like that.

28:01 Jeff: Yeah, or something like that, or they’d thank a really crappy, dive-y restaurant or a bar on the Sunset Strip or something. That was always good to see. I loved the liner notes, so that’s something else that I pay attention to when I do my projects is that the liner notes are as well done as I can do them. They’re certainly not going to be as great as other artists, but just to basically give a sense of what the recording is, how it came about, and where it sits in my overall catalog.

28:43 CJ: Well, you know, I love this because it highlights the concept that Savvy talks about a lot, which is superfans. You’re not looking for millions and millions of just generic listeners.

28:54 Jeff: Oh no.

28:55 CJ: You’re looking for the superfans. You’re looking for a smaller community of dedicated people who really are invested in this form of music. With that and with that alone, someone can sustain their livelihood well just-

29:11 Jeff: Oh, definitely.

29:12 CJ: Off the music and merchandise being sold to a dedicated community of superfans, which is why understanding micro-niche, culture, target audience, and the kind of tools to get that information is so vital to being what we now refer to as The Online Musician. Now, as we know, part of Leah’s story is that she did it as a stay-at-home mom and without touring, which still baffles music industry heads to this day. Was that an appeal to you that sort of thing? Or how much was live music still a part of your drive?

29:53 Jeff: Live music is still a part of it and I think that’s because with quite a few artists in ambient music, they don’t play live, so being able to do it live opened up doors for me that probably wouldn’t have been open had I not played live. I’ve played a lot of concerts over the years and it’s important for me to keep doing that, but I also see that just like with the music industry in general, the concert industry is changing as well.

Live shows are changing as well and some for the better, but some not for the better, just like in the music industry overall. Anything where someone is taking a new approach and getting great results, they’re going to get my attention. Leah got my attention by basically talking about how she’s a stay-at-home to five kids. She doesn’t tour and yet she’s created this really, really strong fanbase. I think that’s fantastic. It’s inspiring.

31:10 CJ: Yeah, and so for you now, moving forward again, like you said, Leah came on the radar about 2016, and so here we are into 2020. Where is Jeff Pearce now?

31:24 Jeff: I am… Like literally hours ago, I started taking preorders for my latest CD, so that would be album number 15, and it’s always each project is different. The whole idea of just sort of taking an assembly line approach making the music, it’s like, “No, it’s not like that.” Each project is different, but what The Online Musician and… I used that one right before my 13th album and what I learned from that, I’m convinced it got that album to chart on the Billboard New Age sales chart that year in 2017-

32:13 CJ: Wow.

32:14 Jeff: When that album came out. What I learned I’m also convinced it had my second-most recent album, the one that was released in the fall of 2019, it debuted at number two on the Billboard New Age sales chart. I’m completely convinced it was because of what I’ve learned through Savvy Musician Academy and the courses. Anytime you have information that you can put to use and get great results with, I mean, you’re going to keep doing that. Now, what I really like because this is… I want to make sure I get it right. This is going to be for The Online Musician 3.0, right?

33:01 CJ: Right.

33:02 Jeff: Yeah. What Leah does with her courses that other people don’t is that she goes back and updates them. When she has new information, guess what? It gets added and I found out about it. I think we both know that Facebook, just forget the rest of the internet, Facebook has changed so much since The Online Musician Volume One came out, the first one came out. Whenever there’s new info, she goes back and she makes it available. That’s just something you don’t see very much of. It’s the whole concept of you underpromise and overdeliver, and that just goes so much against the experience that I’ve had with a lot of music marketing stuff, which has been overpromise and underdeliver.

34:02 CJ: Right. Well, and that’s I think the key because, as you just noticed, this is an ever-changing landscape and what might be working now may not be working next year and what have you when Facebook and social media channels make their changes and what have you, but the thing-

34:18 Jeff: Exactly.

34:18 CJ: That’s important is that… I think Leah said this recently, principles trump tactics. So it always comes back to the proven principles of marketing that work offline, that have worked for years.

34:33 Jeff: Exactly.

34:33 CJ: Used by direct marketers to sell all sorts of things. Using these types of things in this online space, using them far more effectively than anything offline had ever achieved. I’ve made this note before. So long as I still get Domino’s Pizza mailers, even though I don’t eat Domino’s Pizza, that tells me that the offline world in marketing doesn’t have the sophisticated targeting features of, for example, Facebook. If they did, then I would be getting ketogenic mailers delivered to my house and they would only send the Domino’s ones to those who they know already like Domino’s Pizza or what have you, so they would know.

For the most part, all of these people have, all these companies have is zip codes and, are you a homeowner? Are you college… That’s about all they know, whereas in this new online space, you can get things down to age, political interests, clothes, where you shop, restaurants you eat, magazines you read, music you listen to, all of it. Zip codes, you can narrow it down so targeted and then be able to reach, again, your ideal fan, which is so when I make a point about your particular story, it brought the transition, the key transformation for you, which was you have been doing this for so long. 12 albums in, started at ’93. Again, an experienced musician, an experienced independent recording artist. You were already doing it DIY. It was already going that way.

Now, you realized there was this huge opportunity online and that you could now begin to focus your attention, but how do you get that done? Then, coming across the Savvy Musician Academy, getting those tools, and considering things that maybe weren’t considered to the depth that you did now. This has further equipped you to go into your next season. Looking forward as we conclude, do you have hope for the Jeff Pearce music empire moving forward?

36:44 Jeff: Well, first of all, I’m more than happy to take those Domino’s coupons off of you.

36:49 CJ: Yeah, sure.

36:49 Jeff: If you just want to send them to me, I’ll take those. Second, yeah, I always knew I was going to keep doing music, but I’d also prepared myself for the fact that it was probably going to take a long time, if not a very long time, for me to make it work in the way I wanted to see it. I had also kind of begrudgingly accepted that I would have to be signed to a label to get the kind of results that I wanted to see. Now that I am getting those kind of results without a label, it’s just been not only eye-opening, but it’s been fuel on the fire, you know?

37:38 CJ: Mm-hmm.

37:38 Jeff: It’s kept me moving forward because I see that there are principles that if I follow these and if I take this approach, then I’m going to get results. It’s been surprising but it’s also been encouraging at the same time that, “Wow, okay, this works. This works.” I want to make it work some more, if that makes sense, so-

38:06 CJ: Yeah. Yeah, because that’s what we call scaling, right? We can move it an inch-

38:09 Jeff: Yep.

38:09 CJ: We can move it a mile, so let’s move it. Well, that’s all. Jeff, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today on The Savvy Musician Show. Like I said, Jeff and I go back and forth offline because not only we’re friends, but we also participate in some groups together. A very, very talented musician. Jeff, where can people-

38:33 Jeff: Thank you.

38:33 CJ: Go to learn more about you?

38:36 Jeff: You can just go to

38:40 CJ: That’s P-E-A-R-C-E.

38:43 Jeff: Yeah, I’m one of four people that spell it like that in the United States, so yeah. Jeff P-E-A-R-C-E.

38:52 CJ: We’ll have this, of course, in the show notes, but again, Jeff, thank you so much for being with us.

38:58 Jeff: Oh, thank you. I love being here.

39:01 CJ: Everybody, listen, if you’d like to learn more, we’ve got some really good things coming up as we prepare for the launch of The Online Musician 3.0. This will be the most cutting-edge version of any online musician training program. Like Jeff said, he got tired of charlatans, he got tired of people that just were not providing good information, and so if you want the latest and the greatest, then please stay tuned. We’ll be announcing more details soon about The Online Musician 3.0.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of this and you’d just like to start getting your feet wet in online marketing for musicians, the very best thing that you can do, and I encourage you to do it right now, is to sign up for our Inner Circle Membership. It is called The Inner Circle Membership and it provides you with an Inner Circle monthly newsletter/magazine, as well as an audio version of it. It’s downloadable, very downloadable, and you also get a mini-course, a mini-tutorial also with that.

It will introduce you into everything marketing, but even if you’re experienced in advance, even our most Elite students still subscribe to their Inner Circle Membership because it provides such cutting-edge information like tools of the month, books of the month, tips of the month, motivational articles, and the student spotlights, like someone like Jeff Pearce, and a whole lot of other awesome information. To learn more about that, go to This is CJ Ortiz, again, Branding and Mindset Coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, and we will see you guys soon.

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 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 #088: Only Focus Online

How many musicians have gone viral, or received mass exposure on American Idol or The Voice, and unfortunately still have nothing to show for it? This hoping to get discovered still represents the old model of the music business and will not guarantee your success. 

In this episode, Leah and C.J. go over what does work and how you can achieve success by reaching your fans through the internet. We’re not just talking about just getting on Spotify, YouTube, and creating a Facebook artist page to post your next show. Reaching your ideal fans online is more sophisticated than that, and that’s what we’re breaking down in this episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Billy Corgan’s advice to focus 100% on being an online musician
  • The difference between a valuable metric and vanity metric
  • Getting mass exposure but going nowhere with it
  • Targeting and building custom audiences with Facebook videos
  • The new frontier for musicians 
  • Losing the old music world mentality
  • Leah’s ten year prediction
  • TOM 3.0 announcement


“I’m looking forward to my next win because it’s addictive.” – @metalmotivation [0:03:30]

“The internet is just a vehicle for reaching people.” – @metalmotivation [0:08:10]

“I’m going to put all my focus into reaching people through the internet, do my best to build an audience around the world without having left my house.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:10:25]

“Out of 2.5 billion people, your audience isn’t there? Are you kidding?” – @LEAHthemusic [0:11:26]

“The new gold rush for musicians is to get out there and start to carve out their little niche. You don’t need to be everything to everyone.” – @metalmotivation [0:24:10]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Annissa Mlhns (Student Spotlight) —

Book a Call With Us —

Inner Circle Membership —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the savvy musician show the premiere podcast for music marketing. If you’re ready to get your music career off the ground, you have found a way, by utilizing the powerful tools of digital marketing you can create your own music career, your own little empire of superfans that are excited about you, love following you, share the cultural experience with you that your music also speaks to, buy your music and all the wonderful things that you create around it. That’s all possible for you, ladies and gentlemen, and to talk about this very important topic. I’ve brought in the premier expert on music marketing. Of course, you know her already, Leah McHenry. Good to see you, Leah.

01:06 Leah: Good to see you. And good to be here and have all of you listening.

01:10 CJ: Good stuff is happening here at SMA, Savvy Musician Academy. We’ll talk a little bit more about that. But before we get started today, Leah, let me share this brief student spotlight from one of our TOM students. TOM is the acronym for The Online Musician program. Shorthand is TOM. This is by Annissa Mlhns and she writes, “#win. I’m really happy to share my first big win. I’ve now reached 10,000 likes on my Facebook page, made of highly-targeted potential fans. Thank you, SMA for everything you’ve taught me and I’m looking forward to my next win”. Leah, do you remember your first little victory like that?

01:54 Leah: I do. And it was… It’s just the fuel that continues to light the fire to keep you going. Like these wins are massive.

02:04 CJ: They’re really important. And I think we’ve said before nothing… I know, I can speak for myself when I say that, nothing motivates me like results. Having some little breakthrough. And sometimes you can feel super tired and that breakthrough can come late at night. You’re ready to go to bed and give up. And all of a sudden you crack the code, or whatever it is you were working on. And isn’t it amazing how instantly energy comes, and motivation comes and now you’re staying up till three in the morning?

Well, just goes to show you that you’ve got all the energy and motivation you need. All’s you need to know is how. How do you create your music career? How do you solve your problem? How do you get followers on Facebook? How do you get people on an email list? How do you market your record? How do you do an album launch?

All of these, how questions that musicians have, they’re trying to get answered. Leah like we’ve before on YouTube and Podcasts and pieced together something to try and figure out, decode someone like yourself and how you do things. And they get more frustrated because it’s not the way necessarily forward. Which is obviously what something like a Savvy Musician Academy is here for to help them do that.

But there’s no getting around the fact that once you just have that little breakthrough and you feel that motivation and energy. Like she said, “I’m looking forward to my next win”. Because it’s addictive. There’s a certain euphoria that comes with this and you will get addicted to these breakthroughs. But this is someone here who’s having this breakthrough online. Getting Facebook followers, who’d have ever thought that we would be talking about Facebook followers as a means to building a music business.

But things like social media are like, Leah, the internet contained, right? Because people have to sign up for them, have accounts. They have to share their interest in things. And so Facebook tracks these and these become ways that skillful marketers can use to target. Like she was just describing highly targeted potential fans. Well, this is an online approach, which is why we talk about The Online Musician.

And something that you and I talked about of just a couple of months or so ago. It came out in one of the latest issues of guitar world magazine. And it was an interview with Billy Corgan, who’s the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins. A very popular band out of the 90s. But he was talking about today’s struggling musician and what you should focus on. And he said, “Forget playing down the street”. He said… This is literally what he said.

He said, “If I was going to give you 60 seconds of advice, I would put your whole focus into reaching people through the internet”.

05:09 Leah: I love it.

05:11 CJ: So this is somebody who’s made their money, you know what I mean? Touring and the whole millions of dollars and all of that. They said if they had… If he had to give a piece of advice, he had 60 seconds to tell them something they could do. Right now it would be to focus on the internet. Wow.

05:27 Leah: Mic drop. We can just end the podcast now.

05:30 CJ: That’s it. That’s it right there. So this is somebody which I appreciate about Billy, is that he understands where things are. He understands where the industry is. He knows. He’s been on the stage for the Grammys. He’s been in TV and film. He’s done it all. And he would say, if you’re going to be a musician in today’s music industry, he said, “Put your whole-

05:56 Leah: Focus.

05:57 CJ: …focus through the internet”. Now, as we described in some of our recent episodes, there are bad ways you can do that. For example, you’ve alluded to oftentimes vanity metrics, right? So when we say online we’re not talking about just getting a bunch of YouTube views, are we?

06:17 Leah: No, and I think that’s what we need to distinguish is the difference between what is a valuable metric in a vanity metric. Two Vs, wow. Vanity and valuable. And we shared in a previous podcast episode a few episodes ago about, what are some of the marketing metrics you need to know and those are far more valuable in terms of running a real business that’s profitable, sustainable, scalable, all of those things and just merely building an audience or not even an audience, really just getting followers.

You are going to find online… When you decide to focus on this, you’re going to run into a whole lot of more scammy things. If you’re not skeptical enough already. There’s a whole bunch of scammy things out there. There are apps and bots and things out there that’s like, “Sign up for this thing and get 10,000 Instagram followers”.

And they’ll do this… There’s automated bots that will like a whole bunch of profiles and then hope that they follow you back. And then unfollow the ones that didn’t follow you. There’s all this kind of stuff that’s just vanity. Then really, are these people really going to buy your music? Most likely no.

07:31 CJ: You’re right.

07:32 Leah: And there’s all kinds of stuff. So you need to distinguish between vanity metrics and valuable metrics. And when we say putting your online focus or whole focus on in reaching people through the internet, we’re a hundred percent behind Billy Corgan. Billy Corgan, I hope you listen to this podcast. If don’t… Maybe someone knows you who will forward this and you’ll become a… I would love to have him as guest. That’d be amazing.

07:59 CJ: Yeah it would be amazing.

08:00 Leah: We should get him.

08:00 CJ: Yeah. I mean it’s… When you say online or internet, obviously like you said, that’s a broad term. And what think what’s important for people to understand is first that the internet being a vehicle for reaching people. And don’t make it more than that. It’s not mysterious. That’s really all it is. And so like we alluded to in the student spotlight, there are ideal superfans for you.

And so the key to the online effect is that by, especially with social media, you can use these powerful tools. Like the Facebook Ad Manager, the Facebook algorithm, which is keeping track of what people’s interest and likes are. Even their taste in music. And so if you can determine who you are as an artist. What you’re about. And who your superfan is, what they listened to, what they love, what they’re excited about, then this is information, right? That you can put into this powerful marketing tool called the Facebook Ad Manager and begin to actually reach those specific people. And not anybody else.

Just the people who are excited about music that is just like yours of the genre, the culture that you particularly fit in now. And when you do that, then like Leah said, you get followers. And followers, but followers who care about you. Followers who care about the stuff that you play, they enjoy that particular lifestyle, music and culture. And then from there you can begin to utilize all the other powerful online marketing tools such as video and email marketing, and then creating eCommerce sites. All the stuff that we talk about.

But I think you’ve got to have this fundamental thing in place, right? Leah, that you understand that there’s a reason why he would say focus 100% here. That doesn’t mean you’ll never play a live gig.

10:00 Leah: Right.

10:02 CJ: That comes after, right? Because you’ve got to establish this first.

10:06 Leah: Yeah, and that’s why I’ve always said the way my career worked, and I know I understand how I approach things is completely different from other people. And my way’s not the only way. Because of my circumstance with having the kids at home and them being very young and everything. I figured this was exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to put all my focus into reaching people through the internet, do my best to build an audience around the world without having left my house.

And that way when I do want a tour, anything I want to do, I’ll already have the audience. And so it’s really an audience first priority. Audience first and then my niche. You can even do it the other way around. You can figure out your niche, but audience has to be top priority. And how am I going to do that, if not through the internet? Yeah, you can play live gigs and shake one hand at a time. That’s very inefficient.

It may be, it may be rewarding and satisfying to do that in person, but it’s not efficient. And you have the leverage and the power of reaching tens of thousands, millions potentially. The Facebook platform alone has 2.5 billion active monthly users. Don’t tell me your audience isn’t there. I run into this all the time they’re like, “Oh no, my audience isn’t there”.

11:26 CJ: They are.

11:26 Leah: Out of 2.5 billion people, your audience isn’t there? Are you kidding? You are delusional. You have no idea.

11:35 CJ: No, that’s right. Because I like we’ve said in a recent episode, you can confuse what’s needed. If you think, for example, that getting discovered on a Spotify or a YouTube is the online approach, then, like you said, you’re getting into the vanity metric. You think that by just having people like something or something going viral that somehow that’s going to materialize into success. Whereas no, that’s not a business approach that’s popularity. It’s like being popular in high school. But sometimes the people who were popular in high school failed once they got out of high school.

12:15 Leah: Let’s talk about all the singers from American Idol and The Voice. Who make even to the finalists, who have zero career after the fact. And they’d been on national television in front of millions of people. I once met a guy in person, had quite an extensive conversation with him about this. He was a finalist on The Voice, talked to him in person.

And he said that exact thing. He’s like most singers and vocalists and these talented people who are on these shows, after the fact, they get totally depressed. Because they think all this exposure is going to get me the career. I’m going to get signed or someone will discover me. Even after being on TV. Exposed to millions of people. All of the executives in the world are watching this. And yet, maybe a few of them do get a deal, but most of them fall through. This guy now makes a living just gigging full time.

So he used the show as a catalyst to just play full time. But he is… I mean he’s working his tail off to do that. And so he has like a work ethic. Unbelievable. But that’s how he’s making his living now. He’s playing full time. Like doing weddings and all different kinds of things. Because he does like an acoustic thing. But so many people think that “Oh just because I was popular on a television show, now I have it made”. And yet the second they are off that show it’s game over.

It’s like everything goes away. In fact, I could probably come up with a coaching program just for these people. These poor people who have had their worlds just come down on them just crashing after these shows. And they haven’t the slightest clue even about who they are or where they really want to do too.

Because also in these shows there they’re being… Well, the way the shows work is you’re doing all these cover songs of all these other artists. And you’re not really singing your own thing. You’re not… It’s not about developing you yet. It’s about show us how you sound singing everybody else’s songs. I always think like that’s… I don’t know, I never want to build that kind of career. And then it just goes to show that when it’s all said and done those opportunities are gone.

They have nothing they… And I’m not trying to be mean. But that’s their reality. That’s what I’ve been told about this. And it’s like they’re starting at ground zero. It’s just like those people who go to Berkeley, who spent all this money and at the end of the day, they don’t even know who they are. What they’re trying to do yet. So it’s very sad. And that’s why.

14:54 CJ: Yeah. So if you’re relying on the industry, you’re relying on something that’s a very unsure foundation. As opposed to saying, “No, I’m going to create my marketplace and I’m going to reach people on my own. And I’m going to sell my music to the people who care about my music”. And the only thing that’s standing in the way between you and doing that is knowledge. Is knowing how that’s achieved. Knowing how you do the marketing. And so, again, it’s a general statement for Billy Corgan to say focus on the internet. But what he’s saying is you have to reach people. By yourself, right?

15:37 Leah: Mm-hmm.

15:37 CJ: And the best way to do that is not playing your local gig. And it’s not waiting on a record label. You have this huge door that you can go through called the internet and utilize these tools and reach the exact people that you want to reach and then get your music in front of them.

So if you think, for example, that being on The Voice or American Idol like Leah alluded to, is going to get you there. Or getting a bunch of features on playlists on Spotify or having a million views on a YouTube video. If you think that’s going to be it, no. Because you’re not getting any of that data. So a smart business person is going to do something where they’re going to get some data back about the people that are watching that are engaging with their music.

And so something like Facebook, right? Leah is going to give them that information. And to have it then you can do just give them a little taste of some of the things they could do just off of what a single music video can do on Facebook.

16:46 Leah: Oh gosh, if you have a music video, or is this my little marketing plan for it? Or just like the potential…

16:54 CJ: Yeah, just some of the things. Because, if they get a bunch of views on Facebook… A bunch of views on YouTube, not much.

17:00 Leah: YouTube, yeah. Now there are some advanced things. It’s a completely different beast. So I won’t go there. But Facebook is very easy and it’s amazing. Most people don’t know that. Everybody who watches your video is tracked and basically put into an audience of people who have watched that video. So Facebook tracks someone who watched it, even what percentage of the video they watched.

So if someone watched three seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, however long percentage, 90%, 95% of your video. Facebook knows everything about who watched that. And you can even segment those people into groups. So I’m going to put everybody who only watched five seconds of my video in one group. I want to put everybody who watched 95% of my video in another group. It’s called a custom audience, right? It’s an audience that’s customized for a specific thing you want to group them in.

And then you can show those people ads or a more videos or an opt, in your email list. You can do anything. You have a variety of options which you can do with that. But the point is that you can do it. You can do it and it’s very inexpensive, very inexpensive. When you consider what the cost of advertising used to be back in the day. Where it’s like hey, you can do a newspaper ad, you can do a billboard, you can do television, you can do like phone book or whatever. Like this is, you’re talking pennies.

18:28 CJ: Yeah, literally like two to four cents for a video view. And if let’s say like you just said you, you’ll see you sent out one video and you just let it run for a couple of months or so. When you got 100,000 views to a highly targeted audience, right? You put into Facebook ad manager, all similar artists to you and you sent your video out to them and it reached 100,000 people. And then you see that, okay, you can ask Facebook, “Hey, give me a list of all the people who watched 90% of my video”.

Not the three-second people, but 90%. And let’s say you find out that it’s 15,000 okay. So you make, like you just said, Facebook will make for you a little custom audience just for you. Of those 15,000 people. Now let’s just say for grins and giggles, you had another music video and you say, you know what? I’m going to send this music video to that same 15,000 people. And it goes through that and you realize that of them, 8,000 people watched 90%. That 8,000 people right there, just them alone could finance the next five years of your life.

19:40 Leah: Oh my gosh, yeah. So valuable. What do you think the odds are that they might want to buy something from you in terms of music or merchandise or tickets or something? It’s so very high. And then so many other cool things you can do on Facebook is you can take that little custom audience of really valuable viewers. And first thing that you always want to do is get those people on your email list.

20:05 CJ: Get them on your list.

20:06 Leah: Get them on your email list, but you could do cool things like say, “Facebook, I want you to take these 8,000 people who are highly engaged and super interested in my content and I want you to create me another audience that is similar to this audience”. It’s not these people, they’re complete strangers, but the Facebook calls it a look-a-like audience. So it’s an audience that looks like these people.

So they have already identified your behaviors, likes and dislikes on Facebook based on the things you click on, the things you like, the things you shared, the things you save. All your behaviors are tracked, okay? And so based on other people’s similar interests and stuff, they can match that up with the people who were already watching your video. So now I can go from an audience of 8,000 I create a lookalike audience to say just a United States, for example.

Suddenly it’s going to open that up and the targeting just widened to 4.5 million people based on that 8,000. So now and now it’s going to start showing that same ad, that’s still very highly targeted, but now it’s gone to a much, much broader audience. And Facebook right now likes very big audiences. Because the algorithm is so technologically advanced that it knows what to do.

So a big audience like that works so well. So and very quickly in Facebook too there’s a learning phase. It figures out very quickly who to show it to and who not to show it to. So it has a learning phase when you launch a campaign. And it can take three to five days. It just depends on how much budget you have going, where it’ll sort out really quickly. Hey, “This group of people we thought was good, but it’s not”.

So they’re trying to get you a good result. So anyway, that’s all to say. There’s so much you can do with one little video, one little video clip. And a dang it, now that we’re talking about this makes me want to relaunch some mild lyric videos and stuff.

22:10 CJ: Yeah. Because again, it’s these fundamental things when you realize… Because like you said, you can just keep expanding. Because if you do the lookalike audience, based on a model it, after that 8,000 people who went 90% on two videos creates a lookalike audience. And that jumps you, let’s say 4.5 million. Like you said, to have similar people that you are now… And then out of the results from that to the 4.5 million, you can create more custom audiences. And it’s just on and on, and on and on. So-

22:43 Leah: And people wonder how is Leah doing it? So easy you guys.

22:48 CJ: Yeah, so this is how it is. Yeah. This is how it’s done. It’s if you know who you are if you know what your music is and you know who you’re trying to target, then… Yeah, there’s a lot more to it. Sure there is. There is copywriting. You want to make sure we write, the right things and we teach that a lot obviously in the Savvy Musician Academy. How to write, how to do it right. 

So you can get the best results for your video view ads. You can get the best results for your, opt-in ads. In other words, someone is signing up to be on your email list. But once you understand what the internet, when he says focus on the internet, this is what we’re talking about. To get you… So you don’t need a record label now.

You don’t need the voice. You don’t need American idol. You don’t need mainstream airplay. You don’t need necessarily YouTube. You don’t necessarily need Spotify. You can use all of those things. But all based the center that you have of you reaching a highly-targeted list of superfans that you are regularly engaged with. Who wants to hear more from you. Who want to listen to your music. Who will buy your music. Who will buy your merchandise, all your cool stuff that you make built around your musical brand. That is how it’s done.

And that’s why this is the new frontier. This is the new gold rush for musicians, is to get out there and start to carve out their little niche. You don’t need to be everything to everyone. Have you ever sent… I mean, I just started watch my… I’ve had it and I haven’t used it. But I just started watching one of the TV series on Apple TV Plus. My son has Disney Plus, where we had watched the-

24:39 Leah: Mandalorian?

24:39 CJ: …Mandalorian series. And of course, I’ve already got Netflix and Prime Video and Hulu and all of this sort of stuff. Okay. But I looked at just the series that they do on Amazon, the series they do on Netflix, the series they do on Hulu and Disney Plus and all this original new programming with major actors and actresses in them. I’m thinking none of this is on TV. And so there are people who are never going to see, and probably some of these series on Amazon are incredible. On Apple plus are incredible, on Disney are incredible. But only a target audience is ever going to see them.

25:22 Leah: That’s a really good point.

25:24 CJ: It’s just the new way all media is going to be distributed. You don’t need the whole world. You just need your little pocket and it’s enough to sustain it. If it’s enough to sustain all the major actors, it’s going to be enough to sustain you.

25:38 Leah: Yeah, such a good point. Amen and amen.

25:43 CJ: Well, I mean again, I think what for people it’s where they blow a gasket is, or should I say where they get their wires crossed, is because one of the biggest challenges right now is to lose the old mentality. It’s hard to see the opportunities. It’s hard to grasp this because you’re still thinking through the old way of thinking. And so we’re in this middle period where you spend… Like the Israelites, that 490 years in slavery. And as I said it, they had that 40 year period in the wilderness just to get to their next destination, whatever.

But the saying was, “They left Egypt overnight, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of them”. You know what I mean? When you’ve lived like a slave or a cog in a machine for decades and decades. It’s hard to lose that mentality and feel empowered and see opportunity.

26:51 Leah: I come across this all the time. And it’s funny in a lot of my webinars that I teach, I bring up, it’s now on one of my official slides, is a comment from a real Facebook person when we were running an ad for something to do with Savvy Musician Academy and this person didn’t believe that you could make money online. And they said, “No, no, no. All of that’s BS. Here’s how you create a career. You have to eat, sleep, and breathe music 24/7. Play as many gigs as possible for 10 to 15 years and maybe you’ll get noticed after that. And anything else is BS”. Is what he said. Now that’s become an official slide in my webinars because I’m like, hey dude, like I understand, that’s how it used to be, that was the old way I get it.

But if you continue to think that way, you’re only limiting yourself. Like you’re not limiting me or my business or anything. You’re just limiting yourself. And it just shows that you’re just not awake yet to what the reality is. You’re not with the times my friend. And I mean that with all sincerity. And without any malice in my heart at all. Even though he was kind of rude and stuff, I just think that it explains the majority of where people are at.

And one day this will be old news and anybody… My prediction is in the next 10 years, all of these will… All of these podcast episodes will pretty much be outdated because everybody will be doing this. Every musician will know I have to have an online presence. Of course, I do online presence and I… Of course, I have to have a Shopify.

Of course, I’m running advertising. Of course, I’m doing all of these things. Who isn’t? Who isn’t doing that? And that will become the majority. That’s what we’re working towards and we’re trying to help people do is turn the tide. And so it goes from a very top-down model of label-artist model to a bottom-up structure, right?

Where it’s everybody’s taking responsibility for themselves and their results and they’re learning the skills they’ve got to learn to do it. And they’re not… Their future isn’t determined by anybody at the top at all. It’s all determined by what you do and what you put into practice and the end of the story live happily ever after.

29:13 CJ: Well, and it is literally as simple as that. And that the limitations that we impose upon ourselves, and I see this even in my motivational stuff, people, they just can’t believe that you can make something out of a broken life. They don’t believe that there’s opportunity out there. They’re just so dog-trained, to think a certain way and it’s limiting them and they don’t realize it. So guys, when we say the internet focusing on the internet, we’re not talking about just a lot of playlists on Spotify.

We’re not just talking about having a viral video on YouTube, and we’re not just talking about setting up a Facebook page for your band where you can post your next event. That’s not what we mean when we say online. It’s something much, much more sophisticated. And you may not be familiar with it, but just because you’re not familiar with it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. And that people fear the unknown, right?

That’s the child… All our fears today are just nothing more than a grownup version of a child’s fear of the dark. You’re just afraid of what’s in front of you because you can’t see. Turn on the lights. And that’s why you got to have the nightlight for the kid. That’s why you got to keep the door open for the kid. So they can see what’s ahead of them. They can see what’s around them. And because people can’t see, they hear your particular testimony Leah, of success marketing your music online and they see it’s dark to them that they can’t see how it’s done.

So all they can do is attack it. All they can do is throw things at it, right? Because they don’t know how to respond to possibility. And that’s what we share here on this podcast. Is possibility, possibility thinking, removing the limits and seeing how powerful these tools are in front of you and what you can do to utilize them to create your particular music career.

Now like we said, this is a bit more sophisticated than just simply saying focusing a hundred percent online. But that’s why we have The Online Musician course. Just as an example here. And as we said in the last episode, that’s something we’re gearing up for. Leah, you’ve been working now tirelessly on the 3.0 version-

31:23 Leah: Heck yes.

31:24 CJ: … Of The Online Musician filling it with lots of added good stuff. In fact, you said, something I couldn’t believe, it stopped me when you said it. But you were saying that this new version that’s going to come out really soon, we’ll talk more about it in ensuing podcasts, but you said you were going to automatically upgrade the 2.0 students to the 3.0-

31:47 Leah: We’re nice like that.

31:50 CJ: You got to say thank you when people do that, ladies and gentlemen. Somebody does something nice for you, you say thank you. That’s very, very generous. So if you are a 2.0 student, it’s going to be awesome that you get to be upgraded. Now I’m working with some of the actual content on the production side of it. So I’m seeing what’s involved in it. And guys, this really is a major upgrade to this program because as you guys know stuff in the technology and the social media, man, things change quickly. It’s always advancing new things being done. And so, Leah, who keeps up to speed with all of this stuff is included a lot of that.

So that’s actually coming really, really soon. Just the next couple of months are going to be announcing that a whole new way of releasing. It’s going to be at a different price point and all of that, but the value is going to blow your mind. So I really want to encourage you guys to keep that in mind. 

32:43 Leah: Yeah, and actually, there are some new modules that I’ve decided to include that I am seeing, it’s not like there was big holes before, but I as a course creator, mentor, coach type person, and when working with higher, more… I will say more advanced students, later on down the line who have gone through that, there are some key critical things that I feel that you really should come out of that program being extremely prepared for. Which wasn’t in the previous iteration.

So I’ve added some extensive stuff. One being an entire module just on mindset and that’s the first thing you’re going to go through. Is an entire module mindset. It just is so critical. And people are always asking for more of it. And I’ve also realized, if you don’t get that straight, nothing else, it won’t really go well. There’s some other things like that I won’t mention just yet cause I want to keep up the anticipation here and as we’re dialling in all the details.

But I can tell you it’s a major upgrade and I’m very proud of it and it’s something I think is going to help so many people. And for those of you, if you’ve never taken a course from the Savvy Musician Academy before, or The Online Musician anything like that, you can actually go to and sign up for the waiting list. And then you… When you do that, you’ll just be notified when we’re ready to open the doors for that. And we’ll be doing some live events and stuff surrounding it, that you’ll definitely want to be there for.

34:16 Leah: So go to sign up for the waitlist for The Online Musician 3.0 and we’ll let you know all the details.

34:24 CJ: Awesome. This is exciting guys. I’m telling you, The Online Musician is the first major thing to bring about a significant change in this technological revolution and its impact on the music industry. You can have a music career, so do that. Go to Sign up, get on the waiting list. We’ll let you know. Leah, thank you once again.

34:46 Leah: Thank you CJ and thanks to everyone who was listening. I hope you found it valuable. I’d love to read your review.

34:52 CJ: We’ll see you soon.

34:53 Leah: Bye.

Episode #087: 60+% Believe You Can’t Make Money Online

One of Leah’s recent surveys showed that 60% of musicians do not believe you can make money online with your music. In this episode, Leah and C.J. discuss why musicians might think this and explain how you most definitely can make money online with your music!

You probably already have the motivation, but you just need a clear path to see ahead and take the next step. Listen to this week’s episode to discover how you can earn money online with your music and move past the defeating behaviors and beliefs that hold back most musicians!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The error of Youtube learning from multiple sources
  • Berklee compared to Savvy Musician Academy
  • 60% of musicians do not believe you can make money online with your music
  • The starving musician mentality of “Waiting to be discovered”
  • The actuality of file sharing today
  • True fans will pay for your music and merchandise 
  • The benefits of streaming services
  • The demand for physical merchandise
  • Do you have to write a hit single and become a star?


“Our goal here is to offer as much value as we possibly can.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:06:54]

“60% of the people surveyed, these are musicians, 60% do not believe that you can make money online with your music.” – @metalmotivation [0:09:51]

“True fans will pay for music.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:14:08]

“(Streaming services) are most importantly discovery tools and platforms where they would never have found you if you weren’t there in a lot of cases.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:15:35]

“Can you build something bigger than just the music?” – @LEAHthemusic [0:19:58]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist —

Michele Vreeland (Student Spotlight) —

Book a Call With Us —

Inner Circle Membership —

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 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 excited to be joined once again by her eminence, my favorite marketer, Leah McHenry. Leah, how you doing?

00:34 Leah: Good, how are you?

00:35 CJ: Wonderful. All is well in your world?

00:39 Leah: Yes, crazy and wonderful as ever.

00:41 CJ: I know you get a lot of stuff going on. It can be a challenge for us sometimes to take out these times to do these podcasts, but we know how important it is for our listeners, and to our listeners I say. Please leave us a review. We covet your feedback, so go to your respective player and click as many stars as they give you. Write something very sweet, polite, and brag on us so other people can find it. And, of course, you’re always welcome to go to our Facebook pages, group pages, and leave a comment or question about the podcast again. We read all of these in our team meetings.

Before we get started today, let me just share with you a student spotlight. This is from one of our TOM students. Now when I say TOM, that doesn’t mean Thomas. That means The Online Musician, which is the flagship course created here at the Savvy Musician Academy, which is about to be upgraded. We’ll talk about that a little bit later, but this is Michele Vreeland and she writes “Hashtag win. I spent the last few days working my music website and Shopify shop. I did it while listening to Leah’s music, modern Celtic goddess that she is. I had two Fiverr guys helping me, one updating my website, and the other one building up my Shopify page.” Now Fiverr is a freelance site for those who are wondering. “I made all of the graphics through Canva and PicsArt. I’ve been following Leah for years, and finally in December, I decided to buy TOM, The Online Musician. 

“Before that I’ve joined in on as many webinars as I could, grabbed golden nuggets from her to try to ‘reverse engineer’, as they say, her program, but to no avail. One thing I must say, after years of listening to her podcast, when I finally purchased TOM, I was ready. I knew my micro-niche, branding, colors, and culture. So for me, I’ve been breezing through the classes. My first 90 days are fan building, so I wanted my pace to reflect that. It’s been a long road for me, but now it’s all coming together.

“My vision for my brand is clear and the clutter I had before is now a long lost memory. I have Leah to thank for that. Now I’m ready to make videos and graphics for the ads. In the past, I was always missing the simple element of build and grow. It was always grow, grow, grow, but no build, no backend to bring in the money. This feels like money to me. I get to express myself the way I always wanted to. For those of you who are still struggling finding your micro-niche, I say don’t give up. Keep trying things. See what works, what doesn’t. It took me three years to discover and fine-tune mine. It’s worth it. In the end you’ll be so happy and excited like me.”

03:19 Leah: I love that. I love that she realized that you can’t keep trying to reverse engineer stuff for free based off of free information podcasts. I mean, a lot of people try to do that, right? And they try to piece together random conflicting information even from YouTube, and Google, and sites. And what you end up getting is a conglomeration of conflicting information that’s not set in any particular order that leaves you more confused, frustrated, and banging your head against the wall wondering why nothing is really progressing for you. I’ve just seen it too many times. I’ve even done it myself before and realized, well, that was dumb. I just wasted a bunch of time. I could have just followed a system that was already put in place where someone already figured out how to do it, in what steps, and in the right order, and that would have just saved me so much time, and what is my time worth?

I think that’s what people have to decide is what is your time worth? I’m not trying to plug the program, but I also have no problem doing that either because I know how much it helps people. I know how much time it saves everyone. I know how much time I spent and money I spent to learn all of these things and I’m trying to do you a favor. I’m trying to help you guys. I’m not trying to just take your money, but you got to have skin in the game as we say, and people who pay, pay attention. If you try to get stuff for free everywhere you also have zero commitment to it, right? That’s just the way human nature works, and that’s why we have to charge.

04:49 CJ: That’s right.

04:51 Leah: It’s because there’s value. We’re exchanging value. We’re providing you an education and a service and cutting potentially years off your learning curve, and in exchange we get your money. I’m just kidding.

05:08 CJ: Actually, I had this conversation just the other day with a good friend of mine who’s a lead guitar player for a lot of major metal bands in the world. He has his own personal brand, and he’s building his thing. He does a lot of teaching guitar lessons and all of that. So I was asking him what his primary problem was with students and he said, “The big thing is they’re trying to piece together. They’re playing from YouTube videos.” And so we were talking about writing his copy and really selling his program.

And I said, “Well, what you have to do is you have to hang the albatross around that idea. So you need to call it, you need to say something like “if you’re tired of trying to do something with the YouTube guitar academy…” you have to start tarnishing it in a way for people to understand that you can’t get there because all of these young players are learning techniques, but there’s nothing to put it all together, like you said, like a system. There’s nothing to say how we get from, okay, just sitting on the end of my bed playing these little licks and things to writing music, being in a band, doing that full-time making that your career. You can’t get there at the YouTube guitar academy for that. For that you need somebody like him.

06:26 Leah: That’s right. I mean, as much as I love giving away free information this is a business. There are bills. We have to keep the lights on. There are staff that serve people. There’s a lot of overhead involved in any business. So in order to keep that running so we can help people continually we have to charge.

06:47 CJ: Sure.

06:48 Leah: That’s just the nature of doing business and offering people value. And that’s our goal here is to offer as much value as we possibly can. This podcast is free, but it’s not free at the same time. We’re taking time out of our schedules. There’s electronics running, there’s power, there’s Internet, there’s bills, so it’s actually not free for us to do this.

07:11 CJ: Right, yes. Well, I think, to be baldly stating this is if you who are listening have a gnawing on the inside of you, a calling to music that torments you, that frustrates you, and you don’t know how to get to where you need to get to, and you would do anything to solve that problem, to finally have a clear path to your music career, to finally know what to do, what is that worth to you? Because something that significant you will have to pay for. You’re not going to find that in a 10 minute YouTube video.

It takes so much. You have to learn so much. You have to not just learn a particular program or what have you. You have to then apply it to your particular brand, your micro-niche, your culture, your music, and then the coaches have to work with you to see that done. Whatever it may be, whatever the model is you’re following, you need help. And if it can be organized in a way that’s comprehensive, then sure, absolutely, people understand that. Well, I hope they understand that because you’re not going to go to Berkeley Music for free.

08:21 Leah: Oh, gosh. No.

08:23 CJ: This is a 10th of a 10th of a 10th of that.

08:26 Leah: Yeah. Unfortunately, I’ve met people who went to Berkeley, spent a hundred grand on their education and they don’t even know what their micro-niche is. They don’t know their niche. They don’t even know their brand identity. They have no artist identity at all. They have no idea how to even build a music career, zero, but they can play really well.

08:47 CJ: Right.

08:47 Leah: So all that to say those people are, I’m like, wow, now that’s some dedication. You obviously are serious. You love music. You want to do this, but, unfortunately, and I’m not trying to diss Berkeley, I think they probably have some great programs, but let’s just say what we teach is worth several degrees. And we have confirmations from people who have full-on marketing degrees, people who have taught at Berkeley and said, “There’s way more in your program than is ever in one of these Berkeley programs, and it’s a fraction of the price. Dang it.” So that’s my brag for the day is like, hey, we’re trying to help as many people as possible. We’re doing it for a fraction of what you could possibly get it with from any college, or university program, and then people want to complain that we charge for it. I’m like, are you kidding me? Just stop it.

09:41 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and that kind of brings us into this topic today, Leah, which is based on some recent surveys that you took. 60% of the people surveyed, these are musicians, 60% do not believe that you can make money online with your music. 60% believe that.

10:09 Leah: I think it’s better than it was. I’m going to say probably a few years ago would have been closer to 80. I think people are beginning to wake up to this fact, but 60% is still a majority of people don’t believe you can make money online. And we survey people constantly. Anytime we’re doing live webinars, anything like that, we are always just trying to take the temperature like, hey, it’s engaging who is in the room, right? Where’s everybody at so I can make this most relevant to these people? And 60% this just tells me we have a lot of work to do, not just a third. And there’s other teachers out there, other programs, and they’re all trying to help people come to this conclusion that you can make money online.

And so we’re not the only ones out there doing that. I’m not going to take credit for that, but we’re one of several voices that are trying to help wake people up to this fact, and then give them a strategy in a very systematic way to do it. We’re not just saying you can make money online now here’s how you get some YouTube subscribers. To me, that is all vanity. There’s nothing meaningful about that. There’s nothing sustainable about that. At the end of the day, I want to know how do you live? How do you make a living off of it? My main goal with the programs at SMA is who cares about any of that stuff? I don’t care about vanity metrics. I want to know how you can make money and live off of your passion.

11:40 CJ: In your surveys, and I know you’ve talked to dozens and dozens of musicians yourself, what do you find are the common beliefs for why people don’t think this can be done? What are their objections?

11:54 Leah: Yeah, and some of these surprised me because I’m seeing some outdated beliefs, but I guess it just takes a while. One objection that people have, even sometimes comments, I always find these comments on our ads of all places, but you can’t make a living online because there’s file-sharing.

12:15 CJ: See, that’s Napster.

12:17 Leah: Right, Napster, file-sharing. People think that back when, I don’t think the Pirate Bay is up anymore, but the Pirate Bay was huge, and there’s other file-sharing sites. It’s just like, well, there’s a couple of studies that have been done where they actually showed that people who file-share aren’t less likely to buy the items. In fact, there’s an increase in their likelihood of buying something. That’s interesting to me. It’s almost like a try before you buy. Maybe there’s a percentage of people who are never going to buy anything ever, and they just file-share, and get everything for free, but that’s not your true fan anyway. Our goal here is finding true fans who love your music and want to support you. You’re probably not going to find the majority of your fans in the file-sharing community, although, maybe a percentage are. In my view that is a very outdated concern or objection, very outdated.

The other thing is I’ve had stuff leaked before. I think I had one of my albums actually leaked a couple of weeks, or a week or something before the release date. It’s happened to me. It can be upsetting. There’s also absolutely nothing I can do about it, like zero. I do not spend my time worrying about it. I don’t spend my time trying to track down whoever did it and threaten them. I view it as free publicity, free marketing, and almost like building an underground base of fans, if you will, black market fans, whatever, but I just don’t see this as a vital threat to your music sales. True fans will pay for music. They’ll find other ways to support you, too, even if that were the case. Those fans who are file-sharing and not buying your music if they’re a big fan they will absolutely go to your concert. They’re going to show up live. They will end up paying you money somewhere down the road. That’s why I’m not concerned about it at all.

14:30 CJ: Yeah, and I think that’s an important thing to note because, again, I think we’ve said this before in a recent podcast that people when you say selling your music online we tend to limit the sales to music as opposed to the fact that you have other things that you can sell. So somebody may have illegally downloaded your music to use that ancient phrase, funny to say that’s ancient, but they can’t download a T-shirt. They can’t download a hoodie. They can’t download a mug, or whatever. And so this is a total package. This is your little music empire that we’re potentially building here. Now closely related to that, Leah, is obviously going to be streaming. Things like Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, even YouTube, you got YouTube music now, which is just another kind of streaming thing.

15:22 Leah: Yeah. And they think the reason you can’t make money with music is because of these things when really it’s not. These things are not getting in the way of your sales. They’re going to help your sales. They’re going to help you. They are, most importantly, discovery tools and platforms where they would never have found you if you weren’t there in a lot of cases. If you don’t know how to do direct marketing and Facebook ads and such. If you’re not an expert on those things, these are amazing platforms where the algorithm is going to suggest you as the artist to people who are listening to other similar things. They’re going to go, oh, you like that. Here’s what’s next. Here’s what we came up with for you next. On YouTube, it’s going to be in the suggested feeds. On Spotify, they’ve got suggested playlists, suggested artists. If you like this, you’ll enjoy this.

It happens to me all the time, too, when I found an artist I really like and it will say on the bottom of the page other similar artists. I have come across so many new bands that I love just from those algorithm suggestions. So it’s absolutely your friend to be on those sites. Those sites are our friends, they are not the enemy. You do make some money with it, right? I mean, I would be on them for free if I didn’t make any money at all just for the discovery part of it, but we do actually get paid from it so that’s awesome. As people say that’s the new radio, but it’s a completely decentralized radio.

There’s not, I mean, yes, you have big labels involved with some of these, but ultimately it’s a very grassroots style where it’s all about supply and demand, right? It’s all about if you’re talented you’re going to get on the radar organically of potential fans and they’re going to up-vote you so to speak. You’re going to get onto more people. The more they save your song and save your playlist the more it’s going to trigger the Spotify algorithms, things like that. And it’s all happening organically. I would do it for free, honestly, if they paid me nothing just because it’s so valuable.

17:32 CJ: Yeah, and I think if you don’t learn to see these things in those broader terms that you just described, you are going to get so pigeonholed on that and it becomes you making the mountain out of the molehill as they say. You get obstructed because you just don’t see the value of just a brand awareness getting more people to get familiar with your music because ultimately we want to get them onto your list. We want to get them following you. We want to get them engaging with you. I’m assuming now attached to this, Leah, which is an objection you’re hearing is that, well, in light of then file-sharing and streaming, and all of this then nobody’s paying for music.

18:19 Leah: Yeah, and that’s absolutely not true. I hear about this in certain genres like, oh, in hip hop, or R&B, there’s digital only. Even in that case there’s ways of commanding a sale and that might be a term that just sounds weird to you. You’re also limiting it to just music like you already said. These people who are totally into that genre, or any genre, if they are a true fan they’re going to want the T-shirt, they want the necklace, they want the wallet, or whatever, T-shirt, hat, whatever you’re providing there. They’re going to buy the tickets. It’s really just a matter of finding those superfans and you don’t need to limit it to just music, but there’s so many. I think physical will always have a place no matter what it ends up being. Right now vinyl is making a huge comeback. Actual cassette tapes are making a comeback. They’re like a little novelty again. People are buying cassette players. We’ve talked about what was that? Was it Sony that came out with an anniversary Walkman?

19:23 CJ: A Walkman, yeah.

19:24 Leah: Discman and a Walkman, or something like that. These are for nostalgic reasons, but it’s also reigniting the novelty of it again. Physical will always have a place and even in hip hop genres and stuff where people think that, oh, yeah, in Leah’s metal world metal fans are. No. Even in the hip hop world you go to any record store there’s tons of vinyl. Tupac, and all these different artists they have a ton of vinyl, so people do pay for music. It’s a matter of can you build a brand that people get excited about?

19:58 CJ: Right.

19:58 Leah: Can you build something bigger than just the music? If you are thinking that the music alone will speak for itself, and you don’t have to do anything outside of that, that’s why no one’s buying it because you haven’t built anything yet.

20:11 CJ: Right. That’s what creates the starving artist because you just want to be on the street corner and play your music, and if people love it they’ll discover it, and they’ll do whatever. You’re leaving everything on the listener, everything. The onus is on the market itself instead of you being proactive in positioning yourself. Now, obviously, Leah, we still have the ultimate competitor, which is still mainstream radio. They just had the Grammys recently and there was artists I’ve never even heard of before. They’re being played somewhere to be able to earn these Grammys so that’s obviously still going to be mainstream radio. Whether it’s country, or pop, or whatever, you’ve got to be popular on radio in order to have those listeners.

21:08 Leah: Yeah. This is one of the objections that I hear from time to time is, oh, you can’t make money unless you’re a star, and you’re successful on mainstream radio that that has to have happened. Oh, my goodness. Well, I heard that argument when I was in Nashville when I was speaking on a panel with some other older gentlemen in the record industry. Some of them worked with some of the biggest names you’ve ever heard of, but, I think, I didn’t conceal my face very well on this panel because I had people who know me in the audience they’re like, “Yeah, we can tell that you weren’t very impressed by their perspective.” It was so old school to me. I was just like, you guys are still on Windows 7 right now, or something, and I’m on the latest Macintosh. That’s how I feel our perspectives are.

And, of course, everything they’re referring to about, oh, you need to be on mainstream radio. They’re like just write a hit. You just need to write a hit. Well, you’re speaking to a room full of songwriters who are brilliant, but they’re most likely never going to be the Lady Gaga who writes that hit song. It’s statistically not going to happen. Not because they’re not geniuses in their own right, but let’s be honest. It’s just very, very, very few people who ever do that. So that to me, if I’m sitting in there, I would think, “Well, that’s discouraging to me because I don’t write that kind of music. What if my genre doesn’t at all fit on mainstream radio, does that mean I’m doomed?”

22:50 CJ: Right.

22:50 Leah: So that to me would be discouraging. And, also, just knowing that they’re dealing with the 0.0001% of musicians in the world. They’re not talking to everyday musicians like you and I. Hey, we just want to make a living. We’re not trying to get world-famous. We’re not trying to become a household name. We just want to make a living from our music feel rewarded by what we do. We want fans around the world who hear our music, appreciate it, and support us. That’s all we’re asking for. We’re not trying to write a hit song. Those aren’t my goals.

23:21 CJ: Right.

23:21 Leah: I just want to be able to release something, maybe Crowdfund it, have it paid for, and be a little bit profitable. Is that too much to ask? It’s a very, very different perspective. I’ve also met musicians who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on radio airplay. Their parents, they remortgaged their house taking a loan out on their house to pay for radio play only for it to result in nothing but vanity metrics. Literally, did not build a single asset, not a single email address. They went nowhere except, oh, we got these plays on the radio and then that was it. This is what I’m saying. This is not a meaningful metric anymore. It’s sad to me. And so to me that’s an outdated goal and it’s an outdated way of looking at it. You’re in the old school industry if mainstream radio is a priority for you.

24:24 CJ: Yeah, yes.

24:24 Leah: That’s how I see it.

24:26 CJ: No, you’re exactly right. Of course, we’re seeing this in other industries as well. We’re still finding our way through the technological changes, but these simple premises, false beliefs are still intact. It’s just, again, another wall of impossibility for the average musician, no different than they were 40, 50 years ago when they were waiting to be discovered. Waiting to be discovered by a record label. Now they’re waiting to be discovered on Spotify. Waiting to be discovered on YouTube. It’s the same thing. It’s the same posture. And so the whole purpose here is to put you back in control. Well, actually, for the first time, maybe being in control of your music career because all you need right now, ladies and gentlemen, is a way forward.

I’ll tell you what, man, you want to motivate me when I’m really stuck in a situation whether it’s business or life, and I need to know I’ve got to make decisions and what-not nothing motivates me, I don’t need a cheerleader to come and just tell me I’m wonderful, or I can do it. If you show me a path, if I see a light, something that I can start heading towards, that’s all I need because all the energy and the motivation is built-in. What you need is because I know I’m talking to somebody right now who’s confused. You’re frustrated. You’ve probably said a lot of these things yourself. You’ve probably yourself alluded to the fact that it’s nothing but walls of impossibility. You don’t see any way in. Your particular music style is so unique. You don’t imagine that there’s more than a hundred people on the planet who would get into it. You’d be surprised to know that there’s probably a million on the planet who would absolutely love to hear. You just don’t know yet.

In a sense, you’re ignorant of the opportunities and principles and methods and tools that are available to you that will give you the end-around the record labels, the end-around Spotify, and streaming services, the end-around file-sharing, and that you’ll be able to create so many things that you’ll be able to sell to your clientele, not just your events, not just your CD, but so many other things because your music is conjoined to a culture, a lifestyle that your fans share with you. And there’s something so much broader that the music becomes a part of, and that you become a leader, and create your own little Pied Piper following of people that just absolutely love you. Superfans will buy your music. Like Leah said, the person who’s in their mom’s basement file-sharing is not your superfan, so you’re not targeting them. You’re not going after them. You’re not going to invest in them. You’re going to invest your time, energy, and effort on people who are passionate about your music. That’s your answer.

27:22 Leah: Yeah.

27:22 CJ: That’s your answer, but there’s a way to do it. And there’s a way to accomplish all that. And, Leah, like the testimony we shared, the student spotlight at the outset, it was somebody who was in that position, and for her it was when she took The Online Musician it’s just that’s when things began to go off for her. That’s when she really began to understand that there is a way out. There’s a way to do that. Once she saw the results and I think that’s what people are looking for, Leah is results. They want to see that there is a way forward. If you can open that up, that’s a tremendous thing for somebody. Working with you offline I don’t know how much you want to say about this, but you’re upgrading the existing Online Musician program.

28:17 Leah: Oh, yeah.

28:17 CJ: Can you share any bit of that?

28:19 Leah: Yeah, we’re just super excited. I’m in the middle of updating The Online Musician, the 3.0 version and that’s going to be coming out very soon. I’m excited. I’m excited for everybody who’s going to be going through that program. If you are an Online Musician 2.0 student, good news for you, you’ll be automatically upgraded to it, so woo-hoo.

28:41 CJ: Wow. Wow. That’s generous.

28:42 Leah: It is. And the price point is moving up and everything because we are really expanding the program as well. There’s some elements in there that we are really going more in-depth on that I feel are extremely important for every musician. Just keep your ear to the ground. We’ll be talking more about that in the weeks to come. Definitely make sure you’re on our email list, too, because you’re going to want to hear about that. We’ll be doing some live events around it. This is going to be probably our biggest enrollment for this program ever, and so super excited to be leading the way on that, and helping as many musicians as I can just begin this online music career. It’s never been a better time or more exciting time in history to do this.

29:27 CJ: Awesome. You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen on the Savvy Musician Show. So, again, guys, like I said at the outset please leave us a review. We would love to hear from you. Again, stay tuned for more information on what’s up and coming here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Big plans underway to change your life and give you that career that you’ve always dreamed of. We’re working hard for you. We’re committed to your success. That’s something you’ve got to know. Absolutely committed to your success. Leah, thank you, again.

30:01 Leah: Hey, thanks guys and thank you, CJ. Always fun to do these.

30:05 CJ: Take care.

30:07 Leah: Bye for now.

Episode #086: Discouragement

Sometimes out of the multitude of compliments you receive online, it takes only one negative comment to get under your skin and ruin your day.

You start to question yourself, and self-doubt begins to grow.

You begin to resent people, and that’s not going to help you grow your music business.

What do you do?

In this episode, Leah and C.J. discuss a recent incident with Leah’s new candle endeavor to show you how to professionally and personally handle discouragement. You’re going to get a lot out of this!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The difference between an objection and insult
  • Not being valued
  • Giving words their power
  • Developing thick skin
  • The importance of mental health
  • Two secrets of the ages


“It’s always a vulnerable feeling to put your soul out there to the INTERNET, even just with your music.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:07:23]

“I had to quickly learn the difference between, okay, what’s an objection in a rude way and what’s a flat out insult.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:09:39]

“If I’m making a mark on this world, I will have haters.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:12:49]

“It’s amazing when people do value you, but for some reason the negative always seems to stick out more.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:22:37]

“The power of a word over you has as much power as you grant it.” – @metalmotivation [0:24:01]

“You got to get used to the fact that you’re going to get people who don’t value what you do and they’ve got very harsh things to say about your music.”  – @metalmotivation [0:32:26]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Mythologie Candles —

David Williams (Elite Student) —

Inner Circle Membership —

Click For Full Transcript

00:18 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is C.J. Ortiz I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Delighted once again to be with my lovely counterpart, Leah McHenry. Always a pleasure. How are you doing today?

00:37 Leah: Just doing fine and dandy.

00:41 CJ: Always a delight. We get excited about talking about this sort of stuff because we know that it’s creating value and it’s obviously welcomed by the audience, but also it gives us both a little chance to, you know the old saying iron sharpens iron, or I like to say strike and ignite. You throw a match in my lantern, I throw a match in your lantern it kind of flames things up. It’s always a pleasure for us to do these things because we get so much time to talk because we’re both very, very busy people, don’t have a lot of time to do that. So the podcast is a great opportunity.

But we get to share this with you guys and you guys are so awesome and special. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. If you’d like, we would love to hear back from you. You can leave a review with whatever podcast player you’re using, you know if it’s Spotify or Stitcher or iTunes or whatever you use, please feel free, leave a comment, give us some stars, go to our Facebook group pages, wherever you are, and you can also leave a comment there and tell us your thoughts and what you’re getting out of this show or something you’d like for us to cover in the future. We would love to hear from you.

Before we get started today, let me share a student spotlight. This is one of our Elite students, David Williams. He has a band called Welter. I had a branding coaching session with him last year, a very talented three-piece band out of Australia with a very unique niche. He writes #win. Two years ago Welters year turnover was around $3,000, most being from gigs and the odd sales. By the end of this financial year from July, 2019 to June, 2020… what he means by… Oh well, okay, by the time this year ends for him in June, 2020. He said, “Our turnover will be just over $30,000. Thanks to this course, Leah, CJ and all the coaches plus students. It’s taught me to think outside of the box. Through the help of CJ with branding, what a game-changer that was, I’ve also ended up with this no-fear attitude thanks to Steve and Leah, which has led me to making a deal with the CEO of a company to do exclusive house concerts with a wine tasting that the company was paying us to do.”

This has been a huge success for both parties so far and I will be expanding this with them for the next year and onwards. Two years ago, even if I’d had the idea, there’s no way I would have walked into a CEO’s office and said, “You need this,” which is pretty much what I said. This is the fifth income stream I wanted. Sales are picking up and our ad costs are coming down and our email list is building.

03:28 Leah: That’s fantastic.

03:28 CJ: Isn’t that great?

03:28 Leah: I love it.

03:31 CJ: What’s funny about this is that, that’s actually what he and I talked about because when we had our branding session, again the music you hear is music, it’s the kind of stuff you would hear on the radio. Very, very radio-friendly, very, very encouraging. So I was asking him, “Just where is he seeing some results?” And he started to mention to me and he said, “Well, it’s all in these wine things, wine events and wine, this and wine that.” And I said, “Why all the wining? Where does all this wine thing coming from?” Because, oh, I forgot to mention all of the band members work in the wine industry. So I said, tell me about your live events. And he said, “Well, we’ve played some of these live wine type event.” And I said, “That’s perfect. Target that market.”

They had a song, a very top 40 like song called, The Good Life. And I said, “Hey man, you know something, nothing symbolizes the good life, like a glass of wine. You could be a billionaire or you could be just middle-class and the same glass of wine signifies the same thing. And there’s a whole lot of people who love wine and fine food. And for them, the good life is not offensive. It’s something they want to hear, somebody else of a different class or whatever you say the good life and they think, “Oh, I’ll get that crap out of here.” But no, for that kind of audience, the good life is symbolized by the glass of wine. So I said, “You should be targeting these wine events, you should be doing this sort of thing.”

04:59 Leah: Totally.

05:00 CJ: And so just to hear him have that confidence to walk into a CEO’s office and say, “You need Welter to play at your events.” That’s amazing. So here again, is somebody taking a market, a music market, which is very competitive if you’re competing for radio space. But he divided the market into a particular subculture that’s just into fine food and fine wine. Isn’t that awesome?

05:24 Leah: That is splendid. It’s smart and sustainable too. They can just keep doing this.

05:31 CJ: Yep, I don’t see wine going out of style anytime soon.

05:35 Leah: No, nope.

05:36 CJ: So good for you, my friend. Good for you. Okay, so today this is an interesting topic because it was brought on by the last podcast episode we did because we were talking about Leah’s building the sister brand, her Mythologie Candles. And she had an experience we’re going to talk about here in a little bit. But it highlighted something I think will affect anybody who puts themselves out there online, Leah. And that is being discouraged, being discouraged by the feedback that you get, being discouraged when people don’t value you, being discouraged when people are overly critical, as they say, hate on you. You prepare things, you do so much with the right intent and then people question you, right? People criticize you, and you know how it is online, the speech is so harsh, the things that people would never say to your face, right? They’re more than happy to say online because what are you going to do? Get on a plane, fly 2,000 miles a slap their face? No.

So they are so free to do that, but with our little tender souls, it can discourage us. And even though it’s something that you’ve experienced, obviously umpteen times selling your own music and of course marketing, even the Savvy Musician Academy being questioned, being criticized, all of that, this appeared or raise its ugly head again. And tell me a little bit about that. What happened?

07:06 Leah: Yeah, so I’ll just say from the outset, I was not prepared when we launched Savvy Musician Academy, I really hadn’t had a lot of negative feedback yet because just thinking, this is also five years ago in my music career. I’ve come a long way since then as well. But it’s always a vulnerable feeling to put your soul out there to the internet, even just with your music. That’s bad enough. Some of you guys too have other businesses outside of your music and you’re guitar teachers or you run some other business and you’re learning how to promote it online. In fact, so many people who go through our programs now have the skill sets to promote online. They know how to do advertising, they know how to do funnels, they know how to get email addresses and all of that stuff.

It allows them to put themselves out more as well. So that’s what I did with Savvy Musician Academy. I thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll market this little e-book and maybe it will provide another little income for us since I think it could help some people.” And then that turned into the full-fledge academy. At the time I was not prepared for the onslaught of criticism that I was going to get. Here’s some red-headed chick coming out of nowhere saying she’s making money from her music and doing it without touring and she’s got five kids and blah, blah blah. That’s my story. I led with my story and, of course, we were successful right away. Actually the first month that we launched blew us out of the wire. I was like what? Like it was a pinch me, I had no idea that it was going to do what it did.

We were having to hire people in month two of the business because it grew so fast. It exploded so fast, we weren’t prepared. But at the same time, for just as many students as we got enrolled and the business was booming, exploding, at the same rate, I was being criticized, my name dragged through the mud being called every name under the sun liar, I don’t have integrity, I’m a scam artist, snake oil salesman, every name you can think of, daily, and I wasn’t prepared for that. And at the time before we were hiring people, it was me reading every single comment to address the skepticism or the insults, ban people. We didn’t have systems and processes for that kind of thing yet either. And these are all new objections.

Every time I saw one of these objections slash insults, I had to quickly learn the difference between, okay, what’s an objection in a rude way and what’s a flat out insult? Because there’s a difference between the two, people who have an objection, it’s actually addressing in a question they have for themselves. And if I can develop a thicker skin and get over my ego for a second and not take offence, I can probe a little deeper and ask them what is their true question. And it also informed me that I could do a better job in my copy in the ads. Because if people are having objections it means I haven’t addressed the questions that would kind of shut that up.

I started addressing their objections right in our ad copy. And that helped a lot. So, for example, the number one question people would blurt out in the comment is, you make all your money from selling these courses, not from music. Oh, I know if I’m going to make money, I’ll just tell people how to make money. I won’t actually go and do the thing. So that was the number one thing that came up and I started addressing it in the ad copy saying, “By the way, no, that’s not where I make all my money from. Did you know you can have more than one passion in life, people? That I really am a musician, I really am doing this and I also teach this. Isn’t that cool?” And I would also say to them, so people can’t make money off of teaching other people? Do you also get angry and upset and tell every piano and guitar teacher that they’re also a fraud because they make money off of teaching other people?

You better go down the street and tell them that they’re all snake oil salesman too. Anyway, as you can see, I learned how to address it and I would hit the nail on the head. I would address the elephant in the room right in the ad copy. A lot of times it would shut people up, but a lot of people don’t read either and they just blurt out whatever. I’ve been facing that for five years now. You’d think I have a really thick skin by now. Guess what? I don’t. I do, I do, and a lot of times I’ll read it and it doesn’t affect me at all. Every once in a while something will get under my skin and I don’t know why. All I can say is that at the end of the day, I’m an artist. At the end of the day, I really am sensitive. I really care about people so much.

And that also can make you weary when your name is tarnished. It’s my face on the cover of this, SMA. It’s my story. It’s me. And that’s something that… my staff, sure, they all take it on to. But at the end of the day, it’s my face at the moment. And so that can really make one very weary. There’s forum threads, there’s probably hate groups on Facebook against that music. I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t go looking for this stuff and I don’t want to, not for my mental health, it’s not good. But because I understand if somebody isn’t hating on you, if you don’t have trolls, if you don’t have people who are flat out insulted that you’re out in the world doing something, you probably don’t stand for anything.

12:44 CJ: Right, right.

12:45 Leah: I should expect the fact that if I’m standing for something if I’m helping people if I’m making a mark on this world, I will have haters. I will have people who don’t value me and, in fact, think I’m scum of the earth. Unfortunately, there’s just that many idiots out there who really associate that. And so I’m being vulnerable on this podcast, sharing all of this because I want to set an example for everybody else that, A, it’s part and parcel is that the expression?

13:16 CJ: Yeah.

13:17 Leah: With putting yourself on the internet with success comes also, there’s this other ugly side where people don’t value you. They don’t see all the hard work you’ve put into it. They assume the worst, they will critique and they will try to invalidate you in any way, shape or possible. They’ll dig dirt on you. They try to find stuff on you to try and invalidate you and make you completely, they want you to go away. They want to discourage you to the point where you never do this ever again. That’s the goal. Steal your joy, rob you and shut you up.

13:54 CJ: Yeah, and that can be… if you’re doing this, for example, just in music, it can be other bands. There is that level of competition and when you first told me about this, the first thing that hit me was this is envy.

14:09 Leah: Oh and haven’t even shared what actually happened recently yet.

14:12 CJ: Yeah. And the difference between jealousy and envy, envy is just a very intense form of jealousy to the degree that you actually take action on it, and you try to equalize the balance. And so that old illustration of, you have the one girl who is jealous of the cheerleader. And so it’s one thing to talk behind their back that’s jealousy and action, but then when you pour acid over the face of the cheerleader to try and destroy what she has or what she does or her strength or anything like that, that’s the end result of envy. Envy in society is a very damaging thing. We’re watching that politically, socially, we’re seeing envy, envy between classes, conflict, racial conflict, but not necessarily, people aren’t necessarily engaged in it, there’s the social controllers that are instigating these things because it obviously it empowers government, these kinds of stuff.

But envy is such a powerful drive in people because they can’t figure it out for them and it’s so more or less becomes just a reflection. They want to project obviously on you, what they struggle with themselves. But what again, these experiences with Savvy, what in the world… You’re just making candles now, Leah, you’re making little nice innocent candles. You’re not hurting anybody. You’re not breaking any law. What could anybody possibly have to say about somebody making candles?

15:46 Leah: Oh my gosh. I’ll say this from the outset, I did this to myself because I thought for some reason that this raging criticism is just for some reason musicians and it’s not, I find out. Okay. So what happened was after the initial launch of Mythologie Candles, if you didn’t hear the episode, go back one episode and listen to it. So it’s my sister brand, a fantasy inspired candle company, for fun. Anyway, of course, for months and months, I’ve been members of all these different handmade products groups out there, candle making groups and stuff because there’s a great resource where I can search, and, oh they’re troubleshooting this and the wick size, and I’m having trouble with my wax is doing something weird. I’ve been quietly learning from people for months now.

So, I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of value out of it and just getting little answers and stuff and I think, “Hey, I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. People have solved these problems, searching it up and blah, blah, blah.” And that’s always the value of groups. So after this little launch, and of course anytime people would launch their new brand, they will post about it and everybody celebrates with them. So I’m like, “Cool, I’m going to post and celebrate too because I’ve worked so hard on this. These people will understand what kind of work I put into it and they will appreciate it.” And while I’m doing it, I know I’m probably one of the top, $3,500 a day. Some of them don’t make that an entire month. Somebody is going to ask me how I did it. So what I’ll do is just share a few tips of what I did not sell anything, there’s no links there. No, nothing like that. I’m just adding value because I want to be nice and because I have value to offer and I’ve gotten so much from them, so why don’t I just give some value back?

So that’s what I did. I posted about my successful candle launch. I actually gave them a quick breakdown of what I did, a short version of the podcast previous to this, a short version of what I did, because they can do it too. And I thought, “Hey, and at the end of the day, the takeaway was in the post, learn online marketing, guys, that will really help you in your businesses.” So, I post that and thread went nuts, it went bananas. Of course, everybody’s super positive and we’re like, “Wow, this is amazing.” And the next thing you know, everybody’s asking me, “Can I hire you to do that? Can you teach me how to do that? Oh, I wish I had online marketing skills. Oh, I never thought of having an email list. How do I get emails?” And I’m going, “Oh, my goodness, this is not what I was trying to do here. But it started,

We’re talking hundreds of comments of people being flabbergasted that I could do $3,500 a day, which is amazing to me. But it’s also like, “Okay, it’s 3,500 bucks and they’re just blown away.” Then people start asking how they can do it too. Like I said, “Can I hire you? Can you do a webinar? Do you have a course?” They’re asking me, begging me for this. After a while, I finally posted a comment and I said, “Hey guys, thank you so much for the support, again, I was just here to share something because I’ve learned so much from you. I’m not here to sell anything. I don’t even have a link. I got nothing for you. However, there’s so much interest here. If there’s enough interest, I could maybe consider doing like a one-off webinar, like a power webinar where I just show you what I did. But I really don’t have time for this, to be honest. I don’t, I have too many things that are going on right now.”

So there would have to be so much demand that I couldn’t say no, basically. Then from that point on, it went sideways. People then, suddenly, I’m a snake oil salesman. I’m selling some kind of MLM. I’m dishonest. I’m advertising in a gross way. Someone’s like, “Eew, gross advertising, I lack integrity, this is just a scam. Oh, this is why marketers, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And it all started with one little, I call it a goblin comment, just like from a goblin, a little goblin just reared its little ugly head. And it was like one drop of poison. One drop of poison and the whole thread then attracted more poison and more goblins and they started going on and on and on. It got to the point I was beside myself. I was mortified that it had even happened.

This is going to sound hilarious coming from me, someone with an online business, I’m going to say they were really mean. You won’t normally hear me saying stuff like that, but they were really mean. I saw that and I was like, I fricking hate people and I quit. I hate people, I quit. I’m never teaching anybody ever again. And there was other people going, “What are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with this post. So like blah, blah blah.” And I ended up deleting my whole post at the end of the day, even though it would have helped more people to want to read it and just give them some tips, I deleted it.

I was so upset from that and I think I was shocked because I had assumed that, “Oh, there’s only those kinds of trolls and skeptics in the music industry. Other people are more reasonable.” No they’re not. There’s a percentage of the entire population that are freaking idiots. Okay, let’s just say, are there people out there scamming who are just trying to profit off of other people and don’t actually offer value? Yes, there are. They exist. And maybe that’s why people are skeptical, but it taught me a few things. Number one, I realized that they didn’t know my value. They didn’t know. They had no context to know. Leah knows what she’s talking about because she has these other successful businesses. She’s done this and she spent a boatload of money for mentors and coaching and programs to get to the point where she was able to give us succinct steps in a valuable post and they could have taken that and run with it and actually made way more profit in their little candle businesses.

They didn’t know my value. They didn’t appreciate where I was coming from. So in that sense, I did it to myself because… But the other thing is if I came off and said, “Hey, I’ve made millions of dollars and I blah, blah, blah.” Then I’d be bragging and they would also jump down my throat, you know what I’m saying? Like you lose in any scenario in this format. They didn’t value me and therefore they didn’t value the content. They couldn’t see the value in the advice. There were a lot of people who did, right? There were so many people who are grateful, but those trolls that all of a sudden came and ruined the whole thing, they assumed the worst and it just showed me that sometimes it’s amazing when people do value you, but for some reason, the negative always seems to stick out more.

I think that’s just human nature. I just want people to know that there’s nothing wrong with you if that happens to you. If you have for every 10, 20, 100 fans who say they love your music and you get one person saying that’s a piece of crap and for some reason, that’ll ruin our day. We try not to let it ruin our day, and we try to go back and go, okay, well there’s a hundred other people who love my music. That’s what I’m supposed to be focusing on. Why does that one stick out and discourage us so much?

23:13 CJ: Yeah. I think one of the things that we do, words obviously only have as much authority over us as we grant them. If somebody were to criticize you, say the worst things to you in person, it would obviously affect you, right? There’s no way it doesn’t affect you. But if the same words were said by someone who knows you very well, the words would have so much more power than if those words were uttered by a stranger to you. So what’s the difference? They’re the exact same critical words. Why does the one from somebody who knows you differ from somebody who’s a stranger? Simply because you grant, you, not them, you grant more authority to the words of the person who knows you.

The power of a word over you has as much power as you grant it… So we have to find out why does this negative comment, why do the few that say, you know, the bad things, the mean things, why do they have more authority than the people who say the good thing? It’s because we want it to be comprehensive. We want it to be total because in our hearts it’s total.

24:28 Leah: Yeah, and you know what? On that note too, I found myself not appreciating my fans’ appreciation, because it’s like a mode you have to go into it. It’s hard to let the good comments touch your heart and not also the bad ones. You go into a defensive… Where you kind of desensitize yourself, but then you’re desensitized to all of it. So that’s the hard part is like I’m very touched by every Elite and SMA testimonial that comes in. They mean a lot to me, but it’s difficult for me to let it sink in because I’m also having to shut out all these other and filter all the negative stuff that happens. I’m also having to have a thick skin and not let those ones get to me, but let other ones get to me. It’s difficult to do that emotionally.

25:20 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I think you can harden yourself to the positive comments and then you’re still sensitive to the negative ones. But the other thing is that we, especially people like you and I who have followings, sizable ones that because you’re always available, you’re always posting. So you hear from so many people every day and there’s only so many times you can write, thank you, my pleasure, or, Hey, that’s great. I’m glad you got value out of that. I mean, it just over and over, and over, and over and over again. I used to say if I never heard another compliment for the rest of my life, I think I’d be good.

26:03 Leah: Yeah. Because there’s a lot of them.

26:05 CJ: I saw this meme the other day, somebody had written, it says, you just got 15 likes for the first time on your Facebook posts. Then it shows a Google search engine where the person wrote in on the search, how to handle fame. And I forget, I honestly do. I forget that most people don’t do what you and I do. So they only deal with things, for the most part, on their personal page. So they’re not used to a torrent of constant feedback, constant results. When people say to me, when they asked me about what I do and where do I get my gratification from and all this sort of stuff, I said, “It’s hard not to like the gig” I said because every morning you wake up to people telling you how wonderful you are.

There’s not a lot of things you can do that, but you get too used to that. And it can come sometimes as a shock to your system, especially if you’re sensitive that somebody doesn’t like what you’re doing and they’re being actually mean spirit about it. For me, prior to social media, I spent so many years in more academic circles around philosophical and theological discussions and we would have them in these forums and on blogs and that sort of thing. And you want to talk about ruthless. This is before the age of trolls. So it was just very, very intelligent people, not afraid to go after your particular position.

So it wasn’t just insults, it was literal criticism of ideas. But the advantage of that is that now coming into the online space, it’s a whole lot easier now to deal with run of the mill troll, run of the mill hater, who’s only been on the internet since 2009 and they’re just venting themselves emotionally and did not take it seriously. So for those, Leah, again, this is… The negative stuff still stands out to me and I don’t want to pretend that it doesn’t, believe me, it does. The issue is going to be, how long it takes to recover from when somebody does this to you? For you, about a day, right?

28:22 Leah: Well, I was a lot more flustered over that than I normally get. Like, if I see negative Facebook comments, whatever, it’s like I’m always rolling my eyes most of the time it’s like, oh, gosh, oh, so original.

28:35 CJ: Haven’t heard that before?

28:37 Leah: Yeah, are you accusing me of making all my money from courses? No one’s ever accused me of that. It’s just like yawn, right? A lot of it’s yawn. But then this took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting it to go that haywire. And I think for me and why I had the reaction like, I hate people and I want to quit, is because it goes so far beyond just like they don’t value me, which would be just neutral, right? Like they don’t care. If someone didn’t care that’s one thing. But then swinging to the other end of the spectrum where it’s no, I’m trying to take advantage of people, I’m malicious or, especially saying that I’m disingenuous or that I have some other… that I don’t have integrity. That one got to me because that’s my life. You asked Steve, you ask anybody my greatest… not even a pet peeve, it’s bigger than that.

Let’s just say I cannot handle feeling inauthentic or being inauthentic. It hurts my feelings living in a rental house because the walls are different color and that’s not authentic to who I am. It’s like not the color that represents me. I have to have it represent me to feel authentic. And so if anyone accuses me of being not genuine or anything, that one really gets under my skin. Anyway, it ruffled my feathers way more than it should have, but it did teach me a few things. And that’s also why guys, you’ve got to know when you leave reviews for us on this podcast, you write your wins in the groups, it really carries a lot of weight. Especially for me being the face of all of this, having to put up with so much crap, you don’t even know half of it.

Also, I get discouraged sometimes from students’ lack of results. I take it on myself as though it was my responsibility. Like if I’m just laying all the cards out here, I have a hard time with that. It bums me out when I’ve seen that people have paid money and they don’t log in, and they don’t finish their lessons and they’re not really trying very hard. I take it personal and I sometimes feel a responsibility that was my fault. And then if they say, it was my fault and, “Well, I’m not getting any results because blah, blah, blah.” It hurts.

And I know in my head, I know logically that’s not true. I know logically it’s not my responsibility, that’s them. And I try to make it very clear in all of our coaching and courses that it is on them. But that doesn’t mean at the end of the day that I don’t care very deeply that they aren’t getting what they were looking for and that I feel somehow like it was my fault. And I know it’s not true, but I feel it, and I am just saying it, I’m just saying it so everybody knows, I’m human. Don’t for a second think that I’m some kind of superwoman. People tell me that and that’s not true. I’m very, very mortal.

31:47 CJ: Well, I can imagine, come on guys. This is a mother of five kids. She homeschools her kids, how much of a criminal can she be? Be serious now. It’s just a ridiculous statement. It’s so easy for people to throw around, pejoratives like that, and name call and all of that. Of course, they don’t want a microscope coming up their backside. They don’t want to be judged like that. And so it’s the old, he who is without sin cast the first stone. And I think that’s, for our listeners as we wrap this up, I think that’s what they have to remember. Is number one, you got to get used to it. You got to get used to the fact that you’re going to get people who don’t value what you do and they’ve got very harsh things to say about your music.

It doesn’t matter. You have an obligation to honor the gifts and talents and abilities that are inside of you. That’s your commitment. You’re not doing things for reciprocity. You’re not doing things for what you get back. You’re doing things because it’s your responsibility to the gifts that you have. You have a love for music because you’re wired that way. And the best way to honor those precious gifts and talents that you have, those are precious man. Those are pure, those are pure. The only way you can honor those is to make them the most that they could ever be. Just to develop them to the absolute max. That’s your only obligation. The fact that people get off on it and have a great time with it and enjoy it. Man, that’s icing on the cake. But you’ve got to honor your gifts.

You have to be able to say, I must do this because I can’t do otherwise. I have to play music, I have to create, I have to fulfill that artist’s calling. And if that calling’s eating a hole on the inside of you, you have to answer that. And so, think of it as enemies, as Leah alluded to that one person as the goblin, little leprechaun, evil leprechauns and evil little goblins, I don’t mean to slander all the leprechauns out there, if you’re listening. And all of these evil little urchins that are out there that they’re more bark than they are bite. Right? And that’s all they are. And you have the power to give them authority in their words and give their words power over you. And here’s the good part about it, because you can grant power to their words over you, grant authority to their words over you, that means you can also revoke it.

You can take it back. You can take that authority back. And so having some downtime after a surprising, challenging session like Leah had in that particular group, you may need to take a little time just to regroup, but you’re going to get past it. It’s going to go out of your mind. You don’t want to quit. Because I understand I’ve been in that play. I can’t tell you how many times Leah, I have been in that place because people feel like, the old verse, it says you’re casting pearls before swine.

34:56 Leah: That’s exactly it. And to be honest, sometimes guys, you have to know, we really don’t have to do any of this. That, that one instance I said to myself, fine.

35:07 CJ: I don’t have to do it.

35:08 Leah: I don’t have to do this. I won’t share anything. I’ll go ahead and make another successful business and I won’t share one single thing about how I did it or help one single person, fine. And you guys can continue to struggle, do it on your own and I won’t even help you. That’s how it can make us feel, as creators and coaches and teachers where we’re just like, that’s it. There are the people who are so amazing and beautiful and they are sharing all that. So I don’t want to discredit them for all the encouragement they do give us, but we do get to the point where it can be really tough to just say, fine, that’s it. I’ll keep it to myself.

And so, anyways, but we’re here on this podcast sharing all of this because I think it’s important to talk about it. I think it’s important for students to understand that their coaches, their mental health is important too. It’s not all about them. So this is a give and take scenario. There’s a win-win scenario. And so I think it is very healthy to have this discussion and just let people know. And yeah, at the end of the day, this is I think the number one thing, I feel like it’s an attack on your joy. Those comments are meant to steal your joy and taint the process of your journey and of the music itself. And the idea is to get you to stop altogether. And so that’s where I think CJ, you’re right, you can’t grant them that much authority. If it gets you down, okay, give yourself a couple of hours and then regroup, like you said, regroup.

Get back to that feeling, that place a feeling good and inspired and happy. Stop thinking about the thing again. Stop thinking about the person in the comment and move on. And we’re in the age where people never had to do this at this level or deal with this sort of thing at this level with the internet. This is all new stuff, but it’s not going away. So I think we have to learn how to roll with it. And also want to say, especially as musicians becoming entrepreneurs and marketers, we do have an advantage over so many other marketers. And the fact is that we are highly sensitive people. We are so in touch with people and psychology and feelings and emotions that we really are unstoppable when you combine that with marketing knowledge and knowhow, you put those two things together and you are such a powerhouse.

And it means that we have, an Achilles heel. We have vulnerabilities because of it. But if you know it, it makes it easier. I know that I’m triggered when I don’t feel valued. When people don’t value me, that makes me want to quit. And I know that’s my trigger. And it’s probably your trigger too, when your fans don’t value you, you don’t feel valued. It makes you want to quit.

37:52 CJ: Right? Yep. That’s exactly right, exactly right.

37:56 Leah: So now that you know…

37:58 CJ: Yeah, now that you know you can do something about it, you may fall prey to it, but at least now that you know, you can do something about it. I’ll leave everybody with the two secrets of the ages when it comes to this, the greatest wisdom that you’ll ever be taught. I know I was taught it and practice it as a little kid in the schoolyard. And again, this is like beyond Buddha stuff. Okay? So this is really, really deep. But I learned it as a kid. These two things. Number one, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. And number two, I’m rubber you’re glue, right? Or you’re rubber, I’m glue. What is it with, I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off of me. I’m rubber you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off of me and sticks to you.

Even in those schoolyard days, you were prepared for trolls, right? Because there was always going to be a war of words. Whether you’re a kid or now that you’re online is the same stupid elementary school stuff. Nobody’s grown up.

39:11 Leah: Just on a mass scale.

39:13 CJ: Just on a mass scale. So, don’t take it seriously guys, don’t give it any credence. As we all like to say, I will give it all, I tell somebody in the comments, somebody will write something and they’ll go real wordy and it’s really hateful. But they’re kind of, they’re not just trying to troll, they’re being kind of serious, but they’re mean. And I just tell them, I’m going to give your comment all the attention it deserves.

39:35 Leah: Silence.

39:36 CJ: That’s all I write. And they’re like, okay, I’m waiting. I’m waiting, I’m waiting. I’m waiting. And nothing ever comes in like, oh shoot. It deserves nothing.

39:46 Leah: That’s a good one. I’m going to steal that.

39:47 CJ: Yeah, please do. Anyway, okay guys, listen. Please, again, as we said at the outset, please leave a review for the podcast and-

39:56 Leah: So we don’t quit.

39:57 CJ: So we don’t quit and get all hurt and discouraged. And listen, if you’re just getting started out with the Savvy Musician Academy, this podcast, I want to encourage you, you might be interested in… Even if you’re not, our Elite students love what I’m about to tell you about the Inner Circle membership. But this is an awesome program. It’s just $19.99 a month and you get a free just full-on newsletter/ magazine that’s downloadable with articles on the latest news and marketing and social media articles on how-tos, you get mindset, motivation stuff. You get tips, you get tools, you get recommended books of the month, you get special student spotlights.

Awesome to get introduced to marketing and reinforce your marketing knowledge and skills and keep you up to date if you’re more Elite. And then also you get a free bonus, a video mini-course each month on a particular topic. It’s really, really awesome. And this also a downloadable audio version, which I read myself if you’d like that.

40:59 Leah: Beautiful, sexy voice.

41:00 CJ: With a beautiful, sexy voice. And so you get all of that for just $19.99 a month. You can sign up today at Leah, always a pleasure.

41:13 Leah: I hope this was helpful for you guys.

41:15 CJ: It was helpful.

41:16 Leah: Yeah. See you in the next one.

Episode #085: Sister Brand Follow-Up

Continuing last weeks episode on Leah’s new sister brand product, Mythologie Candles, Leah and C.J. go further in depth analyzing the details of how she achieved what she called “a million dollar day.” Listen to find out what she means by that.

It would be great if you could live off of selling your music alone, but these days anything you can do to earn an income as an independent artist should be explored. Take your understanding of creating a sister brand to the next level in this week’s episode of The Savvy Musician Show. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Principles trump tactics
  • Minimum Viable Product
  • Gauging interest in your product
  • Tapping into an existing culture
  • Creating a seed audience
  • Hashtags and DM’s on Instagram
  • Doing a pre-launch/Bootstrapping
  • Running an opt-in ad
  • What is a million dollar day?
  • Sharing content related to your culture to build an audience
  • Thinking Big


“Principles trump tactics.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:04:48]

“If you can’t create culture, tap into an existing one.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:15:26]

“Hashtags help a lot on Instagram, using hashtags that people are interested in.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:15:33]

“I would personally DM them, thank them for following me… And the fact that there’s DMs happening, Instagram will now show your stuff in their feed more often because there’s been interaction.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:17:59]

“It’s called bootstrapping. You hold a pre-launch and however much people buy, there’s your capital to get the manufacturing done.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:19:04]

“You got to wonder why people rush headlong into dismissing something that successful. Is it because they’re scared that there’s work involved?” – @metalmotivation [0:30:05]

“We look ridiculous dressed up in excuses.” – @metalmotivation [0:30:22]

“However big you think you’re thinking, it’s not big enough and you can’t be afraid to engage in limitless thinking, you can’t. The more limited you are in your thinking, the more limited will be your results.” – @metalmotivation [0:31:32]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Mythologie Candles —

Lora Hodges (Elite Student) —

Inner Circle Membership —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, this is C.J. Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. I’m joined once again by her eminence, my favorite music marketer, Leah McHenry, good to see you, Leah.

00:33 Leah: Great to see you too and this should be fun.

00:36 CJ: I’m real excited about this. Again, we cheat, we talk offline beforehand, so we’ve got to be careful sometimes because we can talk some of the best stuff offline, and also we have to save our energy and enthusiasm for the actual show. But this is going to be a follow up to a previous episode that we did on creating a sister brand, which I think, Leah… Probably going to be a new concept still for most people. I think they’re just trying to wrap their heads around how in the world can I make money selling my music? And then they’ve got to open their mind to the fact of selling apparel and merchandise, accessories, other items, print on demand type things in order to further monetize their music and make the kind of numbers that you’ve made in the past.

And now we’re talking about something else, a sister brand, which is not necessarily based on music itself but is based on the culture and lifestyle related to the music that you make. We’re going to get into that actually by probably one of the best examples, one that’s happening right now as we speak, which is Leah’s Mythologie Candles operation. You’re going to be thrilled to hear about, again, amazing results. I’m not surprised guys, this is not just a, let’s pat Leah on the back example, she got tremendous results, it’s going to blow you away. And the purpose is to show you what she has always said which is, “Once you learn how to market, once you learn how to master online marketing, you can pretty much sell anything. You’ll never be without a job, you’ll never be without a way to earn an income.” It’s important for you to understand that.

But before we dive in Leah, let me just share a student spotlight. This is Lora Hodges, one of our Elite students and she writes, “#win, I’m super excited that our Shopify store is officially open and we have a few print-on-demand products and our digital single on it. We will be announcing our physical CD, our debut, the end of this month. Working on our email list. I would never be doing any of this had I not met Leah. I’m also grateful for all the fellow Elites and coaches who share experiences for us all to learn from and to encourage each other.”

She’s fairly new, I think just a few months I did have a coaching call with her and very talented singer, has kind of an Adele-like voice and very, very capable. So I think she’s going to do well, it’s obviously a pop type sound so she can reach a more mainstream audience. But she’s diving in and she’s realizing wow, and some of these basic things are things she’s never ever done.

03:20 Leah: Yeah. That is awesome. I’m proud of you Lora.

03:22 CJ: It’s not weird how somebody can have talent, Leah, have ability, prove it, be in a band or something like that and yet maybe even go to their graves and never ever fulfill that career that they always wanted, simply because the music industry is the way it is. There was options out there, but they’d never heard of these things before, right?

03:49 Leah: Yeah.

03:49 CJ: And so they can go through their life, always think it wasn’t meant to be, it’s just not in the cards. All of this fatalistic destiny stuff that people tell themselves, all the while it really came down to, if you understand the principles, then you can create desired outcomes and it’s as simple as that. So one of the great ways to prove this is to show how these things can happen with a sister brand. And in this case, again, Leah, your example of Mythologie candles, which is a fairly new operation. For those of us who know you behind the scenes, we’ve seen you working on this for a few months now, but now you just, you went into pre-launch release mode, finding an audience, doing all this stuff. So I’m going to ask you to kind of unpack this for us. First of all, what is Mythologie Candles?

04:39 Leah: I’m so excited to talk about this and I think before I even get into it, I think I want to give you a takeaway right now, and that is that principles, trump tactics. Principals, trump tactics, because tactics go out of style every five minutes. Facebook changes something every single day. They move the buttons around, they move everything around and you don’t know where anything is and they take away features and so many people are like, Oh, we’re screwed. No, you’re not, if you know the principles of marketing, eCommerce, just basic stuff, copywriting, basic things, how to sell, how to make a sale, basic psychology. And you don’t have to go to school for any of this stuff, you don’t need a university degree. I don’t have any degrees. I got nothing under my belt. Sorry. This is the school of hard knocks that I went through and I’ve spent a lot of money in coaches and mentorships and other programs to try and glean what I could and boil it down to the things that work. So I just want to give you that takeaway right now.

And that’s why our whole Savvy Musician Academy, including the Elite program, The Online Musician, they’re mostly all principle-based, and we teach you what’s working right now. Now that’s a tall order for me as a coach and for all of us coaches at SMA teaching you principles that are timeless, no matter what you do, and teaching you what works right now. So that’s the challenge, and that’s why SMA exists is because you need both, but if I had to pick it’s principles. I’ll take principles all day long because then it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I can apply it, I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure the rest out.

06:13 CJ: I think that’s an important thing to note and I think we’ve hammered that before and it’s still something that I don’t think the coin has quite dropped yet for people. They still think there’s a secret. They still think there’s a … And one of the things I hate to see Leah is hacks. I mean I appreciate them for what they are, but it’s not a long-term approach, these are short-term approaches instead building off of things that work. People have been buying things for centuries. Okay?

06:41 Leah: Yeah, that’s right.

06:41 CJ: So marketing is always a part of it, and all we have to do is again, do the things that help to create conversions, principle-based. So again Leah is applying this now to her sister brand Mythologie Candles, which is obviously a candle making operation. So you’re selling actual candles, this is not print on demand, this is something you’re actually making yourself.

07:05 Leah: Yeah, I’m not sourcing it out somewhere, I’m actually hand-making them. So eventually it’ll grow. I know it’s going to grow-

07:11 CJ: Right, sure.

07:11 Leah: And I’ll probably hire people and create a team to do this. But at first, this is the order of things, you do it yourself and then you grow and expand and as the revenue is there to support it, you grow a team. I’m going to unpack for you everything I just did because I just launched the pre-order for these candles, and I’ve been working behind the scenes, like C.J. said, for a few months on this. Really just having a blast, putting my knowledge and experience of branding, products, customer experience, copywriting, advertising, I’m putting all of that into a physical product that I’m fully controlling in that I’m making the product. I get every say on every little detail. I’ve been having a blast doing this and honestly, it’s been like, some people, I don’t know what, skydive for fun, some people knit or whatever, I guess I start a new business for fun.

So that’s what I do in my spare time and it is fun because I can get the kids involved and it kind of became a little family thing, so it’s been fun. I have a lot to say, but I’m gonna unpack for you what I just did because I was quite blown away because I haven’t even tried that hard yet in terms of marketing yet. Really my first phase was to test and see if there’s even interest for a product like this. So it’s called Mythologie Candles, you can go to the, but be aware, if you go there, you will be pixeled and now you’re going to start seeing everything from me, so just so you know.

08:40 CJ: And let’s make sure that this is not Mythologie with a Y, it’s Mythologie, G-I-E,

08:49 Leah: That’s right. Okay. So first I want to say that this brand, I really wanted it to hold its own, meaning I didn’t want to completely rely on my other Leah music audience that I have built. I’ve obviously worked very hard over the years to build that audience, but also I’m just promoted very heavily to them in the fourth quarter of the year between the album launch and all the crowdfunding and then all the holiday promotions. So there wasn’t a lot of space for me to heavily promote to them about this. I did, I’ll say, cross-pollinate a little bit. Meaning, I put it out there, let them know what I was doing and that if they were interested they can come over, but it was very low pressure. There was no, I sent like two emails about it and that for me, for my audience, is very little amount and there’s nothing for sale yet. They can’t buy anything yet.

It was just saying basically if you’re interested in what I’m doing, you can come sign up over here if you want to be notified about it. That was as far as I went with that. I have not even to this day pushed sales to that audience. I’ve made a few social posts letting them know where they can go, but that’s it. So really mild, mild, mild cross-pollination, I’ll call it. And the reason why I didn’t push it was like I said, I want to know that the product itself can hold its own, that it would be salivating enough to complete cold audiences. And that if I’m going to grow this brand, if I’m serious about it, it’s got to be good enough that complete strangers want it. So I went to work on building an audience. So before I had a product, before I had a website or a shop, before having anything, I started with my audience and the niche.

I had basically an MVP in the marketing world or business world, that’s your minimum viable product. So I had been making candles, I did a little candle launch for my album launch and that was like a separate thing, that’s where I got all my experience with making thousands of candles pretty much and just with all the different processes involved. But I created a minimum viable product and if you’re watching this on YouTube or anything here it is. It’s just a glass amber tumbler with a label on it and a wooden wick inside that is a crackling wooden wick. When you burn it, it’s cool, it sounds pretty ambient. It almost reminds you to go like a fireplace or something. And some like high-quality ingredients in their wax and all that.

So that’s my minimum viable product. And with that I took some photos, initially I didn’t pull out the nice camera and lighting and stuff. I just put them on my table. I had a few candles with a few test labels and I think I looked them and then I took photos on the portrait mode on my iPhone because that makes it look instantly beautiful. Where it’s all kind of blurry in the background and then the focus is on the subject. And I’m not a photographer guys, I’m really not. But you can do some nice things with your iPhone or any smartphone. And I had a few props just laying around the house so I set it on a book. I had some Moss, whatever, pine cones and whatnot and just made it kind of look nice and theme-y. First thing was let’s gauge the interest on this because you got to have something to show them.

Although I did do a couple extra things with no photo and this was a good sign as well. For example, I’ve joined a bunch of Facebook groups that were my niche audience. So, in this case, I was thinking I would maybe launch with a Lord of The Rings themed candle collection, meaning I’m creating scents that I think would match like a character or a scene or something from a movie without actually saying the character name or the scene for copyright reasons. But anyway, I went into a couple of groups and I said, “Hey, I’m creating some candles in this theme and I’m coming up with different scent ideas. Do you have any suggestions?”

And Holy smokes, it was like hundreds of comments, they went bananas. So I thought, whoa, okay. Not only did they have so much fun, like telling me, basically doing my job for me and coming up with the scents and what they are imagining. I got so much data out of that and not only gauging the interest but what they want. I got what they wanted. So that really helped me go, okay, I think this really has a potential here just based on all the engagement and all the comments and suggestions and I actually screenshotted a lot of them so I could keep it for later if I need more candle ideas because these people are insane. Some of them are crazy Tolkein, they call themselves Tolkienites, right? So Jr. Tolkien who wrote Lord Of The Rings.

And so that really helped me gauge interest. So if you’re thinking of doing a sister brand and you want a product that’s going to hold its own without having the only reason they would buy it is because that you made it. If you want it to be an awesome product all on its own, you got to start with the niche first. And there are so many different niches that you might not know, it might not even connect to the dots right now of what niche that would be. But believe me you need to think of what are people really passionate about. I mean, I’ve seen candles let’s not talk about the Gwyneth Paltrow one. I’ve seen candles with just sayings on them that people absolutely love.

I’ve seen one a candle called something about divorce papers going through or something. Yeah. I mean, people are using it, they’re using for all kinds of things. It’s just sarcasm. I’ve seen, Oh my gosh, I’ve seen some really funny ones. Funny candles, It doesn’t have to be candles people, but I’m just saying there are so many different niches out there. Listen, there is nothing proprietary about this product I made. Zero.

Everybody has access to the same ingredients, the same fragrance swells, the same vessels, even the designer I used, there’s nothing proprietary about it. And I’m so I’m aware of this. I would never win on Shark Tank for that reason. Mr. Wonderful would say you’re dead to me because there’s nothing proprietary about it. I can’t patent this. The only thing I … And so I’m aware of this, and I said the only reason this would be successful would be branding alone. Branding alone is what’s going to make probably $1 million in the next 14 months with this. Because I mean if you can’t create culture, tap into an existing one. Tap into one where people are already so passionate about it. You don’t even have to do anything. They’re just sold. So, of course, you have to have a minimum viable product and photography is going to be so important.

So even on iPhone can do a great job, so that’s what I lead with and I, I posted the photo also in a couple of groups, like Fandom groups. I even got admin permission too because if they think you’re promoting something, they’ll delete it. That, “Hey, can I permission to post this photo and see people like it?” “Yeah, go ahead.” “Awesome.” And again, they went bananas, where’s the link? Where’s the link? Where can I buy blah, blah. I was like, okay. I think I feel confident now, In fact, I wasn’t even sure beforehand if I was going to launch with Lord Of The Rings theme. I was just going to do random. But after seeing this kind of feedback and engagement, I said, I think a Lord Of The Rings or Middle Earth themed collection will be an amazing launching pad. That’s going to be a great launching pad because they’re so passionate already.

I just have to show them great photos, make a great shop, I just do the rest and they’re going to sell themselves. So that’s exactly what I did. And in fact, so the next thing after I had my audience in my niche, I knew what I was leading with. I then created a seed audience and a seed audience is obviously very tiny. So I created a Facebook page and an Instagram account and I said, “Well, I am just going to start sharing my journey.” I’m just going to start sharing like everything I’m doing from the ground up. Like, “Oh, what do you think this vessel or this vessel?” And you saw me even posting like, Hey, gold tin or silver tin. Which one do you like better? Let people vote, let them give me feedback. How did I get those people on there to begin with?

17:20 Leah: Some of it… So I did a little cross-pollinating at first, like my fans know had started these accounts. I’ve got the first, I dunno, 150 people on there. Like, not that, not even that many, they weren’t even that interested. I was like, all right, whatever. But hashtags help a lot on Instagram. Using hashtags that people are interested in. I don’t do the follow people, I’ll follow back I don’t like that method at all. I don’t like it. So I’m not doing it. Yeah, it’s grown organically and then there’re some things I’ve done to speed that up since then, but originally there that many people on there. One thing I was doing was every person who did follow, so it was two people a day or whatever, I would personally DM them, thank them for following me. I had a message in Instagram, you can do a quick message, you can pre-write something. And then he was like a shortcut, a keyboard shortcut.

So I just thanked him for following, telling them what I was doing and just cheers and thanks for showing interest in hanging out. And people were responded so well to that. They’re just like, Oh, that was it really stands out to me that you wrote me that DM. Nobody else does that. So thanks. People really appreciated it. And so that really helped build rapport. And the fact that there’s DMs happening, Instagram will now show your stuff in their feed more often because there’s been interaction. So that really helped. It only takes a minute to do that, I’m not spending all day doing that or anything. And then Facebook though I didn’t have our many followers there either until after this pre-launch happened.

So the main thing was I thought I need to build an email list. That’s the first thing. So I created those accounts and thought email list. That’s really how I’m going to do this. I’m going to do a little pre-launch. And the reason I’m gonna do pre-launch is because I don’t have any of the supplies yet to make these candles. So the way I’m going to do it, it’s called bootstrapping. You hold a pre-launch and however much people buy, there’s your capital to get the manufacturing done, to get all your supplies and then make it and you’re totally transparent and tell them that, maybe not tell them that you’re getting supplies, but just Hey, you’re going to pre-order and then we’re going to ship it to you after this date. So everything’s very open and transparent. So then you don’t want people wondering where their stuff is if you haven’t even made it yet.

So I ran an opt-in ad, it was very simple. I didn’t offer anything. I didn’t say, Oh get something for free, like sometimes we do a lot of opt-in, ads do that and that’s a great way to build your email list. But in this case, again, I wanted to make sure that this product would hold its own based on the photo, the iPhone photo that I had with the MVP. Minimum viable product. So all the opt-in said was coming soon, Middle Earth inspired candles, sign up to be notified when they’re available. That’s it. And I built a little seed audience. So I had, by the time I launched, I had 999 people. Granted there’s a small percentage of them came from, sorry. No actually those 999 people in total, I’m thinking there may have been a small percentage that had come from my other email list, but the majority, I’m going to say about 95% of it was from this ad. Because I can see, I can actually see the number in Facebook in the ad manager, how many people signed up. So I can see that.

So 999 people, My goal was I’m going to launch this one and get to a thousand people. So I didn’t even tell them a date, there was no dates attached, nothing. And on the opt-ins were really cheap. Like I want to say ballpark around 30 cents or something. Today in today’s world, people pay up to $5 for a lead, I don’t know how people, they can’t even afford that. But anyway, super, super cheap leads, just really targeting that Lord Of The Rings type people. So if they follow the books and you can do some layering and stuff like that. Our Elite students will know what I’m talking about.

So got pretty targeted, but it’s quite a wide audience because I was going to let Facebook do the work. Right now Facebook algorithms they have so much data that you can give them quite a large audience and they know what to do with it. But basically the larger audience you go, do you need to let it normalize for a longer period of time. So I’m not going to judge anything for the first few days, like three to five days, I won’t touch it. So anyway, that went splendidly. I got the 999 people on my list, I decided when I was going to launch the pre-order and of course I put a ton of work into my Shopify site. There is all kinds of work that I put into that. So but the great thing was that it was so easy because I know what to do. I know exactly what to do. Same thing I do in my music business. I don’t have tons of bells and whistles going on. It’s just very simple, very straightforward It’s very clear.

I have a tagline for the business as well. “We make fantasy inspired candles to help you tell your story.” And because if you’re like me, I changed my story all the time. I changed my mood all the time. I want a different fragrance all the time. I don’t wear the same perfume everyday because that’s boring. So same thing with candles, I burn a different one depending on my mood. So anyways, launched that the first day alone from that seed audience, okay? 999 people and say there was like a 40% open rate or something, which is good. We did a $3,400 day. I was like, this is $1 million day.

Actually it’s $1 million day because if you know the math, I think you would need to make about $2,800 a day to make $1 million in a year. Let me do my calculator. Let’s see, 2,800 x 365, yeah, that’s $1,022,000. We had like $1.5 million day, 1.3 or whatever it is. $1 million day, that’s how I look at things and you should change your thinking “Oh, I only made $200 today”, no, think in terms of what that is for the year. So I was over-the-moon-happy with those results and so we’re 10 days into this pre-order. We’ve done a total of $10,500 in 10 days. $10,500.

For a product I haven’t made, yet complete strangers are buying it without knowing who we are. We’re brand new, don’t even have testimonials, there’s no reviews, no testimonials on the site, nothing. And the engagement is crazy on my ads, they’re just tagging all their friends and “Oh my gosh, we have to buy this”, and want and need and take my money and all of those kinds of comments are happening, which is such amazing feedback. This is the easiest thing I’ve ever done by far.

24:09 CJ: Isn’t that amazing? And I hope everybody is really listening because I know for a lot of you listening, some of the terminology she may be using, is stuff you’re not familiar with. But what I want, and for those who do know, I want you to remember the core. You might’ve highlighted some little technique she used, but remember what she said and remember what’s at play here. What’s at play here is because she did do everything reductionistic, she didn’t her … In fact, I read the ad copy for her initial Facebook ad and it was just kind of, what do you say? Just, Hey, are you interested?

24:47 Leah: Are you interested? Sign up.

24:49 CJ: Sign up, and it was as simple as that. So it was no heavy copywriting. Like she said, she didn’t offer a freebie, she wanted to know that the idea itself, that the product itself was viable. That’s why she went with one product as she said, this one product. So again, understand that branding is what’s at play here, directed towards a particular culture, particular targeted audience that is interested in these type of things. So like she said, anybody could just make their own candles. This is not a proprietary item ladies and gentlemen, but this is what she meant when she said it all comes down to the branding.

And so for most people when it comes to music, when it comes to any other kind of business or book or whatever, they happen to be marketing, they don’t understand that aspect, and so this is why we go back to what she said at the beginning about principles. These are all principles at play. And I assure you guys, it is a tremendously empowering thing when you are confident in principles when you can move into absolutely unknown territory. She didn’t know how it was going to actually turn out, but look at that, a $3,400 first day and then since then, what was it? $10,500.

26:10 Leah: Yeah, so we’re doing between $500 and $1000 a day every single day right now.

26:17 CJ: So the other revenue days, we understand the first day, $3,400, and so are these other revenue days still on the 999 or have we brought in new people? Is it coming from social? What’s making up these big days?

26:37 Leah: It’s coming from a few places. So I’m continuing to post on social and, of course, when you run ads, people are going to start checking out the account that the ad is coming from so you get free likes and followers even off of that. I’m also doing the same thing I do in my music business where I’m not only posting about candles on the socials, I’m also posting memes and things that resonate with people, that has to do with the culture of the candles. Okay? The culture. So if I’m doing Lord of the Rings candles, that means I have people who are crazy about Lord of the Rings. So you’re going to see all kinds of posts and memes and things that are funny and I’m getting a wack of engagement, like shares. One post had like 300 shares on it just because it was kind of a witty meme.

Now all those people are exposed to my brand that they’re sharing with their networks and what’s, something kind of, here’s a little tip for you guys. If a bunch of people like your post, you can see all the people who’ve liked your post and if you’re on desktop email, mobile, it’ll show you the list of people who liked it and who aren’t following you, and then there’s a little invite button you can just click, invite, invite, invite, invite down the list and now your page has invited them to come like your page. And you’re getting all those for free.

So I’m doing that, that only takes two minutes out of my day to do that. So I’m posting, I’m really tapping into a culture. Like I said, if you can’t find a niche of your own, if you’re not creating it from scratch, tap into an existing niche or existing culture. I didn’t have to create the culture of Lord of the Rings, that exists long before me and long after me, so I’m just tapping into it. And it goes with my music, of course, I post Lord of the Rings stuff anyways because it goes with my music, and that’s why this is a sister brand.

28:18 CJ: And what’s great about it is that it’s not dependent upon the success of your music, right?

28:25 Leah: No, exactly.

28:25 CJ: It’s not, none of these people have no idea what you did-

28:28 Leah: No.

28:28 CJ: And so anybody can just say, Oh well, she dismisses it and say, well, she’s able to do this because it’s just taking from her existing audience that love her music. Nope, cold audience guys. There’s no way you can explain this by her previous successes or anything like that. Don’t even try that here.

28:45 Leah: That’s right.

28:46 CJ: No, what we’re trying to get to, the point is that these principles work. You must learn marketing, guys, that’s so important, that’s why we do this podcast. That’s why we have TOM. That’s why we have the Elite program. That’s why we have Inner Circle membership. It is all about teaching you the marketing principles. Leah, sometimes I wonder people are just dumb as doornails that you just keep pounding and pounding and pounding. There is no magic. There’s no secrets. Leah wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth, when she began her career she was facing bankruptcy with babies. That’s where she was. She climbed out on her own.

I’ll tell you what, it kind of pisses me off, because I know because I was there and at the same time I was doing my thing. And so for years and years and years, Leah and I have slugged it out in the early days of social media, building brands, building business pages, getting to know how all of this stuff works. And you work so hard, you refine so many things, it gets so well done, bulletproof, that people think, oh, it’s just, they dismiss it as just, oh, it’s an overnight thing, oh, it’s a gimmick, oh, it’s this, oh, it’s that. You got to wonder why people rush headlong into dismissing something that successful. Is it because they’re scared that there’s work involved? Is it because they’re terrified that maybe they weren’t destined for such a thing? It’s amazing.

We look ridiculous dressed up in excuses and I don’t know why that is always the thing that people reach for. But I’ll tell you what, man, you guys should be celebrating this sort of success in Leah because you know what it tells you is that A, she’s all about what she’s all about. She practices what she preaches. She’s always on the cutting edge. She’s always pushing the envelope. That’s the kind of example that you want to follow. That’s the kind of leadership and coach and mentor that you need, so go nowhere else other than the Savvy Musician Academy. I know it sounds like a biased opinion, but I’m dead serious about that. That’s why I’m here as a coach. I’m only here because I believe in what she’s doing. I practice the same sort of principles and I have a heart and a passion for musicians. I want to see the music industry revived, but it’s all based on this.

It’s all based on principles. So yeah, you may not be at a place where you’re creating a sister brand right now, but this is the range of possibilities for you. This is how much you can tap into something that your mind has never imagined before, and I’ll leave you with this. However big you think you’re thinking, it’s not big enough and you can’t be afraid to engage in limitless thinking, you can’t. The more limited you are in your thinking, the more limited will be your results. You have to step into, really soak in your head in what’s possible and dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed before because there is nothing standing in your way but your own doubt and unbelief.

31:58 Leah: Wow, we’ll just replay that a couple of times. Thank you for saying all that, and I am so on in agreement with you there. I do think that people, sometimes they’ll find ways to scrutinize me or my successes, but I believe it comes from a place where they don’t believe it’s possible for them. They don’t believe it’s possible for them therefore it can’t be possible for me or anybody else. And if it is, there must be some catch. There’s got to be something, some upper hand that they have that they’re not telling us. And so that’s where the skepticism comes from.

More on that later, but I just wanna agree with CJ on that. And as for where else the sales are coming from, I’m just starting to test ads now to totally cold audiences. And they’re going amazingly well. So we know that we’re going to be able to scale this thing. Mark my words, it’ll be $1 million business because of the principles, and I didn’t invent the principles you guys, this is not new stuff, I’m just applying what I know. And when you know this stuff, like I said, this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Not only has it been so fun and that’s what I said actually, that’s the whole purpose of me doing this company was I just need to have fun, I just need to play. Because I know this stuff so inside and out, it’s second nature to me.

It’s not stressful. There’s no deadlines. Nobody is making me do anything, I’m just doing it because it’s fun and because I want to. And I think I said in a previous podcast, I think magical things happen when you do it for fun because you want to. And are there aspects that aren’t fun that you got to do? Yeah, I hate logistics, and let me tell you, when you’re figuring out shipping options for all these different zones around the world, there’s nothing fun about that and it’s nothing but logistics, but you got to do it. And for me, the fun outweighs the things that I don’t want to do, and I’m having a blast, having so much fun with results. I can’t wait to scale this and share the results along the way in any way that I can.

33:56 CJ: Ladies and gentlemen, that right there is no limits talking. And I know that people feel like you threw a pork chop in the baby crib when you said, Oh, it will be $1 million business in a year. You know how much they can’t wrap their heads around that for anything in life, let alone, how in the world can she just so matter of fact, say then in a year it’s going to be $1 million? Well, ladies and gentlemen, try to think if we sent you over to the third world where they have to walk five miles for water and pee in the woods and struggle to survive, try to explain to them just your average day and what you do when you get up, what the temperature of your room is, what you had for breakfast, all of this stuff. Do you know how hard it would be for those little third word villagers to wrap their head around your everyday?

So don’t choke on what Leah is saying. Believe me, there was a time not too many years ago where she couldn’t wrap her head around that, not at all, but now she’s so used to breaking these boundaries, breaking these barriers of limitations, her own faith, her own confidence has grown along with it. The key is your thinking. There’s a ton of principles we want to share with you, but there’s so much we want to destroy in that limited doubting mindset of yours because if we can change that man, then we’ll unleash the lion inside of you. Nobody will be able to hold you back. You will be literally unstoppable. That’s the Savvy Musician Academy.

35:41 Leah: Wow. Amazing. Yeah, I love it. And okay, I’m going to say mindset combined with knowledge. Knowledge is power. You’re an unstoppable force if you have the mindset and you have the knowledge, you have the know-how. So I say it’s going to be $1 million company in 12 to 14 months, not just because I believe, I believe it because I have knowledge as well to back that up. I need a hundred sales a day, a hundred I need to sell a hundred candles a day. Can I get there? I’m already doing 50-something like can I get there? Yeah. I haven’t even tried marketing yet. You guys, I just put an ad out and we’re putting a little bit of a budget on it. I haven’t even tried, I’ve never tried to trade shows yet. I can think of all the other avenues. I haven’t tried sending it to influencers and people with YouTube channels and just like, I haven’t done anything yet. So I see what’s happening right now, based on the marketing principles that I’ve learned and I think “I haven’t even tried yet.” And when I do, it’s going to explode.

And in fact, we’re not even ready for that kind of production yet. So we’re going to get our ducks in a row and I need to be able, I need to be prepared to manufacture 10 times that I’m capable of right now. And then when that’s set, I’m going for it. You just watch me. I will go for it and we’re going to kill it.

37:00 CJ: Right on. Say everybody said “Amen” or “Oh, me.” Take your choice well, Leah, thank you so much for sharing that and again, ladies and gentlemen, you can go to now that’s Mythologie, not with a Y, it’s G-I-E Keep up with that, follow that page on Facebook and Instagram so you could watch this literally happen. Study her copy, she doesn’t care. Study the copy, look at the images, she’s copy everything she well, you know what I mean? But try to mimic what she’s doing and apply those principles, again, what you see being played or written for you on your own pages.

If you’d like to learn more about how maybe we can help you at the Elite level, then be sure and schedule a call with us. We’d love to talk to you about your music career. You can go to and one of my favorite little new projects is our Inner Circle membership. If you feel like these courses and things are just too expensive and too much over your head, the inner circle membership is the best thing for you. $19.99 a month and you get a full, we’re going to call it what the full issue of the Inner Circle membership. It’s a magazine. You’ll get a downloadable PDF, you also get an audio version of us. You can listen to the whole magazine filled with articles and news tips, tools, books of the month, student spotlights, motivational articles each month, plus you get a free mini-course.

So you get a free mini-course about something involving marketing, social media, and all of good stuff. You get access to it in your own little private account each month. Again, just $19.99 you can sign up today and start now. In fact, I just finished uploaded and launched the February issue today before I started this podcast. So go check it out at circle. Leah, such a pleasure. Let’s do this again.

39:01 Leah: We’ll do it again. Thanks for listening guys. And just a last note here, everything I discussed in this episode, it’s Elite level. It’s advanced. If you’re just starting out calling the Elite number will probably not be for you. If you are just getting your music off the ground and you just started. So this is advanced stuff. My Elite students, they know every single thing I’m talking about here and they know how to implement it, so they just want to communicate the difference.

39:28 CJ: We’ll see you soon guys.

Episode #084: Creating A Sister Brand to Your Music

When people first encounter Leah, they struggle to wrap their minds around the fact that she earns six-figures annually from her music business. What they don’t realize at first is that she’s earning that income from more than simply physical or digital music sales. She’s also selling merchandise, accessories, and bundles that are all related to her music and culture.

Now, Leah is taking this a step further by creating a sister brand for her music business called Mythologie Candles which is a new line of fantasy products catered to the very same culture and audience that listen to her music.

If you understood your artist identity and the culture that connects you with your audience, what products could you sell really well? Check out this week’s episode to learn more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Not getting overwhelmed
  • What is a sister brand?
  • Why you should consider a sister brand.
  • Leah’s new Mythologie Candles
  • The benefits of doing your own shipping
  • The three P’s of Marketing: People, Positioning, Product
  • Doing what you’re into


“You can tell those students who you know are going to do well just because of the way they attack their present.” – @metalmotivation [0:05:00]

“When we get so fixated on the mountain, we miss how easy it is to take a step forward.” – @metalmotivation [0:06:18]

“We are the creative class and that means going outside of the norm.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:08:33]

“There’s nothing proprietary. It’s all positioning. It’s all branding. It’s all marketing.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:10:13]

“You should always do things that make you come alive.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:10:28]

“The fun about handmade products is that you can control the quality, you can control even the unboxing experience.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:13:38]

“There’s no rules saying that you can only make music and you can’t stop and go make jewelry for a while.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:15:11]

“If the product is crap or the music is crap, you’re not going to sell jack.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:24:48]

“Someone learns how to market, they’re never going to be without a job.”  – @metalmotivation [0:27:18]

“There’s nothing that I’m applying in this business that you guys don’t already have access to.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:31:04]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Mythologie Candles —

Michael J. Arbogast (Elite Student) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. And once again joined by my favorite music marketer and yours, the lovely Leah McHenry. It’s so good to see you again.

00:38 Leah: Nice to see you too, and nice to be here and have everybody listening.

00:43 CJ: We have more fun than we deserve and we like to record these more than one at a time, batch recording as they say, but it’s such an enjoyable process because Leah and I are also really, really great friends with a lot of mutual interests. And so we talk about all kinds of stuff, not just the business stuff and we go deep into other pursuits. But I’ll tell you what though, whenever we’ve come back to centre and we get back into then to the podcast, we realize just the real importance of this particular broadcast, what happens here. Because I think, and I see it online, you see it online too, Leah, what people run in and say, and the value that’s being added to people’s lives.

This stuff is kind of secondary to us because we work in it all the time and we know the terms and the ideas and all of that. We don’t realize, oftentimes, we have to tell ourselves even to slow it down and explain things, to not assuming that everybody knows or is up to speed on everything. But still just the fact that all this valuable content can be archived, that people can go back and get, and we have the free downloads and things. I really feel like, Leah, what you set up here is just going above board when it comes to really showing forth that commitment to empowering other people to live their dream.

And I really, really hope that people grasp that. I really hope they understand that because you can really start to think that this is all about making money.

02:15 Leah: Yeah.

02:16 CJ: Because if you want to put that slander towards her or SMA or myself, then we could put it towards you. In other words, why do you want to make music and sell it? Let me guess, your motives are pure, but somebody else isn’t. No. I know Leah very well and I’m just so grateful for this.

And again, I mean, I come from a different industry, but I know that anybody, Leah, could listen to this. You could be a coach, trainer, you could be a small business owner, you could be an artisan, you could be all an author and you could still apply everything that’s taught on this podcast. In fact, if you’re a listener and you have somebody else who needs to market their business or whatever, have them tune into this podcast. Because trust me, all you got to do is switch out music for whatever it is they’re doing and you could definitely apply the same things.

Before we get into today’s episode, Leah, let me just share a spotlight. I never know what name is going to be in front of me when I read these things, so I almost want to make sure with like the dictionary does and have it spelled out, the annunciation and pronunciation.

But this is Michael J. Abrogast, one of our Elite students, and Michael writes, “#Win”. He said, “I joined this group about a year ago to promote my neo-mellow folk-pop band, The New Relics, because we were planning on recording and releasing our fifth studio album and I really wanted to do something special with my music. That didn’t happen. With family work and other obligations, the album never got finished. We still plan to do it, but over the past months, I started working on a solo project. I did the whole project completely on my own just to see if I could do it and it turned out pretty cool if I do say so myself. So I went back through the training, created a new website and social accounts, and released the first half of my album as Front Porch Poetry Volume One. After a few weeks worth of work, I’ve already got a robust online presence, an album on all the major distribution channels as well as an instrumental version packaged separately, plus several tee shirts and other items for sale on my new website. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about where I am. Next up, music videos and monetizing my music, then a crowdfunding campaign for Volume Two.” Wow.

04:51 Leah: Wow. Productive.

04:53 CJ: Very productive. We like to see that. It’s interesting, Leah, we get all kinds, but you can tell those students who you know are going to do well just because of the way they attack their present.

05:10 Leah: Yeah. I love that you just said that, “attacking your present” as opposed to like, well, not living in the past, and not even living in the future. It’s a delicate balance because you have to imagine the future so that you know what you’re going for, but you have to live in the present, and attack in the present.

People ask me, “How do you not get overwhelmed?” Well, I don’t not get overwhelmed. But what brings me back to centre, I actually have a sticky note right in front of me that says, “Be in the present moment. What’s in front of me right now? Don’t focus on Everest.” Because our tendency is to look at Mount Everest. We’re standing at the bottom and we’re like, “Holy crap, there’s no way I’m going to make it to the top. I quit now.” That’s the tendency. And so I have to remind myself with a fluorescent pink sticky note to stay in the present moment and attack what’s right now, and that’s the key to productivity. That’s the key to stopping overwhelm.

06:16 CJ: Yeah. I have a quote actually myself that’s very similar, and it says, “When we get so fixated on the mountain, we miss how easy it is to take a step forward.”

06:25 Leah: That’s it.

06:25 CJ: It’s very simple. And so yeah, so what this guy’s doing, he just wanted to see if he could do it.

06:31 Leah: Yeah.

06:32 CJ: And he certainly did. He’s going to learn so much by doing that. And that actually kind of takes us into what we’re going to talk about today, Leah, which is about creating a sister brand, which is something that you’re engaged in right now, which is super, super exciting. In fact, you keep talking about it. We’re like, “Leah’s talking about her candle business again.” But I’m really, really pumped about this episode because just the results you’ve had so far in what you’re doing have just really been amazing and how this ties into what you’re already doing. I’m excited for you to really break this down. Creating a sister brand, what, Leah, first of all, is a sister brand?

07:11 Leah: Well, in my mind, a sister brand is something that could be… I mean, it could be a standalone brand or product or a series of products under a brand that might relate to the culture or the music you’ve already built, the music brand you’ve already built. Like I said, it could be completely unrelated and now you’re selling, I don’t know, insurance policies to dentists. I don’t care. But what I’m talking about in this instance is the possibility of going bigger and beyond just the music.

Now, I’ve always been a huge proponent of never putting all your eggs in one basket, being creative. I love this one article by Jack Conte comment that oftentimes I’ll refer to in my webinars. He wrote an article on Digital Music News. He’s one of the co-founders of Patreon and has quite a well-known band. And he had talked about in this one article about, we are the creative class now. We’re not just musicians. We’re drawing webcomics, we’re coding games and we’re creating apps. We’re doing all these other things as creatives, as musicians, thinking outside the box; and that’s how we’re making a living, people.

We’re not only just creating music, we’re doing all these other things. And so he says, “If lady Gaga is Betty’s Diner or whatever, we’re the mom and pop version of that.” We are the creative class and that means going outside of the norm. And so it may make sense for you at some point to create a sister brand off of a product that made sense for your culture. And this isn’t the only way this could go down. Like I said, you might just be an entrepreneur outside of this and maybe you’re selling gadgets and gizmos on Amazon or something. I don’t know.

But what I’m doing right now, so I’ll tell you what this is. I’ve created a candle brand, it’s called Mythologie Candles. And the way this even happened was it was, I don’t know, I saw something in my Facebook feed and it was just like a light bulb went off. This was like during I think my crowdfunding campaign or toward the end of a crowdfunding campaign and I had this light bulb go off. It was an idea. I’ve been studying e-commerce so hard and just branding and all this stuff. When the idea occurred to me, something happened inside. It was like a moment, and I was like, “Oh my goodness.” And it was like a flash happened in my mind and I saw it all. I saw everything. I’m like, “I know exactly what to do.” I’ve never made a candle before, but I know exactly what to do. It’s not rocket science. People have been making candles for thousands of years. There’s nothing proprietary about it, but I know exactly what to do.

It’s all about branding. Because the same thing as selling a t-shirt or socks or a candle or anything, anybody can make the same thing. I’m not going to patent these candles because you can’t patent candle wax. There’s nothing proprietary. It’s all positioning. It’s all branding. It’s all marketing. That’s it. And I know what to do, and I came alive. And like I said in our staff meeting yesterday, I was like, “You should always do things that make you come alive. If it makes you come alive, you should do it.” Unless it’s murder, don’t do that.

Don’t do bad things, but things that are inherently good, that are inspiring to you, that you know if I don’t do this, I’m going to regret it or I’m going to die unless I do this. That’s what happened to me. My first experiment was releasing candles as part of my album watch and I made this kind of immersive experience. I made a thousand candles. My kids got involved, Steve got involved. We did this whole thing. I really learned how to make them. I formulated everything myself. I custom blended the fragrances, I studied everything I could.

Now, I didn’t just all of a sudden make a thousand. I was actually testing, I ordered ingredients. I did a whole bunch of stuff before I went and just made them and sold them. It took a lot of testing, some trial and error. I had to learn the process. I had to do all of that. I had to come up with a good vessel to put them in. There was branding and labels involved. I had to do tests with that, so there was a lot.

The whole time I’m just like, “This is fun. I’m just doing this because it’s fun.” And when I did it, I’m like, “I want to do more of it,” so that’s a good sign. And just to reference a couple of podcast episodes ago, I said this year was about rest. And if you’re hearing this going, “Leah, that doesn’t sound restful,” then you need to go back to two episodes ago where I talked about what rest really meant for me. That was my theme word of the year.

This for me is rest. I don’t know if this is going to make sense to anyone, but this for me is rest because it means… I’m not in a rush to do anything. I don’t have any deadlines. I don’t have any massive objectives. I have some little revenue goals that I am going to try and hit. I’ll probably blow them out of the water. But there’s something magical about doing something just because you want to, just because you want.

12:46 CJ: If anybody understands this, this is obviously going to be a creative person.

12:50 Leah: Yeah.

12:50 CJ: Right?

12:52 Leah: Yeah. I bet you… I mean, am I taking a risk by just laying all my cards on the table for you guys? Yeah, kind of. I mean, could this fail miserably? It could. Of course, it could. It’s not even a thought in my mind though. I may even go as far as to say if it ever becomes un-fun that I won’t do it anymore. I’ll sell the business if it becomes a big business or I’ll just stop making them or it’ll go away. I don’t know. I’ll just not do it. But I’m doing it because I’ve had the itch to put all my knowledge of marketing, branding and e-commerce into a physical product that I am actually in full control of. And that’s the fun about handmade products is that you can control the quality, you can control even the unboxing experience.

13:46 CJ: Yes.

13:47 Leah: That’s one downside about doing print on demand, but it’s a trade-off that I’m willing to have for the profit and the ease in not having a warehouse. I mean, those are trade-offs. In this instance, I get to control all the little details and I’m just having fun doing that.

The whole premise around this candle business is that they are fantasy-themed. I’m really pairing themes or characters or a scene perhaps from a film or a book or something like that that goes with the scent and the smell and it’s recreating that. It’s another form of escape. It’s another form of taking a little mind vacation for a minute; and of course, that goes along with my music. Of course, it goes along with it because that’s what my music is all about already. I’m sure people have questions.

14:43 CJ: Yeah, they have questions like, “Well, Leah, you’re supposed to be a musician and we can see how this relates, especially you have the Celtic fantasy metal, so candles and all that stuff. I mean, we get that part. But Leah, you’re supposed to be making music. I mean, how are you going to balance this with this music career and then making candles, especially because this is also being driven by passion and love?”

15:09 Leah: Yeah. Well, guess what? There’s no rules saying that you can only make music and you can’t stop and go make jewelry for a while and launch that. There is no rules behind it. But the important thing is that I have my music business running. It’s running on its own because I have systems set up.

I also have been incredibly intentional with my goals for my music this year. I’m not trying to be super-duper profitable in my music by launching albums, doing crowdfunding and all that. Which by the end of all that said and done, it wasn’t even about profit that year anyway. That wasn’t my intention that year. But 2020 was about, as I shared in the previous episode, is about optimization, simplifying those things. I will be profitable, but I’m not trying to explode my business in my music. I’m maintaining it so that it’s really ripe and ready for when I do my next album watch, which might be the next year.

16:11 CJ: Right. Well, what’s your basic approach to… Are you doing anything different about branding this candle business? What’s your branding approach to this because that’s obviously where you’re starting?

16:22 Leah: Guess what? It’s the exact same as everything else we teach. But yeah, I get to be a little more specific because it’s one product, which is nice. And no one’s really questioning… Well, then I’m going to say, the nice thing about it being a candle is no one’s like, “What is it? What is it?” And no one’s also going to ask me, “Why do I have to pay for that? Shouldn’t it be free?”

16:48 CJ: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

16:49 Leah: That’s a little joust at those entitled people that leave me comments on our Facebook ads.

16:56 CJ: Freebies.

16:57 Leah: Yeah. Shouldn’t it be free? Why… Anyways, nobody’s going to be asking me that stuff, so in a way it’s going to be really nice to just deal with… It’s like they understand what it is. There’s no explanation involved. My only job is to position it to the right audience.

There’s really three P’s. There’s more than three in marketing, but these are the three I’m focused on right now. It’s really people, positioning and the product. Okay, and all of those things are going to inform the way I market. I’m starting with people, meaning I’ve built… I’ve actually already built an audience at the time of this recording. I’m not even selling them yet. The shop is not open, but I’ve already built an audience. I built an audience before I even tapped into my existing music audience. I created an Instagram profile, created a Facebook page. 

I had prototypes of the candles that I was working on. They weren’t even the finished labels. They’re not even the real thing yet. They’re just prototypes. I printed them off at like an online label printer on the internet and they just mailed them to your house so that I could test some different things, see how they look. But with those, and I just took photos on my iPhone in portrait mode. It’s incredible how professional they look. I didn’t spend a dime on photography and they look so good.

And based on that, I was able to build a little, what I call a seed audience. I’m garnering some interest. I created the pages and I posted very strategically in a couple of different groups. I was kind of testing the waters with some different ideas, and the way I built this little seed audience was I, first of all with these prototypes, I created basically a Middle Earth-themed collection. They all happen to be themes surrounding Lord of the Rings. There’s one called, which I’ve got one right here that I was burning, it smells awesome, it’s like leather and woods and a bit of caramel and I don’t know, it’s awesome. It’s what Aragorn smells like if you smelled him. It’s a good smell.

I had a few with these prototype labels on it. It says the title of them, and I found a few… There’s a whack of Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth-themed Facebook groups, and all I did was post a photo or to say, “Hey, I’m making some candles. I’m doing this theme. Do you have any suggestions?” No link, no, no promotions or anything like that, and it was like unbelievable. All the comments and stuff and people are like, “Well, where’s the link? Where can I buy? Blah blah blah.” It was crazy.

In fact, a couple of them got removed because everybody wanted to know links. And of course, in a lot of these groups, they don’t want promotions. And so it was like, “Holy smokes.” That really solidified in my mind, I am going to tap into this existing culture because I had some other ideas for other scents that I could launch. But because these people are crazy and their fandom is so extreme, and I’m in a couple of even just like collector groups. They’re like buy/sell groups. They buy Lord of the Rings-themed replicas and little statues and little posters and things like that. I was like, “Man, these people are serious,” and they spend a lot of money on this stuff. It for me solidified, this is a good idea. This is a good launching pad.

Now, I’m going to do other things in other collections, other scents that are not Lord of the Rings related, but this one makes a great launching pad. There’s an existing audience that I don’t have to create. I just have to tap into what’s already there. It goes along nicely with the brand I’ve already built, meaning I can cross-pollinate my existing audience because my existing audience, the Leah audience, they already love Lord of the Ring. They love all those fantasy movies and games and stuff that it’s very easy for me to say, “Hey guys, I have a sister brand over here. Are you interested ?” And a large majority of them will say, “Yes, I’m interested.”

I think the takeaway here is that I’m covering the P part of it, the people. Tapping into an existing audience makes them much easier. I don’t have to create this from scratch. I don’t have to educate people on what it is and why it’s cool because they already get it. They’re sold long before I have ever shown them my product.

And then I’ve only just yesterday sent the first email to my Leah list telling them about this brand and here’s the opt-in link if you want to be notified and you wan to get on the waitlist. Now I’m going to tap into that audience because I’m getting closer to the time when I’m going to start taking preorders. Okay, so that’s the first one, the P.

The next one is positioning, which I kind of covered a bit, but positioning is really all about, it’s the look, it’s the feel, it’s the logo, it’s the label, it’s the descriptions, it’s the photography, it’s all of that. The positioning of it doesn’t look… I mean, just off of that portrait mode photos from my phone, people were like, “These look amazing. I want to buy them right now. Where is the link?” I got DMs of people asking me about their sister’s wedding. “Do you do party favors? Do you do this? Do you do wholesale?”

I mean I’m already getting inundated. The shop’s not open yet because of the positioning. It was just a photo, and I’m not a photographer. I mean, it’s simple. It’s just an amber jar with wax in it with a label on it, take a photo on a table. The positioning, and then, of course, the theme itself is positioning, the fact that it’s relating to some culture that already exists that people are crazy about. This could be Star Wars, people. This could be anything. This could be Grumpy Cat. It could be any existing culture that people are crazy about it. Don’t think that this only works in the fantasy thing.

I’ve heard people say, “Oh well, yeah, heavy metal fans, they’re the best.” Well, yes, they are. But aside from that, this works in other totally different fields. I was just telling you about my kids, they’re totally into slime, like making their own slime. If you type in the words “making slime” on YouTube, you will see millions of videos of people going crazy, little girls to adults. There’s slime ASMR videos. I don’t know if our audience is familiar with ASMR. Oh, you just go Google that later. That’s weird.

23:53 CJ: Oh, yeah, ASMR. Yeah, yeah.

23:55 Leah: Yeah. Well, people are into the slime. They like the sound of the slime. They think it’s relaxing and the way it crackles and crunches and stuff when they’re playing with it. It’s weird. Okay, that’s a whole other weird fetish I think. But I’m just saying it’s not just fantasy, it’s not just because what I’m doing. There’s things that people go crazy for in completely different industries and different hobbies, different niches. And I want you to just not… Don’t get stuck in this. The fact that it’s Lord of the Rings and that it’s fantasy stuff that I’m bringing up. This is not the only thing this works for, but the positioning is already there. I have to do very little to make this work because it’s already… Peter Jackson and J.R. Tolkien did the work for me. I’m just tapping into it, okay.

And the third thing is the product itself. It has to be good. It has to be quality. It’s just like the music, right? We always say the music has to be good. You can have the best market in the world. If the product is crap or the music is crap, you’re not going to sell jack. Of course, I have to make the product good, and that means I’m marketing this as a premium product. This is not something cheap you could just get at Walmart. If you want Walmart, go to Walmart if that’s what you want. This is a premium product, made with premium ingredients, premium packaging. And I’m putting a whole lot of thought and detail into the unboxing experience from the tape that I use. I’m getting custom packing tape made. I mean, I’m going all the way so that it’s a memorable experience.

25:21 CJ: Wow.

25:22 Leah: Yes. That’s why people still buy physical products is because they want that experience, I mean, especially in the music world too. People still buy vinyl because it’s a listening experience. That’s why they’re doing that. I’m going all the way, okay.

Now the people, the positioning and the product itself, that’s going to all inform the way I do my marketing and it’s just going to be very straightforward, very straightforward stuff. And I’m going to do all the same stuff that I do in my music business. There’s going to be abandoned cart… I’m thinking about abandoned cart emails and sequences, same type of ads that I know to do, relationship marketing. I’m telling them who I am. I’m not just marketing like, yes, this is a product, but I’m letting them know who I am. I already have emails written telling them about my kids. I already have emails written telling them about who I am and that I homeschool them. I’m letting them into me, and I think a lot of people think that that somehow is unprofessional, and it’s not.

What’s unprofessional is not telling them who you are. I think that’s actually unprofessional. You’re trying to separate a product from who you are, a product from the brand, from the creator of it. And to me, unless you’re Walmart, unless you’re one of these huge corporations, you can’t afford to do that. You’ve got to personalize it. You have to let people know who you are and who this person is behind the scenes. Make them care. If they don’t care, then they’ll just go somewhere else where they do care.

26:52 CJ: Yes. Isn’t that amazing though, that there just is no… You didn’t go into what you went into when you started several years ago with that anticipation. It’s the more you spend time with things, the more they can potentially grow. And it goes back to the fact that you’re just using, as you said, you’re just doing the same thing you did with your music business.

As you said before was someone learns how to market, they’re never going to be without a job. There’s always something that can be sold, but even better when you can do it for your own stuff. We’ve got people who have serious cultures built around their music brands in our Elite Program and whatnot, so the possibilities are endless to what you can create related to your brand and it doesn’t have to be candles.

27:45 Leah: No.

27:46 CJ: But like Leah said, the candles aren’t limited to just her particular genre. All sorts of people have candles.

27:53 Leah: Oh yeah.

27:55 CJ: There’s so many things that you can do once you learn how to sell something, and it really is as simple as… I mean, you wouldn’t probably be doing this. You’d be buying candles, you wouldn’t be selling candles. You’re selling candles because of what you know, what you now know.

28:13 Leah: Mm-hmm, and this is the fun part, you guys. When you know this stuff and you could talk about it in your sleep, then it’s so fun. This is just fun. That’s the only reason I’m doing it is because I want to and it’s fun. And it’s, now I understand these things, I know exactly what to do. Like I said, I had a flash before my eyes and I saw it all. I saw the ads, I saw the emails, I saw the shop, I saw the… I saw all of it in an instant; and now I’m just doing what I saw because I know what to do. It’s so ingrained in me that I don’t even have to think.

And I’m not doing bells and whistles, actually, I’m trying to keep this as simple as possible when I do this with the shop I’m not going crazy on apps. It’s very straight forward and it’s all going to be about the audience. Notice, I started with the audience first before I even opened the shop, before my even first Facebook ad has ever gone out, anything like that. It all started with people and the audience, and you can do it before you’ve even released anything. I hope that encourages people too.

29:20 CJ: Yes.

29:20 Leah: Man, I’ve got so much to say and I’m sure people have even more questions when they’re hearing this. We can always do a follow-up and see how things are going. I have no idea what’s going to happen with this. I have a lot of questions myself. There’s going to be some roadblocks. Shipping is a big factor. It’s expensive to ship candles. It’s really expensive to ship it outside of the US, to Canada and the UK, so I have challenges.

This fun is not without challenges. I heard someone say, “There’s no such thing as problems, just puzzles; and puzzles are always solvable.” And I loved that when I heard that, so I was like, you know what, I’m going to encounter puzzles and we’re going to solve them and then I’ll know more and then I can help other people.

And so I am going to be sharing my journey as much as possible. Maybe not so much on this podcast, but I will be sharing it probably on the blog, on my shop, which will be Maybe by the time this comes out it’ll be launched, so you can check it out if you want this. I’m not even trying to promote it. But if you just want to see what I’m doing, you can check it out. But I’m going to try it.

30:27 CJ: Now that’s mythology, not Y but with I-E.

30:30 Leah: With an I-E. Yeah. Mythologie with an I-E, so yeah, Yeah, I’m trying to share the journey because I think that that’s an aspect of transparency that will only help the brand and just say, I’m trying to include people in and let them vote on the next scent and the next idea, and let them into some of the… I mean, I’m really taking everything I’ve taught at Savvy Musician Academy, and especially in our Elite Program and the online musician, and I’m putting that into this.

There’s nothing that I’m applying in this business that you guys don’t already have access to. You have to realize that. You have more knowledge and stuff inside of these programs that I ever had when I even launched Savvy Musician Academy. And so I’m taking all of that, I’m putting it into this. Now it’s faster for me to do it. It’s faster. It’s a shorter process now because it’s so ingrained.

31:29 CJ: Yeah, and so to the listener, and this is not going to be for everybody, it’s only going to be for some of you who are listening, you may be at that place where you’re ready to learn these principles that we’re talking about, about branding, about e-commerce, about email marketing, I mean the real deal, and really start to move forward.

You’ve been trying to piece things together through these podcasts or YouTube videos or a free download here and there, but you’re not really getting anywhere yet, but you’re ready to spend money on advertising you. You’ve got some music under your belt and you don’t just want to just take a course. You really want that helping hand. You want us looking over your shoulder. You want to really know the ins and outs of all the stuff that we talk about on this podcast. Well, that is our Elite Program. 

Have conversation with yourself, whoever you are, but think about whether you’re ready to take that step because it will be a game-changer for you. If you’re serious, if you’re ready; as we said at the outset, to attack the present, if you’re really ready to be invested and make the sacrifice for your music business, and have that music career, and stop being frustrated with not knowing what to do, stop being frustrated, get your eyes too fixated; as we said on that mountain, you don’t realize that this could be your very next step because now you’re bringing in the resources and the experts to really help you do it right; well, that’s what our Elite Program is all about.

If that’s you, I want you to go to right now and schedule a call with us. We would love to talk to you. We’re going to ask you questions. Again, this is not for everybody, okay? It’s not for everybody. It’s got to be a good fit because we want you to succeed. We’re not just taking people in because we want somebody’s money. No, we turn people away. Some people are just not ready. We recommend to get one involved maybe in Tom or the inner circle, but if you’re ready for this then we would love to talk to you, so book a call today at and we’ll see if we can’t help you take that next step.

But Leah, thank you so much for sharing this sister brand with us. We know, I know, it’s going to do well.

33:50 Leah: Thanks, CJ. I’m excited to share with you guys the rest of the results. We have students who are doing well with this. I know Daniel Coates, he launched, I think, necklaces for their music brand and he said at one of their shows that those necklaces outsold their CDs, which is really cool. Just, guys, people are doing it already. Get creative. Think outside the box. I’m here to help you think bigger and I’m also here to help you think more strategically. I’d love to help coach you inside of the Elite Group, so I hope to see you in there.

34:22 CJ: Guys, thank you so much. We will see you soon.

Episode #083: Top 9 Marketing Metrics You Need to Know to Grow Your Music Business

Leah and C.J. practically give you gold in this week’s episode on metrics, where they discuss nine different metrics you will find in any successful ecommerce business.

What are metrics? Metrics are a mode of measurement that you need to be aware of and be tracking in order to be a profitable musician.

The dirty details of “business” analytics can be off-putting to a creative soul, but if you’re going to succeed in this new music industry, then you need to know and understand the basic metrics that will propel your music career forward.

What are you supposed to be measuring? Tune in to Episode 83 and find out!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Email is still King
  • “What is The Metrics?”
  • Cost of Goods Sold
  • Gross Margins
  • General Overall Conversion
  • Average Order Value
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Lifetime Value
  • Customer Retention Rate
  • Abandoned Cart Rate
  • Return On Ad Spend


“If you have 10,000 email addresses, that’s a potential of $10,000 a month.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:03:07]

“The goal is get those email open rates up.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:03:20]

“This has everything to do with how do you make money online, how do you advertise, all the principles of good marketing. But you put music in it and now we’re just in a new industry.  – @LEAHthemusic [0:03:07] 

“In e-commerce, you’re going to see anywhere between 1 to 3%. That’s a normal conversion rate…. So that’s going to give you an idea of how much traffic you really need to be getting to your shop in order to be profitable.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:15:42] 

“If you want to become good at this, start becoming fascinated by psychology, because that’s all this is. It’s what makes people do certain things.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:18:28] 

“Your money’s not made on the front end. It’s made on the back end. All the emails, those abandoned carts, those upsells, those relational emails. It’s all email and retargeting, showing people ads later on.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:22:40]

“If you listen to somebody’s early work, it doesn’t sound as good as the stuff they write now, and why? Because they grow as an artist, and you’re going to grow as a marketer. You have to give things time to work.” – @metalmotivation [0:33:16]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Top 9 Marketing Metrics Reference Download —

Andre Tempfer (Elite Student) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:20 CJ: Greetings and welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the premiere music marketing podcast throughout all the interwebs. This is CJ Ortiz, and I’m the branding and mindset coach at the Savvy Musician Academy, and I also get to be the co-host of the premier podcast, The Savvy Musician Show, joined once again by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry. We’re doing this again. Good to see you.

00:46 Leah: Great to see you! Long time, no see.

00:49 CJ: Long time, no see. A few minutes! There’s something very weekly about doing weekly podcasts, Leah. And I was just trying to think in my mind when I started and how many numbers it’s been. We’re now into the 80s for episodes, and I know we were back maybe in the 40s or 50s, maybe, when I started. But it’s amazing how much they accumulate once you start doing them week-by-week.

01:15 Leah: Yep.

01:16 CJ: Been a whole lot of fun. We’re getting great feedback. In fact, for those who are listening, you’re always welcome to leave us a comment and a review because we do read them. We share them in our meetings, and it helps other people to find the podcast, right?

01:29 Leah: Yeah. Actually, I’m just going to ask, if you’ve ever gotten any value from these podcasts, this is free, and I want you to go and leave me a review. Leave us a review if you’ve gotten any value, any tips, any nuggets that have helped you, please. Thanks!

01:43 CJ: Yeah. Thank you! Listen, before we dive into this episode, I want to share once again, a student spotlight. This is from Andre Tempfer, who is one of our Elite students. And this is what Andre writes: “#Win. Okay, I’ve been pretty quiet in this group, but I’m usually just that kind of guy that observes, plans, then takes actions.” He put a laughing face after that.

“Well, last week I officially launched my shop and my email opt-in ads. Now I have made over a hundred dollars already and have over 70 email subscribers. That’s more than I’ve made in a week from online sales and not at a show in a while.” In other words “I haven’t played live,” I guess. “It’s a long shot from where I want to be, but it’s a start. Thank you, SMA, coaches and all of you for asking questions and problem-solving in this group. It’s helped a ton. Will try and be a bit more vocal going forward since I know I’m starting to hit some walls myself. Let’s keep going.”

02:42 Leah: Yeah, I heard a really cool stat. I read this the other day, that you need to build your list because each name is worth $1 per month.

02:52 CJ: Wow.

02:52 Leah: So that makes sense. He had 70 new opt-ins and already made $100 so there you go.

02:57 CJ: Right.

02:58 Leah: He made more than a dollar per email.

03:00 CJ: Think about that.

03:01 Leah: Yeah!

03:02 CJ: A dollar a subscriber.

03:05 Leah: Per month! So if you have 10,000 email addresses, that’s a potential of 10,000 a month. Now, you might not make that at first, but the potential is there. So the goal is to get those email open rates up. And we’re talking about numbers today anyway, so that’s why I bring this up. But this is the type of thinking I want you to have, even if you’re at the very beginning and you’re just thinking about releasing your first album ever, I want you to already be thinking about your email. This needs to be a primary objective for you

03:41 CJ: And Leah, I think this is again, where people I think miss and can be critical of your own testimony, of your own results and our approach to things, because they’re unfamiliar with this process. They can’t get their head around the results, they can’t understand and so they tend to criticize or they speculate that it’s happening some other way other than you selling your music online. How can this possibly be? But the email aspect is a huge aspect and I think we need a statistic like that to be able to get our heads around the potential of this sort of thing, that if you do have dedicated fans on an email list, then that’s a huge part of the earn. In fact, the central part of the earnings.

And this is why, because someone had… I was talking to somebody the other day, I think it was about Facebook versus email. And we were talking about just the different dynamics of how you perceive a platform. And when you’re on Facebook you’re not necessarily thinking initially about buying things, you’re kind of more scanning. And now Facebook is trying to change that. In fact, we covered that in the last issue of the Inner Circle, where they’re adding more features and things. In fact, they just started to offer to pages, monetization, which I think is really, really important. Because if you’re like me, who has a Facebook group that’s monetized, that people pay a membership to be a part of, Facebook is now, in other words, it’s their Patreon version.

05:13 Leah: Yes.

05:14 CJ: But, all to say is, people when they, they’re not necessarily in buying mode when they’re scanning their newsfeed. But they understand that you get ads in things and offers in an email. You know what I mean? They understand that that’s the case. So they’re not thinking about other people. They’re not thinking about the newsfeed. All they’re thinking about is whether they’re going to open your particular email. And if they really, really love you and really, really love your music and you’ve got a great offer, guess what? They just might buy.

05:43 Leah: That’s right.

05:45 CJ: It’s not a mystery.

05:46 Leah: It’s not. And so, yeah, when people don’t understand what I’m doing, every once in a while I see those kind of comments, I understand where they’re coming from because they’re just stuck in the old industry and they just don’t understand what marketing is. They don’t understand what marketing online is. They don’t understand the way things operate today as any kind of successful business owner. So take the music out of it. You don’t need to even bring music into this. This has everything to do with how do you make money online, how do you advertise, all the principles of good marketing. But you put music in it and now we’re just in a new industry. That’s all this is. That’s it. So email has always been the primary revenue platform or revenue driver of e-commerce sales and remains so. I’m not saying it’s Amazon or something. Amazon is a channel. But email is still, even above Amazon, like the number one revenue driver of e-commerce sales when it comes to channels that you fully control.

So that’s why you need to do this. So email is not, it’s so many things. But it’s a place where you control someone’s experience. It’s where you get to control the perception of your brand, develop a real relationship where they’re replying to you and you’re replying back. Transactions are happening, order confirmations, updates, all kinds of things. I like to be quite personal and share things about myself, being transparent. So all manners of and facets of relationship, whether it’s transactional or just strictly relational. We’ve talked about the three Ps of email before, promotional, professional, and personal, and that those are three different categories of things you can be using. So a dollar per email, that’s the potential that you have. So if you want to make more, build your list, it’s very simple.

07:48 CJ: Yeah, it’s powerful. Well, and this takes us into something today which is metrics, which is something that people may not necessarily be familiar with. But metrics are results. Metrics are things that-

08:02 Leah: You can measure.

08:03 CJ: … whatever actions you’re taking, yeah, that you can measure and see what’s going on. These are really, really important to you. You are such a great analyzer of these sorts of things Leah. I’ve always thought that your approach to things, especially as it relates to the music marketing is so dead-on. In other words, there’s no wishing here. There’s no flying by the seat of your pants. You’re adjusting things in your music business and your emails and your marketing and whatever, based on these measurable results. So let’s talk about today, some of the marketing metrics that you use that you feel like are really key for growing a music business.

08:41 Leah: Yeah, I’m going to give you fair warning here. I’m about to get into some heavier-type terminology and topics that, if you’re just starting out and you don’t even have an album out yet, this may be too advanced for you. And I want you to know that I want you to hang in there because during the month of March we’re going to be really focusing a lot more on some of the more fundamental, not just beginner, but fundamental things that are really going to help get you to this place where I’m about to talk about. And for those of you who have been doing this a long time, you understand the basics of marketing. If you’re one of our students listening, this is going to be valuable for you. But know that it is more advanced.

I’m going to share with you nine different metrics, which is a mode of measurement that you need to be aware of and know what they are, and be tracking to be a profitable musician. These are metrics that you will find in any e-commerce business. And any business… If you were to talk to your neighbor, and say they have a Shopify store selling socks or whatever, slime ingredients, my kids are into that, and they don’t have these numbers, they don’t know about them, I guarantee you they are not very profitable. They don’t know what they’re doing. They are not running a good business. So what I’m going to share with you here are standard metrics. These are standard. Everybody should know what these terms are and what they mean and should have a mode of tracking them, whether it’s in an Excel spreadsheet or you’re looking at… Some of these come from a Facebook ad manager, but these are things that you should also just have them somewhere. And I will say, listen to the end of this episode because I actually have a way for you to download this list. Okay?

So I’m going to explain to you, this is my superpower, taking some of these concepts that are not so sexy for musicians and making them easy to understand. Because I don’t like complex things and so I have to break it down for myself. So if I’m not able to explain these concepts to my five-year-old, then I’m not doing a great job and I need to do better. But this is really what I consider myself good at, is communicating these things.

And my dad was in education. I think I get this from him because he was able to take complex ideas, and history and politics and different things, and be able to explain it to his high school classes when he taught. And he was always everybody’s favorite teacher. And still, people I connect with that were in his history classes, they still tell me, “Your dad was by far the best,” because he would be able to just explain these things. And if we got him on a rabbit trail talking about some unrelated topic, there was the whole rest of our class. We didn’t have to do anything. He would just talk. So I think that’s why you and I get off-track too because you’re kind of the same way.

11:37 CJ: Guilty.

11:39 Leah: Yeah. So anyway, here they are you guys. Okay, I’m going to list them out. Now listen, there’s way more than nine, but these are the important ones that I want my students and anyone listening to this, tracking. Remember, I’m talking, take the music out of it for a second. This is the business part. This is a business podcast episode right now, okay?

Number one, you need to be tracking your cost of goods sold. COGS, for short. Cost of goods sold. That means, if you’re selling a CD, your cost of goods sold means everything that it took to create that CD, including the items itself. So the disks themselves, the reproduction of it, the artwork that went into it. All of that. How much does it cost for you to have that physical item in your hand, all in? Okay? And that’s also going to include the shipping for it. It’s also going to include, if you had employees or something. All of those things.

So at the end of the day, what is your cost of goods sold, landed, shipped to the person? That is an important thing to know. And the reason why is because you do not know how profitable you are on that item unless you have that baseline, because you don’t know what to charge for that item. You could be losing money. If you’re only charging $5 for that and it cost you six, all in, but you didn’t do the math to really figure out your cost of goods sold, you could be losing money and then, of course, you’re not going to be making a living off of that. So you need to do this for every single item that you sell. Your vinyl, vinyl’s very expensive. And so that’s why if you’re an independent artist, you have to charge quite a bit more.

You need to do this for every T-shirt. You need to do this for every single one. Now some of these get fairly simple if you’re doing print-on-demand and stuff because a lot of those things are… You just look up the manufacturer and they tell you what it is. And a lot of them have flat shipping rates and stuff so it’s very easy to keep track. But I have it all in a spreadsheet, every single item, I know the costs of goods sold.

And the other reason this is important is because when you’re running ads, you want to know what you can afford to spend to acquire a customer who’s going to purchase that item. And now that gets a little, if that goes right over your head, don’t worry. These are things that you will learn, and I just want you to absorb it, absorb the terminology. It doesn’t even have to make sense to you right now. But I want you to just get used to these words and these ideas because eventually, it’s all going to click. It will.

I’m going to move on. That’s number one. Number two is you want to know what your gross margins are. Your gross margins is the revenue minus your cost of goods sold. So it’s just a simple math equation. Okay? So let’s say I made $20 on the CD. My cost of goods sold was 10, my gross margin is 10. I like simple math.

14:51 CJ: Mm-hmm, yes.

14:53 Leah: That’s all I can handle. Trust me.

14:54 CJ: Right.

14:55 Leah: Just ask anybody who knows me. I am not a math person. I’m also not a data person. I’m not an analyst-type personality. I have to tell you this. It is not in my nature to be a super analytical-type person. Some musicians are super mathematical, especially drummers. So this’ll be like easy peasy for them.

Number three is going to be your general overall conversion rate. A conversion usually means a purchase, a transaction of some kind. Okay? So your conversion rate is going to be… Say on your shop, for example. On Shopify, they actually tell you, you don’t have to do any math, they just tell you. Out of all the people who visited and were on your shop, how many people converted into a sale? In e-commerce, you’re going to see anywhere between 1 to 3%. That’s a normal conversion rate. One to 3%. 3% is doing pretty good actually. If you can get to 5, you are blowing everybody out of the water, really! So that’s going to give you an idea of how much traffic you really need to be getting to your shop in order to be profitable.

So how do we get all that traffic to the shop? Oh, a variety of ways. That’s for another show. But the idea is that you understand what is industry standard. 1 to 3%. And that’s also the same for email as well. It can be quite a bit higher if you have a very engaged list.

The next metric is going to be really important, which is your AOV, your average order value. I love this metric because it tells you a lot about your potential and your profitability, and there’s so much usually room to grow in this particular metric. Your average order value is basically, what is the average value of the orders that people spend within a certain time frame? It’s usually going to be like a 30-day window. So one person bought a $5 item, another person bought a $45 item. And when you take the average of that over 30 days, what does it average out to be? So we always want to increase the average order value. And that’s one of the ways you can become instantly more profitable without spending more, is you can add more customers, you can increase the amount that they spend, and you can also sell to them more than one time.

So, increasing the average order value, you do this a number of ways, but you can offer more expensive products. You can try and entice them to buy more than one thing through upsells, down-sells, all within Shopify. You can offer deals like two-for-one, things like that where they’re just adding more to the cart. Hey, free shipping over a certain amount spent. So hey, free shipping over $75 within the USA. Sometimes, it’s like, it’s a psychological thing where they would spend less than that. Or what happens, let’s say they add, yeah, $50 to their cart and they get to the checkout and they see $20 of shipping. They’re like, “Oh, forget this. I’m abandoning my cart.”

But you say, “Hey, add 75 to your cart and you get free shipping,” they’ll go for that.

18:19 CJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

18:21 Leah: So it’s like more expensive for them. But it’s all psychology.

18:25 CJ: Right.

18:25 Leah: And that’s why I always say if you want to become good at this, you actually want to be a musician, musicpreneur or music marketer, whatever you want to call it, start becoming fascinated with human behavior. Start becoming fascinated by psychology, because that’s all this is, is what makes people do certain things. And then it becomes fun. This becomes a game when you realize it’s all about, “Hey if I make this button green instead of red, what happens?” Green is the color of go. Red means stop.

19:04 CJ: That’s right.

19:05 Leah: Think of stoplights. So if you make all your buttons on your shop red, what are you telling people? Don’t click this button or the bomb will go off. So it’s just psychology. So that’s why things, you know, average order value is… You want to be tracking that and there’s so much we can say. We could do a whole episode just on average order value.

19:25 CJ: Well, let me just say, I think even though this is a little heady for some folks who may not be familiar with it when it comes to the average order value, basically what Leah’s is saying is we want to, even though they’re coming in maybe for a $19 item, we want them to leave paying $35. And whatever you got to do to combine your different products and sales and things to keep creating that average order value, you’re obviously going to make a whole lot more money in the year. So in other words, try not to think, “Well how many CDs do I have to sell in order to make six figures?” No! Think about the whole kit and caboodle that you have to sell, the bundles, all the different things that you can to raise that average order value. So in that sense, a very, very important metric which will determine really your income for the year. Anyway, what else do you have for us?

20:19 Leah: Because that’s actually really important and that leads me to the next two here. The next important metric is customer acquisition cost. So how much does it… This is in terms of spending on Facebook for ads, for example. How much does it cost me to acquire a customer? Let’s say that you spent $25 to get the first purchase, but your margins and all the other numbers dictate you can only spend $12. Well, that first sale means it’s going to cost you, right? It’s going to cost you to get that sale. That is okay. And this is what I want my students to understand, and other people, you are not always going to be profitable on the front end. That is your cost to acquire that customer. Do you realize how valuable it is once you have a customer? You will now sell that customer over and over and over again and now everything else, you’re in the profit zone. Even if on the second sale you break even, by the third, fourth, fifth time, you are all in the profit zone.

Now you’re thinking like a business owner. If you think that you’re going to spend money and only make money on the front end, and if that doesn’t happen, you’ve failed and the system failed, and the course has failed and it’s all, nothing works and you go write some comment on Reddit, you’re delusional. You have no idea how business works or what you need to do to actually make a business work and be profitable. So, if you happen to break even on the front end, you are killing it. Wrap your head around that, let that sink in and it will change your mind about how all of this works, and expectations for yourself. It will most likely cost you on the front end to acquire those customers. Or break even or somewhere around that ballpark. Great! Now, that’s not where your money’s made.

Okay, so I want to get this really clear. Your money is not going to be made, if you’re spending, like if you’re doing Facebook ads and you’re just trying to like, to a cold audience and “Here’s my T-shirt and here’s my music and buy it.” If you are breaking even or anywhere around that you are absolutely killing it. But even if you aren’t, all the rest of your money is made on the back end. Your money’s not made on the front end. It’s made on the back end. All the emails, those abandoned carts, those upsells, those relational emails, it’s all email and retargeting, showing people ads later on.

There’s something called a customer journey. We’ve done episodes on this. We can do it again if you want us to. Leave us a comment. But there’s so much more to this picture than just the first sale on the front end. You are not thinking strategically if that’s all you’re thinking about. So in the world of e-commerce, that first sale, that’s the entry, that’s the first door, that’s the first in. But your job is then to sell to them over and over and over again. Sell them more things.

23:21 CJ: Yeah, that’s that value, right? That’s that, what’s that customer worth to you? And I think if people only see that the customer is just worth that one sale, then you haven’t really valued the customer properly. Because that customer is not spending their last $20 on your CD.

23:40 Leah: No.

23:40 CJ: The customer will have more money, you’ll have more things, so if you can create a relationship, then how much really is that customer worth? They’re potentially worth a whole lot more than $20.

23:52 Leah: Absolutely. And Shopify will actually give you these metrics. And that actually brings me to the next metric, which is the lifetime value, also known as the LTV. What’s the lifetime value? What can you expect one customer to spend over a lifetime, over a long period of time with you before they stop buying from you? You obviously have to have a lot of data to acquire this information, but if you’re doing this as long as we… Like I can see in Shopify, I can actually get a report. I have some fans who have spent $5,000 with me between crowdfunding and this and that and things that are run through it. Thousands of dollars. So I can… You have to understand, I am now willing to spend $30 on the front end to acquire a customer who’s going to spend 3 to 5,000. Do you understand? When you know that, you’re not banging your head against the wall when you’re not profitable from the ad at first. Because you understand what they’re actually worth over the long period of time.

24:53 CJ: Yeah. Well you think of… We recently did a episode on your planning for 2020. And you said you weren’t releasing an album this year. “Oh, well then how is she going to make money?” Well, she’s already worked with her team about what the kind of sales are going to run and the kind of things they’re going to do, and products and what have you.

So in other words, that lifetime value is built into your assumption about how a year is going to go. You realize that you don’t have to necessarily put out a… You might do some new shirts here and there and that kind of stuff.

25:24 Leah: Absolutely.

25:24 CJ: You can always do that, but you’re not going to put out the big album. But you’ve got a backlog. There’s people who’ve never heard you yet. You’re bringing in new customers all the time. If that customer comes in and you get them barely make any money off of something that they buy from you in January, by the end of the year they may have spent $200 with you.

25:46 Leah: That’s right.

25:46 CJ: And that’s just a year.

25:47 Leah: That’s right. So when it comes to lifetime value, the saying goes, is that the most expensive sale you’ll ever make is the first one. Okay? So the most expensive sale you’ll make to a new customer is the first one. And when you can make a new sale to a returning customer, now your cost per acquisition goes down. So it affects everything else. This is why any business owner who knows anything about anything is going to have these metrics. They’re going to know these things, they’re going to be tracking this.

The next one is your customer retention rate. Now this might apply more to those who have fan clubs and people who have items where they are recurring or a subscription. But it’s a really important one to just be aware of. And so in some businesses there is a cost to maintain a customer. Especially if you have a Patreon or something. Are you focusing on retaining the people once they’re there?

There are, on Shopify for example, there’s a ton of apps and stuff where they’ve got loyalty programs. And you can do points and you can do things that make them want to stay and become loyal to your brand. So that would be a small cost. The apps are a small amount of money per month, but it could help. I haven’t actually tested that too much in my music business. I’m going to be doing it more in the candle business, but I may bring that over to the music business. So it’s just a customer retention rate. We keep track of that in Savvy Musician Academy like gangbusters.

So we are keeping track of not only tracking it but finding ways to make sure our customers are happy and satisfied, and that they’re getting value out of it constantly, because what you don’t want is churn rate. Churn is the rate in which people stop subscriptions. And there’s industry averages for this as well. So a lot of times, at least in the information world, subscriptions usually have a churn rate of about three to four months. That’s what’s normal. And so we strive to go much longer than that because we want to… That’s telling us, are people consuming the information, are they getting value? Are they remembering to log in? Are we giving them as much as we can? Are we serving them in our best capacity? If everybody subscribed and then unsubscribed after month one, that tells us a whole lot. Something sucks. Something really sucks. So this is why this matters.

28:11 CJ: Yeah. And that’s that again. So it’s amazing how you’re listing, these are nine metrics, but it’s amazing how intertwined they are and how mutually dependent they are on one another, especially these past two or three. And because the lifetime value of a customer is going to be controlled by your customer retention rate. Are you able to keep them on board? And this is another reason why what we teach in the Savvy Musician Academy is so important, because we place a great deal… We talk a lot about the relationship that you have with your fans. We talk a lot about the culture, the lifestyle, all of these things. 

The stuff that you post, the stuff that you, the comments that you make, the interactions, that’s all a part of the sale process. Because as we’ve always said, they’re only going to buy from those whom they know, like and trust. And so that’s your responsibility now and why there’s no better person that can do it then you can. You can’t have somebody else be you. But what an empowering thing, because if you can keep that customer, a customer is going to spend and that’s what we mean by that lifetime value.

29:17 Leah: Yep. Well we’re on to number eight here. Number eight’s a really big one. If you are one of my students who are embracing the whole e-commerce aspect of the music business, and that is your abandoned cart rate. Next to your overall shop conversion rate, this is the second one you want to lump right next to it, is your abandoned cart rate. Because just by improving this one thing, you can improve the overall conversion rate. In general, in e-commerce, the standard abandoned shopping rates, the most common number is up to 70%.

29:52 CJ: Wow.

29:52 Leah: Up to 70% of people, I’ve even heard higher, I’ve heard up to 80 in the past, abandon their cart for a variety of reasons. Especially if they’re shopping on mobile. People have a really short attention span. They’re getting text messages, they’re scrolling, they’re looking on Facebook, they add something to the cart because they think it’s interesting and then they’re like, “Oh, I don’t have time to find my credit cards, enter this. No, I’ll come back later.” There’s a whole whack of reasons why people abandon. They see the shipping rates. These are things you want to think through, all the psychological reasons why someone might be abandoning. But it’s normal, it’s normal and it’s what’s happening.

So what we want to look at is what the current rate is and we want to improve it. That’s the whole optimization part. And that’s why, if I spent all year just doing that, I will make 25 to 40% more just by optimizing this stuff without doing anything else. So one of the things we teach in the Elite program is how to retarget people. Every time someone goes and enters their email and they start the checkout process and then they abandon their cart, we’ve captured their email. And that email can become part of a custom audience on Facebook if it matches. So we can actually retarget all those people. We can even show them the exact product that they had in their cart and say, “Hey, come on back in case you forgot.” And you can entice them with an extra coupon if you wanted. There’s a variety of things you can do.

But that’s some of the lowest hanging fruit you could possibly grab. And we teach you how to do that, over-the-shoulder tutorials on how to do that inside the Elite program. It’s really important that you learn that. It’s easy to do. And yeah, it’s a little learning curve, but it’s powerful.

31:32 CJ: Yeah. One of the things that Shopify does, you go onto your dashboard, it’ll tell you, “Hey, you lost this much money this month to abandoned cart.” And you’re looking at this-

31:42 Leah: Ouch!

31:42 CJ: … several hundred dollars going, “What! I lost, how much?” And of course you can, as you said, you know, through… And it’s just through apps and other things that you can utilize. And all of this stuff, it’s not like you have to get in there and email a bunch of people afterwards. No, it will be automated for you once you have it all set up. Yeah so if you could pick up another few hundred dollars-

32:08 Leah: Absolutely.

32:08 CJ: … in any given week-

32:09 Leah: That’s money on the table.

32:11 CJ: Oh absolutely.

32:12 Leah: Yeah. Most people are leaving all that money on the table. They boost a post and then say “Facebook ads don’t work,” or “I tried it the way you said and I lost money. I didn’t make anything. Your course sucks.” And they’re not even doing any of this. I mean guys, this is what it takes to be successful. You can’t run one ad and try one. No. And you need to run a thousand ads and they all need to fail and then you’ll know what you’re talking about and you’ll know what you’re doing. By then you’ll be an expert. You need to reset the expectation for yourself.

32:50 CJ: And if you run a thousand ads and you fail, you just suck.

32:53 Leah: Yeah. Not all of them are going to fail.

32:55 CJ: Yeah. In other words, you’re going to get there. It’s just like telling somebody about music. It’s by playing music for a long time and doing all that, just talk to somebody like me who doesn’t play would say, “I don’t know how you write a song.” But to somebody who writes songs regularly, they know how to do it. Why? Because they’ve, trial and error. And you listen to somebody’s early work, it doesn’t sound as good as the stuff they write now, and why? Because they grow as an artist, and you’re going to grow as a marketer. You have to give things time to work. You just have to.

33:27 Leah: Yeah, that’s right. Well I got one more for you guys. And this is more to do with those of you who are running ads. Okay, this is going to be a super important one. And that’s your ROAS, your return on ad spend, your ROAS, return on ad spend. And that just means for each dollar you’re spending in advertising, how many dollars are you getting back? And they put it in like a decimal. So you’ll see like a 1.5 or a 2.5 or a 4 or whatever. So that means if I’m getting a 4 ROAS, which is very good for e-commerce, like spectacular really, that would mean for every dollar I’m spending I’m getting 4 back. Okay? So those are the things you want to factor in when you are looking at your profitability, your gross margins. Like you said, all of these things are really related to one another. They’re all interdependent. This is information you need to be keeping track of regularly.

If you want this list, I’ve put it together for you in a little spreadsheet. You can go to the show notes and we’ll have it ready for you. All my students, if you’re a student in the Elite program, you already have this. I’ve made it be available for you so you don’t need to worry about downloading it. For everybody else you can go ahead and download it in the show notes.

This is important stuff that if you aren’t, again, if you’re not ready for all this advertising stuff we’re talking about, I just want you immersing yourself in the vocabulary of it. I want you realizing that this is where you’re headed. This is where it’s all going for you eventually, and it will become easy. If half the stuff went over your head, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to even think about that.” Listen, I was there. This is not natural for me and you will learn it. You will learn the things that you need to learn in order to become successful. And your brain can adapt. You can do hard things. You can learn things that don’t feel normal or natural to you as an artist. Your brain will adapt if you’ve decided it’s important.

For those of you who are just like, “Oh yeah, Leah, you’re like, this is kindergarten for me.” That’s awesome and that means I expect that you’re going to be doing this. You’re going to be keeping track of this and I want to hear how it’s going and what you’re doing to improve these things. Whether you’re a student or you’re not a student, go ahead and let us know in our Facebook groups or in the reviews here. I want to hear about it.

Regardless guys, this is advanced stuff but it’s like I said, what every business owner needs to be doing. And I don’t care if you run a personal training business outside of your music, or you’re just trying to get more people to come to your gigs. This is all stuff that you need to be knowing and immersing yourself in.

36:07 CJ: Good, excellent, so that’s wonderful, wonderful. So, so, so good Leah. Yeah again guys, if you want to get that free download, it is featured in the show notes and the quick way to get there is just, because this is episode 83., and you can find the link in the show notes. Download that and start learning about your metrics for your music business. So again, leave us a review. We appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much for listening, and we will see you soon.

36:43 Leah: Bye for now.

Episode #082: 2020 Annual Planning

Time to plan out your 2020! We’re making small steps toward big goals to push your musical career to the next level, and in this episode, Leah and C.J. discuss how to get intentional with your music business.

We want you to do more than simply set goals. We desire for you to set achievable goals that still challenge you, and that means really growing this year as an intentional online marketer!

In this episode, Leah reveals her own 2020 plan in light of the fact that she’s not releasing a new album this year. Will she be busy? What’s her focus going to be? Listen in and find out!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Dynamics of a music business team
  • Annual planning session
  • Choosing a theme word for the year
  • Leah’s focus for 2020
  • Optimizing your sales
  • Getting intentional
  • The Map Your Music Guide
  • Writing and speaking life into your goals


“I actually have a tagline that is the focus for at least the first quarter of this year in my team, in my music business, and that is analyze, simplify, and optimize.”  – @LEAHthemusic [0:12:08]

“There’s so much you can do on the on and off year if you’re not releasing any music.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:12:21]

“Don’t wing your life. Get intentional about living.” – @metalmotivation [0:17:00]

“Plan and think big enough that you’re slightly uncomfortable with what you’ve created, but not so big that… I think you know in your gut when it’s just totally out of the realm of what’s reachable.” – @LEAHthemusic [0:21:01]

“When it comes to your businesses, this is your kid, what you put into this is what you’re going to get once it all grows up.” – @metalmotivation [0:28:56]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

Map Your Music Year (PDF) —

Marcella Puppini (Elite Student) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. So excited to be here and be joined with her eminence herself, the lovely Leah McHenry. So good to see you again. How’re you doing?

00:34 Leah: Great to see you too. I’m happy to be here.

00:37 CJ: Aren’t we both happy?

00:38 Leah: We are. Lots of energy.

00:40 CJ: Lots of energy. We love energy. I hope everybody’s enjoying the podcast. Remember, that you can always leave a review, help us out and give us some stars because we do read these things. Great way for people to keep up with the podcast. Great way for people to discover it. And so, we want to make this the go-to place for all things music marketing and you can help us do that.

So before we dive in today I want to share just a student spotlight. This is one of our elite students, Marcella Puppini, I think, or Papine don’t know quite how to say that name, but she says, “#Win. Or should I say big fat amazing win! After eight gruelling months of crowdfunding, we finally hit our 50,000 pounds yesterday. It’s been an absolute slog and I’ve made a ton of mistakes even though it was my second time, first time on my own platform though. I even got told off by Leah on the podcast. I did this with a 4,000 mailing list, 4,000 member mailing list, which is relatively small, and with limited ad spend, but admittedly we have a devoted core audience that we’ve been nurturing since the Myspace days.”

Wow. “My aim for the next one is to raise the full amount we need for the project, which is 70,000 pounds. Mainly with products that I can get manufactured, rather than with experiences or products I have to create. There’s definitely something not quite working there, as I’m working so hard on this, on top of making the album, that I can’t help feeling there’s a disconnect between the amount of work I put into it and the results. But hey, I made the goal and I’ve made a big band album, my first as a producer, as well as a performer. So today I celebrate, and then tomorrow I’ll make a plan for how to raise the remaining 20,000 pounds I still need for promotion.” Wow.

02:26 Leah: Yeah. And I mean this podcast, I know our students listen to it, as well as non-students, so sometimes I’m going to address things that come up or questions that people have, or if I see trends that are happening, it’s all coming out here. But you guys know that I say it all in love.

02:47 CJ: Mother’s love.

02:50 Leah: It’s a mother’s love, that’s right. And so people actually tell me that, that they view me as the loving mother, one hand is disciplined, the other hand is a hug and a kiss. So that’s fine. If you want to view me that way, I will embrace that.

03:07 CJ: No, I think it’s great. And it’s one of the benefits of the kind of coaching programs we have in the Savvy Musician Academy, in particular, the Elite program, which not everybody is necessarily ready for, but for those who are, the level of coaching is on a whole other level. And so we are very, very into the details of everybody’s particular music business, and all that they’re doing, so sometimes Leah will take some of what’s happening in the conversations and posts within the elite group and actually share some of those here. But again, it’s for benefit.

03:41 Leah: That’s right.

03:41 CJ: And it’s to help all of us to progress. And Marcella, her results are pretty good.

03:48 Leah: Absolutely. She’s worked so hard and I’ve had personal calls with her and she’s really done so well. I’m so impressed with what they’ve accomplished, her little group there. And it absolutely should be a testament to what’s possible. And I just know she works very hard at what she does. So it certainly hasn’t happened overnight, and it hasn’t happened without a lot of effort and steep learning curve. So she’ll be the first to tell you that.

04:15 CJ: Yep. Again, for those who are listening, this probably was… to think that she raised that much. 50,000 pounds. They’re like, “I can’t imagine raising $1,000. I can’t imagine anybody giving me a $100.”

04:26 Leah: Yeah. I think that’s close to 80,000 in US dollars or something.

04:30 CJ: Yeah, I’m not sure about that.

04:32 Leah: It’s going to be close, in that ballpark.

04:33 CJ: It’s a lot of money.

04:34 Leah: It really is. Yeah.

04:36 CJ: So good for her, and onward and upward from here because she’s learning a lot as you do. Well Leah, we had finished 2019 and you had some really great goals achieved last year. People can go back to the previous episodes to hear more about your album release and year-end holiday sales and all that you learn, but we’re into a new year and one of the main things that you particularly live and you teach in the Savvy Musician Academy is planning and how important planning is, and you really emphasize this a great deal. So to get into this, let’s talk a little bit about your agenda for 2020 because you put out an album last year. Are you going to do the same thing this year? What’s changing for you?

05:18 Leah: Yeah, a lot has changed. I just thought people would really enjoy hearing what I planned for 2020 and how that process looks. I have a few new things on the horizon for me and I just thought I would share that update every year. Usually, in December or January, I will do an annual planning session and whether it’s just all by myself, which I’ve done many times, or if I have… Now I have a little core team that I do this with, and this time we even had Steve come because he’s being more involved in my business, more on the financial side of it and the bookkeeping and doing kind of thing.

05:57 CJ: And that’s your husband, Steve, for those who don’t know.

05:59 Leah: That’s right. My husband, Steve. And he does the same thing in Savvy Musician Academy. So he’s being more involved in that. And that just helps because, as I’m growing, I’m having to recruit more, my creativity, and more of these other things so that means less energy going towards numbers and the logistic side of things. That’s how growth occurs. When you’re at the very beginning, you’re doing everything yourself. Totally normal because it’s on a small scale, and so you can do that as you grow and eventually, your first hire will probably be some kind of virtual assistant where they’re kind of a full-stack person that can do a little customer service, they can do process orders, they can, send the numbers to the bookkeeper. They can do a variety of things. Later on, as you grow, you’re going to add a few more people in. So these are going to be your employees or team members, however, you want to look at that.

So I now have this little core team and it’s awesome, I am loving it. With growing a team it becomes more complex instantaneously between really solidifying the roles, to the communication because we’re all virtual-based and achieving accountability.

07:17 CJ: Right.

07:17 Leah: Having accountability in that we’re meeting those goals week after week after week. We have a weekly meeting. These are all things I can actually talk about in another episode, but I just want to give the lay of the land for people to understand how I’m doing it right now.

So we had the annual planning meeting, I think it was the end of December, and it was great. Usually, when I do this I will block off four hours, and you really want to give yourself a long period of time to really think everything through. And I like to be able to dream. I like to be able to brain dump and then come back in that session and cross things off. “Hey, what’s all the things I’d like to do?”

And then you come back to reality and go, “Okay well now what’s possible? What’s realistic with these other things going on in my life?” So before we get too far, I just want to say that we actually have a PDF that walks you through this exact process that I’m talking about now, and it’s called Map Your Music Year, and I don’t care if you’re listening to this in August, this is something you should do and you should just do it now. Whatever time of year it is, just do it now.

Mapped out the rest of your music year and then the year to come so you can actually get that in the show notes. You can also go to and get that, and it’s a full walkthrough of how to do this and how to reverse engineer those goals. The most important thing I think you could come away with is to ask yourself, “What do I want?”

08:46 CJ: Right.

08:47 Leah: “What do I want? What do I even want to do?” Most people don’t even ask that. They don’t think through their desires or what it is they even want to achieve. There’s what we think we should achieve but is it even what you want? It sounds so elementary and simplistic, but it’s something that has greatly affected my decision making because there are things we do because we think we should do them and they actually don’t bring us any joy.

So first of all, before I get into what all I planned, I want to talk about my theme word for the year that I have. Every year, usually in December, I am prompted to really start thinking about what is the focus going to be for the coming year? And I usually just get a word that comes to me.

I have a lot of friends, a lot of people doing this. I don’t know where I got the idea. Maybe this is not a new idea, but every year I’ve had one. I’ve had the word focus. I’ve had the word build. I’ve had different words and it really just sets the precedent for me. I like having one word because then I base everything I’m doing off of that.

Well, my word for 2020 is rest. And I joked that I made an acronym out of it. Resist Everything Shiny Today because as a visionary, creative person, I like shiny objects and musicians have horrible Shiny Object Syndrome. We get distracted so easily. And now with all the ads in our newsfeed, “Ooh, try this funnel and click funnels and blah, blah, blah and try these.” And you don’t need any of that. 99% of the stuff you see, you do not need to be successful. What you need is principals and you need coaching.

10:33 CJ: Right.

10:33 Leah: You just need these basic fundamentals, you need to understand these things, and then you need to go do and stop getting distracted by the shiny stuff. So I’m putting that out to myself, but also for me, the word rest, it doesn’t mean not doing anything, and it doesn’t mean taking a long vacation. It doesn’t mean being idle.

10:50 CJ: Right.

10:50 Leah: For me, the word rest is a few things. One: I’m taking a break from releasing a new album in 2020. I did an album two years in a row. That was plenty. That was plenty for me. So I’m taking a break from that so I’m not going to release anything new unless maybe it’s a spontaneous single or something like that. That’s fine. But I’m not doing a big album watch. I’m not doing a crowdfunding campaign. I’m not doing all these huge undertakings that take all my time and energy because when I do that, and which is totally fine, I really can’t do anything else. It is my full-time job. It makes it very difficult for me to be fully present anywhere else in terms of Savvy Musician Academy. It’s difficult for me to be fully in coaching mode and in launching mode for something else. You can’t be two places at the same time.

11:40 CJ: Right.

11:41 Leah: That’s a cyclical thing. That’s a seasonal thing. People have heard me say this before when they ask “Leah, how do you do it all?” I say, “I work in seasons. That’s how it works.” But I’ve had two cycles, two years of releasing albums in a row, almost a year apart from each other. That is enough. I’m taking a rest from that.

So 2020 will not be about launching anything musically. What I will be doing instead is really focusing. I actually have a tagline that is the focus for at least the first quarter of this year in my team, in my music business, and that is analyze, simplify, and optimize. There’s so much you can do on the on and off year if you’re not releasing any music, there is so much you can do if, especially if you have a Shopify store, you have an email list, you have all these things that you can make so much money that you’ve been leaving on the table because you’ve been distracted by launching, you’ve been distracted by the music, you’ve been distracted by those things and it’s not like we’re releasing music every single month. So when it’s an off year, that’s the time to dig through all your systems and processes, or lack thereof, and create them.

So the theme… well, I shouldn’t say the theme, the goal for my first quarter, and really it’ll be happening all year, is analyzing the stuff that means, “Hey, we’re looking at the conversion rate on my store. How many people actually bu, who go to my shop?” We’re looking at simplifying. I’m going to be deleting a ton of products that I currently offer my shop that either I had Shiny Object Syndrome and put a bunch of things out there just because I could. I don’t need to be a Sears catalog. I don’t need to have that many things. So I’m going to simplify.

And then optimization. Optimize. So finding ways to create less abandoned carts, for example. That’s huge. You don’t have to spend a penny more on Facebook ads and you could increase your revenue and your profits by 20 to 30% just by fixing stuff on your shop, by optimizing the layout, by helping people complete their purchase, and having abandoned cart emails. When someone adds stuff to their cart and then they don’t complete the purchase that you’re sending them emails afterwards. A series, not just one, but three to five, and then if they’re not converting well, changing it, optimizing.

Okay. So you could spend all year just doing that stuff and you will be so much more profitable in the end without spending a dollar more on Facebook ads or anywhere else. We’re even touring or doing anything. So my goal for this whole 2020 is really maintaining a baseline revenue month to month. That’s just kind of, “We’re just maintaining it.” It’s still a six-figure baseline for the year and that’s just Shopify alone. Not anything else. Not music publishing deals, not streaming revenue, not TuneCore, none of that. Just the shop.

And I’m basically leaving it to my team to run the promotions. So they’re coming up with giveaways. They’re coming up with little seasonal promotions, maybe a spring sale, maybe a summer sale, running those things. The only thing I’ll be doing is writing ad copy, writing the content. All that is coming from me and this in my social accounts, I always run those.

So that’s it. That’s all I’m doing in the music business, which is still a lot, but my time is going to be a bit more spent this year, in 2020, on Savvy Musician Academy. We are releasing the Online Musician 3.0 in the spring so I’m revamping that entire course right now. I’m focusing on all that content, re-recording it, updating all of that sort of thing, which is quite a bit of my focus and effort. And then I’m also launching a sister brand to my music and it’s a candle company called Mythology Candles. So we’re going to dig into that whole thing in the next couple episodes here. But that’s it. That’s all I’m doing. So baseline revenue, basically keeping my music business growing and running, optimizing it, Savvy Musician Academy, candle business. That’s it. That’s all.

15:58 CJ: Oh yeah, that’s it. So she’s resting everybody.

16:02 Leah: Yeah.

16:04 CJ: And I completely understand what you’re saying. In fact, in my coaching series, I taught a series called The Restful Warrior and it’s about striving without stressing. And I think that’s what we mean by rest. In other words…

16:16 Leah: Yeah.

16:17 CJ: … our inner posture is one of rest. We’re busy, but we’re not so driven by these…

16:23 Leah: We’re not stressing.

16:23 CJ: Yeah. Not stressing about it because you’re not driven by these big, huge deadlines of big huge projects. You’re happy to be analyzing, optimizing, fixing things, cleaning up. Bodybuilders have their off year where they bulk up and all that, then they get into the season and then they start to trim down. So we all need those times. And the takeaway here, you guys listening may not be to the level that Leah is, but the takeaway here is to think about that.

And I think having a theme or a word is a really, really great idea because I think it goes back to something you said often, Leah, which is “Don’t wing it.” Don’t wing your life. Get intentional about living. Start saying, “You know what? I realize it’s just a calendar date, but you know what? For 2020, this is going to be my focus. This is going to be my phrase that I’m working on this year. I’m going to pay off some debts. I’m going to get that album released. I’m going to build up my Facebook and Instagram audience. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I’m going to get my store launched.” Whatever it may be, whatever is the next step for you… It may be, in fact, Leah, somebody needs to get involved in the TOM program. Somebody needs to get into Elite. Somebody needs to sign up for the Inner Circle membership right now.

There’s three places, ladies and gentlemen, that you can touch the Savvy Musician Academy. Level one would be the Inner Circle membership. Level two would be the TOM program, which we’ll have more to say in the next couple of months because all of that’s changing this year for Savvy Musician Academy, and then, of course, our ongoing Elite program, but they all involve different levels because we’re meeting people at so many different points, Leah, that I think it’s hard for them to get their head around all our terms and all the things that you’re doing. “She’s got staff. What? She’s got staff? what does that mean?”

They can’t still deal with Marcella’s results. So it’s a lot. But what’s your next step? What’s your next season? What’s your next level? And what’s going to be your plan for getting there in the upcoming year?

18:24 Leah: Yeah. So, in the Map Your Music Year Guide, you’re going to see there’s four different categories that I want you to brainstorm through, which is usually some kind of revenue goal and breaking down where that’s going to come from. That exercise alone is so groundbreaking for so many people because they don’t ever do that. They have some pie in the sky number like, “One day I want to make $50,000 for my music.” And they don’t actually think about where that’s going to come from. So break it down. And it’s going to come from multiple places. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, that’s a principle to live by.

Always diversify, especially as an artist. You have to be creative and think outside the box. So it could come from teaching piano lessons or guitar lessons, or whatever it is that you know. It could come from live shows. It could then also come from selling merch in person, and it could come from online. It could come from a fan club. It could come from streaming royalties. It could come from five or 10 different places.

Ultimately, what I’ve seen work really well is when people have two or three really solid things that have really gotten off the ground before trying to do everything at once. Some of them are Set it And Forget It so like once you have your Tune Core set up, you have streaming royalties coming in, you don’t really have to do anything, so that’s completely passive. So that’s wonderful.

But for our things that require more of your effort, you’re going to want to put more time and energy into those things to get off the ground. If you do Patreon or you’d have a fan club on band camp or something like that. Obviously, that’s an ongoing thing where you’re giving content or something like that in exchange for that membership. Those are things I want you to be thinking through.

So thinking through revenue and breaking it down, how you are going to achieve that. Having some kind of goals, whereby the end of the year you have accomplished these things. Thinking through projects, like a recording, a new album, that’s a massive project. You don’t want too many projects throughout the year because you won’t accomplish them. You’re going to feel overwhelmed and you will want to quit before you started.

And then also I like to have a personal category in there because sometimes the personal affects the business stuff. So for example, we know that sometime in 2020 we’re moving. We don’t know exactly when, but that’s going to affect everything else that we’re doing. So I would not want to be recording an album in the middle of a move.

20:50 CJ: Right.

20:50 Leah: So you do need to include those personal factors in your decision-making process as you are planning these things. So don’t be too hard on yourself. I want you to plan and think big enough that you’re slightly uncomfortable with what you’ve created, but not so big that… I think you know in your gut when it’s just totally out of the realm of what’s reachable. Somewhere in the middle there is good because I think you’ve got to be challenged. All those authors that have written about: what is the height of happiness for people? There was one book I read, I can’t remember the author or what it was called, but he basically concluded that people are happiest when they have a challenge that they are working through and working to overcome. And then when that’s done, they need a new one.

So people are most fulfilled when they are in the activity that brings them a challenge. That’s why we make crossword puzzles. Just for fun, right? Why do we have Sudoku or whatever that’s called? Why do we have all these games? Every single video game you can die in or lose. We need challenge to feel satisfied in life.

22:14 CJ: Right.

22:14 Leah: So don’t make it so easy that it’s not even going to be fulfilling for you. Make it challenging enough that you’re like, “I don’t know, that scares me a little bit.”

22:25 CJ: Yeah. For a lot of people, they just don’t live with that intentionality. And I think that’s a really big… if that’s all that you do is just get some semblance of an organized year in your mind and then you’ll stop flying by the seat of your pants. Just letting life happen. You’ll start making life happen. And the more you get involved in online and online music career, the more that becomes important. And so there’s tools involved and we talk about that. There’s methods involved, there’s so much to learn, et cetera. But once you get the basics down, when you learn to live more organized, live more in planning fashion, have these set goals and be intentional, you can create desired outcomes. This doesn’t happen by magic and it’s not fate. , We can’t say that Aaliyah or whoever else is just destined.

I covered this recently. In fact, last week in my coaching group where I said we look at somebody like an Einstein or a mother Theresa and we say, “Oh, they have purpose in life, but not us.” No. Maybe they just took their gifts and talents and interests seriously and put elbow grease behind it and created outcomes. See, I can work really, really hard and slave over something for years and years and do such a good job on it that you guys think I was born to do it, that you guys think it’s fate, that you guys think it’s just destiny because you’re just seeing the end result. And so you can live like that. You don’t have to. People I think, Leah, have got it mapped out in their head that there’s just no way. But there is a way and that’s half the battle. If you believe it, you can get it done. And so we’re behind you.

24:01 Leah: That’s right. So I just want to remind everyone, if you haven’t done an annual planning session, that is my challenge for you. And I would love to hear what your theme word is. If you are in our free Facebook group, I would love it if you started a thread on this. Maybe we’ll start a thread and you can jump in there and find it. What’s your theme word for the year? We’ve done it already in our Elite group. We’ve done it in our student group, our general student group. We also have the free group and this is my challenge for you. Come up with your theme word and do an annual planning session. Those two things are going to really set your focus for the entire year and you’re doing things already that most people never do, especially musicians. They just never do these things. They’re not intentional, they’re not living with purpose and because of that, they don’t see the results that they want.

These are really basic things. Something else I can just add to this that I do with my kids every morning right now. I have a non-negotiable morning time with them where we do whatever we want, but right now we’re journaling and we all have a notebook and right now we came up with some annual goals, they all have some annual goals, and we put it into quarters. We split the year up into quarters. So explaining to them, they’re like 8 and 10 and all the way down to 5 and 13, and they’re learning right now how to split their goals up into 90 day little achievable sprints, and to make them smaller so that they can actually get to the thing they want to do. And one thing we do is we write them out every single day. Like repetitively. We’re writing them out every day and we kind of have a few things we’re writing down in this journal, but that’s one thing.

So we have three or four things. Do not fill it up with 15 things. Three or four things tops. And we read them out to each other as well even though we’ve all heard it a hundred times, we’re still reading it out because there’s something about writing it out with your hand and then speaking it out with your mouth and saying it to each other. There’s something about the accountability of it, and it is bringing you closer to actually achieving that goal. There’s something about saying it out to the world. And this is not manifestation crap. That’s not what I’m talking about. You know what I mean, CJ. Right?

26:12 CJ: Sure. Yes. Absolutely.

26:14 Leah: Maybe you can explain the difference between manifestation and what I’m talking about because I don’t know if I can articulate it but…

26:21 CJ: It kind of works a similar fashion. The more you believe something and the more you are confessing it, so to speak, the more you are speaking it out, the more you are creating the dynamics internally, and even externally to a degree, that puts you on a path to actually creating that desired outcome yourself.

26:39 Leah: Yeah. I feel like it’s more like a brain synapse thing that’s happening. Like you’re creating the pathways in your brain for the behaviors that you need to do to actually accomplish that thing. And that’s why we’re writing it out every day. We didn’t write it down one time and then… You’ll forget it. I feel like the human brain works like, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. And so if you’re writing it out every day, that’s why I like the pen to paper. Something’s happening in your brain thereby writing it, and then talking about it and reminding yourself, saying it out loud, and then saying it to people who are hearing it. Maybe you guys all want to join in my homeschooling morning times so we can do this together, but.

27:17 CJ: So even little Archer does this? That’s your youngest.

27:21 Leah: No, he’s playing with bugs beside us. He’s 5. So no, he’s playing with Lego and jumping off the sofa with a cape as Batman or something.

27:32 CJ: My man. My man.

27:33 Leah: That’s right. But when he’s old enough, then he’ll join us. And I said to them this morning, I was like, “You guys, I hope that you continue in this habit.” They’re all excited to do this, by the way. It’s not drudgery. They actually love it. They look forward to it because this is helping them come closer to what they want. My 8-year-old, she wants a corn snake. So she’s writing out… It’s all on their level, right? We’re not reaching for the stars or something here. It’s just she really wants a corn snake so her quarterly goal is to become an expert on… she wants to know everything about it, she wants to save $100, that kind of thing.

And so I said, “You guys, I really hope this becomes a habit for you, for the rest of your life because if you do this, I’m saying this as I’m making my coffee, you will really accomplish so much in their life.” They said, “Us too, Mom. We really like this. We want to keep doing this.” So that is awesome. So you don’t have an excuse if my 8-year-old and 10-year-olds and 13-year-olds doing it, you have to do it.

28:42 CJ: I’ll tell you what, very inspiring, Leah. I think that’s great. I think, obviously as a homeschooling mom, it’s a whole different… because you realize that you’re responsible for the upbringing of your kids. Same thing guys when it comes to your businesses, this is your kid, what you put into this is what you’re going to get once it all grows up. So we want everybody to, obviously, raise something great and significant and live the dream that you really want, which is a full-time music career and it is very, very possible.

So again, take advantage of that freebie that Leah’s offered today called a Map Your Music Year. You can get it at And if you’re interested again, go to the website today, learn more about… I’d love to have you in the Inner Circle membership. If you’re not a member of that yet, just $19.97 a month and you get a big old cool newsletter slash magazine, whatever we call it, you get a free mini-course, you get an audio version of the Inner Circle as well, and it is a great way to get yourself learning the ins and outs of music marketing.

29:52 Leah: And by the way, some of our Elite students are in the Inner Circle and they love it. So even our advanced students are loving it.

30:00 CJ: Yeah, so check that out today. That’s at But Leah, a pleasure again. We’ll see you next time.

30:12 Leah: See you next time, guys.

Episode #081: An Interview With Rob Hulford (Elite Student)

Savvy Musician Show co-host, C.J. Ortiz, interviews Rob Hulford, another Elite student from the Savvy Musician Academy (SMA). Rob’s music style is self-described as an “Ambient downtempo chilled genre geared towards helping people to unplug.”

In this interview, Rob explains how SMA helped him discover his true self as an artist, his true audience, and how to communicate with them. Rob shares not only his story but also some helpful advice and insights that will bring you quick results in your own marketing and social media engagement.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Marketing any style of music
  • Making an investment in yourself
  • The impact of the Elite student group and Coaching
  • Mastering the newsfeed
  • Getting paid for your music
  • Trimming your marketing audience
  • Creative merchandise ideas
  • Writing concise and effective copy
  • Viewing yourself as a business


“Everything I ever did at the outset, that Leah encourages you to do, worked for me, and it grew my business.” – @robhulford [0:08:05]

“What you invest now will pay you dividends later.” – @robhulford [0:10:38]

“It’s the whole experience that’s offered on this course, not just the learning, but the interaction, the one on one, the Facebook group, which is an incredible resource.” – @robhulford [0:13:18]

“If you’ve pitched your niche and your genre correctly, it will just seamlessly flow into their news flow. And then these guys look at it, and they comment on it, and they play it. And then they buy your music.” – @robhulford [0:16:06]

“Stop the News Feed. Disrupt the News Feed. And it’s free advertising, if you can post good content.” – @robhulford [0:17:10]

“That’s what it comes down to, knowing who you are as an artist, knowing your genre, knowing the ideal audience for it, knowing the culture that surrounds it, and then having a genuine, honest, face to face relationship, as much as you can have through digital media, every day.”  – @metalmotivation [0:17:17]

“I think that we have a right to be paid for what we do.” – @robhulford [0:21:27]

“Traditional marketing was never able to sit across the table from somebody. It had to build some kind of trust within a couple minutes of you opening your mailbox. Now you’ve got social media, where you can develop it over time.” – @metalmotivation [0:28:36]

“I got down to perfecting a six- or seven-word sentence in my Facebook ads, that people can read in one breath, and they just click.” – @robhulford [0:29:06]

“Reduce your audience size to those who you know will buy your music and you’ll find that your cost per ad will just plummet.” – @robhulford [0:29:57]

“You could have great success with half the knowledge that Leah shares in the group, if you just could get over yourself, and put yourself out there.” – @metalmotivation [0:31:10]

“It’s very important for me, to be informed, to have the knowledge that I need to make the right decisions, to not waste time, and to channel my efforts into what’s going to serve my music well for the future, and serve me well financially, as a business owner.” – @robhulford [0:33:27]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Book a Call With Us —

The Inner Circle Membership —

Rob Hulford —

Click For Full Transcript

00:19 CJ: Welcome to The Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the Branding and Mindset Coach here at The Savvy Musician Academy. Once again, I get the privilege to interview one of our elite students.

If you’ve listened to the previous interviews, you know, as well as I do, just how much insight you can get from that side of the table. You hear enough from me, you hear enough from Leah, you hear enough from coaches, but it’s great to hear a student who’s actually working their way through learning the principles that govern marketing, learning the principles that govern marketing their music in this new era of the music industry. Because they can speak from the struggle, they can speak from the obstacles to overcome, they can speak from the insights.

And so, that’s what we want to enjoy out of all of this. One thing you can do for me is a quick favor. Be sure to review this podcast. Whatever player you’re working on, give us as many stars as you can, and leave a review. We read all of them, share them in our team meetings, they are a huge encouragement to us, and they’re a great way for others to discover this show.

So we usually do student spotlights, but as I’ve said before, during these student interviews, the whole thing is a student spotlight, so I’m excited, particularly, to have my good friend from overseas today, Rob Hulford. Good to have you, my friend, thanks for being with us.

01:45 Rob: Hey, CJ, thanks for having me on. It’s a privilege to speak to you, to like-minded metal and rock heads, that’s my own foundation, and I’m here to share my thoughts, my experiences, and all the positives I’ve got from the course.

02:00 CJ: Well, from one metalhead to another, and I’ve noted this before, and I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, there’s no way we can not note the fact that your name sounds so much like Rob Halford.

So it’s a struggle for me to say Rob Hulford, as opposed to Rob Halford, and for those listening who don’t know, that’s the lead singer of Judas Priest, for anybody who’s a metal fan. So I’m sure, right, Rob, people have noted that to you. If you had a dollar for every time somebody said that to you.

02:33 Rob: Absolutely. My genre is primarily females in the 45-65 range. People are kind of mellowing, finding their way in life. So, of course, when they ask Alexa to play Rob Halford, a few of them have commented on the shock they’ve got when one of Judas Priest’s hits has come online.

And the fact that some of them are short-sighted old fakers. So they kind of see the bald head and wonder if I’ve donned a pair of spectacles, and grown a beard, or a long tache. So it has caused problems.

A little secret, CJ, I do spend two hours every night sitting religiously, chanting it, Alexa, trying to reprogram the algorithm to learn my name. So maybe in a year’s time, when we chat again, the problem will be fixed.

03:18 CJ: That’s great. Yeah, for the longest time, when I would use Siri to make phone calls, Siri would pronounce a name the way Siri wants to pronounce a name. So, because every time I would use the actual pronouncement of a person’s name that I would regularly call, it would not pull it up. So I had to start referring to this person the way Siri would pronounce their name.

I did it so much, that it became the way I would hear their name in their head, much the same as, I mentioned offline that I was running a venue in Texas, and so, we would play predominantly cover bands. And so, I would hear popular cover songs like Don’t Stop Believing and Pour Sugar On Me, and all this stuff. I would hear it so many times played by cover bands, that when I heard the original song on the radio, it sounded strange to me: “That’s not right!” Because you’re so used to the other.

Okay, now you’ve mentioned having that metal rock ‘n’ roll background, and I’ve seen some of your videos, pretty awesome stuff. But that’s not the genre you’re playing now. Tell us a little bit about your genre, what you’re doing now as an independent artist.

04:26 Rob: What I’m wanting to do, CJ, is going back to my days of rock ‘n’ roll and metal. I always had it in me, and always knew that I wanted to create an album of my own. I wanted to produce something, a signature to leave this world when I departed it. It was just one of these life ambitions I had.

Primarily in my rock groups, I played in tribute acts for Pink Floyd and Genesis, and they’re heavily melodic rock bands. And they probably are on the softer side of rock. So there was a gentle kind of crossover into my niche, which is kind of an ambient downtempo chilled genre and niche of music. So it is really, a lot of what I play now, could if you were to add drums and a lot of electric to it, fit in that metal classic rock, prog-rock background.

So, as I said, I took one step out from my prior life, into what is now an ambient and chilled, downtempo genre of music, which is pretty much devoid of rhythm. It’s heavily biased toward piano, strings, some wind instruments, and it’s geared towards helping people to unplug, to unjack from their frantic lifestyle that they have.

And it’s proved very popular. So you say, there’s not a lot of it out there which has got feeling, and it’s been composed from the heart, if you like, that moves people. And that, I feel, has been one of my successes. I’ve got a couple of gifts. I’ve got this ability to play by ear, I’ve got perfect pitch, and these are kind of arts that allow you just to flow, and go off track a little bit, and then bring it back in, and it creates this overall ambience, sonic experience, which has proven to be very popular.

06:14 CJ: Yeah, I love that genre. I would often tell people when they ask me about other genres of music, I would tell them other stuff that I would like. But I would really mention ambient, and the reason why is because I, the other half of my life, is design and creative type work, so I have to be invested in something, conceptually, using brainpower. And I can’t do that with a bunch of lyrics and heavy rhythms and all that sort of stuff.

So I would tend to gravitate towards ambient type of music because it would create atmosphere. It wasn’t demanding my attention, so my mind could be free to do things. So I have tremendous value for that form of music. When people, Rob, typically think, maybe, of something like Savvy Musician Academy, they think, “Oh, they’re helping pop artists who can’t make it, or a country artist who can’t make it, or a rock artist that can’t make it.”

No. We have so many different types of artists in the Savvy Musician Academy, like yourself. When you broached this, Leah first appeared on your radar, what was your thinking? Were you just, “I don’t know if these principles would for what I’m doing? Can I really market this type of music?”

07:29 Rob: Well, I believed in my music, always. I know it moves people. The small audience I had before I found, or discovered Leah, were very passionate. They were very complimentary about what I wrote and I performed. And I knew all I needed was the glue, the dots to join up the bigger picture.

Somebody I knew had mentioned Leah, I think, not the Elite course, but the basic course there, the student group. And I’d kind of dipped into and dipped out of it, and the content that was there was pretty good. And I took the plunge, and I decided to go for their 10,000 Fan Frenzy, and it worked.

Everything I ever did at the outset, that Leah encourages you to do, worked for me, and it grew my business. It did what it said on the tin.

08:12 CJ: Right.

08:12 Rob: And I was at that point in my life, where my music was starting to grow, and I had to decide, am I going to take this really seriously? It’s my in heart, and it was in my mind, I really wanted to make a success of it. I just didn’t quite know how to get there.

Along came Leah, with all the years of experience, and when she says in her course, she talks about, “I’ve learned with hindsight, and this course is prepared for you with hindsight.” So it’s cut those three or four years that I would have needed, to have got to where I am now, had I not done the course. And that is priceless. And that saved me.

It works, without a doubt. It just depends on how much you, the student, or you, the musician, really wants it. And if you really want it, it is there, and I’ll make no bones about it. It’s a mindfuck, from time to time, but you just sit down, focus again, allow the kind of emotions that form in your mind, and in your head, just as to be put to one side, and then carry on.

And I find that I, quite often, when I’m studying a course, I’ll go intensively through a couple of programs. And then I’ll take a break for two months, and work with it, and apply it. And then I’ll go back and do the next chunk. And it’s served me well, served me really well.

09:23 CJ: What were some of the eye-opening things for you? What were the key moments for you?

09:30 Rob: I think, without a doubt, there’s two or three I would say. I would say that Leah’s enthusiastic manner, and her approach, and her design, and the way she’s created the course in bite-sized pieces. It means that for people who find it a struggle, which a lot of artistic people do to focus and concentrate on the learning process, it makes it that much easier.

And I think as I’ve got to, I think, Module Three or Four, where I began to learn about Drip, Leadpages, and all these tools that were out there, that I never heard of, and I didn’t know how they worked, and I started to apply the learning to my work, it started to connect my music with all the thousands and possibly millions of people in time that were already looking for my music.

10:14 CJ: Right.

10:14 Rob: And then, to that extent, it’s beyond value.

10:17 CJ: So what has been your discovery, in terms of how many people are potentially available for your very unique genre of music?

10:27 Rob: I guess the Facebook ads certainly are an incredible tool. They’re very powerful.

10:32 CJ: Right.

10:33 Rob: And I think a lot of people out there need to embrace the concept of what you invest now will pay you dividends later. You can’t get a quick buck if you’re not really serious about this business. I’ve been running ads very aggressively, for about three months, and it’s cost me one and a half, two, two and a half thousand pounds, which is probably $3,000.

But what it did, it meant when I launched my album about four weeks ago, I sold 100 times as many as what I did last year. And I’m taking about 2,000 pounds, which is $2,500 a week-

11:05 CJ: Right, wow.

11:06 Rob: Which I never had before, which I could not have done, had I not had all the tools. So it’s about, my biggest gain, really, is to apply the teaching and the learning meticulously, using the tools that are taught in the course, and applying those, and also giving yourself, being disciplined with your time, and being passionate about what you want to do.

And I know these sound like generic or general concepts, but by putting all of these together, and it does require the whole lot to work together in sync, to go from being an average success, to a great success. But the thing that stirs me the most, CJ, is all of this is scalable. I am so far off the scale, compared to where I was last year, and my plans are to pull up, to pull through, and any revisions that come will only make it that much better still.

And this time next year, when I plan to release another one or two albums, I’ve got high hopes of being able to sustain myself indefinitely, from that point forward. And that’s the amazing thought.

12:08 CJ: So that’s got to be very empowering, to feel like you have so much control now over your future, over your career. Obviously, you’ve mentioned earlier, that you asked yourself, “Am I going to get serious about this?” And that’s a tough question to answer until you get more information about how to do something. Then you’re like, “Well yeah, I would get serious because I can see how it could possibly develop.” How has that changed you?

12:35 Rob: I think, as you mentioned there, it’s the pillars which are explained to you at the outset when you join the Savvy Musician Academy, the Elite course. It’s a coaching course, which are, with yourself, with Steve, when he did a few, with… Oh, God, I had one of the guys’ names, off the top of my head, but they’re fantastic. It just gives us a one to one conversation with the experts.

And if you’re serious about what you want to do, these are fantastic opportunities to be able to embrace that knowledge, take it on board, and relearn from other people. I’ve lost count of the amount of times when I was on a coaching call, and somebody else was having the hot seat. I thought, “You know what? I’m going to write that down. That’s a fantastic idea.”

13:17 CJ: Yeah.

13:17 Rob: And so, it’s the whole experience that’s offered on this course, not just the learning, but the interaction, the one on one, the Facebook group, which is an incredible resource. All of this helps us.

And every day, I religiously experience half an hour to an hour, scrolling through what’s been posted, because there’s either something that I can contribute to, to help other people, or there’s something in there, which is going to help me. The way the whole course is put together is what.. It’s a support, CJ, it’s a prop for you, through your highs and your lows.

Everybody has lows. Everybody has doubts about, “I’m in new waters there. I’m kind of in new territory. What’s going to happen?” Or you get to a point where “I’m suddenly seeing 1,000 pounds a week. Do I stop there, or do I say no, I want 5,000 pounds a week?”

14:10 CJ: Right.

14:10 Rob: The whole package there, the Facebook group and the coaching, is there to kind of nurture you through all of those phases, but to empower you to do it yourself. And this is what matters. All of, what I do now, I’ve learned myself, with the help of Leah, yourself and the other guys on the coaching calls. So I don’t have to have someone else do it, I don’t have to pay somebody on Fiverr to do it. I can do it myself, and that is, there’s nothing else like it out there.

14:37 CJ: Oh yeah. Oh, that’s amazing, and you have been a great resource for a lot of the other students in the group, which is something we noted on a previous interview, the person I was talking to, Jacqueline Caruso, had talked about just, “The coach is great, course, great, but then, the other students there…” Because of the investment that is required to get into the program, it kind of eliminates a lot of bad attitudes.

Because, in other words, everybody that’s in there is very, very serious. They’ve really put a lot on the line. They’ve really got a lot of skin in the game. And so they take it seriously. And so, their attitudes show it, very encouraging… It’s just wonderful for us, from the coaching side, to watch everybody building each other up, and encouraging each other. And so, when you guys will post the things in the group, that you’re trying, in a new thing, it’s just, it’s delightful.

Because some of you guys are pushing, like, you had that one thing that you did, with the News Feed trick. I forget what it was, kind of like an animation thing, and I was like, “What in the world is he doing? We didn’t teach that, but that’s outstanding!”

15:47 Rob: Yeah. Well, it all makes sense. I mean, you were saying about disrupting your News Feed, and you go on about this, but it is so vital. It is those momentary seconds, where you can get your music, your niche, your kind of, the world that you live in, that you create, that you share with others, you get it into their News Feed. And if you’ve pitched your niche and your genre correctly, it will just seamlessly flow into their news flow. And then these guys look at it, and they comment on it, and they play it. And then they buy your music.

16:17 CJ: Right.

16:17 Rob: And this is precious stuff, and I saw this on, which is an ad site, and they had had templates, and it just led me to do that. The one thing I’ve learned, CJ, and this is the biggest lesson I will give to anybody here if you see something, it impresses you, if you see something that makes you sit up and listen, sure as hell, your fans are going to do the same thing, right?

16:39 CJ: Right.

16:40 Rob: So, in your downloading content from Pinterest, to posting your News Feed, and in your community, and in your groups, look at the stuff that stops you when you’re slowing and saving these images. If it moves you, it will move other people, and that’s so important, and that’s what I’ve tried to really focus on. And the interactions I’ve been getting on my page, and in my group, which are the people who buy from me, have gone through the roof. That’s gone tenfold in the last couple of weeks.

17:05 CJ: Wow.

17:05 Rob: Just from using the very technique you taught me in one sentence, that is, “Stop the News Feed. Disrupt the News Feed.” And it’s free advertising if you can post good content.

17:17 CJ: Yeah. And that’s what it comes down to, knowing who you are as an artist, knowing your genre, knowing the ideal audience for it, knowing the culture that surrounds it, and then having a genuine, honest, face to face relationship, as much as you can have through digital media, every day. And you create the know, you create the like, you create the trust element that brings you and your potential buyer together.

This is not a scheme, this is not an issue. It’s just how you make this sort of thing work, when you can’t physically be with people, face to face.

17:52 Rob: This is why this course is so priceless. Because the first two or three modules are entirely devoted to discovering yourself, discovering your world, discovering what it is that makes you write the way you do because you’re not alone. And I love Floyd, I love Mystical, and I’ve been on tour with Mystical, which, again, not everyone knows, but-

18:12 CJ: Mm, right, that’s powerful.

18:13 Rob: I ran with him, and of course, his sounds, the sound that’s the Pink Floyd sound, comes through in a lot of my tracks. And I’m not the only person that likes it. So if I now were to create a genre, which has a link into that, it’s going to influence the thinking and the emotions of those who listen to it. So as long as you’re true to yourself, and you don’t try to, and I think Leah says it one of the courses, “Don’t try to have a jazzout and a classic rockout going at the same time, because you’ll confuse the followers you’ve got.”

But if you’re building that is uniquely you, and you’re able to develop that kind of brand, which finds itself, and you say, through the views and opinions of others, and if you take the time at the outset that the course coaches you so well on discovering that… And not getting hung up about it, just allow it to happen, as everyone’s told, the foundation’s there. The foundation of success is there.

19:11 CJ: Yeah.

19:11 Rob: And if I can do them, anyone can do it, and that’s from the heart, and I mean that.

19:16 CJ: Now, how, what was your feeling about selling beforehand? Were you averse to it, or was something you had, didn’t have a problem doing? What was your attitude about being salesy, as an artist?

19:28 Rob: Great question. And funny enough, I’ll answer that. My view was, I wanted the sale, okay? I was a little bit averse to putting all the right effort, or the channelled effort, into getting that sale. I lacked the knowledge on how to leverage that sale, leverage the money from the people, ask people to pay for my music, okay? This is one of the strong points of the course. It teaches you how to feel confident enough to trust in what you produce, to ask other people.

Now, I’ve been using Drip religiously, and it’s really helped me a lot. And I actually was sending, at one point, I was sending out an e-mail every day, and guess what? I got paid every day, every time I sent an e-mail out, I had about five people going and buying our music.

20:14 CJ: Wow.

20:15 Rob: And sure, I got a 5% unsubscribe rate, but these guys were never going to buy my music in the first place.

20:20 CJ: Exactly.

20:21 Rob: They just weren’t going to buy it. So all that did, it got rid of the chaff or the people that were with no interest in me. And the people who wanted to listen to it, the people who were waiting for my deal, for my bundle, were just getting feeds. And if they missed the e-mail, like most people do, they picked up the one in a few days later.

So that, to me… Without a doubt, I could draw a graph, or a graph, showing every time I sent an e-mail, in came 200 bucks, every day, without fail. And when it didn’t. And that is just one very simple cog of the whole bigger picture. And let me tell you something, and I was talking to Megan about this, that I’ve been taking 200-250 bucks every day, without selling any merch at all.

21:00 CJ: Wow.

21:00 Rob: For music.

21:00 CJ: That’s good.

21:02 Rob: And I’ve got an e-mail list of about 1,500 people. So I’m quite happy with that. I’m going to revisit the merch aspect of my shop because I know that the survey I sent out was all about jewelry, and I found it very difficult to source that, but now, I’ve got a solution to that. So that’s in the pipeline, and that’s only going to enhance things for the future.

But in terms of selling, I think that we have a right to be paid for what we do. We’re not… There’s a school of thought amongst a large section of society that believes music is for free. Streaming overtook CD sales about 20 years ago, and it’s still very popular. But everyone’s entitled to be paid. The amount of effort you and I and the other students put into their work… I was working 15 hours every day, for about six months, and at one point, I was getting 20 cents a day, okay?

21:55 CJ: Wow.

21:55 Rob: So that motivates me to get my money back. I want my money for what I’ve done, and because I’m confident in the music I produce, and I love it, in what I do, and others do, it’s just the case of asking people to buy your music, okay? And the course prepares you for that, yeah. To be fair, I’ve listened to all the other, or most of the other students in the group, and the quality of the music that these guys are producing is exceptional. I’d buy it. I’m buying CDs off the fellow who was in the group because it’s exceptional.

22:25 CJ: Right. Yeah, I’ve made a note of that recently. It’s just the, part of the reason why people will buy your music is because they’ll learn to know, like and trust you. That’s the social media element, getting to know your people. Because the same thing happens within the group. Because I get to know you guys, right, on coaching calls, and all of that. Even genres of music that may not be something that I’ve listened to before, but because I got to know you guys, I want to get the music. And there is that element in there.

And I really hope, Rob, that people heard what you just said. Because it was so, it’s so dead on with what can potentially happen, because there is the potentiality, the fear of rejection. And an artist who’s maybe averse to selling and afraid of that doesn’t want to feel like, that they will cheapen their art if they do that. And so, they’re worried if those 15 people unsubscribe because they sent out an e-mail advertising their new release.

No, Rob is right! Those people are never going to buy from you anyway. So get them off your list, it’s like, you go out and you want to have healthy vegetation, shrubbery and bushes, and these sorts of things, you have to trim, right?

23:44 Rob: Yeah.

23:44 CJ: You have to trim the shrubs, you have to take off the dead branches, get rid of the stuff that inhibits growth. And the more you do that? The more, the better, more resilient your list is going to be, the more the servers and things are going to push your e-mails to the main mailbox of your audience.

It all works together, and once you understand this, again, like we just said earlier, it’s a tremendously empowering thing, because, to hear Rob… You say that yourself, is, “Am I going to settle for this amount of sales per week? Or am I going to go, two times, four times, 10 times, what I’ve done?”

24:23 Rob: Yeah. I think one of the, my biggest challenge is, and it’s not a problem that wasn’t an issue. It’s just the challenge is that we all get mental fatigue. Our brains have biorhythms that work in cycles. And you can work, you can do the same Drip plan, the same broadcast, the same campaign, week in and week out, but we experience fatigue. And when this fatigue sets in, that’s just when these little doubts creep into our mind.

And this is, again, that’s when all this, the coaching calls that we have, Suzanne or yourself, or the mentors who actually say, “Look. Just take a breather. Go back to your creative part of writing. When you feel good, go back to your marketing, when you get a surge of optimism, because it will surely come back.”

And I think, providing we have the support, which we do in the group, be it on a coaching call, and being in the forum, the Facebook page, we will get that spark back that says, “I want to press forward again.” And the reward surely follows. And the support we give each other, and I always try to do the same thing, I try to jump in the group and say to somebody, if they’re struggling, “Look, ask me a question. Let me tell you what I did.”

I posted an image of my sales the other day because I thought, it wasn’t a big-headed bragging matter for me. It was just to show other people, it could be done. Because I never thought I’d ever see it.

25:41 CJ: Yes. Right.

25:43 Rob: And I did, so if I can do it, I’ve only learned the same course everyone else has done, so it’s there for the taking.

25:49 CJ: Yeah, it’s true. If one can do it, certainly, others can do it. And again, this is, we’re talking to someone here who’s playing a unique form of music. It’s ambient style music, and I may not know how big a market that is, and all the things that are involved in that particular target audience. But there’s a lot of people on this planet, and there’s a lot of people out there, just like you, who like what you like, enjoy the topics that you like to talk about it.

And if that’s something you’re providing, on something like Facebook, on something like Instagram, people will gather and have that conversation with you, choose to follow you, and eventually buy your music. And this is great. But you know what? Like you said, Rob, you haven’t even really gotten into the merchandise element yet, which can obviously bring such an added bonus to all of this, especially if that merchandise is reflective of the culture.

You mentioned doing some jewelry. And I can imagine, there’s just all sorts of things again under your particular genre that you could explore.

26:55 Rob: Our music, it will form like Leah kind of applicants in the course. And I allow people the option, foolishly, to suggest otherwise, items they’d like to see in my store. So I’ve got about 70 or 80 different options.

27:08 CJ: Oh, my goodness!

27:09 Rob: Yeah, but crystal jewelry, crystal bracelets, came on at about 50% or 60%. And I think Daniel Coates is one of your other students, and he and I talk quite a lot, and he’s on the money. He knows what he’s doing, so…

27:21 CJ: Yeah.

27:22 Rob: I’m going to try to promote him in the UK when he comes over from Australia to tour, and he has sourced me a silver sphere, out in Barley, where he lives, to manufacture jewelry at a dollar a bracelet, which I can sell for 15 bucks here.

27:34 CJ: All right.

27:35 Rob: So again, I would never have met him through my everyday life. It was through associating with students here, and this is really important, that we… To be successful, you need to use every resource that there is available to you. And it’s helped me, and it’s going to help me a great deal more in the future.

27:51 CJ: It’s a daunting idea that the artist would have to do all of this themselves because the record labels used to handle all of this, their marketing department and what have you. But this is the greatest era for anybody in any kind of business because if marketing would have had the kind of tools available, via the Internet, social media, e-mail, et cetera, it would have been a much… The rules that govern marketing today would be completely different, the rules that govern copywriting today.

28:24 Rob: Yeah.

28:25 CJ: We talk about using certain words that sell. There are certain sales copy, words that you want to use, et cetera. Those are all based on traditional marketing. Well, traditional marketing was never able to sit across the table from somebody. It had to build some kind of trust within a couple minutes of you opening your mailbox. Now you’ve got social media, where you can develop it over time.

28:48 Rob: Well, this is so key, because you’ve picked me up a few times when my copy’s been a bit, kind of long-winded. And you’ve said, “Rob, take it from a paragraph, down to a sentence, and then to four or five words.” And I scratched around it, and over time, the more I did it, the better I got at it. And I got down to perfecting a six- or seven-word sentence in my Facebook ads, that people can read in one breath, and they just click. Or they just go to my landing page.

And this is an art. But the course teaches you how to do this, and these elements of the course, a bit, are all, each in its own right is a small piece. But you can have, something that’s 10 meters square. And each little piece looks nothing on its own, but when the picture’s complete, you’re in business. 

And as you say, the marketing aspect, the potential that’s there, if I can just divulge slightly, I found that testing the Facebook ads, the copy, but also the audience, is really key to turning things around, to actually just tweaking things. Look at your analytics, look at the people who are interacting with you. Take out the people who don’t interact with you.

Reduce your audience size to those who you know will buy your music, and who will talk to you. And all of a sudden, you’ll find that your cost per ad will just plummet, and you’re paying 10 cents a like, or 30 cents for an opt-in, or maybe 50 cents for a sales conversion.

All of this is experimentation, but it’s experimentation on the backing of the coaching, that we get in the course. And this is why, if you’re open, and you don’t get anxious about the pitfalls, your hype, your sales, your successes will follow very quickly afterwards.

30:32 CJ: Yes, it’s amazing, and I know you learned this yourself. Obviously, there’s so much information taught in the course, which makes people think, “Oh, it’s the information. It’s the information. I don’t have all this secret marketing knowledge that’s taught in Leah’s Elite course.”

But you also realize, through the course, just how much of an enemy you are to yourself. How much, the biggest hurdle that a lot of us have to get over, is our sales, our fears, our sense of overwhelm, the failure aspect, the getting knocked off course, broken focus, so much to learn, self-doubt, et cetera, et cetera.

These things, as I often tell people, “You could have great success with half the knowledge that Leah shares in the group if you just could get over yourself, and put yourself out there.” And that’s one of the things, Rob, that I really like about your approach to things.

You have put yourself out there. You haven’t held anything back, you haven’t just put your best self out there, you put everything out there, to the group, to the coaches. And man, that always leads to growth and advancement and progress.

31:41 Rob: But you know what, CJ? I want this, I want this more than anything I ever wanted in my life. Okay? And because I want it, it’s already happened. And that’s really important. And I, like I said, the encouragement we give each other in the group, and in the coaching course, is really, really important.

I can’t understate that we all have had certain influences in our life. We’ve all had a bad day, we’ve all got Christmas shopping to do, we’ve all got bad weather, we’ve got cars that don’t work. But it’s very easy to make excuses, for having to use mental focus as something that’s going to bring you reward, because when you’re troubled by various other aspects of your life which serve as detractors on what it is you really want to do, you have to have that focus, and that will to continue. And that’s one of the biggest tests in this life.

And I think that the coaching course, like yourself and Suzanne in particular, when we talk about that sort of thing, are those things after the cool people sit down and think, “You know what, Rob?” Or, “You know what, CJ? I need to do this.” And that everyone sees a turning point when that happens. And it’s that moment, it’s that breakthrough, where, when we have all blocks, that then allows you to carry on, and to make progress, and to boost your sales, if you’re selling, or to boost your knowledge, if you’re learning.

33:05 CJ: That’s amazing. As we’re recording this podcast, we’re just broaching the new year, and so much to look forward to. What, for you, what’s your target vision for the upcoming year?

33:20 Rob: I don’t know how long you’ve got, or if you’re going to regret asking me, but I’ll try and keep it concise. It’s very important for me, to be informed, to have the knowledge that I need to make the right decisions, to not waste time, and to channel my efforts into what’s going to serve my music well for the future, and serve me well financially, as a business owner.

And it’s very difficult to project forward 12 months, what I’d like to do because I’ve been doing the maths on whether, if I’ve got 1,500 e-mails now, and I have 15,000 e-mails in a year’s time, whether I’m going to have 10 times the income. Probably not, because we have other releases.

But in a couple of sentences, for me, for 2020, more of the same, two more albums coming out. I plan to apply the course ruthlessly in the way I’ve done so far. I’d like to be part of the group actively, on a regular basis so that we can share in the group’s success. That’s actually important to me too.

Because you never know, down the road, whether I’m going to call on Megan to come and sing with me, or Fessen, who I talk to, as well. She plays the harp. I’m going to have her on one of my albums because she’s only miles away. I can drive down there, and I can record it. And this is a beautiful experience we’re all having here.

34:38 CJ: Yes.

34:39 Rob: My music will grow, my sales will grow tenfold, ideally, and the love and the connection with the rest of the group will flourish. And I look forward to it, big time, and continue to work with you guys.

34:50 CJ: Wow! Outstanding. Well, this is why these interviews are just so awesome. And, as I’ve said to the other students that I’ve done an interview with, the joy, for me, and I know I speak for Leah, as well, is that we get to have this front-row seat to watch this happen for all of you.

Because I remember, I’ve known Leah for years. I remember when she wasn’t a marketing expert. I remember when she didn’t know anything about marketing, and they were struggling financially. Her story is true. It’s not exaggerated, it’s not something that’s inflated, it’s absolutely true. I remember when they were struggling bad, financially, I remember when she didn’t know anything.

And it seems like I turned my head, and turned back around, and suddenly, she was climbing up the charts, so to speak. She was making progress, and it was just an upward trajectory from that time. And she paid the price. She went before the musicians, and she invested thousands of hours, and thousands and thousands of dollars herself, and then put together this type of thing, specifically for musicians, and she’s narrowed that down.

But even still, with all the course material that’s involved, there’s so much. And so, every student has to go at his or her own pace, but as you’d noted, Rob, there is so much support, and so much strength and knowledge and insights, and just the answer that you might be looking for is being shared in the News Feed. I think it’s wise that you go on that News Feed daily, and just scan it for-

36:31 Rob: Sure. I would say that, I mean, Leah’s been one mentor throughout. She has the same mindset. She’s a very strong thinker and so am I. And I’ve found a lot of solace in the fact that she’s been through what she has, and she’s put down a concise and summarized script of all her experiences so that we don’t have to go through the grief and the pain.

Certainly, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and who knows? If you’re going at a much slower pace, and after a year, you sell 20 CDs, are you more likely to give up? Possibly you are. If you’ve had somebody come along and sweep the crap out of the way, so that you’ve just got a framework to employ and use in your business, so you become more successful quicker, than that’s a massive help, like I said.

One of the promises I made myself is, I will make and more sell records than Leah will. I’m going to make more money than her.

37:24 CJ: I’m sure she would welcome that, yeah.

37:26 Rob: Yeah, I know. I’m very driven, and I owe it to her, and to Steve, and to all of you amazing guys here for what I’ve been able to achieve so far. But if that’s the mountain, I’m the first couple of steps up. But there’s only one way, and that’s up, is for me.

37:45 CJ: Awesome. How can people learn more about you? I’ll include this in the show notes, but for those who are just listening, tell the people how to reach you.

37:51 Rob: I’ve got a shop online, it’s, so it’s You can go on there, you can listen to my music on there, there’s a couple of videos playing excerpts from all of my albums. If you want some free tracks, just pop me a message in the forum, or message me on Messenger, and I’ll send some music over to you.

I’m a big advocate of giving stuff away, CJ. And if I can just mention this, finally, that, never allow generosity to get in the way of sales. Because, in the digital world, a digital download is free. And you can flood the world with your music, if you do it wisely, and you share it, and the goodwill that goes, it’s shunted about into the universe, is karmically returned to you, in time.

Because if nothing else, those people you’ve shared your music with, will come back looking for you, once they’ve listened to it and enjoyed it.

38:45 CJ: That’s excellent.

38:45 Rob: So yeah, I’m there to give away tracks for you guys to listen to, if you want to support me and buy a CD, and buy the music, too. That would be grand, fantastic. But like I said, www.robhulfordshop. Not Rob Halford-

38:58 CJ: Right.

38:58 Rob:

39:00 CJ: Yeah, that’s H-U-L-F-O-R-D, So, Rob, thank you so much again for being with us. And I know I’m going to see you very soon in the group.

39:13 Rob: Yeah, sure, absolutely. It’s been a pleasure, CJ.

39:16 CJ: And so, again, for all you listeners, please leave us a review. We thank you so much for your support.

If you’d like to get started with something, with Savvy Musician Academy, maybe you’re not ready for the Elite program, maybe you’re not ready for the TOM course, The Online Musician, you can join our Inner Circle Membership.

You can learn more about that at Less than $20 a month, you get plenty of great content, which will begin to teach you, everything from this terminology we’re using, and all the tools and motivation, and marketing principles and tips and methods, to marketing, things that you can implement right away, plus a mini-course.

You get that each in the Inner Circle Membership. Go to today. Learn more about the Inner Circle Membership, and I will see you guys in there.