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 #073: Record Label or Independent Artist? An Interview With Jens Hilzensauer Pt. 1

In this episode, we go behind the scenes of Leah’s push for publishing and sync licensing her music by interviewing someone who is working intimately for Leah in this process. The results have been eye-opening as our special guest, Jens Hilzensauer, pulls the veil back on what’s going on now with record labels. And because Jens is an experienced digital marketer himself, the conversation gets deep into the cutting edge of what innovative artists like Leah are doing now to achieve levels of success that are challenging the beliefs of record label executives. And because the interview went so long, we’ve decided to break it up into two parts. Believe us, you won’t want to miss this interview!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The new era of the music industry
  • What European records labels thought of Leah’s success
  • The reality of what A&R people see and sign to a label
  • Why musicians need to take extreme ownership
  • Applying marketing principles to music
  • How effective are labels in their marketing?
  • The power of culture in making sales


“What good marketing actually is, relationship building. And I think that’s where a lot of labels, and publishing companies still fail.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:19:46]

“But this is what makes social media such a revolutionary element, and a huge key to Leah’s success because you can now go direct to market.” — @metalmotivation [0:28:57]

“You’ll really understand social media when social media disappears, and you realize you’re just talking to people.” — @metalmotivation [0:29:56]

“It’s just simple offline relationship building in an online world. And you can scale it.” — @jenshilzensauer [0:32:26]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jens’ Band “Planet Trompeta” —

Schedule a Call with SMA —

Rich How (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Well, 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, joined once again by the lovely Leah, McHenry, her eminence, the mistress of all music marketing, Princess Leah, as I think I once called her. Good to see you, again.

00:40 Leah: I’m happy to be here. Today’s an exciting day.

00:43 CJ: Very exciting day. Can’t wait to get into this. I hope everybody’s been enjoying the podcast. Again, you can do us a solid by being sure to go to your podcast player and leave an exciting, riveting review that other people will want to read. People just like, who are working very hard in their personal music business and help them find and discover the Savvy Musician Show because it’s going to mean a lot to them and their career. That’s a great way to be a help to us. Leave us stars if they offer that, and we appreciate each and every review that you give.

Leah, before we get into what’s special about today, I just want to share again what we always do, a student spotlight. Today, one of our T.O.M. students, Rich How, he writes hashtag win, big moment, this week I have finally opened my website, mailing list, and now my Facebook page for my progressive sci-fi metal project. I’ve also made a teaser video, my first single, which is going to act as a Facebook ad.

I’m so excited. Until I got to the moment of actually making everything live, I was nervous about the point of no return. But now, fan numbers are increasing already, and it’s all the motivation I need to crack on with my debut album, due next spring.

All of this kicked off in April when Leah’s ad, after seeing it about five times everywhere, directed me to the TOM webinar and my brain was just in the perfect place to receive the information, and I suddenly saw a path. Thank you Leah. How about that?

02:18 Leah: It’s great.

02:20 CJ: Don’t you love these micro-niches that people come up with, sci-fi, heavy metal jazz, influenced country-rock?

02:28 Leah: And there really are people that want it, and they love it, and will totally nerd out over it.

02:34 CJ: Yeah. It’s funny. Well, great here because we recently talked about crowdfunding, and we’re going to talk more about the larger context of things in relation to the production of music. But it’s great to see someone, see a path. And I think that’s an important point, is he sees a path.

Because I think when we’re looking for motivation and things, sometimes all’s we really need, we don’t need a cheerleader, right now. We don’t need somebody just to tell us, “Hey, you can do it.” We need to know how, and we need to see a path. We need a light, something to direct us to know where we’re going.

That’s enough oftentimes to carry us. We’ve got all the energy and the creative power that we need. We just need to know which direction to go. And in light of that, the direction we have been steering people away from, Leah, for a while now is the traditional music industry, is record labels.

And in light of all of that, you’ve been telling me about somebody for some time now, which I’m very excited to say is going to be joining us today on this particular podcast. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about our guest?

03:41 Leah: Yeah. I am really excited to introduce you guys to somebody that I’ve been working with all year, and his name is Jens [Hillsandsour 00:03:51]. Did I get it right? Sort of, kind of. All right. Well it’s German, and he’s from Germany and he’s been working with me behind the scenes on my own music career.

As you guys know, if you’ve ever watched my webinars, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of never putting all your eggs in one basket. No investor will ever tell you to, “Yeah. Put them all in one basket. Put it all in this one place, invest it all in whatever the stock market or something.” That’s not wise.

So I have been working a little bit on, well the beginning of 2019, I decided I really wanted to pursue sync licensing after I talked to a couple of other people. We had a great guest on our podcast about it. I was like, “That is an avenue I’ve really never pursued, and I think it would be really fun.”

So in that process, I met Jens and through a series of events. And he’s been helping me with getting that process started, and subsequently getting a little bit into the publishing side of things. Because, if you get publishing, it’s easier to get sync licensing. These are things I had no idea about. It’s a whole world, I don’t know anything about.

And so that’s why I got the help, is because this isn’t something that can be easily taught. There’s no course that especially when you get into relationships, and it all comes down to relationships, when in the publishing world, it just, from what I understand is very complex.

So that’s why I got help. So I wanted to bring Jens in today, and you can correct the pronunciation on your last name to talk a little bit about behind the scenes. Because he has many talents, for one. That’s what I learned. Many different talents. He does many different things. He is a musician, himself.

He’s also got a lot of inside perspectives and insight on the industry itself and especially in the record labels, and what’s actually going on there now. There’s been such a transition. Now we’ve never come out and said, “We hate record labels.” That’s never been the case. It’s just that for 98.7% of musicians, I made that up, but 98% of musicians are never going to get a traditional record deal.

And so to put all your dreams, hopes, and everything into that one thing, thinking it’s going to be your saviour and that’s what’s going to make you rich and famous is delusional. And you don’t need to, in light of the music industry we have today. So it’s not necessary, but we never said that we hate record labels.

It just that there are so many more viable options for you. So I just want to say that from the outset going in. We’re not here to bash anybody. We’re not here to bash labels. But we are here to talk about what’s really going on, and why it is more important than ever that you take ownership of your own music career.

And I say this, as somebody who is, we’re talking with publishing companies and somebody who is going into this. So let’s dig into this a little bit. Nice to have you here, Jens. I’m so glad that you could join us today.

06:49 Jens: Hi guys. Thanks for having me.

06:52 CJ: Let me say something just really quick here. Whenever I coach any of the elite students that I work with in the Savvy Musician Academy, I’ll often ask them, “When did Leah first come across your screen?” I understand Leah’s utilizing your abilities and positioning in the industry where you are in Germany. But when did she come across your radar? How did you meet Leah for the first time?

07:18 Jens: I met Leah in little quotation marks online back in, I think it was 2013. And I worked as an intern at a game and sound design company. And at that time, I just saw a YouTube video of Leah going viral. Was it 2013? I think it was related to the Skyrim soundtrack. I don’t recall exactly when you published your rendition of the main theme of this video game.

But that was the first time I heard of your music. And I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” I stalked you. And I was like, “Yeah, okay. It’s a viral video, and she doesn’t even have a label.” I like it.

And I just put it somewhere in my internal archive and forgot about it. And a few years later, I was thinking about different business models or new directions, artists are going. Because there are a lot of famous rappers and hip hop artists who are really getting out ahead as completely independent from labels.

So they’re not with Indies. They are doing and running their own label, so to speak, but not in a classic way. And I was looking for artists that have the same approach to business. They run the artist’s career like a business and artists who are in the driver’s seat, but not in the hip hop or rap industry.

And then I remembered, there was this woman, this female metal singer. And then I remembered. And then I just saw her job opening, and I basically more or less wrote, “I don’t want this job, but I would love to work with you because you get it. And you get the idea of running your artistry like a business. And it’s a good thing because nobody is deciding things for you, artistically.”

09:20 Leah: Yeah.

09:20 Jens: Because I think what really attracted me to Leah, as an artist and as an entrepreneur, is she got that it makes a lot of musicians shy away from the business side of things. But what they forget is the business decisions have to be made. It’s either you, you are making them or it’s somebody else.

And I experienced firsthand what that actually means, being signed to a record label with a band a few years ago. And we were young and dumb, signed a bad contract. And yeah, our band broke up and we got dropped a few years later. So that was that.

10:00 CJ: Well there you go. I mean, right it’s a testimony to the fact that like, Leah said, “We’re not trying to bash the record labels.” But sometimes what we’re for, really is the success of the independent artists and the continuation of artists being able to earn a living from their music.

But sometimes being for something, makes you against something else. And so, it’s just a default, because up until this time, obviously, labels have controlled so much of this. And as in anything that’s institutional, it rests on its [inaudible 00:10:30] and it is going to exploit and it’s going to look after its own interests. And, the artist’s tends to be the one who’s expendable.

We don’t see many testimonies of big successes having to do with artists and record labels. It’s usually an artist, years later, I remember Metallica, for example, announcing that they … in fact, I heard James Hetfield reiterate the story. He was saying how, when he finally got the news that Metallica now had the rights to all of their music. And so he’s with his family, he has several kids and he was celebrating this. And the kids were like, “Well dad, what are you celebrating?? He goes, “We finally have all of our music.” And the kids were like, “Why would you not have your music?” They couldn’t figure out. Well, you see the record labels have owned it for this many decades, et cetera.

So yeah, now we’ve got this new era where we need something much, much different. And you know, thankfully, Leah didn’t necessarily go that route. So she was forced to, kind of, forge her own way, which has, kind of, created this now, this new template for things. How long did it take for you to really get your head around what exactly she was doing?

11:34 Jens: I think, actually not that long, because at the point of realization, I was already deep into funnel marketing, email marketing, content marketing, customer journeys, etc., online marketing and paid advertising on social media.

So I was like, “Ah, she’s just applying real-world business and e-commerce tactics to the music industry. She’s running it like a business and it makes total sense.”

12:03 Leah: Thank you. Because I get so many people like you on our ads or wherever they’re seeing me, and they think that I’m a scam artist because they don’t get it.

And can you tell us like some of the reactions you got, some of the work we’re doing together, and some of the reactions you’ve gotten from some of the executives that you’ve been meeting with? We can’t say a whole lot at this point. Can you just give us a little bit, of why we can’t say a whole lot? Yeah. There’s so much to say here.

12:30 Jens: Yeah. We are in negotiation with different companies, so, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to disclose anything. But reactions varied widely from some companies that are more on the traditional side. They work on radio. The concept of business is you get a radio hit, and then you go on tour and promote the hell out of it and make the money back.

And then there are other companies that are a little bit more modern and from the, let’s say, conservative spectrum of music business. Things I heard phrases, like, “That’s not possible. It’s a scam. How can you make money without going on tour?”

Because I think I’m allowed to say that it’s not a number I got from the labels. It’s just if you watched the numbers published by the music industry, in general, then from record sales, only the top 20 makes a profit from record sales alone.

And they were like, “She’s not in the top 20. How is she making money from music without touring?” They couldn’t grasp the concept. And then there was the other side of the spectrum, where things are a little bit more modern and tailor-made, and they are more flexible with contracts. They’re more like, “We don’t get it, but we would like to get in.”

It’s like, “Ah, we don’t exactly understand how this works, but we want a piece of it.” And that’s actually where I think, especially a major player, makes sense as a partner. If you already run a successful business and make it to a certain point, and you really want to take things up a notch or to the next league or global, I mean, of course, you are already global, if you upload your music with, let’s say, a DistroKid or CD Baby or any online digital distributor, you’re global, but in the traditional sense. And then I think a major is a good partner, and they have, of course, the money and the pathways, the infrastructure to roll it out in a big way.

But up until that point, if you’re not doing mainstream pop, I wouldn’t recommend sending your stuff to a label. Because I talk to so many label people. One A and R, I’m friends with, he said, “On my desk, I receive around 2,000 demos a year.” So, 2,000 are the demos that are left after his assistant [inaudible 00:15:07] out, a lot of stuff.

And he’s like, “I can sign around five a year, and I only sign-

15:14 Leah: Not very good odds.

15:15 Jens: Yeah. “And I only sign what I think has a target audience, has a brand that’s already clear and ready.”

15:23 Leah: Yep.

15:24 Jens: “And had some kind of small success, because I can only sign so many artists that fail. Because if I signed, let’s say five artists this year and they all fail, then it’s my job.”

15:37 Leah: Yeah. This even creates a stronger argument for why people need to take extreme ownership of their music career. Figure out your branding, figure out your niche, develop a following. Because even if you wanted a major deal, they’re not even going to look twice at you if you don’t have those things in place already.

15:54 Jens: Yeah. Correct.

15:55 Leah: So that is your goal. All the more reason, to get this off the ground yourself. Learn the principles of digital marketing, learn the principles of branding, and all the things that we talk about here. It just makes an even stronger case.

16:09 Jens: Yeah. And I think it’s totally easy for musicians if you frame it right. I mean, it’s like learning an instrument. You are not sitting down with your guitar for the first time, and you are not expecting to be the next Eddie Van Halen right out of the gate. It’s not going to happen.

And it’s the same with your brand. It needs work, it needs time, it needs dedication, and you need to have a plan and structure. I mean, you can waste a lot of time practicing in quotes, though there’s a difference between smart practice and just noodling away in your shed.

And I think it’s the same in marketing, and that’s where I think, really for me, going through your stuff, and like, I already know this, but it makes so much sense. I’m watching the courses right now. I’m going through all of Leah’s stuff just to get the whole picture of Savvy Musician Academy and it makes so much sense. It’s like, “Yeah, finally.”

17:05 Leah: It’s funny because I even have, there are people that come into our courses, they’ve taken a ton of other actual, like, business courses, marketing courses, and they weren’t able to bridge the gap to make it work for their music. There are some highly intelligent people too, that are in our elite program, people who even create courses for other people, and they weren’t able to somehow translate to their music. And I think that was actually the true problem that I was able to solve, wasn’t so much, I certainly haven’t reinvented the wheel about digital marketing. 

Like there’s, in some ways a lot of what I teach, there’s nothing really new there. I think the problem I solved was applying it to music and because it’s weird, it’s art and it seems totally subjective. And how you sell this so that’s a pleasure point. It’s not really a big pain point.

And we’ve talked a lot about that, sort of thing. And I think that’s the problem that we’ve, kind of, solved on the digital marketing end, was bridging the gap for music. You can learn a lot of these same principles if you study business and e-commerce and marketing, in all these other places.

But suddenly, you go to apply it to your music and you’re like, “This feels weird. Like, can I do the same thing? Can I have the same kind of calls to action? Do I use copywriting in the same way?” Like, suddenly it just feels awkward.

And that’s how I felt. And then I learned the key to it all, is really, it’s the identity. It’s the artist identity and creating this truly authentic voice. So coming up to all the Black Friday sales and promotions, I’m going to create all my, like my album launch, the black holiday sales and promotions, the exact same way any e-commerce brand would.

However, the difference is that it’s not like a team writing it. It’s all in my voice. I’m speaking to my fans, and yeah, I do have help. I have a small team helping me orchestrate all of this, but at the end of the day it’s my voice coming through and they’re feeling like they’re hearing from me, not a corporation, not a business.

That’s one of the ways I’ve been able to do this. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the epiphany’s that you’ve had in this year? What is the state of most major labels right now, in terms of their marketing? Like what are some of the takeaways that you’ve landed in your mind?

Because we’ve had some meetings where we’re like laughing and crying at the same time, and it’s just, are you allowed to talk about those things, just generally?

19:33 Jens: Yeah. I mean, most of the bigger Indies and majors, they don’t even pixel their shop. It’s like, it doesn’t make sense and it’s so easy. What good marketing actually is, relationship building. And I think that’s where a lot of labels, publishing companies, et cetera, still fail.

They try to reach new people all the time. Let’s say you are releasing an album from artist X, she’s a pop star. And instead of just asking all the people who bought the first album, if they are interested in the second one, they just try to find new people to sell the second album to. It doesn’t make sense.

If you just made a friend, and you went out and had a few beers and a great night, who’s the first person I would call to go out with and have a few beers? Hmm. Maybe I should find some new guy. It doesn’t make any sense.

And I think that’s what good marketing actually is. It’s just following up on people and trying to view it from a relationship perspective.

20:42 Leah: Totally. Do some of these majors or even Indies, do they have email lists?

20:48 Jens: Yeah, they have email lists. But, I mean, it’s not enticing to be on that email list. And it’s called, join our newsletter. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when we are going on tour. And I’m like, “Yeah.” I can Google it. So there’s no reason for me to join those email lists.

And, I mean, I know your email list, and it’s actually bigger than a lot of really big mainstream artist’s email list, which is crazy.

21:19 Leah: Yeah. Jens, he has access to my entire backend. So he’s seeing, like everything from the inside out.

21:26 Jens: I think it’s so empowering, even for me, as a musician, to see that there is another artist who gets it, who’s doing it on her own terms. And I mean that literally, it’s like you decide who’s in your band and who’s not. You decide what songs going to make the album or not when it’s going to be released, is it going to be vinyl or whatever? You decide what the artwork looks like.

So there’s no middle man in creative decisions, you know? And of course, does pressure attach to that?

22:05 Leah: Yeah.

22:05 Jens: So, you have to decide it yourself and you have to get it done. But at the same time, you have the freedom to decide it yourself, and I think it’s awesome.

22:13 Leah: Yeah. And I think that’s also the fun of it, too. Like to me, that’s half of the enjoyment, is being able to make those decisions. Being fully creative, like, would it even really be fun if I didn’t get to decide the artwork and I didn’t get to just completely make it my own? Like, I can’t imagine it being nearly as satisfying.

So is that really a thing? Do people really lose creative freedom when they have a big record contract?

22:38 Jens: Typically they do. And then it all comes back to where you are in your career. If you’re already having some form of success, whatever that means, it could be some form of vanity metric, let’s say YouTube plays, which we all know means nothing in the first place. I can’t pay rent from YouTube plays. But the music industry still values it. But at the same time, maybe it’s sales. Of course, that works. Spotify followers is a big incentive.

So whatever form of success you can show, then you have some form of leverage over the label. And, of course, it makes sense from the label’s perspective. Let’s say I’m the label, I have a big infrastructure to, let’s say, radio, TV shows, or traditional forms of media outlets. And somebody’s coming along, let’s say Leah is coming along with an idea of like, “I can sing.” I’m like, “Yeah, I can see that.” How am I supposed to make money with your ability to sing?

But if I already know you are a great performer, you write great songs, you have a finished product I can sell. It’s like, “Ah, yeah, okay. There’s a product I can sell and that’s where they make money.” And I still have the feeling, labels still haven’t figured out how to make new fans. I think all the artists that are big now, for like 20 years or 10-15 years, they are famous because they busted their behinds on the road.

And then after 10 or 15 years, you see something like an overnight success. But they worked this traditional model of, “Let’s say we play this club for five people, and next year they each bring two friends. And a year after that they bring two friends. And the year after that it’s like 200 people. And then another year goes by and it’s 500, blah blah blah.”

Fast forward 10 years, and then it’s like 5,000 people, and then you can really make a living on it and you can quit your shitty day job, that crust financed all of this. And you’re an overnight success, and I think your model is actually a lot smarter.

I haven’t even talked about this with you, but I just had the idea of I want to start a solo career as a singer. And I’m just going to use the principles you do because to me it sounds a lot more attractive to make a name for yourself, get fans, become friends with them. And after you build a following, you go on tour and you sell out places, and you have data on people. That makes a lot more sense than going on tour and hoping for the best for the next 10 years.

25:20 Leah: Totally. That reminds me of, I just saw in my … I have a street team, a Facebook street team and one of my sweet fans posted a video in here. It was an unboxing video he did of vinyl. And he said, “Oh, I got a comment on my video.” And this was the quote. It said, “Leah is probably the most caring, incredible and reachable music artist I’ve ever listened to. Thanks for the video. We’ll definitely buy this bundle.”

I thought that was the sweetest comment, like that I’ve seen in a really long time. That they really see me as reachable. And when you said like, “Be their friend,” it reminded me of that comment I saw. And that it really matters.

Sometimes, I’m doing this relentlessly, and I forget how much it means to people. I forget that they’re not used to this. They’re not used to people they look up to, band members, actually replying to them, caring about them.

I’ve got a customer support person who I’m like, I really, we’ve got protocols in place. It’s like, “Hey, here’s where the e-commerce stuff comes in and the customer journey comes in.” Or, it’s just like, I want them to be happy. If something gets lost in the mail, we send them another one on my dime. I don’t care. We need to make that person happy.

And so just caring about those things, giving a damn about people is revolutionary in today’s online world. So that’s another aspect. But are you telling me you’ve decided you’re going to be a solo artist? Is that what you’re saying?

26:41 Jens: Yep.

26:42 Leah: I love it. This is exciting. This is so cool. That’s really great. I mean, there’s so much we could talk about with you too, and I feel like we may end up doing a part two because you have a lot of other specialties too. You’re not just in the back end of the music industry, although you have experience there, you have personal experiences with it yourself. But yeah, there’s so much to talk about.

27:03 CJ: Let me just say this is a key point, as to why the record labels are struggling, as much as they are, to understand Leah’s situation and what she’s doing. And when we don’t understand the way something is done, the more we think it’s happening by magic or a scam or fate or something else, we ascribe these mysterious causes to something, simply because we don’t understand the way-

27:28 Jens: Yeah.

27:28 CJ: … that it works and the personal aspect. In fact, even, this month I think is a year I’ve been working with CMA. Excuse me-

27:36 Leah: SMA.

27:36 CJ: … SMA, as a, yeah, country music association. I’ve been working for a year. But, so now they’re completely metal. The country music is completely metal.

27:46 Leah: Yeah.

27:46 CJ: But working for a year, especially as a coach, and watching these musicians trying to absorb something that’s very principle-based, obviously has a lot to do with the quote-unquote technology and all of that. And they’re scared to death that they’re going to miss something.

They’re scared to death, that it comes down to a particular piece of software or something. There has to be some magic element to it. Forgetting the fact that no, this is a very, very personal social thing. So I’ll often tell them, “You have to keep in mind that although online marketing is a key element here, online marketing was happening long before social media because e-commerce was there.”

Amazon, obviously, had started in the ’90s, so people were spending money online and therefore businesses were marketing long before social media came around. But social media is the revolutionary element here because you’re no longer relying upon people searching on Google to find you. Right?

Especially, when you now have these creative niches that people have and these niche artists, with all the sci-fi, heavy metal, country music thing. Nobody’s going to go online looking for you. But this is what makes social media such a revolutionary element, and a huge key to Leah’s success because you can now go direct to market.

You’re not relying upon people finding you. You’re finding them, by understanding who you are as an artist, your genre, your niche, the type of people who would be best for you and then creating an effective brand for that community, for the culture that surrounds your music.

And then you now have to come out from behind the microphone, to be not just the musician, but now also the messenger of the big idea that’s behind your music. We have a lot of, for example, artists in our elite program that are very mission-driven.

29:38 Leah: They have a message or something.

29:38 CJ: Their lyrics are, you know, they have, yeah, there’s a clear message about what they’re doing, could be the environment, could be something of faith or what have you. But all of those things require so much more in order to market in these days.

But as I just taught a group out in Detroit here, at a marketing seminar, and I told them, I said, “You’ll really understand social media when social media disappears, and you realize you’re just talking to people.”

It does go back, Jens, to what you said about, you know, “You have a great night with a friend that you met, and you had several beers and you’re going to want to do that again. But are you going to go find somebody else?” No, you’re going to continue that relationship. It costs so much more time, energy, and money to find somebody new, when you can keep selling, so to speak, to that same person over and over again.

There is nothing magical, about this at all.

30:27 Jens: Yeah.

30:27 CJ: And I love the fact, Jens, that here you are in Germany and, Leah had mentioned to me beforehand, “Okay. Now he has an accent. He has a heavy accent.” So I’m thinking, I’m sitting here going, “He knows all of our jargon and cliches.” So you were thoroughly Americanized, as far as that goes.

But are you seeing that aspect of it, and how empowering is that to you, just the fact that you have this ability now to control what’s going on, but go direct to market and create these actual tangible, real relationships, where like Leah described, somebody is watching an unpacking of a fan with the album and saying, coming to that conclusion, “What a caring artist.”

31:10 Jens: Yeah, I mean it’s totally mind-blowing if you just think back a few years. I mean, I’m not that old, I’m 30 right? So it all began with the digitalization of recording becoming cheaper and cheaper. And then the social media thing happens. And the first thing I realized was like, “Okay. Why do I need social media as an artist, if I can fill a venue if I have reached directly? I can ask people to go to my shows. If people go to my shows, I get booked for the next festival.”

31:42 Jens: Then I had the realization of, “Oh, you can actually retarget people because you have a pixel, and that’s what most labels unfortunately still don’t get. You have a pixel and you can retarget people, so you can talk to people again that are already interested in your stuff.”

31:59 Jens: Let’s say I met CJ at a bar and we’re having a great time, a few big laughs, a few beers, and we forget to exchange numbers. But I have a pixel installed in that bar. I can show CJ a Facebook ad saying, “Hey, I had a great time. Let’s hang out again.” I mean, isn’t that great?

32:21 CJ: Yeah. “And the next round is on me,” you’d say,

32:23 Jens: Yeah, and the next round is on me. And I mean, it’s just simple offline relationship building in an online world. And you can scale it. That’s just mind-blowing. And you don’t need a middleman, and you can create your own artist business on your own terms because have no creative middleman in between you and your success.

It’s so crazy, empowering. I mean, of course, I had these talks about Leah. She’s not going on tour. And what’s the projection of her business? In my mind, it’s like, “Leah has five kids, homeschool, STEM, and runs two businesses. She’s tougher than all of you.” And what I just realized a few days ago is, of course, Leah’s approach works. We see it. It’s like-

33:09 Leah: It works for millions of other businesses. So, I’m pretty sure it works.

33:12 Jens: Yeah. And if you look at it from a perspective of how well known is a brand, to how much revenue is the brand making, and you compare, let’s say one company, Starbucks to the worldwide record industry, you learn that Starbucks is making more than five times the revenue the whole worldwide record business is making.

And I think that really puts it into perspective how small the record business actually is, compared to brand recognition. I mean, let’s only take Taylor Swift, Metallica, ACDC, how many people in the world know these brands? And yet these brands and bands and artists and real people make so little money compared to the actual brand awareness and reach. It’s insane. So there’s something fundamentally wrong with the business model.

34:08 Leah: Yeah. Well, and look at how many of these huge artists start completely side e-commerce businesses. Like Rihanna. I heard a statistic this morning like Rihanna has made more from her e-commerce business, her cosmetics line than from her music. So, and what does she have? Does she have a clothing line and she has a fragrance line and makeup line? Like, that should tell you something too. Well, I get a whole bunch of conclusions. What do you conclude from something like that?

34:42 Jens: Yeah, of course, you see that her contract is actually a bad one.

34:48 Leah: Yes.

34:49 Jens: So I mean, she really has a lot of radio airplay and all the traditional media visibility and reach, and she’s still not making a lot of money from her record sales.

And, of course, it’s because of the different deals people make and made in the past. And at the same time, you see the pull of e-commerce. And for me as a musician, I mean, after my publishing deal fell through, I thought it’s a good idea to go to college and learn about the music business.

And then I had this crazy idea of, “You go to college and then you know how it works.” That’s another story for another podcast episode. But what I learned over the last few years is people don’t listen to music, to listen to the music. And they don’t go to concerts or live shows, to listen to music.

It’s about status and about belonging to a specific group and to, let’s say you’re a little cult in a way. And at the same time, you go to concerts just to go on an emotional journey.

36:02 Leah: Yeah.

36:03 Jens: You can sum this up by saying it’s about culture. And your music is just one part of it. It’s so much more. It’s you as a person. And once I realized that, it’s like, “Oh yeah, of course it’s so much bigger.” It’s the attitude, the values, this artists portrays. It’s so much more.

I mean, it’s not putting the music down. It’s just, it’s so much bigger than only the music. And once you get this, it’s like, “Yeah, of course it makes sense for Rihanna to not only do music. She definitely should sell fragrances because she’s a personal brand.”

Episode #071: How To Get Ready Now For Holiday Sales

Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about preparing for your holiday sales whether you’re working only to build your list, preparing your special offers, or hitting your holiday marketing full on. The only time it’s not conducive is during the holidays, but this powerful episode was created to equip you to maximize your profits during the next holiday season. In this episode, Leah goes into the radical preparation and marketing she did for her recent holiday sales campaign, and it’s NOT for the faint of heart! For an independent, non-touring artist like her, you have to maximize your efforts in order to maximize your profits. You’re going to get a lot out of this episode, so get something write on to take notes!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What you should be thinking about when it comes to holiday sales.
  • When you should start planning your holiday sales.
  • Do you market to a cold or warm audience?
  • What you should be doing throughout the year.
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about sending too many emails.
  • Segmenting your email list.
  • How to handle shipping times during the holidays.
  • Why more emails is better.


“Last year, I made an extra $33,000 just from Black Friday sales and holiday, little holiday promos and the majority of that came from email.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:40]

“Ideally, you would start planning your end of year sales in August and September.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:05:13]

“I’m spending the rest of the year building my email list, building my following, building my organic following, building my email list, just building my audience all year long.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:06:50]

“What we’re really going to focus on is honing in on the existing audience we already have and offering them really attractive deals.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:09]

“If I conducted myself worrying about offending people, too many emails, I wouldn’t send any emails.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:15]

“Don’t let your insecurity make the decisions…you got to do what’s best for your business.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:39]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

“How to Plan Music Promotions for the Holidays” (Freebie) —

Lorena Dale (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:18 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, the podcast for music marketing. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy and I’m joined once again by her eminence, Leah McHenry. So good to see you. There you are.

00:39 Leah: Here I am. Nice to see you too.

00:41 CJ: Love to pick your brain, miss lady and great receptions we’re getting out there. I keep hearing good things from people about how well the podcast is going over. And in light of that to the listener, I say, leave us a review. That’s something that I cannot emphasize enough. If you really want to help give back to this podcast, if you’re getting value out of it, if you feel like it’s really helping you with your music marketing, then do us a favour and go and leave a thoughtful comment.

We will read every single one of them in our staff meetings and leave us as many stars as you can, if they give that on your particular podcast player. But we, again, we live on those reviews because it’s the one feedback we get as I often say on my end of things in my motivational side, I’ll say, how do you motivate a motivator?

You have to tell him or her how much they motivate you. So if you want to motivate me, you got to tell me how much I motivate you. So if you’re getting value out of this, please go and leave a review. We can’t wait to read those. You love those don’t you, Leah?

01:52 Leah: I do. They really mean a lot and it gives me a lot of feedback to know if this content is even valuable. We don’t really have to be doing this, you know?

02:00 CJ: Yes, you’re right. But we enjoy this guys and thank you so much again for all of your support. I want to share something with all of you in the student spotlight, Lorena Dale, is one of our elite students, had a win and she writes, “Have just listed my first ever like ad and in less than a day have almost a thousand new likes. I’m still pinching myself that this even works. Excited to watch the rest of the week play out now to keep my new fans engaged.”

02:36 CJ: Sounds like she also understands what she needs to do.

02:38 Leah: That’s right, yeah. And she’s using a specific technique that we only reserve now for advanced students because I found that even though it’s a fairly simple process, most people don’t follow instructions. So we have to leave the more advanced techniques to the more advanced students who will follow. That’s how they’re going to get the good results like this.

03:02 CJ: Well, good for you Lorena, and we look forward to seeing and hearing more about your success. Well, the folks may hear this a little later before year-end, but when we’re recording this, we still have some ample time here for one of the busiest times of the year holiday sales. Which especially here in the US is governed by the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays and all that kind of stuff. We just call it holiday sales because it’s kind of covers all of it.

But Leah, you are notorious and I have seen what you do in the background. You are notorious for plotting and planning for absolute domination when it comes to selling during the holiday season. So how can our listeners get ready for holiday sales?

03:57 Leah: Yeah. There’s a lot to say on this and actually I have also a free download for you guys if you really want to get ahead of your planning, but it’s going to be really useful. Because I’ve spent a lot of time doing these several years now and last year alone, just keep in mind for those of you who don’t know my story or even if you’ve heard it a hundred times, it’s important to keep things in context.

I’m a non-touring artist, I’m a recording artist for now. I have kind of an odd niche and I built my entire fan base, everything I’m doing online using strictly online digital marketing techniques. That’s all I’ve got. Last year, I made an extra $33,000 just from Black Friday sales and holiday, little holiday promos and the majority of that came from email. So that’s pretty significant for some people, that’s a year’s worth of salary, and I did that in a short amount of time just from these sorts of sales.

So I think it’s important to know and understand how significant this part of the year is and understand the types of things you should be thinking about when planning. Now, ideally, ideally, you would start planning your end of year sales in August and September.

05:20 CJ: Really? That early?

05:22 Leah: Yes, yes. Any major and minor brands and companies normally start planning the fourth quarter of the year, the quarter before. And the reason is because if you’re doing it properly and correctly, you need that amount of time to get your act together. Because there’s so many different assets involved. It’s not just sending one random email. I’ve done that in the past where it was like, “Oh, tomorrow’s black Friday. I guess I should send an email.” I’ve done that. Trust me, it didn’t give me an extra $33,000. Yeah, it did not.

It did not result in that kind of revenue. So if you want this kind of revenue, you should be done ahead of time. Now, most of you guys listening, maybe you’re not at that point where you’re listening to this. By the time you hear this you think, ah, it’s too late. It’s not too late.

There’s still things you can do. So I’m going to give you as many tips as I possibly can in this episode in the short amount of time. And then like I said, listen through to the end because I’ve got a link for you to where you can get a holiday guide, a planning guide that I put together for you.

06:28 CJ: Well, I mean obviously something like this, you’re not marketing to a cold audience, right? You’re going strictly for the audience that you’ve already built.

06:38 Leah: That’s right. I think that’s a really good place to start. I think one really key takeaway you can get right now if you didn’t even listen to the rest of this podcast is that I’m spending the rest of the year building my email list, building my following, building my organic following, building my email list, just building my audience all year long. So that by the time I get to Black Friday, I’m not trying to acquire new fans. I’ve already got a following.

There’s already people there, there’s an audience and they’re willing and ready to buy the new stuff I’m going to show them. Now is not the time in the fourth quarter to try and get new fans on your email list. The reason is that’s not because they might not be interested, but there’s a couple of reasons. One, they’re already going to be inundated with so many other offers, so many ads vying for their attention.

That’s one. So noise, just white noise. Number two, it’s the most expensive time of the year to try and use paid traffic or advertising to build your email list. That’s because the amount of competition is so high at this time of the year. So inventory, so space in the news feed, for example, is limited. There’s only so many places people can put an ad or Facebook can offer spaces for ads and that means the more competitive it becomes, the more expensive it becomes. The highest bid will win.

I don’t know if that just registered in your brains when you heard that, but this is an auction. Facebook is an auction. When it comes to buying media, buying advertising space. The highest bidder will win. That means the person who is willing to pay the most money to acquire that space or acquire that customer will win. And that’s why they say if you can outspend your competition, you will always win. You’ll be a thriving business.

But for most musicians, we’re not in that position that we can outspend the competition. That’s probably the worst time of year to ever try anything like that. So even big brands that I know and follow, most of them are not trying to acquire cold traffic, they’re not trying to build their email list and get new people that never heard of them. You may get a little bit of that trickling in, which is great as a side product or by-product.

What we’re really going to focus on is honing in on the existing audience we already have and offering them really attractive deals. And there’s a lot we can say about this, but this is going to be the most economical thing, and this is going to be the most profitable thing is focus on the existing audience you have through email ads and organic social. That’s my trifecta.

09:33 CJ: Okay. So it’s great for them to be focused on these holiday sales. Some of them may be waking up to the sudden reality that, well, I haven’t been building my audience throughout the year. So make this as a mental note that as you go into your next year, even start thinking about it now. Just say, I’m going to structure my music business to the place where I can sell when it comes down to the holiday because I’ve spent all that time building bringing people to my pages, my channels, getting them on email lists, creating that relationship.

And so it becomes much, much easier to do this. So you’ve already done that work, Leah. You’ve got raving fans, super fans, as you’d like to call them. We’ve just been covering in the last few episodes on the podcast about your crowdfunding. You’ve been doing pre-launches, you’ve been doing album launches. Now you’re going to hit them with holiday sales? How do you, that’s a lot?

10:33 Leah: Oh, you better believe it. This is, well, it’s going to be one of the most intense years that I have personally had just because of the timing of it all. Although last year when I released the Quest, it was released in October and then we still had November with Black Friday and everything. So it was very close together. This time it’s even more close together. Because album comes out November 15th and then a week later it’s Thanksgiving and holiday starts.

So it’s going, for me, one is rolling right into the other. That means, yeah, I am hitting up my audience like crazy. Now, how do I do this without offending people and knowing them? Number one, don’t worry about that. Don’t care about that. If I conducted myself worrying about offending people, too many emails, I wouldn’t send any emails. Because I’m always, that’s always in the back of my mind. So you got to let the marketer in you win and not the insecure musician win. It’s about going into a certain mode, right?

It’s a headspace, my musician artsy-fartsy mode or I’m in promotion mode. You just pick the mode you’re going to be in. Don’t let your insecurity make the decisions. So you got to do what’s best for your business. And that’s part of just learning how to think like a business owner and a marketer. So yeah, I will be hitting them up with a lot of emails. Now I’m going to open this little tool that I use to plan out all my stuff. And if you don’t know what this tool is, go back to the last episode. Go to the show notes, I’ve got a link for you to watch me kind of explain how I use this tool to plan out my album launches and holiday sales.

I use it for all these different things. So I’m going to open this up and the things that are in here that I use to plan out my holiday sales, I’ve got kind of high-level things that are going on. I will run a campaign for people to opt-in for my email list before any of these holidays happen. So there’s still an opportunity, there’s still a window of time to get people to opt-in and that’s going to happen if you’re not doing paid traffic yet. It’s going to happen from word of mouth and social media, just so organic social media.

12:38 CJ: Let me stop you for a second there. Because I think it’s an important point and I don’t know if everybody’s going to make sense of it. So you’re running ads during this time for an opt-in?

12:48 Leah: Before it begins. Before the holidays start. Yeah, so for me.

12:53 CJ: Would it be a dedicated list for just for this particular sale?

12:57 Leah: The way it’s going to work with my album launch and the holiday sales because of rolling in one after the other I have, with the software that I use, my email service provider, we don’t really create separate lists the way MailChimp does. In my software, we’re going to give people a tag. So there’s not really a separate list.

They just get a separate tag and so they’re going to get a specific name that says, “Early bird pre-launch.” And then the people who opted in to get that news and those discounts and freebies and things in there, I will send those people’s specific emails based on the tag they have. For the holiday sales, that will go out to everybody. Everybody’s going to get those emails. Does that make sense?

13:38 CJ: Yes. So this is a segmentation type of thing that you know, again, not your for your average person necessarily to indulge in, but Leah is, she wants to share everything that she’s doing. Whether you necessarily can grasp what it is she’s doing or that you’re ready for it right now is really not important. It’s important that you know what’s possible.

13:57 Leah: Right. Okay. So people are opting in before I do this holiday launch, then during the holiday lunch, I’m not trying to build my email list, I’m strictly marketing to the people who are on my email list, following on social, and I will advertise to my warm audience through Facebook and Instagram ads.

14:17 CJ: Okay. So again, it may seem a little bit sophisticated guys, but it makes sense that she’s differentiating. She knows she’s going to be, there’s going to be some overlap. Some people are going to get whatever, you know, little extra emails here and there.

But I’ve heard you say before recently on the podcast that you are not concerned that these people are getting too many emails. Why is that?

14:43 Leah: Well that’s because for one, most people are not seeing your emails. They’re not seeing your posts in social media, either. So that really frees you up to send more than you are comfortable with. Believe me, it’s outside of my comfort zone too. Don’t think that I’m comfortable sending sometimes up to three emails a day on a heavy last day cart disclosing, the last day to get this. I’ll send three.

In fact, the last one I sent four on the very, very last day and the last one wasn’t a heavy promotion when it was just like, “Hey guys, whatever happens. I just want you to know I appreciate you. Thank you for coming on this journey. If you’re still reading this, you’re still on my list. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I know I sent a lot of emails. I appreciate you going on this journey. This is how it is what during a campaign, so thanks.”

So I acknowledge it too. I want people to understand. I know I’m sending you lots of emails. I appreciate you putting up with it in a way without making it sound like that and it always goes over really well. People actually, a lot of my fans say, “Actually we like getting all those emails because I want to feel like I’m in the loop like I’m getting updated.”

Once in a while, get someone who’s PO’ed about it, but then they’re not for you. That’s okay. And I always say, “Hey, I’m not offended. You can jump out of the car. That’s okay. You can always come back later. No worries. Like no hard feelings.” I opt-out of emails constantly and it’s not because I don’t like the brand or the person. I just right now I feel like my inbox is too full. That’s all it is and I might resubscribe later. It happens all the time.

So I have at least 35 or 40 emails planned for November and December and there will be more ads. Because right now in my list here of emails planned out and yes, I do make a list of them, there will be some days where two or three go out in the same day and those aren’t accounted for yet. So Black Friday for example, I will send a lot of emails and the reason is specifically for that day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people’s inbox are going to be buried alive. It’s going to be like quicksand in there. They won’t see anything.

There’s going to be so many, they will not see it. So I’m going to have to send more. You got to stand out more. That’s the only option. And at the end of the day, email is still the number one channel to drive eCommerce sales. So people buying physical items online, whether it’s a digital music. You’ve got a digital offer on Bandcamp or you would just want to send them to iTunes or you are running a full-on Shopify store and offering bundles. In any case, people won’t be seeing your emails. So send three times as many as you’re comfortable with.

17:27 CJ: So let me ask you this then. Do you, having done this many times yourself, whether the crowdfunding or holiday sales or launches, have you seen the uptick in sales when you’re ramping up the emails and even up until the last day when it’s super crazy? Do you see that it actually makes a difference?

17:48 Leah: Yes and that’s because also people are seeing their emails at different times and in my case, I have fans all over the world in different time zones so they may not have seen the one I sent at 8:00 AM in Pacific time or they had already finished their day and aren’t looking at email. But they might see the one that I send 10 o’clock at night, which might be 6:00 AM for them and then when they’re up, you know? So I don’t even really worry too much about the times of day.

I don’t even pay attention to that on social media, either. Like, “Oh, when is the optimal time to post?” I don’t know. There’s people all over the world awake right now. Who cares? Bottom line is post frequently and often. Same with email. Send messages frequently and often and at different times and test them out. So I’m sending a lot.

18:36 CJ: Well, let me ask you this, so how do you, because I know we can’t get into it necessarily here, but the way you handle a lot of your sales and merchandise fulfillment and stuff is through services where you’re not having to touch inventory. They’re taking care of it, but I know that that takes more time. It’s one thing if I have a bunch of products here in my house, I can ship it overnight. I can get it ready really quick.

So your service providers who are taking care of your merchandise and accessory and things, they’re getting inundated end of the year with all people just like us. So how do you deal with that aspect of people getting things late or trying to get in under the wire and that kind of thing when you’re not the one who’s able to control the actual fulfillment?

19:25 Leah: I mean, my personal situation is I have a hybrid going on. I have a physical warehouse, not in my house, but at a separate location where I have certain physical items like CDs and vinyl, certain t-shirts and stuff that are sitting there. And then I have a lot of print on demand stuff. Again, this, we cover these sorts of things in our Superfan System Elite program, how to do all of that.

Everything from the apps that we recommend to design and the fulfillment part of it, all of it. But the nice thing about print on demand is that you don’t have to touch it. You don’t touch the inventory. You don’t touch the shipping. It’s all drop-shipped for you and you don’t even have to pay for it until you’re paid first, which is revolutionary for a musician who’s on a budget with stuff like Christmas and people wanting to get things in time.

The best thing is be completely transparent about shipping times, and there’s a couple of reasons. This is very important. Well, from a customer experience position alone, you never want to over promise and under deliver much better to under-promise and over-deliver. So you should whatever you’re using, whether you’re shipping it out of your garage and you have an account with UPS or FedEx, you want to contact them and get their policy, their shipping times for that season, the holiday season and you need to ask them, “Hey, what’s the shipping time? What’s the standard shipping time during these months, these weeks so that I know what to tell my customers.”

And the same thing applies if you’re using print on demand. If you’re using anything, you want to get clear on what their standard procedure is during these times. Then you want to make sure it’s loud and clear on your website, on the product description, in your emails, on the order confirmations, anywhere where they’re going to be observing basically where they’re going to be opening their emails. Anywhere in that process, you need to say it and don’t think that if because you put it one place that they saw it. Put it multiple places like I said, on your website as a banner in the product descriptions.

If you’re using Shopify, in the order confirmation, follow-up emails anywhere you can put it. The more transparent and more times you see this, the better you can set the expectation, the happier your customer will be and want to come back and buy from you again. The worst thing you can do is promise that it’ll get there in time for Christmas and then it doesn’t. That’s going to be, they will be upset even if they liked the product, they’re going to be really upset. So be super transparent about these things.

The other really important reason, and I’m speaking to my Elite students right now, that you want to be so transparent about your shipping times is because Facebook is now surveying your customers. If you run an eCommerce store or you sell products through Facebook, after a certain period of time, Facebook is going to send a survey to your customer because they track all of this stuff in their newsfeed. They’re going to ask for their feedback and one of the things that are going to be asking about was quality of the product.

“Hey, was it what you expected? How long did shipping take, was that what you expected?” They’re going to survey them and you will get a score based on this. This is brand new. You will get a score based on this and if it goes under a certain number under a two. I think it’s like you get a scale of one to five if you’re a two or under, I think a two is the line of being satisfactory. If you are under a two, you can actually get penalized. Your accounts can be shut down. They can suspend you. All kinds of things.

And the reason Facebook is doing this, by the way, don’t demonize Facebook. Their job is to provide their customers, their users the best experience. If people are being on their platform and purchasing items and then having a negative experience, Facebook doesn’t want to associate with negative experiences. They want people to only have positive experiences. So you as an advertiser on their platform and you are now providing a negative experience for their customer, their users, they want to penalize you.

The whole goal is to get your act together so that it’s a positive experience for everybody. That’s why they’re doing it. So don’t freak out about it. I checked my score. I have a 4.8 so that’s next to perfect. I’m really happy about that. You never know what people are going to say, right? So that’s really good. That’s why this stuff matters. So just be transparent. Be honest. If you don’t set the expectation, that’s where the danger is. Don’t worry about, “Oh, it could take up to 14 days or whatever.” That’s fine. As long as they know that, then you’ve set the expectation.

24:28 CJ: Very good. Well guys, I mean this is a lot, I know it’s a lot, but the basics are the foresight to know that ahead of time, knowing what your goals are, knowing what you’re targeting, who you’re targeting, and then planning out your particular communication with your audience. Now, Leah mentioned she’s got a ton of emails that she’s going to be sending out. You’ve got to know your audience, but like she said, your audience is not seeing every email. They’re not seeing every social media post.

Don’t err on the side of caution. It’s better especially if they’re super fans, they’re going to understand as she mentioned earlier. She’s putting in her emails, “Hey, I know you’ve gotten a lot of emails. I know you know you’ve heard from me quite a bit, but thank you for standing with me.” Make them participants, partners with you and the success of what you’re doing. Because that’s what makes them super fans. They believe they are supporters of your particular vision. Leah, you mentioned you wanted to share something with them today.

25:35 Leah: That’s right. So there’s a lot more to say about this whole holiday planning stuff. So I have a download for you. If you go to, I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s in the show notes. So go ahead, go to the show notes, click on that link and you will download a PDF made by me to help you plan your holidays. Even if this feels last minute for you, there’s still stuff you can do.

Do it now and then prepare for next year. I hope we can work together. If you’re not already in one of my programs, I would love to work with you. I’d love to help you plan year-round. You need to start thinking long-term. Stop thinking short-term. Think about what you can be doing all year long in 2020 to prepare for the next holiday season. So

26:31 CJ: Wonderful. Leah, thank you so much. Guys, we will see you soon.

Episode #070: How Leah is Preparing For Her Album Launch

After completing her highly successful crowdfunding campaign where she raised $83,000+ in in 30 days, the work was actually just beginning. Leah still had to release her album, and there were still two more phases to doing this successfully. After crowdfunding—which is Phase 1—she still to do a pre-order launch and then the actual launch or album release. In this episode of the Savvy Musician Show, Leah and C.J. discuss the details of how Leah is going about the next two phases of her Ancient Winter album launch. A lot of great tips in this episode!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The 3 phases of an album launch
  • How long is the pre-order period?
  • Making money before the album release
  • Incentives for pre-orders
  • Leah’s pre-order bundles
  • The power of scarcity and urgency
  • The advantage of using print-on-demand
  • Giveaways and discounts


Any kind of promotion I run with built-in scarcity, built in urgency.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:10]

“It takes this level of creativity and planning and forethought to do this kind of revenue.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:32]

“Let’s say I do a video or a photo and it just gets really good engagement that I wasn’t expecting, I can then use that and turn it into an ad.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:15:04]

“Organic social paid ads, especially Facebook and Instagram ads are what I’m focusing on. And email, email, email.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:17:03]

“technical things to the unlearned can appear as magical or witchcraft but I can assure you it isn’t.” — @MetalMotivation [0:19:54]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah’s Crowdfunding Page (Limited time) —

FREE Planning Tool —

Call Savvy Musician Academy —

Colin Caetano (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome to the savvy musician show this a CJ Ortiz on the branding mindset coach here at the savvy musician Academy. Joined once again by, let’s see, what will I call her today? Princess Leah. She reins the marketing galaxy. Leah, how you doing?

00:41 Leah: Doing wonderful, thank you. How are you? 

00:44 CJ: I’m wonderful. It’s good to see you. 

00:46 Leah: Nice to see you since an hour ago. 

00:48 CJ: Yeah, right? I don’t know if we can or can’t do the recording of the banter that we have before and after and in between these podcasts. But it’s our, it’s our chance to put off the business hat sometimes and just kind of catch up on other stuff. So anyway, I’m excited about this episode today because we’re kind of, in a way, Leah, continuing what we talked about in the past three episodes. You got in-depth into the crowdfunding stuff, but still, after the crowdfunding, there comes the actual album launch and the preparation that you go through for the actual album launch is extensive in and of itself. So I’m excited about the fact that you’re going to break some of that down today for we get into that. Let me just share this real quick.

A student spotlight, this is from one of our TOM students and TOM is The Online Musician program. Collin Caetano, and he writes, “win, over two years it took me to get lead costs to stay this low consistently. This means I’m finally getting to know my audience aesthetic and what they like and want to see from me much better. 63 cents a lead over seven days. I’m super stoked about this. Ready to split test my landing page to raise my conversion rate and then split test ads to get lead costs even lower. Couldn’t have done this without SMA”.

02:18 Leah: That’s awesome. Colin, I know you’ve been working really hard for a really long time, so I love hearing about your progress.

02:25 CJ: When I read something like this and the jargon which you and I know very well, I think of the people out there listening to this podcast with some of that probably sounded like Greek.

02:35 Leah: Yeah. Like what? What split test? What?

02:37 CJ: Split tests, landing page, conversion rates, what is all that stuff? Well, you’d have to listen to every podcast we’ve ever, done. 

02:44 Leah: Yeah. You know, we should do an episode where I just explained some of these terms. That would probably be useful. 

02:50 CJ: We’ll call the glossary episode. 

02:53 Leah: Yeah. Well you know, it would be really informative because there are so many different terms and names for different things. I think it’s is a good idea. So we’ll write that one down.

03:06 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I think that would be helpful for a lot of people. But short answer is Colin is making some progress at getting the money he’s spending on his advertising in order to get people to get on a list or what have you, is getting cheaper and cheaper per conversion. So he’s spending a bunch of money to reach a bunch of people and however many people respond, that gives them an average rate of what he spending, you know, his cost per conversion and he’s getting those lower. And so again, with something like the TOM program, Leah, people are learning how to get out there and start promoting themselves and learning even more how to keep their costs down in doing that. So that’s a real bonus. Very happy for you Colin. Well Leah, preparing for your album launch every time we unpack some of these things, I know you could go on for days in-depth and so we’re not going to do another three-part episode, but we may spend a couple episodes talking a little bit more about your album launch. But first of all, how is that going?

04:07 Leah: Well, it’s going really well. The last few episodes we recorded, my crowdfunding campaign was just wrapping up and yeah, we wrapped up around just over the $83,500 and something mark. So I was really happy with that, especially being that it was an eight-song holiday album, something different from what I normally do and I wasn’t sure how my fans would receive it. So what we do know is that it didn’t matter what platform I was on because I did just a little over that amount the last time. And I did that one on IndieGoGo. We talked about platforms, we talked about all of those kinds of pros and cons in the last episodes. Now is when all the work kind of begins. So that was all the heavy promotion and marketing. Now is the followup, all the fulfillment of these orders and preparing for a very busy crazy fourth quarter of the year.

And the reason it’s so busy is the way I’m doing launches is I’m not just doing a crowdfunding launch that’s best basically launch number one. Launch number two is the pre-order phase before the actual album launch, which in my case will be November 15th. So launch number two is the pre-order launch, which how is it different than crowdfunding? Well, I’m basically going to have everything in stock at my warehouse. I’ll also come out with some different products. I’ll go a little more in detail about that as we move into this section a little more in-depth, but launch number three is essentially the actual album launch. It’s available everywhere. People don’t have to wait for it anymore. It’s out. Then after that, because of the timing of this album launch on November 15th right. What else? What’s the big thing that happens in November? Well, in the US here you have Thanksgiving and that is the big kickoff to Black Friday, and so one thing I wasn’t really thinking of too much earlier in the year when I plan my album launch by was how close to Black Friday my album launch really is, and now that it’s set in stone, I have to take all of that into account as well.

I have to take into account Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the holidays leading basically all the way up to the end of the year. And that’s why I want to talk in this episode about how I’m preparing for my pre-launch and actual album launch. That’s kind of launch two and three. And then after that, the next episode I want to talk about specifically more what I’m doing for the holiday sales. I want to split it up because it is so much, there’s so much going on. So that’s kind of where we can begin.

06:41 CJ: Yeah, pre-launch pre-order. It’s all happening before the actual album is released, which again, you said about November 15th so we’re getting close to that. That’s just over a month.

06:53 Leah: Yeah, that’s right. So if people are wondering how long is my pre-order pre-launch period, it’s just two weeks. So November 1st will be the beginning. It’s a Friday. It’s going to be the beginning of my pre-order time. So the first thing you have to think about when doing some kind of a pre-order, whether it’s a crowdfunding campaign, because some people just do crowdfunding campaigns and then do these, do the actual album launch, no one says you have to do a pre-launch, but I like to do this, I like to maximize this. The fact is that there’s money to be made in a pre-order right before the actual launch. And so the question you have to ask is what can you offer, what kind of incentive can you offer to make someone want to buy the album before the actual launch date that’s different from maybe a crowdfunding campaign and different from the actual album launch? What can you offer? 

So there’s really only a couple options in my case. And you can be as creative as you want with this. In my case, it will be either access to some kind of bonus or something that they can’t get in the future or some kind of a discount on either select items or whatever you want to bundle or something. And I’m actually gonna do both in my pre-launch. So for the two week period, it’s going to be, I have a surplus of autographed digipacks, so physical CDs that I didn’t sell during the crowdfunding launch, and so that’s a perfect opportunity to sell the rest of those because they’re limited. So what’s nice is, because this is a two week period of time, I’ve got built-in scarcity, which speaks to the quantity of items and I’ve got built-in urgency, which speaks to the length of time that something is available.

So I have found over and over and over again with my audience, and this could be true for your audience, it could be true for even just the music audience in general, I haven’t proven this yet, but at least with my audience that anything, any kind of promotion I run with built-in scarcity, built-in urgency. True urgency and scarcity tend to work very well. So limited runs of things, limited number of items of things, limited time they can get something tends to work very well with my audience. It tends to work well with, I think probably general audiences in marketing all over the world. But at least in the music world, I have found this to be true. So I am trying to be as creative as I can in this two week pre-launch time period. So, I’m going to offer whatever, however many autographed packs I have leftover, which may be at 500 of them or whatever it is.

And then I will probably offer some kind of a small discount on certain items or bundles that we’re going to offer that weren’t offered in the crowdfunding campaign. So we have to come up with all new stuff. So that’s another thing. This is why we have modules in our Superfan System Elite on how to do print-on-demand. Which apps to use would, how to do this all on Shopify, blah, blah, blah. Because you need to be able to put things up fairly quickly and get it out there. Also, send yourself samples of some of these items. Make sure that quality assurance and make sure you like it. You also want to take photos of yourself and all these kinds of things that help sell the product. So that’s another thing I’m doing. And the third thing I’m doing, which will really help incentivize to get people on my email list during, well, before this pre-launch period and during the pre-launch period is I’m going to do a giveaway.

So it’s like enter, you know, get on my email list and you will get early access to limited edition items. You’re going to get access to a percentage off and you’ll be entered to win a bundle, like a high dollar amount and fun bundle. So it’s really worth it for them to do it and then they’re going to get blasted with emails. And that’s the other thing, you know, I mean I can talk about this all day about how we don’t email enough, but anyway, this is a lot of information I’m giving. This is normally the kind of information I would reserve even for our Elite students, but I really want to tell you guys, anybody who’s listening, it takes this level of creativity and planning and forethought to do this kind of revenue. It really does. And I just want to give you real-world examples of exactly what I’m doing, not so you can go out and just copy and paste it.

You can’t. My audience is not your audience. You can’t just copy and paste what I’m doing. I want it to infuse you with principles that you can take and go, oh, okay, so what I need to be thinking about, it’s not, oh, well what’re the items Leah is doing? Or what are her design looks? Oh, well, who’s the person who did her lyric video? Can I get the name? Instead of thinking about that, I want you to think about, oh, she talked about urgency and scarcity. What do the concepts look like and what does it mean for me if I were to go do this? How can I use scarcity and urgency in my pre-launch, in my crowdfunding campaigns? That will make you way more money than trying to copy exactly what I’m doing.

12:25 CJ: And that’s, I think, an important note because people do kind of get fixated on some of these details, which are important, we’re not saying those things are not important, but the things that are going to really convert are going to be the scarcity and urgency. That’s just direct marketing, guys. That’s just the way it works. You might be uncomfortable with it now, you can get used to it. You will become more comfortable. Now, Leah, which do you feel is your better source for marketing? Is it going to be your social media? Is it going to be your email? You mentioned email and really ramping it up in this. Again, this is a two week period, right? You said, so this is very limited, so there’s not a lot of time for data gathering and that sort of thing. You have to kind of go for the jugular, so to speak, during that period. So I know you’re going to be firing on all fronts. Which one do you feel like is gonna pull the most for you?

13:20 Leah: Well, because my campaign ended a couple of weeks ago and I’ve got basically a month here in between the next big campaign, which is the pre-order campaign, two week period, I am already building my list. You know, a bunch of people will unsubscribe when you’re doing a campaign like crowdfunding cause I’m sending so many emails, totally normal, par for the course, get over it, it doesn’t offend me, but I’m building my email list. Some people might want to resubscribe so I start showing them ads now, “hey get on the early bird list. You’re going to get all these benefits. Here are all the benefits and what it’s going to do for you.” And this is another skill that I really want to infuse people with, the principle of thinking about what is in it for them because nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, what’s in it for them.

So I lead with what’s in it for them. You’re going to get this, you’re going to get that. So I’m already kind of rebuilding my email list a little bit. Not that I lost so many people, but it’s just a fact like a certain percentage of people unsubscribe normally. So I’m in the time between then and the next big launch from launch two and three I’m reinforcing my email list. And then when it comes time to launch that campaign, it will be a mixture. Then basically my big three is organic social, paid traffic and email list. Those are my big, like my trifecta of marketing, so I always, I always use organic social media and that will never go away. What’s cool is that if you see something that’s worked really well in organic social media, like let’s say I do a video or a photo and it just gets really good engagement that I wasn’t expecting, I can then use that and turn it into an ad.

When you know how to do these sorts of things, it’s really easy. You can turn it into an ad. I can go into my ad manager, find the post and it’s not like boosting a post it all. It’s a completely different thing, but I can turn it into an ad and make it very targeted. I can show it to my email list, I can show it to a, could show it to new people, but typically during a launch, I’m not looking to bring in new people. I’m looking to market to the people I’ve already built, the audience I’ve already acquired and they’ve been following me for a while now and especially moving into the holiday sales season, November and December. I am not trying to build my email list at that point with new people. I am strictly marketing to people that are already following me and I’ll know who I am.

It’s far too expensive in those months and so you’ll see it. I mean they are the most competitive advertising months of the entire year. That means you know, Coca Cola and all the big brands and all the big people, all your competitors, even the labels and stuff, a lot of these big companies have ad budgets and they are required to spend those ad budgets and when it gets to the end of the year, they actually have to blow out the rest of their ad budget. Believe it or not, they actually do. They don’t just save it, they actually spend it and so they’re spending it all at the end of the year. Plus we all know that’s the biggest commerce time of the year. That’s when people are pulling out their wallets and credit cards everywhere to buy Christmas gifts and just all of this stuff. So it is so competitive. It will be the most expensive time of the year. You don’t want to be spending all your money on cold audiences, on people who don’t know who you are. This is the time to capitalize on all your hard work and that you’ve been doing all year long and real in all of these warm audiences. And it’s time to show your ads and organic posts and emails to them. So that’s my trifecta. Organic social paid ads, especially Facebook and Instagram ads are what I’m focusing on. And email, email, email.

17:12 CJ: So are the ads that you’re running, both organic and paid, are they driving people to an opt-in or are they driving people to the actual preorder offer?

17:23 Leah: So when I go to do my pre-order, during that phase, we’ll probably have a couple of different campaigns going. I will have one trying to just notify all my fancy people following me on my page, people who follow me on Instagram, hey, you can still join. The early-bird list, pretty much until the day before the big launch. But I’ll also be showing people who are on my list who have been tagged as they’re on the early bird list, I’m going to show those exact people, not only emails, not only social posts, I’m going to show them ads. So that I’m top of mind during this period. So this gets a little bit techie, a little bit ninja, but there is something called dynamic custom audiences. And all that means is that when somebody joins my email list, because of the type of software I use and because of their capabilities, I can sync that specific audience.

So the early bird list, I can sync it with Facebook and say, Facebook, every time someone joins my early bird list, I want you to add that name to a specific small little audience and only those people, nobody else except these people who joined that list. And then I want you to show those people my ads, these specific ads that I’ve written. So that’s pretty awesome. If that just went completely over your head, you have no idea what I’m talking about, just know that you’re not alone. It is a little bit techie and it’s something that you will eventually learn to do in the future if you decide to ever work with us. This is the stuff that you will learn. And if you’re just like, oh, I’m so not a techie person, just know that I’m not either. I really am not. You just learn the stuff, you’ve got to learn to make it work and, and when there’s money on the other side of it, it becomes pretty fun pretty quick.

19:19 CJ: Yeah. And that’s a reason to be in the Elite program I think, because it does get, you know, people think that somebody had said in one of our team meetings recently that a record label couldn’t figure out what you were doing and the success you were having, and use the term actually will then it must be witchcraft. Of course. We, we have heard mostly on our own channels here. Well, it must be a scam or it must be this. It must be that. No, ladies and gentlemen, it is technical. Okay. So yeah, I mean technical things to the unlearned can appear as magical or witchcraft but I can assure you it isn’t. Now you mentioned two other phases to this.

20:04 Leah: Yeah. So then there’s the actual album launch and it’s now out, it’s available everywhere. Go buy it, go stream, blah blah blah. I really don’t like to, but on that one day and like what happens in that first or second week, I want to pretend like that day doesn’t exist. I want to work as hard as I can during my crowdfunding campaign and my pre-launch, as though my life depends on it, launch like nobody’s going to buy anything on that day and that way that just puts me in the right frame of mind that might the right headspace, and then there are a percentage of people who just do hold out until launch day. For some reason there is this percentage of people, but I try to make it juicy enough and attractive enough and incentivized enough that most people I’m hoping would buy stuff beforehand during the crowdfunding and during and during the prelaunch and if I’ve done well there, I know I’ve done a good job because at the end of the day there is going to be a large amount of people who buy on the day or the first week that it’s out.

And even after all this, there’s still going to be a fragment and a segment of people who didn’t even know you had a new album out like even a month later. Like they somehow did not get the memo. They didn’t get the emails. They didn’t, I mean just recently I saw, I had a Facebook post and someone just said, “oh my goodness, you have a new album coming out soon. I had no idea”. I’m like where the heck were you? And just because even with paid ads, even with organic, somehow still people aren’t seeing it. And this is why I want you to stop worrying about bugging people too much cause I promise you they’re not seeing it as much as you think they are. They’re not even seeing a fraction of what you’re putting out there so you can relax and do way more than you are and not worry about offending people.

22:11 CJ: So you’ve got a pre-order, you’ve got the actual launch, right, well, back up to the crowdfunding, pre-order the actual launch. Now we’re into just an open cart so to speak. We’re just, you can buy it as is at any time. There’s no more scarcity or urgency. Then at that point,

22:30 Leah: Well I do have some things in place.

22:32 CJ: I’m going to say it unless there’s something else here.

22:36 Leah: I do have something up my sleeve, but I can’t talk about it yet. I will. We will do maybe in a couple episodes from now because I can’t let the secret out. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but what I will tell you, here’s what I can say; I can tell you that the other thing I’ve discovered about maximizing sales is to not show your hand of cards all at once. So don’t do it during a crowdfunding campaign. Don’t do it during a launch, meaning always have something else that you’re going to bring out that people don’t know about just yet. So even if just one item, I have something up my sleeve that my fans don’t know about yet and I’m not, I haven’t determined exactly when I’m bringing it out. I might actually start it during the pre-orders just because I don’t know how it’s going to go and I really don’t know what to expect cause I’ve never offered anything like this or I might save certain things for later.

I haven’t fully determined it yet, but this is what I know is like people love new. If I offer the same during my album launch on November 15th that I offered her my crowdfunding campaign math, it’s old news. They’ve already seen it, they’re over it. I gotta have something new. So what I can tell you is there will be, for example, during the pre-launch, I will have a dedicated page to just an Ancient Winter collection. That’s the name of my album, Ancient Winter, there’ll be a collection of new stuff that they didn’t see before. So there will be a new t-shirt design that wasn’t offered in the previous campaign. There will be some mugs and like a hat and there will be some things that are offered that were not offered before. And then, like I said, I have a secret item that I can’t talk about yet, but stay tuned, you’ll hear about it.

I have a lot to say. So I think the important thing is keep them guessing, keep them on their toes, plan far enough ahead that you realize, okay, well what else could I do that would delight my fans? That’s a really important question. What can I do? 

I mean, if, if you’re in any business, how can I delight my customers? I asked myself that last year when we were done travelling and I was doing the Quest launch, my last album launch. And for example, the digital download, I put an Easter egg video in the zip file that they got with all of these different song files and formats. Something they weren’t expecting. It was a personalized thank-you video kind of coming from the heart and I didn’t tell them it was going to be in there. And just small little gestures like that, create an experience. Small little gestures like that will delight your fans and make you really memorable and make them want to support you and create a kind of loyalty that you would never even imagine. Things like that.

25:31 CJ: Well, yeah, and you know, I can back up from this and look at the whole thing and just see the overall approach. There is so much obvious technique, method and tools being used here, but it all stems from that. You know, the person, the artist and that artist’s connection with his or her audience. And so you can do that ladies and gentlemen, you can achieve these very same things. Yes, there’s a lot to learn on the technical side, but that’s the easy part because you can have all those things in place and if you don’t have the good music, if you don’t have the relationship with your fans, if you don’t know what you’re about, if you don’t know who you’re targeting, if you don’t know the message of the culture and all these sorts of things, all the tools in the world and are not going to make it work. So you need both. And so that’s again something you can get at the Elite Academy, but you wanted to offer them something kind of cool today. Why don’t you tell them about that?

26:30 Leah: Yeah. So, I know so many of you have album launches coming up or you’re in the middle of one or you’re thinking about doing your next crowdfunding campaign. I get a lot of questions about the tools that I use and there’s one simple one that I used to pretty much plan everything. And I’m looking at it right now. We use it in Savvy Musician Academy and I use it specifically for album launches, and all my holiday planning, all of this stuff. And I made a tutorial, just a little walkthrough showing you how I use the tool for album launches, for crowdfunding, what kind of stuff is in this tool and just how I kind of map it and plan it out. And you can watch that walkthrough. It’s only 15 minutes long. And if you want to use the tool, there’s a link there. I don’t get paid for it or anything. I just want to be able to help you guys out. You can go to So we’ll put that in the show notes. You can go get it there or just type it in your browser. And let me know if you liked it because I’m pretty sure this will be useful and maybe fascinating to you and maybe this is something you’ll incorporate.

27:39 CJ: Awesome. Thank you, Leah. Now guys, do us a favour, go right now from this podcast, go to your player and be sure to leave a review for this show. If they have the offer of stars, give us as many stars as you can possibly click on, but then again, write out a review. We’d love to hear from you. If you’re in any one of our groups, that free mastermind group or the student group for TOM or Elite group, please go into those groups, leave your comments and questions there about the podcast. We read all of your testimonies and comments and we love to share them in our team meetings so they’re huge encouragement to us to leave a review on the podcast today and uh, Leah, I think that’s it. Thank you so much.

28:24 Leah: You’re welcome. See you guys next time. 

Episode #069: Crowdfunding Q&A

As we reach the third and final episode of this powerful 3-part, in-depth series on the success of Leah’s recent crowdfunding campaign, Leah answer’s some of her student’s questions on crowdfunding. Having done a few crowdfunding campaigns during her career, Leah is always pushing the envelope and learning more, and even these three episodes on crowdfunding were not enough to cover everything. This is why being a part of her Elite program is so important for anyone desiring to have a full-time career in music by maximizing their music business through online marketing. Still, Leah goes even deeper in this episode by answering the most important questions she received about crowdfunding. If you haven’t heard the first two episodes, you should listen to those first, and the content of this episode will be far more fruitful for you. Enjoy the discussion!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The difference between Leah’s crowdfunding campaigns.
  • How social media has changed online marketing.
  • The simple things you must focus on.
  • Leah’s method of email marketing.
  • Leah’s method of using surveys.
  • How Leah keeps fans interested throughout her campaign.
  • How Leah writes her email subject lines.
  • How Leah managed her time.
  • The importance of cleaning out your email list.
  • Is there a certain time of year that’s best for crowdfunding?
  • Leah’s “trifecta” for marketing success.
  • Releasing singles.
  • Can you manage a campaign by yourself?
  • How Leah organizes her work.
  • The ins and outs of product bundles.
  • The breakdown of costs vs profits.


“This isn’t the time to go after a whole new crowd, it’s the time to advertise to the people who are already following you, and so that’s really important.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:07:47]

“My advice is do the simple things. Build your audience, build your email list, learn how to run ads.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:08:18]

“I don’t treat surveys as exact data… It is to get a general feeling and sense for what you could potentially do.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:10:53]

“You try it and you figure it out, what worked, what didn’t work, and then analyze it after and make it better next time.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:14:04]

“You learn a hundred things to do, and a hundred things not to do.” — @MetalMotivation [0:14:10]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah’s Crowdfunding Page (Limited time) —

FREE Crowdfunding Guide —

Call Savvy Musician Academy — 

Annelise LeCheminant (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show this CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy, cohost of this awesome podcast. And once again, I get to sit across the table from the lovely Leah McHenry music marketer herself, queen of this domain. How are you today? 

00:39 Leah: I’m great, thank you. How are you? 

00:42 CJ: Good. It’s good to serve in the throne room, man. Always a pleasure to be here. Well, guys, this is the third episode in this amazing series on crowdfunding. Leah, all the episodes you’ve gone so deep in the subject and each one of these episodes has been longer than our usual ones and we’re still now three episodes deep. This is like a course and you said you weren’t going to hold back. You said you were going to go into all of the detail, everything.

It wasn’t just going to be a teaser that you were going to share here. You were going to go into this. Such a successful campaign. Your goal was $50,000 on this most recent campaign, crowdfunding on your own website. You went beyond that and reached $80,000 crowdfunding for this latest album, the winter album. It wasn’t even your usual music, wasn’t even the metal album that you usually put out, no metal in this album, still within your brand, but a holiday album which you had not done before and then you learn so many lessons from it because you didn’t start out initially having the vinyl, you queried your audience. They gave you such tremendous feedback about vinyl. You put vinyl into there and sold out within a few days. You were getting from your emails stats like 20 plus thousand dollars in returns from seven days of email marketing.

Again, just breaking all the rules, all the stigmas, all the myths about what can be done in this new era of music marketing while other people, Leah, are complaining about Spotify and iTunes and not getting their royalties. You are targeting your audience of superfans and fully paying for, and more, your album release. How is anybody supposed to wrap their head around that 

02:39 Leah: They listened to this podcast, that’s how

02:44 CJ: You know, when you hear it put like that, you know, in summary fashion, it does sound pretty amazing. And you know, if I didn’t know her so well, maybe I would be also one of those skeptics out there saying, “hmm, I wonder how she does it”. Well, we’re going three episodes deep, very long episodes to tell you how she did this. And even though there were so many specific ways and tools and things that she used to do this, as we’ve been saying throughout the series, she didn’t rely upon that. Ultimately what she relies on is her ability to market, her ability to sell, her ability to write copy and knowing her audience, like she said, she may not be able to write copy for other people, but she knows how to write to communicate with her audience. And so we’re going to get into today a lot of the questions that other musicians have asked students and whatnot. And so this is going to be even probably deeper than what we’ve gone so far because we didn’t get into the real nuts and bolts about things from an inquiry standpoint. 

But before we do that, Leah, let me just share a quick student spotlight. Another one of our elite students from our program, Annalise, she writes “#win, a journalist in France offered to review my album and my ads gained a ton of traction last night and I’m not sure why. I woke up with 200 plus more followers now to get to work.” I’ll tell you what I’ve had, I’ve woke up sometimes on Facebook or Instagram and seen a flood of new followers and said, well, I know somebody did something last night on the internet because this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. But the thing is, is she got a review on her album and this is an independent artist, obviously, right? Who reviews independent artists publishing their own music?

04:39 Leah: Yeah. That’s really cool. I love it when those happy accidents happen, just cause you’re doing what you should be doing. And as I’m sharing in lessons, I’m preparing for the next iteration of TOM, I’m sharing about how in one mindset lesson about how it’s amazing when you just get to work and do the things you should, how much more “lucky” you get. Right? Just by doing these things, it’s just like all of a sudden opportunities just start happening and people start reviewing your album and these things just start happening to you. And it’s not out of the blue. It’s because you’re doing what you should be doing. You are marketing your music as you should be. And the doors open,

05:15 CJ: Leah, you raised $80,000 in 30 days. Your goal was $50,000, so more than half of that, you increased your amount. So you talked about all this stuff that you did, but you know, obviously, we can’t cover everything. So you made a wise move and you put some post out there to our existing Facebook groups and said, “do you guys have any questions?” What kind of feedback did you get?

05:45 Leah: Oh my goodness. Oh, we had so many questions. This is clearly an important topic to you. There’s no way I’ll be able to get to them all. But we do have a large list. I can’t promise I’ll get to answer single one of these, but there’s some really good ones and I’m going to do as many as possible and who knows, we might even have to do a round two of these because there’s so many and then it really will be like a mini-course for free. So I hope that you appreciate it cause I probably could charge for this information. I really could, but I’m not. I want to, yeah. 

06:17 CJ: Oh, yes you could. 

06:20 Leah: But, maybe we will.

06:21 CJ: Say thank you when somebody does something nice. Yes. Some say thank you and someone does something nice for you. 

06:24 Leah: That’s right. 

06:25 CJ: Leah just did something very nice.

06:27 Leah: You better leave us a good review if you get something out of this. So, yeah, why don’t we start with some of the first questions that came in and I’ll do my best.

06:36 CJ: What is the biggest difference between this crowdfunding and the initial one you did when you started? First and what did you do differently or better since your last campaign?

06:47 Leah: Well, the biggest difference between my initial one and say the last one and this one would be the component of Facebook ads, which I did not have. So my very first campaign when I did $27,000 that was email and social media only. I wasn’t doing Facebook ads back then and so obviously that still indicated I have quite a loyal fan base without the advertising. But you add the advertising in and some of the cool nifty things that I do and it obviously is multiplied and I’ve grown my audience since then too. So more people know about me. I’ve grown my email list like crazy since then. So I’d say the addition of social media would be growing my email list year-round in preparation for these launches because I never know when might do something new and really learning how to do Facebook ads and target my warm audience during things like. This isn’t the time to go after a whole new crowd, it’s the time to advertise to the people who are already following you, and so that’s really important.

07:47 CJ: That’s awesome. And again, a great argument for the way that social media has changed things. And so she’s using everything. She’s not advocating just one thing she’s using everything. That’s important for you to realize. Here’s another one; any advice for those of us who want to run their first crowdfunding campaign? What should we pay attention to more? What should we avoid?

08:10 Leah: Yeah, my advice is do the simple things. Build your audience, build your email list, learn how to run ads. And when you have an audience, I can’t give you a specific number and say, “oh, when you have 10,000 people on your email list, now you’re ready”,  there’s no way I can determine that. You have to do surveys. You have to put the feelers out there and determine for yourself when is the right time. You will know. So I can’t give you specifics like that. What you should avoid would be putting a campaign out there when you don’t yet have a following yet. You don’t yet know if people believe in your music, your music isn’t tested or proven yet. So we have done previous episodes, I’ll refer to again in the show notes about how to launch an album when you don’t have an audience yet, things like that, those are the episodes. If that’s where you’re at, you need to go listen to those. We’ve addressed that. So that’s what you should avoid. For these kinds of questions, guys, I always need more specific detail if you want a more specific answer. If you give me a broad question, you’ll get a broad answer, just FYI. 

09:17 CJ: There you go. Well, good thing you said that because the next question is very much in detail. In fact, coming in three parts. So how many times did you send emails to ask how much fans would pledge and how did you go about this in general?

09:34 Leah: I sent, actually, I haven’t counted it right now, but I sent many. So what this person was referring to is like in the last episode I talked about sending surveys, or was it the first episode we did all of this, but I sent a survey to my audience to get them to pre-pledge. Like, “Hey, if I do a crowdfunding campaign, how much would you be involved, in dollar amounts?” and I had that surveyed. Of course, if you send it out one time, you only get a few responses. So I descended out many times via email many, many times. So I want to say like eight times. I dunno, I sent it out a lot. Within a two week period, say before I went ahead and really made some serious plans. But I think around it in total, maybe for a month, I’m just going to guess somewhere in that ballpark.

10:23 CJ: Yeah, I got the emails and that sounds right. You also have some people who do not reply to emails even though they would like to pledge. So how did you get all of those who were interested in your campaign to reply to your questionnaire so you know exactly what your target should be?

10:40 Leah: I don’t treat surveys as exact data. I know that only a certain percentage of people will reply. I also know a percentage of people who say they’re going to pledge won’t because that’s human nature. So I don’t take it as whatever they pledge, that’s exactly what I’m going to get. That’s not how it works. This is a test. It is to get a general feeling and sense for what you could potentially do. So, I think I was sitting somewhere around a hundred thousand dollars in pre-pledges and at the time of this recording, my campaign hasn’t officially ended yet, so I don’t know where it’s gonna end up by the time this episode comes out and you’re hearing it and you can go and check it at So I got a custom URL to send people there. That’s another little side detail that the whole idea is to just get a sense.

11:34 CJ: Yeah. What kinds of subject lines do you use and what kind of content to keep people interested throughout the campaign?

11:43 Leah: Types of subject lines. Oh man, I’ve sent, well, I can tell you through in this 30 day period I’ve sent somewhere around 35 emails, which isn’t even that much for a campaign if you’re campaigning pretty hard, honestly, I feel like I probably slacked a bit on the email. I could have done double, to be honest. When it comes to Black Friday, I will be doing two or three times more than what I’m doing right now. I just don’t want to burn out my list before the fourth quarter of the year, which is the most important and because it’s a pre-launch, I haven’t even actually launched the album, I don’t want to burn out my list quite yet, but I’ve sent somewhere around 35 emails, generally speaking to people and I will say that some of the time I’m excluding people who have already purchased.

12:30 Leah: Now, how am I doing that? Well, you find out those sorts of things in our courses and training, but I will tell you that I try to not bombard people who have already purchased over and over and over again after they purchase. They want to be updated. They do want to follow along, but they just don’t want all the sales ones constantly. So I exclude them from some of my emails. What I can tell you is Shopify is amazing and my email service providers amazing that allows you to do that. So as far as subject lines that I was using, I would say some of the students who, you guys are probably on my list and following along to see them all, some of them are straight up like, hey, this many days left. Some of them are like that. And then other ones are like, hey, something new.

13:14 Leah: And so that’s why as you heard in the previous episodes, I don’t show all my cards at the beginning. You got to leave something to bring out later in the campaign, a new perk, a new bundle, a new this, a new that, just something new. And even just new graphics that you hadn’t showed them before. And so, I mean, I can’t give you the list of subject lines here, but I just tried to keep things interesting, keep them exciting. And I always ask myself would I open that email? Is that interesting to me? And not all of them are winners. I got low open rates on a few of my emails. Don’t think that they’re all like hitting them out of the park. It’s an experiment, right? You try it and you figure it out, what worked, what didn’t work, and then analyze it after and make it better next time. 

13:56 CJ: Yeah. You learn a hundred things to do a hundred things not to do. 

13:59 Leah: That’s right.

14:00 CJ: How did you use your time leading up to the campaign launch? Maybe look at a day or week of prep and then look at the day or week while the campaign was live?

14:11 Leah: Oh my gosh, I cannot even answer this question. The reason why I can’t answer, how did I use my time is because it’s a blur. It’s a complete blur and I really don’t know that it’s that helpful for everyone because my life looks very, very different. I have to ask, why does this matter to you? Because I have a small team, so I’m delegating certain things to other people. I’ll say, hey to my assistant, can you go and draft all these emails? Like, get them all ready. I’ll go in at the end of the day and I’ll go make all my changes. I’ll add my personalization so it’s me speaking, but can you just get them ready and set up? Like that takes a few hours to do, right, that I didn’t spend in my day doing that. So I can’t really give you an accurate picture. Plus my life is crazy.

15:00 CJ: Well let’s think about it this way. Cause really it’s not important how much time you spent because your circumstances are yours, unique. It’s really more about the person who wants to do something like this. So thinking of a person who’s just starting out doing this kind of campaign, what kind of time do you think is going to be spent?

15:20 Leah: All I can tell you is if you’re wondering how many hours should I put in it? Maybe you shouldn’t be doing this cause all I know is I’m all in, I have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on it, a lot. I spent a lot of time, I spent every spare minute working on this, that’s what I can tell you. That just go all in whatever it takes to get it done. Yeah. That’s the mentality you have to have.

15:43 CJ: Yeah, because, and this may sound super mysterious, but I’ll reveal a simple secret here that maybe Leah has never told you this, but she starts with the premise that she wants a career in music, and so because she wants that career in music so bad, she does whatever it takes. It’s as simple as that. And so like she said if you’re thinking, oh, how much time do I have to spend? Then we’re back to the starting question. Are you really wanting a music career or are you just looking to have a hobby playing music? Because if you want a career, this is what, let’s talk, let’s walk together in that journey. If this is just a hobby to you, you just kind of kicking tires, well, it’s not for you now. Right now, of course, you’re going to watch everybody else do well and eventually your regret and the pain of not doing it will eventually get you to kick in and take action or you can take action now. How much time? Be prepared to spend all of it. You won’t, but be prepared. 

16:41 Leah: Yep. 

16:42 CJ: Okay, I would love to know if at all possible about your numbers as in the size of the mailing list and the Facebook ad spend. I’m reflecting on my current campaign, the many mistakes I’ve made and how I’d like to do it differently next time and because my album projects all costs roughly the same amount, around 65,000 pounds, I would love to have some benchmarks to work up to in order to reach my goal more easily and without having to offer such crazy rewards next time. I don’t know, Leah, you offered a lot of rewards.

17:12 Leah: Yeah, I don’t know what this person means by crazy rewards, but I will say it’s not about my numbers and my size of email list and that if you have the same size, you’ll get the same results. I’m pretty sure I know which student this is from. And if I’m correct, I think one issue with your campaign is that you don’t have a deadline. And so because you don’t have a deadline, this is still just some ongoing thing. I think we’ve actually given you this advice already. You’re not going to hit your goal because there’s no incentive to, there’s no reason. And people respond to deadlines. They respond to scarcity and urgency. And if you’re not giving them either of those, then that’s where your struggle is. So it’s not about my numbers. I can share my numbers, but that’s not going to help you.

So I’ll share though. Actually, during this campaign, I did a big list clean as well because you don’t want to have tons and tons of people on your list that they’re not active or they haven’t been opening emails. Sometimes people just sign up for things with the emails that they don’t really look at. Some are sitting around the $30,000 mark, somewhere around that ballpark. So we just got rid of any spam emails, spam traps, that kind of stuff. So, ad spend, I can’t tell you what the total is yet because I am still, the campaign is still on. I could probably share more of those stats in another episode. What I do know is that I think you need to follow the program that you’re in and I think you’ll get better results.

18:44 CJ: What’s the best time to start a crowdfunding campaign? What is the worst time? Now again, Leah did $80,000 in 30 days. So that’s, that’s a very, very tight timeframe

18:57 Leah: And I don’t know what they mean by best time. Does it mean like best time of the year?

19:01 CJ: Yeah. I think they’re referring to the best time of the year.

19:05 Leah: It doesn’t matter. What I wouldn’t do is maybe start one in December just because of the Christmas and people’s attention is diverted. But it doesn’t matter what time of the year. It really doesn’t, I think do it whenever it makes sense to do it. As far as like best time in your career, that’s maybe the other way you’re alluding to the question when you have a fan base that tells you that they will contribute to your campaign through a survey. Yeah, and I say that smiling again. Survey.

19:36 CJ: Yeah, I think for time of year, like she said, it doesn’t really matter. For example, she launched hers in August, right. So that’s summertime, which is typically when people are out vacationing and not at home and usually a bad time for retailers and the whole nine yards. Great for tourism industry, bad for retailers. Well not if you’ve got super fans and that’s the magic here, ladies and gentlemen, Leah has a targeted audience of people who love Celtic fantasy metal all year round and they love Leah all year round, so they don’t take a vacation from their email. They don’t take a vacation from listening to music. So you have that advantage. You’ve got a great targeted audience, you’re going to be fine if you just follow the principles. What have you noticed brings in the most money? I think the answer will be obvious as far as the contributions, mailing lists, Facebook ads or other?

20:34 Leah: It’s really the trifecta of email, Facebook ads, and organic social media. So those three things, it’s my trifecta. They all work together. They work synonymously and you wouldn’t really want to exclude any one of those three if you’re going to do it on this level. If you’re not ready for Facebook ads, then just don’t do the Facebook ads. Just do what you can through email and social and you’ll still get results. The Facebook ads are only going to amplify what’s already working. So if your campaign is not working, don’t do Facebook ads. That will not help you. 

21:08 CJ: Do you recommend releasing a single on the day the crowdfunding opens or during the campaign? 

21:14 Leah: I did that this time, and there are some pros and cons to that. When you release anything, you get all the eyeballs and attention on that one thing. So here’s what I learned about that, here’s my theory, I should say, I thought if I release a single on the same day that I launch the album and the idea was actually to release a lyric video the same day because I knew that would get the most attention, the most eyeballs, and then I would funnel all that free traffic to the campaign page, like a big announcement.

Okay, so that fell through. Actually, the company that I had hired to do the lyric video, they pulled out at the last minute the week it was supposed to happen and now I had no lyric video but I still had the singles, so the single came out. I would say the complication in doing that instead of maybe releasing it the week before or during, is that you now have two CTAs, calls to action, where it’s like, listen to the song and contribute to the campaign. Now I made it work in my favour. But somebody who’s not very experienced in this, you might find the tension is split between what you want them to do. So a general rule of thumb when you’re writing emails and copy, which we teach in our courses here, is that you don’t put more than one call to action in an email.

Sometimes I break this rule, but typically right, you wouldn’t say go here and go there and then go here and go there. You don’t want to give people five different things to do in an email because now they have to pick and now you just confused them again. You’re making them burn calories. If you make them burn calories, they’re going to click away. So the problem with releasing a music video, and although I’d say that’s probably one of the better things you could do, is a music video and then funnel all that traffic to the campaign. Like put it in your description and put it in, wherever they let you put a link, put a link there to funnel that traffic over. But if you’re writing emails or other places, you’ve now got two things you want them to do. You want them to consume the single or the video and then you want them to do this other thing was go over to this page.

So that’s the complication. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, it’s just something you need to think through as you are becoming a marketer. These are the types of nuances that matter. And so these are the sorts of things you have to test. So I hope that kind of answered the question. Would I do it again in the future? Yeah, I would. But again, I’m experienced and so I know how to do both. You could also have success releasing a single, getting people excited about it, then release the campaign. That would also work. You could release it during the campaign, but I think that it would probably be better before.

24:06 CJ: Do you recommend someone get assistance for their first crowdfunding? Like an actual assistant who’s an expert at that or an administrative assistant, or at least a coach? Do you feel it’s realistic to manage it all by oneself?

24:19 Leah: That’s a really good question. I think it depends on the size of the campaign. If it’s your first one, and you only do a hundred sales, that’s not that much to manage and you could probably do it. And my first campaign, I did it myself, uh, where I did the $27,000. Now it was a lot, but I also learned a lot and my theory on assistance, which you know, I’ve had a couple, is you do want to learn the things that you want them doing that you will eventually delegate because then you really know if they’re doing a good job and they might be better at things and you, and that’s good. We want that. But you still need to know what the basics are so that you know what to do. Now, I’ve never seen experts, crowdfunding experts who are assistants, right?

Maybe I should start an agency where we train assistants in our systems and then connect you with them. If you like that idea, let me know. But what I would do is if you have a band, make sure they’re involved. You should be delegating some of these tasks to band members. Get a spouse to help you. You could definitely get someone just to come on who’s a little more administrative and just help you with the order part of it. The marketing part of it. If it’s not a big campaign like what I’m doing, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t do it yourself. It just depends on the size.

25:37 CJ: How do you organize, prioritize everything, writing emails, bundles, photos, plus the landing page. How long before do you start preparing everything?

25:47 Leah: Quite a bit in advance. We start with mapping out what it is we want to offer and we’re looking at different wholesalers, where can we source this stuff and what are the profit margins going to be? And then from there, once we’ve solidified what the bundles are we start working on mockups and graphics, getting those graphics made up. Then we start figuring out what the page is and we put those graphics on the page. I start writing my copy, this is all happening at least a couple of months in advance is when we’re actually putting it together. The planning of it as long ahead of time that I can possibly muster. This time it was all a bit of a time crunch for me because I had just wrapped up the actual recording of the album and my vocals and everything was just, it was a little bit chaotic for me this year. More chaotic than I like because it was a very quick, as a quick decision. It all kind of had to happen. So it was a little more rushed than I like to do it. I love to give myself a good six months for any kind of launch. Six months before an album launch, six months before a crowdfunding campaign that that way there’s no stress and just you plug away at it until it’s ready. But this time it was definitely a little more on the clock. So that’s what happened.

27:07 CJ: You normally have all of your products ready to go before the campaign? During or after it’s completed?

27:14 Leah: Yeah, the timeline is always a little bit unique with each campaign depending cause there are so many different moving parts. This time, none of it’s ready before the campaign. The only thing that’s happened was during the campaign, my CDs, we’ve already predetermined how many digipacks we were producing and those are already being printed, they’re probably done now. The other things like vinyl we hadn’t even planned on, so that’s in production right now because those actually take the longest. They take like 12 weeks to produce and so we actually let our customers know who bought this was actually in our survey. Hey, since this is since we would be coming out with this late, you know, would you be okay with not receiving your vinyl on the day, the album launches? Are you okay with getting this a week within a week after the launch date or two weeks or anytime before Christmas and we just got a general feel and what my fans told me was, we don’t care when we get it, anytime it’s ready, we’ll be happy with is what they told us. So that really helped. 

As for the other bundles and the other items, t-shirts and all that, as soon as the campaign ends we get the totals, send it off to the order, you know the manufacturer where we’re getting it all done and then all of that stuff is going to go to the warehouse and we’re going to bundle it all together. So I’m not doing the typical print-on-demand one, one-off items that I would do, you know, on a typical day on my shop where they might get a few different packages and it might arrive at different types of, we’re doing it all together so that that’s part of the experience of getting to crowdfunding bundles. You open it up and everything’s in there and it feels cohesive and so that’s how we’re doing it.

28:51 CJ: I noticed you had quite a lot of high-quality photos, graphics, new video clips about the bundles and the time left in the campaign. You plan those ahead of time or have someone who is able to put those together relatively quickly for you? Where’s the easiest place to find people who put together nice promo clips and bundle photos?

29:09 Leah: Yes, so one thing I have learned about successful campaigns is imagery online, actually for any kind of marketing is very important. We’re dealing with a visual medium, you know, social media, even in email, any kind of banners or graphics or GIFs. Did you know you could put GIFs in email? They look like video, but it’s not. Any of those kinds of things require some thought. And so yes, I do have a graphic designer that I work with. I don’t do this stuff myself are you kidding. I’m not good at that. Unless you are a graphic designer, that’s one thing you should automatically hire out, hire a friend, hire somebody you know to do this, there’s a ton of sites. Just Google freelance graphic designer, that’s your friend in Google. There are all different kinds of websites. There’s Upwork, there’s Fiverr, there are all these different sites out there where you can find graphic designers to do this.

The high-quality photos are gonna come from original photos are taken of me, and then the graphic designer might Photoshop me into something else, a different background, a different filter. And that’s where the fanciness comes from. And the video clips usually have clips of the songs. Sometimes I’ve got these little animations that are going into my Instagram stories. Again, just a graphic designer who does little animations. That’s what you’ve got to find. So, as far as how quick, the graphic designer usually knows, we usually have a deadline on like dates I need them by and so then they just deliver them. So it’s usually nice if you can find somebody with a quick turnaround just in case you want to add something at the last minute. But that’s never guaranteed. 

30:45 CJ: How do you group and price the bundles? Which exclusive items do you find sell the best? What are the best options for those who want to support and are on a budget? 

30:56 Leah: So grouping and pricing bundles. Typically we just ask ourselves, first, we start with the grand total that we want to raise. What’s the number? So I take the $50,000 and I start doing some simple math going, okay, $50,000 let’s say the average price point, the average order value is $40 on average. How many people would I need to buy a $40 package? Or let’s say I make it $35 and then I’ll just get a number from there. So I start doing this kind of math and start going, okay, so that means if say my average bundle is a $40 bundle, what is the margin I need on that in order to be profitable to actually pay for all these expenses, pay the contractors and so forth.

And then I start putting, you know, once we got our bundles together, we start researching wholesale distributors, places where we can get these t-shirts. There’s so many on Google, you just Google any of them. Start talking to people on the phone. You get all the price listings and do some comparison, put it in an Excel spreadsheet or whatever, we have to do some price comparison. This is the laborious part that people don’t want to do and this is why they’re not profitable and this why they don’t make the money. You gotta be willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. So just do all these price comparisons and then we figure out what bundles do we think and what going to look, what have I historically sold, what a vice historically sold on my shop and in previous campaigns, what do people like the most?

Then I look at my survey data of course, and I’m looking at what do people want and then what can we put together, what’s profitable? And then you’re looking at profit margins. There are many details involved, as you can tell, in putting this together. And again, the other things that nobody else wants to do. And that’s why they’re broke still. So just to be blunt. So yeah, that’s, I mean, grouping and pricing it, you’re taking all of these factors together to come up with that. As far as what exclusive items I find sell the best, any kind of exclusive artwork. So the digipack, which I’m not going to sell after the campaign, the t-shirts and the hoodies that have specially designed artwork on them. Again, not selling them, at least not in the same way after the campaign, the blue vinyl, that was special. That was what they specifically requested. Obviously that sold well three days it’s sold out. Basically I’m really paying attention to what people are asking for and then we give it to them.

33:26 CJ: I’m curious to know what was planned versus what was a pivot based on demand or analysis. Should we plan for every conceivable contingency or leave wiggle room? Over planning can be paralyzing sometimes, but where is that line?

33:42 Leah: I think I’ve demonstrated that in the past two episodes already pretty well, where we planned for these four key bundles and then pivoted based on the feedback we got from fans and survey data and then we adjusted. So you want to be nimble, you want to be easily adaptable to the situation, but you also want to really be as well planned and thought out as possible. And yeah, I just think if you have that mindset, then you’ll be prepared for anything and you won’t be really stressed out or too thrown off.

34:22 CJ: We’ve got a few more questions here, but some of them are a little bit of repeat stuff we have covered in the past. I like this question here though. How do you know when to stop asking for money before people get tired? You kind of touched on this before, but break that down a little bit. How do you know when to stop asking for money before people get tired?

34:42 Leah: You don’t worry about them getting tired, number one because I can’t be worried about every single person. I’m on a campaign here. What I do in my social media, sometimes I’ll type something up on stories or an email. I say, hey, I don’t acknowledge the fact that they’re getting a lot of emails. I say, listen, “I know you’re getting a lot of emails. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me. This is the nature of doing one of these campaigns and the fact you’re still here reading this. That means a lot.” I just acknowledge it and then whatever else I got to say and I think just acknowledging that does a lot for them and they go, oh, okay, she’s aware. She’s not trying to just sell, sell, sell like, this is part of the campaign, par for the course and I can either go along for the ride, or un-subscribe, whatever. It’s cool. So that, and then there are things I can do, like in my email I can exclude certain people who have already purchased so I can do that so that I don’t annoy the crap out of people who have already bought something so that that is something I’ll do.

35:45 CJ: I’d love to know where the split is between actual revenue of the crowdfunding and how much goes to product cost. For example, someone buys a $50 perk, roughly what is the profit and what is the cost of the physical product?

35:59 Leah: When we’re planning the whole campaign and we’re putting these bundles together and we’re looking at profit margins and stuff, we’re looking for as big of a margin as possible because not only do we have to pay for the item and ship it to them, we also have a whole bunch of other costs to cover. Again, just to reiterate, I’m not actually trying to be super profitable during a campaign like this. I’m actually trying, if I come out breaking even, I’m really happy with that because that means that when I go to actually launch my album, I’m in profit zone already. And you can’t ask for more than that. Like it’s there’s no label that can offer me a contract that’s better than this situation. So I’m looking for deep margins as much as I can possibly get without degrading the quality of the items. So, but for these campaign items, I’ll try to go with a little bit more luxury t-shirts say than like a regular  t-shirt just because it’s a special thing and you’ve got to take into consideration when you’re pricing the product that, because this is a limited item and a limited time and it’s a special campaign, you can also go to the higher end of what you would normally charge for this. 

So instead of like a $20 $18 t-shirt, it might be a $25 value in the bundle because it’s limited, it’s special, they can’t get it. Again, there’s more perceived value in the item. So that means I can price it higher. And so, there’s more opportunity for profit during this. So we’re looking for at least like a 50% profit if not more, maybe 100% even. And yeah, there are some items we might even do more than that. So just depends. So these are things that you want to take into consideration

37:40 CJ: What, and this will be my last question, what is an acceptable target amount? This person asked specifically because they have a much smaller operation. But I think the larger question is how do you determine, no matter where you are with, you know, how much your expenses are, how do you determine a target amount for your particular campaign? How should, what’s a, what’s a formula someone can use?

38:04 Leah: Well, I’ve got some things for you to think through in the free PDF download that we’ve got for you guys when you go to there’s multiple things and this person who asked you know, what if my only real expenses are mastering artwork and publicity, I would just say there are so many more things you’re not thinking of. Like, where’s the PR going to come from? What about your marketing. What about, there are so many other things, so I’ve got a list of stuff for you to think through in that PDF. Yeah, there’s a lot more expenses than you think. Especially if you’re doing this seriously. 

If you’re just thinking about barely covering your costs, then I’d say this doesn’t sound like too serious of a campaign yet, and maybe it’s time to invest into some list building, and get a little more serious. 

38:52 CJ: Yeah, and I really encourage you guys to download that. We’ve been offering it throughout this series. Just go to, a free download that has this information and a whole lot more. It will really help you think through this process. But again, as we’ve said from the outset, the real skill here is in the sales. It’s in the ability to market and that’s the sort of thing that we teach in the Elite program. I’ve been at this sort of stuff for years and years in years and I can honestly tell you, I’ve seen nothing designed specifically for creative people and that’s why I’m here.

I’m here not just because Leah and I are colleagues in relation to marketing and things like that. We both love heavy metal, et cetera. We share a lot of things in common, but you know, I really have a heart for creative people. I have a heart for artists, you know, especially musicians and what she has done to create a program to help musicians really push forward and give them an opportunity for a music career is second to none. I know there’s a lot of other options out there and we’ve talked about that in some of our previous episodes. I can’t recommend anything more highly than what’s offered by the Savvy Musician Academy and in particular, we’ve been talking about the Elite program and I will really want you to do some soul searching. After you listened to this podcast, I really want you to have a discussion with yourself.

What are you prepared to do for that career that you’ve always wanted? This is your dream we’re talking about and I know it never goes away, I know the challenges that you have with your conscience and being prepared to live with regret. You are called and gifted to do something with your talents and abilities and here is a way for you to do that. There’s a lot to learn, yes. But so many others just like you who didn’t know anything at all, have learned how to do it and are doing it now. And there’s no greater example than Leah herself. She wasn’t raised in this sort of thing. She figured it out on her own. She’s gotten rid of all the junk information you don’t need to know and she’s distilled it down to a precise program that gives you current information on what you need to know to build a career in music, selling your music online. 

So I want you to go today to and schedule a call. We’d love to talk to you more about your project, your career, and how there might be a great fit. But Leah, thank you so much for taking all of this time. I know you were excited about sharing all of this because it was so new, but still at the same time, I know you could go so much deeper on this and there are so many more details to this, but thank you, because I believe that a lot of people who are been listening to these episodes are going to take a step of faith in themselves and try to raise the money for their music and opt-out of a label and take the same kind of chance and risks that you did. And it’s good to know that there’s someone like yourself out there giving away this sort of information. So thank you for that.

42:17 Leah: Yeah, you’re welcome. And if you guys enjoyed this three parts series, I would love to hear about it. Whether you write us in the Facebook group or actually on the podcast page on or on iTunes or whatever. We actually read every single comment and I promised I wouldn’t hold back and I didn’t. I got as detailed as whatever came to mind. And so there’s nothing I’m withholding from you in these episodes. And again, you don’t need a course on crowdfunding. You just need to learn how to market your music properly. And we do that at Savvy Musician Academy. I’m also hoping, if you’re not a student or you’re in our online musician program, you’re not in the Superfan System Elite, I’m hoping that by me sharing and just like giving you everything I can give you, that you would see the potential for how we might be able to help you. So if that’s the case and you’re feeling like, “I think I could learn from her, I think I could learn from the coaches at Savvy Musician Academy”, that is your call. Now’s the time. It’s never a good time, by the way, it’s like kids and marriage, it’s never a good time. You just have to do it. You have to do what you gotta do to move forward. And so yeah, give us a call.

43:28 CJ: There you go, guys. Thanks again for joining us. We look forward to the next episode. Take care.

Episode #066: How To Grow Your Music Career When You Can’t Tour

On today’s episode, we are talking about what you can do to grow your music career when you are not able to tour. Many musicians are unable to tour for various reasons, such as work, family or other commitments. This inability to tour is a far more common problem among musicians than many of us realize. This does not mean that your music career will not take off because there are many ways to get around the obstacle of not being able to tour. Leah is a prime example of someone, who due to family commitments has never toured, and yet she has still achieved tremendous success. For her, because she has never been able to hit the road, she had to make success happen within her means. Having the internet at your disposal opens as many, arguably more doors than going on tour ever could. There are so many different platforms and ways of reaching out to people than ever before, you simply have to find what works for you. This may sound simple, but it is not an overnight process. It is a long, hard slog that will eventually yield results you want. You have to define your brand, as well as hone in on your super fan and learn how to speak directly to them. Once you are able to do this, the sky is the limit and you will never need to see the inside of a tour bus, ever! For all this and more, join us today. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • This week’s student spotlight and some lessons to take from it.
  • The Internet is the greatest tool you have if you are unable to tour.
  • What lead Leah to create her first course, The Online Musician.
  • Differentiating your music is the key starting point in launching your music career.
  • Defining your niche gives you the clarity you need to build your brand.
  • Why direct marketing is so important in growing your brand.
  • Proactively engaging on social media extends far beyond posting your next gig.
  • Show fans your vulnerabilities and the real parts of your life, rather than hiding it.
  • Build a community around the culture that surrounds your music.
  • An example of how Leah has tapped into what her fans like.
  • To create passionate super fans, you have to celebrate the same things that they celebrate.
  • Keep what you share within the same theme to maintain brand cohesion.
  • Some things to steer clear of sharing online.
  • Ways to generate money from your music career, if you are not touring.
  • Take advantage of all the platforms and their strengths that are available to you.
  • We are all salespeople in some way or another.
  • Learning how to sell organically should come before working on paid traffic.
  • Effective marketing is about answering providing an answer to a customer’s need. 
  • Entertainment and art have always and will always continue to be a fundamental part of life.
  • Create as many opportunities as possible for fans to buy from you.


“The beauty of online marketing, is you’re not trying to be commercial. You are trying to find your tribe of fans.” — @LEAHthemusic  [0:17:07]

“People buy from those they know, like and trust.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:20:41]

“Nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, and what my product can do for them.”  — @LEAHthemusic [0:37:55]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Apply For The Superfan System Elite Progam —

The Online Musician 2.0 —

Savvy Musician Show Episode 065 —

Jennifer Kessler (Student Spotlight) — 

Click For Full Transcript

00:23 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz. I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. And once again, I get the privilege to sit across from the wonderful one, Miss Leah McHenry. Always a pleasure. How are you doing?

00:42 Leah: I’m doing great. How are you?

00:43 CJ: I am outstanding. 

00:46 Leah: Whenever we say we’re bad though, it’s not like we’re going to say, “I’m having a bad day.” 

00:50 CJ: That’s bad form. 

00:51 Leah: Yeah. 

00:51 CJ: No. I’m the metal motivator, man. There’s no bad days for the metal motivator. 

00:55 Leah: That’s right. 

00:56 CJ: No. Of course, we all have our challenges. But we try to believe the best. Of course, we all get on our funks, but the issue is not whether or not you have bad days. The issue is how quick you spring back from those bad days or those bad attitudes. We all have them, ladies and gentlemen. Anybody who tells you they don’t is probably lying to you. 

01:18 Leah: Yeah, exactly. 

01:21 CJ: Life is rough, especially when you’re trying to do something bigger than yourself, and life is going to resist you in every front. Not always easy. So, with that come the challenges. But today we’re going to talk about something really, really cool. And it may sound basic, but the way we’re going to approach it, I think it’s going to be relevant to you, and that’s about how to grow your music career when you can’t tour. But first, our student spotlight. 

Again, another elite student, Jennifer Kessler, who I had the pleasure of working with one-on-one on a coaching call, sometime back, and I was really impressed with her branding, Leah, when I first saw her stuff. Very talented woman, guitar player and singer, but to really just had her branding dialled in all of that. So been a joy to watch her growth. 

She writes, “#win. I hope you’re kicking ass and taking names,” talking to the fellow students. “Now that I’m officially through the 16 weeks of Elite and I’m implementing and tracking all that the course has to offer. I just want to say, ‘wow!’ What a difference this has made and will continue to make as I keep pressing on as a musician. Before this course, I went from, ‘please someone buy something from my online store,’ to selling products online in the middle of a gig. Literally had online sales last night during a show.” 

She said, “my official win after taking Steve Morgan’s advice, from my hot seat and focusing on getting more people on my email list, I adjusted my Facebook Ad priorities and I’m getting almost 300 people opting to my email list per week. I also broke my online sales record this month, which tells me I’m well on my way to reaching the goals I’ve set for myself, using the lessons taught in this course. I now have sales from my nurture funnel, Facebook ads and e-commerce funnel. Yay! I literally feel like the scene in the movie Rocky where he went 16 rounds with the champ. I’m actually doing it.” 

She says, “sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to give a big thank you to you all for the support, encouragement, ideas and feedback. It truly takes a village to raise an artist, and you all have been fabulous to learn with and learn from. Keep on rocking.”

03:39 Leah: That’s so great. This is why I get up every day to do this. 

03:42 CJ: Ain’t that amazing?

03:43 Leah: Yeah. When you have the principles and you have the basics, understand the fundamentals, there’s no reason why you can’t replicate this. It takes a lot of hard work. Ask her how hard she’s been working to do this though. It’s not an overnight thing. It’s never going to be an overnight thing, and if it is, expect that to go away because overnight successes can also go away overnight. This is something that you’re investing in long-term, for yourself. Once you have these skills, they’re there to stay and you’re going to build upon them. 

And then like we’ve talked about in previous episodes, you can launch anything. You can do anything. A lot of our students also are entrepreneurs. They have side businesses. Some of them are personal trainers and hairdressers and other things and they are applying things in this course into their businesses and saying, “oh my goodness! We’ve increased our profits, like we’re doing things. We’re now marketing our other businesses in ways we had no idea. We were not doing this before.” 

So that’s what I love, is that’s why stopped studying the music business and start studying online marketing, is because I couldn’t find the stuff that would actually make me successful in the music business, in the typical industry. So that’s why we do this. I’m so thankful that you shared, Jennifer. Thank you for encouraging everyone. We can never have too many wins. 

04:55 CJ: Yeah. Couple things I love about what she said. Number one, is she talks about the benefit of the whole group. So, she’s not just talking about Leah or her coaches, but she’s talking about the other members of the group. So, when we say that this is an elite group, it means that you’re in there with people who have as much in the game or on the line as you do. They have great input and encouragement to give you. So, you are not alone. Like she says, “takes a village to raise an artist,” and it literally is a village of positivity for someone trying to build a music career. Then when she said that she was literally selling products online, which we’re going to get into today, but literally selling products online while she was playing music on stage. 

05:48 Leah: That’s right. So, it’s automated. 

05:50 CJ: It’s automated. So that’s a pretty amazing thing. So good things. If she keeps it up, she’s only going to grow from here, and that’s really powerful. So, again, if anybody out there is ready to take their career up to the next level, please go to SMA. 

06:07 Leah: Call, yeah.

06:08 CJ: Call if you like to learn more about the elite program. It’s not for everybody, right? We don’t just take anybody into this program. You got to be ready for it. But if you’re at that place where you been recording music, if you’re at that place where you just kind of built yourself a little following and you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can go. The elite program may be exactly what you need. So, call 

06:32 Leah: Yeah. If you’re not ready for it, by the way, we’re not to leave you hanging. We’ve got some other amazing things that might be right for you. So our goal is just to help you and serve you. How can we serve you? So just call and we’ll help you. 

06:45 CJ: Yeah, we’ll direct you where you need to be, what’s good for you right now. So, again, talking about today; How to grow your music career when you can’t tour? 

Leah, I was just visiting Dallas Texas here. I saw a lot of local bands there. They’re all good friends of mine, was staying with a guy who is in two popular local bands. Here’s the problem that I hear all of the time when I talk to these musicians because they’re people of age. They have jobs that they depend on. They have families that depend on them being at those jobs. Well, they can’t tour. They can’t go on the road. People aren’t making that much money on the road, and it’s got to be divvied four ways, however many people in your band. And they just can’t leave town. They don’t want to necessarily leave town. Put their financial livelihood at risk. 

But yet they have this burning creative drive to make music, to produce music, and they’d love a way. Of course, I was talking to the gentleman I was staying with, he knows about you, and talked to him a little bit more about the Savvy Musician Academy. And he keeps saying, “I met with one of these bands. I need to do that. I need to take that one in that direction.” 

So, growing your music career, Leah, when you can’t tour is probably more common than we realize. So that’s the starting point where somebody is where are they going to go? How are they going to make money when they can’t – How are they going to have a music career, Leah, if they can’t tour?

08:20 Leah: It’s funny. Now that this is all that I’ve been doing and I haven’t been doing any touring, I can’t imagine how I would grow a music career without doing the things that I’m doing. It’s actually really hard for me to picture how that would even be possible. I was in the same boat where I’ve got five little kids at home and at one point, I had three and then four and then five, and then realizing, “yeah, touring is really off the table for me, at least for a long period of time. Maybe when they get older, we could all go together. I don’t know.” But if I’m going to get my music out there, it’s going to have to be online. That’s the only thing I have. That’s the only thing I have. I have the internet. So what am I going to do with it?

So, there’re so many people in different situations that I run into, people who are just working full-time or they’re in the corporate world. They can’t just up and leave. People who are students. People who are full-time parents. There’re a number of scenarios out there where touring is not a good option right now. People have health issues, and for that reason, they can’t tour. 

So I’m realizing I thought I was one of only a few artists who wouldn’t be touring, but it turns out this is actually pretty common, and there’s a lot of people who are just so busy that this is not a viable option, but they still – Like you said, they still have this burning desire in them to get their music out into the world. They still want to make music. They still want to record music. They still want to launch music, and they still want to make money from it. So, what are we going to do?

And there a lot that could be said about this. I mean, really, ultimately, that’s why I created our first flagship course. It was called The Online Musician for this very reason. And when I made the course, I made it kind of with a specific person in mind. I was picturing – Well, I was making it for myself, because nothing existed for what I needed. But I was also thinking of some of the other mom-musician friends that I know who are maybe homeschooling their kids as well and really talented, but they weren’t going to get up and tour either, but they’re pretty Internet savvy. So, I thought, “what could I put together in a systematic way that could allow them to do this also?” So, that’s how I created it. 

Actually, I created The Online Musician for the non-touring artists really in mind. That was my original thought process. Then as it turns out, it’s massively beneficial for people who do tour as well. Because, really, we’re at a point where if you want a music career, you need to be doing all of these things regardless if you tour or you don’t tour. 

But for the person who is non-touring, you have all the more focus to put into your online efforts. I know I’m talking really broad right now, but I just wanted to get that out of the way, that the principle, the things that we’re going to talk about in this podcast, they apply to everyone. Even if you are a touring artist, you should be doing these things also. But for the person who doesn’t tour, you have even more energy and resources, so to speak, at your disposal put into this, because touring takes a massive amount of energy and time to even making that happen. 

So, with that in mind, there’s a lot involved with being an online musician. I do want to reference the previous podcast that we recorded on how to be an online musician, becoming one. I want to go back and listen to that after this. 

11:49 CJ: Yeah, I think people – Obviously, we can’t go into details. You have courses about this stuff. So, we can’t go in all the great details in a single podcast episode that it takes. But I think like, again, with my visit with my friend. People are just at that place, Leah, where they just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that you can actually make money doing this sort of thing online, because there’s so much competition out there. Where do they even begin? So, if you were just going to give a basic skeleton outline, where would they start? 

12:25 Leah: Yeah. The first place you would start is with the music itself. It always has to begin with the music. So, you would ask yourself, “what is different about my music?” We got to think about differentiation. So, what’s unique about what I make? How does it stand out? I like to dial it into something we call a micro-niche, which is you got your umbrella genre. You have a sub-genre. You have a niche. The funnel is getting smaller and smaller, and then maybe even a micro-niche, if you can go down that small. 

And we have a lot of free training on this. We have episodes on this on the podcast. We have downloadable worksheets, resources on our website, if you want to delve into that little more. But having that niche is really where it’s all going to begin because the niche will inform your branding. It will inform the type of culture that you’re going to create around your music. It’s going to inform the way you show up in social media, which if you’re not doing that, you need to be. 

It’s going to inform the albums you put out after that. It’s going to form your imagery, your fonts, logos, colour schemes, all of these staff. It informs kind of everything. We have to start with the music. And then there’s a lot involved, like I said. But starting with that niche, it’s going to give you clarity. Once you have clarity, now you have something you can build upon, something you can work with. So, I know it sounds very simple because it is. It’s very simple. We’ll just start there.

13:54 CJ: Again, I think people don’t understand this concept of differentiation. This concept of what is it that makes you different. I have a friend who’s middle-aged and he’s a fantastic songwriter. He’s in the country music genre. He has two boys that play and write songs and they’re Nashville. So, he looks at himself as out of the loop. He’s too old, and I said, “no, you’re not too old, because there are people who are our age that still listen to the music.” You may have a more classic sound or something like that, but there’s people out there just like you, that age bracket, that share the same culture that you do, like the same things, and alls you have to do is target them. We’re not targeting everybody else. We’re not targeting the general country music community and hoping to hit those few people. It’s not a billboard on the side of the highway. It is a direct advertisement to somebody’s mailbox. It is something very direct. 

And I think people, when we say things like advertising or marketing, they don’t understand that difference. We’re talking about marketing, direct marketing. Meaning we’re targeting not a general audience, like getting a pizza coupon in the mail. 

15:05 Leah: Yeah, laundry detergent. 

15:08 CJ: Yeah. These are just general things. If they knew the kind of diet I was on, they wouldn’t send me half the stuff that they send me, right? So, if they knew that I didn’t do that, but if they knew instead that I buy something else, then I would get mail based on that. That’s direct marketing. So, we don’t need it. 

As Leas has said before, with a thousand super fans, you could create a six-figure online music career, just with a thousand fans that are really radical about your music, and you’re plugged into a few billion on social media. The key then is going to be how good are you at differentiating yourself? That means, as Leah said, beginning with that music, narrowing it down to your micro-niche, right?

For example, in his case, it’s country music is the umbrella, working it down to maybe a specific, more kind of neoclassical type of country music and then finding that audience. But then it takes her to that next thing, which is culture, as you said.

16:06 Leah: That’s right. And I want to say too about that targeting thing, is what’s really nice about not having to worry about being world-famous to everyone even if you are in an older age bracket than you think is acceptable. 

One amazing thing is that your target audience, they’re ageing with you. They’re ageing too. So, you’re not trying to reach 18-year-olds necessarily, unless you are 18. So, my fans are typically – I just know from the demographics. They’re aged 30 and up. They’re between like 30 and 55. That’s like my main demographic, like 70% male, and that’s just the nature of symphonic metal. That’s just the way it is. I’m not the only artist in that genre that has that demographic, but I can see from all my insights that that’s the case. And guess what? They’re going to age with me and they’re going to come along with me. I don’t have to worry about trying to appeal to someone who’s not into my music or someone who is not my demographic. 

So that’s the beauty of online marketing, is you’re not trying to be commercial. You are trying to find your tribe of fans. People who love you enough to spend $50 or $100 a year. And you only needed a thousand of those people to make a six-figure income. That’s why it’s so doable. When people think, “I don’t know how you did it. You must be scamming.” It’s not that hard. It’s very simple math actually, if you do it. You just need a good quality product, right? Good quality music. Know your niche. Make sure your branding, your imaging matches that niche. If I walked around wearing cowboy hats and I’m doing Celtic metal, that would be pretty confusing to people unless I had some kind of really strange hybrid of niches. 

But the look matches the sound. A lot of people will look at my cover art and they can kind of figure out what kind of music I make from looking at the cover art, and I think that’s a really good sign that you’re doing your cover art right when people can kind of get a feeling, vibe just from looking at without even hearing it. That’s my goal. So, when those things align, it’s not very hard to make a hundred thousand a year. It’s not. I do hundreds of thousands now. So –

[00:18:18] CJ: Boom! There you go. I mean, I think as we like to say, the less you understand about the way something is achieved, the more you think it happens because of magic, or theft, or something else for somebody else just because you don’t know how she does it. It’s like people watching the street magicians and they think they have some real magical power. 

18:37 Leah: Yeah. 

18:38 CJ: Once you see how the trick is done, you’re going to feel stupid. 

18:41 Leah: Yeah. It’s right there in front of you. 

18:43 CJ: Right there in front of you. Just because you don’t understand the way something is done doesn’t mean you have to immediately jump to stupid accusations about, “well, she must be scamming somebody.” No. I guarantee you. 

Go to her website. Go to her store and look at the fan stuff. Look at all the people who’ve bought all her albums and all her stuff and they’re collecting Leah Gear. They’re collecting Leah accessories. They’re collecting Leah music. Tell me those guys were defrauded out of something. No. They willingly. They’re super friends, ladies and gentlemen. It’s really not that hard to figure out. 

Well, if you’ve got a micro-niche, you know what your music is, you know who your audience pretty much is. So, you’re building something around the culture. Well, this has to take place somewhere. So, this takes us into the realm of social media, which I think is important, Leah, because prior to social media, Facebook, and that sort of thing, online marketing was happening, right? People were buying things online. People were selling things online. There was e-commerce. There was stuff transpiring. 

But social media changed the game so much because it put us in direct personal contact where we had to become more relational and that sort of thing. 

Leah, the most common thing that I see, and I believe this is going to fit a lot of people who are listening to this podcast. The most common thing I see when it comes to social media is a musician or a band, they have a Facebook page, right? They’ve done that. They may have had that Facebook page for years now. But all they do with it is post an event. They’re going to be at this bar and they just post an event. So, you go to their page and that’s all there is. How are they going to do something? When you say doing something with the niche and culture and advertising on social media, that’s not what you mean. 

20:38 Leah: No. I don’t mean just posting events to your next gig. If that’s all I did, nobody would be talking about me. Nobody would be listening to my music like crazy, because that’s just self-promotion constantly. So, what I figured out early on was I figured out who my ideal fan was. I figured out things that interested them, and a lot of the things that interested them were the things that interested me. I was like, “okay. We have this in common.” This kind creates a community type situation. 

And if I post a lot about that on social, whatever the platform is at the time and show my interest and like let them see the nerdy side of me, and they’re going to relate to me and they’re going to feel like they know me and they’re going to like me, and that will build trust. And people buy from people that they know, like and trust, and not something I want you to write down. If you’ve never heard this thing before, when you get into the world of marketing, you will hear this over and over again. People buy from those they know, like and trust. 

And so, the more you can be on the social platforms where your fans are, for most of us, it’s Facebook and Instagram, maybe some of you, YouTube, maybe some of you, Snapchat, hmmm, maybe Twitter. Yeah, that’s another thing. But for most of us, these main platforms, it’s not rocket science. You only need to pick one or two just dominate there and like really get to know your fans there and show them the vulnerable side of you. Show them behind the scenes. Stop trying to be mysterious. There is no such thing as mystique, a celebrity mystique anymore in the social media age. 

There’re so many celebrities that you can follow now that they show you all kinds of intimate details about their life. Their pets, and their smoothies, and like the things that they’re doing. I mean, you are getting an intimate look into people’s lives like you’ve never seen before. Get rid of that, and show your fans who you really are. Build a community around the culture that surrounds your music. That’s a big idea and it’s a big concept and I think it’s going to take a while for it to sink in if this is the first time you’ve ever heard that concept, building a culture around your music. We have some exercises that we do in our course is to really flesh this out and help you figure out what your culture even is, because it’s not sometimes obvious to you. 

But we can use me as an example. I typically make Celtic and fantasy inspired metal, and sometimes if I’m at the doctor or something, they say, “oh, what kind of music do you make?” I say, “Well, if you were to take Enya and Lord of the Rings and put it in the blender and then add some metal on it, that’s kind of what you get.” They’re like, “oh! Okay, I get it.” They get it. They just get it right away, because they understand that everybody knows who Enya is. They understand what Lord of the Rings is. They’ve all seen that. So, they instantly get pictures of orcs and wizards and stuff. Then they know what heavy-metal is. They think of Metallica or something, and you just put that together and you’ve got kind of a culture and a sound in a very visual idea of what I’m talking about. 

So, from there I would think about what are some of the cultural characteristics of people who liked those things. So, for example, Lord of the Rings. Who are the type of people who are obsessed with Lord of the Rings? Not just people who casually went to the theatre. Who are the people who collect all the figurines of Lord of the Rings? 

I recently joined a Facebook group, and it’s all people who collect Lord of the Rings paraphernalia. It was suggested to me in my feed. Facebook suggested it to me and I thought, “this would be really interesting.” These are like most diehard collectors like on the internet. This is a buy-sell group. So, it’s like a Craigslist on Facebook just for people who are into Lord of the Rings collector items. 

You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that people have. I mean, I saw people sharing their displays, these pictures. I think I saw like $100,000 worth of like collectible figurines and swords and stuff that people had. It was unbelievable. I was like, “this is like a museum.” And this is just like somebody’s living room that they have. It’s crazy to me. 

So, I want to take these people – I mean, part of me, I was just curious, like, “what kind of people are these?” I know that there’s some data and some things I can learn about collector fans by being in this group. So, there’s a little tip for you. You can go join some collector groups. Maybe your fans will be more inclined to Star Wars or something else. But surely your fans are into something. They collect something. I’m pretty sure that they do. So, figure out what that is. This is just a way for me to observe and just like casually learn without really trying too hard. It’s just Facebook showing me stuff in my feed. 

Yeah, I learned that these people spend a lot of money on the things that they love to collect because it’s a hobby. So why is it a hobby for them? What is it about it they love? What can I learn here? I got to get those people on to my music.

25:53 CJ: That’s so awesome. We’re taking you guys a little bit behind the curtain to show you how the sauce gets made, but that’s a really great example of how the cultural aspect plays into your social media influence. 

Not to brag, but I think with me Leah, as long as we both been doing this with our own respective communities, we’ve done a pretty good job at figuring out the culture of things and how to lead in that culture because that’s what you’re going to be doing. You’re going to be leading. But you’re as much a participant in the culture as they are, and that’s what, as Leah said, gives you this sense of community, and you have to start thinking that way. It’s not just posting events. 

Now, you need to do that if you’re having gigs. It’s not just advertising your music. You need to do that, obviously, to sell. But to create a following of passionate super fans, you have to celebrate the things that they celebrate. That your music plays a part, and music is a part of culture, right? It’s a manifestation expression of culture. And so, tied to that, as you said, there are things that they’re interested in. There are things that they collect, and it doesn’t matter what the genre may be. 

I also delve into the metal side, and mine is more about personal development and motivation. But in that, I know that the people who follow me on social media, they’re going to want to hear about the fact that it was a Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden just went off in his recent show out in Seattle or Washington, whatever, something like that. And he was rebuking some security guards for beating on a fan too much. So, these things get on Blabbermouth and Metal Injection. They go viral, etc. 

So, we share these type of things, and we can make some commentary about it, because my page is Metal Motivation. So, we can talk about those things, or if somebody creates a really cool chair or a throne full of skulls or they have these cool little bracelets or something. There’s stuff that you can share. There are so many things. If you think about the stuff that you are interested in yourself, then you’re going to find that your followers are into it. If you say, “well, what does that have to do with music?” Well, it has to do with community. 

28:09 Leah: That’s right. 

28:10 CJ: If you can create that and you’re doing it with people that you’ve really targeted, and for the most part, guys, this is free. This is accessing people free. And so now, you’re getting this engaged audience who just like in Leah’s case, because she celebrates the culture and she celebrates them, they return the favour. There’s almost a sense of obligation that gets built-in, and they just say, “I’m going to get whatever it is that she produces. I don’t care what it is.” They want to collect these things. 

28:43 Leah: Yeah. The only thing I would say, like you want to share about your interest, your opinions, your worldview, the things you’re interested in, but I do keep it fairly themed. So, I’m not completely random. I will say like if you go to my Instagram, it’s very themed. 

Now on Instagram stories, those little 15-second video clips, there you have a lot more permission to adjust show a little more random stuff because they disappear so quickly. But if you go to my feed and you scroll through, you’ll really see a theme, and it really makes sense. You’ll see some promotional stuff around crowdfunding, but the rest is pictures of things, or selfies, or the other things I know my fans want to see that are of interest to them, but also in the theme of my Celtic fantasy, metal stuff. Instagram stories, I show them behind-the-scenes, or if I’m going for a walk or I want to share something, or this morning I was in my kitchen making coffee. I’ll do more of that. 

I will say, for most musicians, I would stay away from some of the more polarizing topics, such as politics. It always disappoints me when I am following a celebrity or an actor or something. I really, really like them and then they go off the hinges about some political thing. I’m like, “ah! Now I have to unfollow you.” I was like so enjoying watching it. Now, I don’t like you anymore. They just take such an extreme view or wherever, and you don’t have to share everything, okay? 

So, I would just say just a little wisdom here unless your band is like of a political nature. Some people, their music is political. Well, in my case, you’re only going to attract people who share the same views for the most part and then you’ll also attract some trolls, of course. Unless you have that kind of a band, just stick with the theme of the culture of your music. Again, just use some common sense there. I just wanted to give that caveat just in case the question arose. 

30:40 CJ: Yeah, and it’s not a place for you to vent your bad day either. These are times that you can be a little vulnerable about something, but only in the sense of to get, again, that sense of community rallying around that sort of thing. Otherwise, keep it positive. Again, focus on the primary elements of the culture. The things that they celebrate, that’ll keep them engaged. 

So, again, if your niche is dialled in, you’re differentiating yourself, you know who your audience is, you know what the cultural things are, surrounding that community. That’s what you’re executing on on social media. This is kind of the – This is your way in. This is the foothold that you’re getting into building an online music career, so you don’t have to tour.

31:27 Leah: That’s right. Then I would say after the culture stuff and learning how to have relationships with fans at an internet world, that’s its own thing. Again, there’s a fine line. You want to be vulnerable. You want to let them in behind-the-scenes and you want to stay professional at the same time. So, you have to figure out how that works for you. How it feels for you. 

I feel like I could be more vulnerable than I am, currently. I feel like I can go outside my comfort zone more than I do because I’m always worried about being professional. But I do want to let my fans feel like they really know me like when we get together. There’re some YouTube channels that I watch. Sometimes on Sunday, I like to watch travel videos of families who travel around the world and I just like to watch their vlogs. And for me, that’s fun. 

I was just telling my kids, we’re talking about YouTube channels and stuff and I said, “don’t you feel like you kind of know this family?” You’ve seen their kids travelling through Greece and Spain and Italy and you feel like you really know them. They’re traveling around in an RV or whatever they’re doing, and it really feels like if you met them in person you’d be like, “I already know you,” and they’ve done a good job of that. That’s how I want my fans to feel about me, that by the time they meet me, there’s not really any big surprises about my personality. They already know my personality. 

It’s funny because there are some celebrities or actors that I’ve seen in movies and you see them in a character and you think, “well, I wonder if that’s what they’re like off-camera.” And then you see them on Instagram. I was like, “whoa! That is totally a different personality than I was expecting.” Like Jason Momoa, Aquaman. First time I’ve seen him in Game of Thrones and I was just like, “he seemed like so – I don’t know, tribal –” 

33:03 CJ: Mean. 

33:04 Leah: Yeah, mean and everything. Then you see him like – And he’s like the most family dude that ever lived. He’s like a super passionate father, super passionate husband. Really outgoing, like life of the party. Like totally different than I had any idea. So that’s what social media is meant to do. It’s meant to let us in and get to know you. So, you got to do that. 

And then having said that, if you’re going to do this without touring, we can’t forget to talk about the money part. How are you going to make the income part? Well, that is going to come from the opportunities that you give. 

Now, there’s organic ways we can go about this, and then there’s paid traffic ways we can go about this. Obviously, we have courses all about this that go into great detail. But the organic stuff is really going to come from your social media. It’s going to come from the people who are following you, who love what you do, and you’re going to probably 10% of the time promote something, 10% of the time. So out of every 10 posts, maybe one of them I’m promoting my new t-shirt or the new album or whatever I’m doing. 

Unless I’m going hardcore during a campaign, at that point, I kind of go all-in on promoting. It’s not 100%, but a lot of it, right? People understand. This is a campaign. It’s a short period of time. They get it. 

But outside of that, there’s social media. So, there’s the platforms and the various platforms within the platforms. So, like some people say Instagram’s like five platforms in one. You have the feed. You have Instagram stories. You have IG TV where you can post longer clips in vertical. You have direct messages. There are so many different ways. 

34:45 CJ: Hashtags, yeah. 

34:47 Leah: Yeah. So, you’ve got a plethora of platforms in which you can offer your music. Really, this is not so much about where do I do this and how. It’s more about do you know how to sell anything?  Can you sell without any guilt? Without feeling bad about it, and without wondering if your fans are annoyed. When you can get over that, you will make significantly more money. 

35:13 CJ: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s a funny thing. We’ve talked in recent episodes about sort of the psychology of creatives, that can be self-limiting beliefs. And that’s another one, which is, “I’m not a salesperson. I don’t know how to sell. That’s not me feel. I feed bad trying to ask people for money. So, I sell my CDs for $2 or whatever you can pay sort of thing.” 

They’re not doing that for the benefit of the person. They’re doing that to ease their own conscience because people can pay for things. I think what we all have to understand is that to some degree, we are all salespeople. It just depends on what exactly it is you’re selling. If you love your little schnauzer and we get on the subject of schnauzers. You’re going to sell your dog to me. Not literally sell your dog to me, but you’re going to be so excited and talkative about that little schnauzer that you have and how much you love him or her, that it’s, in essence, selling me on that schnauzer, or maybe you’re a vegan. 

36:16 Leah: Oh boy! Or a CrossFitter. 

36:18 CJ: Or a CrossFitter, or these sorts of things, or you’re talking about your kids, or whatever, your favourite football team, the state that you live in. There’re so many things that we’re passionate –

36:28 Leah: You know how to sell. You know do know how to –

36:29 CJ: We know how to sell. You know how to sell. Feeling that way about your music has to change, because everything is exchanged, and people are more than happy to exchange money, just like you do. You are more than happy to exchange money for those things that you really want. And so, it’s a necessary part of this. So, there’s no gimmick here. We’re creating community so that we have the people that are enthusiastic. So that when you do offer something, then, boom! You’re able to do that. So, organic and paid. 

37:04 Leah: I think it’s really important that people learn how to sell organically before they ever get into paid traffic because throwing money at Facebook ads or Instagram ads without knowing how to sell, you know what’s going to happen. It’s money down the drain. So, learning how to get comfortable with showing your merchandise, your albums, telling them what’s in it for them. We’ll do another episode on copywriting and stuff. 

But the most important thing I ever learned about copywriting, which is the text you’re going to use that’s skin and motivate people to take an action, like buy your album or whatever, is this; nobody cares about you. They only care about themselves. Just repeat that 10 times until it gets so stuck in your brain. Nobody cares about you. They only care about themselves. Nobody cares about me. They only care about themselves, and what maybe my product can do for them.

And I know it gets awkward when you’re talking about art and music. It’s like, “yeah. Well, what does it do for them?” I don’t know. It’s very subjective. This is why we have the Academy, is because it’s not easy navigating this stuff. If it was, we wouldn’t exist, and we’d all be rich. 

38:13 CJ: That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. People do – I think they do again stumble over the stumbling stone. It’s like we said before if you could get past half the stuff that’s just happening in your head, the rest of this would really be downhill. But that’s a big one, is that it’s hard for you to accept the fact that – when we say people don’t care about, they care. It’s like we used to say in marketing years ago. Don’t tell me about your lawn business. Tell me about my lawn. 

38:41 Leah: Right. Tell me about my lawn. Yeah. 

38:43 CJ: My lawn. Tell me how I can get the benefit that I’m looking for. This a great example, and I always use this. There was a friend who owns a tree service company, and he was adding a new service, which was a yard service, not cutting grass. But because there were tree experts, they were going to going into all your shrubs and everything and help you take care of everything, because they were finding a lot of shrubs were dying. People didn’t know how to really take care of all of their foliage and all the source stuff. So, they offered this service for them to have a richer, greener, more vibrant, more beautiful landscape and yard. So, I said, “well, give me your existing marketing.” So, they gave me these door hangers and little direct mail pieces, and they all said, “make your neighbours green with envy.” 

So, the first thing I did was get rid of that. Why? Because nobody sits around thinking, “I want to make my neighbours green with envy.” That’s cute, but it’s ineffective. So what we eventually got to was I changed it to, “now you can have a healthier, richer, more beautiful yard and more time for yourself.” 

So, they want the end result. They want the outcome, but they don’t want it to cost so much. Spend their all weekend in the yard. So, we had to find what that pain point was. But you can only do that when you’re not thinking so much about your music or your service, but you’re thinking more about the needs and wants of the individual. Music is our escape. Music is our mood changer. Music is like – Think of it like a vitamin supplement. Think of it like a little drug, a legal drug that you can have. Music changes moods. It gives them an experience that people are looking for. Again, music is entertainment, ladies and gentlemen. Imagine life without entertainment at all. 

40:34 Leah: Yeah. It’s never existed. Life has never existed without entertainment. The oldest – I mean, they were drawing stuff on the walls and doing plays, and entertainment has always been around. So, there will always be a market. 

I heard even that entertainment is even recession-proof, that people will still spend money on booze and entertainment during any economies. So, there you go. Musicians, you’re probably better off than most bankers. 

41:03 CJ: Yeah, and you’re not selling anything that’s a high-ticket item, a CD, a shirt, these sorts of things. Even the little bundle packages of CDs, shirts or something else, a mug. That’s not going to break the bank. We’re selling very inexpensive ways to keep people really, really happy. You’re in the happiness business. That’s what you do. You sell people happiness, because how many times have you listened to music and it lifted you out of a bad spot? Don’t you want to do that for somebody else? Don’t you want to help them get that experience? Well, that’s the value of your music. 

So, yeah, it’s not worth a thousand dollars for your CD. It may just be worth 19.97 for that CD, but someone will gladly exchange that 19.97 for a lifetime worth of uplifting, because – A lifetime? Yeah, because I still listen to music that I bought back in the 70s and 80s, right? So, it doesn’t go out of style. There, again, it takes you back into knowing your micro-niche, knowing your culture. If you got that dialled in, man, they’re going to want what you have. 

42:10 Leah: That’s right. And then when you’ve got those things dialled in, the sales are pretty easy. You think that might be the hardest part. I think the hardest part is all the other things we talked about. By the time you have that dialled in or even remotely close, sales are not going to be a big deal. You still need to learn the skill though of how to sell. So, use it as practice. 

I mean, I would look at it as ‘I’m going to fail 10 times. Let’s see if I can fail 10 times, and maybe get a sale out of it.” Instead of trying to be like, “ooh, I have to get this perfect, and if I don’t get any sales and I’ve messed up.” No, just make a goal of getting 10 FUs or whatever. That’s an old sales tactic, right? It’s like if I can get 10 noes, I’ll probably get one yes, right? 

42:57 CJ: Right. Yeah. Again, giving your friends those regular opportunities to buy from you. 

43:02 Leah: Yeah, and to give you the middle finger. 

43:04 CJ: Yeah. Giving your fans plenty of opportunities to buy from you. I mean, this is the basics. Obviously, any one of these points we could go into gory detail about, and that’s what’s covered in the courses. The reason why we don’t cover that in the podcast is because we don’t have the time, number one. Then number two, we have to do it methodically step by step. 

So, you want to try to do something challenging? Try to create a course. So, to sit down and outline the things that you know and to focus on the things that really make a difference, that really move the needle forward for somebody, is a very challenging thing to do. For that, again, that’s what the courses are for. But this gives you a good idea. You could start on what we talked about just today. Anybody can set up a Facebook page. Anybody can think about their culture. Anybody can think about their micro-niche. Anybody can begin to post online and engage with friends and figure out what your fans like. What they don’t like. You’ve got little insights and some things on your business Facebook page maybe you haven’t even delved into before. 

Press some of those darn buttons at the top. Look at the settings and stuff and get information. You may not realize the age bracket of your fans. You may not realize where they live and some of these other things. So, you’ve got so much that you can begin to explore. But if you get these fundamentals down, then you’re going to realize that there is a way of not just hit and miss, but there’s a way for you to have a music career without touring. 

44:35 Leah: There is definitely a way. 

44:38 CJ: Anyway. Guys, seriously, I do want you to go to the website. And as we’ve said in the past, there are so many different things that you can plug into when it comes to the Savvy Musician Academy. Not everybody is for the Elite. Not everybody is ready for the online musician. There may be another thing that you need to do, but there’s always something. So, I do want you to go to the website today, If you would like to talk to somebody about what’s a good fit, then go to But please do us a favour today, if you don’t mind. As soon as you get finished listening here, go to your podcast player, the app that you’re using, whether it’s iTunes or Spotify or whatever and leave us a review. If they give the option for stars, click five or as many as they will give you. 

45:23 Leah: 10. 

45:24 CJ: We love the feedback. Click 10. Yeah. Go to the groups if you’re in one of our free mastermind groups or in the paid groups, like Online Musician and Elite Group. Please, leave us a comment. If there’s a question about something you’d like for us to cover down in a future podcast, we’d love to hear from you. 

Again, Leah, you’re awesome, man. Thank you so much for sharing your –

45:45 Leah: Yeah, always a pleasure. I love doing these episodes, and I do want to hear your suggestions, you guys, who are looking for what it is you’d like for us to cover. I love talking about it. We love doing these. So thanks and we’ll see you next time. 

45:58 CJ: Take care. 

Episode #065: Biggest Fears Musicians Have & How To Overcome Them

All of us struggle with fear: fear of rejection, failure and even fear of success. The only difference between those who are successful and those who are not is that successful people choose to pursue their goals despite the fear. It’s not that they don’t experience those same emotions, it’s only that their desire for the dream is bigger and they stop at nothing to get there. Today we continue with our psychological perspective on making it in the music industry, talking about those mindsets that cripple you and that you essentially give far too much power to. The first step to overcoming fear is to tackle them head-on instead of avoiding them, and by allowing yourself to go through those unpleasant emotions of trepidation. Not only are you giving yourself an opportunity to succeed, but you are investing in your personal development and building out your experience and skillset. The recipe of success is quite simple: to believe that the principles of success are out there in the world – that they exist and that you are able to apply them consistently. If you truly believe that, you will be unstoppable! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How fear is paralyzing you and stopping you from reaching your potential. 
  • Realizing that there are people out there who need to hear your music. 
  • Why fear is both a massively powerful yet powerless thing. 
  • The only thing that sets successful people apart from everyone else. 
  • The importance of taking little steps forward, even if you cannot see the full picture yet. 
  • Why you can sell anything once you understand the fundamentals of online marketing. 
  • The powerful effect of visualizing and mentally preparing before a big event. 
  • Making the decision beforehand not to be controlled by fear. 
  • The physiological reactions to something that happens in our imaginations. 
  • The difference between the fear of failure and fear of success. 
  • Believing that all the principles for success are out there and that you can apply them.  
  • Accepting that you will mess up sometimes and that hard times will come. 
  • And much more! 


“This fear, in general, is completely paralyzing you and it’s stopping you from reaching your potential, from doing the thing that you are supposed to do.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:05:12]

“Fear is a powerless force but it’s still the most powerful powerless force you’re ever going to face, and it’s robbing you of the only life you’ve got.” —  @metalmotivation [0:08:02]

“Do not let fear make the decision. Your brain needs to make the decision and then you can train your body to do what you want it to after the fact.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:20:40] 

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Call Savvy Musician Academy —

Savvy Musician Inner Circle — 

Welter —

Tony Robbins —

David Williams (Student Spotlight) —

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Well, welcome once again to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz and I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy and I am joined once again by her eminence as I love to call her. The lovely Leah McHenry, so good to see you, how are you doing?

00:39 Leah: I’m good CJ, how are you?

00:41 CJ: Wonderful. We have fun doing this, don’t we?

00:46 Leah: Yeah, it’s always a blast.

00:48 CJ: We have more fun than we deserve. No, deserve has got nothing to do with it. Today we’re going to talk about biggest fears musicians have and how to overcome them, if you were listening to our last episode, we kind of delved into the little bit of the subject of fear and our discussion of a poverty mentality. If you haven’t heard that episode, people are raving about it so go to their archives and go to listen to Episode 64 on overcoming a poverty mentality but today we’re going to talk about some big fears that musicians have and because fears and as we said in that last podcast, Leah.

It’s what people believe or don’t believe that really holds them back. We want to try and eliminate as much of that as we possibly can, not just give you the ins and outs of the gory details of how to in terms of online marketing but also some of the psychology. But we love to do also our student spotlights in these episodes, we’re talking about an Elite student today, David Williams who I’ve had the pleasure of talking to on a couple of occasions. He’s from Australia, a band called Welter and he writes in our elite group #win. 

He says, “We are almost at our first $1,000 in sales on our shop. This could not have been possible if it wasn’t for this incredible Elite Academy. We still have so much to learn but at the same time, feel so ahead of the game. Thank you, Leah and your amazing team, for what you do, words can’t express the gratitude.

We can’t wait for the next 12 months and as Steven said in a previous post, now is the time to dig deeper and push harder, cheers to you all.”

02:32 Leah: That’s awesome David, we love that you shared your win.

02:35 CJ: Isn’t it great? If you’ve never made money with your music online – 

02:39 Leah: That’s a big deal.

02:40 CJ: Yeah, you’ve spent some money to get into an elite program and you’re hoping this sort of thing works. Now, you’ve seen it and of course, Leah and I see the interaction with students all the time. I spent coaching calls with David just on some of his branding stuff early on when he got started but I see the questions, I’ve seen him wrestle over his opt-ins and his ads and get frustrated and trying to make things work and didn’t have a breakthrough and then you go to that next level thing and he got frustrated with that.

To see this effort and then for him to say hey man, we got our first thousand dollars online. That’s not a live event ladies and gentlemen, okay? That is selling music merchandise online and like you said, it wouldn’t have been possible for the incredible elite academy. Now, that may sound like we’re tooting our own horn but guys, no. Because I’m staring at a woman right now who did that very thing a hundred-fold in her own business.

It’s those very principles that she teaches in the Elite Academy and I’m just going to say this as a byword here, I don’t know where you are as a listener, I don’t know whether you’ve just seen an ad, stumbled on this podcast, or you’re in maybe the free mastermind group, maybe you’re Tom’s student. I don’t know where you are.

But it’s time for you to go to the next level. It’s time for you to stop and even talk a little bit more about some of the things that stop you today but we got to get past these fears, we got to get past your limiting beliefs and you have to take a step on yourself. You have to invest in yourself whether it’s a course, our inner circle newsletter, jumping from Tom to the Elite program, something needs to happen to get you to move forward. 

Find out what that is, go to and take advantage of what your next level is. But as I said at the outset, Leah, biggest fears musicians have and how to overcome them. Are musicians laden with fears? Is that even possible?

04:42 Leah: Yeah. I mean, that sounds like a silly question for us because we see and are dealing and interacting with musicians every day, but if you’re a musician listening to this, thinking you’re the only one, almost paralyzing fear, you need to know that this is really a very common, very normal experience and musicians everywhere across the world right now are all terrified and they’re all stuck and sometimes, that fear of – we’ll talk about the different things people are afraid of but this fear, in general, is completely paralyzing you and it’s stopping you from reaching your potential, from doing the thing that you are supposed to do.

This is part of your destiny. I believe it’s part of your calling if music is in your life, if it is in your heart and it is in your soul and you know that you were born to do this and you’re not doing it. You’re doing a major disservice to the rest of the world, there’s people out there I believe who are meant to hear your music and I’m not trying to just be romantic about it.

I’ve gotten messages from people, every year I get messages from people who have said that song of yours got me through a really dark time, I was suicidal. I was this and that and they’re not trying to flatter me, this is just them telling the story, your music really got me through that dark time. I get goosebumps thinking about it because you’re just like holy crap. I mean, I’m just trying to create art here. I had no idea it was going to have this kind of impact on other people in the world.

When I say there are people who are meant to hear your music, I don’t care if it’s black metal, I mean, the studies have been shown that even, a lot of people who listen to heavy metal, it makes them feel calm, it doesn’t actually make them feel angry, it has the opposite effect. It makes them feel calm and motivated and different things. Whatever music it is you’re making, don’t think that because you’re making something different or obscure or not mainstream that it doesn’t have a significant place I people’s lives because it really does.

06:41 CJ: That’s awesome. When I talk about fear and I talk about fear a lot in my coaching stuff, but I’ll often tell people, Leah, that facing your fears means confronting the powerless force that’s robbing you of the only life that you’ve got.

[0:06:57.4] LM: Yeah.

06:58 CJ: It’s important to understand that, you’ve got to get to the place where you finally confront the powerless force and I’ve always said, the fear is the most powerful yet powerless force you will ever face. It’s powerless. It can’t stop you. Only you give power and it’s like the scarecrow effect. You put the scarecrow out in the middle of the field, it’s obviously not a person.

But the crow gives life to the scarecrow through fear. We give life to the scarecrows in our life that keep us from feeding on the harvest that we could have in our creative expression and our music business and whatever it is that you’re doing, there is a harvest there for you because if you’re producing content, if you’re producing these creative expressions that people can enjoy. Like Leah said, this is your calling, you’re supposed to do this.

Then the only thing that’s going to stop you is going to be fear. You’re like that crow who gives life to the scarecrow. Fear is a powerless force but it’s still the most powerful powerless force you’re ever going to face and it’s robbing you of the only life you’ve got and so I don’t ever really advise people to be angry but if you’re going to be ticked off about something, well please, be ticked off about that. 

08:19 Leah: Yeah.

08:19 CJ: Please be ticked off about the fact that something a simple as fear is robbing you of the only life that you’ve got. That’s a tragedy to see, you know what I mean?

08:32 Leah: Yeah, I just think about – if I had let fear stop me from producing my first album when nobody knew who I was, I was completely at ground zero, many people know my story but for those who don’t know it, I started with absolutely nothing, no fan base, no contacts, no industry connections, no understanding of the music business, I still really don’t, I don’t really care anymore but just no advantages at all.

Not only that, I think I was like eight months pregnant when I sang my first album so you know, when I was already a mom of three other kids at home. I was like the least cool rock star ever. Least cool ever like huge pregnant whale trying to sing high notes in the vocal booth and like making this rock metal-ish type album. I’m a joke, I feel like a joke right now and no one’s going to care but that’s okay, I’m doing it for me, I’m not doing it for anybody, I’m doing it for me so that’s why I did it.

If I had let fear rule me then, we wouldn’t have Savvy Musician Academy. This podcast wouldn’t exist. My music career wouldn’t exist, those people who were going to be dark times wouldn’t have heard those songs. So many things and the future things that will unravel even now, things that I’m working on, none of these things would really happen if it weren’t for – you know, just taking a bold step in a certain direction and it’s going to take boldness to do this. 

It’s going to take guts, It takes guts to be a musician and to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable in front of the whole world, you know? The internet era is so different than the rest of history where yeah, you put yourself out there, it’s 30, 40 people, maybe a hundred people or a few thousand people.  At the end of the day, they go home, don’t forget about you and now the internet’s forever.

Anything you put out there is there to stay, not to mention the trolls that are out, I mean, there’s so many. It feels like a much bigger deal because it is. At the same time, it’s the biggest opportunity that we’ve ever had and so it does take guts to put yourself out there. What I can tell you is that if you do have fear, you need to want what it is that you want more than the fear. It has to outweigh the fear. That’s all it is.

I spent a lot of time studying successful people, reading a lot of books by successful people and I found out and this should comfort you. That everybody’s scared. Everybody’s terrified. The only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do it anyway. That’s the only difference between the two.

They feel the same emotions, the successful people, they’re also afraid of rejection, they’re also afraid of failure, they’re also afraid of success, they’re also afraid of all kinds of things happening, we can talk about those specifics, but they do it anyway. They just have, I don’t know what is that missing ingredient. I think it’s just they’re willing to take a risk.

11:45 CJ: Right, well, II think what you said earlier. To me, it’s the crux of all of this which is, your scales are out of balance and any sort of pain in life is that, it’s scales out of balance and we all want justice which means equalizing the balance. Think of that pair of ancient scales. If you’re focusing so much on the pain or what it is that you’re afraid of then your scale is lopsided. 

We have to put something on the other side of the scale to even it out and it’s what you just said. You know, which is focusing on the thing that you really want to do which is how you described your own personal story I think which is so important and such a great example. Because out of your step, even though we’re seeing through a glass darkly, you didn’t have a full semblance of where you were headed, you didn’t know where things were headed.

Either was so much out there, you just were going to take a step on yourself, believe in yourself and take a step out for yourself, past your fear but out of that came Savvy Musician Academy, several albums, hundreds of thousands of people and fans all over the world, changing the lives of musicians and I mean, you name it.

You’re still not even done yet. It’s like, we can’t see everything contained in a seed of what is potential. We know at least it can produce a forest. The more you meditate on the fact that so much can come out of your investment in yourself, so much can come out of you doing what you fear, then the more you think about that and the more you can envision that then the more you’re going to throw weight on the other side of that scale and suddenly, that pain from fear is not so painful anymore.

The greater pain will be I want what I want and the fact that it’s not there yet, you haven’t put that album out yet, you haven’t done the things that you said you were going to do. That’s again, it’s a powerfulness force but move forward into a knowing. Because like Leah described, so much came out of that simple step of faith we’ll call it, that she took and it continues to grow it, continues to work for her because with each new challenge, with each new barrier, she’s got to push past fear again.

We all have to do that and it’s the ongoing fear of failure, you know? You and I talk a lot about business and some of you might not know this but Leah is not just all about music, she has multiplicity of interests and she’s often telling me about little things that she’s doing on the side or thinking about doing and what not, we were talking about something earlier.

Without going into the details of it all, I thought it was just a great example of again, just putting yourself on a position where you’ve got to overcome the potential resistance that comes naturally from fear. Fears of failure, fears of success, et cetera.

14:38 Leah: That’s’ right. Yeah. I won’t get into it too much now but basically, I was trying to think of ways I can teach my kids about business and I know that kids, since we home school, it’s got to be hands-on, they’ve got to have some kind of a stake in it, some kind of ownership, some kind of expression so we’re coming up with some craft ideas and things like that that we can do together and this is really going to be fun and I could see it actually taking on a life of its own.

I’ll share more in the future ones we kind of get things of the ground, I’ll share about that story when the time is right but you still face the same things that’s going from idea. Hey, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know anything about it, I better start researching to from that idea to okay, now I’m going to take an action, let’s see what supplies do we need, let’s go to the craft store, let’s get what we need so putting some skin in the game right out of the gate and then testing a whole bunch of testing.

We’ll find out what works if it’s going to work out the way we think it’s going to and we’ll probably have some failures and then you know, we’ll put it out there and we’re going to learn together and this again teaching my kids and I get to learn with them which is going to be super fun.

And then, I get to teach my kids about marketing, we get to probably put something up on a Shopify store and teach them about this, that and the other thing. The whole thing is like, could it fail? Yeah, could it also succeed? Yes, it could. I mean I have an advantage now that I never had before, which is I understand online marketing. This is what I’ve always been telling our students this whole time especially our elite program and even those in the Tom program. You understand online marketing, you can sell anything. You can sell handmade soap, you can sell Kleenex. It doesn’t even matter what it is. 

If you understand those fundamentals and those principles anything can work for you now because you understand it. So you have an advantage over everybody else. So just putting whatever handcrafted stuff they made in their garage on Etsy and think that “Well the platform has the customer so I don’t have to do anything.” That’s the big difference and so my kids are going to get a hands-on experience learning about research, taking ownership in something. 

Risk, putting it out there and yeah, do I sit around thinking about all the ways it could fail and all the ways that we could get screwed and the way that we could lose our money from the supplies we have invested in? Like if I did that, what do you think the outcome would be? 

17:05 CJ: Right. 

17:06 Leah: I mean there are people that this is what’s tripping them up. They are just thinking about all the ways it could go wrong, all the ways they could get screwed, all the ways that it won’t work out and there is something to be said about what you dwell upon is probably going to happen, right? You don’t want to sit there and dwell on things that you don’t want. You should instead dwell on the things you do want to happen. 

And this actually, I did have a nice experience with this. My first ever live speaking engagement that I had and it was – I do so many live events online but in person is a totally different thing and I was really nervous. I had a lot of nerves just in my stomach because it was weird because my mind was saying one thing, my body was doing something else. It took me a while to get control of my body. If we are talking about fear here so one of the things that I want people to know is that I spent quite a bit of time. 

Leading up to this speaking event, visualizing and almost like frame by frame, picturing how exactly I wanted it to go, how I wanted myself to feel in the moment. So instead of feeling like I had major butterflies in my stomach, I imagined myself feeling completely confident and this is, “I am at home right now” like this is where I am supposed to be. I am at home, this is normal, there is nothing unusual about this.” So I just rehearsed that feeling over and over and over. 

I spent – I’d wake up and I would just spend 20 minutes just lying there doing that and I would get my body to a point where that adrenaline and stuff would leave and I would come back later in the day but I would just go back to that place and it was really cool on the plane ride over. Before this speaking engagement, I wrote down a list of how I wanted to feel afterwards with like when I am done these are the things that I want to feel. 

And I was just being very intentional and very purposeful in how I want my body to react and what I want my brain to do and it was really cool because the speaking engagement went almost exactly how I imagined it to go. Almost exactly and it was the first 30 seconds was like, “Oh holy crap” you know? And then it was gone and then it was like I am at home now. Okay, I have done this 100 times because it was all rehearsed in my mind and this is not a new concept. 

I think Tony Robbins and NLP and whatever these things are called, I am pretty sure this is like athletes do this. I know they do that, you know Olympic athletes they rehearse mentality, you know golfers and stuff before they ever get on the field. So, I think that it is really powerful. I am amazed at what the brain can do. I am amazed at how powerful the mind is. So you know when it comes to fear and taking risks and being uncomfortable, there is a lot of layers to this. 

Number one I think you need to first believe that it is not going to control you or make the decision that is it not going to control your outcome. It is not going to control your decisions. It is not the end-all of your future. You can have fear, you can experience it like I said my body was doing one thing. My mind was doing another, but I didn’t let my body make the decision. I could have cancelled the speaking engagement because my body was freaking out. 

I had butterflies and I couldn’t stop that would be dumb. So you know that is a big one is do not let the fear make the decision. Your brain needs to make the decision and then you can train your body to do what you want it to after the fact. 

20:50 CJ: Yeah that is so true. Again, this is something that happens in the mind and so that can be changed. If what you are afraid of is actually real, if the scarecrow was actually real then there is something to be afraid of, but the farmer is relying on the fact that the crow can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. So fear is actually based on the imagination, which is why we can scare ourselves to death. You know we can imagine. 

We torment ourselves with our imagination and so you can hear thunder and lightning outside and the lightning is flashing and suddenly the coat rack looks like there is somebody in the room, what happens? Your heart rate goes up, your body temperature increases, right? You have actual – 

21:38 Leah: Cortisol. 

21:38 CJ: Right, physical changes to something that’s not even there. So you know two people can approach an airplane or a roller coaster or whatever. For one person that rollercoaster releases endorphins because they love that experience. The other person is releasing adrenalin and cortisol because they are scared to death of it. They are going to experience the same physical thing. They’re both going to be rocked at the same way. 

They are both going to go at the same speed. It is the exact same rollercoaster but their body is released completely different chemicals not based on anything that’s tangibly real. Simply based on what is going on in their mind that’s your power of fear and yeah, you want to move into those fears. You want to move into the thing that you are afraid of because again, it is a powerless force and probably the two ones that people most know about Leah are the fear of failure and the fear of success. 

The one that we understand I think the best is the fear of failure as you have described it and I think one reason why people are afraid of failure is because they begin with this starting point that they are a loser, you know what I mean? That they have made too many mistakes. They’ve had too many failures. That is the way they see their personal narrative. So they are afraid to try something too big because they feel that they will fail and that that failure will prove what they have always told themselves that they are a loser. 

So they are scared of that judgment. Fear of success has a similar form of judgment because you’re afraid, at that point not at failure but you are afraid of the criticism that success will bring because you are putting yourself out especially with this stuff that you teach where somebody is creating the social media following and engagement and they’re doing Facebook live videos and sharing their heart that sort of thing. They are scared to death of the trolls. 

They are scared to death of the critics. Well we see this in the elite group where someone is getting negative comments and they are asking us what to do about that. We had to get past that as people being online a long time ago but for them it is new and there is that fear element there whether it a fear of failure in front of others, which confirms the fact that you are a loser or a fear of success where you’re afraid of the criticism. 

24:20 Leah: I think with fear of success, I also think that there could be a fear of screwing it up once you have a little bit of success. I can speak to that one. Well, we had some explosive success in growth with Savvy Musician Academy like immediately after we launched it, it was very unexpected. It was the last thing I expected, in fact, I had no idea that it would resonate the way it did very strange experience to have and because we had struggled in our marriage and financially for so long. 

And because I come from a background of never having money or anything and then this explosive growth, the first feeling I had was not like, “Oh we won the lottery” far from it. It was I don’t want to screw this up. Now there are customers depending on us, we have so much responsibility now. There is that and then I also have this weird feeling that came on me like I feel like something bad is going to happen now like I don’t know what that was. That was weird and I couldn’t shake it for six months. 

It was just this explosive growth and then that must mean something bad. I don’t even enjoy it for a second Leah, don’t even enjoy it and I feel like that made a little devil in my shoulder or something but it was like, “Don’t even enjoy any of this because it is all going to be taken from you tomorrow” and so there is a weird thing that happens and I don’t know if it is just in creative people or all entrepreneurs but I found out later on that this is not unique to me. 

That a lot of people do experience that. So, it is a fear of screwing it up. It is a fear of especially if you have any success that is rather quick and some people in our programs they are experiencing some quick growth and you just think, “Oh geez” I have never actually talked about this before publically or just like delved into it and I am sure there is a lot of layers underneath that one particular fear of it is all going to go away but I think there is something to be said about a fear of success there. 

So I was never afraid to be successful. It was more like I don’t want to ruin things. I don’t want to disappoint people. I don’t want to be a bad steward of any of what we have of this company, of our staff. All of a sudden it requires you to level up to a new place in your character and if you are not prepared for that, I think that’s scary. What do you think when I tell you that? 

26:51 CJ: You know I think you’re exactly right. I think the keyword you just said there is character, which is part of the problem with overnight successes is that they don’t have the character to sustain that sort of growth, which is why things like the courses that you teach specifically this elite academy are good because there is a process to it. It is not easy. We mentioned David Williams at the outset talking about some of the struggles that he had and voiced as he was working through the process. 

But what it does is it gives you this appreciation for the growth that you experienced in anything that takes a long time to achieve because it gives you then the character to sustain that success. We don’t trust ourselves, you know? So it is ultimately coming back to that sense of insecurity, which is why again you have to have a firm belief in two fundamental things. Number one, that there are principles that exists in this world to create any desired outcome that you have. 

27:50 Leah: Yeah. 

27:51 CJ: If you are dreaming about sending a rocket into space, if you are dreaming about whatever it may be, the principles are there to achieve any outcome that you want especially selling music online. So the principles exist to achieve any outcome that you want and then secondly, you have to believe that you are fully able to apply those principles consistently to create that outcome. If you doubt either one of those, right? 

If you say no I am really good at what I do but the universe is just against me, that’s not going to work or if you say, “No, I know the principles out there and they work but I don’t trust myself” well then that is not going to work either. You got to fully convince that the principles exist, and you got to be fully convinced that you have the power and the capacity to do it and I guarantee you that you do. You might say, “Well CJ, Leah, I haven’t ever done it in the past.” 

So I have tried before and then I give up or I tried before I get discouraged. I tried before and I fell off the wagon, you know got off course, whatever it may be well, so what? I mean if I could show up to your house every day and point a gun to your head, I could get you to do everything you needed to do to become a billionaire, right? Well, I am not going to show up every day but what it tells you is, you have that potential. What you don’t have necessarily is the pressure or the motivation. 

Or whatever it takes to get you to enact that out and so, CJ well what’s the difference? Well, the difference is there is good news because as we said before, we can change you. If the musical gods are just against you, if the powers that be, if the powers of the force just hates you and don’t want you to succeed and it is going to block your success no matter how hard you try or how good you are, if the universe is against you, well then we are helpless. 

We’re hopeless, there is nothing that we can do. So what’s going to have to happen then for you is a simple change in your beliefs. Fear is the most powerful yet powerless force you are facing and don’t let it rob you of the life that you’ve got. 

30:03 Leah: We’re done here now. 

30:05 CJ: That settles that.

30:06 Leah: Yeah, no that’s so good. It’s so true and knowing that one last point here, you’re going to screw up. You are going to mess it up. It is not going to go well all the time and just be okay with that, just get over it. I accept the fact that in some future speaking engagement I am going to screw up. I fumble on my words sometimes. Sometimes I think one thing and my mouth doesn’t want to work correctly, whatever. Who cares? 

At the end of the day, nobody freaking cares and I think that if we realize that people don’t think about us as much as we think they do, we would do a whole lot more.

30:44 CJ: Ain’t that funny? That is so funny. Well guys listen, I know we’ve gotten psychological on you in the last couple of episodes, but I think this stuff is so necessary. Like I’ve said before, you could achieve tremendous success with half of the stuff Leah teaches you but you can’t do anything with a 100% of what she teaches you if you’re stopping yourself and so that is why psychology here is just so important and let me just say again, we’ve got so many great reviews from you guys. 

So we are kind of addicted now so we want to hear more from you guys. So please, take the time right now to go and leave us a review on whatever player you are listening on. Give us some stars if they gave you that option. Go into the group if you are in our free mastermind group or in our student group for Tom or even Elite, please give us feedback and if there is something you’d like for us to cover, maybe have some good ideas for a show, feel free to leave that as well but always a pleasure Leah, good to see you. 

31:46 Leah: Yeah, you too. Thanks guys and take care. 

Episode #064: How To Get Rid Of A Poverty Mentality

Once believed to have been the archetypal starving artist, it was later revealed that Michelangelo was a millionaire and, in fact, the wealthiest Renaissance artist of all time. Many of us have the perception that being an artist – whether you are a painter, writer or musician – means that you will live a life of barely coming by and of always struggling financially. This is a complete lie, and in this episode, we dig into this topic, busting the myth of the struggling artist and helping you to re-evaluate your perspectives on money. We talk about scarcity versus an abundance mentality, and how your belief system can impact the relationships and opportunities that come your way. Now, we are not talking about the passivity that sometimes comes along with positive thinking and the law of attraction. While it is important to develop an optimistic attitude, it is equally important to act, to take intentional steps toward creating the future you dream of. Join us for another enlightening conversation and, if you were waiting for it, a permission slip to succeed! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Realizing that there are certain mindsets that could prevent you from being successful. 
  • The widespread belief in the “starving artist” story and why it needs to change. 
  • Looking critically at your beliefs and how you speak about the financial aspects of your art. 
  • Unpacking the term “poverty mentality” and the influences that shape your view of money. 
  • The false perception that money is a limited resource. 
  • Scarcity versus abundance; understanding that you must take action. 
  • How you might repel people and opportunities through your lack of belief. 
  • The fear of success and responsibility as another form of procrastination. 
  • Busting the myth that money is the root of evil that will invariably corrupt you. 
  • The importance of understanding that money is a necessary resource.
  • Guilt, self-condemnation and your perceptions about what you ‘deserve’. 
  • And much more! 


“Whatever you focus on is going to get magnified whether positive or negative. It all depends on what you are giving your attention to.” — @metalmotivation [0:09:51]

“There is no lack. It’s just a lack of belief, right? And a lack of true belief is what we call doubt and that’s what limits us.” — @metalmotivation [0:15:43]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Call Savvy Musician Academy —

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins — 

Savvy Musician Show Episode 7 —

Singing Success Vocal Retreat — 

Quick Cash Generation Guide —

The Secret —

Family Wealth by James E. Hughes Jr. — 

Lindsay Matheson (Student Spotlight) — 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Well welcome once again to the savvy musician show, this is CJ Ortiz and I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Thrilled once again to be joined by her eminence, the lovely Leah McHenry, how are you?

00:36 Leah: I’m great, having a great day.

00:39 CJ: Good. It’s good to see you again. I always enjoy these, our challenge always to keep things as concise as possible because we have very similar outlooks on things, we’ve got so much that we love to talk about and so much that we’re passionate about and never-ending stream of subjects Leah, that we can always address here on the show.

We’re going to get really unique here today, talk about something called a poverty mentality which maybe a lot of our listeners have actually never heard of before. You and I know that from our certain spiritual type backgrounds. It’s something that we understand and personal development industry. It’s something that people understand but I think this is going to be super eye-opening for our listeners today and I believe that even though it’s great to know how to do so much about online marketing.

Sometimes, we can stand in our own way and hold ourselves back because of our belief systems and so one of the things I love about this podcast is that we’re able to delve in between both. We can talk about the practical ins and outs of the how-tos of online marketing but then we can also get into the psychology which in a lot of ways is even more effective because it makes you that unstoppable force. 

Before we get into that, I want to share just a student spotlight. Today is Lindsey Matheson who even though writing from Australia as she’ll say is not Australian. I’ve talked to her, she isn’t. But anyway, she says #win “Good day, I’m down here in Australia with the other band I work for, my Facebook likes ad have been so strong that people are coming out to see what my spooky metal band is about. In Australia mate, the fans have also said they’re excited for my solo album to come out next month and signed up for the mailing list. 

Even our flight attendant on this morning’s flight was a fan of just me. I can’t make this up, thank you, Leah, and team for all that you’re teaching me, this solo album launch is going to be something else.”

02:46 Leah: I’m so proud of her, she’s a personal friend of mine and you’re doing an amazing job, Lindsey, and I can’t wait for your solo album launch. It’s going to be fantastic.

02:59 CJ: I know she won’t mind us saying this but when she says there that she’s being recognized for just her, you’d have to understand that she’s a part of a very popular international heavy metal band. She’s one of many in that band. So, for her to be about to go and start her solo project, be on an airplane and the flight attendant recognizes just her, recognize any metal musician, let alone somebody who is just playing an instrument in a larger metal band built upon a personality like the band that she’s from. That’s pretty amazing.

03:32 Leah: That must have felt so good to see like wow, I’m my own thing and people recognize me for what I’m doing and there’s no better feeling than that, it’s really incredible.

03:43 CJ: It does make you feel like you do have things more in control that you can get your message out there and it can be done through the ways that we teach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. Good for you, Lindsey, and many more great things to come as you’re faithful to this course. 

Anyway, poverty mentality, how to get rid of a poverty mentality, Leah, like I said, I don’t know that people quite understand what one is but I think we can begin the topic by talking about something that everybody does understand and that is the starving artist. Let’s begin there, you had something you shared with me offline, I’d love for you to read.

04:21 Leah: Yeah, I’ve done a podcast episode in the past where I did a book review actually on Real Artist Don’t Starve which was written by Jeff Goins and I know him personally, he’s a fantastic, generous man and him and I sometimes text back and forth and he’s just a great guy. He wrote this book and there’s a whole bunch of helpful things in there, it’s not geared towards musicians.

It’s just brought more gear to creative, the arts and music and all of it. One of my favourite parts of the book is the introduction, this whole concept that we have kind of been duped into believing that all artists have always been poor throughout history and they’ve always been starving, they’ve always been couch surfing and he kind of just bust that myth and I thought I would just read a little segment about this part. One of my favourite parts.

He said, “For centuries, this is what historians believed about the great Renaissance master, they’re talking about Michelangelo. They believed that he struggled like Vincent Van Gogh, he was just another starving artist, struggling to make ends meet. Michelangelo himself embraced this image, living frugally and often complaining about money. 

He once wrote in a poem that his art had left him poor, old and working as a servant of others. But it turns out that he wasn’t telling the truth. When Rab Hatfield dug into those old bank records, the truth about the Renaissance’s most famous artist was finally revealed. He was not struggling, at all, he was not poor and he was not starving for his art. A fact we’ve been getting wrong ever since. Michelangelo was in fact very rich. One record showed a balance of hundreds of thousands of dollars, a rare sum of money for an artist at the time, when he saw those figures, the professor forgot all about the Sistine chapel.

With his curiosity peaked, he went to see if there were more bank records and there were more, many more. In the end, Professor Hatfield uncovered a fortune worth roughly 47 million today, making Michelangelo the richest artist of the Renaissance. To this day, this is a story that surprises us, we’re accustomed to a certain story about an artist, the one that says that they are barely getting by.

But Michelangelo did not suffer or starve for his work. A multi-Millionaire and successful entrepreneur, he was in the words of wonder in the list a ‘pivotal figure in the transition of creative geniuses from people regarded and paid as craftsman to people accorded a different level of treatment and compensation’. In other words, the master sculptor and painter wasn’t just some art school dropout struggling for his art. He was a rainmaker. 

When I asked Rab Hatfield what Michael Angelo’s millions meant for us today, he said, I don’t think it means a whole lot, but I disagree, I think this changes everything.” I loved that introduction and it’s quite a bit longer than that, but it goes on to talk about Michelangelo and dig into this a little bit more.

What I loved about it was I was equally shocked and surprised to hear that. That the guy who we’ve all perceived to be starving and working as a slave for other people, making all this art was really a multimillionaire, quite an entrepreneur and it was all under the radar. And then the whole book kind of goes off of that about hey, this doesn’t have to be the case for you either whether you’re making pottery or art or music or selling merch on Shopify.

Whatever it is you’re doing, this lie really that you have to be poor and helpless is just that, it’s just a lie, It’s a belief and it’s wrong.

08:12 CJ: Yup. That’s the important distinction there is this is a belief. In other words, that’s not objectively true and that’s why this is related to the poverty mentality. In the sense that they are two particular beliefs. Whether it be a starving artist or poverty mentality that will keep somebody trapped because if you believe objectively, in other words, outside of yourself that an artist must starve, that that’s just the reality. Like, rain must fall to the ground, that’s your belief.

Then you match that with a poverty mentality meaning a subject of inward belief about what your capacity is, what’s available to you, what’s going to work, all these sorts of self-defeating beliefs. Those two things combined are probably the greatest restraints on artists today as you said, of any kind. Of course, we’re speaking to musicians in specific but this is what traps creatives.

Because, as creatives, we’re very gifted to do what we do, right? In terms of art, but in the midst of that imaginative creative aspect, we can also dream up some pretty stupid beliefs about what’s true in the world, we can create some pretty elaborate stories and narratives about the limitations.

You know, you can listen to it in the way we talk, we’ll say, that always happens to me, you know? These things are always in my way, I’m always facing this, there’s never enough, there’s never this, always that. We use these hyperbolic descriptions that really don’t have any basis in reality, it’s just, we discount the good things that happened and we magnify the bad things that happen.

Whatever you focus on is going to get magnified whether positive or negative. It all depends on what you are giving your attention to. But like Leah just described, here’s somebody who people assumed, of course a classic artist that we all know about but you assumed that this guy was one of those starving artist and it turns out, not only the richest artist of the Renaissance period but probably would be one of the richest ones today too.

That’s a significant thing. Let’s start at the beginning. Leah, how do you look at a poverty mentality?

10:25 Leah: You know, I read several books on the topic and they weren’t coming from a religious background but just on the whole belief system that people have around money. Some people call it a relationship with money, I kind of find that’s kind of odd. Money is an inanimate concept really.

10:41 CJ: It’s an impersonal thing.

10:43 Leah: Yeah, I was finding it’s a bit of a weird phrase but I understand what they’re getting at, it’s really a one-sided thing, right? It’s like, how do you view money, how do you look at money, how are you raised, what kind of environment were you raised in that informed your beliefs about money, that’s actually probably one of the biggest factors I can even think of.

For example, if you grew up in a home where there really wasn’t very much money like mine. What’s the number one thing you always heard from your parents? We can’t afford that. We can’t afford to do that and a lot of ways, it does shape your view on the world and your view of money that kind of just gets drilled into your head that I can’t afford to do things. 

I understand it’s a tricky thing for parents now that I have kids that are getting a little older where you want to teach them stewardship and budgeting and like maybe that’s not a wise thing to spend your money on. At the same time, I’m also careful to not say things like that because I don’t want them growing up with the view that money is an unreplenishable resource. That actually happened the other day with like one of my youngest daughters. That’s right, she bought something with her money, we’re at the craft store and she bought something and it turned out to be – it was like a $3 squishy something or other. It broke and we had to throw it away and she was really upset about it and I just looked at her and said.

“Honey, it’s no big deal, you can make more money, you can make easily make three more dollars and buy a new one. This is not a limited resource. Money is a resource, there’s an endless amount of it in this world.” She was like, oh, okay. It was like if I hadn’t told her that, she kind of thought like that’s the end of my money, that’s the end of this toy and now I’m screwed.

12:33 CJ: Some people can believe that if they gain more money, it must be at the expense of someone else.

12:40 Leah: Right.

12:40 CJ: That’s why you start to blame the rich. The reason why people are poor is because of the rich. Of course, they can’t explain it, it’s just this causal relationship that they’re implying that because I get more, someone else is getting less. I’m taking from other people. That’s not true at all and I think it begins with your concept of whether there is abundance or there is scarcity. 

13:05 Leah: Right.

13:05 CJ: I think a lot of people are trained to think that there is scarcity in the world but it’s in the interest of institutions like government or special interest type groups or the media or whatever, to create a value for themselves and you can’t create a value for themselves unless you create this idea that there’s some sort of scarcity. That scarcity can be more than money. 

Was that a scarcity of justice? A scarcity of equality. Everything is always a scarcity, we’re always in a crisis that we’ve got to solve. There’s always a sense of lack instead of saying no. If anything, there’s an endless supply, there’s an abundance. I remember when I was a kid, they were saying in the end of the 70s, I remember, seeing this in Time magazine that we were coming to the end of oil, that we were going to be out of oil by the early 1980s.

I was selling coffee to people who were in gas lines back in 1974. We saw the lines, people waiting for two and three hours to get a gallon of gas. You can start to think, well wow, not too long after, there’s going to be an end of energy, an end of oil, what are we going to do? We’ll need solar energy. 

Well, of course, that was years and years ago and we’re still here and there’s still a plentiful supply but it’s more than that, it’s this idea that we’re going to run out of an abundant supply and even if we did, there is no solution beyond that whereas now, because at one time, there was nothing in the world but trees and water and rocks and dirt and mountains and grass and animals and that’s all there was.

There was no TV, there was no airplane, there were no cellphones, there were no recipes, there was no fire, there was no wheel, there was no nothing. Nothing, no stories, no movies, no music, no nothing, no art. But look at all that we created out of nothing but air and dirt and trees and rocks and that’s it. Here we have the word now at the apex of history and you and I are using tremendous powerful technology to do this podcast and communicate with the world. 

Where did all of that come from? Because you could have looked at that bare world thousands of years ago and say scarcity. There’s no way and try to communicate the Pharaoh that you’ll be able to pick up something like a smartphone and call somebody on the other side of the world and they had no concept of the other side of the world.

That means abundance is always there, it may not be where you think it is, it may be right after another great idea that creates abundance. There is no lack. It’s just a lack of belief, right? And a lack of true belief is what we call doubt and that’s what limits us.

15:55 Leah: Yeah. You know, I saw an example of that recently, I was doing a Facebook live with my good friend Brett Manning. I’m going to be speaking at his events in October, his vocal retreat, and we’re just chitchatting about the event and it’s not a cheap event to go to but you’re surrounded by some of the best people there and anyway, somebody in the comments was talking about – they just said, I don’t have the money and we’re like, we understand, we’re not trying to pressure you to come or anything.

They said no, I was giving them some examples of ways they could make some money on the side, things that I offer to give them a resource that we have called quick cash generation guide which is really just like think outside the box, be creative, there are ways to make money. Anyways, no. The money doesn’t exist. That’s what the person said. I said, thank you for my next podcast topic.

16:47 CJ: Yeah, that’s kind of where this came from didn’t it?

16:48 Leah: Yes, Brett said no, the money exists, it’s just not in your hand at the moment.

16:54 CJ: Right. We’re not talking about magical thinking either.

16:56 Leah: No, we’re not talking about, this is not the secret or power of manifestation. I personally think some of that stuff is BS because you can think all day long but unless you act and do things that promote some kind of, you know for every action there is a reaction unless you’re getting off your butt and doing something, I don’t think that sitting and daydreaming about what you want to manifest is really going to do a lot of good. So can we dispel that myth? 

And then there is another one I want to talk about after that. So what is the difference between believing that there is an abundance and just the universe is a Santa Clause and we’ll just give you whatever you want? 

17:33 CJ: That is an important point because you can fall into the other side of the ditch to where you do get into things like the law of attraction where you are saying, “Okay I am going to put myself in a passive position and I am just going to try to manifest with my mind, create materially through some power of belief or magic and this is going to materialize the provision or the abundance of the wealth or the perfect relationship that I need to create results. 

I remember seeing the actual movie on The Secret, which is not a new idea. It’s been shrouded in different ways over the centuries but they had things in there like using the power of the law of attraction to get a parking space up by front where the doors of the store. So it gets a little ridiculous as far as that goes but if you’re doing something like that where it is putting you in a passive state, then that is certainly not the kind of thing that we are talking about. I have always said the law of action beats the law of attraction every time. 

18:37 Leah: That’s it. 

18:37 CJ: In fact, I even posted a meme this morning that said mind over matter as long as the matter that we’re talking about is our own lazy ass then yeah, mind over matter. 

18:45 Leah: Exactly that’s the big point. I am not saying don’t think about the things that you want. There is a time and a place, you need to dream. You need to think. You need to be able to imagine the future. That is the entrepreneur spirit is to be able to imagine a feature that doesn’t exist yet and they come back to reality and make it happen but that’s the key part is making it happen, right? Because everybody else sitting on their couch trying to manifest through the universe. 

Whatever the heck they want and meanwhile they are just broke forever. So there’s got to be action behind that. You know one of my mentors is action creates traction. You probably make that up but – 

19:23 CJ: It’s so true. There’s this thing where you can get to a place that you don’t realize that you’re lack of belief creates a cynicism and because of that you actually repel people. 

19:36 Leah: And opportunities.

19:37 CJ: Yeah, you repel opportunities or like people who for example have the fear of success, which is a weird thing. We understand the fear of failure but fear of success is this idea that I don’t – I am afraid of the responsibilities and things that are a potential success might bring. I can’t manage all of that. I have never done that before etcetera, so I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to be in that position and I have been doing everything on my own. 

So far nobody is going to be there to help me, which is actually the opposite. The truth is that, yes, people will rally to you if you are positive and if you believe that there is abundance and your actions constantly show that you believe that and in other words that you are out there seizing opportunities, you are out there hustling, you are out there doing those things. People watch you, experience that incremental success, they are going to be drawn to you like moths to a flame.

Because they want to be around people like that. They want to learn from you so yeah, positivity is always the best route. Always. 

20:35 Leah: Yeah and speaking of fear of success, one that really cracks me up that I really don’t understand like in regards to other aspects of life, I actually had a friend who said they were afraid of losing weight. They had a significant amount to lose. They are afraid of losing weight because if they lose that weight, they’re going to draw so much attention from men. I am like, “You’re single. Don’t you want that?” 

20:58 CJ: Poor thing. 

21:00 Leah: But people come up with the weirdest ways I feel like it is a version of procrastinating on something that they know they should do and something that would be good for them or part of their destiny or you know, people just find all kinds of very odd and weird ways to just not do the thing that they should do. So that one cracked me up. There is another myth that I think would be helpful to address and I think that there is a lot of this. 

It is very prevalent in today’s culture and especially in the musicians that I come across. That is the belief that money is the root of evil and that money will objectively corrupt everybody and that’s why artists should stay away from it because if you make money it will corrupt the art and all of that. So, there is some nuanced in there that we can dig into. What is your impression? 

21:49 CJ: Yeah, I think that people, they do have that belief that money is evil and again, you are taught this. This is not something you come out, out of the womb knowing innately. It’s the narrative that you are told whether it be by your crazy professor at college or your parents or some politician or things on the news, you are given this idea that somehow because you show them this, all the evil characters in a movie are always the rich the guy, right? 

So it is always that anybody that has power etcetera, however and so they shy away from trying to earn money instead of thinking, “Well wait a minute, if you are so adept at identifying good and evil then it stands to reason that you are the best candidate for that money because you’re the one who is going to know what to do with it.” You are the one who is going to know where to channel it but there are things if you want to say it’s an evil, it’s a necessary evil. 

In the sense that money and possessions and resources are needed in order to do anything whether it is thinking you’re most noble causes and they have to be funded right? You have to fund charity, you have to fund welfare, it all has to be done. Of course, you are always generous to spend the rich person’s money when it comes to feeding the poor. You know up the taxes on the rich, up the taxes on the rich because they will – well, somebody’s got to make that money. 

And nobody can take the money with them so it is always here. It is just a matter of whose hands it’s found in and it will be great if you have such a great idea of what something good and evil are then again, stands to reason that you would be the best candidate to have that. 

23:30 Leah: Yeah, a lot of people think that the saying money is the root of evil comes from the Bible and they’re wrong. It says, it’s the love of money that is the root of evil and I just want to make that distinction for anybody who is ever read the Bible or not read the Bible. I hear people who are big fans of the Bible repeating it completely wrong. They go around saying that money is the root of evil. No, it’s the love of it. 

So what happens when you love something? If you worship money and the money becomes your god that means it’s ruling you and you serve it, right? So, at that point, yeah it is going to corrupt you and I still believe that money will magnify who you are. So if you are a jerk and you add a whole bunch of money to that, you are going to be a bigger jerk than you were before. If you are a generous person who loves to give and you have a whole bunch more of money, you’re probably going to give a whole lot more. So I do think that it is a magnifier in that way. 

24:28 CJ: Yeah and you know speaking of the Bible, Jesus himself actually called it the god of mammon. You know so there is a sense in which God in the sense that you fully trust in what you have. You fully trust to the exclusion of all things else and nobody wants to see you get into that position. So that’s again as you said a while ago that is the other ditch that you get into where there’s this – you are almost falling again to this other side. 

Where there is an equal abuse that does as much damage as having a poverty or scarcity mentality but again, I think the important thing for people to note is that there is no way you’re going to be able to do anything that you want to do with your life of significance without money. I get these weird interest sometimes Leah, where I just start looking into just strange stuff and one of the things – 

25:28 Leah: I know that. 

25:29 CJ: One of the things that I’ve been checking out for the longest time is these nomad type people or minimalists or things like that. People who literally have like five shirts, three pairs of underwear and a watch. I mean they have almost nothing or they’re nomads and they are living in this very small vans or little chinooks or airstreams or something, RV type things and they are just traversing the country living on next to nothing. 

Just completely disjointed and whatever. To a lot of people that may sound appealing. I don’t think that is a great idea. To each his own, okay? I am not – nobody has to do things the way I say. However, I think if you take a broader view of life in the world and you realize that in order for a tree to grow it has to be planted, right? You can’t just keep plucking something up and sticking it over here and plucking up and sticking it over you and expect something to thrive and to prosper. 

And you can’t expect communities to prosper unless people are planted and they’re planning on growing, right? A family, they get married, they get their first house and they start planning on having their kids and getting involved in the community and participating in work and all of these sorts of things. They are helping to create an abundance of love and relationship and community and help and support and charity and all of the wonderful things. 

Now, who are you going to be a blessing to if you are traversing the country in a little RV all the time? So but it – 

26:58 Leah: Yeah, the nomad is not going to be able to build an empire. 

27:01 CJ: No, they can’t and I think we have to think that way. Again, myself I call it my trailer park aristocracy and that is thinking like the 1% in the sense that when you go to very rich families where wealth is transferred over generations and they have to do things differently than we do it down here in this level because divorces are very expensive, right? So they can’t afford that. They tend to marry within elite families. They don’t send their kids to public school. 

No way, they are trained to speak. They are trained in politics, they are trained in leadership, they are trained in literature, they’re trained in other languages, they do things to help preserve the fact that they have property and wealth and they know they are going to live out their lives and it has to be transferred. So you can’t have the next generation be a bunch of derelicts that are going to squander the resources that that family has right or wrong that’s what you have to do. 

So to me, I think there has to be that where you just think like you just said, it is about empire and you can’t think empire if you’re thinking like a pauper. 

28:08 Leah: That’s right. Actually, maybe it was you who recommended this book to me years ago. I don’t remember but one of the best books I have ever read that got me out of a poverty mentality and took me into multi-generational thinking pattern was Family Wealth that is the one, James E. Hughes and if you can’t read that and come out the other side going, “Holy crap I need to change the way I am thinking about my family and the future and what I’m building right now” I mean I don’t know what will. 

And you know they talk about the first generation that makes wealth it is such a huge thing. A lot of times what happens is they are not able to pass it down. It might get the second generation, they end up spending it away and the third generation, they’re back to square one and it had a little saying in the book and I forget how it goes. It was almost like a little poem or something because it is so repetitive and over and over and over throughout history. 

This is what has been the case. So you’re saying it is completely preventable if you just understand these concepts and implement them. This book is all about how to preserve generational wealth and man if musicians could just get a slice of that just a little bit and start implementing that in the way they build their business, think about the future. Music is one of those things that when you’re dead it will live on. So I mean there is no reason why you can’t build an empire. 

Look at Prince and Michael Jackson and these people who have died and look, they have these huge estates and these huge empires that are left behind and there are people managing it. It is still giving and employing people. It is wild when you think about it and it will continue to. 

29:40 CJ: Oh yeah, I think it’s funny that the one thing that I guess musicians do not have a concept of scarcity about that they believe there is an endless supply of is creativity. 

29:50 Leah: Yeah. 

29:52 CJ: So just apply that very same concept to the idea. In other words, there is a never-ending supply of creative ideas for you as an artist, for you as a musician. Why would you not think there is an endless supply of creative solutions for your financial state, for your music business, for anything that you’re facing in life? Why do you limit abundance only to creativity? What right do you have, what authority do you have to make that kind of judgment? 

What source are you appealing to that you’re saying that this is as sure as two plus two equals four? That there is scarcity in the world or you have to get past the idea that, “Yes, okay Leah, CJ, I believe that there is abundance in the world, okay? I believe that, fine, whatever but it is not for me” in other words, it’s that there is something in them whether it’s guilt or self-condemnation. It is this idea of deserve. “I don’t deserve success” and that is a terrible thing. 

When you restrain yourself because of guilt and self-condemnation and you say, “I don’t deserve it” you look at somebody else and they say, “Well they obviously deserve it.” It is okay for them it is just not okay for you. Like I used to tell people all the time, you know we often say that something is too good to be true. Your dream of being a musician is too good to be true. Well, it is not too good to be true because there is other people doing it. 

31:19 Leah: Yeah. 

31:20 CJ: So it is not too good to be true, what you mean to say is it’s too good to be true for you and then you need to ask yourself why. What is it that you have done? Because I can find people far worse people than you who have achieved so much greater success and the very thing that you want to, are they deserving? Obviously not and we can find it on the opposite end of things. So obviously deserve has nothing to do with it. It has to do with applying the proven principles that govern success in any area of life and if you do that with what keeps you doing it overtime is a belief in the fact that those principles will work and a belief in yourself that it is okay for you to go for it.

It is okay for you to succeed. If you need a permission slip, here is your permission slip from Leah and CJ you know? Here is your permission slip, go achieve your dream, believe, envision it, imagine it and work your little tail off day and night until you start to create those possibilities. 

32:22 Leah: That’s right. There you have it, you guys. I hope that this was enlightening for you. There is probably a lot more we could say on this topic but I want to hear from you if this opened your eyes a little bit to possibly beliefs that you don’t even realize were in you or if you felt enlightened by this discussion, please leave us a review. I would really like to hear from you, and I might even read it out on the next one. So please leave us a review and a comment on this episode because we can definitely touch on more topics like this if this is helpful. 

32:55 CJ: All right guys, so good to see you. Leah, let’s do this again soon. 

32:58 Leah: Sounds good, bye guys. 

33:00 CJ: Take care. 

Episode #063: How To Fund An Album When You’re Broke

On today’s episode, Leah and CJ talk about creative ways to fund an album when you do not have the money. Often, people make excuses for why something is not possible, so before even tackling the issue of money, you need to tackle your mindset. Whether you have or don’t have money, following your passion requires sacrifice, be it money, time or energy. Once you have managed to sort your attitude out, the rest will unfold more easily. With smartphones and social media platforms, you can build an audience with very little financial capital. You can then leverage your fanbase and raise money for an album through something such as crowdfunding. There is a myriad of possibilities once you shift from a mindset of poverty to one of abundance. It is not necessary to take the traditional route of getting signed to a record label. You can and should do things on your own terms and if Leah managed to do it, then so can you. For all this and more, join us today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Working towards your goal requires some kind of sacrifice. 
  • Mindset is more of an issue than money ever is. 
  • Why you should be cautious of using investors to fund your work. 
  • Leah’s preference for initially getting your music out there. 
  • Why you should release an EP rather than singles.  
  • The reasons other than raising capital that crowdfunding is important. 
  • Why fans and not a record label are the real capital. 
  • Some creative ways you can raise money other than through crowdfunding.  
  • Your biggest obstacle in this project! 
  • And much more!


“If you’re that determined, it’s not if, it’s how.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:05:19]

“Even when you are broke or not broke, you should be thinking about how to involve your fans this way.”  — @LEAHthemusic [0:14:34]

“You have a business when you own traffic – in other words, when you have an audience.”  — @LEAHthemusic [0:20:20]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Quick Cash Generation Guide — 

Savvy Musician Show Episode 50— 

Call Savvy Musician Academy —

Inner Circle Newsletter —

Randy San Nicolas (Student Spotlight) — 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Well 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 and I am joined once again, I get to be the one who sits across and asks awesome questions from this awesome lady, the lovely Leah McHenry. Leah, how are you?

00:42 Leah: Doing wonderful, now that we’re recording this podcast.

00:47 CJ: Isn’t it great to see me?

00:49 Leah: Yes. It is.

00:53 CJ: Tell everybody. It was good to see me, wasn’t it? Tell everybody because I always want to go where I’m celebrated, not where I’m tolerated. I make that as a general rule. But anyway, so good to have each and every one of you listening again today. We’re talking about a pretty cool subject, Leah’s brought it up in the past in which she dealt with – when I say Leah’s brought it up, it usually means she says, ”oh,  I have a whole lot to say about that.”  Then we make a note and we say, “Well, let’s come back on this podcast and we’ll cover that subject.” Today we’re going to talk about how do you fund an album when you’re broke. 

You should know if you heard the last episode, she told you about she got started herself during her broke days. But there are some creative ways that you can get actually fund your album when you’re broke. People think, Leah that no matter what it is in their music business, they are without options. They always think, “oh, I can’t because of this, I cannot, I’m not a marketer, I’m not this.”

All of the problems or the obstacles they perceive to be obstacles can be easily overcome once they learned how. And nothing will motivate you more than knowing how to solve your problem. You won’t need a cheerleader if you know-how. You don’t need me, a motivational speaker like me to come in and rev you up if you know how to solve your biggest problems. 

All that motivation is already built-in. So, hopefully, we’ll get some of that done today.

In our student spotlight, we are highlighting another Elite student. This is Randy Nicolas and he writes a win. He says, “I hit 100 email subscribers today just a month ago, I didn’t have a website or a clear path to building a fan base. I’m learning so much and I’m super grateful. Now, back to list building.” 

02:42 Leah: That’s music to my ears.

02:43 CJ: Isn’t it?

02:45 Leah: List building that you can say anything better.

02:46 CJ: I mean yeah. For somebody who started with them, just a month ago, no website, and he already gets it and we’ve been talking about this in the last couple of episodes. You’ve said it time and time and time again, about building that list, that email is not dead and that you can own your own. He’s on his way to that thousand super fans that you always talk about. You get a thousand fans that are just raving about you, spending $100 with you in a year, that’s a six-figure income with the music business. Just 1,000 super fans. Well, he hit 100 email subscribers on that day and he’s back to list building, so that’s how it’s done, ladies and gentlemen. That’s all we had to say, this podcast is over. Lead by example, right? 

Well, Leah, I’m sure you’ve gotten this question before. Of course, you had to do it and I’ve heard you talk about it in the past but someone wants to put out an album and they say, “ I’ve got this but you know what? I don’t have any money and I know it cost so much money to fund an album.” 

What are you going to tell somebody who wants to fund an album but they’re ‘broke?’ 

03:54 Leah: Yeah, well, I think first of all, you know, I always question people like, “are you really that broke? Because I’m pretty sure you spend money on all kinds of frivolous things you do.”  Everybody has a disposable income if you live in North America and most – well, certain parts of Europe I guess. But like most people do have disposable income.You’re just spending it on things that are not getting you towards your goal. 

So, first out of the gate. You have to understand that if you really want to do this, there’s going to be an element of sacrifice and I don’t care if you do have the funds. If you don’t have the funds, you do read, you will sacrifice something, you will sacrifice time, you’ll sacrifice energy, you will sacrifice money, something is going to be exchanged for something else, something better.

Get that out of your head about the financial part of it because if you’re really determined to make this work, and to have success, to launch your album, to build an online brand that even outlasts you, even when you’re dead and gone, your music brand can survive, it can go on forever, which is really the morbid thought, but also important. I mean look at – 

05:04 CJ: Legacy.

05:05 Leah: Legacy, that’s right. Look at all the classics that people study in school and colleges to this day that we teach our kids, my kids are learning piano pieces from dead guys that are from hundreds of years ago. So, there is something bigger that you’re building here. If you’re that determined, it’s not if, it’s how. That’s actually my motto in life. And I say that to Steve often, he’s more of a glass-half-empty guy, I’m more of a glass half full person. 

I just say, whenever somebody, even in a spousal situation says, “I don’t know about that.” I say, “no. It’s not if, it’s how do we make this work, how are we going to make a way?”  That’s really my motto in life. And if you don’t take that on, the road will – it will still be difficult, but you will also be unpleasant.

I think it’s a lot more fun in life to have that motto too because it’s all about where there’s a will there’s a way. And so, first of all, before we can address the broke situation, let’s address the mindset behind the broke situation. And I do have a free download for you listening. If you are really, really struggling with money situations, it will be linked in the show notes and I’ll tell you a little bit about it later on. But you just have to understand that there will be sacrifices and it’s not going to be easy no matter what.

Even if you had the funds or you had an investor or something, At some point, it’s going to cost you and you don’t even want to know what I spend, even on my Facebook ads for my music. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars this year already, just mostly building my email list, to be honest. Building my email list and retargeting a lot of people. It costs me money.

And I also as I say, a lot, I experiment a lot, I am a guinea pig, I get to try things so not everything I do works. Sometimes the money – I’ll spend it and I don’t see it back because I’m willing to put myself out there, I’m willing to take that risk so that I can learn from it and then hopefully help other people. So, when it comes to the basics of you starting at ground zero, you don’t have the funds for an album. You know, there’s some different roots you can take.

We talked about in a previous episode, which we’ll also link. The episode about the chicken or the egg scenario like how do you launch something to out there if you don’t have fans, if you don’t have fans, you know, how are you going to launch something. That whole scenario, this is going to be a little bit similar to that, but I do want to address this from the financial perspective. 

So, if you’re broke, I mean, there are a lot of people, even that we talked to on the phone where they’ve had some kind of investor, you know? Like their family member or somebody who believed in them. There are companies out there that do this sort of thing. I just want you to be wary of investors. I don’t think you have to go that route.

They’re not always bad but at the same time, I think that there are ways you can accomplish the same thing without obligating yourself to some kind of a debt or the strain that that can put in the stress and the pressure that can put on you to somehow make that back, especially if you haven’t validated your music yet.

If you haven’t validated it yet, you don’t know if you’ve hit the jackpot so to speak with that niche with matching it to the right audience yet. My perspective preference would be for you to somehow get a recording out there, the best quality you can for the cheapest that you can, even if it’s just you playing on your iPhone like in your living room, doing a Facebook Live. 

If that was all you could afford and guess what, YouTube, you have a TV show like a network at your disposal. Why can’t you, whether if you’re playing live gigs or just something really casual just setting it up in your basement or you know, there’s so many different scenarios. If you are just playing live. Why can’t you do that?

People can hear, listen, pop stars like Ed Sheeran stuff, back in the day, I don’t really know too much about him. But I know acoustic guitar is a big thing for him and a lot of people saw talent in him and a lot of other stars. It was just literally a very home-grown YouTube video.

I mean, you can definitely get your start and build a fan base with virtually nothing. You know? Every single person listening to this has a smartphone so you could do so much with that. That one thing alone, you know, Instagram live, Instagram TV, all these different platforms. Like there’s really no excuse to not get yourself out there at some point. You’re probably going to want to raise some funds to either launch your first album or EP. And I would say you want to do an EP over singles because I mean, no one ever got rich off of singles unless you are like the Beatles or somebody extremely famous already.

No underground star ever got rich or even comfortable based off of singles. So, I would say, put together an EP, you know, a minimum of three songs because people, you don’t even – it’s hard to get a taste for what you like if you like this artist off of one song, it’s difficult. Start out that EP, that’s where I would begin.

10:27 CJ: Isn’t there – I think you have to almost – I appreciate you saying you’re addressing the mindset because that has to be addressed first because we say things like broke. You’re not really broke, right? If you’re looking through everything from a poverty mindset, then you’re not going to see the opportunity, right? You’re not going to see where things can come in.

And I think what’s important about what you just said is you got to understand that an audience is capital. In other words, so that’s something you can spend. So, you might say, “well, I need money for my album launch.” Well, let’s break that down. No, you need fans. That’s what you need because you can monetize a fan base and that’s for the most part, free. 

In terms of the apparatus to do that which is the social media challenge you mentioned. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram. So, somebody can build that fan base with like you just described, just their iPhone or you know, somebody recording a live gig or whatever. You can begin to target the ideal fan for yourself. Build that base of supporters that you know, love what you’re doing, they will invest in you.

Because you’re just about this as we speak right now, you’re just releasing a music trailer from your next album, your fifth album, you will start the crowdfunding campaign, Leah. Next week. So, here you are, she’s made it, right? Stay at home mom who went six figures in all this stuff, but you are still treating your album release as if you’re broke.

12:07 Leah: That’s right. I am still doing the same activities that I know work. And crowdfunding have multiple purposes and you know there is some very distinct reasons why it works so well. But crowdfunding isn’t just about raising money because you don’t have it. That is not why I am doing it, my album is paid for, for the most part. It is a huge part of the marketing. So, I was going to say even if you don’t need the crowdfunding campaign, you should do one because of the marketing. 

The buzz it creates, people get so excited. Fans want to be part of the journey. It is also a huge part of my pre-orders. These orders count toward my total number of sales before I have even launched it. And most of all, I think my favourite part of all of crowdfunding is the ability to especially if we have a big enough crowdfunding campaign, the ability to come out the other side with a positive return on investment before it’s even dropped before it is even released. You can’t ask for anything better than that. 

There is no record label on the planet that could make me feel better than that situation. Like coming out of a positive ROI before it is even released. That is all I mean to even if you could just break even before it even comes out, you are singing. So, there’s so many amazing things about crowdfunding. And then inherent within crowdfunding is scarcity and urgency and those are important psychological triggers that inspire and motivate people to take action. 

So, you know scarcity has to do with limited quantity and urgency has to do with limited time and crowdfunding has both of those. There is limited time that you can pre-order this or fund this campaign. Whatever you’re doing and there is always some kind of scarcity involved like limited edition vinyl. Limited autographed things like limited. You got to think through what is juicy for those fans and so that is why crowdfunding is so amazing. 

But again, all of this stuff goes back to mindset. Like he said I am still doing the same activities even though I don’t have to do this. It is a crucial part of my whole campaign, my whole launch strategy. Crowdfunding is a big part of it. So, you know even when you are broke or not broke, you should be thinking about how to involve your fans this way. This is the new music industry. This is the new way and I think eventually it may take time. 

I think eventually there is not going to be much of a place for the big mega labels. I think the way in which they operate they will either go out of business or they have to change what they are even offering to artists because – and it has even changed already so much to the fact to where labels are approaching artists and expecting the artist to raise their own funds. They don’t want to put out the capital to fund their album. 

They need to do their own crowdfunding campaign. And in a way it is smart for the label because less risk for them and the music is validated. So, anything that they are investing in them, they know it is going to go far because people obviously believe in this band. But times are changing the way album – or the way labels what they are offering and what they can even do. I mean we have talked about how so many labels are in the dinosaur age anyways. 

That you know I didn’t even address in here yet about how some people are still trying to get a record deal and that’s how they think they are going to fund their album is from a record label and I just think you get that idea out of your head. 

15:56 CJ: Yeah and again, this is why it is so important that we change the paradigm and the paradigm what you think is I need the label because the label has the money. No, you need the fans because the fans have the support and you don’t need like you said the big investor. So, you are obligated to this one person or small group of people, no. Get yourself connected right away with a bunch of raving fans who support what you do, who have something invested in you, who are excited about it, who are going to follow the process of your recording project.

And like Leah just said, the sense of satisfaction that you are going to have doing it that way because I can’t think of anybody no matter how big they are as a musician, I have never heard a good record label story. 

16:47 Leah: No, there are not very many. 

16:49 CJ: You know I have never heard anybody say, “oh, yeah it was so great with this label.” No, it is just the same old thing again and again and again. Let’s put you in the driver’s seat, right? Let’s put you in that CEO chair and it is all going to begin with something as simple as like Leah said, your webcam or your smartphone or whatever, you just start getting your message, your music out there building up and we’ve got plenty of content on how to do that. If you have been listening to this podcast, you know we have talked about all of that. 

But you could be building a Facebook group, you could be building a thriving Facebook page. You will have to spend some money there but that is nothing compared to what you would have to raise to fund an album or payback to a label. If you are spending five or 10 bucks a day just building up your Facebook page and email list, then you’ve got somebody that you can market to. 

You’ve got somebody that you can get invested in your project. So, remember, it is not so much about the money. It is about the audience. Audience is capital. Just keep saying that to yourself. People like Leah and myself, we have learned this from being online for so long, that it really is capital. We are not talking about vanity metrics here and just followers for follower’s sake. No, we are trying to take you to have a lot of people that are just hanging on, they are not going to be invested in you. But you got to go through all of that to find those who are, again what Leah refers to as the super fans, those who are going to be really, really committed and dedicated to your project and so that’s really what we’re looking for. 

But again, as Leah mentioned earlier there is a freebie that she has for you today called The Quick Cash Generation Guide and this is a downloadable PDF that you can get, the link to will be in the show notes but it is The Quick Cash Generation Guide. Leah, do you want to tell them anything more about that? 

18:47 Leah: Yeah and the whole purpose behind that is for people who are like, “I want to take one of your courses, but I cannot afford it.” Or “I need to fund an album and I can’t afford it.” Or, “ I need to do blah-blah-blah fill in the blank and I can’t afford it.” I got really tired of hearing that. I was like guys, you’re just not being creative right now. I can give you 10 to 20 ways off the top of my head that you can create some cash right now or on the side. 

So, I put that together in a PDF so you have no excuse. You have no excuse to not educate yourself. You have no excuse to not do the things that you need to do. Don’t let money get in the way of your dream, don’t let it get away of what you can or can’t do. It is not if, it’s how. So that’s what I did because I was getting very annoyed and I will teach you how to make money on the side. There are small tips, but they work. If you are really desperate you are going to do it. 

I have done everything from selling a dress that I wore on my album cover on eBay, you name it, I have done all kinds of stuff. Garage sales stuff just to get cash for my Facebook ads. You do what you got to do and now there’s Facebook marketplace that is another fantastic Craig’s List type thing. Sell your crap that you don’t use. There’s all kinds of stuff in there and you just need to make a habit of saving that cash and then put it towards something that is actually going to benefit you. 

So, in the last thing, I will say on this episode is just to reiterate what you are seeing CJ, I heard someone say that a lot of people think they have a business when they have a product and that is not the case. You don’t have a business that is just a product. You have a business when you own traffic – in other words when you have an audience. When you have an audience, you have a business because now you can sell anything, it doesn’t matter. 

You know next however many records I can sell them, merchandise I can sell them, tickets I can sell. I can go with a myriad of ways of selling something once I have that audience. So how do you fund an album when you are broke? Find an audience. 

20:42 CJ: Right, yeah and guys we can’t emphasize that enough. Again, it is a paradigm. Your biggest obstacle is not money. It is not money. Your biggest obstacle is not your circumstances. It doesn’t matter what is going on. Your biggest obstacle is not the music industry. Your biggest obstacle is you. Your biggest obstacle is your thinking. Like Leah said, she’s a glass half full type of person and that one simple thing, I know it is something that we have said for years and years and years.

Glass half full or is it half empty but there are millions of dollars and dreams achieve just based on how you look at that glass. Is it full or is it empty? And if you can see it that way, then you are going to find an opportunity. If you are not looking for them, if you are too focused on the problem, if you’re too focused on the obstacles you are not going to see. You are going to blind yourself, which is a terrible thing. There’s that verse that says, “if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?” 

Why? Because you think it’s light. You think that you have such an accurate perception of the poor status of the music industry and how bad your circumstances are. So, you think you’re seeing clearly, you think you have such a great grasp of the problems. Yeah, you do, to such a degree that you can’t see a single opportunity out there and that’s what this is about. It is helping you begin to see again, see opportunity, know that your dreams are possible. 

Leah has done it. She was in the same situation you were in and she climbed her way out of it. We have seen other people do the very same thing. You are only as limited as you think you are. So, let’s change the way that you think. So again, take advantage of that Quick Cash Generation Guide downloadable PDF. There is a link in the show notes and for those of you who are interested in taking your music career to the next level, we encourage you to book a call with us. 

And see about the elite program, see if it is a good fit for you, you can go to and the last thing that I am super excited about is the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter. If you are not subscribed to this, you have got to subscribe to this today. Do this as soon as the podcast ends, I want you to go to Again, it will be in the show notes. Sign up, it is only $19.99 a month. You are going to get all of the insider information that you are looking for to keep you a Savvy marketer in pushing your music business forward. 

So, do that today. And again, you can always leave us a review and stars on whatever channel you’re listening on that helps us tremendously. Leah, thank you as always. Always a pleasure and we will see you next time. 

23:30 Leah: All right, bye guys. 

Episode #062: How Leah Became A Successful Music Marketer

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

Key Points From This Episode:

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


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

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

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

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Leah on Twitter —

Savvy Musician Inner Circle Newsletter —

Online Musician 2.0—

Superfan System Elite Program —

Click For Full Transcript

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

00:40 Leah: I’m doing fantastic.

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

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

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

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

02:16 Leah: Look at that.

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

02:46 Leah: Yeah, fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:26 CJ: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25:46 CJ: Right. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35:40 CJ: Yeah. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40:36 Leah: Bye. 

Episode #061: How To Market Your Music Better Than Everyone Else

Whether you like it or not, you are always marketing. And you’re either doing a good job or a bad job at it! If you are going to have long term success, you need to learn how to market smart and when you do, your career as a musician will change forever. The Savvy Music Academy (SMA) is the best resource for musicians in the new industry with programs designed to level-up your music into a business and skyrocket your confidence. In this episode, Leah McHenry guides you through the thinking behind the SMA programs, what they cover, and how they differ from other resources out there today. Here, Leah uncovers the pain points of selling music and the common marketing mistakes she sees artists making, time and time again. If you want to learn how the SMA programs will help you discover your music brand identity, learn the secrets to online marketing for music, and create freedom on your own terms – then this is the episode for you! 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Is SMA the most extensive version of music marketing today?
  • The importance of diversifying your platforms to reach audiences.
  • How to keep up with the changes in technology, marketing, and social media.
  • Discover why click funnels don’t play nice with Shopify or Facebook.
  • Why it’s not software that makes things work, it’s sales.
  • Find out what an e-commerce society really expects from you.
  • How SMA programs teach you to sell both physical and digital products.
  • How the SMA programs benefit not only musicians but all creators and entrepreneurs.
  • The basic business principles you can use to boost your income in just a few months.
  • Why YouTube is a beast and best to be avoided when marketing your music.
  • Discover why your email list is the best marketing asset you own.
  • How to propel your sales strategy from Black Friday to the end of the year.


“Musicians are waking up and there’s a demand for knowledge, there’s a demand for leveling up.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:01:25]

“When people think that it’s the tool or the software that’s the magic pill for success, it drives me nuts!” — @LEAHthemusic [0:10:33]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Savvy Musician Academy Website —  

Savvy Musician Inner Circle — 

Book A Call — 

Shopify — 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 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. Once again, always delighted, I’m the honourable one who gets to sit across from the lovely Leah McHenry. How are you?

00:39 Leah: Doing really good, thank you.

00:41 CJ: I say, always a pleasure but I actually see her a lot more often than you might think, we normally just get together for a podcast but this is a good time for us because we can spell out for all of you interested listeners, all the wonderful intricate details about music marketing which is becoming more and more a popular thing. Leah, I see more and more people offering or trying to offer something somewhat similar and I’m just – 

Call me biased but I still think SMA is the most extensive, comprehensive, in-depth, multi-level, four-level chess version of music marketing, am I wrong?

01:21 Leah: I have to agree. I mean, not just because I’m the creator of it but I think, you know, the more I see out there and, in a sense, I always say, this is a good thing. The good thing is there are more people out there trying to help musicians. Or what it tells me is that musicians are waking up and that there’s a demand for knowledge, there’s a demand for levelling up and we are accomplishing the very thing we’re trying to do, which is helping people gain an awareness and understanding of what they’re capable of in today’s music industry, without labels.

In a way, it really tells me this is a very good thing. Unfortunately, you know, you have to use a lot of discernment when you’re – pick and choose who you’re learning from. I always say, choose somebody that you want to emulate, who inspires you, who speaks to you, that resonates with you. I don’t resonate with everybody, that’s totally fine, you’ve got to choose somebody who you do resonate with. But choose somebody who is doing what you want to do because they’ll know firsthand how to do it.

If you want to be like me, you know, learn to at least have control over your career, like when you want to release something, when or if you want a tour. So that’s never an issue for me. I just do what I want, when I want to. Often, I’m sometimes too ambitious for my own good but I’m still the one at the end of the day making the decisions and you can’t ask for anything better than that. 

02:52 CJ: No. Let me say this though, granted, a biased source here, however, let me say this though, I’ve been 30 years in design, marketing, advertising, communications, et cetera, this has been my whole adult life. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen the advent of the internet, I’ve seen every industry change, and be impacted by new technology, et cetera. I have seen now up close, for a few years, all the different marketing offers out there for music.

I will say this, when I look at a lot of what you would consider to be Leah’s competition, it’s usually focused on a few things, it might be focused on Spotify listening, get your Spotify listening up, or it may be focused on being on YouTube, or it may be focused on getting more tickets sold at your event, what have you.

None of it is really comprehensive. When you’re talking about a total system for anybody in any of those situations. Something interesting you said to me just the other day was, you went to go speak at a private event, a high-ticket private event where there was a world-class vocalist in attendance and these are people who are on the shows, right? They’re on the Big Voice competition.

And, you did your basic presentation that you’ve done on Webinar for everybody online and you were taken aback by how many of them were just furiously taking notes because they weren’t doing anything like this. That’s how much this is not understood. People like that who don’t really understand and I’m talking to the people who are listening, then it’s going to be hard for them to be discerning at times because they don’t necessarily know what they should be looking for.

Which is what I appreciate about us doing the weekly podcast is because we get the opportunity to present in volume fashion, all of the elements that are involved. If you just look through that current archives of podcast now, look at how many different topics are being covered and we’re covering another one in a different way today but all to say is Savvy Musician Academy for me, with the trained eyes that I’m looking through, is the most comprehensive thing that I’ve ever seen.

Not just in relation to music marketing but marketing in general, which is why I’ve linked arms with you Leah and your team and well, I am a part of your team, let’s just say it that way. That’s why I got on board so for those who are listening, yeah.

05:31 Leah: It’s interesting too. I never, you know, when I started Savvy Musician Academy, I didn’t realize that you could do something other than comprehensive. To me, it was like – it probably has a thing to do with my world view, you know? That it has to touch on everything, you know? How you do one thing is how you do everything and if you don’t touch on these other things and it’s incomplete and not going to be effective.

For me, it has to, you know, you can’t talk about building a fan base without addressing your niche and your brand and your image and all these other things. We can’t talk about a Facebook ad without talking about the core of who you are as an artist and your background and who your fans are and getting into their head.

It has to be comprehensive or it won’t be effective. If it’s not comprehensive, it’s a silly tactic and nothing more. And it will change next week.

06:25 CJ: Well, that’s a big thing, that is a really big thing and I’ll mention more about the Savvy Musician Inner Circle, for those of you who don’t know about it, it’s the new newsletter that was just launched. But the gist of it is, is that in this newsletter now which is subscription-based, we’re putting out all the information, the up to date information, on everything that’s changing in technology, in marketing, in social media, that relates to musicians and artists and creators.

Because it’s always changing. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, I’ve seen some of these other music marketing and they’re only about YouTube. You look at their Facebook page and it doesn’t have the engagement. They’re not teaching about email. That means the whole premise is, they’re showing you how to build something on someone else’s real estate.

You don’t own anything yourself as a musician and so, that’s why guys, I recommend what Leah does because she’s all about really helping you build your empire and protecting that.

07:28 Leah: There’s just something that even happened yesterday. I got tagged in a random thread in a Click Funnel’s Facebook group and like I don’t even ever go in there. I’ve had a click funnels account in the past and have been experimenting with different software, anyways, for some reason I got tagged.

Someone had asked, “Hey, does anybody here use click funnels to market their music and build their email list?” Everybody started going, “You should follow this person, you should follow this person” and some of them are colleagues of mine or competitors or whatever you want to call them. They started listening to all these people and people said, “Wait a minute, why are you assuming this person is asking about who he wants to learn from as marketers?” I said, “Well, are you trying to market your own music or are you trying to market teaching?”

Then it was something completely different. I was like, “First of all, don’t assume,” right? “Ask this person what they’re actually asking.” It was like, “No, I want to market my client’s music.” Okay, first of all, everybody’s going on “Yeah, so and so, these other people, they’re all Click Funnels” and I said, “Well, since you tagged me, what I’ll tell you is that I do not use click funnels and it’s not great for music marketing and here’s why…”

If you’re serious about marketing music and selling volume at any rate with physical or digital, Click Funnels doesn’t play nice with Shopify. It’s extremely difficult and clunky and doesn’t really work well at all. I know because I’ve tried this. For that reason – and Shopify absolutely has to be a must. If you have any success online with selling physical merchandise, Shopify is a must.

That just goes to show, all these other people who they may love a certain piece of software or something, but I don’t know how people are actually going to tell the truth about some of these things.

09:16 CJ: Well, I mean, it’s comparable because it shows that people don’t understand how comprehensive something needs to be. That you can’t have one thing, somebody may not think that the integration between Shopify and click funnels is an important thing because you’re not even thinking about merchandise for example.

Whereas that’s the beauty of SMA, the Savvy Musician Academy is that we’re talking about everything from Spotify to Shopify, you know? It’s about the integration and it’s about, you know, you recommend certain software in that for email and for this and for that because you’ve tried everything, you’ve experienced the problems, et cetera.

Then, you constantly keep everybody up to date with the latest changes, you’ll come in do a video show, “Hey, this particular software added this feature, this is going to be important for you to understand so here’s my screen, let me show you what I’m going.”

You are constantly updated with the very latest and we go into in our elite group, into so much about psychographics and copywriting and I mean, the hardcore principles of direct marketing. We’re not relying upon a funnel software. It’s not getting the right software that makes this work. It’s sales, this is sales, you know?

10:33 Leah: I mean, that drives me nuts too when people think that it’s the tool or the software and that that’s the magic pill for success. None of it matters. I mean, really, if you had none of it, the question is, can you sell anything? Do you know how to sell anything? Then it doesn’t matter, you can make anything work. I think it disturbed me when I’m seeing like all these people thinking that click funnels is going to really work when I’m like, you haven’t even thought so far as to like how you’re going to sell volume of merchandise.

You’re not thinking about e-commerce. Yes, you can sell physical things through click funnels. Some people have had tremendous success but we’re dealing with an e-commerce society and they expect a certain experience. I think also, I will just say, in case anybody is wondering if I like Click Funnels. No.

I mean, I think there’s some great people and great teaching that has come through that. But Facebook doesn’t like click funnels, if you use click funnels as your landing page software, it’s pretty well known that they’re like, I don’t know if you want to call it like ghosted or black-listed or whatever but your ads will be more expensive. Also, the speed load – 

11:44 CJ: The load time?

11:44 Leah: Yeah, the load speed of click funnels pages is too slow and Facebook is now penalizing. When you send traffic to a page that doesn’t load lightning speed fast, you will be penalized for that. They will lower your reach, or your ad cost will go up, things like that. For those reasons, Shopify remains the best, it is the fastest for sending any kind of traffic there for people to buy stuff. I just want to get that out of my system.

12:12 CJ: No, I think that’s really important and you know, again, first of all, at the ground level, Leah is going to teach you how to sell physical products so it’s not simply digital downloads or a CD or vinyl. It’s getting into the depths of how to get the right design for your shirt, what to put on shirts, what other kinds of products can you potentially sell.

The whole dropshipping print-on-demand aspect of things. It gets into integrating these things with email providers and like Leah said, something as simple as knowing that your particular software you’re using over here for a funnel system is being penalized by Facebook.

This is the kind of information that’s shared all the time, within the Savvy Musician, especially the elite group. We talk about these things because they’re all pertinent and relevant. Somebody can sit there and think, Leah, “Hey, I’m an artist, not a marketer,” you know?

13:15 Leah: You are always marketing. You’re either doing a good job or a bad job but you’re always marketing.

13:19 CJ: Yeah, you’re always marketing and so the point here with something like SMA is again, it’s comprehensive. So in other words, it’s totalism. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to what’s important for you. Even if for example, you’re not wanting to do what Leah does, which is you know, the stay at home mom who is not necessarily touring right now. You know, you can even just make a revenue from selling your music and merchandise online.

You can still use every bit of what Leah teaches in her courses to get people out to events, anything you need to sell, any message you need to get out there is covered in the Savvy Musician Academy. 

But for me, I really believe that, and I’ve said this before, that this is probably the most important thing and not just for musicians as we said before, for artist of all kinds, creators, authors, you name it. I mean, you could literally be an author or some sort of other creator and be a part of the Savvy Musician Academy and be light-years ahead in your own industry. Just because the principles apply.

14:35 Leah: Yeah, that’s the thing is we built the programs, not off of the music industry. We built the programs off of what works online in any business. It’s just business and marketing principles. I mean, that’s how I had any success at all was the very beginning word got into my story, maybe in this part two but I stopped studying the music industry.

The only reason I had any success is because I stopped studying that and I started studying business and marketing, online marketing, with what’s working for anybody online. I was desperate so let me just try that. It was very weird, very awkward to try to apply it because I had to – this is weird, I’m not selling socks or paint or something that people need, you know? Sticks or sleep apnea, this is not a need, this is how art – and how do I make people need – 

Where are the pain points in trying to sell music, you know? Everyone’s saying you have to press into a pain point. I don’t know how this solves pain? This is weird. I don’t know what to do. It was a very awkward transition. I was so worried about being sales-y, I was so worried about turning people off, I didn’t want to bother people, worry about emailing them too often.

All those things that every person, not just artist, every person when you’re building business goes through that phase, where they’re just not like sure where the boundaries are, how much is too much, what’s too little and how do I get the messaging right, you know, you have to find your voice online because if you have your own personality and like how much of that do I show? I feel very exposed.

There’s so many elements to having an online presence with your fans and just getting used to being in the public eye but for the whole world rather than just for 30 people at a gig, it was just so awkward. However, when I did manage to bridge that gap, I mean, that’s where everything really changed for me. I just started applying things even if they felt weird and uncomfortable and not even like, it quite fit for music. I still did it. 

That’s where all my success came from the beginning, that’s where I made you know, my first $30,000, $50,000 and then $100,000 in a year, was from applying awkward business principles that I didn’t know how they would fit in music. You have to understand, I guess like we’ve said before, it’s in my DNA to teach and be able to take principles that maybe even abstract at times and put them into extremely practical steps because maybe I have kids and I’ve homeschooled and I don’t know, not everybody’s cut out for that but I’ve been able to figure out how to teach it to thousands of people and they’re able – that’s probably the number one thing I hear from them is they love my teaching style and that it was easy to follow, easy to implement and then I taught what was important and I gave them all the things they needed but without the fluff. 

I don’t like wasting time, I don’t like other people wasting time and I know that our attention spans are short. I like to get to the point on things. All that just to say that our program, Savvy Musician Academy, it’s all built on what works in digital marketing and what works in business and the timeless principles. Yes, tactics change, platforms change, algorithms change and that’s what our Savvy Musician Inner Circle is for, those are addressing those things. 

So whether you’re a student or not. Even if you’re an advanced student or you’re at the beginning, you’ve never built a fan base, everybody needs to be consuming that continent, everybody needs to because that is where we are addressing that but regardless of that, we are very much of principle-based company. When I come out with my book, so I am going to seed that right now, when I come out with my book that I wrote a while back that is a book that I want to stay on your shelf that stays relevant for the next 20, 30 years, something that you can go back to that becomes a classic, that is not based on the current algorithms because I’d have to write a new book every year. 

So that is why I think we have grown and why we have so many students from around the world is because they can actually take these principles and apply it into other businesses. We actually hear about it all the time where we have people who are either personal trainers, hairstylists, other people who have other day jobs and they’re like, “I didn’t expect to come out of this with a marketing degree but that’s what I feel like I got here.” 

“I feel like I went to school without going to school except I actually learned something that was relevant.” I also heard a statistic that in today’s modern colleges, by year three after they have come out with a course that information is now obsolete. So that’s the other benefit of going to an online program or academy. Of course, it is a fraction of the price of what you pay for college courses and university courses and it is always going to be up to date. 

We always update it every year as often as needed. So, I just think that is what an amazing time we live in that you guys have the privilege of being able to have access to that kind of thing. 

19:30 CJ: Yes, they are in a very fortunate position because you have gone through a lot of this and purged as you said of the fluff and got things narrowed down to what’s relevant, what works, what’s the most timely. But because again it’s so comprehensive than you are learning so much, which again makes the point that somebody can go out, whether they’re a hairdresser or a trainer or something, and apply the very same principles, have the very same software, same approach, same copyrighting. 

All of that stuff, learn all of this and be able to experience the same sort of quick turnarounds, have the same sort of revenue goals that anybody else would have. To me, again, and to be able to do this from the comfort of your own home as they say, to be able to do that and take courses like this. Again, what is so important to contrast you again with these other online marketers is that you have not isolated this down to one thing. It is not YouTube views, you know hoping – 

20:40 Leah: You can only get this many subscribers. 

20:43 CJ: Yeah talk to all – I mean I see them all the time now, all the guys and gals, YouTube influencers who helped build YouTube, are now ranting and raving because YouTube changed the rules now. A lot of them got deplatformed because some of them were political and they’re crushed. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ad revenue they were getting, gone overnight. I mean absolutely gone overnight. 

Others, because what YouTube is doing now, YouTube is now making all their rankings for all the major news networks and Disney and all of that sort of thing. So all the high subscriber, high view YouTube influencers, they’re way down. So they don’t show up on the suggestions anymore. They don’t show up on the rankings anymore. So it is crushing them. So now they’re running for Patreon accounts and Bitcoin accounts and “Hey share this video because YouTube has taken us away,” well yeah. 

So why would you want to take a music marketing course that’s all about building YouTube views, right? And besides that, how are you going – great, you got a million views on YouTube, who knows what revenue you’re going to get out of that A, and then B, with what we teach in the elite course and even on Online Musician is when you got Facebook pixels running on the landing pages for people who are watching your video on your site, or watching even your video on Facebook you are getting all of that information. 

All of those people that you can retarget later. I don’t know how anybody with a million views on YouTube is retargeting a million people. You might as well have nobody viewing your video. You get a million views on a Facebook video and Facebook will keep all of those people who watched your video, will keep a record of them and you will be able to literally create a list that you can then send ads or more content to bring them to your page, get them on your email list and now you own your own empire. That’s the difference. 

22:44 Leah: Oh yeah and I mean I think YouTube and Google they are trying to now copy things that Facebook has done because it obviously works very well but it is such a pain in the butt, believe me. I always have to tell our students, “Listen, if it is not in the course don’t do it” I didn’t put it in there for a very specific reason not because I am trying to withhold anything from you. I am the first person that wants your success, believe me, I want to see your success story. 

I want to plaster you all over the internet about how amazing you have done and what you have accomplished. If I didn’t put it in there it is for a very good reason. You need to trust me as your mother. Eat your vegetables, listen. You know I didn’t put it in there for a reason and it is to protect you from wasting time or money or effort that is not that productive. So if you have – unless you have an unlimited budget don’t be spending it on YouTube. Don’t be trying to do it. 

They’re trying to do the whole custom audience thing like Facebook, but it is not even comparable. It is a beast and we don’t even use it all in SMA for a reason, not that we won’t experiment and if things change guys, we update things. But as of right now, you don’t even need to be there. 

So I don’t know how, you know that is a good point. I didn’t think about other people in the space teaching this stuff that are very platform-centric, where it’s just like “Master this one thing.” Whereas I see it like if you are going to have long term success, you need to learn how to market. Just learn how to market and then platforms will come and go but then you will never be taken aback by it. 

You are not going to be like – you know like MySpace. Once upon a time MySpace was the Facebook and people had millions of followers and it was the YouTube, it was everything and then what happened there? It just went, poof, it was gone. People are never able to contact their followers. They lost everything. So don’t make the same mistake with Facebook or YouTube or anything. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

The best asset that you can ever build is your email list because you control that. No one can take that away and you can create audiences, lookalike audiences from it. You can do all kinds of really ninja stuff with it, but the bottom line is that if it all went away tomorrow, I could still make a living from my email list, hands down. 

25:00 CJ: That’s the key. I mean you can find a good says person, right? A good salesperson and you look at their job history and they’ve been with several companies over their career because that is what salespeople do. They are just going to go sell this, they’re going to go sell that but because they are good sales people, they will never ever, ever be without a job. They will never be begging for money because they know how to sell and every company needs someone who can sell. 

Which you’re going to learn and what we talk about is how to be a marketer, how to be a promoter of your particular brand. Now more than just – we are not talking about being the used car salesman. Nothing like that, we are talking about the full scope and dimensions of sales is going to be everything from subtle to straight on. You are going to learn all of that sort of stuff. 

The point is, is that you’ll finally take your music into that business level. You will finally see yourself as a music business and not just an artist trying to get somebody to come save them, trying to get somebody to come find them, hoping a video or song will go viral or maybe a record label will pick them up or maybe Band Camp will do it for them or maybe Bandzoogle will do that for them or whatever. Maybe they will get enough Spotify views. No, you will be able to target your ideal fans. People who already like your kind of music. 

You are going to be able to build a social media following but not just to have those metrics, vanity metrics, but to be able to like Leah just said, to take those people and get them onto your dedicated email list. Think about this, you know, I would rather have 10,000 radical super fans of my music on an email list than 10 million views on YouTube video because I can keep, like you said, as long as you have the need your email list, if all the platforms went away, you could continue to sell. 

Now it is not just having an email list, you got to know how to groom it, nurture it, you got to know how to build that relationship. You got to find your voice, you got to know your brand. We talk so much about branding and social media influencing. We are not just hardcore on the software or the marketing stuff, we get into everything. We get into Facebook groups, we get into building community, we get into studying culture, all of these things.

They are all a part of it, under this general big rubric we call marketing. Digital marketing. Let me tell you something like Leah said earlier this is the new era in which we live ladies and gentlemen. You think, “Well I heard Facebook, I heard email is dead” no, you can’t do anything without email. Everything is going, just as the fact that everything is now going to e-commerce. I said this to you recently Leah, where I’ve gone to the shopping mall that I’ve been to. A beautiful mall, it was a ghost town. Well, did people stop buying things? No, they’re just not going to physical stores that much anymore. So, you will see it even in the holidays this year, you’re probably going to be able to find a parking place at the mall.

28:19 Leah: That’s right. Let me tell you something. I am beginning to plan for Black Friday right now for August because of this e-commerce and the fourth quarter of the year is the biggest, it is the biggest quarter of the year for anybody selling anything online. I actually plan after we record this, I am going to be making a video for our elite students that I am posting in the Facebook group and I am going to be walking them through my whole Black Friday plan. 

What they need to be doing in the month of August, what they need to do in the month of September, in October, November, all the way up to December, to properly do this and make the most money they have ever made this year with their music because people have no idea. I mean that’s just the fact that that’s the way people are shopping now. 

29:05 CJ: Yeah and so you can’t do anything. You can’t buy anything on any commerce website especially Amazon, without having an email address period. If you want to keep up with your tracking information, they are going to be sending you emails. You book a flight they are going to tell you what email address you’d like to use. Everything is based on email ergo, how could email be dead? Email is very much alive, what’s dead is spam. 

29:40 Leah: Right or like grandma forwarding you the whatever, bunnies frolicking in the field that you used to get. So many forwards but that went to Facebook. That is what Facebook is for now, you know the cat memes and we get all of that there. But email is certainly not going away. It has certainly not died. It is a little more transactional than it was but people definitely newsletters are not dead at all like people – I mean my husband subscribes to financial newsletters that he reads them. 

You know if you sign up for markers you get a ton of emails from those people. I mean there is a lot of people getting newsletter and still reading them, engaging with them, especially other artists they care about. I read every email from artists that I love. If I get an email from them, I always open those. I think there is special relationships still that are interacting in the ways that maybe you are doubting but it is happening, and it couldn’t be more true than in the e-commerce setting. 

So the point is with all of this, learn how to be a good marketer and you will not be fazed by platforms and changes because this would be like, “Okay there’s a change” or this platform is not doing well I am going to go over here and I am going to learn how it works and because I got my brand in order, because I understand my culture and I found my voice. I know how to be my authentic self in a way that inspires people to want to support my art and I am confident in that. And I have no guilt whatsoever by saying the word by now or go to this link and purchase it.” And you have full confidence in that. 

Do you know how life changing that is? Do you know that when you can get to that place you not only can support yourself in your own music career – there is no reason why you couldn’t build something else on the side and do a million dollars because that is the power of these principles. It is the same thing. 

It is the same thing that Brent Cardone or any of these people out there, Tim Farris, they are all using the same principles to do what they do. So that’s why I say you need to think much bigger. You are still thinking small potatoes that guarantee that if you listen to this, you are thinking like, “Oh how do I make my next 100 dollars?” You need to think bigger than that. How do I make my next $100,000, $200,000?” That is where you need to go. 

32:05 CJ: Right financial security for you means becoming a good marketer, learn marketing and that is the best way to secure your future. Something will always need to be marketed and I want to just take this opportunity again as I said earlier, we have launched the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter. I love this thing, Leah. You were just talking about how newsletters have not gone out of style. In fact, I am expecting it to become more and more in style. 

And so again, to help our listeners and those who are in our groups and classes to keep up with everything, the constant changes and to stay encouraged and to stay motivated, you have created the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter and it is dedicated to these very things that we’ve been talking about. It is true, you know that not everybody can be in the elite group and maybe not everybody will buy the Online Musician Course or what have you. 

We understand that. We want you to get to that place where you can. We want you to start making money so that you can become a part of investing yourself. You have to always be investing in yourself but what I love about the Savvy Musician Inner Circle newsletter Leah, is that it is a subscription newsletter. So it is one issue a month and it is just $19.99, so I mean everybody can get that. Everybody can do that. 

33:27 Leah: You have no excuse. You have that laying in your couch somewhere. 

33:30 CJ: Yeah I do. 

33:32 Leah: Yeah, somewhere between the couch cushions or in a pocket in the washing machine. It is in there. 

33:38 CJ: You’ve got it. So I want everybody who is listening right now to stop what you are doing and I want you to go to and you can also go to the show notes to get the link there. I want you to go and check out, Leah did a walkthrough video taking you through our first issue. We just published our second one and getting ready to do the third issue here pretty soon. 

So Savvy Musician Inner Circle is your call to action for today. I want you to go again, check that out and subscribe today. Tell somebody else about it. In fact you can get your first month for just one dollar, right? 

34:19 Leah: Yes, you have no excuse. I expect to see you in there. I want to hear from you about what you thought about it because we’re always going to be working on it and improving it. This is something that I wish I had this resource, I really did. Even a few years ago, I wish there had been something that I could consume, not even in the marketing world could I find this. So this is amazing, go sign up. 

34:39 CJ: But for those of you who are listening also, please do us a favour and go and review this podcast. It always helps other people to find the podcast and helps us to keep high in the rankings. So go to your Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, whatever you are listening on and leave a comment. Give us five stars, we appreciate that. 

Leah, once again always a pleasure. We will see you guys next time.